What Facebook Means to Me….Ooops, My Business

April 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business, technology | Leave a comment
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(Oh no, not another Facebook groupie:) )

 

Do you think that Facebook is just for teenagers wanting to share photos with friends? Think again.  Facebook has become a social phenomenon that has changed the way many of us interpret networking. With over 70 million users worldwide, it has become an undeniably important tool for anyone trying to grow a business.

 

Launched in February 2004 by Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook originally began as a way for students to connect and interact with each other. Yes, it may have seemed like simply a youthful fad at first. But, it’s now popular amongst all demographics and has become “the” place to attract prospects, build customer relationships, and develop brand awareness. In fact, organizations of all sizes are finding Facebook applications to be useful for a whole host of business building tactics.

 

So, now are you curious about how Facebook could help you and your business? Here’s a list of the latest ways to incorporate the site into your growth strategy:

 

Brand Development

Simply put, Facebook is a convenient, easy to navigate, online destination where you can communicate your brand to an ever-growing network of potential buyers. Many businesses are currently using Facebook quite successfully to communicate special promotions and events to increase brand awareness. Others are simply posting their product and service offerings, hoping to differentiate themselves from their competitors who have yet to discover Facebook as a marketing tool. 

 

Link to your Website

Once someone has found your business on Facebook, they need to be offered more information. Provide the link to your website and any other online properties. And, don’t forget to provide a link to your Facebook page on your website.

 

Find New Customers

With the number of Facebook users growing by leaps and bounds, it’s obvious why businesses are using its applications to generate and qualify leads. There are large numbers of potential customers on the site that you wouldn’t have otherwise connected with, and qualifying them can be as easy as reviewing their profiles.

 

Feedback

Want to learn more about what consumers are thinking? With the sharing of content and commentary, Facebook offers valuable insight that you can apply to your business.

 

Client Retention

Keep your clients up to date on Facebook. Along with providing the link to your page on your website, include it in your email correspondence and your marketing material. Refresh the content often, and consider the page an online newsletter where you can provide the information and offerings that your customers want and need.

 

 

How Being a Mom Has Helped Me in Business

April 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Customer Service, sales, Sales Training, small business | 2 Comments

 

 

For most women, becoming a mother is a turning point in their life. It’s a time that’s rife with challenges, frustrations, and uncertainties, but it’s also when many of life’s most rewarding achievements and miraculous moments occur. What many new moms figure out rather quickly is that the skills that they use every day while taking care of children are also very applicable in succeeding in business. Nurturing a needy newborn isn’t all that different from managing a high- maintenance client, and trying to juggle chores and kids can be strikingly similar to the multi-tasking required to manage a large list of prospects. Here are just a few of the skills that are fine-tuned and mastered the minute you take that leap into motherhood. (Oh yeah, those are my boys up top:) )

 

Patience

Colicky infants, whiny toddlers, defiant teenagers – If you didn’t have patience before you had children, you quickly developed this virtue as a parent. And, the patience required for childcare definitely helps you increase your tolerance threshold in business. Difficult clients and prospects are plentiful, and patience is the key to unlocking their buying potential.

Time Management

As any new mother knows, time can be a scarce commodity and shouldn’t be wasted frivolously. Whether you need to meet a specific deadline or only have an hour before your child wakes from a nap, time management skills are essential to getting things done. Parenthood does wonders for enlightening women (and some men) on the need to budget time wisely, and this skill certainly gives moms a distinct competitive edge over their child-free colleagues.

Multi-tasking

If you’ve ever changed a diaper while on the phone making a doctor’s appointment, while reading an email, you understand multi-tasking. Sure, we’d all love to be able to focus on one task at a time, but in this age of technology and information, the ability to multi-task is a necessity if you want to be competitive in the market. Motherhood promotes multi-tasking skills tremendously, and these skills remain with mothers long after the diaper changes cease.

Training Skills

One of the primary jobs of a parent is to teach your child what is needed to succeed in the world. This requires you to be a dedicated, skilled trainer. The same skills are required in business. Whether you’re training a classroom of seminar attendees or guiding a client through the sales process, the training abilities you’ve acquired as a mother will certainly come in handy in the business world.

Flexibility

Children are full of surprises, and staying flexible is a necessity to maintain sanity. Everyday is full of challenges and interruptions, and if there is one thing that is consistent about parenting, it’s the fact that it’s ever-changing. Inflexibility doesn’t work for parents, nor does it work in business. People can be indecisive, situations can change, and even your role can evolve. Having the flexibility to gracefully manage the unexpected is a skill that will always serve you well, whether with the kids or in the office.

 

Ever Wonder What to do When the Lunch is Over?

April 14, 2008 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | 3 Comments
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It seems simple enough. “Let’s do lunch and talk some business.” But without a plan of action on how to follow up after you’ve taken your last bite, you might end up with a prospect who falls off the grid.

 

A business lunch is a great business development tool, but it should be only one step in your sales process. Most clients are not going to be won over with one meal. Expect to be in it for the long haul. It may take months, if not years to cultivate and win a client.

 

Once you’ve had the opportunity to plant the seeds of a relationship with a business lunch, it’s crucial to nurture them to make them grow. Consider the following:

 

Stay in regular contact with your prospect by using a contact management system.

 

Find ways to stay on their radar that may be slightly “out of the box” such as sending invitations to unusual events (gallery openings, fundraisers, sporting events).

 

Demonstrate that you’re thinking of them by emailing articles and links that might be of interest.

 

Be a conduit to other people that might be of interest to your prospect. Facilitate introductions, so that you are viewed as a valuable resource.

 

Be patient and understand that persistent and intelligent outreach that is value-driven and not merely “touching base” will ultimately help you to convert a prospect into a client. 

Three Simple Steps to Facilitate Failure

April 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Branding, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training | Leave a comment

For a salesperson or business owner, failure can be traumatic with long-term consequences. Unfortunately, many very smart, business-minded people do fail at selling their products or services for a variety of simple reasons. The following steps are often neglected causing sales to be lost and businesses to fail.

 

Failure to Replenish

You’ve been focused on making a big sale, and your thoughts and energies have been directed towards one especially promising prospect. Meanwhile, your prospect list has dwindled, and you’ll soon have no one in your sales funnel. While it’s necessary to pay special attention to prospects who might prove to be lucrative, it’s a grave mistake to stop the pursuit of new prospects to concentrate solely on another. Your sales funnel should be dynamic, ever growing and changing. Replenishing your prospect list needs to be a regular function, not something you only work on when you have nothing to do.

 

Failure to Stay on the Grid

Are you great at the initial push towards making a sale, and then neglect to maintain contact through the entire sales cycle and after a sale is made? Do you expect your prospects and clients to do the work for you? If you are responsible for sales, it’s your job to stay on the grid and maintain ongoing contact. If you aren’t keeping up with them, your competitors will.

 

Failure to Probe

You might have clients who have purchased the same thing from you for years, but does this justify you not probing for their needs? Absolutely not! It’s not for you to decide whether or not they need something new, but it is your responsibility to find out what they need each and every time that you engage in the sales process. Clients’ needs do change, and if you aren’t asking the right questions and presenting the right products and services, you are simply leaving business on the table.

 

 

 

 

Moments of Magic

April 6, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Customer Service | 1 Comment

My friend JoAnna Brandi (www.customercarecoach.com) calls them Moments of Magic. They’re those times when you recognize exquisite customer service….the kind that stands out from the ho-hum customer service that is being served up in most every business today.  I had my Moment of Magic twice this weekend and I am certain that both times, the company did not even know how special their employee was.  The first came this weekend when I was picking up a prescription at my local Rite-Aid. When I arrived the clerk at the pharmacy counter was speaking with an older women who was clearly confused about her choice of multiple vitamin.  I watched him carefully take the time to explain what she had selected and then come around the counter and take her over to the vitamins to show her a less expensive selection with the same ingredients. While he was doing this he also took the time to ask me for my patience, continued to check out her order (giving her a discount card as well), and wrapped it all up by asking if she needed any additional assistance.  Total time spent—probably no more than a few minutes but what a leap it was between making a sale and making a difference.

Next—in this time when we use the internet to make our travel plans I have the good fortune of working with the best, most responsive and reliable travel agent. Over the many years that I’ve used her services for both business and personal travel,  she’s saved me thousands of dollars, pointed out things I never would have known/done on my own and has made me look like a superstar when I’ve referred her to my friends and business contacts. My moment of magic with Roe (seeitall2@aol.com) transpired when she patiently—no really, really patiently—went through a huge volume of travel options for an upcoming trip overseas including forwarding emails and extra information, and then riding herd on the airline that raised their price before the tickets could be purchased (my delay not hers).  Oh yeah, did I mention my last trip in January when the hotel did not “honor” a commitment and she spent Saturday night tracking down the General Manager at his personal email address and making certain that the change was made.

Bottom-line, these two people take the time to make their customers feel comfortable and secure. They’re responsive but even more importantly, they’re proactive and take personal responsibility for making it right. How much more could you ask for?

 

 

 

Customer Service in the Doctor’s Office….Not

April 3, 2008 at 7:37 am | Posted in Customer Service | Leave a comment

I guess doctors feel that they are immune to the same customer service requirements of “traditional” business. My most recent experience is just typical of the lack of interest and ordinary respect that doctors’ offices regularly dish out to their patients.   My appointment for a regular yearly checkup was supposed to be next Tuesday. The date had been on my calendar for months however I received a call from the office telling me that I would need to reschedule because the doctor would be unavailable on that date. I’m a reasonable sort of person and I can understand that situations arise, and so I gave the “scheduling manager” a couple of alternate dates within a window of approximately 3 weeks.The response.  She laughed out loud and told me that in no uncertain terms that the doctor’s calendar was very full and that I would need to look at mid-May or beyond to reschedule my appointment.Let’s remember now that the office asked me to make the switch. No options. No apologies. Just some laughter.Can you imagine doing that in your business…asking a client to move an appointment and then telling them that you were too busy to see them for over a month (and laughing when you gave them the news). End of story:  I rescheduled for mid-May (being held hostage by the medcal insurance that I carry) but vowing to see if I can make a switch for my next physical. Who’s your doctor? Should I know them? 

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