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How selling professional can stop struggling to create and keep profitable customers, simple strategies that turn every business relationship into profits guaranteed.
The Boss Question by Dr. Donald E. Wetmore. "What we think we are providing may be opposite to what customers perceive they are receiving. A good question then to ask our customers would be, 'How do you know when we are doing a good job for you?'." [as reprinted by DOVICO Software]
I've been on Dr. Wetmore's Time Management Discussion List for some time now and have greatly benefited from his advice. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get more out of the time they have. In this article, I want to point out two things:
(Continue ... Ask For Which You Are Paid And Provide It Well)
Obsessive Customer Service: Four Tips for Client Retention By Katherine Beckett-Goodwin [ExpertPR from MediaMap]
Katherine Beckett-Goodwin (Strategic Communications Group Inc) puts together a great article on improving customer retention for professionals in the public relations industry. Her strong emphasis on business relationships glows. I encourage you to read her article, I've summarized her 4 points below (with commentary) to help those outside the PR industry.
(Continue ... 4 Strategies To Improve Customer Retention)
Jay Cross: Another look at learning. Jay Cross: Another look at learning The point of learning is to prosper within our chosen communities. Learning enables us to enjoy relationships and knowledge. [elearningpost]
Jay Cross presents a wonderful look at the world around us in the perspective of learning. The same "networked" or systems view applies in strategic relations. Success in business relationships is directly related to structure and friction of business networks.
(Continue ... The Network Of Relationships In Business)
SEM: More expensive than you might think. The very wise Kevin Lee has written in ClickZ this week about some of the costs of Search Engine... [Gary Stein]
In my report "How B2B Companies Build Powerful Strategic Relations On-line" I state that B2B companies interested in building relationships with buying customers should concentrate on advertising where the buyers are over search engine optimization. Gary's comments expand on the area of Search Engine Marketing and will give you more insight about being seen on the web.
(Continue ... Put Your On-line Marketing Dollars Where It Matters)
Study: Businesses Improve Online Service. Largest US corporations have shown improvement in handling online customer interactions but many still fall short [InternetNews.com]
More coverage on the Customer Respect Group's study of how customers are treated online (including some findings from Jupiter Research). I covered this a few days ago in "Customers are getting no respect online", just thought I'd add a few more tips to reward my regular readers.
(Continue ... More About Treating Potential Customers With Respect)
National Registry for Blocking Telemarketer Calls Begins. A national do-not-call registry will open Friday for anyone who wants to block sales calls. By Jennifer 8. Lee. [New York Times: Business]
I got 7 calls today from companies trying to sell me stuff I don't need, don't want, and have never even consider buying. The most irritating thing was the second line here rang about 10 minutes later with the same recorded calls. I'm very happy this national do-not-call register is available for the United States (let me know if similar is available in the United Kingdom, I'm always interested in tagging my database.)
(Continue ... Finally Blocking Of Telemarketing Calls Begins With National Registry)
Firms warned not to treat job seekers badly. Firms who don't bother to let candidates know if they have secured a job have been warned they could face a backlash affecting their business. [Ananova / Business]
This really irks me, think about it, What message are you sending prospective employees when you don't respond to job inquiries? Well, I'll tell you. You say that you don't care and that their interest in your organization isn't warranted. But I'm sure that's not what you meant.
(Continue ... Strong Employee Relationships Start When They Are Job Seekers)
Financial Insights Examines Critical Success Factors in Columbia Management Company?s Web-site Integration Project [IDC: Press Center]
In addition, ask yourself the following while developing your web integration objectives:
(Continue ... 7 Questions To Ask Before Web-Site Integration)
'Fat cats' don't always get the cream. Huge salary packages do not necessarily guarantee a happy and healthy life according to a business report. [BBC News | Business | Economy | World Edition]
Internationally speaking, it "pays" to be in an English speaking country, but bigger pay doesn't mean better lifestyle. We often cater to all leaving our own business relationship with ourself fade. While I don't share too much on this topic outside of consulting sessions, it is very important to have the business work for you, not you work for the business.
(Continue ... Big Money Means Bigger Need For Self Respect)
Surveys can be a great way to get in touch with your customers needs. I regularly publish surveys to help me better understand business executives and readers of this website, even use them in promoting my business. Properly conducted surveys can even improve business relationships.
(Continue ... Use Surveys To Better Understand Customers Needs)
Study: Customers still looking for respect at company Web sites. Many companies need to stop treating on-line customers as second-class citizens, the report says. [Computerworld E-business News]
This 330-page study by The Consumer Respect Group ranks the largest 100 companies in the US by their responses to on-line inquiries and other customer satisfaction measures. With the competition only a few clicks away, who can afford to make these mistakes, study shows companies can do more to improve customer relations on-line. While the report covers both B2C and B2B companies, it's something to consider.
(Continue ... Customers Are Getting No Respect On-Line)
____. Making the Web Work for You. (Darwin Magazine, Executive Survival Guide)
This report, Making the Web Work for You, covers the basics of getting the most from your web investment. It provides some insights on business-to-business relationships and has an interesting table of contents. If you're looking for a basic overview report, this report is for you.
(Continue ... Making the Web Work for You)
CRM SPECIAL REPORT: ROI: Real Or Illusory? [NewFactor Free News Feed]
Come on, I think businesses worry more about CRM ROI than actually puts effort toward making it happen. As shared in past issues of Inside Strategic Relations -- it isn't just Customer Relationships Management companies should be concerned -- look at the whole business relationships model. I prescribe the '8 Relationship Realms' for your company you might have different model.
(Continue ... Shut Up With The CRM ROI Already, Get Back To Making It Happen!)
[Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]
Innovating for the Next Big Thing. Innovating for the Next Big Thing -- From Dave Pollard's How to Save the World weblog...
Solid process and open purposeful communications is the key to any strong relationship in business. I feel strong business relationships are the key to new innovation because people feel open to share ideas. The above diagram and referenced commentary is only the beginning of an important change in business.
(Continue ... Role Of Business Relationships In Innovation)
Business Breakfast - 24/06/2003: Moore-Wilton discusses time as Sydney Airport CEO. a relationship business. We want to have good relationships with all of our customers - the airlines, Qantas is very important. All of the [Daypop Search - business relationship]
A great example of the value of business relationships. Often we find our companies serving multiple customers -- in the IT world it's the end-user, buyer, distributor, and reseller. As the service side of airports (and other ports) fall under my target audience, here are a few items abstracted from this interview.
(Continue ... Insights From A Former Airport CEO, Max Moore-Wilton)
Selling generates revenue, revenue creates profits, and profits keep your business running. The following includes notes on using strategic relations in selling interactions. Strategic relations helps increase the number of selling interactions so you can sell more.
(Continue ... Notes On Using Strategic Relations In Selling Interactions)
Note about: "Using the Simplified Theory of Compression Learning." This theory is an extension of the "Review" part of the SQ3R Reading Method as taught by many universities. I find business people don't have time to follow a reading with such depth as described in the original method -- but with the proper training the note sheets produced tend to be more effective.
(Continue ... More on the Simplified Theory of Compression Learning)
This web log represents a fraction of the research notes and studies I do on a regular basis for my clients (and my own personal development.) I have notebooks of summarized books, condensed readings, and other materials I've rewritten in abstract. It's a practice I call the "Simplified Theory of Compression Learning"
(Continue ... Using the Simplified Theory of Compression Learning)
The following contains research notes and commentary for an upcoming tutorial "Developing Business-to-Business Websites for Cultivating Relationships and Sales" and includes original pages of reference in bibliography format. While various sources are referenced they both as samples and context -- but not necessarily identified as such.
(Continue ... Using Your Website To Improve Business Relationships)
Design Very Important to E-Commerce. eMarketer: Importance of Site Design to E-Commerce ... According to a new study from Genex, 36.2% say site design is very important, 28.7% say it is extremely important, and 13.5% say it is somewhat important. These people also say they will leave a poorly designed site for a better design site to buy their goods. [MarketingFix]
Just like in any encounter, first impressions matter. While your website doesn't have to be fancy (or even flashy), it needs to fit the corporate identity if you want customers to take you seriously. For a prospective customer who hasn't met any of your people, the professional appearance of your website (all marketing collateral) makes a huge difference.
(Continue ... How Your Website Looks Is Important To Buyers)
With real-time almost instant communications with thousands of people, it is important to be careful about what executives say on-line. A simple mistake, a leak, or off topic remark can travel around the world in seconds.
(Continue ... Tips For Executives Building Relationships On-Line)
Jobs Says He's Bringing Price , Speed Battle To The PC Enemy. The upcoming G5 Power Macs will offer more power for less money than comparable PCs. Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs unveiled what he called "the fastest desktop computer in the world" and promised to make the Mac OS X operating system ... [news.google.com / Business]
What is your competition doing right now that could put you out of business? I've looked over the specifications for the new Mac G5 and am familiar with the OS X operating system. (Essentially a Mac OS over FreeBSD a Unix variant) Bottom line, for the price the new Mac is much more of a computer than anything else on the market.
(Continue ... When The Competition Blows You Out Of The Water)
Subscription services: Look for dial tone. ... panel on the ADT alarm system was not on. Now, you'd think that if there were a problem with the alarm, they would have called us: after all, they have my cell phone number, and I'd consider "not working" qualifying as an alarm situation that ... [tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog]
This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say you must look for other situations where your customers might need your services -- ADT loses out in the value it could provide, while TiVo built a checking system to verify the customer gets what they expect.
(Continue ... Prevent Product Failures Before They Happen)
Often a simple question can clarify a decision, or even introduce new ideas to your company. However, to get the most out of the Coaching Forum at Applying Strategic Relations make your questions focused on your specific desired outcome.
(Continue ... Ask A Complete Question And Get A Complete Answer)
Boston Globe Online / Business. eBay began a business relationship, in which eBay used FairMarket software to run promotions on its site. (Hiawatha Bray) Search the Globe Search [Daypop Search - business relationship]
I used FairMarket software back in 1998, it was very well produced and handled Internet auctions with features that rivaled every competitor. In fact it was far superior to anything I saw on the market, but then, how come eBay came out on top?
(Continue ... Let Your Competitors Help You Lead)
States Line Up to Woo Biotech. The Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual meeting is drawing state and local representatives hungry for a piece of the action, although some folks at home say they aren't getting enough information before labs are built next door. By Kristen Philipkoski. [Wired News]
If you are in the biotechnology industry (as many of my subscribers are) you must establish a good relationship with your state -- no matter what business your in, your state might want your business.
(Continue ... Your Local Trade Office Wants You)
Anais Nin. "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." [Quotes of the Day]
How often to our customers have problems that seem only to be a problem for them? I mean, no matter how they explain it we think to ourselves, "What am I supposed to do about it?" Or even worse, "This customer is an idiot!"
(Continue ... A Customers Experience Is Their Own)
The Permission Tree: Growing A Relationship One Branch At A Time by Dana Blankenhorn. "Information makes a prospect much more valuable." [MarketingProfs]
I use a similar method in my own business and highly recommend looking at a permission strategy for your business, it significantly demonstrates your respect for you relationship with the customer. You must respect the time of your customers and getting their permission to market them is a critical way to do this.
(Continue ... Growing Business Relationships Through Permission)
9 Ways to Improve Customer Retention in a Tight Marketplace. Learn how to keep customers even when they have less money to buy what you offer. Improve your cash flow in this critical time.
Oracle boosts unfriendly offer for rival PeopleSoft. Taipei Times Online Jun 20 2003 10:34AM ET [Moreover - CRM news]
Oracle giant battles PeopleSoft for the customer base and software licenses, but what will be left when the battle is won. How could this have been done better? It is never too late to come to a reasonable decision, but there is always hope. [See the time line on "An Exercise for Any Website Owner Who Wants More Profitable Customers" and the tips I gave Amazon.com]
(Continue ... How to take over your competition strategically)
Sales Doesn't Work. CRM Guru Jun 20 2003 2:01AM ET [Moreover - CRM news]
When I first saw this title I was greatly concerned. Yes, selling is different now, not that selling has changed as much as what we are selling has changed. Todays businesses are more focused on services than actual product.
(Continue ... Selling Hasn't Changed As Much As What We Are Providing)
George S. Patton. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
Gen. Patton's saying may make sense for employees, but if you are going to take this advice with customers be sure to offer your assistance. With being a service provider there is a certain level of expectation that you can solve problems for customers, not just give them a fancy report that tells them what they need to do.
(Continue ... Handle Leading Employees Different From Leading Customers)
Buying Something Can Be Really Difficult. We are only "two percent" of the way into what the Internet has in store for us and each day I get another confirmation of this. [...] However, the major challenge remains fulfilling the promise of e-business -- and in ways that can simplify our lives. [John R Patrick: e-Business]
John Patrick brings up some good points about on-line and offline integration, plus key points on customer service. If you want to establish a relationship with your buyers, you have to make everything they want to do easy.
(Continue ... On-line Or Off, Simplify Standard Customer Related Processes)
When a cloud of economic slowdown looks over your business or industry, what are you prepared to do to retain customers? Less informed executives often hold tight for a wild ride without taking any clear action, when there is something you can do. You can improve customer retention in a tight economy by improving sale flow, focusing on your best customers, and enhancing your ability to serve their needs.
(Continue ... 9 Ways to Improve Customer Retention In A Tight Marketplace)
Nothing irritates me more than poor customer service. You might be making the same mistakes in your business. I'm not going to mention any names, but here are three things you should do to avoid upsetting your customers:
(Continue ... Nobody Ever Likes Poor Customer Service)
Online Locator Software Use Grows. The market is growing for software that finds Internet users' locations. By Bob Tedeschi. [New York Times: Technology]
Back in 1994, I managed several software development environments located over several regions. We communicated with networks who had the same IP addresses, but were connected by bridges.
(Continue ... Geographic Targeting Technology Improves Focus)
Qualifier events are those actions customers take before they become customers. It is critical your company knows what these are for your soon to be customers. Qualifier events change between product line, but are pretty consistent over a customer base.
(Continue ... Know What Customers Do Before They Are Customers)
Imagine linking queries against 3 billion records into your documentation or decision making tools. As a dashboard type application this would mean automated reports, in the case of the web, could mean near real-time delivery information for customers. I talk a little about dashboards in my note on "Making data useful to all involved"
(Continue ... Example of Data Integration, Google API)
Wall Street Journal sharpens ad aim [CNET News.com]
With on-line advertising we can almost write a program to manage our marketing efforts, the same can be done offline. Look at marketing triggers that identify customers most likely to purchase a certain product or service you offer. The key is centralizing customer behavior information in a common system (such as a CRM software application.)
(Continue ... Focus Your Marketing Efforts In All Areas)
Sidebar: Dashboards: Outside Looking In. Dashboards aren't just for employees inside the company. A Web-based dashboard can be a tool for providing valuable data to customers in the supply chain, too. [Computerworld E-business News]
Dashboard technology provides a single view to multiple real-time statistics about a process or organization. While this article is short of details, a dashboard could be used to track statistics pertaining to customer interaction points.
(Continue ... Making Data Useful To All Involved)
Software takes stab at corporate jargon. Deloitte Consulting admits it helped foster confusing, indecipherable language, but it's now released Bullfighter software to help business people avoid gobbledygook. [CNET News.com - E-Business]
Remember, Jargon is used to exclude people from certain communities or to simply make the user look smarter than they really are. But what does the use of jargon do to improve communications with people who might want to buy (or use) your offering.
(Continue ... Use plain English whenever possible)
Noah Porter. "Remember that what you believe will depend very much on what you are." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
What does your company believe makes a good business relationships? If you have incorrect beliefs about building stronger bonds between customers, employees, or even vendors -- you will fail to meet on the level.
(Continue ... What you believe about business relationships matters)
Why do I blog? I like that I can bring together all the relevant news in an industry, then comment on the elements important to my clients. Without a lot of effort on my part, those comments can be redistributed to clients desktops (or to a private area on the web or intranet.) The ultimate in commentary, a living document experience.
(Continue ... I'm Experimenting With Webloging Once Again)
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