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Performance Improvement: Do your customer experience ads lie?

We want to share two examples of brand trashing and, for complete contrast, a great example of recovery.  Also, we’ll look at a simple formula you can use to think about how well you deliver value to your customers. You must have had experiences where promises made by the organisation that wanted your business were not delivered.  This breaks trust in the brand which is tough to rebuild. These are three real life customer experiences from the banking and printing industries.  We help organisations design and deliver compelling customer experiences so these three events will go straight into our casebook as standouts on how to – prove your advertising is nothing but spin, or recover from a potentially bad experience and secure loyalty   Customer experience #1. New business? Come back later Wanting to open a business account to deposit a large sum, we went to the business branch of a major bank, whose constant advertising stresses their high level of commitment to meeting the needs of their customers. We waited over half an hour.  We were finally directed to the person handling new business only to have him announce that he was new to this role and in training so he couldn’t open a business account. We asked him to find someone who could help us.  Minutes later he returned to say no one else was available to assist but if we didn’t mind waiting another half hour or so someone senior might be back from lunch. Meeting the needs of their customers was not a priority for this bank. Their ads lied about the customer experience they promised! Naturally we left and opened the account at another bank where trained people were available.   Customer experience #2. Same bank, same result A year later we decided to give the first bank another try.  They were still running the same ads stressing their commitment to meeting the needs of customers. We went into a large branch in the central CBD to open a business account, thinking they must have more staff than a suburban branch. Took a ticket and waited.  Watched the screen like a hawk but only to see other ticket numbers called.  Watched repetitive trivia questions and product promos on the same screen – bored! Half a lifetime or 35 minutes later we got the call to desk 2.  The pleasant young man Listened to our request to open a business account and then – Announced this was something he couldn’t do as he was only a trainee. He scurried off to find someone senior to help. Returned 5 minutes later to say no one was available to assist so Could we please make an appointment and come back another day.   Hey customers – you’re not important, we are! We insisted on seeing someone senior and after another wait the branch manager arrived to explain that – Anyone who could assist was tied up in meetings so we could either wait another 40 minutes or so for someone to be free or Make an appointment for another day. We declined another wait and asked to speak to someone more senior. The branch manager said no one more senior was available but he took our office number and said he would ask his manager to call us. You guessed it – Resounding silence!   Got to give them marks for consistency – still running the same ads with the same lies! The bank that couldn’t help us (twice) spends a lot of money advertising to attract new business customers. It seems to be paying for the advertising by cutting the number of trained staff who can sign up these new customers. Customer experience management, customer loyalty and building customer advocacy seem to be just phrases without meaning for this bank.   Customer experience #3. Customer service recovery Leaving the bank with steam coming out of our ears, we walked a few doors to a major copying and printing business to find out why business cards with our changed office address were taking more than a month to produce. The manager immediately responded by – saying this was unacceptable service, that she would have the cards delivered to us in the next two days and that there would be no charge for designing and printing. This was a great recovery and turned a potentially bad experience into a really good one.  We’ll be using them again. What do customers value? We could sum up what customers value by this equation developed by one of our UK colleagues, Shaun Smith Value = Product Quality (PQ) plus Service Quality (SQ) over Price plus Hassle.   From the customer viewpoint – Product Quality is what they get and Service Quality is how they get it. Hassle is any difficulty factor in buying the product or maintaining it. Can you see in the banking examples that Service Quality rated zero and the Hassle factor was high.  The printer got similar scores at first but recovered by shifting Service Quality to 10 and cutting the Price and Hassle factor to 0.   How does your organisation rate on the Customer Value equation? Please take a few seconds to share this because sharing ideas helps all of us to improve performance. About the Authors John Dawson & Carmel McDonald are the co-owners of Dawson McDonald Consulting.  They’ve helped hundreds of organisations and their people improve performance, to increase business results and customer loyalty.  Since 2005 they’ve been accredited as experts by the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).  Cartoon Image:  Shutterstock

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Plug the Bucket

If you think that marketing activity should be solely focused on gaining new customers, you need to read this! New customers are great. Of course we need to market ourselves to new prospects. But how about the people who already know you, like you and trust you.. are you neglecting them? It's simple maths: it costs you more to gain a new customer and then sell to them than it does to make another sale to an existing customer. Assuming you've been in business a while, you have customers that you have been delivering your product and service to; some of whom you saw just last week, others you haven’t seen since the first week you were doing business. By using the "Plug the Bucket Strategy" (loving up the customers you have, so they keep coming back) you will not only reduce your lead costs into the business but also increase the amount of money a customer spends with you, more times. A double win! That’s why it's strategy so important, and why I wanted to get you thinking about it today. In terms of the pay off, applying this will really give you bang for your buck. You probably already know this, but let me explain. It costs you something to get a customer. Whether it’s the cost of your time, or the $ investment you have made into your marketing activities, you will very rarely (dare I say never) gain a new client for free. It also costs you to get a new lead (that’s right – a prospective customer – not even someone who pays you money yet!). Despite this, so many business owners let their customers "go to the orphanage" after they have done business with them just once. This is practically throwing money away! The average business will lose customers not because the customer shifts location, has a friend in the business, or dies, but because of perceived indifference. That’s right – the customer simply thinks that the business owner does not care whether they purchase from them or the business down the road. Let’s face it – if you are not communicating with them – why should they think any differently? I have over 70 strategies around how you can ‘plug the bucket’ and increase your customer retention rate but this is my number one tip..... Constant and consistent communication(I have my clients tattoo this on their mind, haven't convinced any to get a physical tattoo of it yet, but am still trying). Constant and consistent communication is the only way to ensure your customers keep coming back to you and stop dropping off. What might this look like? A monthly newsletter; a referral program; a rewards program; social media; follow-up phone calls, to name a few. You might think you have nothing to say to your clients, so I ask you this – do all your customers know all your products and services? The answer to this is almost always no, so I suggest that this is a good place to start in ensuring your bucket is water-tight and your existing customers cared for. If you'd like to discuss this further, I'm always here to give straight-up advice. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Service garbage again...

Something about bad service that I love… having the chance to moan about it. the chance to look at gaps in the system, the chance to moan some more and put forward some ideas that could help alleviate the situation. I ordered a new item, it had to be delivered, “can’t be done before Tuesday so after then, before Friday afternoon for sure” Guess what no delivery. I was reliably informed they would call me before the delivery to confirm times etc. Up to this point things had gone well, the product was good, reasonable price, service in the store was okay, good small talk, discussed a range of options and clear advice about what would suit my needs the best. Oh and they had what I wanted in stock, just the delivery had to be sorted. Guess what, here we are, the Friday has been and gone. I ring and find out that no one had scheduled the delivery to take place. “Okay so when?” - Errg, how about Monday will you be there on Monday the guy will need a hand to unload it…” - “Yes I will be here on Monday, but they will ring first  surely?” - “Oh yeah we always do that… first thing in the morning when the deliveries are sorted out.” It’s Nearly 10:30 am and no call yet. So much for first thing in the morning… And I have to help with the unloading, not sure that I agreed to that at the point of purchase. Never mind I will wait. I’m going to mow the grass once the delivery has been organized and I know when it will be here.  In between I have to put lots of things on hold because I have been caught out before, no phone call, they arrive and I have gone out for five minutes to get something and they have tried to deliver at that time “But you said you would call first?” - “Yeah… nah that didn’t happen, but anyway, you weren’t home so no delivery, how about tomorrow?” I have had that too many times. The service started out great but failed miserably on the delivery side of things. How often does this have to happen before someone takes notice. I figure no one takes notice because the deed is done, the cash is in the Till and the Customer is now forgotten. In this competitive age you have to remember people will vote with their feet, bad service I move on. So good business people how would you sort this one out? Here are my ideas Know your customers are people and have other things to do, organize the delivery properly and set a time frame Customers can review your business and tell people about how bad things were in an instant on the internet. They can do the opposite but their satisfaction levels may cause them to take longer to post a positive note. Have a system to check what deliveries may have been missed. Call the Customer after the delivery and check on delivery time, courtesy of the delivery team, if there are any issues. Have enough delivery people so the Customer does not have to lift a finger, I don’t mind helping out but there is a limit. All of the above is not difficult is it? NO it’s not. Keep me happy so I don’t have to find alternative suppliers in the future!

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The Number One Activity To Get People Talking About Your Brand

Do you want people to talk about your brand? Of course you do. Whether you’re a for-profit or a for-purpose you know this is exactly what you want and need. When people talk, people act. And that’s exactly the goal of any business or marketing plan; to get people to act - to buy, promote, join, donate. There are 2 ways to get people to talk.   Do something stupid Do something great Let’s assume no one wants their brand to be known as having done something stupid. Regardless of the publicity. So the only real option is to do something great. There are many great things you can do that will get people talking. Provide a great product. Sell at a great price. Use great marketing. Have a great website and App. And so on. But, the greatest thing you can do to get people talking, I believe, is to provide great customer service. Ok, so it’s not revolutionary. But why do so many businesses and organisations get this wrong? And especially here in Australia! I just don’t get it. Is it laziness? Are business owners too busy? Or are we shortsighted? Are we after the sale and not the long term relationship? This is one thing you cannot afford to ignore or do badly. If you do, people will talk and act. And that won’t be good.   Personal recommendation is one key reason why people buy a certain product. Think about your own purchasing decisions. What are they based on? Two or three recommendations will usually tip you in that direction. It’s worth more than hours of your own research. Recommendations are usually based on three things. A good product, a reasonable price, and great service. While all three are important the weakest link is usually customer service. And that’s what I find people talk about the most. Customer Service for many will make or break their relationship with a company or brand. People will talk. And whatever decision they make they will influence others in the same direction. It's called social proof, and it works both ways - for good or bad.   I don't think I am overstating it when I say that customer service is one of your greatest, most powerful activities to grow and consolidate your business. If not the most powerful. This is true for both for-profit and for-purpose enterprises. It makes a lot of business-sense to ‘get smart’ with your customer service. And let me tell you a little secret, being nice and helpful is very rewarding, and apparently very good for your soul. Unfortunately I've had my fair share of bad customer service experiences. So in order to restore my faith, and yours, I thought I'd write a series of posts on great customer service stories. Here's story number 1 (via Buffer). LEGO SAVES THE DAY FOR LUKA Losing a favorite toy feels devastating to a young child. Longtime Lego fan Luka spent all of his Christmas money on a Ninjago (Lego ninja) named Jay XZ. Against his dad’s advice, he brought his Ninjago on a shopping trip … and lost it. Luka wrote a letter to Lego explaining his loss and assuring the Lego staff that he would take extra-special care of his action figure if they sent him another one. The response he received from a Lego customer support representative named Richard was nothing short of amazing. Richard told Luke that he had talked to Sensei Wu (a Ninjago character), writing: He told me to tell you, “Luka, your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu!” Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan. So, I hope you enjoy your Jay minifigure with all his weapons. You will actually have the only Jay minifigure that combines 3 different Jays into one! I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight! Just remember, what Sensei Wu said: keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your dad. TWO QUICK OBSERVATIONS 1. Lego Had A Plan and So Should You When the letter from Luka arrived I doubt they passed it around the office asking for advice on how to reply. Lego are smart enough to know this is important. Richard the customer support rep knew what to do. They had a policy their staff were empowered to act out. It wasn’t simply posted on the wall, it was part of the company culture. All businesses and nonprofits should mimic this approach. If you don’t have a policy and a plan of action you really need to create one. And all staff need to know it and act upon it. 2. The Medium Is The Message The response to Luka from Richard was creative and playful. And this is exactly what Lego is about - creativity and play. Their customer service mirrored their key value proposition. Lego not only make products for people to be creative and playful, the way they conduct their business is creative and playful. The medium, the experience of doing business with Lego, is the message. This is a smart approach to customer service that allows a brand to communicate its brand promise at every level. My love for Lego just increased. Imagine if your business had a thoughtful and creative approach to customer service. People would talk. And you won’t be able to create better marketing than that. Stay tuned and follow me for story No.2.  If you want any help regarding your customer service strategy please let me know.  

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The Secret Formula of Successful Follow-up Emails

  I feel like you probably already know this, but this statement will help set the tone for this article: Consumers have all the control. Today, consumers have access to more information, more choice and more ways to disconnect from pesky salespeople and businesses demanding their money, time and attention. This leads me to another fairly obvious statement of fact: Attention has become the most sought-after commodity in 2018. With hundreds – thousands – of businesses vying for your customers’ attention - how can you compete? How can you win their attention in order to convert that into business success? Great questions! Truly accepting these two statements – that (1) Your consumers have all the control and (2) Attention is now the most sought-after commodity - can revolutionise your business. But why, how? Another good question. In this article, I’m making the assumption that you’ve already had some contact with a prospective customer. Maybe they’ve enquired on your Facebook or Instagram page, or maybe you’re doing B2B sales and they found your website or discovered you on LinkedIn, enquired, and you’re now following-up your initial phone conversation. Either way, it’s now time to follow-up your initial contact with an email. You’ve sent similar emails a million times before, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes they reply, often they don’t, leaving you unsure of where-to next. This article breaks down our top 3 tips for sending follow-up emails that get attention, add value and encourage your prospective customer to take action. First, you need their attention When it comes to emails, the first hurdle is quite simply enticing your reader to open it.So, what makes a great subject line? Always personalise – Wherever possible, individualise your emails to your reader. This can be as simple as starting the email subject line with their first name. Inspire curiosity – Pique your recipient’s curiosity or interest with a clever subject line? The right creative phrasing can almost guarantee your reader will not be able to resist seeing what you’re talking about. Make an exclusive offer – Offer your reader something exclusive or free. If your reader likes your services and products, then this might be just the right enticement they need to take the next step. Highlight urgency – You can compel your readers to click by communicating any urgency or scarcity associated with your message. This could include the last days of a product sale, limited stock remaining on popular merchandise, final two tickets to your next event or seminar etc. Here are some Subject Line Examples using the above approaches:  Adam, Since we last spoke, I want to let you know… Carly, About our last conversation… Shaun, You’re invited to an exclusive event Karl, This is our most popular free tool! Joy, This offer is just for you! Ash, Just for you: 50% off [insert product/service] this month! Question – do you track email opens? If not, it’s going to be hard to know to what extent changing up your subject lines is impacting on open rates. Consider free tools like MailChimp, or for something more in-depth, a CRM might be the right answer for your business. At Boss Finance, we use InfusionSoft for better business analytics and marketing tools – it took time and effort to set up but has greatly helped us take the business to the next level as it makes scaling much simpler. Don’t just ‘check in’ always add value Savvy business owners know that in order to be successful today, they need to move beyond the transactional and engage with their customers on a deeper level. Businesses are doing this in many ways in addition to face-to-face relationship-building. They’re using social media tools and platforms to reach out to prospective customers, get to know them, share valuable information for free and then invite them to buy/shop/whatever.Here’s a real-life example: Melbourne Dentist clinic the_dental_room has built more than 7700 followers by offering helpful dental advice, sharing client stories and using Instagram influencers to build credibility and reach more people. They encourage engagement through posing questions and responding to comments. They introduce their happy staff. All of this is adding value to their 7700 followers who enjoy their dental tips, funny puns and seeing some of their favourite local celebrities doing what we all despise – time at the dentist! What else is The Dental Room achieving? They’re warming up their followers for their next visit to the dentist, normally a negative experience, but now something much more familiar and safe.Why are businesses bothering to do this? It goes back to consumer choice and the overwhelming competition for attention. When we engage well and offer something meaningful, interesting, inspiring or funny, we’re pre-loading value. If your ultimate objective is to ask your prospective customer for something (their money, their time, their endorsement), then you’re going to feel much better about asking if you’ve already brought them value. It’s simple reciprocity, and Gary Vaynerchuk says it better than me:           “In order to build any type of relationship that gives you the air cover to be able to ask for something down the line, you should always be the one providing the value upfront. You might not always get what you ask for, but at the end of the day, the absolute worse case scenario is that you had a positive impact on somebody through your actions, and as a human, that should just make you feel good.” So what kind of up-front value can you offer? As an example that you are most welcome to steal, at Boss Finance, our team regularly develops and shares free tools and content with people and businesses who aren’t yet our customers. We don’t ask for anything in return. To be honest, we’re pretty satisfied when people come back to us with positive feedback on how this tool has helped them, or that blog pointed them in the right direction. And we feel really good when some of them become paying customers – but that’s not necessarily the end goal. Because going back to Gary Vaynerchuk’s quote – if we make the true objective about having a positive impact on another person, literally nobody loses. So, after you’ve successfully enticed your reader to open your email, are you just another person trying to take from them? Or are you offering them something of value? Leave them with a clear request to take action Close your email with a clear avenue for your reader should they wish to progress. What this is will obviously depend on what products or services your business is offering. But, it’s important to outline: What the Action is: If your reader wants to achieve [insert their desired outcome], then the next step would be for them to [insert actionable next step]. The timeframe: Outline whether there’s a timeframe within which they might want to consider taking this step in (i.e. you might have a special offer for them that expires soon, or your services are seasonal, or you book up quickly so they need to confirm to secure a booking). Let them know they have a choice: You’ve set out the action and timeframe for them to take, now it’s just a matter of letting them know you know they’re in control. You can do this in a few ways – using the words “should you choose to proceed” is an easy one. So here are the key takeaways for writing the perfect follow-up email: Get your email opened with a strong and personalised subject line. Consider their pain points and add something of value (for free). Ask them to take action, should they choose. Good luck and I’d love your feedback on how this information helps you and your business’ follow-up emails!

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True colours, why my foul mouth makes my biz more money than anything else!

I have a confession to make. Actually if you know me you will laugh, because it is hardly a confession. I have a foul mouth. In fact if my Mother ever heard me talk it would literally make her cringe. Here is the thing though: I don’t want clients like my Mother. Now don’t get me wrong she is a wonderful lady and I have the utmost respect for her, she is just not the type of person that I want to attract as a client. So what do I mean that I don’t want clients like my Mother? It’s pretty simple really, if I am not turning any body off (people like my Mother) then I am not turning anybody on either. Billy Connolly calls it being beige, Mal Emery refers to it as boring plain vanilla. Long story short, if you aren’t colorful, then you are doomed to attracting mediocre clients forever. What is one mans trash is another mans treasure. And the trash that comes out of my mouth is a lot of peoples treasure. My clients are only concerned about the results that I get for them. Once they talk to me one on one they know exactly what they are getting themselves in for. And that is I am  going to give 150% effort to ensure that they get what they want. IMHO foul mouths get a bad wrap. There are certain swear words (mainly that one that starts with F) that pack a lot more punch than anything else in the dictionary. Again those that know me well know that I don’t pull any punches. What you see and hear, is exactly what you get. You see construction (yes I am a boilermaker by trade) runs in my blood, my Dad (RIP) is to thank for that , I love the industry and I have made some of the most awesome mates that I would literally trust with my life by being involved in the industry. To build that trust and respect you have to be able to speak the lingo, and that lingo (be it right or wrong) is swearing. Do my clients think it’s unprofessional? No they love me for it because they know I am real and genuine and that I don't’ hide anything. In fact I believe it builds are certain level of trust that I wouldn't be able to generate any other way. I do however know when it is appropriate and when it’s not. Take this platform for instance. I am privileged to be able to share my thoughts with you on here and would never jeopardize that privilege, by breaking the rules that apply. However I do still want you to see my True Colors, hence this post. I mean how many profiles (On social media & websites) do you read where it says… I am such and such and I am passionate about, add whatever they do. That to me is weak. If I need to tell people that I am passionate about what I do, then I am obviously not doing my job with the content (video, audio, blog posts) that I am creating. You can’t convince someone you are passionate about what you do, unless you show them exactly what it is that makes you passionate. Your True Colors. Now don’t think for one minute that I am telling you to carry on like me. Far from it. What I do cannot be forced, and it will look fake if you try and force it. What I do is me to a tee. Warts and all. And this my friend is the challenge for you. “Don’t be afraid to let them show, Your True Colors, are beautiful like a rainbow” Cyndi Lauper      

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What is good Customer Service?

Last year I established my own business. Like most small business owners, I spent (and continue to spend) a great deal of time reading and researching the best practises, tips and smart ideas to ensure my business succeeds. What amazes me is the lack of focus regarding the importance of actual Customer Service. Much of the content I have read was focussed on sales & numbers! Having spent over 22 years working for one of ‘the big four banks’, customer service and satisfaction remains one of the main differentials when Customers were selecting a Bank. My former employer was an organisation who provided regular training and programs to enhance and improve the standard of their Customer satisfaction and service standards. This focus has put me in good stead for my new venture as a business owner. So let me share some of my learning with you. Respond. It really is a simple step, but some businesses fail to look after their existing clientele. Whether the Client is in your store, is on your social media page, or sent you an email, they are looking for your acknowledgement. Clients will contact you for different reasons, make a purchase, ask questions about your product/service, complaint, or maybe a referral opportunity. Whatever the reason you must respond to them. Put simply, if your Client contacts you, answer them!  I acknowledge that sometimes it’s not always practical to respond immediately, but ensure you do. If you use social media, be sure you check it regularly or have notifications set up when a client posts a comment or question on your wall etc. Failing to acknowledge social media comments (whether good or bad) gives the impression of not caring about your customer. Not returning calls is poor business behaviour. Imagine a builder who failed to return calls for a client who had recently moved into their new home. Unbeknown to the builder, this client was planning to build an investment property; needless to say another building company constructed the client’s investment property. Listen.  Your business success is dependent on your Clients. What are they saying about your brand? Are they happy with the new features on your product? How was the service they received last time they were in your place of business? You can listen in many ways. Of course the simplest is to have a face-to-face conversation, but you can also conduct surveys or search for conversations on social media. Whatever form you use to listen to your Clients, you are creating opportunities to improve your products/services based on the opinion of the people using your business. Remember, without Clients, you don’t have a business. Be Personal. Think about emails, how many times have you sent off an email to an organisation or company and got the standard company line response? Frustrating, isn’t it? I have another personal experience to share with you. I use Freshbooks for my business, and came across a situation that I couldn’t find answer for amongst their FAQ, so I sent an email. Imagine my surprise, when a personal and prompt response was received – acknowledging my question, explaining the process for my query was being developed, providing me with a work-around in the meantime, and expressing best wishes for my business success. What did I do next? Respond publically via social media that I was just as impressed withFreshbooks programs as I was with their customer service. Providing that ‘Personal Touch’ can turn satisfied customers into “raving fans!”. Respect. Your client is a person, and it is important to treat them as such. I love to share the story of a former team member, whose customer service always stood out. When she was looking after a client nothing else mattered – other than that client! She would ignore the distractions around her (including other colleagues), and give the customer her undivided Attention. Whatever the customer needed assistance with was her priority. Customers loved her for it and it allowed her to establish a great rapport with them. They didn’t feel like a number or a sales target, they felt like a valued client. This is by no means an exclusive list, but there are many other behaviours that Customers like to see from their chosen service provider, but there is a few common aspects that could ensure your business stands out from your competition. After all,Customer Service defines the ongoing relationship between the Client and the Brand. Every business needs customers, and if your service is lacking your business will fail to progress. Take the time to listen to your customers, engage with them, show respect and being personal will highlight a point of difference between your service and that of your competitors through help desk software or else. Remember the customer is number 1. Contact Executive Virtual Associate for ideas on how to improve your Client 

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Who is your ideal client/customer?

Recently, I was chatting with a small retail business owner. We were discussing why customers were not coming through the door and buying her products.   I asked her, "What is your ideal customer?"  She shrugged, indicating that she was not sure who her ideal customer is. She spread her hands which told me that maybe this was something was not necessarily thought about prior to going into business. Basically, there was a desire to have a retail outlet and there is certainly a niche, however, the business planning, communication planning and marketing planning stages may not have been considered as deeply as they need to be to allow for small business success.  Thinking about who your ideal client or customer is can be a challenging exercise as you really have to delve into their minds, their needs, their problems before you can offer a solution. This conversation was quite an eye opener for me as I realised that this small business owner may not be the only one out there who do not truly understand the market that they are trying to reach and influence to not only come into the shop but walk out as a happy and proud owner of their product.   It hit me.  Maybe I could be of service to this person and her business through helping her to understand what her perfect customer/client looks like so that when she does meet them, they not only come into her shop, they buy products and then go out into their social circles and begin to advocate on her behalf.  That is gold and worth thinking about as people talk and people recommend and people act on friend recommendations.   I spent some time contemplating this idea and how I could be of service to small business through helping them to become clearer on what it is that they want out of their clients/customers through asking questions that will make them think and create a great communications/marketing plan. Here are just a few of the questions that I ask my clients to help them get clarity: Describe your perfect client/customer?  Think of the attributes they have and describe them. What sex are they?  This is important to know as this will help determine how you approach communicating with them. What age group does your client/customer fall into? Again, if you are pitching to middle-aged women, but all your products appeal to teenagers, then there is a lack of congruency there and you will need to re-think your product line or your ideal client/customer. What is your ideal client/customer's earning capacity?  Are they unemployed? Are they minimum wage? Are they millionaires?  This will help inform the price and quality of what you offer and it gives you the power to choose who you want to sell to or help.  It is important to think this through as people gravitate towards the products and services that match the image of who they are financially inside their minds. As a Podcast Interviewer, I need to get to know the people behind the product/service as often their unique selling proposition is their personal style or personality.  The person is the brand.  In order for me to help my client's shine, I need to know how they are are and what they want out of the session and then we need to flesh out exactly what their clients/customers need and want so that we can tailor the discussion around fulfilling the needs, desires and solving pains and problems.   I think it is important to truly care about the person behind the product/service and in turn to care about the people who are coming to my clients for help. It is my aim to help my clients in shining their special way of helping and servicing so that their personal and professional brand and business will go from strength to strength.  Here is a very valuable video to help you build rapport with your clients/customers by Brian Tracy.      

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