Month: May 2011

4 Parts to Your Image

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We all talk about our image in the eyes of our customers as though that was a single entity. In fact there are four parts to that image, and each part must be visible or your message will not be heard, and that can mean that your business will suffer.

An earlier post described the “know, like and trust” aspect of the image that you and your business needs to cultivate, and we’ve described the difference between ‘selling’ someone and establishing the conditions that encourage people to want to buy from you. The rest of this article is about another aspect of your business image.

We know that your perception is your reality, and that your customer’s perception becomes your businesses’ reality.

Regardless of whether you sell a product or service, you need to instruct your customers on what they need to do to maximise the benefit they receive from having used your product or service, and that means covering three different aspects, and an additional perspective that is missed at least 99% of the time.

The first aspect is that you must give your customers the detailed instructions that enable them to get the maximum benefit – how to best use your product or service. Tell them exactly what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how. This is the easy bit, and it just requires you to transfer your knowledge to your customer.

imageThe second aspect is that you need to reinforce your marketing message in that you must inspire your customer that they have made a great decision. Tell them again about the benefits they are likely to receive as a result of their decision to buy from you, and how they can ensure that those benefits can be realised. For example give them some tips or shortcuts that will provide additional value. your goal is to make them really pleased that they bought from you rather than the guy down the street.

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Then you must connect your product or service with your customer achieving their higher purpose. That doesn’t mean that all your customers want to save the world, but they will want to leave their children a legacy, and yes, some of them will want to leave the world a better place for having been here.

Throughout these posts you will find many tips that will make your work easier and more productive, all you have to do is follow the guidelines. That will improve your profits, and most likely reduce your effort – working ‘with’ your customers is more effective than trying to trap them into buying something.

Can you imagine what difference an additional 10% or 20% or more profit will make to your family’s lifestyle? That’s what you can achieve if you read and follow our posts. No, that’s not a marketing ‘spin’, that’s the result of 30+ years of study and hard work that I’m sharing, plus the 40+ years that the other contributors have shared.

If you have been paying attention you will have noticed that so far there have only been three aspects mentioned. Now its time for the last piece of the puzzle.

Remember I said that it is the hidden piece? Its hidden because your customer doesn’t see it, only you know it is there. Your customer is aware of the effect though. The hidden piece is your plan to make this all happen in the first place. Leaving your customer experience up to chance means that they may or may not enjoy the experience of dealing with your business. Having a fully worked out ‘Customer Care Experience’ plan and implementing it means that your customers are likely to want to come back.

All four aspects are important, though the last one is arguably the most important one of all. The problem is that 99% of businesses do not have a plan, and the opportunity for you is that 99% of businesses do not have a plan. Creating and implementing a Customer Care Experience that maximises the benefit your customers receive as a result of buying from you will create solid, long-term relationships with your target market, and that’s great for business!

Do you have an idea that you’d like to share? Just leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Customer Care Education and Training Implementation Planning

What can you learn from a Pop Star?

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The most popular current search on Google as I write this is the name of a young Pop Star. What does that mean for your business? A lot in terms of promotion and customer loyalty, that’s what.

Nearly every copywriter will tell you to maintain a “cheat file’, where you keep a copy of adverts and copy that resonated with you for subsequent reuse in your campaigns. That’s good advice, and it is where the benefits of the latest Pop Star begin.

You see they have megabucks available for their campaigns. They can just about spend what they like to get the message out, and they will still make a good return. You don’t have to mimic their budget, but you’d be crazy not to mimic their techniques!

PopStarEvery popular musician known to history has been on every music or video hits show and nearly every talk show they can get to. They always talk a little, and then they sing one or two songs and they are off to repeat the actions at the next studio. So what?

They spend all that time effectively giving away their best, that’s what. You get to hear their latest song for free. You also get to know a little about them – they grew up in a little town in Canada/a big city in the USA, they had living parents/they didn’t have any parents, they always dreamed of performing/they were surprised one day by a stranger who asked if they would like to sing for a living. It’s almost like you grew up together, you know so much about them!

And they rarely ask you to buy – they do say that they’d like to see you at the concert tomorrow night, which a cynic could say amounts to the same thing, but there is a subtle difference. If I engage you in conversation and then ask you to buy from me you would be forgiven for thinking that the only reason I engaged you in conversation was so I could sell you something. If instead I say “Looking forward to seeing you at my concert tomorrow” there is a softer ‘tone’, the message isn’t quite so “in your face” and the connection between conversation and converting sales is not so obvious.

“I hope you all enjoy my new CD” is another phrase that really means “Buy the damn thing and listen to it!”. How many phrases can you identify?

There is nothing wrong in this, by the way. They are simply creating the situation where people want to buy their music, versus trying to find people to sell it to. They do that because it is easier and it lasts longer.

And that’s what your business needs – easier, more effective marketing that is remembered longer. It also usually costs less, and is more likely to go viral.

What can your business give away to generate interest? That can be knowledge/advice, demonstrations, a regular (weekly/monthly) prize, or a cross promotion with another business that serves the same target market. Offer one of their products to your customers, and one of yours to theirs?

How can you let your customers and potential customers know about ‘you’? Just talk to them, with no particular end in mind. They will ask about what is important to them, and you just give a straight answer.

Then you just need to position the desire to buy from you – “Looking forward to …” and then tell them about what hey will receive – “…making your car run like new again”, “… hearing about the fun your kids are having in the pool we built”. You can figure out the right positioning phrase for your business – or should I say phrases. Have three or four, and feel free to pop them into the one conversation.

What was that you just said? Oh, I grew up in the country, and picked up a lot of my values then. When I was 17 I went to College in the city, and learned a lot about how things worked and the importance of getting it right the first time, and being on time. I have continued learning since then, figuring out how to put that into practice in my own business and the businesses I help. And I enjoy doing that – I think that’s what I was put here to do. I’ve been doing it since 1980 and with lots of businesses the same size as yours. So what’s your biggest business problem? Maybe I can help.

No, I haven’t forgotten customer loyalty. Think about the average fan – they plaster their walls at home with posters and assorted gadgets, they buy everything associated with the object of their desire! How many of your customers do that?

Some of them might, if you start to give your customers an experience they will not forget when they interact with you. And that’s the important part – what’s the experience like – buying from you? If it is fun and leaves a lasting positive impression, just like our pop star fans go home singing to themselves, your customers might go home thinking about your business! More on giving your customers a great experience later.

Education and Training Implementation Marketing

Why Did You Lose Sleep Last Night?

When Michael Hewitt-Gleeson  (Principal of  `The School of Thinking’) is consulting to business leaders, this is the first question he asks his clients:

Why did you lose sleep last night?

He has found that these are the top ten problems that, over the past 12 months, business leaders are saying they lose sleep over …

• “the constant pressure to meet and beat my quarterly targets”

• “how to balance my work pressures with the needs of my family and my health?”

• “how can I recruit smarter, more productive people?”

• “I’m losing good people. How can I keep them from leaving?”

• “I need to develop a lot more leaders in our enterprise”

• “to better manage a much more competitive culture”

• “we need to find a more effective communications strategy”

• “our metrics are not up to scratch. How to better analyse sales and KPIs”

• “I worry about whether our security is OK”

• “how to ensure the survival and succession of my business”.

Michael further states the following:

What is interesting about all of these problems is that they are not new.  There are already solutions readily available. Every one of these sleep-loser problems has already been solved many times by many managers all around the world. But most people are stuck in their current brain patterns and their thinking goes round and round and round.

This is where the need for a new and simple thinking skills comes in and you can read more about his X10 thinking technique that has solved the problems of many businesses big and small – Click here

 

 

Education and Training Entrepreneurship

The Single Most Important Thing You Need To Know About Sales!

Whole libraries of books have been written about sales, add to that the number of video and audio training courses and the pile of information is quite big. Sadly virtually all of it misses the single most important factor! What do you think that might be? At least some of you will be surprised!

The vast bulk of the current documentation focuses on various techniques. Those SalesPresentationtechniques cover the opening statement (or question) which is typically some statement of the problem to establish that the salesperson knows and cares about the problem you have, then it will continue into the solution phase where the fix will be described (or elicited via more questions) and so on.

That’s all good stuff, but it misses the mark completely. By the time you have read this article you will know why.

Some pundits even suggest that there are different sales ‘personalities’. The point being that to make a sale you need to match your in-built sales model. The way I make a sale might not work for you, and vice versa, and yet both methods might be equally effective.

I think that’s good advice – find your own path, do not try to ‘be’ someone else, but it still only goes half way to the solution.

The real solution is that everybody has their own Buying Strategy. Different people buy for different reasons. To make a sale you need to resonate with the potential purchaser’s Buying Strategy.

There are four groups of motivators that result in four different strategies that different people use when about to buy.

One group is interested in how impressed their friends (and strangers) will be when they see the purchase. Maybe even envious! They are motivated to buy to be able to demonstrate that they are successful, financially secure and can afford the best. They are convinced by facts and data.

Another group is interested in how much fun they and their friends will have as a result of the purchase. They are somewhat spontaneous, and tend not to think about the purchase for too long, instead buying as soon as they can see the great times ahead.

The next group are more likely to buy if they can see how the purchase has a positive effect on their family. That it will add to the quiet good times they already experience. They will want to know the facts though not in as much detail as the first group, and they need to feel that the purchase is a good idea. (These guys can be the toughest to sell to because even if they have all the facts, and they indicate a benefit, they still may not buy!)

The last group is concerned about the effectiveness of the purchase, how ell it will work for them. They are straight-talking, will ask a question and expect a straight forward answer. They buy as soon as they figure out how useful the item will be to them, in their circumstances. That means you can’t talk them into buying, they must do it themselves!

Unless and until you present your case in the correct manner you will find sales a somewhat hit-and-miss affair. By that I mean that you might only sell to two or three out of every ten people you talk to. Yes, I know most companies think that’s a good rate.

What if I told you that when you present your offer in this way – so that it resonates with the purchaser’s buying strategy – your sales rate will double? That would make sense, you are now connecting to the buyer in a way that is natural to them, so of course your results will dramatically improve.

So the single most important factor influencing your sales is their Buying Strategy, and whether that matches your style. By the way – there are four Sales Styles that match the Buying Strategies and even knowing that can improve your sales. The best part is none of these strategies depend on ‘buying’ the sale, or competing on price.

Your percentage sales will increase and your profit per sale is also likely to improve! Don’t believe me? Ask me for proof.

What I want to know is how many of you would be interested in attending a webinar on this topic, and learn exactly what the different strategies are, how to identify them the moment the person steps into your store, and how to communicate your message to them in a way they understand? All without having to ask questions, or spend time observing them interact with others. (No, it isn’t NLP, though if you know NLP this is a far better method of establishing rapport than the NLP techniques though of course they can be used in conjunction with this method)

Everyone who has used this technique so far has achieved better than double their normal rate, with some even reaching over 80%! And the “Buyer’s Remorse” rate reduces!

Leave a comment or email me and if there are enough people interested I will organise a webinar to share the information.

Customer Care Education and Training Implementation Marketing Networking Online Business Profit Social Networking Sites Your Team

Procrastination–5 things you need to know.

Imagine trying to build the motivation to write about procrastination! I’m not really on a deadline, I could do this tomorrow… and I do have other things to do, more important things like tend to my social media sites and then there’s my email. There’s more to procrastination than meets the eye, and what follows is a list of things that you need to know. Are you a sufferer? Find out now.

LazyOxFirst, let’s agree that procrastination is not a good habit to have. It damages the likelihood of achieving any goal – pretty obviously, if you never quite take action then the goal can never be reached. So why would people do this to themselves? Remember that everything people do, they do because it makes sense to them at the time.

Procrastinators can be made, not born. People who grow up in a family where there is a very controlling influence never develop the habit of making their own decisions. Later in life they still don’t make decisions, and now since the controlling parent is no longer there to call the shots nothing happens.

They can also be self-made. People who procrastinate lie to themselves. “I’ll feel more like doing this later” or “I do my best work under pressure” are examples. There are times when these statements can be true – writing a report when the builders next door take a break seems like a better time to think than when the jack-hammers are pounding, and a little pressure can add a clearer focus to the proceedings. These kinds of thoughts only become procrastination when they appear even when there are no external stimuli.

There are three types:

  • Thrill seekers, who wait for the last minute to generate a euphoric rush
  • Those who avoid because of what others might think, or because of fear of failure (and fear of success)
  • A special case of avoidance where they avoid making a decision. Not having a decision means that no action is required.

Did you know that about 20% of people procrastinate? Procrastination is for them a lifestyle. Christmas or birthday shopping is left until the day before, bills are not paid on time and they arrive too late to buy tickets for events such as concerts. It isn’t a lifestyle that leads to a bright future, but they do so much of it that it is accurate to describe it as a lifestyle choice.

Procrastination isn’t a trivial problem. It can have a substantial effect on the sufferer and their immediate family and friends. The problem compounds because Western societies tend not to challenge people who procrastinate. “I’m too busy right now”, “There was a death in my family” and we normally just accept it, even when we don’t believe it. We just do the extra work, or figure out another way to get it done that doesn’t involve the procrastinator.

Studies at Universities have discovered that people who procrastinated suffered more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal problems and more insomnia than the general population. It also flows on to associates who must take the extra load – making decisions, motivating or forcing the sufferer to make a team deadline and that can lead to resentment on their part.

By the way, procrastination isn’t a time management problem. They are just as good at estimating the time that a task will take, and arranging a schedule to complete the necessary tasks in the right sequence. Research shows that they may be a little more optimistic than the general population, but not everyone who is optimistic procrastinates.

They also look for distractions, things that do not take a lot of commitment on their part. Checking email is an almost perfect example of this. It can be justified as an important task, absolves the reader from making any decisions since now they can simply react to what is in the email, and it really can be done later without measurable penalty. (I wonder of writing or reading articles counts?)

The good news is that it can be ‘cured’. It takes effort on the part of the patient, and the solution depends upon which type of procrastination they suffer from.

Finally – since procrastination is a self-regulation problem people who suffer tend to drink more alcohol than others. (I wonder of there might be a self perpetuating system here? More alcohol can mean less ability to make decisions, not making decisions is a symptom of procrastination, procrastinators have problems regulating behaviour.)

I think I’ll grab a glass of red and check my emails while I think about it. Or maybe I’ll think about it tomorrow, I’m far too busy today.

What do you think?

For more information refer to http://www.psychologytoday.com/. This article was based on information at http://www.psychologytoday.com/.

Customer Care Education and Training Implementation Marketing Networking Online Business Social Networking Sites

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