Category: Client Retention

Overcome Overwhelm

If you are a human being, and you are alive right now, chances are you have experienced overwhelm. Overwhelm is something we all deal with from time to time, and as business owners, we face it more often. We can all overcome overwhelm, we just need to recognise it.

Six signs that you are overwhelmed.

  • You’re not present. Your mind is everywhere, but here
  • You can’t concentrate.
  • You experience high levels of anxiety. Therefore your decision-making capabilities are limited.
  • You spend too much time in one area of your life and neglect the rest.
  • Your level of enjoyment has reduced almost to nothing.
  • You feel stressed.

Generally, overwhelm is caused by too much on our plate or too much information.

There are many reasons why we become overwhelmed; here are a few:

1. We have unrealistic expectations

2. We take on too much

3. We put too much pressure on ourselves and then talk down to ourselves

4. Perfectionism.

5. Wanting to control everything

6. Identifying yourself as an overachiever.

Ways to overcome overwhelm:

  1. Brain dump

When you feel overwhelmed, a lot is going on in your head. You don’t have mental space to think clearly because there is too much going on. It’s time to clear the clutter! Get everything onto paper or a computer. Putting pen to paper without judging the thought creates space in your mind. This process can behave a cathartic effect and will allow you to release emotions.

2. Prioritise

If you have a prioritisation method that works for you, use it. If you need some ideas prioritising, here are a few:

The 3 Ds: Delete, Delegate, and Delay.

1. Delete

Ask yourself:

  • Do I need to do this task?
  • Is this task necessary?

You may not know the answer to the questions immediately. Some trial and error may be necessary. Give it a go, see what works and what doesn’t. Before deciding to do a task, first determine if it is essential.

2. Delegate

Are you the one who has to complete the task, or can it be done by someone else? This may require that you put some trust in someone else, it may be difficult at first, but it will free up a lot of your time, so give it a chance.

3. Delay

Does this activity need to be done today? Can you postpone or delay the task?

The Tim Ferris Method

Tim Ferris uses 3 questions:

The questions are based on the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule.

1. What 20% of activities, responsibilities, or people will give me 80% of the results and positive emotional states I want?

Including the emotional state is essential; how you feel is just as important as what you deliver.

2. What are the 20% of responsibilities, activities or people creating the pain and negative emotional states?

Identify what is draining your energy.

3. What if this was easy?

This may lead you to get help from others, or you may find a more efficient way of completing the task.

Some more questions that will help you to prioritise are:

  • What is the most important to me?
  • What will make me happier and fulfilled?
  • What do I love doing?
  • What feels like the right thing?

3. Proactively plan your day/week.

4. Pause or Take a Break – remember that motion manages emotion

6. Address your stinking thinking

Ask yourself:

  • Is this accurate?
  • Is this reasonable?
  • Is this helpful?

7. Spend your time wisely

Parkinson’s law says that we will use the space with activity. So if you set aside 2 hours to do your marketing, it will take you 2 hours to do that marketing. The best way to manage Parkinson’s law is by blocking out time for the things you want to get done. This means you need to plan in advance. If you are unsure about that, go back to point 3.

8. Consume Less Information

We are bombarded by information all the time! Take a step back, think about what you need to know and only cover that. Consider switching off social media for a while…

Don’t blindly assume that experts advice is right for you. Many times in the past, I’ve followed specific guidance for business, personal development, or health and found that it was not suitable for me.

Consume enough information so that you can take action. When you take action, be aware of how this feels in your body. Does it feel like the right thing? Listen to your intuition.

9. Get for Help

Overwhelm can be overcome by getting some help. Alone we are limited in what we can achieve, but together we can change the world!

Alone we are limited in what we can achieve, but together we can achieve great things.

10. Set Boundaries – No is a Blessed word!

You can always make more money, but you cannot make more time. Spend it wisely. When we say yes to things we didn’t want to do, we become resentful of the task and the person we are doing it for. The more significant impact on the relationship is negative. Saying “no” may sting for a moment, but the relationship will last long after the blessed “no.”

When you can offer alternatives.

If you are struggling with overwhelm, and need to find the balance between life and business we’d like to connect with you. We help countless business owners just like you to overcome overwhelm and thrive both in business and in life!

We offer action plan sessions, during these sessions we will talk about your business and identify actions that you can take to implement and execute one strategy to grow your business in the area you believe will be most valuable thereby overcoming overwhelm. Now is the best time to prepare your business for what comes next, open economies and people who are ready to spend their stocked up cash with you.  Are you ready? Book your action plan session here.

PS: fempreneurs click here to join my private Facebook group.

Connect with me: LinkedIn; FacebookInstagram 

Harness the Power of WOM

Today we’re going to talk about how to harness the power of word of mouth. Including the six-step process to success and the 30 (that’s right, I said 30) ways to harness the power of WOM. So, let’s get started!

There are six steps to harnessing word of mouth:

  1. Understand your customers’ values and priorities, this will help you understand why they would buy your products.
  2. Understand the different adopter types: innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters, and laggards. 
  3. Identify which decision stages are needed for your product to be adopted. 
  4. Use the information from steps 2 & 3 to figure out which wording and word of mouth tactics are going to work using the Decision Maker Matrix (we’ll talk about this in a minute).
  5. Put together the resources for the highest word of mouth impact.
  6. Create and implement your word-of-mouth campaign.

The Decision Maker Matrix is based on years of trial and error by George Silverman. It essentially charts different concerns you may come across when working with different adopters and putting together a decision process for each one. 

We are now going to move on to the 30 ways to harass the power of WOM:

Use Experts

Experts can come in many forms and all their opinions should be taken into consideration when putting together a WOM campaign. Some experts to gather information from include:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Experts
  • Salespeople
  • Experts’ roundtables
  • Experts’ selling groups

Seminars, Workshops & Speeches

These venues are a perfect opportunity to gather information. People who attend these types of events are used to giving feedback, so you can use a survey or other method to gather the information you can look over later. Some events to use are:

  • Speakers program
  • Seminars
  • Group selling
  • Dinner meetings
  • Peer selling groups
  • Teleconferenced experts’ panels
  • Trade show events/opportunities

“Canned” Word of Mouth

The concept of “canned” word of mouth is using hard and online products to get feedback and offer information at the same time. Some ideas for these are:

  • Videotapes
  • Audiotapes
  • World Wide Web
  • CD’s

Referral Selling

As we’ve talked about before a referral program can help with a variety of things in building your business. By using some of the following tactics and opportunities you can find out exactly what you need to do to generate positive word of mouth. These tactics and opportunities are:

  • Testimonials
  • Networking
  • Referral Selling Program

“New” Media

The concept of “new” media is the use of up-and-coming media sources and opportunities to get the word out about your products and services and listen for feedback about them. Here are some of the “new” media options:

  • Hotlines
  • Faxback services
  • Web-based word of mouth, such as forums, e-mail, etc.
  • Call centers

Using Traditional Media for Word of Mouth

Using traditional media is a great way to get feedback. These are still considered mainstream ways of interacting with the public and consumers. Some traditional media outlets are:

  • Customer service 
  • PR
  • Placements
  • Events
  • Promotions
  • Word of mouth in ads, sales brochures, or direct mail
  • Salesperson programs, sales stars, or peer training, 
  • Word-of-mouth incentive programs (“Tell-a-friend” programs)
  • Customer gifts they can share with their friends (articles, how-to manuals) 

Internal Word of Mouth

  • Encourage employee word of mouth and sharing feedback with family, friends, and others
  • Offer rewards or commission for the word of mouth success

As you can see there are tons of ideas you can work with to increase your level of positive word of mouth marketing. If you need help with any of this, please try our GUIDED TOUR to access our exclusive resources that can help you put this whole thing together.

Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 3

Last time we talked about the second part of word of mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten the purchasing decision time of your customers which can increase your profits immensely.

Today we’re going to talk about the nine levels of word of mouth which gives you a tool to measure the word of mouth circulating around your company, products and services. You can then see where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth and find ways to correct it.

So, launching into the nine levels of word of mouth-it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative and the positive levels are positive. 

Minus 4

This is the worst of the worst and means your product is creating a scandal. Remember, when the popular over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, were deemed unsafe? Yea, you won’t want that kind of word of mouth.

Minus 3

Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you.

Minus 2

While, not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you they will give a negative response. 

Minus 1

At this level, people are mildly dissatisfied and while not outwardly talking about it, they will have an opinion if asked. Now they may purchase from you despite their negative feelings, this can be a little confusing. 

Level 0

This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products, but don’t really talk about it. People rarely ask them about it, so they aren’t sharing their opinion with others. This can be a bit of a slippery slope, because you don’t want to turn that neutral experience into a negative one. In fact, you should work to make it a positive one.

Plus 1

At this level we are finally starting to work our way into the positive word of mouth about you company, products and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, don’t really say anything about them.

Plus 2

When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products.

Plus 3

Customers will go out of their way to talk about your products, services, company and their shopping experience with you. This is most evident when you see how people recommend movies to their friends and family.

Plus 4

Your product is the toast of the town. There is an obvious buzz going around and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great products and services, but they are talking about their shopping experience, your customer service and how they perceive the company to help them in the future.

Some great examples of Plus 4 companies are:

  • Lexus
  • Harley Davidson
  • Saturn Cars
  • Netscape
  • Apple Computers
  • Celestial Teas

We’re going to leave this lesson for you to mull over and take a look at what kind of word of mouth you are generating. If you need help with this process, try our GUIDED TOUR to get help from our experienced business coaches.

Next time we’re going to talk about the 30 ways to harness the power of word of mouth.

Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 2

In the last post we started our series on word of mouth and talked about how to make your customers purchasing experience a short, easy one. We are going to continue with that theme a bit today. We’re going to talk about the power of word of mouth and how to mould it to your advantage.

The reality is everyone needs an advisor to guide them to make a decision. We rely on the expertise of others to make the right decisions as they are explained to us. When you take the time to understand exactly what and how word of mouth works, you’ll see all the great advantages it has to offer you. Remember this path when working to understand word of mouth:

  • Accelerate the decision making process for increased profits.
  • You can accelerate product making decisions by making the process easier.
  • Instead of low-ball advertising and the used car salesman approach, try delivering on your word of mouth promises.

Traditional advertising draws about one response for every thousand ads and most of those are to ask for more information before the customer even considers purchasing. When you get information from a friend, you are more likely to take their word for it and act. On average customers purchase two out of every five recommendations their friends make. That’s a HUGE difference.

So, what exactly is word of mouth? Well, we know how powerful it can be, but to define it: Word of mouth is a communication that happens between a customer and a potential customer. There is usually a relationship of some kind between these two people with an established level of trust. 

Now, compare this to advertising where you are providing a message to a potential customer where they have not established relationship with you or level of trust. Who are they more likely to take advice from? The answer is clear!
We talked above about the benefits of word of mouth now let’s take a look at some reasons why it works. Some of these are:

  • The information is custom tailored to the potential customer because of the friendly relationship of the referrer.
  • It’s more personal, relevant and believable.
  • It’s customer driven.
  • It’s self generating and can take on a life of its own, especially with the information age of the Internet.
  • It becomes part of the product’s description.
  • The source of word of mouth can be important and more effective when coming from an expert.
  • Word of mouth saves you time and money. 

To fully utilise word of mouth you need to understand:

  1. Where is your word of mouth coming from?
  2. What products are being affected by word of mouth?
  3. How is your word of mouth traveling?

Once you know these things you can work out a plan on how to trigger more word of mouth. This wraps up this lesson on word of mouth. If you need help understanding word of mouth and how it can impact your business, try our GUIDED TOUR to access our wealth of resources and tools.

Next time we’re going to dive into the nine levels of word of mouth. These levels help you understand which word of mouth is positive and which is not.

Book a session with one of our coaches to explore the ways we can help your business grow!

Word of mouth tactics – Part 1

Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson, we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.

Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, the experiences they have and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services positively, you’ll attract the right customers and client who will sustain your business for a long time.

Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems invariable to travel faster than good news and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know to not buy your products and services.

There are some stats to support this:

Word of mouth drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. Word of mouth marketing spend is expecting to grow by 70% for online WOMM and 30% for its offline counterpart. 43% of marketers using WOMM are estimating an increase in sales. Offline word of mouth increases sales by about 20%.

The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and all the other online mediums available and making it easier and easier for consumers to share their experiences. And, remember this is all free advertising for you.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/client choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle.

They are:

  1. Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase
  2. Increase your number of customers
  3. Increase the frequency of purchases

Let’s take a deeper look at decision speed.

Offer simplicity, ease and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends and make the decision to purchase faster. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.

The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees and product quality.

The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimise the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision making there is a certain amount of anxiety we all experience when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help to minimise this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.

There are a few secrets to accelerate the customers’ decision making progress:

  • Your benefits, features, claims and promises must be obvious, clear and concise.
  • The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible and balanced.
  • Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
  • Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
  • Make trial periods easy.
  • You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
  • Testimonials need to be relevant and positive. (Remember that your customers are looking for social proof)
  • Your support, delivery and other operational systems must be perfect.
  • Your website can be as good as you make it.
  • You can offer more than information, you can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision-making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.

This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they are experiencing in their purchasing experience that is making their decision time long, try our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our coaches to come up with the best way to smooth out your purchasing experience.

Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what exactly this powerful tool is and can be used for.

Are you in the 1%?

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over time. It is not a sprint; it is a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once or you will set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your team will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you will have improved more than 50%!

While, rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers and consistency is the key to how you deliver it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly, and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and take baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you have learned a lot about good customer service and how it is essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps, we have gone through try our GUIDED TOUR and get access to some of the best resources, tools, and coaches available.

In upcoming posts, we are going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.

Another secret revealed…

In the last post, we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is.

Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must understand who your customers are and they want. When you know who your customers are, you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working-class man in his 50’s.

There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when figuring out what your customers want:

Start with empathy:

  • Listen to Your Customers when they give unsolicited feedback
  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely for feedback
  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service
  • Know When to Ignore Them

These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their shopping experience.

When you start with empathy, you start looking at your customers as real people with real needs and desires.  This means that you will truly know what they need.

Listen to Your Customers

You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if your customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery.

Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They vote with their feet, when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response.

Ask Your Customers Sincerely

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should! Customers must feel heard, so remember that you need to let them know that you have heard them, and if you are making changes let them know.

Offer More than Just a Product/Service

Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong.

Know When to Ignore Them

You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality, you can’t be everything to everyone. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else.

These are the steps and tricks to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to work on your customer service vision and plan.

If you get stuck, try our GUIDED TOUR and let us help you through the process.

Shhh…I have a secret

Customer service is a hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for poor customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience buy more from your business over and over, they will stay longer, and, more importantly, they will tell everyone they know!

There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we are going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website, and other technology-based programs to help them shop.
  2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff must be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience. Keep in mind that customers are willing to pay double the price when they perceive four times the value.
  3. Change your mindset and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This should not be a question of expenses but making and keep happy customers.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you will put into place.

  1. Share your customer service vision with the rest of your team.
  2. Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  3. Monitor the level of customer service your team is delivering.
  4. Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  5. Continuously focus on your goals.

 

Now that you know what you want, you can start thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Today I’d like to talk about how to turn prospects into customers and retain them for future marketing to. While your marketing is doing its job, you need to be working on turning those prospects into customers. There are a few key ways to draw them in and seal the deal. You need to be:

  • Inviting
  • Informative
  • Enjoyable

The biggest fear of most new customers is the dread buyer’s remorse. You want to avoid this at all costs, and this should be mitigated if you’ve provided a quality product/service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.

However, this can still occur. There are two ways to deal with this:

  • Offer to refund money-no questions asked
  • Offer a bonus they can keep even if they return the product

 These offers alone will also mitigate buyer’s remorse because the customer will trust you more, just for offering these things.

There are many other ways to turn a prospect into a customer:

  1. Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.
  2. Offer a lower price with the reason of pushing inventory to pay a tax bill, for your kid’s’ braces, or another tangible reason. Customers love that this makes you feel so much more human.
  3. Offer a referral incentive.
  4. Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.
  5. Offer package deals.
  6. Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.
  7. Offer extra incentives-longer warranties, free bonuses if ordered by a set date.
  8. Offer financing options, if applicable.
  9. Offer a bonus if they pay in full.
  10. Offer special packaging or delivery.
  11. Offer “name your own price” incentives.
  12. Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.
  13. Offer a trade-up or upgrade to something they already have.
  14. Offer additional, educational information to help them make the decision.

The options really are as limitless as you make it. You can use these or other ideas to find what works the best for your business, products/service and target market. Remember this…

“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll loft your company above the competition.” Jay Abraham

Need help with figuring out the best strategy for converting prospects into customers? Our GUIDED TOUR gives you exclusive access to the mountain of resources and tools, along with information from some of the greatest marketing minds on Earth.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.