Tag Archives: Internet Sales

How to Implement Stevie Wonder’s Best Business Building Tip

No April rain

No flowers bloom

No wedding Saturday within the month of June

(If you are feeling a little romantic, or WANT to feel that way ūüôā , watch here:¬† http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOU3bnuU0k)

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I am probably revealing how old I am, but this was a very popular song when I was in High School.  So, why am I bringing this up in a Business Blog?

Because, while many business owners believe that “word of mouth” is a great way to build their businesses with less ¬†effort; very often they believe that just having a great product and service is how to get referrals.¬†¬†¬† But, realistically, how many of you have received great service from someone, and MEANT to tell everyone about it, but never did?¬†¬† You get busy, so you never do.¬†¬† Or, maybe there was just this one thing…

This is where Stevie Wonder comes in.¬† His advice?¬† “Just [Call] to say I love you…just [call] to say how much I care.”¬†¬† And Stevie says to do it not because of an occasion, but “just because.”¬†¬† Here are some ways for you to do that:

1.  Send physical (NOT email) Thank You notes;

2.¬† Send them a little gift (or, if it is a BIG contract, a BIG gift…assuming you are not in a regulated field);

3.  Actually CALL them, and say how much you appreciate their business;

4.  Actively seek out a referral for them, or make a strategic connection that might help THEM;

5.  Provide a little unexpected bonus service.

Again…don’t just do these right after they give you money or because of a holiday; but do it when they might not expect it.¬† Perhaps you send them something midway through the contract period.¬† Or maybe a month after they bought something.¬† You CAN schedule it on your calendar, but just do not do it around any specific event.

And do NOT..I repeat..do NOT ask for more business or try to sell them something else at the same time that you do one of these.  Otherwise, it does not really feel like love.

The fact is, loving your customers and telling them (in words or unexpected actions) is a fantastic way to get more referrals AND more business.     Plus, when there is love, they will overlook minor faults,  forgive errors, and are loyal based on more than price.

PS.¬†¬† This assumes that you really DO love your customers.¬†¬†If you do not, then you are just a “Con Man” and need to be in a different business (or jail).

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¬†Schedule a 15 minute call with me – Marketing Guru, Financial Wizard, and Team Motivation Expert –¬†and we’ll make you Love¬†what your business can do for you:¬† ¬† https://my.timedriver.com/191CR¬† The Call is free, unless you don’t schedule it…then, your opportunity cost is expensive!

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Care and Grow Rich!

How many of you who are reading this¬†ask yourself over and over why, since you do SO MUCH for others, your business still struggles?¬† After all, isn’t there some sort of “Secret,” or “Karma” that says that the more you “give,” the more you will receive?

Are you frustrated because you feel like you have a great product, but cannot seem to get enough buyers?

This is where I get a little tough and say that, if you truly “cared,” you would make far more money than you could imagine.

If you truly “Cared”:

– You would spend an hour EVERY DAY thinking of creative ways to reach new prospects;

– You would do the research to ensure that your product or service really does have value to others (and perhaps even strengthen your commitment when you do this);

РYou would spend 30 minutes EVERY DAY thinking about ways to provide more value to your current and future customers;

– You would hire a Coach who could point out your “blind spots” and help you with tools and accountability that will maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses;

– You would make those extra calls and visits, moving¬†past the “no’s”;

– You would implement a SYSTEM that ensures you do not lose prospects because of your ad-hoc follow-up activity;

You would be RELENTLESS in trying to find a way to get YOUR product or service into the hands of people who would benefit, because you TRULY CARE.

The fact is, when you do care about others, you want them to get the best.  Assuming you do believe that you have a product or service that serves others; then the only thing holding you back from massive success is how much you care.

PS.¬† Stop playing the tape in your head that says that “real caring” means you cannot make money from helping others.¬†¬† If you cannot sustain your business, you won’t be able to help anyone.¬† And the bigger you grow your business, the more people you can help.

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Are you a Big Thinker, who has had success and now would like to dominate your market?

Do you have a Good Team, but want to learn how to make them a GREAT Team?

Have you ever felt like there was just ONE THING that would help to catapult your business to stratospheric levels?

Is taking more vacations and having more personal time a LONG-TERM GOAL that you would like to be a SHORT-TERM ACHIEVEMENT?

Are you willing to stand there while people ask you how you “made it so quickly”?

Contact Roger at 281-937-7196 or email Roger’s assistant, Kelly,¬† – Kelly@CoachRogerBoneno.com –¬† to schedule a brief call to see if one of our Programs is a fit for helping you get Rich and Stress-Free.

How To Get Your Business from “ALMOST THERE” to “Goals Achieved”

Do you ever sit down and say to yourself, “I wish I had more clients NOW!”?¬† So, you think about what you can do to improve your¬†business,¬† and your head fills with all of the advice people have given you about what to do in your business.

  • Read More business building books, 30 minutes every morning
  • Create a more focused Strategy
  • Develop Your Website
  • Hire an assistant and a salesperson
  • Design and produce better marketing materials, targeted towards your IDEAL customer
  • Implement a Customer Relationship Management system;
  • Engage a Business Coach

But your challenge is:  you need clients NOW!  And, those things will all take time.  And money.

So, you promise yourself that you will do all this…just as soon as you get more customers and business gets better.¬†¬† So, another month passes, and you are still “almost there.”¬† And this goes on, month after month.

The fact is: the sooner you get started; the sooner all of those will start working for you.

So, here’s your task:¬† pick 2 of these and write down WHEN (as in: 8:00am on Monday) you will start working on them; and another time (as in: Thursday, November 15th, you will complete a major milestone around your tasks).¬† Then, share it with as many people as possible.¬† The more people you share it with, the more likely you are to do it.

When you make the commitment, and take action on these tasks; next month will come and you will be on a growth track that will most likely be more than you had even imagined!

Comment on this and tell all of us:  which two are you doing this week and WHEN?

When Saving Money is Bad Business

When is the worst time to try to save money?  When your customer has a problem.

Two stories illustrate the challenge with this:

– Yesterday, the transmission on my XC90 went out, just 30,000 miles after it had been replaced.¬† Unfortunately, after it had been replaced last time, and I was having issues, my (former) mechanic told me that it was probably just “settling in.”¬†¬† I then asked if there was a warranty (in case it¬†WAS a real problem) and¬†they said it was 18,000 miles.¬† ¬†Given that I had just¬†spent $4,000;¬†¬†perhaps they would have been smarter to tell me to bring it in so they could fix it, and then they could have offered me a longer warranty.¬†¬†¬† Because, once I felt like they were not really standing behind their work; they lost me as a customer for EVERYTHING.

– My parents were paying¬†for a monthly “pass” at¬†a car wash service.¬† One day, they brought their car in for a wash and the system ruined their customized license plate (had their names on it) AND broke a side mirror.¬† Rather than give them $125 to pay for repairing the mirror; the Car Wash said it was not their responsibility.¬† So, to save $125 one time, the Car Wash¬†lost a customer for life; which will cost them hundreds¬†over a lifetime.¬† And guess how many people now know about their problems with that Car Wash?

What is tragic is that: everyone knows how valuable customers are.¬† We have all heard how much more expensive it is to acquire a new customer than keep a current one.¬† Every business owner prides themselves on providing great “Customer Service.”

So, WHY do businesses continue to have issues dealing with customers?  Because most businesses do not have a specific process to deal with issues.

The fact is: you cannot just SAY you believe in customer service.  What you must do is EXECUTE when the situation comes up. When your customer calls you with a problem; that is your chance to shine!

Here is your four step “THRILL Your Customer” Process:

1.  Apologize.  After all, you ARE sorry your customer had a problem, right?  Even if it is not your fault; your customer often will relax if you just say you are sorry.

2.  Offer to make it right.   Yes, it may cost you a little to have a longer warranty; or repair that mirror.  But, how little that is compared to the lifetime value of a customer?

3.¬†¬† Give your customer something free.¬† Wouldn’t THAT set you apart?¬† What if, instead of refusing to fix that mirror, the Car Wash had paid to replace it AND given my parents a free month?¬† How many people would they have then told about their positive experience?

4.  Step back and examine how could avoid the issue in the future.   In steps 1-3, you addressed the symptom; in this step you address the cause.  Skip this step, and it WILL cost you more money in the long run to deal with customer issues (as you deal with the same problem again and again).

In the end, when your customer has a problem; use it as an opportunity to create a “Raving Fan” AND improve your quality.¬† Making your customers happy is almost always a path to profitability.

If You Love Your Business, Let It Go

How many of you are working INCREDIBLY hard, keeping all the pieces of your business together?  Sure, you have a team; but you find it essential that the important decisions are made by you.  After all, your business is your baby!  No one else cares as much about your business as you do. And, if you do not steer the ship, the economy will catch up to you.  Right?

The challenge is…you are not running your business.¬† Your business is running YOU!¬† And¬† it¬†seems like there is no end in sight to this chaos.

So how do you stop this?¬† You need to “let your business go.”

No, not sell it.  But enlist and/or hire a team to take over  the day-to-day aspects of running the business so that YOU can focus on the Vision and Strategy.

Will your team make mistakes?  Certainly.  But, you can minimize them by using a structured Apprenticeship Program along with a well-developed Operations and Training Manual (including job descriptions and workflow documentation).

Will it take time to write manuals and¬†train the team?¬† Absolutely.¬† However, the time that you spend documenting what needs to be done,¬† and training someone, will be MORE than made up for once you hand off that¬† task.¬† Even if the job, for example,¬†takes you 2 hours per week; you could spend 20 hours writing a manual and¬†training someone, and you would be ‚Äútime positive‚ÄĚ in less than 90 days.

And what could you do in your business if you¬†had an extra 104 hours, or 2 ¬Ĺ weeks every year¬†to work ON your business¬†instead of IN your business?¬† How happy will your family be (or will YOU be?) if you can¬†get¬†home at a reasonable time in the evening?

So, if you really do love your business, let it go!

Why your Success is Holding You Back

A few months ago, I read a terrific book by Rebel Brown, called Defy Gravity.  In the book, Rebel very eloquently lays out the case that sometimes the way that you achieved success in the past is exactly what is holding you back from future success.    (I recommend that you read the book, as it is full of great insights).

This week, a business owner told me that “the Economy” has really hurt his retail store.¬† I asked him what he was doing differently now that could help change the tide; that perhaps we could sit down and see what opportunities existed.¬†¬† After all, I saw that you cannot order products¬†directly¬†from his website (it says “Contact us”).

His response, “I have 30 years of Retail Experience.¬† You could not teach me anything I do not already know.¬† The Economy is just bad.”

Uh-oh.¬† That is a sure sign of the “Gravity” that afflicts so many business owners.¬† In his mind, he knew what needed to be done; but it was some unchangeable external things which were the problem.¬† If only those would change….

As a Business Coach, the biggest obstacle I find in clients and prospects is NOT that they do not WANT success.   It is that they do not want to CHANGE THEMSELVES.

And I get it…many of you have built your business to maybe $100k or $500k¬†or $1 Million dollars in revenue; often by pure force of your knowledge, your will and tremendous effort.¬†¬† However,¬†the business climate is changing; so¬†you must be willing to change your approach to your business.¬†¬†¬† Try new approaches, even those completely against what you may have done in the past.¬† Get help from DIFFERENT people, even if they go against everything you think you know.

The best analogy I can give is that many business owners have been standing in sunshine for years.  But, now that it is raining, too many are just assuming that they MUST get wet.   Maybe it is time to get out the Umbrella!

4 ways to Pick Your Prospects to Power Your Profitability

You probably do not need to be told this: some customers are more profitable than others.  If you can learn to pick the RIGHT prospects to be your customers, you will truly accelerate your profitability.

While this is more challenging to do than to say, there are some things you can do in your marketing to bring yourself more profitable customers.

1.¬† Target¬†those prospects with a bigger reason, or¬†“Why,” they want your product.¬† This is not a question of how they will use your product.¬† It is really about the emotions associated with what you sell.¬†¬†¬†¬†A good example is a landscaper who markets not to people who just want a nice-looking flowerbed; but to the people who want top win “Yard of the Month.”¬† So, instead of dropping flyers off at the houses with ugly¬† lawns; they introduce themselves to the people with the BEST lawns in the neighborhood.

2.¬†¬†Make your Advertising about your most profitable Customer.¬†¬† I am sitting¬†here looking at¬†numerous ads that are basically a list of items or services.¬†¬† When you do this, you are BEGGING people to shop you around.¬† And those people who are looking to “shop” you¬†are very price sensitive.¬†¬†¬† A construction company that says they do Patios gets less profitability from their customers than the contractor¬†who offers Backyard Entertainment Areas.

3.  Position yourself as an INVESTMENT instead of a purchase.    Interestingly enough, many businesses strip away features and benefits from their offerings to be able to offer (what THEY think is) the lowest price.  Unfortunately, this moves you closer to becoming a purchase instead of an investment; and, when that happens, you end up targeting prospects who are MORE price sensitive.   Wal-Mart can sell bicycles to children who want to ride them around the neighborhood; you should sell bicycles to people who are looking to ride in triathlons.

4.¬† Focus your marketing on customers for whom your product is a LOW % of their cash flow.¬†¬†The smaller the percentage; the easier it is for you to get them to “try it out” if they have never used your product/service before.¬†¬† The key word in this rule:¬† FOCUS.¬†¬†¬† This rule is almost never broken intentionally; but because you think that promoting yourself to “as many people as possible” is the way to go.¬†¬†¬†¬†Whether you have $1,000 or $100,000¬†to spend on Marketing;¬† focus your resources¬†on those who can more easily afford more of your product or services.¬†¬†¬†¬†As an added benefit, once these prospects become your customers: you can increase your profitability by offering them more opportunities to invest in and benefit from your products and services.

In your business, the more you work you do around making sure you are marketing to the RIGHT prospects; the more likely they will come to YOU, and the less work you will do trying to convince them to buy.

Coach Roger‚Äôs Business Growth Excuse ‚ÄúHall of Fame‚ÄĚ

As I boarded my flight to Ft. Lauderdale this morning (heading to our Franchise Conference ‚Äď no beach for me, because we spend all of our time learning), I was once again impressed by the efficiency and friendliness of the team at Southwest
Airlines.¬† Sure, it‚Äôs not the same as the private jets I flew on when I was working on restaurant turnarounds at KFC and Joe‚Äôs Crab Shack; but Southwest reminds me that a ‚Äúbig company‚ÄĚ can still provide great personal service.

So that‚Äôs my inspiration for today‚Äôs post: Coach Roger‚Äôs ‚ÄúBusiness Growth Excuse Hall of Fame.‚Ä̬† These are the top reasons business owners rationalize for not taking massive action to grow their businesses (tip: trying to get more ‚Äúword of mouth‚ÄĚ referrals does NOT count as massive action). ¬†¬†If you recognize any of these in yourself; then my coaching to you today is to take out a piece of paper and write down a one paragraph ‚Äúaction plan‚ÄĚ to make a change (you are not making an excuse to avoid this, are you?).

#1 – ‚ÄúI do not want to grow too fast, because that would limit my ability to provide great customer service.‚Ä̬†¬†¬†Sorry, but if Southwest Airlines can get thousands of planes across the country to ferry millions of passengers, while still having friendly flight attendants and on-time performance; this one does not work for you.

#2 – ‚ÄúI do not have any time to work on my business.¬† There is so much to do.‚Ä̬†¬†I am going to have to call you on that one.¬† What this REALLY means is that you have prioritized other things in front of growing your business.¬† (Or, perhaps you need to read my¬†previous post ‚Äú5 Ways to Free up at least 5 hours/week‚ÄĚ)

#3 – ‚ÄúThe economy is tough.‚Ä̬†¬†Well, yes it is.¬† But many of the most successful companies (like FedEx and General Electric) were founded during recessions/depressions.¬† Those companies were started by people who had VISION, and the COMMITMENT to succeed.

#4 – ‚ÄúI do not have any money to spend on marketing.‚Ä̬†¬† There are hundreds of ways to promote your business without spending tons of money. ¬†¬†All it takes is a little research, the willingness to try new things, and the discipline to measure results to see what works (and walk away from what does not).

#5 – ‚ÄúWhat I have been doing has worked to get me here; so I am not going to change it.‚Ä̬† That is perfectly fine, as long as the markets/ your competitors/your
prospects do not change.¬† But, if you wear shorts all Summer when it is 90 degrees outside; is it wise to keep doing that when it falls to freezing just because that worked for you for several months?¬† ¬†Rather than wait until your business is freezing by a surprise ‚Äúcold front‚ÄĚ; take action now to¬†stay ahead of challenges and changes.

#6:¬†‚ÄúI have tried everything, and nothing seems to work.‚Ä̬† Here is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: how willing are you to persevere; even if nothing seems to work.¬† Colonel Sanders heard thousands of ‚Äúno‚Äôs‚ÄĚ until a Utah businessman named
Pete Harman said yes, and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.¬† ¬†And Colonel Sanders was not exactly a ‚Äúspring chicken‚ÄĚ (pun intended) when he started out.

I would love to read comments from you if you recognize any of these in yourself, and have
written out your Action Plan to make a change.  Also, feel free to share YOUR favorite
excuses.  Maybe your comments can help others.

Coach Roger’s 9 Question Business Checkup

Just like your body, your business needs to undergo regular checkups to ensure peak performance.  Whether your business is large or small, you must review the overall health of your business at least once every year.

Here are¬†9 questions you should¬†answer for your “Business Checkup”

  • How do¬†your year-to-date sales compare to those from the last couple of years?¬† Don‚Äôt be¬†satisfied if you managed to match prior years’ sales;¬†because, if sales have stayed the same,¬†then you‚Äôve achieved zero growth.¬†¬†¬†Given the impact of inflation, this flat growth line is a warning sign for more¬†trouble down the road.
  • What¬† percentage of your business is from repeat customers? This is important to¬†know because the estimated cost of getting a new¬†customer versus retaining an existing one can be as much as five to one.
  • How¬†long has it been since you offered a new product or service?¬† Loyal customers like to see you changing¬†and progressing with the times.¬† If
    you’re stuck for an idea, ask your customers what they need.
  • Have you evaluated your¬†marketing and advertising expenses?¬† How you look at the money spent in these¬†areas affects your willingness to spend money at all.¬† Would you look at prescriptions as a¬†waste of money?¬† Marketing is really about¬†investing in you, your vision, and your company.¬† The old adage that you must spend money¬† to make money is true; but you must spend it wisely.¬† Spend it on ads that are pulling¬†responses and orders; and, if they‚Äôre not, maybe you need to change¬†tactics.
  • Do you¬† know what PR is and how to use it to positively position your business in¬† the media?¬† I‚Äôll bet that at least¬†one of your competitors does.
    Nearly every mention of a company or business in the newspapers and magazines is a direct result of publicity efforts.  Being quoted or featured in an article speaks volumes to your clients and readers; who are your potential prospects.  A good PR consultant can do that for you, and show you ways to extend the shelf life of that publicity beyond its publication.
  • Do you¬†do anything special for your regular customers?¬† You should.¬† If your customers don‚Äôt feel special¬†when coming to you for products of services, why should they remain loyal¬†to you?¬† Have a customer¬†appreciation day or a special invitation only sale for your regulars.¬† Create a mailing list of your regulars.¬† Send occasional post cards or greeting¬†cards for special events or just to keep in touch.¬† Learn to recognize them on sight and¬†greet them by name when they visit you.
  • How¬†long has it been since you really talked to one of your customers?¬† Just as you appreciate when your Doctor¬†takes time to talk to you, your customers will appreciate you if you take¬†an interest in their needs.¬† If you¬†have a service business; have lunch or coffee periodically with some¬†regulars ‚Äď even if they only contact you once or twice a year.¬† The personal touch in an impersonal¬†world will be remembered.
  • How is¬†your business doing compared to your competition?¬† Every company, no matter what the size,¬†has competition ‚Äď even home-based businesses.¬† Is their business growing or downsizing?¬†Is their pricing or service better than yours?¬† If so, what can you tell potential¬†customers about the price difference?¬† Think about how you can improve your service to meet or exceed your¬†customers’ expectations.
  • Are¬†your employees happy?¬† Don‚Äôt ask¬†them directly; but observe them throughout the day.¬† Watch, listen and learn.¬† Employees who like their jobs don‚Äôt
    watch the clock for quitting time, aren’t habitually late, don’t have poor body language, don’t spend time on personal phone calls, and don’t look like they never smiled.  Observe how they interact with customers.  Be aware that not everyone is a match for direct contact with the public; so make sure you don’t have an employee who is driving business away.

In the end, you must give your business “regular checkups” to make sure it lives a long, healthy life!

Why you should stop trying to be better at Customer Service

You need to stop trying to be better than everyone else at ‚ÄúCustomer Service.‚ÄĚ

Is THAT a bold statement?  Yes!

Do I mean it?  Well…partially.

My point is that too many business owners talk about providing great ‚Äúcustomer service,‚Ä̬† but fall into one or both of the following traps:

  1. They look at their ‚Äúcustomer service‚ÄĚ as some generic thing that happens because the owner ‚Äúcares deeply‚ÄĚ about their customers.¬†However, EVERYONE says they offer the best customer service; and how they care more about their customers than anyone else.¬† But THAT, my blog-reading friends, is a mathematically impossibility.
  2. They set up a customer service differentiator around something that is EXPECTED.  For example,
    1. A mechanic who guarantees that your car is fixed right the first time.
    2. A restauranteur who promises that your fried chicken is hot & fresh.

Both of these are basic expectations, and NOT differentiators.

So what SHOULD you do?

Create a differentiator around your customer service that is:

  1. Specific
  2. More than expected

What are some examples of specific and more than expected customer service?

    1. The auto mechanic who doubles the manufacturer’s warranty.
    2. The restauranteur who guarantees that you will enjoy your meal (even if you are ordering something new).

So, it is not that you should not try to have great Customer Service; rather, you just need to make sure that you can clearly define how your customer service is better with something more than your prospects would expect.