Category Archives: Listening

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

 It costs more to acquire a new client than it does to retain existing ones. 

If you are doing what you do best – delivering your product or service with excellence – then your existing client relationships have a solid foundation. Telling your client how muych you appreciate them can help to strengthen that solid foundation.  I hear this talked about all the time but I don’t see it in action nearly as much.

Consider these when continually cultivating existing client relationships:

~ Say thank you ~
Letting your client know they are appreciated can go a long way (saying “thanks” on an invoice does not count). Saying thanks in person, a handwritten note or over the phone is more valuable than you might think.

~ Give a gift ~
A gift to your existing clients does not have to break the bank. You can keep it simple: a note pad, a coffee mug, a restaurant gift card, take them to lunch, etc.  Get creative.

~ Solicit feedback ~
You can learn much and strengthen relationships by asking your clients what you and your company can do better.  If you genuinely want to hear what they say and are willing to make changes, you can make a significant impact on your relationship.

~ Client appreciation event ~
If you have several important clients in the same geographic area you could produce an appreciation event.  If you do make sure you give each client specific attention at the event by you or someone on staff.  This personal touch will not go unnoticed.

There are many more ideas out there.  Hopefully these ideas can get the creative juices flowing to find one that would work for you and speak specifically to your customers.

Consult your marketing coach to get more ideas and help with execution.

If you have success stories and other ideas to share please chime in. I’d love to hear from you.

It’s all about relationships…

-KK

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What will you find?

Reflection… 

Now is a great time to reflect on all that we accomplished or missed the mark on in our business over the last year.  It is important for all businesses to take inventory.  This is more than just counting the number of widgets we have left – it should include taking an inventory of how well we served our clients/customers and how well we served our employees.

As a small business owner how well did you serve your employees? Did you empower them to do their job effectively? Do you they see your passion for the business? Do you all work well together as a team?

How about your client’s? Do they feel like they matter to your organization? Do they feel like you listen to what they need and then provide it?

If your answer to these questions is a resounding yes! then celebrate and do more of the same in 2011. If your answers are and it stings a little then perhaps the New Year should ring in some changes.

Food for thought…

-KK


Thursday Threads

V   Veracity – Be consistently truthful in what you say.
       People really are paying attention.

A   Adjust – Continually assess and adjust your approach to
       customer relationships.

L   Listen – Really listen to what your customers are telling
       you.  You may learn something.

U   Understand – Identify with your customer’s position. It
       will strengthen your relationship.

E   Effort – When you make the effort to be truthful, listen,
       understand and adjust you bring immeasurable value.


Chop and Grind

My husband and I have a blended family with four teenagers. When we married over 3 ½ years ago: our kids were teens and pre-teens. We went into it with eyes open knowing it would be challenging and did everything we could to prepare ahead of time.

We were not prepared.

Whoever came up with the phrase “blended family” obviously never had one.  To me blending conjures up images of a smooth fusion of two or more elements.  My blender is broken – sometimes it is stuck on chop and grind.

Sometimes small business owners have a blender that is also stuck on chop and grind. Blending “old school” marketing and the new social marketing world of today can be messy and many get it wrong. Having a well-planned social media strategy out of the starting gate can help that blender move past chop and grind into smooth fusion.

Here are some tips to help you blend more smoothly:

  1. Define who you are trying to reach (old school)
  2. Identify the social media platforms in which you wish to engage (new world)
  3. Research your audience on those platforms (old school and new world)
  4. Listen to (read) what they are saying (old school)
  5. Find your “voice” for the medium (old school and new world)
    1. Note: Do not just push your product or business – remember you must contribute value to the conversation)
  6. Learn from the mistakes you will make (old school and new world)
  7. Review and revise your strategy as you gain more knowledge and followers, fans, friends, connections, etc. (new world)
  8. Seek help in getting started if you need it (old school and new world)
    1. Find a social media coach to guide you

Still blending…

-KK


Thursday Threads

Blinding flashes of the obvious… 

  • It is difficult to deliver a good product for your client if everyone on your team is unhappy
  •  Poor communication will not make your team happy
  •  Communication is not effective if no one understands what you are talking about
  • Communication is not effective if you do not listen
  •  People like to be heard
  •  If you ignore your clients, they will move on
  •  If you ignore your family, they won’t be happy
  •  Everything in your life does not have to be about work
  •  Finding balance is a good thing
  •  If you are passionate about something (God, your family, your work, a cause, etc.) it becomes contagious
  •  Apathy can also be contagious
  •  Apathy can kill an organization
  •  Passion can bring an organization to life

Got Passion?

-KK


Listening or Spouting Solutions

Not every marketing coach or firm is a good fit for every client.  As a small business owner it is important to look for a marketing professional who has marketing experience.   More importantly, however, is to find a competent professional with whom you have “synergy”.  An overused word, yes, but an effective description nonetheless.

If you cannot get “on the same page” with your marketing team (internal or external) chances are you will not have an effective marketing strategy in the end.

A key element in the planning and execution of an effective marketing strategy or campaign is communication.  If your marketing coach cannot communicate well with you then how will they communicate well with your audience?

Ask yourself these questions to see if you and your marketing coach are on the same page:

  1. Is he or she asking questions about your business? (this is basic stuff)
  2. Is he or she asking what your passions are? Are you asked about what drives you to do what you do?
  3. Is he or she actually listening to your answers or just spouting off “solutions” before understanding the entire picture of your organization?
  4. Is he or she communicating with you during the process (during building of the strategy or during campaigns)?
  5. Add your questions here…

There are many more questions that can be added to the list. The point is that your campaigns can be wildly successful if you have a marketing coach who understands you and your company and keeps the lines of communication flowing in both directions.

Looking for synergy…

-KK


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