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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.
Maxine Hong Kingston. "The sweat of hard work is not to be displayed. It is much more graceful to appear favored by the gods." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
A great way to improve employee loyalty is to demonstrate your good efforts through those who helped you most achieve them. "I can't take all the credit for this effort, I had so many good people helping me, and I'd like to thank those people right now." It will seem that everything goes your way when you work from the strengths of those around you.
(Continue ... Increase Loyalty By Highlighting The Work Of Your Most Successful Employees)
Business Forum Brings R80m in Deals. Deals worth about 80m were signed during last week's African Business Forum, sparking interest in holding the event, which brings together top business leaders, each year . [AllAfrica News: Economy, Business and Finance]
The African Business Forum is a great example of the power business forums have to bring together buyers and sellers to produce stronger business relationships. The key to success in this type of event is to work on developing new contacts and relationships. Be open to offer what you have, and let people know what you are looking to purchase.
(Continue ... Business Forums Are A Powerful Relationship Building Tool)
Customer Segmentation: Get Profitable or Get Lost. Some companies are identifying their least profitable customers and sending them packing by presenting them with slow service or crummy pricing. Boston Globe reports in Facing their demons by Bruce Mohl. [Up2Speed]
Every customer can be a profitable customer, and I am appalled by the suggestion of giving unprofitable customers slow service or crummy pricing just to get them to leave. It is more appropriate to refer them to a strategic partner than to treat them badly.
(Continue ... Never Treat A Customer Badly No Matter How Unprofitable)
Carrigan, Shaun. Using E-mail Newsletters as Marketing Tools (American Marketing Association, Email Marketing)
Carrigan provides an excellent article about using email newsletters as a marketing tool, and here I'll highlight his tips for using this cost effective tool to build customer relationships. Commentary will be interspersed as appropriate.
(Continue ... Using E-mail Newsletters As Marketing Tools (Abstract))
Spontaneous Socializing. I just completed another full weekend of working on the house, which means really one thing: I listened to about... [Gary Stein]
One of the biggest challenges I face in developing business relationships is turning what I do daily into an tangible events. See, people remember events. Take a moment to think back to your first big contract, maybe when your business was small. What were you feeling, what were your fears.
(Continue ... Events Are What Make Our Lives Memorable)
Farmer-turned-business Leader Gives Tips on Success. A former farmer who rose to become president of a group of Chinese enterprises has published a book on running a successful business. [People's Daily: Business]
Yuan Qinsheng's book "Liberal and Human-centered Approaches in Management" outlines "human-centered" management approaches and other techniques; he also argues the points of:
(Continue ... Farmer-Turned-Business Leader Gives Tips On Success (Abstract))
Dubner, Stephen J. Calculating The Irrational In Economics. (New York Times, Arts & Ideas/Cultural Desk, 28 June 2003)
Behavioral economics -- which blends psychology, economics and, increasingly, neuroscience to argue that emotion plays a huge role in how people make economic decisions. [News in Brain and Behavioral Sciences, Issue 101]
(Continue ... Individual Behavior Can Influence Your Economy)
Weinberg, James C., Thomas Park. CEO vs. CIO: Can This Marriage Be Saved? (CIO Magazine, Consultants' Briefing, Booz Allen Hamilton)
Often CEO's act as though they are partners in an uncomfortable relationship. Many CEOs see CIOs as experts only in technology when they can play a greater role in developing business strategy. This abstract addresses key issues presented in the original article with commentary.
(Continue ... CEO vs. CIO: Can This Marriage Be Saved? (Abstract))
Morrison, Mary E. The 2002 NetMarketing 100: Best B-To-B Web Sites. Identified the best b-to-b Web sites across 14 industries. Evolved beyond the static online brochures to powerful, immediate and interactive marketing assets.
For the sixth year, BtoB Online considered 800 sites in the business-to-business web space. Winning sites must present relevant information in an easy-to-find fashion. Here is a summary of what the best sites featured, and what many sites did wrong.
(Continue ... What The Best B-To-B Websites Did Right And Wrong)
Clift, Vicki. Smart Marketing Column (The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, CA, 18 Jul 2003) reprinted by the American Marketing Association News
Vicki Clift provides some great tips on keeping in touch with clients between interactions, however, too often people think tactics can produce friendships. In a business-to-business relationship friendships only exist to the extent they provide for the wants of a customer. Yes, you can create personal relationships, but for business to be successful commerce must transact.
(Continue ... Insincere Tactics For Building Relationships Often Fail)
Following the methods of the 8 Relationship Realms, you have hundreds, maybe thousands of opportunity for first impressions in business relationships. As an executive it sets the precedence for how employees respect you, or customers take you seriously.
(Continue ... First Impressions In Business Relationships)
Your website is important to sales. While this report regards retail shoppers, one has to assume some carry-over to B2B sales. Retailing: Shoppers Demand Decent Design [B2Blog]
Dave over at B2Blog brought this report to my attention, he's got a great point that much of the report could translate to improvements in B2B website sales. I really enjoy his comments on B2B websites and appreciate his technical insights.
(Continue ... Shoppers Demand Decent Design (Abstract))
Planet PDF: Adobe's Robert McDaniels responds (again) to Nielsen criticisms of PDF. "Many of the "PDF Usability Crimes" you cite have nothing to do with Acrobat or PDF but are the result of poor design choices. [elearningpost]
When experts disagree, they both can get positive news coverage. Always consider how constructive dialog with those who put down your products or services can be turned into something to promote your organization. Especially when the media is interested, often they will give equal coverage to both sides of the story as you hash out the point at hand.
(Continue ... Turn A Gray Cloud Into A Golden Media Opportunity)
How to Impress C-Level Executives with Guerrilla Online Marketing. See the results of on-line marketing campaigns, including sample landing pages, ad copy, and banner images. I shared full details of over 3 years of real marketing tests.
HPCL woos customer loyalty through cooking gas. Providing incentives like equipment discounts and free insurance coverage attracts new customers. Silicon India Jul 24 2003 11:25AM ET [Moreover - CRM news]
Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) is running one of the most ingenious incentive and loyalty program I've ever seen. It not only attracts new customers, but develops an ongoing buying relationship with them. With a number of firsts, I'll show you how to carry over their efforts into a business-to-business world:
(Continue ... Customers Buy When They Get More Of What They Want)
While the trade publications your customers, or even your employee reads, can be tool to build stronger relationships, you must consider some of the problems with most B2B trade publications.
(Continue ... Some Problems With B2B Trade Publications)
Does your organization have space it could lease to supplier? You could solve two problems at once: generate capital for unused assets while reducing delays in fulfillment. This is exactly what Boeing is doing with Giddens Industries (a specialized parts supplier to Boeing in Everett WA).
(Continue ... Put Every Asset To Work On The Bottom Line)
Never assume -- as Felix from the 1960's The Odd Couple television series said, "Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME." This applies to both intranet's and websites used to communicate with customers. When you think you know what your website visitors want, you'll always be wrong, build your website to segment visitors.
(Continue ... What Are You Assuming Your Website Visitors Already Know)
Offshore company captures online military vote. record, a close business relationship with Dick Cheney's Halliburton, and 2,500 partners of which more than half are not U.S. citizens. Since 2001. [Daypop Search - business relationship]
The above article is a startling example of how business relationships can come back to haunt you. Giving all parties a benefit of doubt, extremely large companies can technically be involved in millions of relationships of which a few can stand out. Growing relationships in this type of environment become regulated more by culture than rule.
(Continue ... Strategies For Mixed Foreign Or Problematic Relationships)
Top Sites' User Experience Teams and Their Challenge. Common issues faced by some of the heaviest visited websites on-line. Including a checklist for focusing on improving your own site. [Good Experience][Boyink Interactive, LLC]
According to Mark Hurst, founder and host of the Good Experience Live (GEL) conference, shares the common issues found in major traffic holding websites based on a 10-day tour and interviews with over a dozen companies. This abstract includes a summary of the original article with commentary from a relationship building prospectives.
(Continue ... Top Sites' User Experience Teams And Their Challenge (Abstract))
Webster, Kristine Kirby. Trust Is a Two-Way Street (MarketingProfs.com, 22 July 2003)
Kristine Kirby Webster's article on the mutual relationship necessary to build trust with your customer base is a great read. Here is the article in abstract with commentary.
(Continue ... Trust Is A Two-Way Street (Abstract))
How Can I Build a Case for CRM Today? Five strategies that will empower managers to maintain and revitalize senior management and organizational support for CRM. [Moreover - CRM news]
Well, Kamran Hasanain's article is only partially right. In 27 Ways to CRM Return on Investment I provide a complete guide to CRM implementation, so I won't rehash that here again. While the title of this article alludes to reasons why a company should have CRM, in body it talks mainly about CRM implementation.
(Continue ... There Is More To CRM Implementation)
Focus is a trait of successful executives with strong business relationships. In everything they do they have a clear objective, desired outcome, and this produces a clear idea of what is to be accomplished. You can gain focus in business relationships by:
(Continue ... Developing Your Relationship Focus)
The "Lingering CEO" Syndrome Citigroup's outgoing CEO is a great leader. His continued presence as chairman, however, will only cramp incoming CEO Chuck Prince's style. [Business Week: Daily Briefing]
A change of command, should really be a change in command. When a senior executive like a CEO to remain in place during an extended transition period it most likely causes conflict and strife. Who is really in charge, the old CEO now chairman, or the new CEO?
(Continue ... The 'Lingering CEO' Syndrome (Abstract))
Charles de Gaulle. "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." [Quotes of the Day]
In respect to your business relationship with yourself, when was the last time you brought up a replacement. Many executives today work too hard, have too many regrets, and are damaging their health for what ever is next. No matter where you are, you'll always want more, so why not enjoy what you have.
(Continue ... Every Executive Will Be Replaced Some Time Or Another)
S.E.C. Demands 6-Month Ban on New Ernst & Young Clients. Federal regulators reiterated their demand yesterday that the accounting firm Ernst & Young be banned from accepting new audit clients for six months. [New York Times: Business]
Your customer has a software product that improves your business processes, it's a direct relationship and improves your abilities as a company. What could be wrong with such a relationship? Well, a lot of things if you're supposed to be an independent auditor.
(Continue ... Could A Strong Relationship Be Bad For Business)
Publishing a project weblog. A couple of years ago I predicted that Weblogs would emerge within the enterprise as a great way to manage project communication. I'm even more bullish on the concept today. [Jon's Radio] [Michael Fioritto: KM]
I strongly support Jon Udell's prediction of project based web log's. After using the tools for a few years now I'm finding weblogs have significantly reduce my data acquisition time, organization of technical materials, and simplified content management.
(Continue ... Weblogs Will Have A Greater Role In Project Management)
Weblogs and knowledge management. Stream of recent posts has focused on weblogs as a tool for knowledge management both to capture and share knowledge. [McGee's Musings] [Michael Fioritto: KM]
THE VALUE OF SOMETHING TANGIBLE. A surprising experience with BrainBox, presents a great example of getting personal with a customer even when you make a mistake. [Debbie Weil's Blog]
BrainBox turned a late delivery into something memorable to Debbie Weil, publisher of WordBiz Report. When you don't deliver what your customer expects there are a couple of things you can do to make it less painful for them:
(Continue ... Reduce The Pain Of Unfulfilled Customer Expectations)
Comic Book Super Heroes Teach Us About Business. What a business owner has learned from superheros and is applying in his business. [ePrairie.com: Midwest Technology Business News]
Barry Moltz is a huge movie fan, like many of us, he grew up with Marvel comic book heroes who have recently been brought to the big screen. Here is a summary of his article with commentary.
(Continue ... Comic Book Super Heroes Teach Us About Business (Abstract))
Tom Peters. "Underpromise; overdeliver." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
This is the one thing you can do to improve business relationships that won't cost you a single penny. Yes, that's right, when you under promise and overdeliver you earn the right to continue the connection that brought two parties together.
(Continue ... Discover The Easiest Way To Improve A Business Relationship)
Leadership Secrets of Successful Projects. Project success is fairly easy to spot. The project is well underway, its sailing along with very few surprises and just a few hurdles to jump over. [Navigating Business with Technology]
Kimberly Black presents some great points about addressing failing projects. Her advice to identify, reduce and simplify hold true in building strategic relationships in business.
(Continue ... Successful Executive Relationship Leadership Development)
The McMobile Hopes To Make Fast Food Faster. McDonald's is hoping to speed up fast food by equipping staff at its 1,250 UK restaurants with handheld devices for staff to take customers orders as they wait. [CRMDaily]
What can you learn from this fast food giant? How can you take orders from customers waiting to purchase your services? Perhaps you are saying, "Our customers don't queue up to wait for purchases."
(Continue ... Reducing Delays At Point Of Purchase)
Writing Realistic Job Descriptions. Give people half a chance and they will pre-qualify themselves for a job. No one wants to take the time to send resumes and cover letters and never get a response. [Hiring Technical People]
Use strategies for pre-qualifying customers to hone in on the most qualified job seekers available. Doing this will reduce the number of poorly matched resumes you receive, and give prospective employees a better idea of what you desire.
(Continue ... Writing Job Descriptions Is A Marketing Function)
Venice: A City Of Commerce. In Venice, they don't even give you a free taste of gelato (ice cream). You pay your money and takes your chances. How much free information do you give away? How much time do you spend educating customers who don't buy from you? [SucceedingInBusiness.com]
I used to wrestle with this every day, I sell solutions and my personal expertise. I'm finding there is a balance between what I can give prospective customers, and what they will have to buy. After all, how will new customers learn about my business if I don't share some of what I know.
(Continue ... Stop Giving Away The Store, Profitable Customers Need Your Attention)
Martin Fraquhar Tupper. "Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
The world around us seems to be moving a thousand miles an hour. Often so busy we miss what people are really saying, we can't take a break or we'll miss something. Have you ever used the space between you talking to consider what you'll say next?
(Continue ... Silence Is A Tool Of Executive Relationship Builders)
The bigger picture. Conventional wisdom has it that specialisation is good. But for someone trying to navigate an increasingly competitive economy, what is (increasingly) needed is not just specialised know-how, but its opposite: an integrated world view. [Economist.com, Global Executive]
The knowledge type presented in this article is a special type of relational wisdom, the understanding of knowledge as part of an overall system. As an executive you should have specialized knowledge in one or two areas, plus an understanding of how those areas influence the larger system to which you are involved.
(Continue ... Rediscovering Relational Wisdom For The Global Executive)
The Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams. By Jesse James Garrett, July 09, 2003. The best teams have one important thing in common: their team structure and processes cover a full range of distinct competencies necessary for success. [WebWord]
Jesse James Garrett brings together key components (pillars) to websites that are usable and useful to readers. I highly recommend looking at his findings while addressing the "7 questions to ask before web-site integration". In this note I'll address some key points of Mr. Garrett's article, and a wonderful diagram that sums things up.
(Continue ... Web Teams As A Component Of Tactical And Strategic Methods)
Save your people time and effort by packaging work to be easy to pickup at any point by another individual. It's a great time management strategy because employees know where they have been, and understand where they are going in a certain project. It helps them focus on the task at hand.
(Continue ... Practice Containment And Recovery In-Process)
Fire People Who Don't Work. If you'd like to hire people but you can't because you have no open reqs, take a good long look at the people you do have. Are any of your staff prima donnas, "indispensable", or just not doing the work? [Hiring Technical People]
I've worked with several environments who retained toxic people for fear they would do something if fired. In one environment employees were afraid to confront a rather gruff individual for fear he'd crash the software development environment -- it turns out he kept to himself because his manager wouldn't talk to him. Removed the manager and this employee blossomed.
(Continue ... Hiring Slowly And Firing Fast, Is Good For Relationships)
There are over 32 differentiating factors of profitable customers that increase profits in competitive markets. While some companies struggle competitive markets, many are doing better than ever--largely because they know how to target profitable customers with little-known identifiers hidden in their own customer base.
(Continue ... What Makes Profitable Customers Different?)
Robert Service. "Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
Before you grab up the latest customer relationship software, or employee resource planning system; start with the small things today. Relationship building starts with a simple smile and handshake or even a small note saying thank you. Complex strategies and hours of consulting won't bring you any results if you don't have these things.
(Continue ... Simples Things Can Build Business Relationships)
It's not who you know that matters as much as who knows you. You know the President of the United States by name, but if you needed his approval for a certain piece of legislation of your interest, would he know you enough to sign. Relationship management is a part of strategic relations and an important part of your executive career.
(Continue ... Create Influence Through Relationship Management)
Defining Business Development in Strategic Relations. Learn how business development incorporates in the methods of strategic business relationships. Develop a better understanding of who sales, marketing, and support should work together to grow your business.
Methods for Achieving Return on Investment from CRM. How to achieve a realistic return on investment from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) initiative. Including strategies for training, educating, assessing, and monitoring your progress for profitable results.
Culture influences executive style as much as training. In many ways UK executives are more socially active than executives in the United States. They exhibit other relationship traits as outlined below:
(Continue ... Are UK Executives More Socially Active In Business?)
Yes, I have a comment... Yes, it's true.. Have you ever noticed how often companies -- when information about them is leaked out prematurely to the press -- either refuse to comment or they deny the story? [bourland.com]
Andy Bourland (a CEO) saw information leaked about his company on-line. Instead of the usual "no comment" he addressed the issue head on with a well thought-out response. Using a Weblog he was able to extend the buzz of the original coverage, while pitching some history about the company.
(Continue ... Perfect Example Of CEO Involvement In Real-Time Communications)
NGOs: More than flower power. Nongovernmental groups that wield nearly $1 trillion shift tactics to work with business for fair trade. [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]
Who should determine what you sell in your business? Could the line of business (or specific set of product) you provide be seen as fair trade? Organizations with strong business relationships look at their products with another persons perspective.
(Continue ... Take A Holistic Prospective To Your Business)
Selden, Larry and Geoffrey Colvin. What Customers Want (FORTUNE, 23 June 2003), Ideas + Innovations.
While the six steps covered are presented to increase stock value, they can improve your overall company profitability. Original article excerpted from Angel Customers & Demon Customers, published by Portfolio, a division of Penguin Group.
(Continue ... What Customers Want (Abstract))
I frequently talk about producing more profits for your business, often this upsets readers. Some say it's greedy to measure individual customer profitability and work to gain the most out of each transaction. Sure, It it might be greedy if you aren't providing excellent value for your customers dollar, and making sure they have exactly what they desire.
(Continue ... You Can Make Profits And Be Ethical Too)
O'Shea, William. Blogs in the Workplace. (New York Times, 7 July 2003)
More companies are using web logs for internal communications and improving their business. Includes examples of businesses current use of weblogs, plus some products available.
(Continue ... Blogs In The Workplace (Abstract))
5 Key Questions (You've Been Dying) To Ask About Business Blogs. 'Nuff said! Well, really the whole article has some good things to say about business blogging and why you might choose it over an email newsletter. [Boyink Interactive, LLC]
I highly recommend every Debbie Weil has to say. I've been following her through her WordBiz newsletter and found it very useful in improving my marketing copywriting. Your company should be seriously considering the use of weblogs for internal knowledge management.
(Continue ... It Is Time To Bring Blogging Home In The Business World)
Web Site Design Matters when it comes to Internet Marketing. In a new survey conducted by Genex it reveals that 65% of consumers do not shop from poorly designed web sites, while 30 percent say an inferior site can also keep them away from an offline store. [Marketing]
While Laura Schneider's advice is spot on, the About.com website that host her is horribly designed. I cringe every time I have to visit About.com for the following reasons,
(Continue ... Yes, Web Site Design Matters And What You Can Do)
Moves afoot to curb CEO salaries. Steps by shareholders and the SEC affect pay, stock options, and 'golden parachutes.' [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]
Disclaimer: I might be a little bias in commenting on this story, most of my peers, clients, and friends are senior executives -- many of them earn every penny of compensation at least twice over, they deserve what they earn.
(Continue ... Executive Salaries And Employee Relationships)
Do sudden changes in customer order rates or ad responses push up red flags in your company? They should. By tracking trend information in your business, you can prevent surprises caused by various events like:
(Continue ... Minding Performance Measures Against Objectives)
Emo Phillips. "At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote." [Quotes of the Day]
Is this how you treat customers who buy your products? You would (maybe you wouldn't) be surprised how many large companies sell inferior products, just so you have to buy the fix. Think about the software industry.
(Continue ... Is This How You Treat Your Customers?)
Hiring on the Fly. Northrop rationalizes spending on contingent work force. [Technology News from eWEEK and Ziff Davis]
While software allows us the ability to manage humans as just-in-time components of our overall business system, How are we to build a strong and loyal workforce if everyone is disposable?
(Continue ... A Temporary Workforce Isn't A Loyal One)
It has been a wonderful holiday, my computer made me take some time off by crashing Friday morning. Fortunately I only lost the root disk, a couple megs of notes, my book marks, and had to reinstall most of my software. But what about customer requests over from the 4th till 7th of July.
(Continue ... Learning From Unexpected Challenges)
It's Time For Marketing To Embrace Weblog Concepts & Technologies. Allan Karl, former co-founder of Wirestone, has this to say about the power of weblogs as a form of corporate communications. [Up2Speed: Why Weblogs Will Become a Serious Form of Corporate Communications]
While a lot of leaders talk of the "power of weblogs in corporate communications" I feel the greatest strength of weblogs will come from internal team communications.
(Continue ... Blogging Better For Internal Team Communications)
Blog Relations - A primer. Press Access' newsletter The Scoop has an introduction to blogging for PR pros. They include references to some very interesting blogs. [PR Opinions]
Forward this link to your public relations team, it provides some practical ways to us web logs to gain media coverage for your business. In summary:
(Continue ... Blogging For Public Relations Professionals In Your Company)
Washington Post: Web Firms Choose Profit Over Privacy. ...marketers and an array of service providers expanding their collection and use of consumers' email addresses and other personal information, despite broad assurances to protect individual privacy and honor consumers' choices about how much marketing they want to receive. [Tomalak's Realm]
This happens in the business-to-business world too. Respect your customers decision NOT to receive communications from your company, no matter the channel. It's important to know everything you can about your customers, but use the information properly or you'll lose trust, credibility, and could end up in a law suit.
(Continue ... Respect Customers Decisions Not To Hear From You)
When some customers have problems they can take from 3 months to 2 years to address it. Especially if you have to go through a competitive bid process. The best thing you can do for your business and your customers is to build relationships that allow you to provide solutions without having the work go to bid.
(Continue ... From Problem To Competitive Bid)
ostracize: Dictionary.com Word of the Day. ostracize [Dictionary.com Word of the Day]
A business with poor business relationships ostracizes customers and employees by ignoring their needs. Often these companies go further to ruin the relationship by second guessing instead of surveying the needs of groups they should be serving. This leaves these businesses without the financial and other resources necessary for stability.
(Continue ... Don't Ostracize Customers And Employees If You Want Profits)
You want to stay in touch with customers, even provide a personal style of communications that builds trust and credibility for your organization. A web log is one way to turn a impersonal website into a relationship building tool.
(Continue ... Relationship Building Examples Using A Web Log)
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