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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.
Office Space. Given the amount of time a typical (office or home) workers spends in an office facility, it makes good sense to have a productive environment. [Navigating Business with Technology]
An employees work environment is just as important to consider as the layout of an assembly line. A well engineered work environment can improve employee productivity by as much as 32%-- various aspects need to be taken into consideration before the first employee is expected to produce in a working environment.
(Continue ... Work Environment Influences Productivity For Professionals)
Anderson, Eric. The Online Marketer's Secret Weapon: A Site that Works. (MarketingProfs.com, 23 Sept 2003)
Eric Anderson of White Horse, a professional services firm specializing in Web marketing, offers some great tips for improving your website. A summary is provided here with my own commentary.
(Continue ... The On-line Marketer's Secret Weapon: A Site That Works (Abstract))
Edinburgh airport: catching the red eye. bad customer experience No. 156: i often catch the red-eye flight from Edinburgh to London. the earliest flight ... [txnt unconnected]
(Continue ... Today Millions Can Learn Of Your Mistakes On The Internet)
What ever happened to customer service?. Find out what happens when you put one of your most valuable and profitable customers on hold, who just happens to be an author. [Moreover - CRM news]
Do you irritate your customers while trying to serve them better? This article is a follow on to my Making Your Service Harder To Use Irritates Customers -- too often efforts to improve actually make matters worse because each individual defines good customer service differently. Consider these points to satisfy your most profitable customers:
(Continue ... Each Customer Defines Customer Service Differently)
Becoming a Soft-Side Accountant. Columnist Marshall Goldsmith says in order to build a better organization, we must account for the soft-side values of the workplace. [Fast Company]
Marshall Goldsmith shares his experiences in trying to measure relationship development with his family. He provides example useful for improving your 8 executive relationship realms.
(Continue ... Measuring Efforts In A Relationship)
Before someone will buy something from your website, or call your sales representatives, they must trust that what you provide solves a specific problem they face. In order to develop this trust (a precursor to a relationship) you must:
(Continue ... Being Believable Establishes Trust With Visitors)
Before you get wrapped up in any specific software platform, it is important to have some ideas on how to keep customer data clean. Clean data produces accurate assumptions about your customers. The following methods help you invest in marketing that produces a higher sales conversion rate.
(Continue ... Ways To Keep Customer Data Clean)
Do you want sustainable profits gained in an ethical manner?
You can have a higher level of customer retention and experience higher sales conversions when you understand the desires of your customers. Not NEEDS, not WANTS, but DESIRES. An individuals desires move them more than anything else (with wants second, followed by needs) even in business relationships.
(Continue ... Make Effort To Understand Customers Desires)
"From the very beginning of the relationship, the client needs to be told what they can expect and when they can expect it." -- Ben Silverman, Publisher, Dotcom Scoop
When your customer knows what to expect from their interaction with you, they meet fewer surprises and are more satisfied with the results. Consistent interactions that are predictable, more likely to produce a positive outcome, grow business relationships because the customer can come to depend on what you provide.
(Continue ... Set Expectations Of Quality And Time Prior To Service)
AOL Time Warner to Drop 'AOL'. Media conglomerate AOL Time Warner Inc. plans to drop "AOL" from its corporate name, which was adopted after the merger of America On-line and Time Warner in 2001 [SMEI, Newsletter]
How does changing a companies name contribute to increasing profits or retaining customers? It doesn't! Only two things can improve profits and customer retention:
(Continue ... A Rotten Apple Is Just That, No Matter What You Call It)
In a previous message, Cox blocking POP services by third-parties, I shared with you details about a customer irritating practice of port filtering being practiced by my Internet provider. Cox High Speed Internet has since removed port filtering of POP3 to third-party sites.
(Continue ... Update On Port Filtering By Cox High Speed Internet)
If what you know about your customers is outdated, you could be wasting a lot of money. Today, I received a mailing from a computer network appliance manufacturer addressed to a company I closed in 1999. It was one of those expensive full-color folders with glossy inserts, mailed flat with over a dollar in postage.
(Continue ... How Accurate Is What You Know About Customers)
No email 4u. John Cauldwell, the multi-millionaire owner of high street retailer Phones 4u, has banned staff from using email. [Ananova / Business]
John Cauldwell does an extraordinary thing, he bans the use of email as a tool for internal communications. Yes, virtually forcing his 2,500 employees to work directly with each other face-to-face. He says the biggest benefit of this ban would be increased customer loyalty as staff focus more on providing better service.
(Continue ... Misdirected Communications Harms Business Relationships)
Winer, Dave. What makes a weblog a weblog? (Weblogs At Harvard Law, 23 May 2003) Useful overview and definition of a weblog including terms. Plus biographical references to related articles.
Basics of meetings. My good friend, David Badash, noted his top three goals when planning a meeting: 1. Keep the end goal in mind ~ What are your... [robinyap.com]
Like meetings should be, David Badash's top three goals for a meeting are short and to the point. Too often meetings become proving grounds for alliances. Confusing forays between attendees send meetings into overtime. All this isn't necessary.
(Continue ... Productive Meetings Start With Planning)
If you don't yet know what a web log (or weblog, blog, ...) is then consider a comprehensive article by Debbie Weil entitled, 5 key questions (you've been dying) to ask about business blogs. Weil covers:
(Continue ... 5 Questions About Weblogs Answered)
WHY PR IS THE NAIL FOR THE HAMMER OF ADVERTISING [Advertising Age]
While Al Ries' article Why PR is the Nail for the Hammer of Advertising (AdAge.com, 15 Sept 2003) speaks of selling political canidates, it's advice is valuable for promoting your own products and services. The basis of the article is that public relations lends credibility and increases brand awareness to an advertising campaigns.
(Continue ... Why PR Is The Nail For The Hammer Of Advertising (Abstract))
An extension on my building business relationships with your website, Terry Frazier shares Building Business Relationships via the Blog. Web logs serve an important role of humanizing interactive mediums such as the Internet. Readers have the opportunity to comment, quote, and even discuss entries-- providing almost instant feedback from customers interested in the topic discussed.
(Continue ... Weblogs Contribute To Relationship Building For Business)
Marchioness Townsend. "Never tell a man you can read him through and through; most people prefer to be thought enigmas." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
Being proud the homework I did on a potential account, I spent the first several minutes of an interview sharing everything I knew. It turns out my research was accurate, my background was thorough, and I really knew my stuff. I didn't get the contract, in fact, the prospect was very upset with what I had to share.
(Continue ... Too Much Detail Too Early Hurts Relationship Building)
Middle managers often fear powerful employees who are ready to bring the company forward. This message is for the executive who has to deal with them. These destructive managers hurt themselves more than anything else-- but can be prevented if they understand the benefit of helping employees be more successful.
(Continue ... How To Benefit From More Successful Employees)
Fed Nails WestLB For Tying Lending to Underwriting. Violator of Bank Holding Act accrues $3 million dollar fine and must change its "relationship banking" practice. [Corp Law Blog]
Not all business relationships are ethical, or even legal. A German bank settled charges that it violated the Bank Holding Company Act's anti-tying restrictions, pays a $3 million dollar fine and must change its "relationship banking" practices. Conditional relationships are dangerous and should be avoided.
(Continue ... Tips To Avoid Problems With Conditional Relationships)
Most companies only train employees for their current job and neglect to address the results the company desires for successful job completion. This leads to skilled professionals, but doesn't advance the companies objectives as much as training for skills that advance the positions objectives.
(Continue ... Train Employees On Position Objectives Too)
Keeping good employees is difficult. Your employees are concerned about the layoffs and outsourcing they see in the news everyday. Fear doesn't make for happy productive employees-- your relationship with top players is probably the only thing keeping them from jumping ship.
(Continue ... Methods To Improve Employee Retention)
Part Host, Part Boss, Part Friend. Before he started his business, Coleman Lee Finkel spent half-century thinking about what other people were doing wrong that he could do right. By Tanya Mohn. [New York Times: Business]
Mr. Coleman Lee Finkel is the perfect example of a relationship builder that knows exactly what his customers want, provides it, and enjoys his life as a business leader. At 72 (in 1992) he started the Coleman Center, a conferencing center in Midtown Manhattan, built on the understanding and research of what makes a perfect environment for meetings.
(Continue ... A Business As The Study Of Customer Desires)
In America, too often older executives discount their own ideas and knowledge. I think this happen because of our youth oriented culture. However, I find our senior population has a keen understanding of humanistic details necessary for strong and sustainable business relationships.
(Continue ... Age Is Just A Number And All Prospectives Matter)
Albert Camus. "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." [Quotes of the Day]
How much effort does your company put into being like your competitors? It seem so many organizations try to hard to keep up with those around them, and don't actually produce any new innovation of their own. Do you really want to keep up with someone who's likely trying to be like you?
(Continue ... Are You Trying Hard To Be Like Everyone Else?)
For a group to be successful it must convey and store certain knowledge of value to future prospective members. Sharing of this tradition, practice, know-how, and derived benefit contributes to the groups growth over time.
(Continue ... Real Communities Have Knowledge)
Cashel, Jim. Interview with Barry Libert, Rapid Insights. (Online Community Report, April 2003)
If you're interested in on-line community building check out the last part of an Interview with Barry Libert of Rapid Insights (referred to me by Lee LeFever from Common Craft) I'll summarize a few elements that I think are valuable to understanding how to use your website to build customer and employee relationships.
(Continue ... Interview With Barry Libert, Rapid Insights (Abstract))
With more of your customers having broadband Internet access more options are available to serve them on-line. According to a resent survey by PC Magazine, more than 44% of users have broadband at home, statistics are even better for business users.
(Continue ... More Customers Can Reach You With Broadband)
Quite often the actions your company takes to solve one problem cause other problems for your customers. Before you change the way you deliver or provide a service, consider the total impact before you take action. Some example scenarios:
(Continue ... Making Your Service Harder To Use Irritates Customers)
Nothing irritates a customer more than limiting their ability to use your product or service without first consulting them, or at least posting a notice on your website.
(Continue ... Cox Blocking POP Services By Third-Parties)
Over time most members develop an understanding of community norms and what constitutes acceptable behavior. These norms reduce the need for a community to police itself or reduces the number of actions taken against unacceptable behavior. However, in the beginning most communities don't have this informal management.
(Continue ... Established Communities Are Largely Self Sustaining And Self Managing)
Communities are improved by multiple channels of communications. Being "on-line" is just one way to connect with members (or between members)-- but to say "on-line community" is as ridiculous as saying "telephone community".
(Continue ... There Is No Such Thing As An On-Line Community)
theOTHERblog- Psychology of Communities [Newsability] [Bruce Landon: Social Psychology]
Ian Dickson is putting together a community, he wants it to be large, but ran into a few challenges. Here you will find comments and a brief summary of his findings on the psychology of communities.
(Continue ... Discovery The Psychology Of Communities)
Customer interaction points are your most valuable tool to building strong and profitable relationships. A customer interaction point is any event where your customer considers or comes in contact with your product or service.
(Continue ... How Each Interaction Contributes To Relationship Building)
In a recent special edition of Inside Strategic Relations entitled Solutions for Slow Economies, I shared a number of strategies to increase revenues and address factors that erode price. Here are a few strategies I garnered from reader feedback:
(Continue ... More Strategies To Consider In Tight Economic Times)
When answering a customers request for more information, don't just send sales materials full of pitches. Are your marketing materials full of details about the provider, but very little about the desires?of buyers? If you aren't providing value in every communication, then you're turning potential customers off to your competition.
(Continue ... Provide Value In Every Communication Effort)
Marketing is a great way to reach out to prospects and invite them to become customers, after all, how will these individuals learn about your company otherwise. Too often sales and marketing folks get stuck in a single method of communications, often only reaching part of your possible customer base.
(Continue ... Hybrid Marketing Methods To Improve Response)
In the first iteration of these 4 steps you are to just write down your ideas from memory-- don't distract yourself with fact finding right now, focus on brainstorming as many ideas as possible. Try to produce a list of specific statements describing each step, push for as many items as possible, but be specific.
(Continue ... Steps To Refocus On Revenue Generation)
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