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.
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.
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:
Make sure you are not just hiring just for charity.
Set clear standards of your expectations.
Create a backup coverage plan.
If they do not work out, let them go early.
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.
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.
Reviews really do matter.
People actually look at the photos I post for about a business.
Negative reviews mean I probably won’t visit.
I am constantly evaluating my store or restaurant experience.
If I receive poor service, I will write about it.
Even for lower end restaurants food presentation is important.
People actually read what I post about a business.
I do not tell business owners I am reviewing them.
I myself select who I trade with based on online reviews.
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!
This month has been a month of changes for my team who also happens to be my family. In fact, my entire family works in my business now. My husband is our IT guy and proofreader and all four of our children work for the business in many different categories.
My assistant and my oldest son just graduated from college on Saturday with a semester grade point average of 3.8 and cumulative GPA of 3.017. That is excellent work for an older (mid 20 year old) student who was not successful in college the first year and then took a four year break. With a crushing schedule his senior year and intensive capstone project now completed, we are proud that he has achieved his goal and now ready for a career on his own.
As my administrative assistant and AdWords assistant, Chris will be phasing out his service with my firm and launching into his own new career. I am very excited for him!
My other three kids, triplets, have completed their first years at college with GPAs ranging from 3.8 to 3.1 for the year. They will be cycling in to take on more job responsibilities this summer gearing up to learn more and do more for my business.
My words of wisdom for young people and their adult mentors is that motivating, boosting, and pushing kids is key to their success. Help them to understand that a GPA determines their employability and that it is a real discriminator is important. They would like to believe otherwise.
Dig a deep hole, with a low GPA because they have not been serious about school, and it may take them three years to dig out. Get under a 3.0 and their resume may not even make it to the hiring manager’s desk when they start looking for a job after graduation.
My younger kids are already seeing that to get an internship, you’d better have a 3.2 to 3.8 GPA to even be considered.
The bottom-line is to not be a helicopter parent or mentor, but to demand accountability and encourage good and early study habits at college. Lay down the law if you are paying for college that bad grades really mean they won’t go back but need to take a break and work as a cashier or waiter for a few years to gain maturity. These may be some of the hardest decisions you as a parent may make, but will benefit your kids and better prepare them for future employment.
Congratulations to all college graduates and we are wishing you much success in your future endeavors.
I love Amazon, but I think my husband loves it more than I do as he shops more. We have been Amazon Prime Members for years and I have used a Kindle Fire since they were first launched.
We are an Amazon family and our kids each have Amazon Prime Student accounts and I just bought 4 Amazon Fire tablets for family members due to the fabulous Amazon experience and ease of use with integrated books, music, apps, and shopping. I guess you could say that our family is an Amazon advocate.
What is it that makes the Amazon Experience so great?
Ease of use.
Integration of desktop account management and integration with Kindle Fire.
Exceptional customer service that shine when there are problems; infrequent as they are – hey it’s life.
One stop shopping experience, due to my shopping habits, Amazon is typically the place I will start a purchase.
Free shipping with same day or two day shipping from the Amazon Prime Membership.
What can you learn from Amazon to improve the experience on your own website and earn advocates.
Free shipping will make you stand out from competitors.
Exceptional customer service that is easily reachable when a consumer has an issue. The ability to phone and talk to a real person is very important.
Ease of shopping experience across all devices is super important.
Have a wide selection of products that meet consumer needs at competitive prices.
Excellent results with every purchase – are you consistent in delivering?
Now it’s time to think about what you deliver when it comes to your own services in your own industry. Do you provide an experience and results that makes your own customers become your advocates?