Category: Startups

Another Secret Revealed

In the last post we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is. Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s. There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when figuring out what your customers want:
  • Listen to Your Customers
  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely
  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service
  • Know When to Ignore Them
These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their shopping experience. Listen to Your Customers You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if you customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery. Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone. Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response. Ask Your Customers Sincerely If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should! Offer More than Just a Product/Service Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong. Know When to Ignore Them You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and someone people you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else. These are the steps and tricks to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to work on your customer service vision and plan. If you get stuck, try our GUIDED TOUR and let us help you through the process.

Shhh… I Have a Secret

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 a 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 mind set 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.
Which 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 starting 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 GUIDED TOUR can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

Add Some Compost

In the last post we talked about the first three of the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:
  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy
  These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success. Today we are going to cover the last four. Think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk and each of these strategies will extend out as the branches of your now strong tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers. Management Strategy The way you structure your management team is not only essential to your growth, but the happiness of your employees and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people, but the actual system that’s in place. A management strategy is, in short, a set of standards that include goals, rules, a mission statement and other concrete things that tell your employees how to act, your management how to grow your business and your customers/clients what to expect. These should all be in perfect alignment with your business goals. Employee Appreciation You need to put together a people strategy that shows your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps them to personally connect to their job which in turn leads to better production and a happier workplace. There are a number of strategies you can use to keep it interested at “the office”:
  • Performance Incentive Programs
  • Contests that reward high performance
  • Employee of the Month
  • Performance/Holiday Bonuses
  These are just a few of the ideas you can use. One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded. Think about it for awhile and put the best strategy into play. Keep it fresh and change up the strategy you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach. You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the higher their level of loyalty. Marketing Strategy Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two major pillars of a successful marketing strategy-the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers. The psychographic tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items. Without this information it simply doesn’t matter how good your business prototype is. Systems Strategy There are three types of systems in every business:
  • Hard Systems
  • Soft Systems
  • Information Systems
  Hard systems refer to inanimate system or systems that have no “life”. Soft systems are those that could be living. Information systems which are, of course, everything else, including customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers. The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it includes the sales systems your business uses. In your sales system the two keys to success are: structure and substance. Structure being what you sell and substance being how you sell it. All three systems are essential to the success of your business and while they all have their own very specific roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program. I want to take a moment to recap on the ideas we went over through the business develop lessons. An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:
  • Desire
  • Some capital
  • Projected a targeted profit
  There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:
  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur
  The four different stages of a business life cycle are:
  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity
  There are a few things we are going to talk about:
  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards
  There are three main areas of business development:
  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration
  7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:
  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy
  We can help you work through all of these areas and give your business a jumpstart that puts you ahead of your competition right from the start. Use our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our coaches, plus gain access to a wealth of tools and resources.

The Corporate Puzzle

The 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:
  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy
  These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success. In this lesson we are going to cover the first three. Primary Aim It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business and you need to think about what you want out of life. What do you dream about? How do you see your success unfolding? Knowing and understanding these things will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Even take a minute to write them down and tape to your desk for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for. Strategic Objectives These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic objectives, but here are a couple of the most popular:
  1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a great, simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: When considering partnerships and other business opportunities you need to think about whether or not they will help you reach your primary aim. Those that will are the best opportunities to seriously consider.
The key in setting standards and goals is not to limit you or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim. These are just two suggestions, but make sure no matter what you standards you set you are paying attention to the details, as these are one of the biggest keys to your success. Organizational Strategy The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s important to take the time to put together a solid structure for your business to grow from. Generally a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of on a daily basis and the personalities that need to fulfill those roles. No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your personal primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work. Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, the employee and other employees/vendors or other individuals. You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure on which to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, you can check out the resources, tools and speak with one of our fantastic coaches during your GUIDED TOUR.

Mortar Makes it Happen

Today I’d like to talk about the three keys to business development and how you can put the right bricks in place to build a solid foundation.

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

 

If done well these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for you business. Let’s talk about each one of these for just a minute.

Innovation

Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action. This is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.

Quantification

This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response. Look to positive responses for what you are doing right-and keep doing it. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong-and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them the stand out ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

We can help you work through these three areas to put together your franchise prototype during your GUIDED TOUR.

In the next few lessons we are going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

 

These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success.

Gather the Troops

Today I’d like to chat about the different types of support staff you need and what makes them so important. There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:
  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur
  All of these roles need to be played simultaneously by different people with the right talents. It’s all about balance. The Technician This person represents the present and all that needs to be done for the physical aspects of the business building process. They are the “doer”. This is usually the most visible person of the entire operation. The Manager This person represents the past and works to fix problems through learning from past mistakes. They are the practical side of the business and is in charge of putting together the business and overseeing the planning. The Entrepreneur This person represents the future and the vision for the business. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding and more. All three of these characters are essential in the success of any business and to build a solid foundation from the start, you need to work harder to find the right people to put in these roles. Obviously, you need to be one of these key people, but ensure you find the role that fits your skills and talents, not necessarily what you THINK you should be doing. This may be a hard process for you as you will need to relinquish some control over the business and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs. Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach you how to avoid falling victim to e-myths when you try our GUIDED TOUR.

Are You Aiding & Abetting E-Myths?

We are going to embark upon a journey through the world of e-myths and debunk them to help you avoid falling into the e-myth trap. First, let’s take a minute to talk about what an e-myth is. An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:
  • Desire
  • Some capital
  • Projected a targeted profit
  This sounds great, but it just not realistic. Think of starting a business as a marathon. Sure, everyone starts out of the gate at record pace, but after a few miles people start slowing and some drop out entirely. Building a successful business takes stamina and agility. The reality is that there are many different facets to a successful business and none of them can be ignored if you plan to find success. Let’s take a minute to talk about entrepreneurial seizure. This defines the roller coaster of emotions that comes with starting, nurturing and the potential failure of a business. The emotions that occur, in order, are:
  • Exhilaration
  • Exhaustion
  • Despair
  • Sense of self-loss
  This is usually cause by the e-myths and assumptions we talked about. You can get your hopes so high on instant success that even the smallest lag and you are sent into an emotional tailspin. This is also brought on by the stark realization that you can’t do it all and will need help in the areas where you don’t have the knowledge. Now, faced with limited choices you may feel like you need to back out and hide, but don’t do this. Use our GUIDED TOUR to get the business coaching you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Put Them in a Trance

We’re going to go through the 5 essential keys to a successful and reusable marketing campaign launch. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again. The 5 essential keys are:
  • Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Put an effective sales offer to work
  • Avoid the marketing pitfalls
  • Use a world-class marketing perspective
  • Get results!
  We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and how they all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign. Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the prospective of the customers/clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled? Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what USP your competitors are using to help you develop your own USP. Your USP is what you are “promising” your customers/clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition.   Put an effective sales offer to work To develop an effective sales plan, you need to:
  1. Put together a headline that gets immediate attention.
  2. Share benefits of your products/services speaking from the customers’ perspective.
  3. Identify the specific needs met by your products/services.
  4. Make it easy to do business with you by offer guarantees.
  5. Share your specific sales proposition.
  6. Walk your customers/clients through how they should respond and act.
  7. Motivate with a call to action.
What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products/services special and compel customers to buy. If they don’t feel like they NEED your product, they won’t buy. You need to answer a question, solve a problem or feed an obsession. You need to provide them with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.   Avoid the marketing pitfalls There are 5 major marketing pitfalls many businesses fall into and you should avoid:
  • Ignore market testing and push on with an inaccurate plan.
  • Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout their marketing plan.
  • Fail to notice the needs of their prospective customers/clients.
  • Fail to diversify their marketing options.
  • Fail to get market opinions on their offers.
These are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these lessons, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.   Use a world-class marketing perspective World-Class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers/clients from all over the world. You can do this a number of different techniques and activities:
  1. Keep a marketing journal and scribble down anything innovate you see.
  2. Keep encouraging your marketing department, or yourself, to try new things and dump the ones that aren’t working.
  3. Order from your own company under a different name and analyze the process of ordering, shipping, online store, customer service and the product itself. This will show you where the areas for improvement in the customer experience.
  4. Read every quality ad you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.
  5. When out in public, watch how consumers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases.
  6. Step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
  7. Continuously acknowledge your staff, vendors and customers. Everyone works and shops better when they feel appreciated.
  8. Always listen to feedback from employees and customers.
  9. Continuously test markets, ads, and marketing techniques. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.
  10. Offer more information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer, the more products/services you’ll sell.
  11. A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
  12. Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products/service and quality.
  13. Improve your best marketing areas and drop those that aren’t working.
  14. Focus on what you say, not how you say it. The best marketing ideas turn into the best marketing naturally.
  15. Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials with an attention to compelling and factual information.
By using these techniques you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your industry.   Get results! The last area we are going to talk about is the best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:
  • Providing quality products/services
  • Providing high quality customer service
  • Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
  • Taking all the risk away with a great guarantee
  To generate more business there are a couple of simple techniques that work every time:
  • Build your database with a contest.
  • Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
  • Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.
  “As long as the reward is directly related to your product or service, you can’t lose. Why not get started today? It’s so simple, it’s so seldom done, and it’s so profitable. And that’s the bottom line.” Jay Abraham It is so simple! So, why aren’t you starting today? We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our GUIDED TOUR and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.

Telemarketing is NOT the Anti-Christ

Today you’ll learn how to use direct mail marketing and, yes, telemarketing to your full advantage. I know, the word “telemarketing” might as well be four letters, but there is a way to help customers feel like they are getting personal attention and keep them from blocking your number!

With the success direct mail marketing has had and the availability of computers, these can be used as a powerful marketing tool for your success. Telemarketing is best for high priced, high margin products/services.

Here are the key steps to putting together a highly effective direct mail marketing program:

  1. List all benefits customers will get from the purchase of your products and services.
  2. Pick the single most powerful benefit out of that list.
  3. Build an attention-getting headline around that benefit. Remember to use emotion-fulfill the desire to be young, wealthy, desired, popular or successful.
  4. Develop a sales letter using the headline you created to grab attention, provide information and motivate customers to act.
  5. Put together supplementary items, such as a brochure, order form, reply envelope or note that encourages them to read the letter.
  6. Rent or purchase a mailing list.
  7. Compare cost of mailing vs. cost per order.
  8. Continue to test and refine your direct mail marketing plan.

You can see how direct mail marketing can help you find a local or even country-wide target market to send letters or postcards to and draw in new clientele and customers. Fine-tuning your marketing campaign will bring better results and therefore lower the overall  cost of the campaign.

To be successful in telemarketing you need to:

  • Put together a plan, so you know exactly what you want to accomplish during the call.
  • Develop a list of topics to discuss and the questions you want to present around these topics.
  • Input verbiage checking to see if you are calling at a good time.
  • Include enough questions to keep the conversation interesting, but not too many to sound like you are interrogating.
  • Start with broad questions and narrow your focus as the conversation continues.
  • Offer feedback to show them you are paying attention and appreciate their time.
  • Don’t insult their intelligence or manipulate them.
  • Listen first, talk second.
  • Be relaxed and conversational.

Telemarketing doesn’t have to be the trauma it’s made out to be. You can put together an honest, personal and effective telemarketing campaign that is endearing, informative and gets the job done. Think of how you would want to be treated on a marketing call. Ask your friends and family what they hate most about the telemarketing calls they get and work hard to craft your plan in a better way.

When selling by telephone, you have approximately thirty seconds to convince the customer to listen to you. You need an opening statement that captures their attention, conveys who you are, what you want and why the prospect should listen.” Jay Abraham

It’s easy to see how direct mail marketing and telemarketing can positively affect your business by bringing in new customers and increasing the level of awareness about your products, services and company branding. Our GUIDED TOUR offers the resources and tools you need to work through these processes and put together the best marketing plan you can.

Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Today I’d like to talk about how to turn prospects into customers and retain them for future marketing to. While, your marketing is doing its job, you need to be working on turning those prospects into customers. There are a few key ways to draw them in and seal the deal. You need to be:

  • Inviting
  • Informative
  • Enjoyable

The biggest fear of most new customers is the dread buyer’s remorse. You want to avoid this at all costs and this should be mitigated if you’ve provided a quality product/service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.

However, this can still occur. There are two ways to deal with this:

  • Offer to refund money-no questions asked
  • Offer a bonus they can keep even if they return the product

These offers alone will also mitigate buyer’s remorse because the customer will trust you more, just for offering these things.

There are number of other ways to turn a prospect into a customer:

  1. Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.
  2. Offer a lower price with the reason of pushing inventory to pay a tax bill, for your kid’s’ braces, or another tangible reason. Customers love that this makes you feel so much more human.
  3. Offer a referral incentive.
  4. Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.
  5. Offer package deals.
  6. Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.
  7. Offer extra incentives-longer warranties, free bonuses if ordered by a set date.
  8. Offer financing options, if applicable.
  9. Offer a bonus if they pay in full.
  10. Offer special packaging or delivery.
  11. Offer “name your own price” incentives.
  12. Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.
  13. Offer a trade-up or upgrade to something they already have.
  14. Offer additional, educational information to help them make the decision.

The options really are as limitless as you make it. You can use these or other ideas to find what works the best for your business, products/service and target market. Remember this…

“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll loft your company above the competition.” Jay Abraham

Need help with figuring out the best strategy for converting prospects into customers? Our GUIDED TOUR gives you exclusive access to the mountain of resources and tools, along with information from some of the greatest marketing minds on Earth.