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Once again, I’ve found the secret of being highly competitive.  SERVICE!

Missed Opportunity #1:  The Bank
My wife recently received a notice from her bank that, because she has had no activity in her account (it’s a CD and we let it roll over), unless she presents herself to the bank, her funds will be turned over to the state of CT as ‘unclaimed funds’.  Joyce wasn’t too happy at the way the bank was handling this.  Evenso, she went to the bank to let them know she was ‘still active’ and to not turn her CD over to the State of CT.

The Bankers from Hell
While my wife is waiting to talk with the branch manager, she’s sitting next to where the teller windows are located.  One customer approached a teller to make a withdrawal.  Another teller — not the one working with him — sees what he’s withdrawing and says (out loud!), “Wow — that’s a lot of money!  Are you going to buy a house or what?  Or maybe you’re going to the casinos?  If so, I’ll go with you with that kind of cash”.

My wife was appalled.  The man was clearly uncomfortable.  And not one staff person said anything to the offensive teller.

It Gets Worse!
When my wife got to speak with a manager about her ‘unclaimed asset’ account, the manager couldn’t get someone from the bank’s home office to take her call to explain how to process the form my wife received — and the manager was not familiar with it (great training!).

The manager apologized to my wife saying, “I don’t know why they’re not picking up”.  (Yeah?  Well, I think I do!)

The Most Egregious Sin of All
What’s so sad about this situation is that this bank is currently running a TV commercial showing how they go to great lengths to ‘service’ their customers.

In one commercial, a branch manager actually opens up her branch early because one of her valued customers forgot her passport in a safe deposit box and needed it to go on a trip.  That’s why ‘marketing’ and ‘operations’ need to align or the customer will suffer and then so will the revenue-stream they generate for this bank!

Long story short, this bank’s inability to know what their staff is doing that creates a negative experience for their customers, or train them to perform in a professional manner and have managers who will not tolerate it when they perform badly . . . has cost it our business.  In America, we ‘vote’ with our pocketbooks and wallets.

With unprofessional / unacceptable behavior tolerated from their staff and the commercials being run on television I think this bank needs to take a long, hard look at their operations rather than which media they can use to push a message that is out-0f-touch with the reality they deliver in-person.

KEY POINT:
What your business DOES speaks so loudly it matters not what you SAY in your marketing materials.  Your behavior communicates more powerfully than anything else to your customers.  Don’t ever forget that!

” __ __ __ __  Happens!!”
Yes, it does.  There’s even a bumper-sticker based on that truth! A colleague and I just lived through our own little ‘train wreck’.  We weren’t responsible for it.  But we were able to respond and recover from it.

In fact, there’s a good lesson here on how YOU can make the most of a difficult situation when the __ __ __ __  hits the fan!

Step 1:  Don’t Blame
It’s tempting.  But it won’t change the situation.  It usually makes it take longer to resolve.

Step 2: Take Ownership of The Recovery Process
A personal commitment to do ‘whatever’ it takes to correct the situation is vital.  It forces you to focus on the future (under your control) vs. the past (not under your control).  That’s positive.  And, productive.

Step 3:  Commit To Specific Individuals That You’ll Correct The Situation
Seek out the people who are most compromised by the situation and pledge your personal commitment to make them whole, again.  Write them a ‘check’ to fix it.  Then, ‘cash’ it.

Step 4:  Make a Plan of Action to Correct The Situation
Learn why the problem developed.  That helps you develop a set of actions that will correct the current situation . . . and prevent it from happening in the future.

Step 5:  Implement Your Plan
Once you know WHY the problem happened and WHAT you must to do to correct it . . . DO IT!  Nothing changes until your intentions become true actions.

KEY POINT:
Stuff happens.  After that, anything else that happens is really up to Y-O-U.

As I allowed in my earlier posts: “Reason #1-3”, despite the potential benefits that working with a marketing advisor offers you, you might not benefit from working with one for several reasons. Here’s Reason #4 . . .

Reason #4:  You Don’t Have a Business Worthy of Marketing
No kidding.  Sometimes we find a business that, quite honestly, isn’t being operated very effectively.  In short, the customers, clients or patients aren’t having a truly ‘positive’ experience with the business or practice.

This is not to say that people don’t need or want what you offer. They probably do. It’s just that they feel ‘less than ideal’ when they seek to get it from your firm.

In this case, any promotional activity will only put you on the ‘Superhighway of Marketing Hell’.  The negative ‘word-of-mouth’ that a ‘negative’ experience with your business can cause will never be as compelling as any kind of marketing promotion you might run.

You Need Solid Management MORE Than You Need Good Marketing
The real foundation of any successful business is not marketing.  It’s good management.  Management that understands what attracts — and keeps — someone coming back to your firm for more of what they came for in the first place.  So sometimes, an advisor needs to help you assess and tighten up the operation before they ever help you promote awareness of your business to prospective clients.

KEY POINT:
No marketing can overcome poor management!

As I allowed in my earlier posts: “Reason #1-2”, despite the potential benefits that working with a marketing advisor offers you, you might not benefit from working with one for several reasons. Here’s Reason #3 . . .

Reason #3:  You Don’t Understand What a Marketing Advisor Does
This is problematic for two reasons.  First, if you don’t know what an advisor is supposed to do, how can you judge if you’re getting what you should be?  Second, if you believe you know what a marketing advisor is supposed to do, you’ll probably tell him (or, her) what you expect them to do. Sadly, that’s like using a gun butt for a hammer.  Technically you can do it but it’s not the best way to use the weapon.

A Marketing Advisor . . . ADVISES!
An advisor helps you formulate a marketing strategy and identifies factors that may limit your ability to generate interest in what you do and put revenues in your bank if you don’t.  An advisor is not going to design / update your website, copywrite your direct mail letters, manage your email autoresponders, print your tri-fold brochures, build a tradeshow booth, etc..  An advisor will, however, make darned sure you know which, why (and, how!) any of these actions is going to increase your revenues — or waste your money.

Think of it this way.  A Marketing Advisor helps you know WHAT you must do, WHY, HOW and may even arrange WHO and WHERE you can go to get these things done.  But an advisor will not do these things for you.

KEY POINT:
Understand what a marketing advisor really does . . . and choose yours accordingly! 

As I allowed in my earlier post: “Reason #1”, despite the potential benefits that working with a marketing advisor offers you, you might not benefit from working with one for several reasons. Here’s Reason #2 . . .

Reason #2:  You’re Not Ready, Willing or Able To Invest in One
You know the expression, “It takes money to make money”?  Obviously there are other factors.  But investing in your business is a key factor in making your business successful. You may invest money in your office, a website, a flight to attend a conference, taking prospects to lunch, etc..

All Expenses Are Not Investments
While the IRS may allow most expenses you incur as ‘business-related’ for deduction purposes, MOST . . . are not investments.  The difference?  An investment is money you spend that is likely to generate a ‘return’ not only of but on that money.  An expense may be necessary but lacks the potential ROI to be considered a business ‘investment’.

A Marketing Consultant is an Investment
Good marketing consultants ‘earn their keep’ by helping you generate revenues and profits many times over whatever you pay them.  If they don’t, FIRE THEM.  In fact, if they won’t offer you a GUARANTEE of some kind, RUN LIKE HELL!

KEY POINT:
Marketing Consultants are supposed to make you money . . . if you don’t understand or believe that about someone, find someone you can! 

I’m not being negative.  I’m being real.  With you.  Unfortunately, despite the potential benefit that working with a marketing advisor like SellMore Marketing — a certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant since 2005 — offers you, you might not benefit from working with us.

Reason #1:  You’re Not Ready, Willing or Able To Change
If you’re thinking about your marketing and/or hiring someone to help you do it better, you’re not happy with your marketing results. That’s a given.

Unfortunately, if you’re UN-willing to change the way you’ve been doing your marketing, you aren’t going to get any better results.

This a case where what you SAY you want and what you DO to get it . . . need to be aligned –– or you’ll continue to get what you’ve been getting . . . and I bet ‘Frustrated’ is at the top of your list.  Am I right?

Find Your Big, Compelling Reason to Change
If you want to change anything – your weight, your business, your relationship, etc. –  you need a compelling reason to do so.  Years ago, I said to a cigarette smoking friend, “You have no will power”.  He immediately taught me a great lesson when he said, “My will power is strong.  The problem is my will to smoke is stronger than my will to stop”.

So it’s a dynamic balance.  You want to change your marketing to enjoy better revenues and more profits.  But you also want to avoid making changes in your attitude and behavior.  One of your desires is going to win.  Which one actually does reflects what’s more important to you . . . status quo or real change . . . and only one can win . . . in any given moment.

Change Your Attitude . . . To Change Your Behavior
Marketing success reflects effective marketing behavior.  If your current behavior isn’t working as you want, you must make changes.  But changing behavior isn’t easy . . . until you find a more compelling reason to change than you have now that argues you should not.

KEY POINT:
Change your ATTITUDE . . . your RISK / REWARD ratio . . . or no advisor will make a difference in your marketing

From time to time, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at how incredibly indolent some people in business are.

So I’ve decided to create the “What Were You Thinking” award to recognize these people who inspire me with their ‘Bad Behavior’.

Today’s winner (LOSER!) is a contractor who worked on our home about two years ago.  Did good work, too.  Not long ago, a neighbor stopped by and asked, “Who did the work on your home?  We need to do the same thing at our house and wanted to know if you’d recommend your contractor.”

We were happy to oblige and gave our neighbor our contractor’s phone number.  Today, our neighbor stopped over.  “We wanted to let you know the guy you recommended . . . nice guy, but . . . he didn’t get back to us so . . . we’re going with a different company”.

That’s so wrong!  First, this contractor isn’t doing THAT good that he can afford to lose a piece of business that was put on the tee for him by us.  Second, at some level, it reflects badly on us.  And if asked, we’re not going to refer much less recommend this contractor to anyone else.  EVER!

KEY POINT:
Not Following-up with a Referral  . . . BURNS YOUR BRIDGES / SOURCES — Don’t Do It!