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Untangle the Red Tape

Posted by kevinh

In the last post, we talked about how to bring the big-company mindset into your business and your team.

This will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful. Now, that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to talk about who your fish is. It’s important to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits and procedures. There are four main things you need to work on in order to be successful:

1. Responsibilities: You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying and who can kill a deal if they want.

2. Get on Their List: You need to know how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name needs to not only be on the list but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for the more interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.

3. Lingo: You need to learn about the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords and even the nicknames they have for their employees.

4. Fiscal Budgets: It’s essential you know the fishes fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year.

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape”.

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

1. Analyze their activity.

2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape”, imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch

some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

The things we talked about in this lesson will help you prepare for the big approach. If you need help with any of this, try our FREE test drive to find the right tools to get the job done.

Shhh… I Have a Secret

Posted by kevinh

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business.

Consumers
have little patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long
lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return
something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.
If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your
business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!
There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is
knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you
need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer
service.

There are three main goals you need to consider:

1.It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this
with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology-based
programs to help them shop.

2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff
has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers
need to feel like they are getting good value for their time and money.
Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their
shopping experience.

3. Change your mindset and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these
things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy
customers.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to take a few things into consideration
when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

 Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff.
 Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
 Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
 Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
 Continuously focus on your goals.

Now, that you know what you want you can start thinking about how to meet those
wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and
coaches in our FREE test drive can help you define the wants and needs of your
company in relation to customer service.

Lessons I Learned from Paris Hilton

Posted by kevinh

Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.

It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.

We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.

Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.

  1. The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.

Also consider:

Who can help me meet my goals?

Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?

Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.

  1. Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) J What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?

If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.

There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:

  • Business cards
  • Company message
  • Your picture
  • Your wording

Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)

You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you greet people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.

  1. The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.

You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.