All posts tagged communication

Impress For Success

Impress For Success

Remember that old shampoo commercial reminding us, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”?  As any direct seller knows, a first impression is crucial for attracting and retaining new customers.  In order to impress for success, focus on two components: your relationships with your customers and your own personal business style.

Relationships – The beauty of your business is the personal relationship you build with others. Here are some tips for nurturing it:

  • Tailor your services to fit your customer’s individual needs.  For example, that new mom with an infant at home? She would welcome free delivery!
  • Reach out to your customers regularly, not just to promote your product, but also for constructive feedback.  Even the most successful business owners have room for improvement!
  • Make it easy, fast, and convenient for customers to contact you for any reason.  Time is a precious thing, and you will certainly impress by making your business dealings simple and friendly.
  • Put yourself in the customer’s role.  Why would YOU buy from YOU?
  • Get to know your customers.  Treat them like friends instead of one of many potential purchases.
  • Follow up after a transaction is made.  Are they satisfied?  If not, how can you make it right?
  • Conduct business with integrity.  If something goes wrong, admit your mistake and correct it immediately.  Customers will appreciate your commitment to their satisfaction and keep coming back.

Personal style – Get to know your own personal strengths and incorporate them into your business.

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative.  Find your inner MacGyver; solve problems and market yourself in outside-the-box ways. After all, there’s only one you!
  • Plan ahead.  Set specific goals for how you can include new ideas into your daily business.
  • Dress to impress. When conducting business in person, you should always look the part.  By doing so, you will exude a confidence that appeals to others.  Go ahead and take pride in your appearance.
  • Smile!  It seems simple, but a positive impression starts with the expression on your face.  So brighten someone’s day with a warm smile that says you are happy to be interacting with them and you love what you do.

You started this business because you believe in your product or service.  When you show customers that you genuinely care, you leave them with a remarkable impression and put yourself on the path to success.

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

How to Handle Difficult Situations

How to Handle Difficult Situations

Once in a while, out of the blue, you’re surprised with an uncomfortable, unsettling and difficult situation. You may respond emotionally, and later stew over the aftermath. When in business, this can have a negative impact on what your customers say about you, as word of mouth tends to spread.

It would be great if you could press a do-over button, but even better than a do-over is not reacting in a way you’ll regret later. Here are some steps to help you handle difficult situations better.

  1. Acknowledge your emotions, stay calm, think and assess the situation.
  2. Gain perspective – give your difficulty a number on a scale of 1 to 10.
  3. Stay positive – think or write down some possible solutions.
  4. If necessary, find a place that gives you reassurance and peace – it may be a park or house of worship.
  5. Look for support from family, friends, co-workers and other professionals. Ask them what they think about the situation from an outsider’s point of view.
  6. Seek joy and laughter – play your favorite music, watch funny movies and surround yourself with positive people.
  7. Create and follow through on a simple plan:
    • State a goal – for example, I will stay calm.
    • Turn your goal statement into a mantra and keep saying it.
    • Develop a list of strategies to reach your goal – for example, put on a set of headphone for music, avoid tense situations, start counting backward from 100 in your head, and any other strategy that is appropriate for the situation.
    • You may need to write a plan to handle larger problems – For example, let’s say you have a customer that was unhappy with your business, and is telling people not to purchase from you. Develop a list of strategies such as calling the customer directly to assist with the problem, providing a refund and a gift certificate to apologize, posting in response to public social media posts from the customer asking her to contact you directly so you can help, etc. Think of things that will show that you are responsive and that you care, while understanding that you may not be able to resolve the customer’s issue or change her opinion. You are also managing what the people observing the situation think.
    • Check off your list of strategies as you slowly resolve your difficulties to help you stay positive and on track.
  8. After resolving the situation you may want to explore how it was handled, how you can improve the way it was handled, and review valuable lessons you’ve learned.

In business and in life there will always be difficult situations. Some will be small, and some may be devastating. The key is to always try to stay positive, think, assess the situation and trust that you’ll come up with the best solution at the moment. The more you learn from difficult situations the better you’ll be at resolving them and achieving a happier life, as well as a more successful business.

Tips for Keeping Your Clients Coming Back

Tips for Keeping Your Clients Coming Back

We all know it’s better and more cost effective to have a steady stream of returning customers than always being focused on finding new customers. So, how do we keep our customers coming back once the first sale is made? Think of the first transaction as the first date in a series of dates, which ultimately leads to a long and wonderful relationship. The way to keep customers coming back is to develop and nurture a relationship with them.

Here are some ideas to keep your new customer coming back, in order to establish a lasting relationship:

  1. Promote your strengths, best products/services and greatest value compared to competitors.
  2. Offer incentives/discounts for return customers.
  3. Develop a customer-based community online: create a Facebook page where customers can share ideas and communicate with others of like mind.
  4. Once you have a Facebook page, provide valuable and interesting information that can help your customers.
  5. Create trust: let your customers know that if they don’t like something you’ll fix it.
  6. Contribute to a cause in a way that involves your customers. For example, if you sell books, offer to collect old books to give to charity like your local library or women’s shelter, and in return your customer gets 15% off on their next purchase.
  7. Establish a loyal customer rewards program and make it feel like it’s personalized to each individual.
  8. Make the sales process easier, faster and better than your competitors.
  9. Establish a follow up process to check on your customer’s satisfaction and needs regularly.
  10. Offer free personal delivery service or shipping.
  11. Establish an online relationship with your customers and provide real-time customer service.
  12. Provide an easy and comfortable way for customers to provide feedback, and promote changes and improvements you’ve made based on the suggestions of your customers.
  13. Once in a while, surprise your best customers with a special gift and share what you’ve done with the world.
  14. Highlight loyal customers and promote their importance for the world to see (create positive buzz).
  15. Create a fun, interactive contest as part of your marketing.
  16. Provide memorable and excellent customer service and value consistently.
  17. Focus on making the customer feel special, respected, highly valued and like they are a dear friend.

The key is to focus your efforts on developing a relationship with your customers, offering excellence, value and unique service that only you can provide.

How do you keep your customers coming back? We love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Find Customers

How to Find Customers

There are two major components to a thriving business: Happy and loyal customers that come back, as well as a steady stream of new customers.

The first is a matter of consistently providing excellent service that people appreciate and talk about.

The second one may seem a bit more challenging. So how do you find new customers?

Go to where the people are. You should not rely on your salesmanship, but instead focus on increasing the quantity of people that you engage with on a regular basis. People are around you all the time, and within that group are your customers. Your goal is to find them, talk to them, befriend them and nurture them so that they become the first group: happy and loyal customers.

First, let’s begin with where to find new customers:

  1. Join an association/club/organization
  2. Take a community-sponsored class or course
  3. Present a workshop or be a speaker
  4. Get a hobby and join others with the same interests
  5. Get involved with a charity or cause
  6. Go to a networking event
  7. Go onto social media networks, engage and find old/new friends
  8. Go to family parties, reunions, and social events
  9. Promote and sponsor a community activity/event of your own
  10. Start a book, breakfast, coffee, coupon, or arts & crafts club
  11. Network with other businesses and business people in your community
  12. Become a connector/referrer for others, and become a go-to person
  13. Start a referral rewards program with existing clients
  14. Use local advertising and marketing

Second, once you find them here’s what you need to do:

  1. Be curious and learn to enjoy meeting people
  2. Ask questions and improve your listening skills
  3. Be positive and inviting
  4. Be professional and authentic
  5. Don’t be a salesman, but be friendly and social
  6. Become a “let’s have coffee” person and meet face to face with people
  7. Be a social and party person
  8. Have all the possible ways to contact you on your business card
  9. Start using and writing notes on your business card to hand to people you meet
  10. Make yourself memorable, but not over the top. Make your first impression a lasting one
  11. Convey passion in what you do

It’s all about the numbers. Seek quantity. Quality customers will only come if meet enough people. Start with a new goal of meeting new people and engaging them every day.

Let us know how these tips help you increase new customers. What tips can you share for finding new customers for your business? Would love to read your ideas in the comments below!

Tips for Improving Your Communication Skills

Tips for Improving Your Communication Skills

“How’s the weather?”

“Hey, how are you doing?”

Is this how you start a conversation? But then it suddenly ends and it feels a bit uncomfortable. In a split second, your conversation start and ends without any genuine communication. Having great communication skills helps you network, expand your influence and create lasting relationships.

Here are some tips to help you improve your communication, so that each interaction becomes a meaningful exchange that may lead to a future business relationship.

  1. Be relaxed and in a positive mindset. Someone who is relaxed and positive will draw people in.
  2. Smile and say hello. A great smile and hello is warm and inviting.
  3. How are you doing? Reflect a simple and caring greeting.
  4. Be an active listener. This will help you feed the conversation and keep your mind from wandering.
  5. Keep eye contact. This will help you focus on the person and maintain active listening.
  6. Speak naturally, simply and be yourself. People connect better with someone who comes across very comfortable and easy to understand.
  7. Ask another question (How, When, Where, What, Why).
  8. Continue active listening.
  9. If you find a topic that you’re both interested in continue the theme.
  10. End the conversation. Consider making plans to get together soon, or give them your business card with a quick note on the back (like it was nice catching up), and/or offer to connect on a social media network.
  11. Practicing your communication skills is the best way to get better. Think of a conversation like dancing with a partner. The more you do it the more fluid you become.
  12. Put yourself in more social situations to practice your communication skills.
  13. You can also record yourself and start with a basic communication script to improve quickly.

Why are great communication skills so important? For businesses having great communication skills helps build relationships. For the average person it’s about feeling accepted, bonding with others and creating joyful experiences. Successful businesses use communication to weave both concepts in order to maximize growth and loyalty.

What tips would you give to a business owner looking to improve his/her communication skills?