Lead Generation

When "I don't know" is a Good Answer.

When "I don't know" is a Good Answer.

Had a chance to go to lunch with Tom Miller yesterday. Tom has been in the franchising industry for years and is an Executive Vice President with Murphy Business. In his own estimation, he is a "legend in his own mind." Actually, he has an extraordinary sales record and is considered The Authority on franchising throughout the business brokerage community.

As we talked about the selling process, specifically to small business owners, he noted that in the "early days" he sold direct mail. He learned quickly, that nobody wanted to hear about his business, but they loved to talk about their own. So when he'd meet with a likely prospect and they asked what he was selling, he would respond, "I don't know yet. Tell me about your business." As he learned about the business, it became obvious if there was need--and what he was selling.

So how much do you know about your customers' or your potential customers' businesses? Is learning about them part of your sales process or are you more focused on making sure they learn about you? Are you learning enough? According to Tom here is a key indicator: "If you need a closing technique you haven't learned enough."

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

What if All Marketers weren't Liars?

What if All Marketers weren't Liars?

Realtors are notorious for their creative use of marketing terms. "Open floor plan" means there are holes in a few walls etc. Here are a few more creatively used terms. But this morning as I was out running I noticed this real estate sign. Maybe this guy just ran out of "I'm gorgeous inside" signs and it was the end of a long day so he sighed and went with the "A Nice Place" placard. Whatever it was, it was simple enough to get my attention.

Simple and honest are remarkable. You could argue that "A Nice Place" is still stretching the truth. Wonder how many calls this sign would bring...

Promoterz is the hands-free, word-of-mouth marketing service that takes care of the details so you can focus on business. Learn more

The Power of the Talking Bubble

The Power of the Talking Bubble

Remember the talking bubble from the cartoons? It occurs to me that there is a lot of power in that bubble. In fact, the whole intent of word-of-mouth efforts is to get your business in your customer's bubble.

How much money do we as business owners spend getting our ads up in lights, in a magazine, on TV, or online? Fact is, consumers are more jaded than ever and better at ignoring all that expensive advertising.

The real power is not up on the billboards or on the airwaves. The real power is in the bubble.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You.

What You Don't Know Will Hurt You.

I was in a hobby store yesterday buying model rocket engines (think venture scouts making jet propelled barbie cars). Anyway, I noticed a new restaurant had opened up in the same strip mall. While the attendant at the hobby store was ringing up my 24 rocket engines I asked him if he had tried out the new restaurant. His response:

"It's [bleep!]"

Not sure that I heard correctly and a little taken back at the language I said, "Excuse me?" He went on to explain that he hadn't eaten there but a fellow worker had and she had been sick the rest of the day. He also said his manager had ordered a taco and it cost him six bucks and was no bigger than what you can get at Taco Bell. As he handed me my receipt he concluded emphatically once again, "It's [bleep!]" I thanked him and made my way to door once again marvelling at the power of word of mouth.

Think about what happened there. Put yourself in the position of the owner of the new restaurant that just invested multiple thousands of dollars and has been open now for just a few weeks. I doubt he or she has any idea that virtually right next door someone who has never even been in the restaurant is giving out negative recommendations (with neighbors like that who needs enemies...).

It gets worse, studies have shown that irritated customers are five times more likely to vent to a friend than a store rep and on average they will tell four friends. It doesn't say anything about how many people those four will tell, but here I am telling all of you. The study did report that those told about a friend's bad shopping experience are up to five times as likely to avoid the store in question as the original unhappy customer! (read about it here)

What's the solution? First, strive to make every customer experience remarkable. Right behind that has to be a system that consistently invites each customer to tell you how they felt about the experience.

With modern technology, there is no excuse for not inviting your customers to give you feedback. I recently rented a car from Enterprise. A week later I got a call asking how the experience was for me. Phone calls can be expensive, so use the internet. Set up an online survey and hand your customers a card directing them to the url to tell you what they think. Of course there is always the written feedback card. Just make sure you review the feedback regularly and respond to it. The only thing worse than not asking for feedback is asking for it and not responding.

Certainly not all of your customers will respond, but enough will to give you an accurate idea of how things are going and give you the opportunity to "save" a few that were about to tell their four friends who will now be five times as likely to avoid your business!

The average American consumer discusses brands 56 times a week. Are they discussing yours? Learn more

Consumer A.D.D. -- Is There a Cure?

Consumer A.D.D. --  Is There a Cure?

After describing modern consumers and their desire to watch or read what they want, when they want, the current issue of Business Week concludes:

The result: a serious case of attention deficit for every business that depends on traditional mass media to reach customers.

So the question is, what is the cure? Here is an additional question that I think leads to the answer: if consumers aren't paying attention to traditional advertising, who are they paying attention to?

The answer: their friends, their colleagues, their neighbor, their obnoxious brother-in-law--frankly, anybody but an advertiser. So what is the solution for a business? Turn your customers into promoters. Your customers are somebody's friend, colleague, neighbor and yes, even obnoxious brother-in-law. Make your customers so happy they can't wait to tell somebody--that is the cure.

Your success will be determined more by what your customers say about your business than what you say about it--no matter how much you pay to say it!

Customers who feel that you are listening to them are more likely to recommend you to a friend. How do your customers know that you are listening? Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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