Another Way to Win a Customer for Life

A limo driver (let’s call him Tim) googles a client he who he is supposed to pick up at the airport and take to a hotel where 1,300 sales reps gathered to listen to said client talk. Tim calls the client and tells him that he would pick him up at baggage claim C. At the airport our speaker – let’s call him John, goes to baggage claim C only to find out there is no one there holding a sign with his name. Instead a man walked straight up to him and asked: You are John, aren’t you?

On the way to the hotel Tim, the driver, interviewed his passenger, the motivational speaker John. So John got to talk about himself all the way to the hotel. When they arrived, John said that it was the best ride from the airport he had ever had in his life. To which Tim responded, that he wanted to win John’s business in the future, when John happens to visit Ft. Lauderdale again, and added, that he works for tips. Without any hesitation John put his bags down, pulled out his wallet and gave his driver a $10.00 bill. He also added, that he would make sure to call Tim up next time he travels to Ft. Lauderdale.

When I heard this true story, I was just blown away. Excellent service, creative way to win new clients. Did not cost Tim a dime either. Just go extra mile, and serve people who happen to use your services. Simple.

This is a great way to build your client base. I agree, it is not applicable to all type of businesses. But the attitude, the approach and taking interest in people who we serve determines success of a business, no doubt.

I have a method that is based on the same principle of a great customer service combined with low cost, but much more applicable for many businesses out there. Take a listen – this could be just what you were looking for.

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What To Expect When You Do Networking Right (Tool To Use For Profit)

How do you make your networking profitable?

Keep your conversations at the 6 -10 minutes. This is a networking event, not a marathon. You speak with someone less than 6 minutes, and they will not remember you nor the conversation when you follow up with them, you speak with them more than 10 minutes and you will miss an opportunity to meet with someone else. More than 10 minutes turns your conversation into a social situation instead of business-generating event.

If you really have a lot to talk about with someone at a networking event because you have so much in common, handle it in either of two ways:

1. Make an appointment to follow up

2. Decide, not default, that this one person is worth more to you than all the unknown others you may meet here. Make sure you are that valuable to them too.
Your goal is to obtain 6 to 10 cards in one hour. This is an easy score to keep – if you are at a 2 hour networking event, you should leave with 12 – 20 business cards with your notes on them in your pocket.
Here is a break down of what kind of results you can expect from an event. When you speak with 6 to 10 people in an hour, 50% of them will be prospects for you, or will know someone they could refer to you. Wouldn’t you rather have 20 conversations to make it 10 prospects? Of the 10 prospects, 50% will be in the immediate market for your product (or service, in my case).

That does not make 5 new clients in two hours however, because your sales skills come into play. If you have excellent sales skills, 50% of the prospects will choose you. That is 2 or 3 new clients from one networking event and then follow up. That is an excellent return on investment. You can get good at this. You will make money. You will have a business.

P.S. Remember, I told you that I had 2 events to go to last week and planned to practice what I am learning from Wendy Kinney? I had 3 demo appointments scheduled from one event, did two so far, have one customer. I had three demo appointments scheduled from the second event, did two so far, have two customers.

I do not have team members from these events yet, but they just might come out of previous demos, because I am going to use the best follow up method – that is right, the product my service provides! I will keep you posted.

Keep The Score: Know Your Numbers (Tool To Use For Profit)

 

How often do you go to networking events? In all honesty you don’t expect one networking event to build your whole business, do you? Three events a month is a maintenance mode.

Let’s run some numbers here. 20% of your time should be spent on marketing your business. Let’s say your work 10 hour days 5 days a week. That means you book 10 hours a week for networking and follow up. Unless you have all the clients you want you can’t give me an argument that you don’t have time for that.

Accept invitations, attend events, meet people, develop business. Schedule time for 3 events a month. That’s maintenance. If you need to build your business up, attend more than 3 events a month. This is time spent to get work, don’t think about it as wasted time. Make time to find new clients.

When you are at full capacity (you have all clients that you can handle, or in my case, all team members that need coaching, 70% of your time is spent doing the work; 10% of your time is managing the business; 20% of your time is marketing the business. We are talking traditional business model here. For me personally looking for new people, making connections and doing demos IS the work. The rest is maintenance.

If your full capacity is 10 clients (in the traditional business model), and you have 5, they should take only 35% of your time. If they are high maintenance, deal with it, establish boundaries, put in place rules for yourself, change your scheduling habits, get accountability partner, and recognize that the time difference between full capacity and current client load (number of team members needing coaching in my case) gets added to the marketing time budget.

If out of 10 clients full capacity you have only 2 clients, they get 20% of your total client time. The other 80% of available clients time gets moved to marketing. By the time you are full, with 10 active clients, you’ll only spend 20% of your time marketing, at 3 events a month. Getting the work is the essential activity of a business.

So develop checklists and see how much time you currently spend on different parts of your business. If it is out of balance, make adjustments. Remember, getting the work is the work.

 

Old School Idea, New Internet-Driven Term

Before attempting to show up with a blog, I had to read and learn a lot. About blogging. About content. About giving my reader what they like (or desperately need) so they would come for more of it.

It is interesting to see how marketing whatever it is that you want your customers to buy from you on the internet is based on the same old school good business practices, and how taking care of your customers is still an extremely important part of any business. Online or offline.

What is even more fascinating is those people who know you, like you, appreciate you very much, but yet would not buy from you. What they do for you however is support your reputation. No, they are a huge part of creating your reputation. They tell people they know about what you’ve got, once they hear that those people have a need (or want) that you can meet.

Back a year ago when I was just learning about blogs, successful blogs that is, and what it takes to have one, I spent a lot of time reading articles by Sonia Simone on Copyblogger and Remarkable Communication. Opened up a Twitter account, and started ‘following’ her tweets from Copyblogger there. Well once I made a decision that a blog is something I can take on (after I totally failed with it a year ago), I resurrected my twitter account to find a twit to a great article about second customer by Sonia Simone. Old school idea, new internet-driven term. Who is second customer? I will tie it up, don’t worry.

Just the other day I finished my summaries of great ideas Wendy Kinney is sharing with the world in Networking Aerobics (look for it on the right in books, if you are curious). And here it is – networking is not handing out business cards; networking is introductions; networking is learning about people and introducing them to other people; their gratitude to you is repaid in connections and referrals. Yes, that is the word I was looking for – referrals.

Last May I was on one of weekly calls with the top earner in the company I do. He had a guest speaker, who at the time did not do this company. She is a generic trainer for network marketing companies. Her website was mentioned on the call, and of course being as curious as I and willing to learn (I love the word ‘coachable’) I went looking for what’s on there.

Yes, I ended up buying her orange book (look for it on the right – ‘If My Product Is So Great…’), and found out that when you speak language that a 13 year old can understand, people hear you actually, your words are actually penetrating their skull rather than bouncing off of it. Here is the phrase that is a back-bone of your closing statement ‘Do you know anyone who might like to know about a product like that?’ What you are essentially asking them is to give them referrals, not to buy from them. That is brilliant! I love that a lot.

So, second customer is your ally, the one who will talk about you online and offline. They will spread the word and bring you ready customers – or was it traffic? Both actually, when what you’ve got is really someone’s need or want, you want both people from a nearby small town and people from across the world. Just let them both of your customers know how much you appreciate them as persons and how much their business and loyalty means to you.

The company I do helps me do both in the way that is memorable to both of my customers – first and second. Thank you for your referrals – online and offline my dear friends.

How To Exit. Graciously. Follow up. (Tools To Use For Profit)

After you have introduced your conversation partner Jane to Mary who was wrapping it up with Kim, you are about to leave Jane and Mary to meet someone new. Wait a minute, it is even easier than that – someone new is right in front of you – it is Kim, Mary’s conversation partner who is also available to talk with someone new now!

There could be another scenario – Jane and Mary could include Kim into their conversation. Just tell Jane that you will call her, smile and walk away. You have done your job as an introducer, you let Mary know why you wanted her to meet Jane – your explanation made everyone comfortable.

Networking is not handing out business cards. Networking is introductions. Networking is learning about people and introducing them to other people. You are the link, that is the work. Without you they won’t know each other. Their gratitude to you is repaid in connections and referrals.

One way you get business out of all of this is you tell them Problem-Action-Results story and they might relate to it and say ‘I need that now’. Listen to them and smile. When they finish ask them if next morning would be good time to call for an appointment. It is easy when they are magnetically attracted. They will choose you instead of you prospecting them.

Another way you get business is – they will remember your Problem-Action-Results story and when they have a client with the same problem they will say ‘I know exactly who you need to talk to…’ And because you kept in touch they will bring that ready client right to you. Wendy Kinney calls this ‘happy, happy, joy, joy networking. It’s a waste of time with a glass of wine.

When you are back home take those business cards with your notes on them and do exactly what you told those people you would do. You have to follow up so they remember you and know that they can rely on you when they refer a client. It is much easier to just put business cards into to-do pile and start checking e-mail and voice mail.

Not following up is often the only reason networking is not profitable. It is essential when you plan to go to a networking event to block time the next day to follow up. That is how you know to offer a call for an appointment next morning. The next thing you do is schedule your next networking event. That is right – rinse and repeat!

How to Do The Introduction (Tool to Use For Profit)

I did tell you in one of earlier posts that the more comfortable people are around you at a networking event, the more they like you, right? That is exactly what you want them to do, so they are much more inclined to refer business to you.

That is why when you have spent 6 to 10 minutes talking to them and are ready to part ways, it will be profitable to you to release the conversation by introducing them to someone else. Less than 10 minutes and they will not remember the conversation when you follow up, more than 10 minutes and it will cost you an opportunity to meet someone else. By this time you should have thought about someone you want to introduce them to.

While talking with your conversation partner you have learned that their daughter is in the marching band. You know that Jane Doe also has a child in the marching band. So tell them, that you want to introduce them to Jane Doe because she is going to want to hear about their daughter’s experience in the band.

Now turn away and look around the room until you spot Jane. Then say ‘she is over here’ and start walking toward her with your conversation partner. Are you concerned that it would be rude to interrupt someone’s conversation? Remember that everybody there to meet new people. Jane is here to make connections, you will be doing her a favor by introducing your conversation partner to her.

Of course that does not change the fact that interrupting is rude, so while you are walking toward her  1. make eye contact with her and 2. smile really wide, showing teeth. She will know that you are walking toward her and will bring her conversation to the place where she can bring you in. She will create a moment to reach out her hand and greet you. Shake hands with her and then say ‘Jane I would like to introduce you to Mary, her daughter is in the marching band’. As you are saying this they will be shaking hands, then start talking and you will be out of it.

If Jane did not see you coming, there is a way to know if it is OK to interrupt a conversation. If two people are standing kneecap to kneecap, do not interrupt, it is a private conversation. If people are standing in an open triangle, they are inviting people to join their conversation. If you see Jane standing kneecap to kneecap with someone, you could tell Mary that you will bring Jane over later and introduce her to someone else.

You will make each of them so comfortable, that beginning a conversation will be easy for them. They will each think of you as a ‘great networker’. They will both like you. Mission accomplished, you are building good relationships with people.

I will go practice what I learn from Wendy Kinney’s book ‘Networking Aerobics’ at 3 different events in the next 2 weeks, as I am looking for business partners to join my team.

5 Steps to Make Their Business Card Work for You (Tool to Use For Profit)

You are a happy owner of your conversation partner’s business card now. Not only that, you also know how you are going to make next contact, because you just told them that when you asked for their card.

Do you get it that it is not important if you talk about your business or not. You are in control. You are going to make another contact anyway. You have not lost anything because they were never going to write you a check on the spot anyway. They will have referrals for you if you stay in touch.

The tips below will help you remember the person who gave you the card and how to follow up.

1. Make a note on the back of their card to tell you what your next action is going to be. Like ‘set up lunch with a friend’, ‘send an article on soccer’. Write the note right there, let them see you documenting the conversation. They were so good, you are not leaving it to a chance. Your credibility will instantly grow, and they will like you.

2. Use a personal shorthand. An L with a circle around it, and a word ‘friend’ should be enough to let you know it is a 3-way Lunch. An A with a circle and ‘soccer’ could be another reminder. An I with a circle and the name of the business association you plan to invite them to will also do the job.

3. Be prepared to not follow through. Yes, you will meet people whose values don’t match yours. It if OK to let them go. In her book ‘Networking Aerobics’ Wendy Kinney is sharing her silent shorthand for that – she bends top right hand corner of the card like a bookmark. When back in your office, you can just throw these kind of cards away. In the unlikely event that they ask what bent corner means, just tell them it is a shorthand.

4. Some people will not appreciate you writing on the front of their cards. If you can make them feel good by writing on the back, not the front of the card, that will show that you are paying attention to them as a person. Absolutely do just that. Write on the back of their card. They will not feel like you are defacing their card, they will like you for that.

5. If their card is glossy, use that stash of 3×5 cards for notes. You can wrap a note card around their business card. Wendy Kinney uses different color ink for different events she attends. Do the same, especially during holiday season, when you go to networking events they call parties – and do everything exactly the same way as I describe in this series of posts. I, of course make sure I get their mailing address, because of the type of business that I do do.

Next post will cover what you need to do to get rid of this person somehow, once you have their card. Sorry, I did not mean it like that. (I could not help it, this joke is directly from Wendy Kinney’s book.

Should You Give Your Business Card? (Tool to Use For Profit)

Now after you had a little conversation with someone, asked them what they do and told them a story about your customer’s results you have a reason to ask them for their business card. You simply ask ‘May I have your card?’

Do not offer your card before they ask for it. If you were taught that the more business cards you hand out, the more business you will get – don’t believe it, it’s a lie. The only one who will be making any money is your printer. If you hand out cards without people asking for them, what makes you think you will get business that way?

Remember the last networking event you went to? How many cards did you collect? Aren’t they wrapped by a rubber band and collecting dust in your desk drawer, making no money for those people? What benefit did those people get from giving you their card? There is absolutely no value in giving your business card to someone who did not ask for it. They don’t have place to put it, so it will end up in the their upper left drawer in the dark.

Wendy Kinney has a suggestion, of course. Her book ‘Networking Aerobics’ has much more detail on a lot of things, but here are a couple of tips from her:

After you found out what you have in common, and how you can bring benefit to each other you ask for their card. First you are going to tell them what you will do with it, otherwise they will think that you just want to add them to your Newsletter mailing list. You can say something to the effect of ‘I will set up lunch with a friend of mine, you will enjoy her’, or ‘I will forward the next announcement and we can go together’, or ‘I’d like to stay in touch’.

When you tell them what you are going to do with the card, they will be eager to give it to you and will look forward to the next contact with you. Once you have their card, take it in two hands and make a comment about it. Complement their logo, or tag line, take a look at their name, ask how long they have been with the company. People will start modelling what you do and everyone will be more comfortable because of you.

Of course, because of what I do has to do with snail mail, I always make sure I have people’s mailing address, so I can mail them ‘Nice to Meet You’ card. May be with a coffee shop gift card.

I want them to remember me, like me and call me back.

How to Answer ‘What Do You Do?’ (Tool to Use For Profit)

Be the first one to ask them ‘What do you do?’

Wait until you find out what you have in common with the person you are having conversation with and them be the first to ask ‘So, what do you do?‘ It is the way to be most comfortable, most in control, most appreciated, most interesting and most networked. If you ask first you’ll get valuable information to use in your answer when they ask you.

If you reply by naming your business classification, they will either make a joke about your profession or start naming your competition. It is not possible to make any money when your conversation partner is naming your competition. This is what Wendy Kinney teaches in her book ‘Networking Aerobics’.

Sure, you can try what I have done recently and re-route the conversation: the winner of my give away at a local business association meeting (well, the prize was 2 delicious brownies that can be sent as a gift with a greeting card) said that she is very familiar with my product and tried to remember the name of the person who first mentioned the product to her.

I said, that I am not interested in the name, but very interested to know if she herself has a free account to use the product. I got a commitment to meet with her for a demo, but still, it is better to not risk it. Don’t use your pigeon hole (don’t name your business classification), there is no money in it. Unless you do not want to have a conversation. Pigeon hole = conversation over. Works every time.

Back to be the first to ask – they will answer, and then ask you. You will be able to customize your response (rather than give them cute/nothing or elevator pitch), you will sound like you have been paying attention to them and they will like that about you, because you made them feel good.

Here are some tips to craft a profitable answer. You goal is to make this new acquaintance remember you, right? Tell them a story of how your client had a Problem, you took an Action, and here are your client’s Results. People remember stories. Write down on 3×5 cards 100 stories to fit any situation. And finish your stories with what your prospective client wants (result, that is), so they can refer people to you.

If they don’t ask you what you do, don’t worry – this is just your first contact. You will stay in touch with them, remember the stats – 80% of the time it takes 5 or more contacts before they do business with you or refer to you.

Ready to hear about business cards tomorrow?

How to Have a Little Conversation (Tool to Use for Profit)

Conversation is a layer that will make the other person want to know you. Their interest in you will make you comfortable.

You went to the networking event to meet people and get business and you think business is what you should be talking to people right off the bat. Wrong. Do not do it. The number one reason people do not get business at networking events is because they hand over a business card and talk about what they do before they have a conversation.

The more I read Wendy Kinney’s book (‘Networking Aerobics’), the more I am blown away by how much little things, that many of us do backwards at networking mixers matter.

Listen to this: just like it is important for romantically involved couple to have their first fight and recover from it before they have sex (in that particular order – first fight-recovery-sex, reversing it dooms the relationship), the same way when you first meet people it’s essential to show them, you are interested in them personally as a person, not a prospective paying client, before you give them a card or talk about business.

People do business with people. If you don’t find out what you have in common before you talk about business it dooms the relationship. You will miss a lot of business if you don’t find out what you have in common with the person in front of you first.

Don’t ask questions that are way too personal – even if you think that what you’ve got will help them with whatever issue you think they might have. Stick to ‘have you been to this mixer before?’, ‘are you new in town?’, ‘where are you originally from?’, ask them if they have children and ask questions about children. Ask them about their vacation plans. It is much easier to follow up when you know what you have in common – many times it creates a reason for follow up.

Once you find out at a big sales meeting or a convention for instance (because this technique works everywhere) that your grandparents and the other person’s grandparents where from the same little town, it will be much easier for you to invite them for lunch and start building that relationship even further, wouldn’t it?

If the person you are having a conversation with keeps talking about themselves (way beyond 6 minute max you planned to have per conversation) or if they have nothing to say, stick your hand out, say ‘Nice to meet you’ and go find someone else.

Network. The purpose of a conversation is to find a credible reason to make a second contact. Go for business now and it’s all over. Make a personal connection and you can make money.

It is profitable for you now to ask what they do.