Turning Business Relationships Into Profits
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Building Business Relationships

How selling professional can stop struggling to create and keep profitable customers, simple strategies that turn every business relationship into profits guaranteed.

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November 30, 2003

Wealthy Executives Can Improve Society

Making money to give away. The only thing harder than building a great fortune is giving one away. At least that's the conclusion you might draw after looking at how hard the mega givers work at the task. [Economic Times: International Business]

The secret givers. New Jersey-born airport-gift-shop magnate Charles F. Feeney pulled it off, even concealing the fact of his giving from his longtime business partner. [Economic Times: International Business]

While corporate executives take a lot of criticism for their personal uses of money, many are making a real difference in society. As an executive, you have a responsibility to your employees and the communities around your businesses. This is part of the relationships surrounding you as an individual.

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Learn How To Keep Customers Profitably Satisfied

Keeping the Customer (profitably) Satisfied. Which is more enlightened: the company that cuts costs across the board during the downturn, not knowing the impact on customer satisfaction; or the company that spends whatever it takes to keep satisfaction scores high? [BNET.com - Recent Marketing Strategy White Papers]

Customer satisfaction must be linked to sustained profit growth. Often enough companies only cut costs to improve profits, or invest in blind notions to increase customer satisfaction. Keeping the customer (profitably) satisfied (Mercer Management Consulting, Jan 2002) addresses both of these areas from a consumer prospective.

(Continue ... Learn How To Keep Customers Profitably Satisfied)

November 28, 2003

Limit Confusion By Providing One Choice At A Time

Give Your Customers Direction. Sean D'Souza thinks that customers want direction. He provides his own nice summary of the article: Customers are confused by multiple directions. [BusinessPundit]

Customers have enough going on in their life, they don't need anymore confusion. Sean D'Souza of PsychoTactics(tm) shares some points about how we confuse customers with too many choices. Yes, too many choices at a point of action can freeze a customer in their tracks.

(Continue ... Limit Confusion By Providing One Choice At A Time)

November 27, 2003

Five Steps To Upgrading Workforce Performance (Summary)

Dealing with slackers. Addressing various views on producing the most productive work environments, including reasons to remove low performing workers. Highlights CIO article on forced rankings. [Kaleem Aziz's blog at Ecademy]

Every employee is different, each produces their own value to the organization. Kaleem Aziz puts forward a controversial point about measuring an individuals performance, while asking some important questions. Like your customers, your workforce must be cultivated to produce the most valuable pool of resources possible.

(Continue ... Five Steps To Upgrading Workforce Performance (Summary))

November 26, 2003

There Is Nothing Your Employees Can't Accomplish

Keep your feet moving. Flemming Funch, aka Ming the Mechanic, posted a short but power-packed summary of what Anthony Robbins has to say about achieving anything you want. [The Occupational Adventure (sm) Blog]

One in four employees working for your company isn't achieving the results they desire, yet alone what your customer demands. They struggle, and even look like they are giving it their all, but without any results they go home tired at the end of each day. Curt Rosengren of Occupational Adventure relays 4 truths of accomplishing anything that I think every reader should share with their employees.

(Continue ... There Is Nothing Your Employees Can't Accomplish)

What You Can Learn From Listening To Customers

Dell to Stop Using Tech Support in India. AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- After an onslaught of complaints, direct sales computer king Dell Inc. has stopped routing corporate customers to a technical support call center in Bangalore, India. [New York Times: Business]

I'm so happy to hear Dell Inc (DELL) has stopped using overseas technical support at the request of their customers. This after I spent over 2 1/2 hours on a technical support call, passed through 5 representatives, only to be told I needed additional information to obtain support. It's good to see Dell is monitoring customer concerns, because I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone.

(Continue ... What You Can Learn From Listening To Customers)

November 25, 2003

Relationship Builders Have An Employee Retention Strategy

Employee Retention as a Strategy. This article discusses employee retention as a strategy. Retaining employees means lower training costs and a familiar well established workforce. [BusinessPundit]

When you look at it, you often have to go through a lot of bad employees before you get to that one great one. Have you ever calculated the cost of finding that single high quality employee? This is why relationship builders need an employee retention strategy.

(Continue ... Relationship Builders Have An Employee Retention Strategy)

November 24, 2003

Manifesto For Community Contributors On-Line

There are a number of comments available about building communities on-line, but little guidance for those contributors that make long-term success possible. Without fresh content and individual opinion communities would hold little or no value. This manifesto highlights some existing resources while providing guidelines for new contributors.

(Continue ... Manifesto For Community Contributors On-Line)

November 23, 2003

Telemarketing Inhibits Business-to-Business Relationships

Where's the B2B Do Not Call List?. It happened again. An annoying call from a telemarketer. Keelan from AccuTax began his pitch by saying, "This is not a sales call." [Church of the Customer]

While the National (US) Do-Not-Call Registry primarily covers residential phone numbers; Jackie Huba of the Church of the Customer, offers a great view on the damage telemarketing causes in business-to-business relationships. Don't call people who haven't given you specific permission to do so or you risk destroying a profitable relationship before it starts.

(Continue ... Telemarketing Inhibits Business-to-Business Relationships)

November 22, 2003

The 5 W's Of Customer Acquisition

Customers are the heart of business. They create every cent of profit, but how much do you really know about your customers. As a good reporter searches out every detail of a story, you should use the 5 W's (plus H) to better understand your customer. With this understanding, you'll be able to get more of the profitable ones.

(Continue ... The 5 W's Of Customer Acquisition)

November 21, 2003

A Call For More Human Interaction In Business

In a world of ever increasing technology, individuals often lose touch with the humans around them. Face-to-face interactions are minimized with instant messaging, cell phones, and other communications let you talk to anyone anywhere at anytime. Technology can improve service in business, but often hinders it.

(Continue ... A Call For More Human Interaction In Business)

November 20, 2003

Customers Remember How Well You Did A Job

Howard Newton. "People forget how fast you did a job - but they remember how well you did it." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

Take time to do a job right, as a customer desires it, over doing it fast. There will always be someone who will do it for less, in a shorter amount of time, but explain why you do things differently. When you focus on producing the solution a customer desires, it often doesn't matter how fast you do it.

(Continue ... Customers Remember How Well You Did A Job)

November 19, 2003

Improving Value Of Claims In Written Materials

Written communications with customers, employees, and partners contribute to much of their understanding of your relationship with them. In order to provide value while maintaining a trustworthy relationship with the reader, you need to write in a believable manner that provides enough information for a reader to take action.

(Continue ... Improving Value Of Claims In Written Materials)

November 18, 2003

How To Create Extra Value With Pitched Articles

Articles are a great way to share background information about your product or communicate certain benefits that you want your prospects to consider. These benefits might contribute to reasons a customer should enter into a buying relationship with your company. If you are already writing articles for your own website you can create a higher level of exposure by writing for other publications too.

(Continue ... How To Create Extra Value With Pitched Articles)

November 17, 2003

Learn From Business Week's Web Smart 50

Business Week introduces it's The Web Smart 50, introducing websites over six categories who are using the Web to benefit their customers-- and themselves. In this post, you'll learn what players in each category had in common, and how the six categories could influence your business communication strategy.

(Continue ... Learn From Business Week's Web Smart 50)

November 16, 2003

You're Probably Cheating Part-Time Employees

Are you cheating your employees for personal gain? Your managers probably are, and you don't even know about it. How come part-time workers are paid less, but expected to produce the same per hour as full-time workers?

(Continue ... You're Probably Cheating Part-Time Employees)

November 15, 2003

Lessons From Evolution For The Adaptable Business

Evolutionary thinking. Darwin didn't theorize that the fittest organisms survive. His theory states that those best adapted ? that fit best into their environment ? are the ones that shape succeeding generations. Evolution is contextual. [Advice Line by Bob Lewis]

Bob Lewis relays an important effectiveness tip from evolution that is applicable for relationship building in business. Darwin theorized that the most adaptable organism will survive. For successful generations of your own business it is better to know the difference between "best" and "best fit."

(Continue ... Lessons From Evolution For The Adaptable Business)

November 14, 2003

Rediscover The Differentiating Value Of Strong Customer Relationships

Customers Schmustomers. Curt Rosengren, my "are you passionate about your job enough" conscience sent me a link to a fascinating article written by the Gallop Management Journal (First Break All The Rules, Now Discover Your Strengths, Follow This Path) ... [John Porcaro: mktg&msft]

John Porcaro (works in marketing at Microsoft Corporation) expresses his views on a an article from the Gallop Management Journal called Roadblocks to Customer Engagement (Part I). Porcaro reinforces the importance of strong customer relationships and highlights key mistakes companies make. If you've been a regular reader of Inside Strategic Relations or this weblog, you've probably already got these areas covered. However, here are highlights with my commentary for your review.

(Continue ... Rediscover The Differentiating Value Of Strong Customer Relationships)

November 13, 2003

Designing For Decisions (Abstract)

Designing for Decisions. One of the greatest misconceptions about web sites is that they should be designed for selling. Users now come to web sites with the intent of exploring their options to make a decision. [Weblog]

Andrew Chak, of the UIE Roadshow, shares an important new aspect of visitor objectives-- visitors come to websites with the intent of gathering opinion to make a decision. Chak's simple article covers 5 key areas outlined here with my own commentary. These strategies can provide a more compelling experience for visitors over a sale-oriented site, while helping them make buying decisions.

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November 5, 2003

Members Are Detached From Their Communities Most Of The Time

Just as individuals must be able to control their participation within a larger community, they must also have the choice to remove themselves. Remember, members function as non-members a greater percentage of their lifetime. Any community that demands more time than they are willing to invest is simply discarded.

(Continue ... Members Are Detached From Their Communities Most Of The Time)

November 4, 2003

Have Good Fortune Smile On Your Business

Anne Tyler. "People always call it luck when you've acted more sensibly than they have." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]

Isn't it interesting how others will call your hard work and preparation by the simple name of luck. They attribute chance as the key contributing factor to a solid customer base, strong strategic partners, or influential relationships that simplifies reaching your business objectives. If you are one of those who things that everyone else gets all the good breaks, here are several ways you can turn good fortune your way.

(Continue ... Have Good Fortune Smile On Your Business)

November 3, 2003

Hiring Considerations For Senior Positions

Hiring Managers: Check References Yourself. If you're thinking of hiring someone, check references yourself. Don't delegate reference checks. You'll be able to take advantage of serendipitous moments and learn more about the candidate -- what you need to know. [Hiring Technical People]

When hiring new people (especially in senior positions), ask your own questions instead of letting human resources ask generic questions of candidates. Johanna Rothman makes a series brief comments on her experiences as a reference for a senior manager. I wanted to add the following guidelines for deriving questions for references and candidates:

(Continue ... Hiring Considerations For Senior Positions)

November 2, 2003

Positive Group Perception Created With Intense Initiation

Group Initiation and Member Perceptions. Psychological study done in 1959 says people who go through a more "harsh" group initiation process are more likely to have a positive perception of the group. [Common Craft]

In 1959, a study Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group for the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology found that the more selective membership organizations are in their members, the more value they associate with the group. Tom Coates starts this discussion on Everything in Moderation with The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group.

(Continue ... Positive Group Perception Created With Intense Initiation)

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