Networking Category

Five Effective Ways to Appreciate Your Best Customers

Monday, December 29th, 2014

#1: Hold thank-you events. When you show appreciation and sponsor or host an event, it’s a great way to not only meet with your best customers, but also catch up on how they’re doing. I’ve always been amazed that more people don’t employ this strategy. The amount of goodwill, fun, and positive word-of-mouth far outweigh the costs to host the event.

#2: Send birthday cards. This is old school marketing 101 that so few businesses employ. When someone gets an unexpected card in the mail it leaves a huge impression. In the age of email, texts and Facebook, the temptation is to choose the easiest path. Good old-fashioned birthday cards still go a long way to building goodwill.

#3: Thank customers for their referrals. Referrals are powerful. I’m an advocate that you should not only track where referrals come from, but more importantly thank the person who sent them to you. I love hand-written thank you notes along with a small gift such as a box of cookies, a book, or gift certificate. In addition, a phone call is always a smart idea.

#4: Send them business. Besides doing business if possible with your best customers, you should always be seeking ways to help them grow. By getting to know who they work with, you can often think of and refer people in your circle of influence to them. I do this a lot. It not only show that I appreciate them, but that I believe and trust them enough to send people I know their direction.

#5: Offer them new products and promotions first. People love the feeling of being exclusive and special. Anytime I roll out a new service, talk, event, or book I bring it to my best clients first. In addition, as a thank you I include special promotions just for them as a thanks for their ongoing patronage and referrals. It’s amazing to me how many businesses create special promotions for new customers only and then completely skip over their current ones. This to me short-sided thinking and foolish.

I hope this short, yet effective list, has inspired you to make appreciating your customers a priority now and in the future!

Tony Rubleski
Mind Capture
616-638-3912
www.mindcapturegroup.com

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

Thursday, 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
616-638-3912
www.mindcapturegroup.com

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Generate Leads Through Community Service

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Think that community service during work hours is a waste of time?

Far from it!

Building relationships with other professionals who are concerned about a common cause can be one of the best ways to create connections that lead to referrals.

The reason most managers think that volunteering and association engagements are a waste of time is because they don’t have a strategy surrounding how to generate leads through community service.

Well, here’s how to do it:

1. Identify Your Passion – What angers you or gets you excited? What would you do every day for the rest of your life even if you weren’t paid to do it? Find out what really gets you going, and then find an organization or association that supports that cause. Examples could include homelessness, cancer, abuse, animals, politics, children – the list is endless.

2. Call Development Directors – These folks like two things; volunteers and money, because one usually leads to the other. Call the person at your organization of choice who is in charge of raising money. Let them know that you would like to get engaged with the organization in a volunteer leadership capacity. It makes no business sense to just show up and plant a tree. As a professional using cause-based relationship marketing, you need to work with the people making decisions. Volunteer at a high level. The board of governors typically has committees that are open for non-board member service. This is a good place to start.

3. Show Up – We’re not in high school anymore, and you’re not looking for a resume builder. If you join a board just so you can add another line to your resume, you’re not going to generate a lick of leads. Get involved and actually show up, speak up, and make a change.

4. Do One-on-Ones with Interesting People – This is NOT the time to sell yourself. Cause-based relationship marketing is six-degrees of separation networking at its best. Have coffee with the people you’re volunteering with, get to know them, their work, their ideal clients, and primary strategic partners. Work to introduce them to people in your network who can bring them business, and guess what – they will do the same thing for you.

Generating referrals from service in community and professional organizations takes time, but it can be worthwhile, profitable, and fun.

Tell us about some successes you have had generating business through non-profit service.

Jamar Cobb-Dennard
jamar@jamarspeaks.com

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Do You Know Your Referral Percentage?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

I regularly meet with prospects and help them understand how much business they are getting from their network and what is being left behind. It’s a very enlightening exercise and students are always dismayed to learn how little they are actually tapping into thier network.

How about you, do you know your referral percentage? No? Don’t worry, most people don’t know and have never given it much thought. So, grab a pencil and a calculator and I will help you find your referral percentage, here we go.

1. List 4 people in your network (not clients) who have passed you the most business by referral this year. For instance Tom, Sue, Bill, Kim.

2. Now, for each person write the number of referrals they have passed you in the last 12 months. For our example, Tom=4, Sue=12, Bill=5 and Kim=8

3. Think about each of those people, how many people do you believe each of them know? On average, we each know about 250 people. So, Tom=300, Sue=500, Bill=800 and Kim=200

4. Next step, add all of the referrals you have received together, in our example it would be 29, next add all of the people your network knows together. In our example, it would be 1800.

5. Last step, you will need your calculator to complete the process, divde the number of referrals you have recieved by the number of people in their networks. For our example, 29 referrals divided by 1800 equals .016%

What is your referral percentage? Are you surprised? Did you have 4 referral sources? The very first time I did this exercise I got .010 and I was speechless as many of my students are when they are taken through this exercise.

So let me ask you the most important question; what are you going to do to change this percentage? What steps can you take to develop a higher referral percentage?

Hint: Stop adding people to your network! Most of us already know everyone we need to know to make a wonderful living. If we just learn to develop our relationships and put a system in place that supports both ourselves and our network we would see an increase in our results.

Start with the 4 people you listed here and if you did not have four then work on the ones you have. When you are sure that you have developed that relationship, then move on to create a new one, until your have your “Four”. Manage the 4-6 closest relationships and you will raise your referral percentage.

Take a look at Hazel’s ebook, 26 Strategies for Generating Referrals.

Hazel Walker
Referral Institute, llc
BNI
hazel@bni.com

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