IPN#6 –How do you say the two most important words?

31 07 2007

The more you can show your customers appreciate them the longer you’ll be in business. How do your say thank you to your customers? Do you do it in ways that will cause them to remember you the next time they need your product or service? Create unique ways of showing your customers gratitude and it will do one think for you  create unstoppable word of mouth refferrals. Give your customers positive reasons why they should be talking about you.

So often companies let the customer go after they have bought and they never show the customer they are extremely appreciative that the chose them on where to shop. A good example of this is a cellular company I worked with didn’t do anything but just say thank you to the customer. So I suggest the sales people send out thank cards (so easy but whens the last time you got one?) and we included a coupon for a free car charger or leather case(cost was next to nothing) customers returned with friends and family asking is to help them too. It gave the customer a reason to come back in the store. They also often purchased more accessories for their phone while they where there.

In what unique ways do you show your customers you really appreciate them?


Excellence in business by Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr

30 07 2007

Today I got to accomplish a dream I’ve been planning for 15 years. See in 1992 I was looking for baseball players to invest in their cards. When I looked at stats I only had an idea of what they had accomplished in the past. I asked the question “what factor of each player would minmize my busting out on the investment? Much like Jim Collins write about in “Good to Great” that underlying principle that makes those companies so consistantly great.  So looked at each player character who they really are, what drives them and what values are important to them? It saved me a ton of money I stopped investing in the short term and started in the long term. They had to have hall of fame potential with a strong character after that I looked at how good they where when they stepped on the field.

I narrowed down to Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. However the more I read about Tony the more I realize I wanted to emulate my skills in the business world(at that time just sales skills) on his ethic. He was by far the hardest working guy in baseball up to that point. Even though he was the best hitter since Ted Williams he never had the true talent to suvive at the big league level so he used video and lots of it EVERY DAY to try and perfect his stoke. Just imagine playing in a game everyday then going and watching 4-6 hours of video every night during the season. His individual stats where astounding let me just give you two that to me represents his ability. In a 20 year career he only stuck out 3times in the same game ONCE(remember you get between 4and 5 at bats) and the other his batting average went up substantially with two strikes against him (.458).

My question for you in business is are you getting better in tough time or not? Do you find new ways to get and retain customers, create new products, or make your existing ones more valuble to the customer? Alot of business owners make excuses and say “well the economy is tough right now” Maenwhile there are plenty of others in their industry that make a killing during the same time period. Remember this fact –It’s not about figuring out all the reasons why something can’t happen instead it is focusing on what you CAN do because this roadblock or challenge showed up on your doorstep. Those who create the best ways to do business when times are tough and by far the most successful when things are easy.
I did the same exact thing with my craft I learn one thing new about business every day and apply it to specific situations. Instead of video I like feedback about my presentation from other sales professionals. Or if there is a task I don’t want to do I think of if Cal and Tony’s perserverance  and consider how it would have been already accomplished. This forces me to jump right on it.

In my book EXCELLENCE in business is doing those things you don’t want to and realizing that those things are what will end up making you successful. So often I meet or hear of business owners that fight doing what they arent good at or interested in. The really sad part is depending on what it is it can cost them their business. By the same token I have see others that just say I know I don’t like but without it I won’t achieve my goals and they sit down and LEARN it. The latter group tends to be able to take full advantage of unseen opportunities faster because they know they can handle it. Think of it this way “a challenge is an opportunity that shows up in work clothes”

<>   Thank you Tony and Cal you showed me and 70,000 others the meaning of excellence in how you both lived and played the game. And as you both said to play it with passion, integrity of yourself and your peers, and only focus on the little steps that you take and let the big things TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.

The best way to get new customers to trust you FAST.

26 07 2007

Let previous customers tell the story to new customers through testimonials, video, or personal calls of how your product or service has helped them. This works all the time for two very simple and powerful reasons. New customers don’t trust you because as well intentioned as you are in helping them you are jaded by the fact that you benefit directly from the decision. On the other hand your previous customers understand where new customers are coming from. New customer know that old ones don’t benefit from the sales and they believe in the product BECAUSE THEY WANT TO NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE TOO. That last part is extremely important.

One company that has done this extremely well is Select Comfort creator or the Sleep Number bed(I know you’ve seen those infomercials). I was a sales professional before those TV spots and the number one way they attracted NEW customers was (i’m not kidding here) people that owned the bed literally dragging people (friends, family or whoever they where with) into the store so I could give them a demonstration. The bed sells itself but if customers weren’t dragging in their friends nobody would have tried the bed because they would have been terrified to try something new.

So what can you you do to create ways of getting customers to share their positive experiences about your product?

Don’t feel scared asking your previous customers are dying to help you to become more successful they will jump at the chance to help you out.

Instant Insight#1-The ONLY question that will make your business successful !!!

26 07 2007

What am RIGHT NOW I doing to add value in the life of my customer ?

The reason is simple if you are doing this one thing effectively EVERYTHING else will fall into place.

The ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING part is that next to nobody in business does, They instead are convinced that the customer is buying their product because of how great(in their minds) it is, how well its priced.. yada..yada. yada. They think to some level that the customer is dependent on them and they stop trying to be of value to those they serve.  Companies like this WILL go broke sooner or later. I hate to list bad guys but you’ll see my point better. Some examples are  Comcast(your dependent on their speed of the Internet) so they make their billing impossible to understand. They should talk to AOL about having to use them for the internet. Do you remember when dail up disappeared.

So if you do this one thing you will find customers  literally coming out of the woodwork. They will be dropping everything to do business with you.
The people that have done this exceptionally well are WAWA, Five Guys Burgers, J.K. Rowling and the king DISNEY. Every single one add value to life whether through coffee, Harry Potter, and the ability to dream again. There are several others but they have a product but the actual focus whether intentional or not is to add value to their customers lives.

All you need to do is focus all your attention to finding ways to add value in todays world ALL people need value more than ever and they need to feel important and valued. Do that and people won’t be able to STOP talking about you and your business.

The million dollar question!!! ANSWERED–What is on your customers mind?

26 07 2007

This is that question every business owner on the planet is ALWAYS asking. It is the key that unlocks every door in business. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? So that I can market to them, sell to them , give good customer service to them, get the to buy more and the list is just like the Energizer Bunny is just keeps going and going. It doesn’t need to be said this is the most important question in all of business if not all of life.

These are the answers you’ve been looking for. Now MOST IMPORTANTLY – To make a difference in your business there are a few even more important concepts that you need to understand and implement in order for the answers (there are quite a few as you’ll see) To really have any power. The answers essentially are useless unless you understand what caused the customer to come up with that idea, why the thought exists (it usually has NOTHING to do with you), and most of all what can I do to use any of these answers to make my business successful. Those insights are what I teach my clients to make them successful if you are interested in me helping you please email me at tom4change@gmail.com (sorry shameless plug). HERE it Goes!!!!

  • why should I pay attention to you ?
  • Why am I paying attention to you?
  • what you said I need or I understand
  • I would reeallly like it if somebody could do …..
  • Why should I trust you?
  • What makes you better than what i’m already using?
  • Are you listening to me?
  • Stop telling me your product is so great and show me?
  • How can you add value to my life?
  • What do I need you and your product for again?
  • Show me you appreciate me as your customer
  • Why should I listen to you instead of trying to find more of what was enjoying(music etc)?
  • Give me a great reason stop what I’m doing to pay attention to you
  • Please make a difference in my life
  • Give me something that will make my life simpler, easier, and save me money
  • Why would I choose you?
  • I can only get …….from you
  • I have never had….. before I started coming here

So that should get you started. Most of those are easy and simple and I am going to continually add to this list. I am also going to organize it to show you WHEN the customer is thinking each thought (ex during advertising, customer service , after purchase, before referring a friend–you get the ideas). Now some of the whens may absolutely surprise you cause you don’t realize the customer is thinking that thought when they do. And that alone can make a big shift in your business.

Standing out in a crowd

25 07 2007

You have competitors. As well i’m sure your realize you can’t bash your competitors because it makes you look weak to your customers. Which of course can lead to them not trusting you thereby not purchausing from you. In todays world you can’t say they are weak and we are strong(the internet destroyed that ploy) instead you have to show potential and current customers on how exact you can best meet their needs. Then you have to allow them to make the decision on their own. If like in court you have proven yourself to them beyond a shadow of a doubt they will choose you.

How do you do that?

There are several factors that customers judge when making these decisions. For this post I way to start at the beginning. Look at the first few interactions that your customer has with you.

Answer this simple question”What I am I doing differently so that my customer notices and listens to me?

I have noticed in several business that owners thinks that buy offering the best price or even worse the geatest service they are standing out in the customers mind. Nothing is further from the truth. The real truth is that EVERY body I mean E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y is offering those to things but nobody backs it up.

What I mean is the the best price is not a comparision to another price (thats the old days). Now it means what is the value that is included beyond the product or service. Let give you a simple example –You have two amusement parks say Six Flags and Disney your going to spent around $60 to go on rides at six flags but disney gives you an AMAZING experience for the same money. The value lies in the answer to this question –which one will you remember in 5 years? The money was the same the rides are relative the same however the memory of the experience thats why disney crushes everybody else.

The whole service issue is a joke if you have to say your give the best service you are probrably just paying lip service. Have you ever noticed those those companies that do provide great service NEVER say it themselves instead they allow they customer to say it. Look at Apple, Saturn, or Commerce Bank now their customers rave about the service that they provide.

So stop looking at your competitors, your products and your prices. Start looking at your customer and starting wondering what are they seeing in my company?

What can I do to stand out in the customers eyes?

Focus on the end value you are providing in their life. Tell them about the ways choosing you can enhance or impact their life.

Having mentors that expand your horizons

23 07 2007

“The best was to make yourself a success is to find people who have already accomplished what you dream of and find out how they did it.”

I have several mentors when it comes to business but I want to just share one every so often so maybe they can help you too(if they aren’t already). The first one is a show I absolutely love on CNBC called “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutsch. Its on late at night so I usually TIVO it. The idea is simple “how you can be successful at business extremely easily just find finding what your passionate about and doing it” The great part is that what he says is actually very true and he shows example after example of everyday people that created some incredible products and are making millions. Watch two shows and you’ll see that his ideas can be applied in EVERY business even yours. I personally have gotten a tremendous amout of insight from his show.