May 28, 2017

Marketing Versus Sales

Chat with anyone the topic of marketing usually arises. Just start talking about business and why everyone needs to have a marketing plan and discuss why they are not just look for sales. We all know others who say that they do not have time to develop a marketing plan since they are concentrating on selling. These same people do not have a business plan.

There are many resources available for anyone who needs to refine their sales techniques, and there are also resources to help with developing, or refining, their marketing efforts. Everyone should utilize all the resources available to improve in both areas, marketing as well as sales.

Sales and marketing are not the same effort. We should question companies with “Sales and Marketing” departments, where everyone wears both hats. Usually these people really do not have two hats; they are only interested in sales. The two efforts are not the same. While they must interface, marketing and sales are not the same.

Marketing does not result from sales; sales result from marketing. Marketing is building relationships and refining the impressions that we make with others. Marketing is how a company presents itself to the world. It is the image that we portray to the public, to both our prospects and to those who will never become customers. It is “telling the world that we exist” and how we accomplish that “telling”.

What if we invent the perfect mousetrap? This mousetrap not only catches every rat or rodent there is; it also makes our morning coffee, does the dishes, sweeps the floors, and makes the beds. If no one knows who we are, what we have for sale, or how to contact us, we will not sell many mousetraps. We will probably still have them for our next garage sale.

We must market both ourselves and our product. It is not enough to just have something that people should purchase; we need to publicize who we are, what we have, how we treat others, and how wonderful our product is. People do business with those that they know, like, and trust. They chose their business partners based more on the individuals that they know more than based on the companies, or even products, involved.

Without a doubt, networking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to market. We let others know about what we have, how to contact us, and how we may help them. We establish networking relationships with others, working with them to build mutual success for both of us. We develop those relationships and also develop our networking skills. This is all part of Gratitude Marketing.

Mutual success means that we are building relationships with our networking partners whether they are customers or not. We are trying to help each other succeed, and we become marketers for each other through providing referrals, letting others know what we know. We all would like our marketing to be accomplished with the assistance of some unpaid spokespeople.

Please leave comments here, or email them to Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call 360-314-8691. The best marketing is Gratitude Marketing.

May 20, 2017

Promotions

We often see the advertisements from businesses offering great deals to new customers. We all want new customers, and we all have offered promotions similar to these. What type of message does this send to our current clients when we automatically exclude them from these deals?

We have seen the representative outside a store in a shopping mall with the table with a promotion that a customer opening a new account gets a free item or a great deal on their first purchase. However this promotion does not apply to current customers. How do current customers feel about this customer service; how do they appreciate the store’s gratitude to them for their loyalty?

We get caught up in the push to gain new customers, and we frequently lose track of our current ones. If we have decided to give away anything to get a new customer, why not do the same for those clients who have shown their loyalty to our business and its products for many years, even decades?

What type of message does this practice show to the public in general? We practically give away the store to get someone who has never shown any devotion to us if they just sign up as a new customer. They usually will drop us like a hot rock as soon as the promotional period ends or their product is depleted, but we can show that we generated “new” revenue.

In the meantime, we must consider that our current clients may be upset by our practice of excluding them from the promotional offering and leave the relationship that we have enjoyed for a long time. They may find someone who will treat them better, they may find someone who may have a better product, or they may decide to live without whatever we have to offer.

But there may be another aspect to the current client becoming upset with us. We will probably lose any referrals from this client. Maybe we didn’t receive many referrals from them in the first place, or we may not even know how they may have sent others to us since we never tracked referrals in the first place. However, now we may face the non-referral problem.

There are two problems many businesses never consider. The first is the former, disgruntled employee. The second is the former, disgruntled client, especially in this day of social media. Former clients have discovered revenge can have an effect on businesses, and they will use every means to vent their feelings about business that they believe have mistreated them.

What do our promotions say about us? Do they just aim to obtain new customers that may leave us after the promotion is over or the product is used up, or do they consider the current, loyal client? Do we ever try promotions which honor these loyal clients and reward their loyalty in place of treating them as just another customer number? Do our promotions qualify as Gratitude Marketing?

Please leave comments here, or email them to Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call 360-314-8691. Rewarding client loyalty is the best Gratitude Marketing?

May 13, 2017

Drive-By Networking

How many of us attend at least one networking event each month? Maybe we attend one per week, or even a different one each day. In addition to these meetings, try to meet as many people as possible for a networking coffee chat after meeting them at an event, or if they were referred by one of our networking partners.

Sometimes at one of these networking events, someone provides a presentation of their business for the group’s information, and it may be the presenter’s first and only attendance at one of the group’s meetings. This might be called “drive-by networking”.

People do business with others that they know, like, and trust. How do we build that level of knowledge about anyone when we meet them for the first, and maybe the only, time? Meeting with a person individually and getting to know them is better than attending a one-time presentation.

If we want to gain business through the referrals of our networking associates we must be known as someone who is reliable. We should be a continuing attendee of a networking group, contributing to, and participating in that networking group. Others want to know that we will be there when they need us.

That does not mean that we must attend each and every meeting of a group. However, our continued attendance, and support, should be the norm and not the exception. We all accept that business does come first, but we can support our networking group’s partners even when we are absent.

Now, what about someone who comes to a group as a guest speaker? They should be recommended by someone in the group, or by the group’s leader. Make the time to meet with them individually and get to know them better. We may need to meet with others more than once or twice to accomplish a level of comfort, taking the necessary steps to find out if our reputation will be intact when recommending anyone.

The term “drive-by networking” can be applied to individual meetings also. This may be when the other person arrives late to a meeting, announces that they only have 15 minutes to meet, asks no questions about you or your business, or engages in a “hard sell”. They may even cut the meeting off as we are trying to learn what they do.

This person makes us feel somewhat used, and we may believe that they do not value relationships. Never recommend someone to anyone else if we do not know, like, and trust them. Neither recommend someone who we do not believe will value the time or business of anyone else. Our reputations are too valuable.

We are more than what we say to others; we are also known by how we treat others. Gratitude Marketing is the practice of treating others with respect, giving to give, not to get, and helping others improve their lives. Good karma is a very powerful networking tool to use each and every day. 

Please leave comments here, or email them to Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call 360-314-8691. What other types of business practices would qualify as Gratitude Marketing?

May 6, 2017

Give; Get; Repeat

In life there are givers, and there are takers. Without both of these types of people, there would be no exchange of anything. Without the two halves of the relationship, there is no relationship. For every giver, there must be a taker. In the past we never wanted to be known as takers. Takers have a bad reputation; they take and take and take. They never give back.

Is that true? Why does it have to be considered that way? Takers can be givers, and givers can be takers. After all, it requires two for this process to work, doesn’t it? Perhaps these terms just have a bad reputation, a bad feeling so to speak. Maybe we should change the terms to donors and recipients, contributors and receivers. Isn’t it amazing how a simple change like this can make something that seems to be bad into something that we can accept or even like?

Givers provide something that the recipients want or need, whether the recipients know it or not. If we give someone a referral, we are the giver, and someone else is the recipient, or taker. If someone passes a compliment to us about a shirt that we might be wearing, that someone is the giver, and we are the receiver or taker. Every exchange takes two to make it work, a donor (giver) and a recipient (taker).

Many of us just think that takers are bad people, the people that we never want to be, the people that we want to avoid. If we are a giver, we need takers; we need people to accept or receive our actions that we give. What good is a referral without a person to whom to give it? What good is a compliment without someone to whom to mention it?

No matter how many referrals or compliments that we might give, we must have that many receivers, or takers. They may be the same person multiple times, but spreading the wealth is so much better. Our receivers should appreciate our efforts, especially the person who receives multiple referrals, but they should do something else. They should pay the effort forward.

Pay it forward – wouldn’t that be a great title for a movie? Repeating the efforts of which we are the recipient extends the process. Give, get, repeat; it is a simple philosophy. What comes around goes around. When someone gives something to us, give something to someone else. When someone does something nice for us, do something nice for someone else.

What about the originator of the process? Why not just give back to the person starting the process? Giving back to the person who gave to us is our normal thought process, and it is not the wrong way to think. However, why not do both, why not give back to the person who provided us something and pay it forward to someone else? In other words, what goes around comes around.

Can we incorporate this philosophy into our business life? Referrals are the backbone of any business, or should be. Passing referrals is like giving someone money for their business. But what about other ways of using this philosophy in our lives? Passing compliments or advice, providing a friendly ear, sharing a meal, sharing any information that improves someone’s life, even recommending a blog to someone, they all qualify.

When someone helps us through any of these ways, accept their gift, for it is a gift. Then pass a gift to someone else, or even pass another gift back to the person who helped us, who gave us a gift. Give, get, repeat; it works for all of us. Extend, accept, duplicate; provide, receive, replicate. They all mean the same.

Show gratitude to all those with whom we come into contact during our lives, both business and personal. Accept their gifts and show gratitude in return by passing on gifts to others and back to them. Then repeat the process. What comes around goes around; what goes around comes around. It really works, and that is Gratitude Marketing.

Please leave comments here, or email them to Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call 360-314-8691. What other types of business practices would qualify as Gratitude Marketing?