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Archive for month: May, 2012

What is Motivation to Your Customers

Have you ever wondered what is motivation for your customers becoming loyal fans of your business?

Do you ever find businesses that seem to have a following no matter where they go or what they offer?

What sets these businesses apart from the rest?

Through my years of working in corporate American and eventually running my own coaching and consulting business, I have learned to appreciate the value of relationships. Of course I am a firm believer of hard work and dedication, but there is something to be said about creating relationships with your customers.

I recently read an article on Harvard Business Review called the Three Myths about What Customers Want, written by Karen Freeman, Anna Bird, and Patrick Spenner. It is an interesting perspective about what customers want from data collected through market research.

What they discovered after surveying 7000 consumers, was only 23% of the people interviewed felt they had a relationship with a ‘brand’.

 

Each of the myths discussed in this article talk about relationships and how consumers really don’t need them to become a customer. In fact, they prefer avoiding the relationship if possible.

However, after you dig a little deeper into the article, it seems as if the term relationship needs to be defined.

In order for a relationship to be a healthy one, there needs to be two people involved. A one sided relationship, where someone is doing all the talking, without listening, is not considered strong.

People, whether they are customers, prospects, family, friends, or someone you meet walking on the street, want to feel heard.

 

There is nothing better in a conversation, than when someone really listens to what you have to say. This is true in building relationships in business as well.

If relationships in business are one sided, consisting of interaction, ie sales pitches, then of course consumers don’t want that. But if consumers feel that a company hears what they are saying and offers them what they really want, a healthy relationship will be formed.

For example, have you watched the new Domino’s marketing campaign over the last several years?

The first quarter after their launch in 2011, profits rose 33%! Why? Because they were transparent, open, and showed they were listening to their customers.

They were even reading customer complaints on T.V. advertisement!

Customers felt heard and have since built a strong relationship with the brand.

 

In order for relationship marketing to work, it needs to be authentic, two sided, and offer value. When that happens, whether the consumer knows it or not, brand loyalty forms, which is a hard relationship to break.

Do you agree? What is your experience with relationships to a brand? I’d love to hear. Comment below or visit us on Facebook and tell us what you think.

Communicating on a Conference Call

Communicating on a Conference Call

We do this all the time, for internal calls, client calls, partnering calls—every day, over and over again!  There are lots of challenges to super-effective, and/or efficient communication by conference call.  Here are two of them, with suggested resolutions.

1. We conclude the call without all the answers to our questions, or we have to ask the same questions several times.

WHY?  We ask too many questions in the same breath!  This is particularly true of the people who are cue-ing up a call or leading the conversation.  We will ask a whole string of three, four (sometimes up to six!) questions in a breath.

WHAT HAPPENS?  We get the answer to the last question, and the others just lay there. We either have to ask again, or get off the phone with unresolved questions.

WHY DOES THIS OCCUR?  Often we are not prepared sufficiently ahead of time and rely on “stream of consciousness” talking during the call.  Or, we’re fond of talking and less enamored with listening.

WHAT IS THE FIX?  Absolute maximum number of questions in one string is two—and that is if they are “either/or” questions.  “Would you prefer to respond to the open issues on this call, or would you like to schedule another time to discuss?”

Otherwise: one question – wait for the answer, and then move to the next question.  If the question was worth asking—because you need the information—then it is worth waiting for the answer.  If you really don’t need the answer, then don’t ask it—that just causes frustration to the listener and is an “auditory space filler.”

2. It is difficult to hear and/or understand people on the call.

WHY?  Our mouths are not pointed toward the speaker, or we are distracted by something else and “mumbling”, or we’re really tired that day or time, and talking softly because we have low energy.

WHAT HAPPENS?  Nothing good!  Lots of frustration by the listeners who have to work just to hear, and likely miss content because of that.  Time wasted with “I can’t hear you”, and the need for repeating.  The worst that happens is making others on the call wonder why they are taking time to listen when the talkers do not appear to be engaged.

WHAT IS THE FIX?  When clients or customers are the offenders—we can only say several times “I can’t hear you”, and hope they take corrective action.  Internally, we can make sure that our mouths are pointed at the speaker on the phone for the whole call and we can demonstrate respect for others’ time and agendas by paying full attention with an appropriate energy level.

Since conference calls are the way of life and business for us, it’s certainly in our best interest to conduct and participate in these as well as we can!

Tips on Soliciting Without Fear

As a business owner, how often are you giving a ‘pitch’?

When you give a ‘pitch’, how is your confidence?

For many people who run a business, soliciting or giving their ‘sales pitch’, can be one of the most unnerving part of their day. It can feel intimidating asking people to do business with you.

What if they say no?

However, the fact remains, that in order to be successful in business, you need to get over the fear and make your solicitations with impact. So, what do you do?

Ilya Pozin, a contributor for Forbes, offers some tips to Keep Your Pitch Out of The Trash.

Most types of business that takes place, whether it is a sale or a partnership development, happens through solicitation. Although for many, hearing the word can make you shiver.

How did it become a bad word?

For the most part, if soliciting for business is done incorrectly, it can be a huge turn off. Unfortunately for most, this is the type of soliciting encountered, so when it becomes your turn, you freeze.

Tips on Soliciting Without Fear

 

Know who you are targeting.

Pozin, in his article, discusses the importance of knowing everything you can about your targets. The internet provides a wealth of information. Do your research to determine if they are a good fit for your business and to know important facts about them before you meet.

Build a relationship.

When you meet your prospect, whatever you do, don’t start your conversation with your pitch. Develop a relationship by asking questions and listening to what they say. If you are soliciting by email, ask them a question or get their opinion on something before you throw out your product.

Give a call to action.

After you have the attention of your prospect, give them a call to action or objective. Be concise and clear, but make sure they leave the conversation or email knowing what you wanted.

Answer the, “What’s in it for me” question.

Everyone is always searching for the, “What’s in it for me,” when they are listening to a pitch. Be sure to give the benefits instead of just saying how wonderful your business is-Answer the question.

Each email you send or cold call you make soliciting for business, will not always end in success. However, if you do it differently than the majority of the others, you will stand out in a crowd.

Keep in mind to give first, then ask to receive! It works.

I’d love to hear your successes or questions regarding your pitch. Comment below or visit us on Facebook, we’d love to hear from you.

Are You Doing What it Takes to Become Successful?

How successful are you at achieving your goals?

Do you ever find that sometimes you reach your goals with ease and other times it is a struggle?

There are numerous studies talking about whether you are predisposed to having unique abilities and lack the talent for others. However, people who are successful have learned that in order to reach your goals, it is more about what you do rather than who you are.

Heidi Grant Halvorson, an author and motivational psychologist, writes an article in the Harvard Business Review, discussing what successful people do differently.

Regardless if you are already successful or you are aiming to become successful, this list gives great advice on what you need to implement to become the success you envision.

You can read her full list of tips here: Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.

Reach your goals by implementing these steps:

 

1. Be specific. In order to reach your goals, you need to be as specific as possible on what exactly you want to achieve.

2. Take advantage of opportunities. Even though you are busy, find the moments in time to take advantage of making your goals happen.

3. Know where you are. At all times know where you are in achieving your goal and how far you need to go.

4. Be realistic. Remaining positive is essential for success, but also have an understanding of how difficult it is going to be.

5. Believe in yourself. Even if you don’t have the ability, make sure you understand that you can learn what you need to learn along the way.

6. Get some grit. If you don’t have it, you are going to need it. This is what helps you push through when times get tough.

7. Self control and will power are priorities. Each builds over time, so start small and watch as your strength improves.

8. Don’t push it. Know your limits and don’t try to achieve several difficult goals at one time.

9. Focus on what will get you results. Don’t think about what you can’t or won’t do. Change your thinking to what you can and will do for success.

Success is as much about mindset as it is about determination and focus. First know you can do it and then do what it takes to make it happen.

We at BBD would love to help you achieve your success or take your current success up a notch. Come like us on Facebook, where we share motivational tips, inspiration, and answer questions on leadership and success.

Leadership Tips from “The Boss”

Have you ever taken the time to notice that leadership tips surround you everywhere you turn?

Sometimes those tips can be found when you least expect them. However, when you take the time to notice them, your entire outlook can change.

I stumbled across this article written on Forbes about learning leadership tips from Bruce Springsteen.

What?! I’m a huge Springsteen fan, and how can I learn from him on the subject of leadership?

As I dug deeper into the article, I realized that he had lots to teach.

You can read the article in detail here: Five Leadership Tips from Bruce Springsteen, but in a nutshell here are the tips that the author, Allen St. John discovered:

  1. Give your audience the unexpected
  2. Make sure to also give them the expected
  3. Put trust and faith into your customers
  4. Always open yourself to opportunities
  5. Respect those that work along side of you

Even a star to the magnitude of Bruce Springsteen, always needs to plan carefully and execute flawlessly.

 

With his team’s experience, they find a balance between what the audience is expecting and what they feel the audience needs.

Sound familiar?

To be a successful leader, entails putting a plan together that involves a solid team. You need to understand your customer and meet their expectation, and even exceed them.

What would happen if you left your audience speechless? What would you need to execute flawlessly to make that happen?

What happens at a Springsteen concert is no accident. They don’t go on stage and hope for the best.

Through hard work, great leadership, and a intimate relationship with their fans, “The Boss” has ultimately taught each of us what the boss, really means.

Have you learned leadership tips when you least expected? We’d love to hear about them.

Comment below or visit us on Facebook and share you experience.

Starting a Task Earlier Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Starting a Task Earlier Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

The world is divided into two camps:

  1. People who consistently work ahead and don’t want to leave anything until the “last minute.”  When they get caught and are last minute on anything, they are fraught with self-recrimination, angst and guilt.
  2. People who consistently wait until the last minute to do almost everything.  This includes reports, replies, administrative tasks (time sheets, expenses), buying Christmas presents, and packing for a trip.

The two different camps have definite opinions about the “value” of the other camp’s approach—and neither opinion is very complimentary to the other side!

People who are in the last-minute category most often express it like this, “I’ve always done it that way,” or “I like to wait until the last minute, it drives me to get things done”, or “There are just too many things to do to get ahead of the game.” (That last expression is either an inability to prioritize, or a cover-up for one of the other expressions.) Sometimes it’s the “thrill of the hunt”, a business-oriented “adventure”. Can I make it in time again?

Waiting until the last minute is a personal choice, and certainly we all have the right to make these kinds of personal choices—unless they have a negative impact on other people. There’s the rub! Forcing other people to hurry up at the end because what they needed from you wasn’t available until the last minute is unprofessional, discourteous, and career-limiting. If you are in this camp, you may want to make a conscious choice. I will indulge my last-minute desires in my personal life, but I will use a different method in my professional life.

This is what happens over time to people who consistently wait until the last minute for everything:

  • Very often deadlines are totally missed because way too many personal and professional snarls jump up at the last minute. (People do wake up very sick on the day something is due!)
  • The resultant deliverable is not at the high quality that people are capable of producing…if they had allowed more time to get it done. They don’t show as good as they are.
  • They are tainted with the stigma of “you can’t count on ‘John Doe’, because the stuff may not arrive on time.” Promotion discussions always include opinions of dependability and ability to team properly.
  • When teams are being selected for a high impact assignment. If given a choice, those last-minute people are the last selected. And just maybe, it was an assignment that could be important to their careers!
  • They very often have to say, “I’m sorry.”

Starting a task earlier means never having to say you’re sorry!