Cultivating Lasting Client Relationships

Meaningful Client Relationships Take Time and Effort

Relationships are the axle around which life turns; whether its with family, friends or in business, they are the foundation to a happy and healthy life. Nurturing these relationships, in all areas of your life, takes some effort, and though you may not categorize your client relationships in the same plane as your personal ones, it’s important to recognize that they can all be nurtured in the same basic ways. The age of technology has given us ways to automate certain aspects of our lives; its often possible to navigate through an entire day without the need to speak to anyone in person. The ease with which we can fall into the pattern of assuming an email will do the job is startling. The time-proven truth is that personal relationships can directly influence whether your business succeeds or fails.

To quote a man who knew a thing or two about nurturing a love affair between a client and a product, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Walt Disney.

However, when you’re trying to grow a business, providing quality product is not enough. Your clients need to feel like they are part of the whole picture. This cannot be accomplished through e-interactions alone. The love for your business must come from their understanding that they are more than a “saved” contact in your autodial. A client-focused culture should fuel the need to produce an outstanding product. When you are genuinely engaged and listening to what your client needs and wants, you are more likely to create a relationship in which your client is an advocate for your business.

Today’s reality is that at any moment, an unhappy client can share their opinion with the masses through social media, and the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build can be affected negatively very quickly.

So… How do you make a client fall in love with you?

Keep it Real
Remember names, listen carefully and genuinely respond to issues, concerns and questions – small details matter. Even when delivering less-than-happy news, when you don’t remain personality-less, you are far more likely to have an interaction that both you and your client can learn from. Transparency assures that your client is felt included and considered, and this carries a great deal of weight in a world that often seems impersonal and isolated. Treating others the way you’d like to be treated is our rule of thumb.

Don’t be too Sales-y
Learn to judge when the time is right to sell a new or improved feature or product to your client. This is where emotional intelligence comes in and learning to “read the room” – body language, yours and theirs, the choice of words, all of this is a factor. Find the right tone: be professional but keep it light when you can; this is often a winning combination. If in doubt about whether the time is right to sell, take a moment and ease into it or wait. Too pushy doesn’t always yield the results you’re hoping for and can bring down the room quicker than you can say, “PowerPoint presentation with 350 slides!

LISTEN, Listen, listen
Take the time to call when you can’t meet, and when you do, have a two-way dialogue. It’s easy to lose patience when you think what is being asked for is unreasonable, but carefully consider all that is said; there are always ways to find a compromise you can all live with. Your clients are the lifeblood of your organization, it’s important to remember this AT ALL TIMES.

Honesty is Key
Be realistic about the services you can and cannot provide and the questions you can and cannot answer. This honesty will help build trust between you and your customer. A foundation built on honesty will reap large dividends in the long-term.

Meaningful relationships take time and effort; if you take them for granted, expect too much, or appear apathetic, it can cost you dearly. Remember to remain mindful and you could pave your career with relationships that will last a lifetime.

Love Your Customers

It’s so simple but such great advice. If you want your customers to love you, you need to love them first.

“The reason we love our parents is because they loved us first. Every single company should take this advice.” – GARY VAYNERCHUK

Think about the companies you love. You love them not only because they offer you a great product but because they value you as a customer and you know it. They treat you right. They go to great lengths to keep you happy. And they never forget to tell you how thankful they are for your business. I bet you’re thinking about a few of your favorites right now. How do they make you feel loved, wanted and happy to return to them again and again? How can you give that same feeling and experience to your customers?

Let’s go back to the parent analogy again… but let’s take it one step further. It’s not just that your parents love you, it’s that you KNOW they love you. They show you how much they love you. They make you feel special. They tell you how thankful they are for you.

What about your customers? I pretty certain you love them but the question is… do THEY know you love them?

What can YOU do to make your customers feel this way? It’s pretty basic stuff:

  • First and foremost, provide your customers with what want. How do you know what they want? Ask. A few ways to do this: ask for ideas at point of sale on your Facebook page, start a discussion on Twitter, solicit their feedback with surveys, create a focus group.
  • Listen to your customers. When you get their feedback, take it seriously. They know firsthand what your customers want and need. They are a valuable asset. Treat them that way. Show them that you’re listening by honoring reasonable requests, implementing great ideas, rewarding them and thanking them for their feedback.
  • Train your staff to care about your customers as much as you do. Instill a culture of exceptional service. You need to engage your frontline staff, the people customers see and speak with every day. It is so important to deliver exceptional service at every interaction. This may just mean creating a few simple guidelines for employees to follow when dealing with customers.
  • Treat your customer right. Be genuine when you interact with them. Talk to them as you would in person. Ask their name. Tell them your name. Being genuine is being likeable. And always be respectful. That means being patient when they have an issue.
  • Build trust with your customers every chance you get. That means follow through, follow through, follow through. Honor what you say. It also means open communication. Always communicate the good and bad with your customers. Fix problems in a timely manner when they arise. Apologize if that’s what you need to do.
  • Stay in touch with you customers. This means maintaining an active social media presence, writing to your customers, making it easy for them to reach you, meeting them in person. Be creative. Above all, be authentic and connect on a personal level.
  • Value your current customers. Remember that song from your childhood: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold. Pay attention to your loyal customers. Offer them incentives for their loyalty. Personalize your loyalty programs. Don’t neglect them in your efforts to attract new customers.
  • Always thank your customers. Make it a policy that everyone says “thank you” to customers.

Remember that all business is personal. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated. Love them first and they will love you back. The key to good customer service is creating personal relationships, building trust and love.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Being a Good Neighbor

Corporate giving is something that is really important to my generation and those coming up after me. It says a lot about the company you work for if they not only encourage their employees to give back also organize company-wide volunteering. This sends a message that your company is being a good neighbor and creates bonds, new friendships and teamwork within the employees.

Did you know that 71 percent of employees felt more positive about their company as a result of their corporate giving programs and volunteering opportunities according to an LBG Associates Survey?

Approximately 90 percent of HR professionals state that volunteering and giving back locally is an effective way to develop future leaders of your company and increase team problem solving.

So what does being a good neighbor mean to you?

For Conveyance it isn’t just writing a check to a local nonprofit. If you are truly going to be a good neighbor, besides a monetary donation, invest time in the organization or groups that you are passionate about. Learn what they do, how they do and what their REAL needs are.  Do they need help with Operations? Marketing? Distribution? Accounting?

Operations, marketing, distribution and accounting are areas sometimes run by volunteers that may or may not have a lot of experience in their assigned arena. If you are the number one accountant in the area (either according to you or with actual awards of validation that SAY you are number one), donating time to help the nonprofit get their books in order may be of greater service than just writing the check.

What does this have to do with marketing? Nothing much. Corporate giving can attract great talent and loyal employees, increase visibility in your area, connect with other volunteers over a common charitable platform, and improve a company’s reputation and image.

At Conveyance we have selected three nonprofits to donate marketing services to for 2015. For this New Year, we have selected Mobile Hope Loudoun, Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation. We look forward to working with these organizations to achieve their goals by providing targeted marketing for fundraising, mission message and volunteer engagement.

Would you like to be a good neighbor too and help these wonderful organization?

Contact Conveyance to be part of giving back with us! cdobson@conveyancemarketinggroup.com

 

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Pivot: Consumers Trust Friends for Brand Recommendations; Three Things NOT To Do on LinkedIn; Paper Isn’t Dead: Print Catalogs Trump Social Networks

Conveying this week’s most interesting marketing tactics, trends and techniques & our top three picks: Consumers Trust Friends for Brand Recommendations; What Not to do on Your LinkedIn Profile; & Print Catalogs Trump Social Networks in Both Online and In-store Purchasing.

Report: 70% of Consumers Trust Brand Recommendations From Friends

A recent Forrester Research report based on responses from 58,000 individuals, reveals that seventy percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, but only 10 percent trust advertising. Social Media avenues such as Facebook Sponsored Stories, which are based on friend recommendations on behalf of a brand, are more effective than standard banner ads. Mashable’s Todd Wasserman dissects this recent Forrester Research Report and adds his own insights. Read More

Three Things NOT To Do on LinkedIn

You have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and get across a clear message. That’s true whether you’re selling a product or service, or if you’re selling yourself in the job market. That’s why you want your LinkedIn profile to be a help, not a hindrance. Steve Woodruff visually and verbally demonstrates the good, bad and ugly of a LinkedIn profile. Read More

Online Reviews Influence Shoppers Most, but Print Catalogs Trump Social Networks

Well, I guess paper really isn’t dead …according to a survey from Baynote and the e-tailing group, paper catalogs trump social media in both online and in-store purchasing. While online reviews still influence shoppers the most, the report revealed that social networking sites exert less influence over purchases. For the full low down 22% for catalogs, 15% for Facebook and a Twitter/Pinterest tie at 12%, you have to read on. Read More

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Marketing Mix … with Some Additional Ps

Remember when the 4 Ps was all you had to know to be a successful marketer: Product, Place, Price and Promotion? Well … the world has gotten a lot smaller and reaching people has gotten a lot easier. This adds some additional Ps to the mix.

The new Ps … People, Process and Positioning

When I talk about people, I am referencing both your customers and employees. Now that the world is smaller and geographic boundaries have been removed, your customers have so many options – this makes customer retention quite challenging. The way to retain customers is through relationship building. Relationship building is the job of your employees.

I read an analogy on relationship building; and think it is worthy of sharing: Compare how you behave driving in rush-hour traffic with how you drive down your own street past your neighbors. When you know you will see people again, or if you want to see them again, you treat them better. Share this with your employees and stress that they are the frontline when it comes to meeting customer expectations and building brand loyalty.

The original Ps hinge upon the Processes that you put in place. Once upon a time (actually not that long ago) packaged goods companies that relied on box stores to sell their good had no direct relationship with customers – think back to when the Apple stores did not exist. Now companies like Apple use their own brick and mortar, online, and social mediums to build direct relationships with customers. All these mediums take proper management, monitoring, and maintenance to be sure that customer expectations are met and brand loyalty is established.

The final of the “7” Ps refers to the overall experience of using the product or service. In other words, does the positioning of the product match the physical experience? The people you hire, the products you ship or service you provide, the price you charge, the promotions you choose, and the processes you put in place all contribute to the customer experience … and your overall success.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Facebook Moms

While Pinterest might be the new kid on the block in terms of marketing potential, it’s still no match for the power of a “Facebook Mom.”

Moms lead the pack when comes to liking brands on Facebook, according to a recent survey by Burst Media. Fifty eight percent of moms follow or like brands on social media sites.

Burst interviewed 1,453 U.S. adults aged 18 or older and found that 76.3 percent of respondents visit social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare, with women being more active than men. Forty nine percent of female respondents visit social media sites at least a few times each day, versus only 34 percent of men.

The survey showed …

  • Moms are the group of consumers most likely to follow their favorite brands on social media.
  • Two out of three readers learn about brands via likes from blogs, with moms and 18-34-year-olds particularly influenced by brand mentions.
  • Sixty-six percent of blog readers answered that a promotion by a blogger influences their purchase decisions online
  • More than 49 percent of “moms” are loyal to brands online and occasionally like or follow a brand on social media sites.
  • The most common reason people gave for liking their favorite brands online was, To show support for it.
  • One in four are likely to follow a brand because of a socially enabled online ad

Many opportunities via online advertisers and blogging exist for small business marketers to inject social vehicles into their efforts to drive user engagement. At Conveyance Marketing Group, we can help you interject social media into your overall marketing strategy.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

The Importance of Free

When Kantar Media asked over 2,500 people what encouraged them to purchase more products online, the top two responses had something in common: the word “free.” “More than three out of four shoppers cited ‘free shipping’ as the factor that would get them to purchase, and the second most common was ‘free returns,'” writes Roger Dooley at Neuromarketing. “This data underscores the fact that FREE! still works like a charm.”

To illustrate the word’s positive effect, he recounts an Amazon campaign that offered free shipping in several countries. Sales rose everywhere, except France. A quick investigation revealed the problem instead of free shipping, the French offer had been switched to an ultra-low delivery charge of around 25 cents.

While the difference between $59.00 and $59.25 would seem too trivial to notice, it matters to online shoppers. And when Amazon corrected the French offer making delivery truly free an instant uptick in sales matched that observed in other countries.

Free strategies you might consider:

  • Free shipping. As with Amazon’s experience, one major retailer sees a significant boost from free shipping offers, even though its everyday shipping costs are very low.
  • Free returns. Zappos built its brand by eliminating risk from the return process customers who don’t worry about costs associated with returns are more likely to make a purchase.
  • Free products or upgrades. Is there an inexpensive companion product that most everyone will find useful? An upgrade, perhaps? A warranty extension?Adding something that costs you little can add to the perception of value, and might be more effective than simply cutting the price of your product or service.

The Point: No matter how sophisticated customers become, it seems they will still find freebies irresistible.

Source: Neuromarketing, MarketingProfs

 

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Hello This is Peggy What is Problem Please?

Is customer service dead? The Discover Card commercials with the bearded, Ukranian and very male credit-card customer-service representative named Peggy, certainly speaks to our times.

These Discover Card commercials focus on customer service, or more specifically, the lack thereof at some of the financial institutions in the US. But, sadly this is a situation that spans across several industries.


Peggy Puts a USA Prime Credit Customer on Perpetual Hold

Every time these commercials come on, I watch them and laugh out loud. I don’t even skip them if I am watching a DVR’ed program. However, in reality, when you are struggling to get through and then to deal with a customer service representative, it’s no laughing matter.

Today I received a very thoughtful gift from my husband and daughters, a bouquet of pink roses and calla lilies … you noticed I said thoughtful and not beautiful. It came from FTD and typically their quality is superior. But this is Mother’s Day weekend one of their busiest times of the year…

I opened the box and my bouquet of flowers looked awful! The pink roses were brown around the tips and at the base and the calla lilies were flattened. I have experience with flowers and know that sometimes you have to pull the outside layer of petals off of roses when they arrive … if I did this with these roses, I would have nothing but the stem left!

So, knowing that my husband spent a considerable amount of money on this bouquet, I called FTD to resolve the issue. I was told via a recording that the wait would be approximately 15 minutes. It took 25 minutes to get connected then I was on the phone with a gentleman whose first language was not English.

  • TIP: If outsourcing your customer service, it is critical that all of your representatives have good English languish skills.

It was hard for me to understand how FTD was going to resolve the problem. Like Peggy, my representative’s inability to answer simple questions – beyond reading from a script – was quite frustrating. In the end, I was told that they were going to replace my bouquet.

  • TIP: Empower your customer service representatives. The consumer can tell when a customer service representative is simply reading off of a computer screen.

Next my husband’s phone began to ring and buzz at 10:30 PM. The same customer service representative was on the line. I will give them an A for follow up but still the language barrier was a real issue. I think I was being told that the flowers my husband had ordered were no longer in stock. The representative was giving me instructions on what to do next, but I couldn’t understand him. I nicely told him that I thought we were having a communication issue and asked to speak with a supervisor. I was put on hold for a couple of minutes and then he came back and said, “He’s not around.” This is no joke!

  • TIP: Be prepared. If this is your busy season, staff up and sock up!

Customer service is one of the most important parts of your company’s overall strategy to conducting business. So why is it mostly every consumers can easily mention examples of poor customer service in their daily lives?


Peggy Disappoints a Customer Who’s Calling to Redeem Her USA Prime Credit

Every company either has or thinks it has good customer service. However, if certain steps are not taken to ensure this, the reality of their situation is often far worse than their current perceptions.

You need to be the company that gets it right the first time, and if you don’t, you must quickly rectify your mistakes. If you consistently make this part of how you conduct business, customer loyalty will continue to grow. The surest way to continued success and future growth is to not only meet your customers expectations, but to exceed them at every possible turn.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

How Do You Want to be Perceived by Clients and Prospects?

At this time of the year, I often reflect on the year past – what worked for the business, where are improvements needed, what can we leverage and build upon for the next year?

One thing I do every January is revisiting my positioning statement. Positioning statements state how you want the world to see your business. It’s not always how the world or you clients see you today –it is what you are striving for.

It should be the core message you want to deliver in every marketing medium – including elevators, waiting rooms, and on the soccer field – to influence and enhance the perception of your service.

There are seven key questions to ask when building your positioning statement:

  • Who: Who are you?
  • What: What business are you in?
  • For Whom: What people do you serve?
  • What Need: What are the special needs of the people you serve?
  • Against Whom: With whom are you competing?
  • What’s Different: What makes you different from those competitors?
  • So: What’s the benefit? What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?

I’ll give you an example: Bloomingdale’s (because I love to shop!) and because this is the statement that has held strong for many, many years.

Bloomingdale’s (who) are fashion-focused department stores (what) for trend-conscious, upper-middle-class shoppers (for whom) looking for high-end products (what need). Unlike other department stores (against whom), Bloomingdale’s provides unique merchandise in a theatrical setting (what’s different) that makes shopping entertaining (so).

Bloomingdale’s focuses on the entertainment of shopping (my favorite past time) not on “couture fashions” (Bergdorf), “stuff to die for” (Neiman’s) or “good stuff cheap” (Wal-Mart.)

Ask yourself these seven questions and have clear answers.

Don’t be over zealous, think about how your clients perceive you, think about how you want to be perceived and close the gap – but be sure it is a small gap to begin with … clients and prospects won’t make a huge leap!

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Become a CNO in Your Business

A What? CNO … in other words a Chief Networking Officer.

I recently blogged on the topic of networking … and then looked to BNI founder and networking virtuoso, Ivan Misner to see what he had to add to the topic.

We are of the same thought that adopting the mindset of a CNO will help you grown your business.

There are a few simple steps to ensure that you are playing the part of CNO …

1. Participate in two to three networking events each month 
AND follow up with people you meet. 
Can we all say we do that regularly?

2. Make a list of the people you wanted to keep in contact with and put them into your calendar and reach out to them once a month via a personal phone call – try to schedule at least two per week.

3. Send a note to people you’ve fallen out of touch with and with whom you’d like to reconnect – past clients, past vendors, a friend of a friend, another business owner you chatted with at your local coffee shop a few months ago. This will keep you foremost in these people’s minds

4. Take good care of your database.
 If you don’t currently use a sales database, send me a quick email and I will direct you to some free database management tools. This is your GOLD – so mine it.

5. Always thank your referral partners.
 Extending a simple “thank you” is probably the single biggest action a CNO can take to maximize the number of referrals you get.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.