How do you communicate with your customers?
Do you send thank you cards to your clients?
Did you know that not saying thank you to a customer hurts your business more than saying thank you helps.
Let me say that again.
Not saying thank you hurts your business more than saying thank you helps.
What I mean by that is our customers and clients expect to receive a thank you; especially if they spend a lot of money with us. They expect us to at least acknowledge and thank them.
If I buy a house, I expect a thank you.
If I buy a car, I expect a thank you.
If I buy a Snickers I don't necessarily expect a thank you.
Big ticket items = increased expectations
If you don't send thank you cards to your clients, do you know what they are thinking?
They are thinking you don't care about them!
Studies show the reason why we lose 68% of our clients and customers is because they don't think we care about them.
Here is a simple solution I found to let my customers know I care about them.
For $5.48 a year I can send 4 custom greeting cards to my clients to keep in touch with them and let them know I appreciate them.
How much is one dedicated, loyal, and happy client worth to you? Is it worth $5.48 a year?
If so watch this 3 minute video for more information:
Once you watch the video, email me back and I'll be happy to help you get started.
WHAT is the value of appreciation? Lee Cummins believes a simple “Thinking About You” or “Thank you for Your Business” could lead to anything from a smile to increased profitability.
Cummins, is a local Snr Manager, representing the US based online greeting card company, SendOutCards
Unlike other online card companies, which allows users to send an internet link to a personalised card on the internet, SendOutCards users get to personalise one of the 17,000 card options or even create their own cards using their personal photos, which is then mailed to the recipient, anywhere in the world.
Once a user logs on to SendOutCards subscribes to the service, they can create their own secured account where they can store information like names, addresses, birthdays, anniversary dates or reminders along with photos to send appreciation messages.
Users receive emails to get their cards out in time for these occasions. There is also an option to send gifts or gift cards, which can be selected from options on the website, along with the card.
The card is printed within 24 hours after the user completes their order. Cards of the highest quality standards and printed on recycled paper. Mailing time differs according to the postal service within the country in which the recipient lives.
Receiving an emailed link to an on-line e-card does not compare to going to the mailbox and seeing a card among all the bills and windowed envelopes or whatever else is mailed. Another benefit of SendOutCards, is it is more convenient than heading to a store to purchase cards, lining up at the post office or worse, not remembering to post the card.
SendOutCards makes it hassle free. You can access it at any time from a computer with internet access, no matter where you are. You could choose from the wide selection of cards or make your own. The cost of the card is cheaper than most of the options available at card shops.
The service is utilised in the United States, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, UK and Singapore by businessmen, businesswomen and companies, including real estate agents, dentists, doctors, mortgage companies and other businesses which rely on customer- based earnings.
People feel underappreciated. 68% of customers move away from a business due to percieved indifference.
This is a simple tool to show appreciation. It is inexpensive and time saving. A lot of companies take business from people and do not say thank you. The experience is not personalised. This little tool could help many expand their business.
SendOutCards has also been used to teach school aged children appreciation and can be used as a fund raising initiative.
To raise funds, organisations such as schools or churches, can become distributors themselves and encourage parents or members to take out subscriptions to the service.
Therefore every time they send a cards or gifts from the website, the organisation will receive the profits from these sales and raise much needed funds.
Do you wish you could have invested in iTunes, Amazon.com, or Netflix when they launched?
What do these businesses have in common?
They all were game changers.
Amazon.com revolutionized the way we shop for books. Borders, Barnes & Noble and the other booksellers stopped expanding and started closing stores.
iTunes changed the way we buy music. I bet you'd have a hard time even finding a record store anymore! Most record sales are digital thanks the way Apple revolutionized the music business.
Netflix was a game changer in the video business. It's hard to find a local video store any more. Many of the franchise video stores have closed down. Blockbuster went bankrupt and was bought buy Dish Network for peanuts.
What do these businesses have in common?
They used technology to deliver the same service better, cheaper, and most importanly in a more convenient way.
Anyone who invested in Apple, Amazon, or Netflix is happy they did. These businesses are now dominating their industry. I wish I had the foresight to invest in them 5 or 10 years ago.
What if there was a new home business that was doing the same thing?
Would you want to be a part of a business like that?
There is a new business that is taking the Netflix style of business to greeting cards. This company is working to overthrow the 7.5 Billion dollar powerhouses of Hallmark and American Greetings.
They're using a Netflix type delivery system and modern technology to take all the hassle out of sending a greeting card or gift. No more trips to the post office. No more trips to the mall. It's a lot more convenient and you can even personalize your cards with your photos and handwriting.
Businesses love it because they can automate their cards to their clients. They can do mass mailings to prospects. They can setup referral programs and use this technology to send gift cards as thank yous to clients.
This business is called Send Out Cards. It is a game changer in the greeting card business. The owners of 5 Hallmark stores (they've asked their names to be withheld) have switched. They shut down their stores and invested in this business instead.
What is this business?
Check it out. You don't want to miss out on this opportunity.
You don't want to be kicking yourself in 5 or 10 years for not getting involved!
Whether you are a small to medium business owner, solopreneur, network marketer or on-line marketer there are times where we find ourselves hiding out in our business. Daily grind, regular tasks, product creation, clients, and all the other things that come with being a business owner can drive us further and further into our business and further and further away from connecting with others.
By driving ourselves further away from connecting with others we are really doing an injustice to our business and ultimately to ourselves. We human’s are creatures of connection; we love to connect with other human beings.
There are a multitude of benefits to getting out and about and connecting with others, including:
· Refresh our ideas
· Personal invigoration
· Enhancing our knowledge base
· Opening up opportunities both personally and professionally
· Gaining new perspectives
There are several ways we can get out and about that can be cost effective and easy to implement:
· Attending networking events
· Business owners informal meetings
· Skype meetings
· Mastermind groups
· Attending seminars and live events
· Attending community projects
· Attending local commerce chapter meetings
Before attending it is wise to set an objective as to what your purpose for attending the event maybe. It could be anything from making a new business connection through to gleaning a new idea for your business, the list is endless.
Aim for at least one event per week for a minimum of one hour, this should get you kick started into getting out of your business and into making some valuable lasting connections. Set 2011 to be your year for social interaction and out of hibernation.
Finally, Just Do It!
52 Days Until New Year
Yes, just 52 days until the new year. 2010 has flown by without even seeing it rush before my eyes. Always, about this time of year I take some time to access my business, what's worked well, what needs improvement and what can be culled or re-worked. Starting in November means I have some time to put together a contingency plan for the following year. In January, I can hit the ground running as I already know where I am planning to run to, I have set my path. I am clear in what direction and where I am heading.
Tips to re-access:
Taking an hour out of your week to sit down and do an assessment using these seven questions can save you a whole lot of time and frustration as you land in 2011.
Have you missed an opportunity? Recently I did and big time to! I was busy preparing for a client meeting when the phone rang. I was on a tight schedule and pushing to get myself out the door so as not to be late. Just as I was about to leave the phone rang and I quickly picked it up to find a journalist on the other end of the phone wanting me to comment on a pertinent topic of the day. I was so pushed for time my reply simply was “I am sorry, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on this subject at this point in time”. End of conversation!
Uuugh! I still play this conversation out in my mind. This was a perfect opportunity for me to gain more exposure for my business, build credibility and build a relationship with the journalist.
What’s done is done, I can’t change what happened. From this there has been a truly big learning for me – keep your eye out for opportunity and have a plan for when it rises, you never know when it will happen.
Now I have a plan in place, I have created a plan of action should this situation arise again. I thought through what I could have done better, what I could have said and how I could have filled both obligations on the day.
I know this sounds really basic stuff, however, you would be surprised at how many times we can let opportunities slip through our fingers because we don’t have a plan, we don’t think things through logically and we don’t act! Having a strategic plan in place and most importantly putting some action to the plan can help to build on those opportunities.
For me now, I visualize the phone ringing and the journalist is on the other end giving me a second chance to prove my value.
Have you let an opportunity pass you by because you weren’t prepared for action?
Just recently hubby and I went on a fabulous touring holiday through the NSW South Coast in our campervan. We ended up in Bateman’s Bay at a caravan park just over the bridge. This caravan park had been recommended to us by a couple we met whilst staying in Merimbula. When we arrived we found we had a little problem that was going to take some days to sought out. This little problem meant that the accommodation we had booked was no longer suitable and we needed to change the accommodation style for 5 days. The staff there, particularly the receptionist, were amazing and were absolutely wonderful to us.
Now, this is where I saw the power of word of mouth marketing in action. We had been recommended to stay at this park from another couple. Normally we probably wouldn’t have even given it a thought. As they spoke so highly of the amenities, location and the staff we decided to go with their recommendation. This was a ‘sale’ due to word of mouth. Whilst staying in Bateman’s Bay we toured around several surrounding townships and as travelers do, you start chatting to others. Each time we were asked where we were staying we mentioned the place and how fabulous the staff had been. A couple we spoke to decided they also would give the ‘park a go’.
Now the recommendation from the first couple to us sparked a sale. Our recommendation to the next couple sparked a sale and so you can see how the ball will roll. The power of word of mouth marketing should never be underestimated. Give great service, be pleasant to deal with and be priced at market expectation and you will see the power of word of mouth. The same applies for negative word of mouth marketing, give bad service, be grumpy and price yourself out of the market and you could see the power of word of mouth marketing from a totally different angle.
Word Of Mouth Marketing – it costs you and your business absolutely nothing, not one cent but the benefits could be amazing! Sometimes, this marketing strategy can be lost in the hype of more exciting marketing strategies, it’s worth doing an analysis of your business to see which angle you would see the impact of word of mouth marketing.
Do you have a story to share?
For months now I have been very excited about the 2 week holiday my hubby and I were going to take together. For weeks there was a mass of preparation to go on our campervan holiday through the NSW south coast. Preparations included having the campervan mechanically sound, clothing for all seasons, food, and where we were going to visit. I am a planner so the months leading up were rather exciting in itself as I do love to plan. In fact I know I am on a roll when I start creating lists and getting underway.
I had left nothing to chance and had lists galore, maps galore and plans galore. The holiday started with a fabulous trip down to Lakes Entrance followed by a leisurely drive to Merimbula. The holiday was going to plan and I was in my element. As the first few days unfolded we found the campervan was a little restrictive. We had always only gone on short weekend trips of no more than 3-4 days. We found packing up the campervan to go out on a day trip a little cumbersome so we ended up spending more time walking and cycling, not actually venturing too far out of town.
Over the course of the first week we decided that on our return to Melbourne we would look at upgrading the campervan to a small caravan or similar. By the time we reached Bateman’s Bay we had convinced ourselves that this was the best option. A few technical and physical hitches (my husband’s aching back) found us preferring to spend time staying in caravan park unit accommodation over staying in the somewhat cramped campervan.
My plan had been to be the intrepid campervanner enjoying happy hour under the awning, sipping wine and chatting with other caravanners. This ended up not being the case as you were more removed from the action as you are in a unit. By the time we were heading home we had traded the campervan in on our own little caravan and are off next week to complete the transaction. Not what I planned? Far from it! I have to say you, can get so caught up in your plans that sometimes you miss the things right there in front of you that present themselves to you.
It is the same in business; you can be so caught up in the planning if you’re not careful you may miss opportunities that present themselves out of nowhere. It is always ideal to have a plan, a road map of where you want your business to be heading, don’t be scared to divert off the route and pursue other opportunities, you never know where it may lead you.
Many, many years ago I started working for a retail group. This group was so far ahead of their time it wasn’t funny. When I look back now at what I was taught back in the early 80’s this is what business are still trying to replicate to this day. It doesn’t matter if you are an on-line business or an off-line business the principles I was taught back then are still very relevant.
I was a young, green and naive girl back then, I was a sponge and very keen to soak up whatever was sent my way. I remember when I first started with this group I was sent home with two files of information that I was required to read before my first shift. One file contained basic product information and the ‘how to’ of the business. The second file was much more interesting to this enquiring mind. The second file was a “Formula For Excellence”. Boy, I ploughed through the information over and over again, soaking up all the information that was laid on the pages. The pages had been painstakingly typed by an old typewriter and diagrams were hand drawn. The information however, was up to date, exciting and most importantly relevant.
Now, I hear you ask why am I bringing up something from over 20 years ago? Well, just recently I found my file, my formula for excellence, I sat and read through the pages one by one, reminiscing a little, becoming that brash young 20 year old and then realizing that what I was reading was the formula I had put in place in my business. Without realizing I had been using that same formula throughout my working career and my business.
When I started my business I created a formula to work by using the word ‘Clarity’, although the wording is different the principles are the same. Although I had not read the old file from the past I realized that if I wanted my business to be a reflection of me, a reflection of my professionalism and a well regarded business I would need to have a formula to work by. When you are a soloist it is sometimes difficult to stay focused and on track so I spent time putting together my ‘Clarity Formula’. To this day I continue to use the formula in my business and with my business coaching clients.
Who would think that over 20 years later what was an exciting induction file for a retail group would end up becoming my formula for excellence?
Do you have a formula for excellence?
Just recently, I felt so overwhelmed with everything that was going on in my life. It seemed like every which way I turned there was something or someone that needed my attention. I got bogged down in the day to running around that comes with running a home, a business, a radio program and then throw in a social life to the mix. All of a sudden there just didn’t seem to be enough time for me in there.
The first thing I did was get someone to help me with some business issues that were on a timeline. A VA (virtual assistant) can be such a treasure at high times of work load, it can take the pressure off. The second thing I did was prioritise the most pressing tasks at hand. The third thing I did was sit down and read an e-book. Probably something you would think would be high on the priority list. I had heard about a technique for time management and so I googled this technique and came across a fabulous e-book. I am so glad I didn’t do overwhelm for that hour and instead armed myself with a very valuable tool. This technique is called the ‘Pomodoro Technique’.
As a business coach I coach people on time management so I should know what I should do. Coaching can be just like the cook, who doesn’t like cooking at home, or the mechanic that never gets around to fixing their own car. Well, coaches can be just the same, they never get around to practicing the time management skills they instill in their clients.
So, back to my hour time out of reading the Pomodoro Technique, I have to say it was the best hour I spent arming myself with a really easy technique to get myself out of overwhelm and back into productive mode. Any of us can do overwhelm so well that we waist time agonizing over what has to be done and what hasn’t been done that we actually don’t achieve anything. Next minute a few hours or even worse a whole week has gone by and nothing has been achieved. Once I read the e-book, I decided to give it a go and see if it worked. By the end of the day my ‘to do list’ had shrunk and I was no longer feeling overwhelmed and drained. I somehow felt relieved and satisfied that I had achieved so much in such a short space of time.
Do you do overwhelm well? If so, I recommend spending an hour or two and have a read of this e-book, you might end up just like me and pleasantly surprised. Now, I don’t do overwhelm so much anymore, I do Pomodoro instead!