How to Create Client Advocates for Your Business

Nancy McCord
“Just Nancy” – My Point of View for Today.

Want to grow your business even more? What are you doing to cultivate your existing clientele?

I have found one of the best ways to grow my own business is by providing seriously on-point customer service, valuable and regular communication with clients, and by offering referral incentive programs.

When you have a really happy customer, who likes your approach and what you do, they become an advocate for you. Specifically that means in meeting with colleagues, they talk you up, encourage others to call you for services, and share, with pride, the things that you have done for them or how you have helped them.

Advocates for your business, make it easier for you to close a sale to a recommended party, do away with low price conversations, and really help to grow your business.

I thank all clients that refer a new customer to my business by sending a $50 Visa gift card. There is no limit to how many of these I will send to a client, but I do send these thank you’s typically only when the new customer’s monthly sale will be over $1,000.

I don’t post or tell clients about my special incentive program, but always follow-up with them about the success or lack thereof of any referrals they do send to me. It is funny, but they like to know how things turned out. When they get their gift from me, many have express surprise and even shock to receive anything for the referral.

I’ve found that growing your business starts by taking exceptional care of your existing customers and building long term relationships, but by showing appreciation too.

Find out more about how we do business by visiting our website today at www.McCordWeb.com.

 

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Why Pay When You Can Get Free!

Time is Money! When It Comes to Deleting Spam Comments
Time is Money! When It Comes to Deleting Spam Comments

Everyone likes a bargain! Sometimes however you’ll want to pay for an app or WordPress plugin that is really valuable, but why pay when you can get one that does the trick for free?

I deleted Askimet as my spam plugin in WordPress when they moved to pay to play and really tried to wring $5 a month out of their users after years of free service. I understand that everyone needs to make a buck, but in the world of WordPress what they offered was not unique.

I searched for spam filtering plugins. I found Cleantalk and tried it for the seven day free trial period. I liked the interface, but just did not feel that paying for it was worth it to me. Cleantalk bills $8 per year. Not a lot, but free is free.

Now I am trying out the free WordPress plugin Anti Spam Bee. This plugin appears free – well at least for now.

Before you buy of any plugin, make sure to try it out. I may be back with Cleantalk, but for now I am going free, free, free with the big yellow bee of Anti Spam Bee.

 

 

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Is It Okay to Allow Other to Pick Your Brain?

Expect the unexpected.
Expect the unexpected from a quality AdWords consultant when you call – a free helpful informational chat.

All paid consultants regardless of the industry deal with this issue – is it okay to let someone pick your brain and when do you try to move them into a paying customer category.

For me, I will share information freely with a potential client as I feel that helping people to make good decisions, whether they trade with me or not, is very important. Not only do I freely share information on the phone, but at events and parties I am happy to share my knowledge when asked and appropriate and if not boring to others sharing the conversation.

I have however had a few prospects really take advantage of me and so I have a few guidelines that I use for my own business that may be helpful to you.

When a prospect calls me, I will always chat for 15 minutes to an hour if I have time in my schedule. I do however start my clock to time every phone call. If I am pressured for time and have a production deadline, I will make an effort to end the call after 15 minutes, so I do not lose my production schedule for the day. Depending on the query, I may send additional information by email and possibly even schedule a free follow-up conversation so I can be thoughtful in responses.

When a prospect has called several times and I have spent typically one to two hours on the phone with them and they have not made a purchase, I will then ask to move them into the paying client category. I then move them to an hourly rate for additional conversation. I have found that those who really just want free information will not move further into the process, but then they will stop calling me as well.

I love to share information freely, but some days I have more time than others to simply chat. My policy has never been to immediately move a prospect into the paying customer arena as I feel that they simply must have time to get to know me before money and a contract are enacted. But I do keep a careful eye on how much time I am spending chatting and investing in a client to identify if I may or may not be a good match for a potential client.

Need some help right now? Pick up the phone and call me at 540-693-0385, I’d be glad to chat.

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Tips on Hiring Family Members for Your Business

Cutout paper chain family with the protection of cupped hands, concept for security and care
Just my thoughts for today on how best to hire family members to work in your business.

I run a family business and wanted to share with you some tips on hiring and employing family members.

First, not all family members are well suited to work in your business. I know this from experience. Before you hire a sister, brother, son or daughter, consider first if this is best for your family relationship. In some cases it may hurt the relationship and it may be better to just stay as family than to move to a family and employee relationship.

I personally found that I was able to have a better employer/employee relationship with my children than I was able to have with my sisters.

If you do decide to hire a family member make sure you do the following:

  1. Make sure you are not just hiring just for charity.
  2. Set clear standards of your expectations.
  3. Create a backup coverage plan.
  4. If they do not work out, let them go early.
  5. Pay generously.
  6. Make sure their hiring makes sense for your business.

Now some details on the list above.

On creating a backup plan, when you hire a family member, you will typically be more generous when problems come up then you would be with a typical employee. For example, I employee my college kids, I have a backup plan in place for exam week so I do not need them or expect them to work that week. If they miss work for me, I keep a backup library of writing things to use if they are busy at school and miss one of my deadlines. It takes the pressure off of them and me and the just take a hit in pay and I move on with my week. There’s no stress or anger on my part when they miss a deadline. For them, it is a choice – get paid or not.

On letting go early, if you feel that the employee/employer relationship is not working or is causing stress in your family, you have two choices. You can suck it up and consider the employment as charity and don’t let missed deadlines and inattention cause you stress. Or let the person go with the understanding that it simply did not work out, and you prefer and value a strong family relationship, rather than an employer/employee relationship. From my experience, the longer you let a situation get under your skin, if expectations are not met and you allow that family member to not meet expectations, the more difficult and problematic the separation will be when you are finally forced to let them go.

On paying generously, I have found that this is important as the family employee will talk with other family members. If it appears to them that you are making loads of money off their work and they are not paid generously, they will grouch behind your back and other family members may judge your actions without knowing or understanding. Pay more and better and you come out looking like a hero. Family harmony and your reputation in the family is worth the extra money you may pay to employ a family member.

I have found in some cases that employing a son or daughter can be a lifeline for them – to generate income they need and the opportunity to build marketable skills. For me, I am able to get quality help that I need as long as I keep a very strict separation between being a parent and employer.

I have had much more trouble employing my sisters. I think that some of this is due to relationship dynamics. Children will naturally be more able to submit to your plans than your own siblings who may interpret the new working relationship as a threat to their own power in family dynamics.

Just my thoughts for today. Feel free to share your own experience below by clicking comments.

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Get Independence Today from the Drudgery of Social Media

Composite photo of the statue of Liberty with a flag and fireworks in the background. Given a grunge overlay for a nice aged effect.  Nice patriotic image for Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Presidents Day.
Get independence from the drudgery of social media updates today!

Happy Independence Day!

Not only will you want to celebrate Independence Day and our country’ s revolution, but you may want to celebrate independence from the drudgery of doing social media updates with this app – Hootsuite.

I love Hootsuite and recommend it to you to simplify updating your social media sites. (I am not being paid for this recommendation, I am a paid user of the free and pro versions and simply an advocate.)

Here’s how you get independence from the drudgery of social media updates yourself.

The Free Version is Great
You can have a number of social media accounts in a free Hootsuite account. Here are some tips to connecting your networks to get going.

First, sign up for the free app use at https://hootsuite.com/plans/free

Second, log in first to all your social media accounts, then go back to Hootsuite and connect each one in by clicking to add social media accounts to your profile.

Third, click the + on the streams page to add the scheduled, your updates, and home page for each social media account. This allows you to easily monitor and update all social media accounts in one control panel.

Fourth, when you write an update, select the social media sites you want your update to appear and on what day and time. With one click you can post to all your sites or post and schedule for future dates and times your updated.

Fifth, create some draft updates and save them to cover you when you are busy and don’t have time to create an update. When you save an item as draft, you can only select one social network. To access drafts, update the writing panel, and click the button save to open the draft updates and then select the draft to use. You can then update the social networks to send your draft update to in the scheduling field.

If you want to have more than one user on the Hootsuite account, you will need to move to Pro. Hootsuite is vigorous in policing this policy. If you have logins from different locations, even when you travel, Hootsuite will send verification login codes to assure that two users are not using the personal account.

Today on the Fourth of July, isn’t it time you got some independence? Get the Hootsuite free version and start saving time, schedule social media in advance and smartly use prepared drafts to make social media connection fast and easy.

Need more help with social media? Check out our social media writing and management services today.

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Just Nancy – Why Reviews Matter

Hit the mark with your customers every time for great reviews.
Hit the mark with your customers every time for great reviews.

As a Google Local Guide, I review every place I visit and every place I eat. With over 300 reviews and photos uploaded to Google, I am just one of many who are helping Google index local businesses, build reviews and improve the accuracy of Google Maps.

Google does not pay me for these services, but I do receive special Google branded products and other perks for being a Google Local Guide.

Here’s what I’ve found out as I travel my local area.

  1. Reviews really do matter.
  2. People actually look at the photos I post for about a business.
  3. Negative reviews mean I probably won’t visit.
  4. I am constantly evaluating my store or restaurant experience.
  5. If I receive poor service, I will write about it.
  6. Even for lower end restaurants food presentation is important.
  7. People actually read what I post about a business.
  8. I do not tell business owners I am reviewing them.
  9. I myself select who I trade with based on online reviews.
  10. Reviews are more important than a nice website.

The bottom-line is that you are on display and being rated with every phone call, every visit, every plate that is served. You may have the best website, but if your visitors do not receive the royal treatment when they call or visit, you’ll set yourself up for a negative review. Get several and they can damage your business and sales!

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