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.

Two Steps to Take Control of Your Task List

Two Steps to Take Control of Your Task List

Blog productivity small business

I am pretty sure I am not alone feeling that I have way too much to do and not enough time. Work, house, kids, dog… The task list, also known as a to-do list, goes on forever. I used to feel overwhelmed with my lists. I would have a list on a notecard, and start another list on my phone. I would cross of three items from my list and add five new items. It truly was like a hamster running in a wheel. I could never catch up. That is until I started using learning from these two virtual mentors.

Step 1: Chalene Johnson

My first trusted virtual mentor is Chalene Johnson. As a fitness enthusiast, I have completed most of Chalene’s workouts (Chalean Extreme, Turbo Fire, PIYO) and follow her on social media. She is not only a fitness coach, but a life coach. She is a person that leads and teaches. Her New York Times bestseller, PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve was life changing.

In my opinion, one of the most important sentences in Chalene’s book is, “Your goals should mesh with your priorities.” She continues to explain saying,

“Your goals should mesh with your priorities. All of them. Ask yourself if the goal could compromise one or all of your priorities. If so, is there a way to accomplish nearly the same results in a creative way that doesn’t compromise your priorities?”

Task List Productivity | Gramercy Social

What does that mean and how will it help you take control of your to do list? Simple. It means that if an item on your to do list is not going to directly help you reach your goals and takes your time away from priorities, then don’t do it. It’s that simple. For example, let’s say you run a retail store selling custom stationery, invitations and housewarming/hostess gifts. Your priority is to increase sales by reaching out to the community and giving back, while still having ample free time to spend with your family. Some items that would mesh with your priorities are;

  • Creating invitations for a community fundraising event.
  • Creating custom baskets or auction items for a well-attended charity event.
  • Scheduling time for work and time for family.

Some items that would NOT mesh with your priorities are;

  • Attending Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas and missing your child’s recital.
  • Managing all aspects of your business, including items that can be delegated like creating social media images, traditional marketing and email marketing.
  • Saying yes to any requests, such as pet sitting, managing the soccer team…

Purchase PUSH here.

Learn more about Chalene by following her on Instagram. She shares valuable information for anyone in business, as well as life lessons.

Step 2: Brian Tracy

The one-and-only Brian Tracy is my second virtual mentor. Remember that list I was talking about? Brian Tracy was instrumental in helping me manage that never-ending list. Eat That Frog was the first book of his that I read. There were so many takeaways that I can’t even begin to write about all of them. It is a book that you need to read and highlight items as you go along.

Purchase Eat That Frog here.

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;

✔️Define the audience

✔️Determine scope of project

✔️Craft a working title

✔️Create an outline

✔️Work on rough draft for outline items 1 and 2

✔️Research quotes to support your points

✔️Write a first draft

✔️Send first draft to editor

✔️Revise as suggested

✔️Decide on graphic designer to create final look

To read more about Brian’s thoughts on productivity, read this blog post.

Brian and Chalene quickly became my virtual mentors. By following their simple advice, I have been able to accomplish more in less time. I no longer feel like my list controls me. I am in complete control and can easily manage my day while being more productive in less time. Who doesn’t want to do that? How do you manage your lists? Any advice to share? Please comment below.

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.

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.

3 Amazing Productivity Tools

3 Amazing Productivity Tools

Blog small business social media

We all have a lot to do each day, right? And I’m guessing most of us are searching for ways to make anything faster, easier and more convenient. Here are my top three picks for productivity tools that I use each day.

HootsuiGramercy Social | Sonja Poundte.

Are you familiar with Hootsuite? The founder, Ryan Holmes describes it as, “We are not just a social relationship platform. We are not just a tech company. We are creators, innovators, and builders dedicated to revolutionizing the way you communicate.” Many people use Hootsuite to schedule social media posts for various sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But, do you know that you can use it for a lot more than just scheduling? Here’s just a sampling of what you can do.

Contacts Icon: Have you ever clicked on this icon? It’s on the left of your account window, under where your profile image is. Open this tab and you can see who is following you, who you are following and see details about each person/account, including how many people they are following, how many followers they have and their Klout score. Next to each person/account you see a mini bio including how many times they tweet per day and their latest tweet. It’s so much easier than going into each social media network and searching person by person.

Gramercy Social | Sonja Pound

Hootlet: You can easily add items to Hootsuite when you are browsing the web using the little owl in your browser bar. When you click on the owl, a pop-up window appears allowing you to choose the account, platform (Facebook, Twitter…) and time you want to share the selected information. For me, I use this as a way to schedule my posts for a few weeks at a time. Learn more about Hootsuite here

Gramercy Social | Sonja Pound | Productivity

2Basecamp.

Have you ever tried to collaborate with multiple people on a project using emails? It can be very difficult and confusing to follow the email trail. And try finding a document that someone attached to their email days ago – very time consuming and frustrating. That’s where Basecamp comes in. I recently bought a house and had so many documents and emails that I needed to keep in one place. I used Basecamp to keep track of everything. I was able to add documents, files, make notes, create to-do lists and invite others to be able to view and comment on the project. I have also used Basecamp when working on client projects. It’s a great way to track comments and change requests made by clients. Often, there are many people weighing in on a final product – with Basecamp you won’t lose any comments or change requests. Learn more about Basecamp here.

Gramercy Social | Sonja Pound | Productivity

 

Index Cards3 copy.

I know it’s not what you expected for a productivity tool. But, I’ve tried many apps for making lists, and nothing makes me get things done like an index card. First thing in the morning, I take a blank index card and start my list. On one side are things I need to get done for work and home. This includes any scheduled appointments. On the other side are things I need to do outside of the house – grocery list, post office and other basics. By making an actual list, I am able to better map out my day. There is a huge sense of accomplishment when I can take a pencil and cross an item off of the list.

BONUS TIP: Take a photo of your list each day with your smart phone, just in case you lose the index card.

What tools help you with productivity? Share any tips in the comments below.

 

Thanks Sonja

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.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

Blog small business

Retail lights burning bright?  They could be shining even brighter this holiday season with the help of Small Business Saturday® on November 29th.  This year marks the fourth anniversary of American Express’ initiative to support small businesses across the country.  It’s simple to make this initiative a part of your holiday business strategy.

Shopping small business is a way to connect with your community, support local businesses and find some unique gifts that you can’t necessarily find in the big box stores.

As a small business owner, how can Small Business Saturday increase your holiday revenue?  Here are a few ways that American Express and their Premier Partners are teaming up to help you;

  • Eventbrite: Use Eventbrite to create an in-store event and attract new and old customers to your business. You can do anything from giving away goodies to getting a DJ to rock out at your store. It’s all up to you!
  • yelp: As a Premier Partner of Small Business Saturday, yelp is offering small businesses $100 in free advertising credits.*
  • FedEx Office: wants to help you make your business look its best on Small Business Saturday. Create your marketing campaign, download the printable signage and select a FedEx Office location near you to pick up your two professional-quality 11″x17″ posters at no charge.
  • bing: Create a search advertising campaign just in time for the holidays. Sign up by Dec 31, 2014 to get $100 in Bing Ad credits to advertise your business on Bing and Yahoo. Plus, download the Bing Ads Toolkit and attend in-store educational seminars to learn how to successfully market your business.

Does Small Business Saturday really help small businesses?  For Small Business Saturday 2013, I was talking to Colleen O’Neill, owner of Remember Me Stationery.  She has owned the quaint, eclectic stationery and gift boutique on Main Street in Moorestown, New Jersey for three years.  She participates in Small Business Saturday each year, as part of her small business strategy.  This year she is offering her customers an additional discount if they show her a receipt from that day indicating a purchase at another small business.  When I asked Colleen if she thought Small Business Saturday has helped her small business she said, “Small Business Saturday is a great way to kick off the holiday season! It does remind people that our quaint Main Street exists because of the people who shop small all year.”

How do consumers benefit from Small Business Saturday?  As an American Express cardholder, register your card to get a $10 statement credit when you use your card to make an in-store purchase of $10 or more (at a qualifying small business).  Beyond receiving a statement credit, you will know that you are helping small businesses in your neighborhood.  You are supporting your friends, your neighbors and your local economy.

Remember what holiday shopping used to be like?  Wandering store-to-store on your Main Street, saying hello to all of the shop owners, wishing passersby happy holidays?  Start this season off like seasons past.  

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and supporting your community. Read more about Small Business Saturday on American Express’ website.

Small business owners, it’s time to put up your holiday lights and post your Small Business Saturday signage.  Saturday, November 29th is going to be a great kick-off to your holiday season. How do you support small businesses? Do you have a favorite? Tell me and help promote them in the comments. I love shopping small all year long, and want to know where you love to shop. #ShopSmall

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.