(This letter was written to a bank in New York and not one in Oklahoma. We are much better at customer service in Oklahoma!)
The letter to the bank, shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by a 96 year old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.
You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.
I noticed that whereas I personally attended to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.
From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and abilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:
The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?
Your Humble Client 20
85% of consumers said that they would pay 5% to 25% more to ensure a superior customer experience.
85% of consumers wanted to warn others about the pitfalls of doing business with a company and 66% wanted to discourage others from buying from that company.
82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company as a result of a negative experience.
76% of consumers say that they appreciate it when brands and companies take a personal interest in them.
66% of consumers said that great customer service was their primary driver for greater spending.
55% of consumers cite great service, not product or price, as their primary reason for recommending a company.
AND 81% OF COMPANIES WITH STRONG CAPABILITIES FOR DELIVERING AN EXCELLENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ARE OUTPERFORMING THEIR COMPETITION!
Have you ever had a day when it seemed like everything was going wrong?
Do you think your customers ever experience a day like that?
What can you do when your customer has a bad day (or several in a row)?
1. Listen – someone who truly listens is rare these days.
2. Empathize – don’t jump in with your own tales of woe.
3. Give them time to vent – be patient, don’t rush them.
4. Don’t jump in with your predetermined “sales pitch” - you may need to just listen and reschedule a later time to talk in depth about business.
5. If you do have a solution, ask for permission to offer that now or offer to come another day.
My daughter has a dog named “Tilly” who you might say oozes personality. She brings great delight to her human parents and grandparents! One of her delights is to pick up things off the floor and run under the bed with them. She thinks this trick is great fun. In order to get her to drop the object, she is given the command to “leave it.” Although she is often reluctant, she usually drops whatever she has in her mouth and slinks off to get into more trouble.
I was recently thinking about her behavior and realized that this behavior can translate to being a better entrepreneur or professional. Sometimes I need to “pick up” something and run with it, whether it is a new idea, a new focus, a new goal, a new technique or even new technology.
Other times I need to “leave it.” Mistakes, failures and hurts left over from 2011 need to be left behind as I enter a new year. My newest technique is to tell myself to “leave it” when I have negative thoughts.
Some things even need to be hidden under the bed (buried) such as those ideas, products or services that didn’t work. Bury your weaknesses and work in your strengths, bury self-limiting thoughts and bury any temptation to get discouraged.
What will you “pick up, leave or bury” in 2012?
I have been reading Success magazine for several years now. I thoroughly enjoy the thought-provoking articles as well as the profiles of successful people. I have been writing down keys to success that I have gleaned from the magazine over the years. Here are 5 of them.
5 Keys to Success:
1. Always be learning whether it is through a class, books, seminars, trade magazines or other sources. Make sure that you include in your learning a mastery of the basic skills of your profession.
2. Be committed to the 80/20 rule. 20% of what you do generates 80% of the results. What is your 20%? Spend most of your time on 20% and hire someone for the other 80%.
3. Be disciplined in your thoughts. Deal with any limiting beliefs and recognize them for what they are. Be intentional about your thoughts.
4. Be accountable. Take responsibility for your work and any mistakes.
5. Be persistent and tenacious. Never give up. Remember that every new level brings a new “devil.” Learn to deal with the hurdles and make them a learning experience.
There you have it….5 keys to success. Which one or ones will you incorporate into your work and life this year?
Many business owners say that they are focused on their customers, but how many truly are? How many show gratitude to their customers besides sending a Christmas card or a “gadget” with the company’s name on it?
Here are some tips to truly focus on your customers:
2. Offer quality products or services. If your products and/or services aren’t top quality, you won’t get repeat business. Your long-term success depends on satisfied customers who spread the word about your business and purchase from you repeatedly.
3. Be seen as the “expert.” Position yourself as an expert and educate your clients about why your small business can offer them the remedy to their most pressing issues.
4. Develop relationships with your clients. Create real relationship with your clients and prospective clients. Answer their questions, solve their problems and help them. Your clients want to know that there is a real person in the front of your small business.
5. Increase the lifetime value of customers. Over 20% of your existing customers will purchase from you again (since they already know, like and trust you) so create additional ways for them to make purchases.
6. Be flexible. Things change rapidly and you must be willing to adapt. If you are a flexible marketer, you are always miles ahead of your competition.
Decide that 2012 is going to be the year that you truly have a laser focus on your clients. What do they need? What are they saying about the value your company brings to them?
Before you start any marketing campaign or even write a marketing plan, you need to know some basic rules or “secrets” to marketing success.
What every business needs to know:
2. Patience: the fruits of your marketing labors don’t happen overnight. You need to plant your marketing “seeds” and tend to them regularly before your marketing “garden” blooms.
3. Branding: Your clients and customers need to have a clear picture in their minds as to who you are and how your product or service can solve their most pressing problems.
4. Consistency: Marketing is much like breathing. It is the life of your small business and should be a regular part of your daily business activities.
5. Domination: If you want to explode your small business profits, you much dominate a small part of your market. You need to become the “go-to” person in your particular niche.
6. Customer-focused: Your primary job is to clearly identify the problems that your prospects face and offer them the obvious solutions.
7. Identify your target market: It is crucial that you know exactly who needs your product or service. Marketing to the “masses” no longer works in today’s economy.
8. Repetition: Research suggests that prospects need to encounter your small business between seven and twelve times before they are ready to purchase. Put yourself in front of your target audience over and over.
9. The WOW Factor: What are you doing to get noticed? How are you different than your competition? The fastest way to failure is to blend in with the crowd.
10. Track your results: It is essential to your overall survival that you have a clear understand about what is working and what isn't.
I have been using the time blocking technique from Dan Kennedy’s book, No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, for the past year and have found it to be invaluable in focusing my day and growing my business. Blocking off time on my calendar for reading, writing, creative thinking, networking and meeting with potential customers and my clients has helped me maintain a greater focus than I have ever thought possible.
2012 is the year for me to start implementing more of Dan Kennedy’s suggestions. Here are 3 more time management techniques from his book:
2. Profit from odd moments stuck in traffic or waiting for your next appointment. Keep CD’s in your car on seminars, books, business advice, etc. Read articles on your phone, IPad, laptop, etc. Keep a notebook and pen handy to write down ideas.
3. Decide what your own individual peak time is and block off large amounts to work on your business and your goals. I find that I am most creative in the mornings so I block off several mornings per month for writing and working on my goals.
Did any of these new habits of time management sound reasonable for your schedule? If you try any of these techniques, be sure to email me (
In his book, No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, Dan Kennedy writes that most of us know some time management techniques but we fail to execute them. We often lack the self-discipline to change old habits. Did you know that self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable?
Here is a list of Time Management Techniques. Why not pick out 1 or 2 to start implementing now?
1. Make and use lists! What gets written down is more likely to happen.
a. A "Things to Do" list broken down into priorties
b. People to contact list
c. Schedule for the day, month and year
2. Fight to link everything you do to reaching your goals. Keep your eyes fixed on your goals and weigh each task to determine if it helps you reach those goals.
3. Block segments of your time. I use this technique every week. The more time that gets blocked off on your calendar for productive work, the less meandering and wasting time you do. By blocking time for important, high value functions, you prevent the demands of others from moving your highest activites from #1 to #10 over and over again.
These are 3 tips to get you started. I will have 3 more tips in my blog next week. Better yet, pick up the book by Dan Kennedy and start reading!
Did you know that there are Time Vampires out there ready to suck time out of your schedule until you are left dry physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally? What are these Time Vampires?
Mr. “Have you got a minute”? Here is a great antidote: “I’m busy right now. Let’s meet at 4:00 p.m.for 15 minutes and tackle everything on your list then.”
Mr. Meetingitis. Do I really need to be in another meeting? Is there a more time efficient way to handle this? A conference call, an email, anything but another meeting!
Mr. “Gotta check my email all day.” Turn off any alerts on your email and make it a habit to only check your email at certain times during the day such as 8:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Mr. “Gotta answer my cell phone the minute it rings.” If you believe that you must be instantly accessible to prevent your clients from doing business with someone else, you need to become less mundane and more valuable to your customers.
There you have it….4 Time Vampires that can suck the life out of your day. What are you doing to do to banish these time Vampires from your life?
Many people hate change…in fact they fight against change at all costs. My favorite saying about change is “the only one who likes change is a wet baby.” Change happens every day. Some are good changes and some aren’t so good.
Changing old habits in a new year can be downright stressful. Have you noticed that change seldom happens as quickly as we would like? If you find yourself falling back into old habits, realize that a wrong turn is okay…just pick yourself up and start again.
Have you ever been like this person?
Day 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in. I can’t believe I fell in but it isn’t my fault. It takes a long time to get out.
Day 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Day 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Day 4: I walk down another street.
Change is inevitable…growth is not. Why not make 2012 the year you accept change for what it is and take a new street? You may find it leads you on a great adventure!
According to Webster’s dictionary intention means “a determination to act in a certain way.” What good intentions did we all have for 2011 that never came to fruition? As I look back over my goals for 2011 I realize that some of them were good intentions, but I never really worked hard to make them into action. Instead of laying on the guilt for my lack of action, I want to think about ways to change my habits and thoughts into more actions and fewer intentions.
I have decided to be more intentional. What is the difference between intentions and intentional? Webster defines intentional as “done purposely.” In other words there is work and action involved in being intentional.
Here are some ways that I am going to be more intentional this year:
What about you? How can you choose to be more intentional in 2012?
What do you really want in 2012? What are your goals? Did you know that there is a direct relationship between the level of clarity you have about who you are and what you want and virtually everything you accomplish in life? I am amazed at the successful men and women I have met who have established growing businesses while investing the time necessary to develop absolute clarity about themselves and what they want out of life.
So what is it that you really, really want? The following is a list of questions to stimulate your thinking:
With clarity your dreams can become your realities. What will you do in 2012 to make your dreams into realities?
Last week’s blog talked about self-limiting beliefs. This week I have been thinking about how to take charge of my life. How should I do that? I realize that one of the worst enemies of taking charge of my life is negative thoughts and emotions. While I tend to be a positive person overall, we all can wrestle with negative thoughts at times. Bad experiences, unkind words, mistakes, other people’s negative words or energy can have a negative impact on our thoughts. For me the way to stay positive is to stay God-centered and to refuse to let those negative thoughts or words take root in my mind. I choose to fill my mind with power thoughts from the Bible and other great writers and speakers.
I also realize that while difficult situations may come across my path, I make the choice in how I am going to deal with them. I can choose to be upset, angry or critical or I can choose to forgive and remain hopeful and helpful.
A third choice I am making in 2012 is to recognize that I am where I am today because of my actions and behaviors in 2011. I realize that if I am unhappy about something, it is up to me to set a goal, make a plan and get busy doing what needs to be done to change the situation.
In what areas of your life do you need to choose to take charge and make some changes?
Have you ever thought about what would have to happen in 2012 for you to achieve all your goals? Brian Tracy in his book, Goals! How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, states that” the biggest single obstacle to setting goals is self-limiting beliefs.” These are areas in your life where you believe that you are limited in some way. If you could imagine for a moment that you have NO LIMITATIONS what would 2012 look like for you?
In thinking about your business or career, imagine that your work life was perfect and then ponder these questions:
Getting rid of self-limiting beliefs is the first step in setting and achieving your goals for 2012. What is holding you back?
There is an old saying that “the only one who likes change is a wet baby!” Many of us get sweaty palms just thinking about making any kind of change and yet, where would we be without change? Microwaves, cell phones, laptop computers, fuel efficient cars, flat screen TVs have all been changes for the better in our daily lives.
What about changes in you…how have you changed in the last year? Change begins with choice. We have to choose to open that book, to start a new activity, to join that exercise class or we can choose rest over work, being entertained over being educated, worrying over confidence and inaction over making a difference. It all boils down to our choice and whether we choose to change.
How are you going to change in 2012? Are changes in your New Year’s resolutions? What are you choosing to do? Are you going to settle for the status quo or are you going to work for the changes you desire in your life? Jim Rohn said “If you don’t like how things are, change them. You are not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life. And it all beings with your own power of choice.”
Okay, I choose to change this year for the better..a better person tomorrow than I am today. If you are working on changes in your life, I would love to hear about them. Send me a message or an email.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has become one of my favorite weeks. Time to put away all the Christmas decorations (yes, I know it is early for some of you folks) and spend time reflecting on 2011. Before I spend time planning and setting goals for 2012, I want to remember 2011 with all its good times and even not so good times.
Jeffrey Gitomer in his book, Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!, has some great end of the year questions that can stimulate some reflective thought and also some powerful action for 2012. Here are his questions:
Two additional questions that I always ask myself:
Now you know what I will be thinking about this week. How about you? What would be some questions that you would ask yourself as you plan for 2012?
One of the biggest questions that I try to answer when I design a marketing plan for a company is how to help them “stand out from the crowd.” In this day of tough competition and an overcrowded market how does a company separate themselves from the herd and make a memorable impression?
Lauron Sonnier, author of “Think Like a Marketer” says “The formula of telling everyone how great you are using state-of-the-art solutions, commitment to customer service and best prices in town just won’t cut it anymore.” People have heard these same words for years.
My best advice for “standing out form the crowd” is:
2. Don’t make price your only selling point. Someone else may come in offering a lower price and drive you out of business.
3. Do things differently. The “how” is often more important than the “what”. Add a special touch of class, elegance, humor or spice that makes the common seem special.
4. Be consistent. If people know they will always get your very best, they will come back for more. Follow through with your promises.
5. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more. You can’t over communicate with your employees or your customers. People will usually follow a leader if that leader is great at keeping them up to date with information.
It is possible and even more profitable to stand out from the crowd. What have you seen companies do that makes them stand out from the crowd? What is your company currently doing that is different?
Have you ever been fearful? Fearful of the future, fearful of starting a new business, fearful of making that big presentation in front of a large crowd, fearful of losing a customer? Every day we face challenges and even fear. Mark Twain once said that “courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
So, how do we master fear? I have found that sometimes I master fear by taking that first small step and getting started. Getting started is the great separation between the doers and the do nots, the winners from the whiners. According to John Maxwell there are some simple and practical steps that anyone can take to overcome the feelings of fear.
Know yourself – know your strengths and weaknesses. Know what you do well and what you don’t do well.
Determine your priorities. Know what is important and what you want to give your time to.
Make a commitment to seek and spend time doing the things that give you the most joy.
Learn something new every day. Find ways to keep expanding your mind and being a better person tomorrow than you were today.
Develop solid relationships with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, business associates and your customers.
Find purpose in your life. John Maxwell states “Success is knowing my purpose in life, growing to my maximum potential and serving that benefits others.
One way to conquer fear is to take small steps each day to develop our potential. What do you do to conquer fear?
Have you ever been discouraged? Maybe it’s a problem from your personal life or maybe it’s a difficulty in your business that is causing your discouragement. How do you handle discouragement?
I have a “recipe” that I use for overcoming times of discouragement and disappointment. I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you.
Whether it is a problem with a business associate, a customer or an employee, I try to “drill” down to the real issue. Often I find a kernel of truth in a criticism or problem that I need to address. When I find the “kernel of truth” I ask myself a series of questions:
Do I need more knowledge to manage this situation?
Do I need to learn more, read more, study more?
Do I need to listen more intently?
Do I need to go a different direction?
Do I need to talk to someone who has more knowledge or expertise?
Do I need sound advice from my mentor?
Do I know someone who can handle this task so that I can concentrate on my strengths?
Am I trying to work in my weak area instead of my strength?
Do I need to work on better communicating my needs or expectations?
Is this comment or criticism worth wasting my time and energy “stewing” over?
Do I need to spend more time alone with God listening for His wisdom?
Have I let the busyness of life crowd out my need for spiritual growth?
When my “tank is empty” and I feel discouraged, a time of reflection is always beneficial. Sometimes I just need to adjust my sails and keep moving full speed ahead. I choose each day to be happy and not let discouragement erode my sense of peace and joy.
What is a leader? What is the difference between a good leader and a great leader? Is leadership an innate gift for some or is leadership developed over years of work and effort?
What are the characteristics that you think make a great leader? Here are some of the characteristics that I value:
Integrity - I don’t think that you can be an excellent leader without integrity no matter what our popular culture may say. Brian Tracy, author and professional speaker, states “Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership.”
Solution producer – Great leaders are always thinking and talking about solutions rather than problems. Followers think and talk about problems. What do you talk about most…problems or solutions?
Compassion and respect – Great leaders have a sense of compassion for those around them as well as respect for the rights of all individuals.
Leadership has been described as the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people. What do you think makes a great leader? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
Isn’t Thanksgiving wonderful….no expectations of gifts or decorations or snow….just lots of good food, football and family time. The one celebration that I never want to leave out of Thanksgiving is giving thanks. Being thankful for all that God has provided is the center of my Thanksgiving. It may seem trite or even overdone to some people, but I don’t think you can ever express too much gratitude to our Creator.
As a business owner here are some items on my gratitude list:
Most of all, I thank God! Without His wisdom, His leadership, His word, His guidance, His being, I would never have been able to step out in courage and follow my dream.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? WHERE DO YOU NEED TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE?
Have a Grateful and Happy Thanksgiving!
Last week I talked about 3 mistakes that business owners often make that can cost time, money and resources. They were: Trying to do it all yourself (especially in marketing), failing to have a dynamic business card that connects with people and failing to make it easy for customers to reach you and buy your products. Here are 3 more mistakes that can also be costly:
2. Websites that have flashing pictures and words that move so fast you can’t read the text and home pages that take 2 minutes or longer to read because you have to keep scrolling down. Most people will give your website 7 seconds to connect with them before they move on to your competition’s website. Make sure your contact information is clear and on every page, check grammar and punctuation carefully, add interesting pictures and keep the flashy to a minimum. Think about what would resonate with your customers and design your website with them in mind.
3. Facebook Business pages that sell, sell, sell and sell some more. No wonder people are getting frustrated and starting to “unlike” some business pages.
Okay – enough about mistakes. Do you have some good advice that you would like to share from your own experiences?
As small business owners sometimes it is our small mistakes that can keep our business from growing and being profitable. Here are some common mistakes in marketing that I have seen cost business owners thousands in lost revenue.
2. Using a generic business card printed on your home computer may speak volumes to potential clients but in an adverse manner. A well designed business card, easily read and with a description of your services on the back, is like a walking billboard for your company. Spending a few extra dollars on a great-looking business card is a must in this competitive market.
3. Failure to make it very clear to your customers and potential clients how to contact you. Jeffrey Gitomer, the guru of sales, had a recent article in his Sales Caffeine newsletter about going to a website to order some buttons for an event and failing to find a phone number. He ended up ordering by phone from another company and telling his thousands of followers about his experience. Easy for customers to reach you trumps clever and unusual every time!
These are just a few mistakes that I have witnessed. Watch for more mistakes in next week’s blog. In the meantime, I would love to hear about small mistakes that you think can cost a company money and customers.
Have you wondered what the gatekeeper does to your business card or marketing material when you leave their office or even a networking meeting? We all receive a huge amount of information every day which requires us to make the decision whether the information is valuable or unnecessary. I thought these statistics about information overload were very revealing:
Most people believe that less than ½ of the information they receive is valuable.
28% of the typical workday is wasted by interruptions caused by unnecessary information.
Which are you to your prospects and customers?
I recently started offering business owners a “Marketing Assessment” of their business cards and brochures to evaluate whether potential customers would consider the material as valuable or not and then make suggestions to improve the material. If I can help you with a “Marketing Assessment”, please give me a call at 340-8222.
I talk with business owners every week who struggle with how to successfully market their business. They are unsure how to find new customers and even how to keep the customers they currently have. The good news is that success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying some basic fundamentals.
What are the basic fundamentals in marketing a business?
2. You need a sound Marketing Plan. Those with a plan succeed, those without a plan struggle or close their doors.
3. You can’t buy advertising from every salesperson who calls or walks in the door no matter how “great” their offers sound. You can easily become deeply in debt without new customers to show for the expenditures. I spoke to a business owner last month who spent $40,000 last year on various advertising methods that got him 3 new customers. A little money here and a little money there can quickly drain the well.
4. Get some professional help. As business owners we can’t know everything! Instead of draining the well, how about using a Marketing Plan that will reach the right customers to get the right results?
Jim Rohn, speaker and author, writes “I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they do their lives.” Let now be the time to get some advice on marketing your business. How much profit are you willing to lose before you get professional help?
Has your day ever “flown by” but you aren’t sure where the time went? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day or a sense of frustration?
Here are some great suggestions about time management from Jim Rohn, one of the greatest speakers and authors of our time:
“Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.”
“We can no more afford to spend major time on minor things than we can to spend minor time on major things.”
“The greatest definition for concentration I ever heard is, “Wherever you are, be there!”
“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to an hour.”
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but you can’t get more time.”
“Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.”
I have a confession to make…I sometimes have to have an “Attitude Adjustment” (my husband calls it an “AA”). I have to say “Anita, what is wrong with you today?!” Before you laugh, you may want to take a hard look at your attitude this past year. Are there times when it has been less than stellar? Did you know that a great attitude doesn’t come with our birth certificate?
A great attitude is a trait that we all have to work at every day. 95% of our emotions are determined by how we interpret events in our lives…in other words we have a choice in our reactions. My mother used to tell me (when I pulled the covers over my heard in the morning!) that I could choose each day whether I was going to be happy or unhappy, the choice was up to me. Very profound words that had a significant impact on my life!
I have found that my attitude is an expression of my values, beliefs and expectations. If I expect the worst, the worst is exactly what I will get. I try to make a game out of finding something positive in every situation. Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.
Have you had an AA (Attitude Adjustment) recently? Do you need one?
Have you ever had a turning point? Whether it was a decision to launch your own business, start
eating more healthy, run a marathon, change your attitude, spend more time with God or change the way people perceive you, you may have made the choice to go a different direction.
When I was 15, I had a turning point in my young life. I decided that I no longer wanted to be perceived as that “shy, brainy” girl. I wanted people to think of me as “bubbly and outgoing” so I started reinventing myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone and started emulating people who modeled the character traits that I wanted. Gradually, over time and with much persistence, effort and practice, I became more outgoing and “people focused”. (I am still a work in progress!)
Brian Tracy, famous speaker and author, stated “I found every single successful person I’ve ever spoken to had a turning point. The turning point was when they made a clear, specific unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore; they were going to achieve success. Some people make that decision at 15 and some people make it at 50, and most people never make it at all.”
If success is alluding you, maybe you need a turning point. Do you need to take some classes, surround yourself with successful people, read more books, look for a mentor or get some feedback from people who are where you want to be? Whatever your goal, make this day the turning point…I’m glad that I did!
That statement epitomizes one of my goals for this year…to be the best that I can be. How do I accomplish that goal? Where do I start? A friend, Shirley Mears, recently sent me some great thoughts on this subject. She recommends the process of “Do…Learn…Ask.”
Do – do what I know to do. Don’t talk it to death….just do it. Talk less and act more. Do what I know is the best for me. Work with integrity and honesty. Look for ways to encourage others.
Learn – read, listen, learn every day. There is advice that says that in 5 years you will be the people you surround yourself with and the books that you read. Who do I want to be in 5 years? Who do I spend my time with now and what am I reading?
Ask – ask a mentor, ask fellow business people, ask people you respect, ask lots of questions, ask for help, ask what you can do to better yourself. And, as Shirley says, we should ask God to guide us.
Do…Learn….Ask….What are you doing each day to be the best that you can be?
Did you know that there are things you do incredibly well that most people cannot do as well? Did you know that successful people design their work day around their passions and strengths rather than working harder on their weaknesses? John Maxwell said it best when he wrote: “All people have a uniqueness that enables them to rise above the rest, if they just discover it, fine-tune it, work hard and grow in it. No one has ever been successful doing something that they didn’t like and no one has ever been successful doing something they can’t do well.”
Successful people don’t spend time on their weaknesses. They find as much time as possible to focus on their strengths. What about all the other tasks that need to be done? Successful people know how to delegate as much as possible. Delegating is not always easy. Many people are afraid to delegate because it means giving up control. But why waste your time with tasks that you don’t like doing? Why not double the amount of time you spend developing and working on your “genius’? There are people who love to do what you hate to do and they do it much better than you do because they love it.
What are some things that you don’t like doing? How much time do you spend every week doing those things? Imagine spending that time doing what you love to do while someone else is enjoying doing what you used to be doing. It’s a win for everyone.
If marketing is not your passion, that’s okay. Give me a call and maybe we can swap strengths….I will work on the tasks that you hate and you can work on my list! Happy delegating…
If you talk to customers or potential clients each day, you are making a "sales presentation" whether you realize it or not. Whatever goods or services you "sell", there are some basic rules to making a solid presentation to a potential customer that will lead to more "yeses."
One: Make an appointment unless your prospective client tells you otherwise. Respect the business owner's time by setting a specific time to meet and even the length of time he or she is willing to set aside. Be on time and be respectful of his or her time.
Two: No plastic cups please! The worst sales presentation I have seen was a sales representative who came to my office and "dropped off" a plastic cup of caramels (I am lactose intolerant) and the worst flyer I have ever seen. You guessed it...I threw it all away. What a waste of time and resources! (By the way, that company is no longer in business...I wonder why!) Think through you promotional items to make sure that they are memorable and will connect people to you. Don't bring food unless you are absolutely sure the person you are calling on does not have a food allergy.
Three: Your marketing material needs to be professional looking with crisp colors and text and a strong marketing message. Flyers copied on the office copier with grammatical mistakes and poor English are unacceptable.
I will be presenting the secrets of making a winning sales presentation at my upcoming "Stepping Stones to Business Success" seminar on Thursday, September 22nd, 12:00 – 3:30 P.m. (free lunch). Nic Bittle, business coach and author and Kathy Wallis, attorney will also be speaking. Sign up @ www.kwallislaw.com. Hope to see you there!
A recent article from Jim Rohn called “The Ant Philosophy” really resonated with me. I am sharing some of lessons about ants in the hope that you will be challenged by these teachings as much as I have been.
The 4 part Philosophy of the Ant:
ONE: Ants never quit. No matter what obstacle is placed in their way they will find a way to climb over, climb under or go around. They will keep looking for another way. How often do we as business owners give up when we are facing an obstacle? The lesson: Never give up.
TWO: Ants think winter all summer. Summer won’t last forever so ants are gathering their winter food in the middle of summer. Do we plan ahead for the lean times that may be approaching? The lesson: Look ahead.
THREE: Ants think summer all winter. Ants remind themselves during the winter that “this won’t last long.” The first warm day they can’t wait to get out of their nest. Are we optimistic enough during hard times to remember that the winter will pass if we are patient and look for that “warm day”? The lesson: Stay positive.
FOUR: An ant gathers all he can during the summer to prepare for the winter. Do we give all we possibly can to our work? Are we continually learning, growing and giving to others? The lesson: Do all you can.
What a great philosophy!
Have you ever had one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong? I had one of those days recently. I found a rotten potato in the pantry, I wore 2 different shoes to a networking meeting and I dropped a very heavy metal object on my toes all in the same day! There is a great story about Chirpie, the parakeet and his terrible, rotten, no good day.
Chirpie was a happy bird living very contently until one day his owner accidentally sucked him up into the vacuum cleaner while cleaning his cage. When she realized what had happened, she quickly turned off the vacuum and unzipped the bag. Chirpie was alive but covered in dust. Thinking she could rinse him off in the bathtub, Chirpie’s owner turned on the faucet full blast and held the poor bird under the icy water. She realized she was causing more harm than good so she grabbed the blow dryer and gave the shivering parakeet a blast. Needless to say, Chirpie was totally traumatized. Chirpie doesn’t sing anymore.
Have circumstances stolen your song? Have you had a day recently when nothing went right. Sometimes we have to decide that our day was just one of “those days” and choose to laugh about it. John Maxwell suggests “take yourself less seriously and recognize that laughter breeds resilience.” It’s a great lesson for everyone to remember.
Last week’s blog discussed the fact that the marketplace doesn’t always recognize a product merely for its quality. Yes, you must create a high-value, quality product or service but even more important to the ultimate success will be how well the product is positioned in the marketplace.
Here are some great tips from two marketing wizards, Jay Abraham and Frank Kern. These tips are from a recent article in Success magazine.
2. Your unique message has to be translated into an irresistible headline that grabs people’s attention. Potential customers should say “that’s what I need!” NOT “so what.”
3. Givers Get. Find ways to educate and connect customers to resources or people. Give them an article or tip related to their industry before they become your customer. They will want to do business with you because you have become a valuable resource for them.
Yes…quality matters but successful marketing of that quality product or service makes the cash register ring. Don’t know where to start marketing your service or product? Give me a call at 340-8222.
As much as we argue emphatically that the quality of our product or service matters topmost in the minds of the consumer, unfortunately the marketplace has not born that out. Does McDonald’s make the best hamburger in the world? Most adults would answer no and yet McDonald’s outsells every other restaurant in their category by billions of dollars. What is the highest quality of bottled water? Certainly not Aquafina and yet it is number #1 in its market.
Many times it isn’t the highest quality clothing, car, refrigerator or furniture that sells the most or becomes the biggest, it is the ones who market themselves the best. Whether we like it or not, the ultimate success of a product is part quality but also how the product was positioned in the marketplace.
I am not saying that you can get by with shoddy workmanship or poor customer service. On the contrary, if your product or service is bad or even if you are unethical or lacking integrity, NO AMOUNT OF MARKETING WILL MAKE YOU OR YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE SUCCESSFUL especially in this day of social media.
What I am saying is that “positioning” yourself with your unique message in the marketplace is the key to being successful. Read next week’s blog for 3 tips from Success Magazine on making your marketing more successful.
How many of you attend a networking event at least once per month? Networking has become a popular way to meet other business people, find out about other businesses and, of course, showcase your own business. Did you know that when you network you are not only selling your business but you are also selling yourself?
According to Jeffrey Gitomer in his book, Little Black Book of Connections, there are several basic rules to networking that can make your efforts more successful:
Prepare in advance. Know something about the group and what type of businesses are represented.
The neighborhood coffee shop has replaced the hardware store, the barber shop and the corner drugstore as THE place to gather with friends, meet business associates and even study or read. The customers are an eclectic bunch who share a love for coffee, the relaxing atmosphere and the ambiance that a coffee shop has to offer.
Your customers and those at the corner coffee shop may have some similar characteristics.
2. Coffee shop customers enjoy choices and options. Are there choices/options that you can add to benefit your customers? Is your focus on meeting your customer’s needs or your own?
3. Coffee shop customers delight in long conversations with good friends. Are you approachable and open? Are you a good listener?
Well…I am headed off to my favorite coffee shop for some great coffee and some time with friends. Come join me!
Vacation plans, house plans, health plans…we humans love our plans! Here are some great quotes about planning:
John Lennon – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Unknown author – “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
Alan Lukein – “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
Winston Churchhill – “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”
Unknown author – “It pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
Thomas Edison – “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”
Wise saying – “Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
*Best quote of all from Proverbs 15:22 – “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
Rodney Fouts, the pastor of North Church, tells the story of following his father through the fields in western Oklahoma to check the irrigation lines. He said that it was often muddy but his father told him if he stepped only where his father stepped he would stay dry. One day Rodney missed a step and fell face first into the mud. He learned quickly that following his father’s footsteps would keep him safe and get him to his destination.
Isn’t that what mentoring is all about? A mentor has been described as a wise advisor, a teacher or a coach. Following in the footsteps of someone who is farther down the road, knows more and is going the same direction we want to go can get us safely to our destination. Oliver Goldsmith, writer, poet and physician, said “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.”
It can be lonely and frightening wading across a muddy field with no direction and no one to help you if you slip and fall. Finding a mentor is a healthy step for anyone who wants to grow personally, professionally or spiritually.
What about you….who is your mentor? Who are you mentoring? I would love to read your comments about your experiences in being mentored or mentoring someone else.
Have you ever wondered if God is really paying any attention to what’s going on down here on earth? Does He truly see us? Does He know and love me? These are age old questions that many people have puzzled over through the centuries.
I recently read a great story from the book by Lauri Beth Jones, Jesus Life Coach. She has an arrangement with God that helps reassure her that He loves her. Whenever she sees a ladybug she feels that God is telling her that He loves her. She has seen ladybugs in the most unusual places:
On the windshield of a rental car in the middle of a snowstorm in Ohio
On the screen of her laptop in a motel room in Dallas, Texas
In a swimming pool at 5:00 a.m. in a motel in the Bahamas
I have the same agreement with God about pennies. Whenever I see a penny in a random place I feel God saying “I love you.” About a month ago I was leaving a meeting with a business associate. I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. As I reached my car which was parked in an area seldom used, I saw a penny right beside the driver’s door. It brought tears to my eyes. It was as if God was saying “I see you. I feel your pain. I love you.” I have kept that penny in my cup holder as a reminder of the elation I felt that day knowing that God does indeed see me and He loves me!
I hope you will start looking for ways in your ordinary coming and going of life to be reminded that God sees you and loves you.
CLEAR THE MENTAL CLUTTER
Spring…time to clean out the garage, the closets, the cobwebs behind the furniture and the
crumbs from the couch. Clean…we humans tend to like that word. It denotes the smell of clean
sheets, a refreshing shower, an orderly drawer, an organized desk. What about our minds? How
much mental clutter do we carry around each day? Mental clutter can block our path to success.
Success magazine has some great tips on clearing the mental clutter.
1. Eliminate the negatives. John Canfield, co creator of the Chicken Soup series, suggests
replacing “I can’t” with “I won’t.” The word “won’t” implies that I am choosing not to
take control of my life. I have to ask myself daily where I am saying “can’t” and decide
to take control of that situation by learning, changing and growing.
2. Complete, delegate or delete tasks that have been hanging around for several weeks. If it
is a task that I need to do, then do it. If it is a task that can be delegated, then don’t feel
guilty about delegating it to someone else. If the task has been on my “to do” list for over
a month, maybe I need to delete it from the list.
3. Quit lamenting over past mistakes and worrying about the future. My mental energy
could be better spent living in the present and making this day the best it can be.
Ah springtime…time to clear out the mental cobwebs and fill my mind with the freshness of new
knowledge and the enjoyment of each new day.
ARE YOU 100% IN?
Are you 100% passionate about the business you are in? Would you do what you are doing
without being paid for it? Do you jump out of bed on Monday morning ready to get to work?
(Okay…that might be going overboard!) What makes you excited about your work? I
remember a great bit of advice that I got from a businesswoman as I was debating whether to
take a promotion to executive director or stay in marketing. She said to take the position that
made me want to “jump out of bed” each day passionate about my work. I chose marketing and
have been thankful for that pearl of wisdom ever since.
What about you? Are you just “testing the waters” by dipping a toe in or are you 100% in? If
you aren’t 100% in, you probably need to reassess your strengths, your work, your business
to find that passion which will propel you to success. No one wants to look back over his/
her life and realize that she/he settled for less than what could have been a life of 100%. Ask
yourself…are you 100% in?
To refresh is to replenish, to stimulate, to revive. I recently read an interesting article that said
our brains need to be “refreshed.” Just as we push the clear key on a calculator or the refresh
button on the computer or we recharge our cell phones, we humans need times when we clear
our minds and reset our focus.
How long has it been since you really felt refreshed and your mind was clear and focused? Do
you find ways weekly and even daily to be recharged? I think most of us only dream of having
time in our hectic schedules to be refreshed!
Here are some of my favorite ways to” push the clear button” on my mind:
Getting up early each morning with a grateful heart.
Spending time meditating and praying.
Taking a vacation whether it is for a week, a weekend or even a day off.
Getting lost in the joy of a favorite activity or hobby for a few hours.
Enjoying time with friends and family.
Walking at the park or around the neighborhood.
Setting aside Sunday as a day of rest.
These are some of my favorite ways to be refreshed. What are yours?
When Jack LaLanne, the father of fitness, was asked about his waning athletic ability at the age
of 94 he responded, “forget about what you used to do and focus on today. You control your life
- it’s all up to you.” Focus on today…what great advice! We can learn from yesterday, plan for
tomorrow while focusing our time and energy on today.
What do successful people do to stay focused and make the best use of each day? Here are some
thoughts about focus that I have learned from some of the successful people I have met.
1. Nic Bittle, author of the book Small Business, Big Mistakes, suggests choosing the
3 most important projects each day and completing those before moving on to less
2. No multitasking allowed. New studies have shown that people are less productive when
they try to perform too many tasks at once. Focus on one task until it is finished before
moving on to another task.
3. Focus networking on the events with the most potential to add wisdom or clients to your
business. It is better to talk to 4 excited prospects than 20 people who are not in your
4. Have a marketing plan and work the plan. If you don’t know what makes your business
unique and who your target audience is, you will waste large sums of time and money on
advertising and other tools of marketing that will not produce results.
Successful people find ways to focus their time, money and resources. How focused are you?
“If you build it, they will come.” How many new businesses open their doors each year with exactly this mentality? The thinking often is “I have a great product, there are people out there who need it so I will open a business to sell it.” This thought process can be a very dangerous assumption.
I was recently in Arizona and saw a trailer in a field with the name of a builder on the side – no phone number, website or address. The assumption was that people would know the builder’s latest housing development was just down the road. If I am new to the area and looking for a new home, how would I know where this builder is building? Not having any contact information on the trailer was a costly assumption on the builder’s part.
Some great questions to ask are:
Assumptions can be costly and even deadly to a small business. If you are unsure about any assumptions that you might be making, talk to a trusted advisor or give me a call. Advice from a professional outside your business can often prevent costly mistakes. As our grandmothers taught us “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Have you ever noticed how much we Oklahomans talk about the wind? You know wind is a big topic when the weather forecast always includes how windy it is going to be each day. Many people even plan their outdoor activities based on how windy it is.
We also use wind as a slang term. For example, we say certain people are “windy” if they talk too much or exaggerate. For close friends or family members we might say that they are the “wind beneath my wings.” If someone is successful in business, we might say “the wind is at her back.”
Another popular phrase is “to get wind” of something such as to “get wind of” an impending layoff at a manufacturing plant, to “get wind of” a sale before it is publicly announced, to “get wind of” a new business opportunity or even to “get wind of” some gossip.
That brings me to another point…have you ever “gotten wind” of anything either positive or negative being said about you or your business? Did you know that you can monitor the conversation on the web about your business? Add your name to Google Alerts and you will automatically get an email every time your name appears in any online conversation. Make sure that you enter misspellings in case someone misspells your name or the name of your business.
My tip for the week – Monitor the conversation about your business by signing up for Google Alerts.
Anita challenges me to read a book a month. I am currently reading “Life Equity” by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and it has been an encouraging read for me. This book has spoken straight to my season of life and my role in growing as a marketing associate for Anita Kelley Consulting.
The quote states, “The mundane prepares us for the magnificent.” These simple words struck a cord in me. It reminded me that in every season of life we control how we want to respond to the highs and lows that will take place. In every season we must embrace what God is trying to teach us so we can be prepared for the next step. Be wise with your time and remember that what you are doing now is paving the way for your future. Even if right now you are not where you want to be in life or in your business you must keep pressing forward remembering that everything now, mundane or not, is preparing you.
Be encouraged in the fact that every season of life prepares us for the next. It is our choice to choose to embrace the mundane and allow it to equip us for the magnificent. Are you taking every moment you have and allowing it to prepare you for the magnificent? Think of five action steps you can take right now to prepare you for the magnificent…where you want to be in your life and in your business.
Anita Kelley Consulting Marketing Associate
IT IS UP TO ME!
Do you ever wonder where you will be in 10 years, 5 years or even 6 months from now? I have been thinking lately about goal setting for 2011 and I realized that where I will be is up to me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t need wisdom, support and help from God, my family, my mentors and business associates. It just means that I need to take responsibility for my life.
Here is what I have been thinking:
Together we can set goals and make 2011 the best year ever!
I have always had the goal of being a better marketing professional tomorrow than I am today. That principle applies to my thinking also. I want to become a better thinker in 2011 so I have been reading books and searching for ways to improve my thought processes. From time to time this year I will be sharing some of what I have been learning.
Lesson #1 – I need to expose myself to good input because what I put in affects what comes out. I am finding that reading books and professional magazines, listening to CD’s on interesting subjects and attending seminars all have impacted my thinking for the better.
Lesson #2 – I need to spend time with good thinkers who challenge me in new and stimulating ways. I enjoy bouncing ideas off key people in my life. They keep me challenged and focused.
Lesson #3 – I need to choose to think good thoughts. I must become intentional about the thought process. I am learning that thinking is a discipline. I had never thought of it that way before!
I love this quote from John Maxwell:
“The Right Thought + The Right People in the Right Environment + the Right Time for the Right Reason = The Right Result!”
I am inspired to change my thinking to get the best results!
THE HOOPLA IS ALMOST HERE...THE SUPER BOWL AND ALL THE SUPER BOWL ADS. I am always amazed at the creativity (and dollars!) that goes into the Super Bowl ads. People will be talking about the ads almost as much as the ballgame itself. No matter how much glitz and hype used to try to sell us, we as consumers know that not not all ads are created equally.
There are some criteria that make for a memorable ad whether in the Super Bowl or in your favorite magazine.
Okay...now that you have some basic information about advertising, grab some snacks, head for your favorite chair and enjoy the SUPER BOWL AND critique some ads while you are watching.
Send your comments to me on Twitter or Facebook. I would love to hear what you think.
There is an old saying that "the only one who likes change is a wet baby!" Many of us get sweaty palms just thinking about making any kind of change and yet, where would we be without change? Microwaves, cell phones, laptop computers, fuel efficient cars, flat screen TVs have all been changes for the better in our daily lives.
What about changes in you...how have you changed in the last year? Change begins with choice. We have to choose to open that book, to start a new activity, to join that exercise class or we can choose rest over work, being entertained over being educated, worrying over confidence and inaction over making a difference. It all boils down to our choice and weather we choose to change.
How are you going to change this year? Are changes in your New Year's resolutions? What are you choosing to do? Are you going to settle for the status quo or are you going to work for the changes you desire in your life? Jim Rohn said "If you don't like how things are, change them. You are not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life. And it all begins with your own power of choice."
Okay, I choose to change this year for the better...a better person tomorrow than I am today. If you are working on changes in your life, I would love to hear about them. Send me a message or an email.
WHAT WILL 2011 LOOK LIKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Another year over and a new one just beginning...a new blank page full of new dreams, new goals, a fresh start, a chance to learn from the mistakes of 2010 and see new possibilities. What do you think 2011 will look like for your business? Are you planning for success or just holding your breath and waiting to see what will happen? Alexander Graham Bell wrote: "A man (woman), as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with- a man is what he makes of himself." What will you make of yourself this year?
The following are some great questions to ask yourself as you dream, plan and set goals for 2011:
What did I do well in 2010?
What could I have done better?
What are my goals for 2011?
What should I start doing today that will move me toward my goals?
What is a self-limiting belief that is holding me back?
What are some valuable lessons I have learned in 2010?
If I were my customer, would buying from me be the clear, unarguably best choice?
Why should people do business with me instead of my competitors?
Is my product or service a lot better than anything else out there? How?
I am where I am today because of my own choices and decisions. What do I need to change to be where I want to be and who I want to be?
Napoleon Hill said that there is one quality which one must possess to win...a definiteness of purpose, the knowledge or what one wants and a burning desire to possess it. What is it that you want for 2011?
Take charge of your life and get out there and make it happen! Remember to DREAM BIG!
THE WORLD'S BEST BUSINESS COUNSELOR
If you had immediate access to the most brilliant mind in your field, would you use that resource? Would you call or email that person with questions and requests for wisdom every day or would you decide to call just once a week for 5 minutes or maybe once a year at a special holiday?
We, as human beings, have access to the brightest mind in the universe who is on call 24 hours per day and 7 days a week. The God of the Universe who set the world in motion and created us is ever willing and able to answer our questions and give us wisdom and insight. Do we value Him? Do we pursue Him like we would Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? Sadly, many of us would answer that we are too busy...too busy to talk to the God of the Universe who knows our every need before we even speak it...too busy worrying and fretting over problems without consulting God who loves us unconditionally.
Those who value God and listen become wise and at peace. How many of you value God's wisdom for your life?
OUT OF THE OFFICE
Awww...it is that time of year that I take time off from my business to reflect and be refreshed. I always have my list of ideas that restore my zest for life.
That's my list. How about yours? What do you need to do to be refreshed before the coming new year?
TAKE THE TIME AND JUST DO IT!
Have you ever watched the show “Hoarders”? In case you haven’t seen the show, Hoarders is about people who have a mental condition that causes them to hoard “things’ whether the things are trash, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, tools, etc. They just can’t seem to get rid of anything.
All of us have been hoarders at some time in our lives. Let me give you some examples of ways that we hoard that you may not have thought about before.
Do you have any hoarding tendencies in your life?
GRAPENUT FLAKES AND ADVERTISING
So, you are asking, “what does Grapenut Flakes have to do with advertising?” Let me tell you. I was recently sitting at the breakfast table and noticed a statement on the back of the Grapenut Flakes box. It said: “This little flake has 3 big things going for it!” My mind immediately thought “so what.” I expect Post Foods to try to sell me on the idea that there is something worth eating in this box. BUT I wasn’t sold – I was bored. Have you ever seen an ad and thought “so what”?
Here are some that I have seen:
“Our restaurant has great food .” So what…we expect that!
“At ------- nursing home we have excellent care.” I would hope so!
“We have quality tires.” So what..everyone else says that too.
“A motel with great customer service.” Again, so what…we expect that!
You get the picture. We are all bored with the empty promises. We want a company to break out of the humdrum and tell us something unusual, unique or something we didn’t already know. Wouldn’t it be great if the Grapenut Flakes box said:
“Do you know what 3 Big things this Little flake has going for it?”
That question would get me to thinking. Now they have my attention. What can we learn from the Grapenut Flakes box? If your audience can say…so what…rewrite the ad!
How many of you attend a networking event at least once per month? Networking has become a popular way to meet other business people, find out about other businesses and, of course, showcase your own business. Did you know that when you network you are not only selling your business but you are also selling yourself?
According to Jeffrey Gitomer in his book, Little Black Book of Connections, there are several basic rules to networking that can make your efforts more successful:
Remember: a good way to get a referral is to earn one but an even better way to get a referral is to give one! Happy Networking!
Isn’t Thanksgiving wonderful….no expectations of gifts or decorations or snow….just lots of good food, football and family time. The one celebration that I never want to leave out of thanksgiving is giving thanks. Being thankful for all that God has provided is the center of my Thanksgiving. It may seem trite or even overdone to some people, but I don’t think you can ever express too much gratitude to our Creator.
Did you get your extra hour of sleep this month? I don’t know about you but I find myself waking up at the same old time even though I could be sleeping another full hour. I am not sure why this happens to me every year.
Thinking about the time change has also started my thinking about good time management. How am I using my time? Do I set goals each week and align my tasks according to those goals or do I find myself frustrated at the end of the week by all the items left on my “to do list”?
Here are some time management tips that I have been working on. I trust they will be helpful to you.
Okay…enough of that….it’s time to get back to work!
YEA…THE ELECTION IS OVER!
Whether your favorite candidate won or not, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that the elections are over…no more phone surveys, debates and door to door canvassing. Even though I may have disliked the interruptions, the political ads, the nightly discussions on news programs, there are some “gems” that I gleaned from it all.
I may not have aspirations to be a politician but I certainly learned some valuable lessons from observing this year’s election.
WHAT IS MARKETING? PART I
Many companies have the wrong definition of marketing. They equate marketing with a website or an advertisement. While both of these are effective tools to be used in marketing a company, they are not the total definition of marketing. Marketing affects everything a business is, every contact a business has, every employee a business hires and the success that a company enjoys. Marketing is everything! Marketing is a clean parking lot, the friendliness of the staff, the manner in which the phone is answered, the attitude of employees when they are representing your business away from the office, your business cards, brochures, website, advertising, nametags, orderliness of the front office, lack of parking places close to the front door and the list goes on and on. One of the ways to judge your impact on the market is to ask your customers to give you an analysis of your business from their point of view. If you are worried about asking a customer, ask a business associate who will give you an honest report. This analysis may reveal some surprising facts and help you improve your marketing image.
WHAT IS MARKETING? PART II
According to Joshua Jantsch in his book lt;span style="font-size: 12pt;">Duct Tape Marketing “marketing is getting people who have a specific need or problem to know, like and trust you.” How do you find these people and how do you get them to know, like and trust you? One of the ways to locate market opportunities is to think about the problems and solutions that you are currently offering your customers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
The answers to these questions will help you define who your best customer or target audience is. In my next blog I will discuss ways to reach your target audience.
HOW DO I REACH MY TARGET AUDIENCE?
What do you really sell? What are customers attempting to solve when they buy from you? You don’t sell goods and services…you sell solutions to problems. When you discover what it is you are really selling, then you can locate your ideal customers. You must determine if this market values what you have to offer enough to pay a premium for your expertise.
One of the often overlooked ways to find prospective customers is to dialogue with your current customers. Some good questions to ask:
The best customer is the one you already have. Start with your current customers to increase the business you already have with them and also to get referrals from them for new business.
WHY DO I NEED A MARKETING PLAN?
Developing a marketing plan is like working on a Saturday project around the house. Your first objective would be to analyze the project and decide what steps need to be taken to complete the projects. The next step is to gather the right tools needed to get the work done. You would not choose a hammer to screw in a screw nor would you need a plunger to build a birdhouse. The right tools bring the right results. It is the same way with marketing. You have to have the right tools to reach your potential customers.
I recently heard of a business owner who spent $20,000 of his savings purchasing advertising from any sales person who walked through his door. Before very long his business failed. The Bible teacher that plans fails for lack of wise counsel. Why not work out a great marketing plan with the right tools to target the right customer to bring the results and success that you desire!
WHY HIRE A CONSULTANT?
Most entrepreneurs start a business selling a product or service based on their skills, experiences and even life dreams. Because they are so focused in making their goals and dreams a reality, they often neglect the one area that can propel them to success. That one area is a marketing plan. Just as you would hire a mechanic to fix your care or an accountant to figure your taxes, hiring a marketing consultant to design a Strategic Marketing Plan and manage your marketing makes good sense.
Because a marketing consultant is an outsider to your company, she can discover the perceptions that your customers and prospects have about your business. Being in a business is like living in a bottle…it is hard to read the label from the inside. An outsider can help you make formulate a marketing plan and make any tough decisions to put that plan into action. Find an experienced consultant who can help you design and implement a Strategic Marketing Plan based on your business needs, goals and objectives.
HOW DO I CREATE A BRAND?
To create a brand you need to find that one distinctive idea, solution, product or service that will give you a competitive advantage. If you cannot see the difference between your business and your competitor’s, you need to look harder. What is the most difficult task that you perform for your customers? You can often use that task to position yourself in the market.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before creating a brand. These are taken from the book Selling the Invisibleby Harry Beckwith.
These answers can be written into a statement that describes your brand and position in the marketplace.
HOW DO I BUILD TRUST?
The first area to study in order to build customer trust is customer service. Assume your service is bad and then fix it. Who is setting your standards for service? Is it your industry, your clients or your ego? Your standard for service should always be set by your clients. If you are unsure what it is that your customers want, ask them. Never assume that you know what their needs are. Before you try to sell to a customer, you must understand them and know their needs. Your real competition is not other businesses like yours, but it is the client.
What are clients really buying? They are buying a relationship with you. It is a relationship built on trust. Do your clients really trust you? Do you deliver what you promise? Do you work with honesty and integrity even when no one is looking? What your customers say about you is more important than what you say through any advertising. To build trust you must study each point of contact with your customers and improve each one significantly. Underpromise and overdeliver and you will build trust.
WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS UNIQUE?
Have you ever identified what it is that you can do that no one else is doing? What makes your business unique? The answer to these questions will help you brand your business and position your for success. When asked these questions I often hear words like “we take care of our customers” or “we serve good food” or “we care about our residents/patients.” What does that mean specifically? If your potential customer can say “so what” to any statement about your business, you have not really determined what makes you unique.
Ask your employees, ask your vendors, and ask your customers what it is that you do that no one else does. Ask lots of questions. Think beyond the obvious. Brainstorm ideas. People form impressions and get anchored to them. Find out what your anchors are. Go where your competition is not going. Find a need and fill it. Identify that one distinctive idea or product or service that will give you a competitive advantage. Using your uniqueness in all your marketing efforts will bring you huge rewards.
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To Schedule your FREE INITIAL Consultation Contact:
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