What a Business Can No Longer Afford to Neglect

The Facebook post went something like this:

“I’m looking for a good eye doctor in [insert city].  Can anybody recommend one to me?”

Within a matter of minutes, the replies started flying in.  Having once lived in her city, I also contributed my own two cents.  The nice thing for the doctor that I recommended was that I was not alone in my suggestion…others had echoed the same sentiment about this really great individual and doctor.

I hope she chose him.  He really does rock.

business social media

 

 

 

 

 

I bring this up to reinforce and to impress upon you the idea that social media is a powerful tool for not only communicating with your friends and family, but also for business owners.  This might be the “duh” moment of the hour, but there are still far too many businesses who just don’t understand the importance and relevance of social media.  It’s not just about SEO, it’s about WHO YOU ARE and HOW PEOPLE PERCEIVE YOUR BUSINESS.

Once upon a time, it might take me hours and days to get the word out about a business I really enjoy (or didn’t).  Now, due to my 800+ Facebook friends, 500+ Twitter followers, and near 400 LinkedIn connections, I can use my keyboard and mouse to transmit my thoughts and feelings to an audience of over 1,000.  Oh, and that’s at the minimum…those 1,000 can also turn around and share my thoughts with thousands of their own followers.

If you don’t think social media has changed the landscape of business, you might want to check back in with the 1990’s.  The game has been forever changed.

Business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals – if you still haven’t done anything in the way of social media, allow me to offer these three quick suggestions:

1.)  Begin your social media presence.  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great starters.  Over time, think about incorporating YouTube, Pinterest, and maybe even Google+.

2.)  Don’t just start it, USE it.  Start posting content that will grab your viewers’ attention.  And don’t make it a constant barrage of “you” pieces hocking your wares and services.  Make the majority of your content about issues relevant to your audience.  (I recommend a 90/10 split when it comes to industry content vs. promotional content.)  Post at least once daily, but don’t vomit all over social media throughout the day.  Once is good for each platform.

3.)  Engage with your audience.  Listen to them, invite them to participate in dialogue (notice the word I used…in other words, make it a two-way street).  Make it about them, not about you.

And one last thought…if somebody offers a recommendation about you, please do the right thing and say thank you.  That alone can go a long way in getting repeat referrals.

Never, ever underestimate the power of social media for business.  Get active with it…or get left behind.

QUESTION:  If you have a social media presence as a business, how have you been successful in engaging your audience and have you increased sales as a result?  Reply with a comment below.

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You Gotta Represent

Branding.

That seems to be the “in” word right now among business and marketing circles.  I used to have a fairly negative view of the word, what with how trendy it seems to have become and my simply not wanting to hop onto that bandwagon.  But the more and more I think about it and its implications, the more I’m convinced that every professional needs to be mindful of branding.

Move over, Sally.  There’s a new passenger on the wagon.

But when it comes to branding, there’s so much more than the brand of “Me” or the brand of “You.”  When I’m teaching my sales and customer service classes, I like to remind my students that they are really representing not one but TWO different brands:

1.) The brand of “Me”

2.) The brand of “We” ( the company/product they represent)

When I’m out trying to make deals and create sales opportunities, my client isn’t just buying the product or service (though that is what it shows on the invoice) and everything that brand represents.  He’s also buying the brand of “Me”….and everything my brand represents.  Because, after all, if I want to generate repeat business I have to not only provide a superior product with superior value, but I also have to provide superior service to keep that customer happy and loyal and coming back for more.  The level of service and excellence I provide all goes into the brand of “Me.”

When you’re out selling and servicing, you really are representing two different brands.  And the reality is, the power of the brand of “Me” carries a lot more weight that the brand of the product or service you’re selling, because as a sales professional it’s going to be you who makes or breaks the deal.  Always.  They might be able to get a lower price down the street on the same product, but because “Me” provides the most superior service anywhere, chances are you’re going to be able to service them into a sale and build a loyal customer for life.

It’s a huge responsibility being in sales and service.  You’re representing your own personal brand as well as the company brand.  Be excellent with both angles and watch your sales and revenue continue driving upward.

QUESTION:  What does it mean to you to represent your personal brand?  Share with us below in a comment.

The Assassin

There are lots of ways to take out an enemy.  The deadliest member of any military isn’t the one pushing the button on the biggest bomb (though they can certainly do the most damage in one action), nor is it the guy driving the tank or flying the jet.  The most lethal soldier out there is generally the one with a single smaller weapon, positioned in hiding, and takes out one marked target at a time at just the right time.An assassin.

An assassin takes out one target at a time.  If gone unchecked, the damage done can be immeasurable.  To compare the concept to customer service, there is a deadly assassin on the loose in our companies.  Some companies have their defenses up and know how to stop him.  Others, though, are left struggling to keep him contained and, as a result, see their employees’ and businesses’ performance being taken out one by one.  That assassin has the same name, no matter where he’s found.

Apathy.

Apathy can do a number on any business when it sets in, affecting one or multiple employees.  The results can be staggering:

–  Robs employees of their enthusiasm for the business and the desire to make a solid contribution.

–  Begins to kill customer service when employees care about neither their jobs or the impact they’re having on their customers.

–  Ultimately destroys the business completely when customers who receive negative customer service experiences begin taking their business (translation – “their money”) elsewhere.

Apathy exists in many forms, ranging from employees not tending to customers to a total lack of excellence and pride in their work.  Rather than a lengthy treatise on the development of apathy, I want to share some ways to take out the assassin called apathy in your company:

1.)  Share the company’s vision and mission with the employees.  Most times people get into their jobs for the paycheck and not the payoff; the fulfillment.  By sharing the company’s vision and mission statements, and helping them to see that they’re part of the company’s success, employees can begin to see a bigger picture of why the doors to the business are open in the first place.

2.)  Catch your employees doing something right.  We have a tendency to be on the lookout for what people are doing wrong and to find where they need correction.  But by pointing out when an employee is performing with excellence and professionalism, you begin to condition them to work in that same manner.  as the old saying goes, you get more bees with honey than you do with, errr, bug bombs.

3.)  Make customer service the king of the business, not the cash register.  The bottom line will always be a factor in the health of any business.  This goes without saying.  However, without positive customer service experiences, the bottom line will grow more and more red as the customer service experience continues to dwindle and fail.  Under-committing and over-delivering on customer service and product will just about always yield return business.  Putting a premium on positive customer service will do you better than a pricey advertising campaign or a slick showroom.

4.)  Reward your team for outstanding service contributions.  Just as catching your employees doing something right is important, rewarding them for going over and above the “job description” creates an atmosphere for excellence.  The recognition doesn’t have to be extravagant; something along the lines of a mention at a team meeting or in the company newsletter, or even a little gift card could go a very long way in motivating employees to roll out the red carpet for the customer.

Those four action items can do wonders in eliminating the apathy assassin in your company before it can take out your employees’ productivity and morale.  Give them a try, let me know how they work.

QUESTION: How else can you eliminate apathy in your business?

Hello world!

Hey there.  Thanks for stopping by my newly re-launched blog (formerly known as The Morgan Files).  I’m excited to having this updated platform to share my thoughts on customer service, sales, management/leadership, social media, and other professional issues with you.  With so many other blogs out there on these subjects, why stop and read mine?  I’ll give you three great reasons:

1.)  I’m not just somebody with opinions.  I’m a trainer and speaker who works with business leaders, managers, and frontline employees on a daily basis.  I’ve helped others with their businesses and I might be able to help you with yours.

2.)  I care about your business.  I don’t take the time to do this because I’m bored.  I do this because I’m tired of seeing businesses accept mediocrity and the status quo. You were meant for more than that.  I offer real solutions and strategies to help business run with excellence.  It’s time you grabbed it and ran with it, too.

3.)  I’m a consumer just like you.  But as a trainer, I pay extra attention to how the businesses I buy from get the job done.  I see what works and what doesn’t work.  I’m pretty critical at times (almost to a fault).  Sometimes I want to scream when I see the apathy.  Sometimes I want to throw a double fist pump for a job well done.  In either case, it’s always with an eye toward WOW.

So here we go.  I hope as you read on that you’ll feel compelled to comment on my posts, subscribe, and even share me with your friends and associates.  Looking forward to engaging with you.