101 Ways to Stay Visible and Win More Business – Part 1

by Tony Rubleski - June 26th, 2014

I’m often asked by audiences, clients, and in media interviews, “So Tony, what’s the best way to pick up more business?” This isn’t an easy question or a simple answer as I’m a BIG believer that the better question to ask is, “What are several great ways to win more business?”

With these questions in mind, I’ll reveal, over this and the next issue, a helpful and handy checklist of 101 ways to capture more minds, hearts and bottom line: more business. You may consider printing off this list and highlighting which one’s you’re currently using, while at the same time, picking two or three which you plan to get moving on for use within your own company.

There’s no shortage of ways to attract and win business. Let this list serve as an idea generator and guide to spark your mind, imagination, and help to motivate you towards taking action on finding more ways to spread your message and serve more people.

#1. Make an offer
#2. Bundle different products and services
#3. Have a special event or sale
#4. Have FUN with your marketing
#5. Do an annual client appreciation event
#6. Send thank you notes
#7. Make thank you calls
#8. Mail articles of interest to your best customers
#9. Send postcards with special offers/updates
#10. Create and use an eletter to stay in touch
#11. Ask for referrals
#12. Give referrals
#13. Attend leads groups
#14. Get active in your chamber of commerce
#15. Offer free samples of your product/service
#16. Give an informative talk on your business
#17. Partner with a local cause or charity
#18. Partner with some of your key vendors to cross promote
#19. Partner with a well-known person or local celeb in your marketing
#20. Submit media releases to your trade groups and local newspapers
#21. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed piece
#22. Host or be a guest on local radio, TV or web based show
#23. Teach a class or lead a webinar
#24. Encourage employees to recommend you to others and within their social media channels
#25. Barter/trade with the local media
#26. Offer referral fees or discounts for those who send people to you
#27. Blog on topics related to your industry
#28. Engage people on FB, and online with special updates and offers
#29. Create a YouTube channel with approved client testimonials
#30. Stay visible within the community and donate products or services for fundraisers
#31. Ask those you currently do business with to consider working with you
#32. Hire friendly people that engage people and aren’t rude
#33. Have a pro answer your phones
#34. Get back to people quickly
#35. Make sure your website is easy to navigate
#36. Create a client-of-the-month recognition program
#37. Offer special bonuses/pricing for your VIP customers
#38. Provide free shipping or delivery to save time
#39. Take a key customer or referral partner out for coffee or a meal
#40. Survey your customers to find new ideas
#41. Make it right when you screw up as negative word-of-mouth can cause huge damage
#42. Always be listening for new ideas and tips from peers to keep improving
#43. Roll out something “New” at least once a quarter to keep things fresh in your business
#44. Always seek out logical joint ventures and new distribution partners
#45. Be friendly and look sharp – duh!
#46. Create a special report, guide or white paper to educate and differentiate yourself
#47. Share links or websites of interest with your top customers, prospects, and referral partners
#48. Say ‘Thank You’ and look people in the eye when they do business with you
#49. Feature your best customers in your newsletters, eletters and other marketing pieces
#50. Get rid of customers that are too difficult to please and focus more time and energy on those who value what you offer/provide

“Pick your favorite 3 ideas to build your business and start implementing them today!”

Tony Rubleski
Mind Capture

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Southwest Airlines: Quick Turn Arounds (Case Studies of Great Companies)

by John Gifford - June 12th, 2014

1. Overview

Modeling after the California intra-state airline, Pacific Southwest Airlines, entrepreneur Rollin King and lawyer Herb Kelleher started Southwest Airlines in 1967.

Southwest Airlines’ goal was to make life simpler for travelers who wished to travel the distances between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. The need was there, the Texas economy was booming, and the business model made eminent sense.

However, the existing entrenched power base was not willing to relinquish its control of the the Texas airline market uncontested. Kelleher suspected as much, and was determined to raise twice his initial figure of $250,000 venture capital, because of the likelihood of a prolonged fight to get Southwest off the ground. It turned out to be even more difficult a proposition than even Kelleher imagined.

Kelleher filed Southwest’s application to fly between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio with the Texas Aeronautics Commission (TAC) on November 27th, 1967, and on February 20th, 1968, TAC approved the application. However, the day after TAC voted for approval, Braniff, Trans-Texas, and Continental successfully filed a restraining order to keep Southwest from flying, arguing that the markets were already saturated; the restraining order was upheld in the intermediate appellate court but was over-ruled in the Texas Supreme court.

Four years after its incorporation, Southwest was finally ready to fly. On June 18th, 1971, Southwest was finally off the ground, in spite of additional efforts by existing airlines to keep it grounded.

Southwest differentiated itself from the other airlines, especially in its excellent customer service, lower fares, and in its use of older, smaller, close-to-downtown airports which were more convenient for business travelers.

The key factors in the early years for Southwest’s success were:

1) Profitability
2) 10-minute turn-around
3) Steady growth rate
4) Low debt; low leveraging
5) Outstanding stock performance
6) Lowest fares
7) Market dominance
8 Most productive work force
9) Low turn-over
10) No furloughs
11) Highest customer service ratings
12) Cancels fewest flights
13) Best safety record
14) Youngest fleet
15) Most emulated

In 1978, airlines and the newer airports (shunned by Southwest) made their influence felt once again, this time through legislation, spear-headed by congressman James Wright. Ultimately, this legislation’s impact was gradually mooted.

Out of this early contentious history of Southwest Airlines came a fighting attitude of us vs. them, a spirited, passionate belief in the mission they represented which was giving people the “Freedom to Fly.” This was a unifying force for both employees and customers as Southwest made it possible for “the common man” to fly.

2. Focal Strategy: Key Metrics and the 10-minute turn-around

Out of necessity, Southwest mastered the capability of the 10-minute turn-around of their planes. In September of 1971, Southwest had four 737′s to cover all their routes. When a federal district court ruled that Southwest could not fly charters outside Texas, the fourth plane became a financial liability.

In order to service their routes with just three planes, it became necessary for quick turn-arounds. No one thought they could do 10-minute turn-arounds, but they did, enabling them to make do with just three planes. The quick turn-around became a strategy for economy, as well as on-time performance.

At the present time, metrics still play a large part in Southwest’s success and customer service excellence. The four key measures that Southwest Airlines tracks are:
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Do You Have Trust and Lust in your Marketing?

by Tony Scelzo - May 27th, 2014

Sally Hogsheads book FASCINATE is a must read for VP of Sales and CMO’s. It will challenge you to discover how you can get your customers, prospects and suspects to “LOVE” you.

Personally, one of the most important concepts to get out of the book is in trying to “create the experience” for your customers of “trust and lust.”

Now, what do I mean by lust?

Can you get people to “lust” in anticipation of what you are going to do next, to teach next, to release next, to innovate next or to breakthrough next? Simultaneously, can you also get them to trust you? Can you establish yourself as their rock, their go-to resource providing peace of mind? Ultimately, giving them the feeling as if you are their partner.

Trust and lust are not usually two words you put in the same sentence, let alone the same brand.

However, if you are trying to carve out attention from your target market, to then carve out a business case to lead to a contract, which ultimately results in a sales. Then trying to incorporate “trust and lust” into your messaging is a must yet it may seem impossible.

It isn’t impossible but it is hard. Which is why most people opt out.

There are other triggers of fascination. By learning how to navigate between ‘trust and lust’ or tie them together is the most common argument found in the C-suite between the CMO, CIO, CFO. COO and VP of Sales.

So how do you build strategy to drive “lust” and build “trust”?

The answer is simple. People trust in you when you know more about their business than they do.

Take Sally’s book. Her website, for the book, howtofascinate.com is great example. I was so intrigued by the idea of understanding more about what makes me a “leader” by the report. This report gave me great insight into how to build our brand. Even though I have spent my whole professional life studying this, this site knew more than I did. Therefore, allowing me to trust it. In addition, I was so intrigued I lusted in anticipation of my results thus driving me to action. I then bought the book and recommended it to three other people. Trust and lust really can work together.

I was fascinated with howtofascinate.com. Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you learned!
Tony Scelzo
Rainmakers Marketing Group

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Zappos Is Different (Case Studies of Great Companies)

by John Gifford - May 7th, 2014

I. Overview

Tony Hsieh wants to want to come to work

In 1998 Tony Hsieh was unhappy at the dot-com company he founded (LinkExchange), so he sold it to Microsoft for $265 million. But Tony was not ready to retire–he wanted to run a company where he would be happy to come to work.

That place was and is Zappos, known for selling shoes online (they sell clothing and other things, too) and their outrageously good customer service.

How did this successful combination of Hsieh and Zappos come about?

1) As if he were a venture capital god creating a myriad of worlds, Hsieh funded some 20-odd companies and tracked their evolution to find the one that was having the most fun (Zappos)
2) Hsieh proceeded to get Zappos company founder Nick Swinmurn (he couldn’t find the shoes he wanted, so he founded Zappos) to hire him as his CEO.
3) As CEO, Hsieh had this company of happy employees set down on paper the culture of the company by sharing what it meant to work at Zappos
4) Hsieh then took this information shared by the employees and articulated a written set of core values
5) Having laid out this set of core values Hsieh made certain that decision-making at Zappos was consciously driven by them: hiring, customer service ethic, way to treat employees, compensation and promotions, openness to new ideas, etc. are informed by the culture encapsulated in these principles

Hsieh’s targeting Zappos as the place he wanted to work and his enhancement of a company culture that was already successful has paid off for the company, its customers, and its employees. Consistent growth by Zappos led to $1 billion in annual sales in 2008, beating their internal goal to $1 billion by two years. Customers are cult-like in their following of Zappos and it is borne out by Zappos being in the top 10 for Customer’s Choice Awards in 2010 and winning the 2011 Stevie award for Sales & Customer Service. Another internal goal that they reached was making Fortune’s list of the Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2009 (#23) and the February 7th Issue of this year listed Zappo’s up to number 6 on that measure of employee satisfaction. Even though Zappos was sold to Amazon.com in 2009, Hsieh is still the CEO and “Zappos” lives on as a semi-autonomous entity within Amazon, with its culture and systems virtually intact.

And as testimony to its ability to go its own way, Zappos is in the process (it began in part in 2013, and is continuing as of May 2014) of implementing a hierarchy-averse culture in name as well as in practice. This business model is known as holacracry, whose concept is to “replace the traditional corporate chain of command with a series of overlapping, self-governing ‘circles.’ In theory, this gives employees more of a voice in the way the company is run.” Time will tell if Hsieh’s bet on this counter-mainstream paradigm pays off.

Zappos is Different

Zappos differentiates itself from other online retail establishments by its focus on customer service and making it easy for a customer to buy and to like the company:

1. There is a 365-day return policy
2. A phone number where the customer can contact a live representative of the company appears on each page of the web site (in contrast to other web-based companies who are unable to be reached by phone); Zappos’ philosophy is that the phone is an excellent means to build rapport and develop life-long customers
3. Only items that are actually available are listed for sale on the site
4. Surprise upgrades to overnight delivery and other wow experiences encourage customers to tell their friends about the super customer service
5. If Zappos is out of an item, they will even help the customer to find the item on another website (as their aim is lifetime loyalty, not just a quick sale)
6. The emphasis is on the customer and meeting their needs, as demonstrated by Zappos’ policy of not measuring the duration of calls of employees as a criterion for success

Fueling the excellence of customer service delivery is the culture of the company employees, which is reinforced by Hsieh and other Zappos management:

1. Every employee goes through call-center experience, underlining the importance of the front-line employees
2. There are no scripts for the call center personnel; they are to use their unique personality to connect with the customers
3. Spontaneous parades and celebrations may break out (and are encouraged) at any time among the employees
4. In order to foster transparency of the company, tours are conducted regularly throughout the whole of the company
5. After training, an employee is given the opportunity to quit for $2,000, thus weeding out those employees just there for the money–overall it saves time and money spent on such employees
6. Each year the company publishes its massive “Culture Book” which is composed of statements from the employees describing their view of Zappos company culture
7. Potential employees go through two interview processes, one for professional skills and the other for their personality. The hiring process seeks to hire those individuals that have an affinity to the existing culture
8. Numerous perks are available for Zappos employees — free lunches, no-charge vending machine, company library, a nap room, and free health care.
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