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Use Yah Blinkah!

A few weeks ago the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed their latest digital sign, “Use Yah Blinkah” to remind those of us in the fabulous state of Massachusetts that communicating with other drivers about our next move is important. If you’ve ever driven through Massachusetts you’ve discovered that most of us consider the blinkah an optional gadget in our car. Seriously, it’s amazing we don’t have a major problem with road rage because, from my observation, most of us simply ignore this important safety rule.  This month we discuss the importance of speaking yah customer’s language!

Beth Goldstein

What Do Yah Customahs Hear?

DOT recognized that they weren’t getting  through to their customers but instead of pleading with drivers to be courteous, they decided to use humor to grab our attention. They successfully managed to gently remind us to observe the rules of the road by having fun with the fact that Bostonians are known for dropping their “r’s” when speaking.

I suspect that the DOT has tried more conventional methods of getting drivers’ attention. However, I missed the message and I wonder how many others did as well. Nonetheless, this creative tactic certainly got my attention and went viral pretty quickly. I found out about it through a Facebook post. At first I thought it was a hoax but was delighted (thrilled actually!) when I saw one of the signs on the Massachusetts Turnpike (aka Da Pike).

Imagine that – a government agency acting like a business to ensure their message was not just delivered but received! They became marketers – thinking like their  ‘customers’ to ensure that those who had gone deaf listening to this message in the past were now hopefully more engaged in the dialogue.  I think it was brilliant marketing and applaud the DOT for having the courage to think outside of the conventional box to appeal to its citizens using a voice they recognize and can smile at. Humor can be a very effective form of communication.

Why is it so important to think like your customers to ensure they hear you?
This reminds me of the personal branding story I’ve shared in my books and told numerous times during my growth seminars. Here’s the story, if you missed it… or simply want to hear it again.  I know this is my mother’s favorite!

When my son Ben was a little boy we decided to have the shutters replaced on the outside of our house. It was the middle of the winter and our contractor placed a large blue tarp over our house to protect us from the pending blizzard. When Ben asked why our house was covered in blue, we explained that there was a huge blizzard coming and we needed to be protected from it. Unfortunately this caused  a lot of fear for our 3-year old and Ben had nightmares for several days until  we figured out what the root cause of the problem was.

It turns out that 3-year olds don’t know what blizzards are but they do know what lizards are. Ben didn’t comprehend what we said (we failed to think like him) and he believed that we needed to be protected from the huge lizard that was about to attack our house. You see, perception is reality and Ben only heard what he was able to comprehend – lizard…. not blizzard.

It seems that the DOT understood that they weren’t getting their message delivered any better than Ben’s dad and I had. Message delivered but NOT received – as anticipated is a problem in business and well, in all aspects of life.

How Effectively Are You Communicating Your Brand?

Check with your customers and see if the message you’re delivering is the one they are receiving. How? Simple – either ask them to describe your value to them or  use social media to check. Social media can be a great way to determine how well  you’re explaining your company values, benefits and brand. If the buzz about your business, being shared through the voice of your customer, is different than the  one you believe you are delivering then it might be time to USE YAH BLINKAH and  starting communicating better with customers and prospects that clearly influence the success or failure of your organization. Remember, don’t let your brand be a lizard.

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Can Dog Breath Teach You About Creating Loyal Customers?

 

Happy Holidays! As 2012 comes to a close, I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Many of you have reached out to share your stories of success and disappointment. I have appreciated your honesty and hearing how you have overcome challenges throughout the year.

Can dog breath teach you about creating loyal customers (and I don’t mean the already-loyal, four-legged kind)? 

To find out, please read the article below.

Is your 2013 growth plan in place? If not, I have a special offer to help you create a plan. As part of my latest book, Lucky By Design, I created a 5-part webinar series where I walk you through the process of creating your Lucky By Design Roadmap (your growth plan).

The Webinar Series is on sale now (through the end of the year) for only $20.13 (that’s a 65% discount). Plus, if you haven’t purchased my book yet (or would like another copy), you can buy it for $10. Interested? Click here for more details!

Wishing you a joyous new year!

Beth

How Dog Breath Taught Me a Valuable Lesson About Creating Loyal Customers

If we’ve spent any time together, you know that I’m an ‘over the top’ dog fanatic. Our home boasts two, four-legged canines (Biscotti and Twizzler), and they delight us on a regular basis. So, you won’t be surprised that as critical members of our household, they are clearly the most spoiled in the family (yes, even more than my 2 teenagers!)

Last month one of my students sent me a link to a video related to dogs. Naturally,  I dropped everything else I was doing and clicked on the link. It featured a clip about Orapup, a tongue brush designed to help dogs (well, actually humans) manage dog bad breath problems. Let’s face it, the dogs don’t care that their breath stinks.

As you might guess, I purchased the Orapup for both of my pups and waited for shipment to arrive this month. Now, the product wasn’t actually ready – they were taking pre-orders. Since I love to support startups and it seemed legitimate, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. It’s not like the dogs would know that their Hanukkah presents arrived late (they are really bad at reading the calendar).

On Dec. 12 I received an email stating:

Beth,

I want to deliver a personal message about your Orapup Preorder Status in the video below.

Sincerely, Dr. Bob

Orapup

It turns out the factory didn’t deliver their mold on time so while Orapup had anticipated a December delivery, it was now going to be January before shipment arrived. Having spent many years working with manufacturers, this is not an uncommon challenge. But how they handled it was less common.

If you watch the video (click here or on the image above) you will see how they use self-effacing humor, provide real information and sincerely apologize for the delay…even offering money back to the >14,000 people who pre-ordered. Their video was short, engaging to watch and very real and honest. What more can you expect from a company? Assuming I like the results of the product (better dog breath), this is a company I am very likely to engage with in the future and recommend to friends/colleagues.  I’ve told you, right?

Let’s face it, mistakes happen, no matter how hard we work to prevent them. However, the true nature of a person and an organization can ALWAYS be measured by HOW they react to the mistake. Remember this the next time an error occurs – on your part or somebody else’s. Think of your reaction as an opportunity to demonstrate the beliefs and principals you adhere to in your company (and life). In addition, you will also learn a lot about a colleague, business or friend relevant to how THEY react to their own mistake. It will help you determine IF this is a person or organization with whom you want to engage in future endeavors.

Charles Darwin said:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

As I await my order of Orapups, I wish you health, peace and happiness plus the ability to respond with dignity when needed. Please continue to stay in touch and share your stories with me. They provide me with great inspiration.  From my home to yours, happy holidays!

Beth, Ben & Jacqui
Beth, Ben, Jacqui, Biscotti & Twizzler

 

 

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24 Hours Until the Small Biz World Summit Begins: Tip of the Day

The Small Business World Summit starts tomorrow. 

 Keep Your Friends Close but Your Enemies Closer
 Beth Goldstein, Marketing Edge

Competition is not limited to companies that offer products or services exactly like yours. Companies compete on solutions and their value to customers. Therefore, competition is about fulfilling a need, not about offering an identical product or service. What needs do your products or services fulfill? How else can your current or potential customers have their needs met? What companies fulfill this need? You must continually assess companies that offer like solutions, ensuring you understand their value proposition and benefits to your customers. 

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch starting tomorrow and throughout all of Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to register!

 

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2 Days Until the Small Biz World Summit Begins: Tip of the Day

 TIP OF THE DAY:  Continually Check-In With Customers
Beth Goldstein, Marketing Edge

The Small Business World Summit begins in 48 hours! TODAY IS YOUR LAST DAY TO Pre-register and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

There are many variables that influence customers’ needs and you must be aware of current as well as future ones if you are to grow your business. Even if you’ve been in business for a significant number of years, it’s critical that you constantly check in with your customers to see how their needs have changed over time. Simply take the time to step back and look at your business objectively. Force yourself to ask your customers questions about their needs, even if you are 100% convinced that you know the answers. Some of the responses might surprise you.

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact 
 

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3 Days Until the Small Biz World Summit Begins: Tip of the Day

Initiate Tactics That Directly Align Your Unique Value With Customer Needs
Beth Goldstein, Marketing Edge

The Small Business World Summit begins in 3 days! Pre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE! 

While it’s important that you understand the products and services that you offer customers, it’s even more critical to understand what your customers value and why they buy products/services from you rather than your competitors. What common needs and characteristics do your customers share? By understanding how much each customer spends with you, how often they frequent your business and why they value their business relationship with you, you can more easily execute activities that will impact all of these factors and increase your value to them and consequently their value to you.

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact 
 

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4 Days Until the Small Biz World Summit Begins: Tip of the Day

Understand Your Employees’ Expectations to Be a Great Leader
Suzi Lemen, Dynamic Corporate Solutions

The Small Business World Summit begins in 4 days! Pre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

The new worker has different expectations than employees in the past.  Understanding these expectations can make all the difference in leading successfully.  One of the expectations is that there will be opportunities for continuous learning.  Leaders need to develop formal and informal learning plans for their workforce.  Don’t find out when someone quits that they felt like there were no opportunities for growth.

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact 
 

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7 Days Until the Small Biz World Summit Begins: Tip of the Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Use Behavior Based Questions When Interviewing
Potential New Hires – Suzi Lemen, Dynamic Corporate Solutions

Brought to you by The Small Business World SummitPre-register now and get the Small Business Growth Package worth $149 –  FREE!

In a matter of seconds, job seekers can access thousands of articles on how to answer interview questions.  How can a business owner assess a candidate in this world of instant information?  The key is the type of questions you ask that don’t allow pat answers.  Behavior based questions help the interviewer understand past experiences and thought processes.  They are critical to use to learn about the “real” candidate.

The Summit gives you the answers you need to take your business to the next level – FAST! We answer your questions about marketing, sales, building online customer communities, cash flow, leadership, HR, and other challenges that you face every day.

Plus, it’s completely free to watch during Small Business Saturday Weekend (Nov 23 – 26).

Click here to learn more and to pre-register!. Plus, when you pre-register you will get a Small Business Growth Package worth $149 for FREE that includes:

  • Keeping Score Manual, Ribbon
  • Business Boot Camp Accelerator eBook: Setting the Stage for Growth, Marketing Edge
  • Building an Email List that Build Your business, Constant Contact 
 

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