Who is Your Ideal Client?

Who is Your Ideal Client?

Blog business tip

What? You can’t find new clients? I bet I can help. There are some basics you need to understand first. Let’s start with a story about knowing your ideal client.

I have a 16 year old daughter. If I send her an email, it would sit in her inbox for eternity. She doesn’t do email. Neither do her friends. What if my ideal client was a teen girl? I can further define, saying my ideal client is;

  • in high school
  • has many friends
  • spends hours on her iPhone
  • has 100’s of selfies on her phone
  • loves fashion and makeup
  • is active and only wears LuluLemon
  • plays multiple sports
  • knows the words to all songs on her playlist
  • is focused on succeeding in school
  • she gives 100% with everything she does
  • has many online only friends

Who Are You Marketing To?

Let’s say my company sells a monthly subscription that includes all things fashion and fitness, geared towards teens. Each month, subscribers receive a workout outfit and a sample of makeup and hair products. If I wanted to reach these teens, would I try and build my email list and send them lots of emails? NO! I’d find them where they naturally spend time. I would figure out what social apps are hot at the moment and spend my time there trying to connect with my ideal client in their usual, comfortable spots.

My daughter recently told me a story about one of her friends asking another friend about Facebook. One said to the other, “I think I’m doing this wrong. You need to teach me Facebook.” For me, that is where most of my friends and peers “hang out’ on social media. It was funny to hear her say that Facebook is basically “foreign” to them. They don’t understand it. They don’t spend time there. They are not interested. They just don’t get it.

But, they are interested in other social networks. I would likely find them on Snapchat and Instagram.

 

Ideal Client Tweet | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

 

Yes, they both sell coffee and food. But there is a HUGE difference in the way they market and in the customers they attract. For the usual customer at Dunkin’ Donuts, if they can go there and buy a medium coffee for $2.09, why would they go to Starbucks and pay $3.95? As you know, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts each have very loyal followers.

How Do You Connect?

Back to the teen girl. How do I find her? How do I market to her? I definitely would not email her if I expected any response. So, how would I reach that target market? Simple. You need to know your ideal client avatar. Let’s do an exercise to figure it out.

According to Laura Kinoshita (published on Hubspot), “A customer avatar is a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. When complete, it will help you understand the motivating beliefs, fears and secret desires that influence your customer’s buying decisions. Your customer avatar will help you fine tune your marketing efforts and help you understand why some products sell better than others.”

Knowing your ideal customer is key to understanding your business and your potential clients. Start by printing this workbook (sign up required) and then let’s work together to fill it out.

An Ideal Client Avatar is a way to get into the mind of your ideal client. I want you to think about who your ideal client is. Think about her life. Figure out as many details as you can. You can’t market to everyone. You can’t please everyone. An ICA is a way to narrow your focus and figure out how to market to the people that you can help the most. If you didn’t already print the worksheet, do it now.

Here’s a excerpt from my workbook:

Ideal Client Question | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

Do you know someone that could use help defining their ideal client? Share it to your social accounts so they can easily find it. And, don’t forget to comment below and let me know what you learned by completing the Ideal Client Avatar Workbook.

Download it here.


Related Post: 3 Ways to Build Customer Relationships

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Facebook Group Etiquette 101

Facebook Group Etiquette 101

Blog business tip social media

When someone wants you to attend their event, whether it’s a first birthday party, a 50th wedding anniversary or a business networking event, you likely receive an invitation. Facebook Groups, however, are a totally different animal. I’m not sure why, but people think it’s perfectly acceptable to add people to groups without inviting them. Would you do that for a real-life event? I don’t think so. Here’s something to think about.

That’s how it feels when I am added to a group without being asked. It’s just not the right way to do it. There is a right way to invite people to your Facebook Group. Etiquette isn’t only for the dinner table.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Ask them if they would like to be added with a simple text, email or phone call. When you ask, tell them a little bit about the group. Don’t overwhelm them with paragraphs. Give them the Cliff’s Note version.
  2. When you ask, make it a conversation with ONLY that person. It should NOT be a group chat or group message. Nobody likes getting endless notifications all day long. And, it makes it less personal if you are “saving time” by messaging 20 people at once.
  3. You can also post on your Facebook personal or business page, inviting anyone that wants to be added, to comment or send you a personal message.

If you made the mistake of already adding them without permission, before you read this post, I suggest you send them a personal message and tell them you did not know it wasn’t great etiquette to add someone without asking them first. Tell them you’d love it if they stayed in your group, but that you understand if the group isn’t for them.

And, PLEASE, if you added someone and they left the group, do not add them again. They have left for a reason. I was added to an MLM group four times! I kept leaving, she kept adding me back. People don’t leave groups by mistake. They leave for a few reasons:

  • Group was nothing more than a place to SELL, SELL and SELL
  • It is a group that they are not interested in (yes, it’s possible)
  • It provided no value for them
  • Group does not align with their lifestyle, beliefs or goals

Bonus Tips:

1. Welcome

As new members join your group, make them feel welcomed. Say hello and ask them to introduce themselves. If you know them, then you can do the introduction. In my groups, I like to occasionally tag members just to let them know I am paying attention. If I have a group member go silent for a while, after usually being active, I will check in with them. I like to know that they are ok.

2. Complete

Make sure you complete the Group Description area and add a header image that’s appropriate for the content of the group. Meaning, if your group is for solo business owners that are; female, 25-50 years old, in the USA, online business and public speaker… you might have a header image related to marketing or online business. You would not have a header promoting fitness, skin care or DIY crafts.

3. Ask

Are group members dropping like flies? Think about your group. Have you changed focus? Changed your posting style? Started selling too much? Consider asking some members that left what their reasons were. Be genuinely curious and be thankful for any feedback they provide. It can be a great learning opportunity for you, if you take their feedback as constructive criticism and not as a personal attack.

[Not sure who your ideal group member is? Download my Ideal Client Avatar Workbook to help you know exactly who she is.]

facebook | sonja pound | gramercy social

Just like email marketing, adding someone to Facebook Groups should be permission-based. People are so busy, often overwhelmed and overloaded with information. Let them choose where they would like to spend their time and energy.

What tips would you add to the Facebook Groups Etiquette list? I’d love to know what your most valuable groups are on Facebook. Share a link below.

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Three Ways to Thank Your Clients

Three Ways to Thank Your Clients

Blog business tip Customer Service small business

I am big on the value of a thank you card. As a business owner, it doesn’t matter if a person is a one-time or a long-term client. Nor does it matter if they spend a few hundred dollars or a concierge package for thousands. I think each client deserves a thank you. Clients are not dollar signs. They are people that like to be appreciated. They are people that like to recommend what they love to their family and friends. They are people that will talk if they are not happy with your service. They are people that will be loyal, if you build and nurture the relationship. One of my favorite quotes is:

As a consumer, I really appreciate it when someone takes time from their busy day to thank me. This post was prompted by a card I received today. Months ago, I sent a thank you card and restaurant gift card to an optician that my family and I have appreciated for years. I was so surprised today to receive a hand-written note from her. She went to the restaurant and was writing to thank me again and to tell me about her night out. It MADE my day.

On the flip side, recently I have spent a considerable amount of money at a few local stores, including a family-owned furniture store, a local appliance dealer and an outdoor furniture store. As I said earlier, it’s not about how much money is spent. But, if I owned a business and had a customer that I wanted to keep, I would hope for a few things;

  • That they were happy with their purchase and think positively of their experience.
  • That they will recommend me to their family and friends.
  • They will return if I can help them in the future.

I think businesses often react in a time of crisis, rather than plan for any bumps in the road. What if your business suddenly starts losing money? Wouldn’t you wish that you had taken the time to build relationships with your customers? Do it now, before you are scrambling and wondering where all of your customers went. Here are three simple ways to thank your clients and build a relationship with them.

Send a Personal Note

How often have you received a thank you note? Not an email, but an actual note in the mail. Doesn’t it make you smile? Make your customers smile and send them a simple thank you note.

 

Bonus Tip: Make the note personal. Use their name, mention something positive about working with them, compliment them and be genuine.

 

Invite Them to Coffee or Lunch

If you have already established a bit of a relationship with them, ask to take them out for coffee or lunch. This is a great way to continue relationship building. You will have time to learn more about the person and connect on a personal level. It goes without saying, but I’ll mention anyway – your personal safety is foremost.

 

Send Them a Gift

Do you ever order from One Kings Lane? Almost every time I receive an order, there is a small token gift in the box. Typically it’s a candle with One Kings Lane logo on the cover. It smells great and I appreciate it. If you own a retail store, consider a small token gift that announces a new line you are carrying. It’s a great way to promote new products and to let your customers know they are valued. I know it’s old-fashioned, but if you know they love cookies and you are a great baker, creatively package some cookies and deliver them with a short note.

 

Bonus Tip: Likely one of the nicest ways you can thank someone is by recommending them. If you are happy with someone’s service or product;

  • Share a review or a post on social media and tag them.
  • Share images of what you purchased on social media and tag them. Did you buy a great dress and went to dinner? Take a photo and use that to let them know how much you love the dress and your experience in their store.
  • If you worked with them, share some images, tag them, and talk about the experience.

One of my favorite posts to share on Facebook and Instagram are ones where I thank people and businesses for their amazing service, products or general experience. Here’s one example:

 

 

Have you received a hand-written thank you note from a business? Tell me about it in the comments. If you own a business, how do you thank your customers?

If you need ideas about how to show appreciation for your clients, post below. I’d love to help.

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Transform Your Business in 30 Minutes

Transform Your Business in 30 Minutes

Blog Books business tip

It’s time to transform your business. I’ve always been an advocate of reading, not just for pleasure, but to learn and experience the world in other ways. When I read business books I look for new ideas, books that are not just retelling and repackaging someone else’s thoughts. If I want to learn about Jim Rohn’s theories, I am going to read Jim Rohn’s books. What I appreciate about the book I am reading now is that the author, Lisa Larter is not repackaging information that we have all seen and heard many times over. She offers insight and guidance from experience. She openly shares her background, including her mistakes. She used that experience to create a guide for your business success. Her book is, Pilot to Profit: Navigating Modern Entrepreneurship to Build Your Business Using Online Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing and Sales, by Lisa Larter. It’s time to order her book and grab a few highlighters. Get ready to transform your business, chapter by chapter.

Why Read Daily?

Can you really transform your business in 30 minutes? Reading the right books for just 30 minutes per day can have a tremendous, measurable impact on your life. I’m not talking about reading The Hunger Games or the latest romance novel. I’m referring to books that teach, guide, enlighten, enrich and improve your life. Two people I consider my go-to virtual mentors, Darren Hardy and Chalene Johnson, talk about how important daily reading is. It’s a daily ritual that is simple to add into your routine, and will absolutely have an impact. If you aren’t reading daily, start with Pilot to Profit by Lisa Larter. Trust me, you will thank me later.

Transform | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

I run a business, like most of you. I work daily to improve what I offer to my clients. In an effort to be able to help my clients in a more strategic way, I am also always learning. As a business owner, you know what it’s like. You should learn about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. That’s in addition to actually running the business, finding and keeping new clients, managing your website and knowing your numbers. As Lisa says, “you can’t take Facebook likes and comments to the bank and buy a new car or pay your mortgage.” You need to have a plan and an understanding to make sure there is a return on your investment with social media.

Can you really transform your business in 30 minutes? | http://gramercysocial.com/transform-business-30-minutes/ ‎

That’s where Pilot to Profit comes in. Lisa has an uncanny ability to break down information and present it in a manageable way. She is refreshingly honest. She does not promise to increase your revenue three-fold, just by reading her book. She does not suggest that you will become the next Gary Vaynerchuk, just by reading her book. But, what she provides are the tools that you need to work towards increasing your revenue or becoming the next great marketer. It’s up to you, but she provides the guidance and honesty that we all need along the way. You need to do the work.

Why read this book over countless other marketing books? Simple. Lisa. To know her is to instantly connect with her. She has an online community where she is active every day. She doesn’t automate her posts and have someone else respond to comments and questions. She walks the walk. She is actively engaged in marketing and building relationships. That is where most people fail. They don’t focus on building long term relationships. She has that 100% nailed. I had the opportunity to meet her in person this morning. We sat at a local coffee shop and talked for nearly two hours. She was very thoughtful, engaging and genuinely listening to what I was saying. It wasn’t a coaching session or a pitch for her to gain a client. It was just two women business owners connecting and sharing experiences.

Grab Your Highlighter

There are so many highlighted areas and notes in the margins of my book, it’s tough to pinpoint the top three takeaways. But, I’m going to try.

  1. SWIIFT. Likely the most important take-away is called SWIIFT. This is one of Lisa’s ways of explaining how to create real value for your community. It stands for See What’s In It For Them. It’s about a mindset. It’s not about proving to people that you know a lot. It’s not about self promotion. It’s about providing value in a way that makes your clients and potential clients see you as an expert and a valuable resource. It’s about building a relationship based on value and trust.
  2. Rocks, Pebbles and Sand. “Focus on the big rocks first. This is how you create leverage and grow your business the fastest.” What does this mean? Simple. In your business, you should focus on the area that will produce the greatest return on your investment – first. Here’s an example. You are a graphic designer and offer many services, from website design to social media images. When you create a website for someone, you also package it with other branded materials like a new logo, business cards, social media headers, posts and profiles. Let’s say a client pays you $5,000 for that package. Another service you offer is the creation of custom branded social media images. That package sells for $150 to $1,250 depending on number of images. Focusing on the big rocks first means that you would put more effort and focus on selling the website package versus the graphic design package for social media. That is where your greatest return comes from, and is the foundation of your business. As Lisa explains, you should have multiple revenue streams for your business, but you need to know where your priorities are and your greatest ROI.
  3. Don’t Overcompensate. Do you charge what you are worth? Are you uncomfortable billing a client so you give more to overcompensate for what you charge? This is a trap many business owners fall into. We all want our clients to be happy and to rave about our services. In an effort to do that, it’s easy to feel that we have to overproduce and do more than was agreed upon. Do you commonly contract with a client and throw in extras? If so, you are likely making decisions around your desire to please people, not decisions that are aligned with your business model. An example Lisa gives is, “If you walked into a store and bought a $100 pair of shoes, you would expect to pay for the matching handbag wouldn’t you? Your customers expect to pay for extras, too.”

Remember when you were in college and would spend countless hours in the library reading, absorbing and taking notes? This is a book that will make you long for a quiet place where you can read and learn. It’s also the type of book that will motivate you to make a plan and create action steps to improve your business. Do yourself a favor and have a hard copy that you can write all over. I’m a note taker and list maker. I have more information highlighted and notes in the margins that any other book I have recently read. It’s a true learning experience and a way to create an action plan. Based on each chapter, you will be able to make a list of what you need to do in order to help build your business. One of my favorite quotes is, “there’s a difference between letting life happen to you and creating a life you desire.”

Have you read Pilot to Profit? What was the biggest eye-opener for you? What did you learn that will truly transform your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Pilot to Profit | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

3 Simple Steps to Be More Productive

3 Simple Steps to Be More Productive

Blog business tip small business

I’ve decided to start a new blog series where I tell you about books I have found helpful as a small business owner. Once a month, I plan to review and highlight the key benefits of each book. The purpose of each review is to help you be more productive, set goals, focus and create a more amazing business, all while still enjoying your life.

I read a lot. Sometimes for enjoyment other times to learn. In the last five years I have read a considerable number of business, motivation and self-improvement books. Some have been well-worth the read, others not so much. So, in an effort to save you time and help your small business, I’m going to share some of the books I found helpful. Here’s my first recommendation.

If you are not familiar with Brian Tracy, this book is a great introduction. He is motivational and has a way of breaking elements down into manageable parts. Here is one of my favorite, pinnable, Brian Tracy quotes.

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is one of my all-time favorite books for anyone in business.http://gramercysocial.com/simple-steps-more-productive/

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is one of my all-time favorite books for anyone in business. I use it as a guideline for how I begin each day. He outlines and details very simple steps that will make a huge difference in your day. What if you don’t run a business? If you run a household, you will also see great benefit from what I am about to share.

Now, let’s take a look at what I think are the 3 Key Benefits that will improve your day.

1. Plan Each Day in Advance

Brian Tracy suggests that in order to be productive, you need to plan your day in advance. An important part of that plan is to break down larger tasks into manageable parts. For instance, if you have to write an e-book for a client, instead of your list saying “write e-book”, your list should look something like this;

  1. Define the audience
  2. Determine scope of project
  3. Craft a working title
  4. Create an outline
  5. Work on rough draft for outline items 1 and 2
  6. Research quotes to support your points
  7. Write a first draft
  8. Send first draft to editor
  9. Revise as suggested
  10. Decide on graphic designer to create final look

What does this have to do with eating a frog? According to Mr. Tracy,

How do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time! You break it down into specific step-by-step activities and then you start on the first one.

I like to make notes using Evernote. For any to-do list, I use check boxes. I love looking to see how many items I have checked off of my list. It’s a great way to gauge how productive you are and to redirect yourself if you are getting off track. For more on using Evernote, join my newsletter community to receive a free e-book that mentions Evernote and many other productivity tools. You can sign up here, or at the bottom of this post.

Could you use an extra two hours in your day? Brian says, “you can increase your productivity and output by 25 percent or more – two hour a day – from the first day that you begin working consistently from a list.” [pg.15]

2. Apply the 80/20 Rule

Also known as the Pareto Principle, it says that 20 percent of your activity will account for 80 percent of your results. Brian uses the example of having a list of ten items, and two of those items will be more valuable than all of the others. What does that mean? If you apply the 80/20 Rule to your customers it means that 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your business. If you apply the 80/20 Rule to your health, it would mean that 20 percent of time that you take planning meals and workouts will account for 80 percent of your success.

This is a great lesson for any solopreneur. One of my favorite quotes in the book is,

…you must adamantly refuse to work on tasks in the bottom 80 percent while you still have tasks in the top 20 percent left to be done.

This one simple line in Eat That Frog! helped me to realize that I can’t possibly do it all. After reading this book I decided to outsource as many of the tasks in the 80 percent as I could. Realistically, they were all items that kept me busy – not productive. I outsourced social media posts for a client, graphic creation for some projects and other tasks that could easily be completed by someone other than me. That gave me time to focus on blog posts and manageable tasks for larger projects.

3. Create Large Chunks of Time

Working uninterrupted will have a tremendous impact on your productivity. Consider having that list I talked about in #1 above. Now imagine, if, each time you started to work on your rough draft, your phone rang. Then a Facebook message pops up. Then you get a few text messages. Then you get distracted by Facebook newsfeed when you are reading that message. The list of distractions can end up longer than your to-do list. Now think about how much time you would have wasted if you responded and/or reacted to all of those distractions. Would it be an hour, three hours? Who knows, but I do know that you likely would not accomplish even the top 20 percent of your list. You would probably end up having those same items on your list tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets. -Nido Qubein

So what should you do? For starters, close Facebook. Then put your phone on “do not disturb”. Make sure you allow for spouse and kids to reach you. You never know when there could be an emergency. This is easily done by adding them to your Favorites list.

Want to go one step further? This is a BIG one. Brian Tracy says it perfectly,

One of the most valuable take-aways from this book is to make appointments with myself and keep them. I planned each day. Each week it was the same schedule –

Monday:

7:30 am  Create my list for the day.

8:00 am  Make and foster connections on LinkedIn.

8:30 am  Send and return work emails.

9:00 am – 2:00 pm Work on top 20 percent of my list, by breaking down larger items.

10:00 am  Walk the dog.

4:00 pm  Check in with social media accounts. Engage with followers.

Tuesdays:

8:00 am – noon Create all social media posts for next week and schedule in Hootsuite.

This is just a sample of what I did. Planning and sticking to that plan works. If you need to, set a timer. If you keep seeing that you need more time for a certain task, then adjust the time allotted in your schedule next week.

This is just a small sampling of the wisdom Brian shares in Eat That Frog! If you goal is to be more productive, read the book from cover-to-cover. Make sure you have a highlighter handy along with some sticky notes. It’s a book you will refer back to time and time again.

Here’s a link to the Kindle version: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Have you read Eat That Frog? Are you more productive following any of the tips? Share below. I’d love to know what you thought.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Branding Fail: 3 Lessons

Branding Fail: 3 Lessons

Blog business tip Customer Service

What is branding? Does it matter? Is there an emotional connection that makes people want to do business with you because of your brand? According to businessdictionary.com, by definition, branding is,

“the process involved in creating an unique name and image for the product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”

Have you ever done business with a company because you liked their logo, commercial or marketing materials? I have and what a mistake! The good news is, you can learn from my experience. Don’t let great branding fool you. Take the time to unwrap the packaging to see what’s inside. Here’s what happened when I followed great branding without finding out what was on the inside.

I had just moved to Florida and needed a safe deposit box. In order to get one I had to open a basic checking or savings account. I had many choices including national banks and a few local ones. I know this is strange, but I chose a bank based on how I felt driving by them. I had many choices including PNC, Bank of America, Iberia, Mutual of Omaha, SunTrust, Chase, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third. Having a design background, I tend to navigate towards things I find visually pleasing or interesting. Boy, was that the wrong way to choose this time.

I chose Chase to open a basic checking account and to rent a safe deposit box. I chose them because I found their buildings, logo and interior relaxing. I’ve been in some banks and find them to be stressful. Chase branding is a soothing blue, gently backlit with easy to identify logo. In my attempt to learn where things were in my new town, it was important that I easily find branches. Their buildings and logo is easily recognizable even when driving down the highway. Sadly, when I physically entered a branch it was anything but relaxing and soothing.

I went into my closest branch and was in for a surprise. The private banking person that greeted me was pleasant and seemed to enjoy his job. Then the assault began. I was given the third degree;

  • How much money do I have in my current savings accounts?
  • How much money do I have in my current checking accounts?
  • Do I have a mortgage or did I pay cash for my house?
  • Do I have investment accounts?
  • How much money do I have invested?
  • What company do I use for investments?
  • Are my investments stocks, money markets…?
  • How much money do I make annually?
  • Do I own a business? How many employees do I have? Do I have a business account?
  • Do I plan to transfer my accounts to Florida?
  • What is my income range?

I was so insulted and enraged. I was raised to never ask about money. I never knew how much money my parents made, spent or invested. It was a personal matter, not to be discussed with anyone. I told the agent that I found his line of questions unwarranted and intrusive. His response was he was “getting to know me”. I said, absolutely not. You are trying to gather as much information about me and my finances so you can try and sell me other services. The things you are asking are simply none of your business and have NOTHING to do with opening a basic checking account.

Here’s what you can learn as a business owner;

Lesson One:

Treat your customers as humans, not as dollar signs and commissions. Nobody wants to deal with the stereotypical “used car salesperson”. People want to be listened to, understood and valued. It’s not about pressuring a customer into a purchase. That might get you a quick sale, but won’t get you a long term customer that refers you to others. 

Lesson Two:

There is a very distinct line between being interested in getting to know your customers and being intrusive. Who wants to feel violated after a conversation? I’m jumping up and down raising my hand, NOT ME, NOT ME! I’m sure you’re with me on this one. Having a conversation without motive is one way to do it. If you are constantly thinking about gathering information for the sake of a sale, it’s not natural and your customers will know.

Lesson Three:

Relationships take time. They are built on trust, consistent service and treatment. I really appreciate when I walk into a business and feel good. I want to be acknowledged, taken care of and appreciated. How great do you feel when you walk in and people know your name? It makes me think of Cheers, when everyone would yell “Norm” as he entered the bar. Don’t we all want the feel that everyone knows our name?

As a customer it’s important to always remember that you have a choice. If one company is difficult to deal with, then move on to a business that will appreciate you as a human and treat you the right way. Do not accept poor customer service – just move on to another business. Don’t let their branding fool you. As I’m sure we’ve all experienced, just because the book cover is beautifully designed doesn’t necessarily mean the contents are worth reading. 

Have you experienced any businesses that cross the line? If so, how did you deal with them? As a business owner, how do you build relationships?

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Honesty is the Best Policy

Blog business tip Customer Service

As our parents and teachers taught us growing up, honesty is the best policy. That doesn’t change as we get older and run a business. Setting clear expectations for your customers is key to a thriving business. Be up front and honest with customers and potential customers. In the long run, it will save your reputation and earn you repeat and referral business.

I was prompted to write this post after a recent interaction with a consignment furniture store. As you know, I moved to Florida from New Jersey. When I moved, I sold most of my furniture while still in New Jersey. Once I purchased a home in Florida, I had some items that I needed to get rid of. That is when I began to visit consignment stores in the area. I probably went to eight stores. I wanted to see which ones carried the type and quality of furniture I was looking to sell. I decided to consign my items with a store in Bonita Springs. I talked at length with the owners and even bought some of their daughter’s artwork for my new home. I felt good about doing business with them.

I arranged, at my expense, to have two items delivered to their store. I was consigning a large television cabinet and a bedroom dresser. Prior to signing the contract they told me the television cabinet would be offered for $2,000 and the dresser for $800. Once they sold, I would receive a check for 50% of that amount.

Imagine how shocked I was to receive a check when the television cabinet sold, for ONLY $375! I was expecting $1,000. Keep in mind that I paid 100% of the delivery fee to get my items to the store. I ended up making only $100, once I factored in the delivery fee. When I questioned the store about what I received, I was simply told that they had an offer they could not refuse. Did it ever occur to them to call me, their client? Perhaps they could have asked me if it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

When I spoke with the recommended delivery company they told me it would take no more than an hour and would cost $75. They failed to mention that I had to pay for drive time and even if they only went 5 minutes over the hour, I would be charged for another 30 minutes! In the end, I was charged $275!

I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was. How do people do business like this? Do they feel good about ripping people off? I really felt like both companies were masters at “bait and switch” tactics. In the end, I was angry, will never recommend them to anyone and will, of course, not do business with them again. I would have been further ahead if I had donated the items and taken a tax credit.

Here’s what you can learn from their dishonesty;

1. Set clear expectations from the beginning.

Do you expect to complete their project in a month or six months? Be upfront. Do you need to bring in a consultant or additional team members to work on their job? I would much rather over-deliver than disappoint a client. This is easily done when both parties understand and agree on exactly what the expectations are.

2. Be honest.

Not all customers or clients will be a great fit. Perhaps it’s a personality difference, pricing issue or geographic concern. If you feel that you are not the right person for the job, tell them. This is a great opportunity to refer business to a colleague or friend.

3. Know Your Business.

In order for you to quote accurately, you need to understand your business. How much time will the project take? Will you have to pay team members, expenses or travel? Be transparent with your customers and potential customers.

Have you experienced a dishonest business? How did you handle it? What advice would you offer to businesses? What about to people dealing with a dishonest business?

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.