Are You On The Right Path?

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.

Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take:

  • Snail Speed
  • Shooting Star
  • Catch the Big FishSnail Speed

    Most business owners ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change.

    Shooting Star

    This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not taking the time to find large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.

    Catch the Big Fish

    This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:

    1. Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
    2. Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
    3. Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
    4. Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to just find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think.

Think of all the benefits of aiming at bigger clients:

• Inexpensive
• Highly Profitable • Longevity
• Security

In order to catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!

Once you take a look at how big companies operate, it’s important to know which ones are the best fit with your company. One of the best ways to get in the door is by knowing someone on the inside who can put in a good word for you.

If you’re not sure where to start and feel a little intimidated about catching big fish, try our FREE test drive to get help from our amazing business coaches.

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 a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at one or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll 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 baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot out good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons try our FREE test drive and get access to some of the best resources, tools and coaches available.

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

Deliver + 1

In the last post we talked about how to figure out what your customers want out of a positive shopping experience. Today we’ll talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. I’ve decided to split up this post so the next one will cover the 1% Rule.

Consistency is the key to any great customer service experience. If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience.

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Avoid offering too many customer service options.

We sometimes get so caught up in giving customers what they want we get away from our original vision. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition.

You need to fine tune the current systems you are using before you can add anything to the mix. There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system.

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consistent of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

Good training is the key.

Once you have your system in place you need to train people to use it properly and efficiently. This helps your people deliver the results your customers are looking for. While, train is essential for the system to work and for all your people to work together cohesively, appreciation will go a long way.

I hope this has given you a look into what you need to do in order to have a quality customer service system in place. If you need help, try our FREE test drive and gain access to a wealth of resources, tools and coaching.

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 know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and 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:

  •   Listen to Your Customers
  •   Ask Your Customers Sincerely
  •   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.

    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 you 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 feel unwanted and 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!

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 give them everything and someone people you will never make happy. 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 FREE test drive and let us help you through the process.

Mortar Makes it Happen

Today I’d like to talk about the three keys to business development and how you can put the right bricks in place to build a solid foundation.

There are three main areas of business development:

 Innovation
 Quantification

 Orchestration

If done well these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for you business. Let’s talk about each one of these for just a minute.

Innovation

Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action. This is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.

Quantification

This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response. Look to positive responses for what you are doing right‐and keep doing it. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong‐and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them the stand out ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

We can help you work through these three areas to put together your franchise prototype during your FREE test drive.

In the next few lessons we are going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  •   Primary Aim
  •   Strategic Objectives
  •   Organizational Strategy
  •   Management Strategy
  •   People Strategy
  •   Marketing Strategy
  •   Systems StrategyThese 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success.

You Turn Me Right ‘Round Baby, Right ‘Round

 

The biggest area of turn‐key businesses is franchises. There is franchise for ever industry in the world and they are fairly easy to acquire and come with practically a pop out of the box pre‐assembled system. McDonald’s is a prime example. In fact, a $40 billion, 28,707 strong example.

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  •  Business Format Franchise
  •  The Franchise Prototype
  •  Franchise Prototype StandardsBusiness Format FranchiseThe business format franchise came from an earlier model call the “trade name” franchise. The big change was in the rights. During the “trade name” days the franchise owner only had marketing right’s, now franchise owners have owning rights to the entire business including systems. This has allowed for a shift in focus to go from the quality and name recognition of the products carrying the business to sales techniques that carry the business.

    The Franchise Prototype

    It was really the franchise prototypes that allowed for the changes to be made that help today’s franchises really shine with the techniques developed by the owners instead of the corporation. This can make a significant difference in the success of the franchise as the owner can custom tailor their marketing and promotions to the direct needs of their local target customers.

    Franchise Prototype Standards

    Now, the above being said, no one in their right mind would purchase a franchise if the parent company didn’t have a solid plan of action set up to ensure the prospective success of the business. So, there are a few standards that are put into place that helps jump start the process of opening a successful franchise.

    Build model of prospective customers/clients, suppliers, creditors and employees who will consistently offer high quality work.

  1. Build a user‐friendly model that can be used by individuals of any skill set.
  2. Build a defect‐free model.
  3. Build a model with Operations Manuals.
  4. Build a model that will provide guaranteed, consistent results.
  5. Build a model that encompasses the same branding in color, dress and facilities codes.

These are all ways the parent corporation makes sure their brand stays the same and in the front of the minds of customers. When you are purchasing a widely‐known brand you will attract customers just for being you.

If you are considering purchasing a franchise, talk with one of our experienced business coaches during our FREE test drive.

Expand the Life of Your Business

Today I’m going to talk about the life cycle of a business and how to get the most out of each cycle while also extended the lifespan of your business.

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  •   Infancy
  •   Adolescence
  •   Growing Pains
  •   MaturityWe’ll talk a little about what each of these cycle’s means and how they can each help expand your business’ lifespan.

    Infancy

    This is generally consider the technician’s phase, which is the owner. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is that of a parent and new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.

    The key is to know your business must grow in order to flourish. You cannot stage in this stage forever.

    Adolescence

    In this stage you need to start bringing your support staff together to delegate to and allow growth to happen. The first line of defense is your technical person as they need to bring a certain level of technical experience. This cycle really belongs to the manager though. The plan stage needs to start and a relationship should be built with the entrepreneur to plan for the future.

    Growing Pains

    There’s a point in every business when business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as growing pains. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. You are often faced with a number of choices:

 Avoid growth and stay small

  •   Go broke
  •   Push forward into the next cycleMaturity

    The last cycle is maturity, though this doesn’t mean the end of your business. Your passion for growth must continue in order for your business to succeed. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward.

    You see how all three of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation for each one of them for your business to be and continue to be successful. All three of your key roles must also work together to work through these cycles.

    If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, try our FREE test drive and work with one of our amazing coaches.

Gather the Troops

Today I’d like to chat about the different types of support staff you need and what makes them so important.

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  •   The Technician
  •   The Manager
  •   The EntrepreneurAll of these roles need to be played simultaneously by different people with the right talents. It’s all about balance.The Technician

    This person represents the present and all that needs to be done for the physical aspects of the business building process. They are the “doer”. This is usually the most visible person of the entire operation.

    The Manager

    This person represents the past and works to fix problems through learning from past mistakes. They are the practical side of the business and is in charge of putting together the business and overseeing the planning.

    The Entrepreneur

    This person represents the future and the vision for the business. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding and more.

    All three of these characters are essential in the success of any business and to build a solid foundation from the start, you need to work harder to find the right people to put in these roles. Obviously, you need to be one of these key people, but ensure you find the role that fits your skills and talents, not necessarily what you THINK you should be doing.

This may be a hard process for you as you will need to relinquish some control over the business and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.

Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach you how to avoid falling victim to e‐myths when you try our FREE test drive.

Are You Aiding & Abetting E-Myths?

We are going to embark upon a journey through the world of e-myths and debunk them to help you avoid falling into the e-myth trap.

First, let’s take a minute to talk about what an e-myth is. An entrepreneurial myth, or e- myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:

Desire

  •  Some capital
  •  Projected a targeted profitThis sounds great, but it just not realistic. Think of starting a business as a marathon. Sure, everyone starts out of the gate at record pace, but after a few miles people start slowing and some drop out entirely. Building a successful business takes stamina and agility.

    The reality is that there are many different facets to a successful business and none of them can be ignored if you plan to find success.

    Let’s take a minute to talk about entrepreneurial seizure. This defines the roller coaster of emotions that comes with starting, nurturing and the potential failure of a business.

    The emotions that occur, in order, are:

    Exhilaration Exhaustion Despair

Sense of self-loss

This is usually cause by the e-myths and assumptions we talked about. You can get your hopes so high on instant success that even the smallest lag and you are sent into an emotional tailspin. This is also brought on by the stark realization that you can’t do it all and will need help in the areas where you don’t have the knowledge. Now, faced with limited choices you may feel like you need to back out and hide, but don’t do this.

Use our FREE test drive to get the business coaching you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Put Them in a Trance

We’re going to go through the 5 essential keys to a successful and reusable marketing campaign launch. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again.

The 5 essential keys are:

  •  Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  •  Put an effective sales offer to work
  •  Avoid the marketing pitfalls
  •  Use a world-class marketing perspective
  •  Get results!
    We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and howthey all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign.

    Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

    Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the prospective of the customers/clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled?

    Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what USP your competitors are using to help you develop your own USP. Your USP is what you are “promising” your customers/clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition.

    Put an effective sales offer to work

    To develop an effective sales plan, you need to:

1. Put together a headline that gets immediate attention.

2. Share benefits of your products/services speaking from the customers’ perspective.

3. Identify the specific needs met by your products/services.

  1. Make it easy to do business with you by offer guarantees.
  2. Share your specific sales proposition.
  3. Walk your customers/clients through how they should respond and act.
  4. Motivate with a call to action.

What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products/services special and compel customers to buy. If they don’t feel like they NEED your product, they won’t buy. You need to answer a question, solve a problem or feed an obsession.

You need to provide them with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.

Avoid the marketing pitfalls

There are 5 major marketing pitfalls many businesses fall into and you should avoid:

  •  Ignore market testing and push on with an inaccurate plan.
  •  Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout their marketing plan.
  •  Fail to notice the needs of their prospective customers/clients.
  •  Fail to diversify their marketing options.
  •  Fail to get market opinions on their offers.These are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these lessons, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.

    Use a world-class marketing perspective

    World-Class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers/clients from all over the world. You can do this a number of different techniques and activities:

  1. Keep a marketing journal and scribble down anything innovate you see.
  2. Keep encouraging your marketing department, or yourself, to try new things and dump the ones that aren’t working.
  3. Order from your own company under a different name and analyze the process of ordering, shipping, online store, customer service and the product itself. This will show you where the areas for improvement in the customer experience.
  1. Read every quality ad you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.
  2. When out in public, watch how consumers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases.
  3. Step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
  4. Continuously acknowledge your staff, vendors and customers. Everyone works and shops better when they feel appreciated.
  5. Always listen to feedback from employees and customers.
  6. Continuously test markets, ads, and marketing techniques. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.

10.Offer more information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer, the more products/services you’ll sell.

  1. A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
  2. Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products/service and quality.
  3. Improve your best marketing areas and drop those that aren’t working.
  4. Focus on what you say, not how you say it. The best marketing ideas turn into the best marketing naturally.
  5. Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials with an attention to compelling and factual information.

By using these techniques you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your industry.

Get results!

The last area we are going to talk about is the best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:

Providing quality products/services

  •  Providing high quality customer service
  •  Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
  •  Taking all the risk away with a great guaranteeTo generate more business there are a couple of simple techniques that work every time:
  •  Build your database with a contest.
  •  Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
  •  Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.“As long as the reward is directly related to your product or service, you can’t lose. Why not get started today? It’s so simple, it’s so seldom done, and it’s so profitable. And that’s the bottom line.” Jay Abraham

    It is so simple! So, why aren’t you starting today? We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our FREE test drive and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.