Posts

Thriving in a Difficult Economy?
In case you missed it, the last 3 years have been tough.  The stock market crash in ’08 and the weak economy since then have made staying in business a challenge.  So how then does a business actually thrive in such times?  Is there a secret?

Reston Limousine Figured It Out
In 2008 Reston Limo and Travel, a Virginia limo company, was seeking a way to remain viable and (hopefully) profitable.  Like many firms, Reston Limo and Travel needed more sales.  That’s when Kristina Bouweiri, the CEO decided to implement a novel idea. She started taking her best customers to lunch.

Client Appreciation Event — “Let’s Do Lunch!”
Kristina selected 250 clients whose past business suggested significant and profitable future opportunities.  These clients were then invited to a client appreciation luncheon to thank them for their past business.  To create urgency, only 50 people would be accommodated.  All seats were taken quickly.

Alliances Were Key
Once the luncheon was set, Kristina solicited other firms to help share the cost — in exchange for being a sponsor and gaining prestigious access to these top decision-makers.  Eventually, these sponsors promoted one another to their respective clientele — thus leveraging the  relationship capital inherent in the sponsors clientele.

Lessons Learned
One discovery was that ‘price’ was not a significant factor in determining which company would be hired.  However, ‘reliability‘, was.

Kristina also learned that different people in the same company hired a limo company independently of one another.  That prompted Kristina to find and support a ‘champion’ in each client company who would help raise awareness of and preference for her company within that client firm.

Valuable bonding with clients, marketing insights and aligned actions resulted from these luncheons.  So much so that they’ve become a monthly event for the last 2 years.  Why?  It’s WORKING!! . . .  to build relationships, revenues and profits for Reston Limousine and Travel.

KEY POINT:
A challenging economy demands a creative response . . . the more you involve your clients AND strategic alliances in your marketing, the better off you’ll be

Seriously, do you like to hear a client complain about their experience with you or your business?  I doubt it.  But it does happen.  How you respond to these ‘bumps’ in your client relationship road may help you turn them into marketing gold.

Here are some points to keep in mind to make the most of these ‘moments-of-truth’ that may have gone bad:

Welcome Negative Comments
The expression, “Don’t shoot the messenger” is very true here.  Your client is giving you a GIFT . . . of insight that you may not have known and might never learn . . . except from the symptomatic loss of clients and revenues that a problem may suggest.  Don’t turn off this excellent source of insight that, used properly, can help you build a better business experience and increased client loyalty to your firm and brand.

Respond Quickly and Effectively
Another expression.  “Actions speak louder than words”.  What you DO to recover from a compromising experience speaks volumes more about whether you care about your clients than any boilerplate copy in your marketing collateral.  Use these difficult but important ‘messages’ to show you care and DO whatever is necessary to demonstrate that to your clients and all ‘fans’ of your brand.

A Little ‘BAD’ Generates a Lot of ‘GOOD’
If all you hear are good things about anyone or anything, you’re probably going to discredit the comments and the legitimacy of the firm.  But if you have some not-so-perfect comments made along with positive ones, your credibility factor will rise like the temperature on a July day!  Just make sure any negative information is a small percentage of the total and show that you used the comments to respond effectively.  That . . . is a winning strategy.

KEY POINT:
Negative comments are blessings in disguise — Welcome them and Respond to them  

Hawks . . .  Attacks . . . and Lead Conversion
I live in the country.  Deer, fox and other critters are frequent visitors on our property.  We also have a family of red-tailed hawks who patrol regularly — mostly in search of a quick meal due to our abundant supply of field mice.  The hawks are amazing.  Graceful.  Powerful.  Skilled aviators.  Deadly hunters.  I first see them flying in slow circles over our property.  Suddenly they swoop down to catch a hapless mouse and be off again before you know anything happened.

Hawks Not (Always!) Needed
Recently, my wife and I were seeking to buy some new furniture.  We visited a couple of stores.  But we didn’t buy.  The salespeople would ‘hover’ over us — like hawks seeking a snack — and it didn’t go over well with my wife.  She was a ‘looker’, not a ‘cooker’ . . . i.e. someone who was ready to buy.

In the end, we did find a furniture store that had a ‘no hawks’ policy.  We dropped a lot of money within 10 minutes of arriving there.  Why?  They didn’t hover and they didn’t go for the kill.  They sized us up and acted . . . appropriately.

Don’t Treat Prospects Alike
In marketing — and selling — it’s important to learn what someone wants from you and how they want it.  You can’t treat all prospects alike because, well . . . they’re not all alike!  Some are ready to buy today.  Some are not.  You must discern which is which and act accordingly.

KEY POINT:
Don’t treat all prospects alike — treat them appropriately  

Social Media is the topic of a business meeting we’re hosting tonight.  So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned are some keys to using social media to build profitable relationships.

Actually, there are six of them . . .

  • Intention . . . means to have goals for doing ‘social media’ in the first place
  • Content . . . is ‘king’ in the digital world; the bait that attracts attention for you
  • Curation . . . is the ‘distillation’ of data into interesting and useful information
  • Conversation . . . means to engage with your visitors, fans and others who ‘like’ you
  • Conversion . . . not always a transaction, but a degree of deeper connection with you
  • Community . . . a following of people who ‘know, like and trust’ you . . . PRICELESS

In the coming days, we’ll take a closer look at each point.  Why?  To help you use social media to build profitable relationships for your business or practice.

KEY POINT:
Social media is a KEY media you want to use in your marketing