Archive for May, 2010

How Much Do You Really Care? i.e. – You Were Always On My Mind – Show #10

There’s an old song made popular by Elvis and more recently by Willie Nelson titled “You Were Always On My Mind” – the lyrics go “Maybe I didn’t love you quite as good as I should have, Maybe I didn’t hold you quite as often as I could have, Little things I should have said and done, I just never took the time.

You were always on my mind…”

Which is certainly a cute little sentiment if you’re Elvis, Willie or a rock star coming in off the road to the wife and kids who’ve been holding down the fort.  However, tell me how that goes for you as a husband or boyfriend when you forget valentines day, birthdays or anniversaries…  Just sing the little ditty ‘you were always on my mind’ and everything will be all better?   NOT.

We show those around us that we care by spending time together, by listening and truly hearing what they say, by trying to understand their needs and wants and by doing what we can to meet those needs and wants.  All the empty words in the world can’t overcome the non-caring actions that reveal our true nature.

And so it is with our businesses – everyone says that they care about the customer and that customer service is one of their core values.  Very few businesses really take the time to ask for and then really listen to their client’s feedback.  I know this is true because it is such an outstanding and memorable experience when you run into a company that actually does listen and shows by their actions (not just their words) that they care.

Some examples:

  • A customer service rep that stays late to make sure all the voice messages left on the support line have been returned.
  • The auto service company that not only puts mats down to protect your carpet – but clean the car inside and out as an added value.
  • Any company that answers an email request immediately instead of the autoresponder that thanks you and says someone will respond within 24-48 hours.
  • The companies that take the time to put procedures into place to have a backup employee answer phone and email requests when one of their people are out of the office.
  • The electrician, plumber or HVAC company that makes sure their employees wear spotless uniforms, name badges, put white booties on over their shoes and leave their work area cleaner than when they started.

Spend less time talking about yourself and running fancy branding ad campaigns and more time developing a corporate culture that encourages the kind of actions that prove you actually care about your customers.

Interacting with you, your business and employees will be such a unique and memorable experience the word will spread quickly.  Viral marketing and referral programs are all the rage today but you don’t need a fancy program to teach you how to do this stuff – it really is as simple as old fashioned caring for the customer.

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Success Is About Relationship – Show #9

My grandmother just had her 90th birthday – in fact, we had a private family party for her yesterday and a huge open house today.  As a tribute to her I scanned in hundreds of photos, interviewed her on video and did enough genealogical research to figure out what the story of her life entailed – the same process I did several years ago for my other grandmother.

If you ever go through this process it’s fascinating to see how certain individuals in your personal history rise to the forefront when you shine a light back through your family tree.  One thing that seems to stand out – whether you find someone who was successful financially, in their family life, built an incredible social institution or just a legacy of being a game changer in a segment of society – they were always people who found ways to serve others and bring out the best in them.

Want to be a leader in your organization?  You won’t do it by being a lone ranger and doing everything yourself.  You’ll soon run out of time in your schedule and the people around you will be jealous and undermine your success.  Instead, find the gifts in people around you, find ways to empower them so they successful in their own area and then give them every tool necessary to build on that success.

My grandmother was a great cook – but where she really made her mark was as food services director for a nursing home – not really a place where culinary experts go to hone their skills and make a name for themselves.  Not one to settle for the status quo, she instead trained a staff of people under her to produce great meals.  Not only did she empower hundreds of staff during her years there but the thousands of residents and their families who visited them knew that she cared because of the quality of the meals.  As such, there aren’t many people in our 50,000 population community that don’t recognize her name.

I have a couple hundred affiliate marketing web sites that I’ve built over 15+ years on the internet.  In many ways I’ve tried to do my own thing behind the scenes and make a comfortable living for myself and my clients.  However, I’ve watched a couple guys come from nowhere and in a couple years time build a small empire.  How’d they do it?  Look for a key player, find a way to provide a service to them and in turn learn what they are doing – then come to them with a proposal to use the key player’s influence and promote their new idea.  Suddenly they are catapulted into the 6 figure a month income category.

Are you building relationships with your clients, community leaders, key players in your business niche (or any other niche for that matter) or are you such a lone wolf or caustic personality that destroys the relationships around you that could make you successful?

Success is about relationship – not only nurturing and caring for your own client base but also those key players and community leaders you can learn from and may just have the influence or idea that can be a game changer for you.

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Steal From The Very Best! – Show #8

In your industry there are some key players – the big dog so to speak, the business that everyone else is gunning for or trying to emulate.  This can be either in your local market or maybe nationally.  For business software it’s Microsoft.  I don’t know who it is for your business niche but you do.  It’s the business name that comes to mind when you analyze your results each year and need something to compare.

I can guarantee when you go to trade shows, user group meetings, marketing seminars, etc.  they always bring in someone from one of those key players or maybe a consultant inside your industry that is working with a key player.  It makes it easy for them to relate to business owners in your niche and you get a few ideas you can copy and implement without too much creativity or innovative thought.

Here’s the problem – the ideas you get from them are at best hand me downs.  Probably ones they used over the last couple years that are past their prime.  Even if they are current – by the time you implement them in your business the key players have moved on and are implementing their next innovation.

If you’re like me you don’t really want to always settle for being second or third place behind the key player – you want to leapfrog past them and BE the key player.  The only way to do that is to find inspiration and ideas from the absolute best.  Study innovators throughout history both recent and not-so-recent.  I’m a firm believer in the phrase ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’ in that you can learn something from any time period and any business niche and implement it in your own business.  The internet has opened avenues for us that were never before possible.  You can join a discussion forum or community in any market niche and pull ideas from anywhere on the globe.

I talked to a couple large local clients recently who see the huge popularity of youtube and facebook and want to find a way to capitalize.  We looked at a couple of key players in their market to see what they were doing – found some videos with a couple thousand views and facebook pages with several hundred fans.  That’s nice, but not where these guys wanted to be.

Instead, we studied facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of fans and youtube videos with hundreds of thousands of views.

Transfer those ideas into your marketplace and YOU can be the key player.

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