5 Reasons why it Matters that you Accept Where you are in Life

It's hard to like someone you don't desire. -Laura Marling.

It’s hard to like someone you don’t desire. -Laura Marling.

I spent a couple of days with my friends in Long Island. There were lots of conversations about what others were doing and how our lives could be better. There was one common theme that kept repeating itself. There are many people whose lives are better because of what they have.)

So does money make us happy? The consensus was that money makes life easier which lessens the stress. Ultimately you will be happier. It seems simple doesn’t it?

To go along with this is the “I wish I had, why didn’t I and I should have” statements?

Today I had lunch with another friend, here’s what we decided.

“We are where we are because of the choices we’ve made in life.” Yes there are a few missed opportunities but basically we’ve made our own lives. We all have food, a place to live, a car to drive and mostly good health.  The bit problem seems to be accepting where we are. Here’s why it’s important.

  1. You don’t give yourself credit for what you’ve done. Miracles haven’t made your life what it so give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve done.
  2. You can’t change the choices you’ve made. It is an excellent idea to review your choices and decide which ones were good and which ones weren’t so hot.
  3. You can’t grow or get better unless you accept who you are. We are only as smart as we give ourselves credit for. Why is it? We focus on things we haven’t done?
  4. You can’t “pretend” your way through life, although many do. My friend is finishing college and is telling me how much she is going to make. With all due respect, her two-year degree is not that demanding, and I know she’s into a rude awakening. Better to deal with “what is” rather than “what you would like it to be.”
  5. Work as hard as you can with what you have. Learn things daily, read, and find ways to get smarter. While coming from the gym I asked one of my “gym” friends, how he was feeling. He said he was annoyed that he wasn’t feeling better. I actually joined in with that I was also annoyed. Another friend chimed in with, “Hey we’re every working out; that’s better than most people our age!”

Accepting who you gives  you the ability to live with yourself. There are so many people who beat themselves up daily, as well as others who love them, for not being more. We can only be what we are at this moment. If we want the next moments to be unusual, we will have to make different choices. Some of these choices are difficult because we don’t know what they will bring.

Nothing new has every changed by doing the same thing over again. Einstein called doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results was a form of insanity.

None of us want to think of ourselves as insane.

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By |October 11th, 2015|beliefs, Blog, The Millenniums|0 Comments

7 Mistakes That Make Your Email Campaign Look Lame

Email marketing needs a plan to be effective.

Email marketing needs a plan to be effective.

Everyone says they’re doing email marketing but are they really? Sending out a few emails when you feel like it is not the same as having an email campaign. I get great email blasts from my friends, and then they disappear. I’ve even called and asked several what happened to them, and they say they got tired of sending them! One friend said her customers liked her message, but it was too much work.

Here are 7 mistakes that will make you look lame and actually hurt you.

  1. Not segmenting your customer lists. Basically, “one size fits all” when it comes to the message can be a problem. A customer who bought recently is not the same as one who bought five years ago. Each should get a message, but it should be different. Of course, the one who just bought should be thanked and the other should receive an incentive to come back to the store. This is not good customer service.
  2. Are you disregarding the customer hasn’t bought? Are you collecting their email? Getting their information is critical to staying in touch. If they are really interested, the right message will send them back into your store.
  3. Do you start a campaign and then stop? If you’re’ going to do a campaign, you should do it for at least a year. You want your potential customer to look forward to your messages. The messages should be interesting and fun, not filled with advertisements.
  4. Not using a service to send out your emails. Your email service is not set up to handle over 50 emails. Not only that, because of the sophisticated servers, you’re likely to be cut off from potential customers, particularly if you don’t have an “opt out” section.
  5. Do you send out emails without a goal in mind? What is worse than getting emails that don’t seem to have a reason or links to your web site or social media? The reason for an email campaign is to keep in touch with your customers, or potential customers, and provide value.
  6. Do you only send emails when you have an offer? If this is when you send them, those responding will need something. The others will probably consider you a nuisance and go away. The idea is to send an assortment of messages so everyone will remain interested.
  7. Do you send out emails without a long-term plan? It’s called “email marketing” because it’s a marketing plan. You want to have a plan that makes sense to you and the customer. If you don’t you may be doing more harm than good.

As my mom, used to say, you only have one reputation. Take care of it.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and marketing strategies for over twenty years. For more information on email marketing, go to http://followyourcustomer.com/ and sign up for a webinar on customized email marketing.  Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |October 4th, 2015|Advertising, Blog, Customer Service, email marketing|0 Comments

Do You Really Want to Change?

 

changeDo you have strong opinions about your business?

It’s likely those strong opinions and ability to stay focused are what have made you successful.

On the other hand, those opinions can put you out of business. Do you keep weak employees around you because you think you owe them something because they’ve been with you since the beginning?

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You’re not the only one who keeps employees around because they feel indebted to them.

We’ve all heard, “The only constant is a change”” if you want things to get better you must be open to new ideas. The more successful you are, the more likely you’re “change resistant.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?

“We have no competition; we’re the only game in town.”

“There’s no sense in training, my team is pretty good and our numbers are very good.”

“We made it through 2008, there’s nothing to worry about.”

How does a very successful company, one who starts out with an entrepreneur and a dream,  fifteen years later have thousands of employees?

It’s likely they’re focused on building their team and they have the ability to change.” Do they bring in enough business or are they a drain?”

  1. The most important thing is to focus on your profitability. Are you making money or is it all cash flow? Are your employees working “for you” or “against you?”
  2. Who is making you money and who barely covers their salary? Are you still “carrying” people?
  3. Have you spent enough time on training your employees? When times are good businesses can’t take people off the sales floor. When business is terrible they complain about money.
  4. Do you give rewards to all your employees? Employees who bring in more money deserve more perks. If you treat everyone the same, your better employees will leave and go work for your competitors.
  5. Plan ahead for the slow times. Provide ongoing training for your team period. You will thank yourself and them when times are slow.

Remember, it’s not what you make that keeps you in business, it’s what you keep.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build sales and marketing strategies for over 20 years. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |October 1st, 2015|Blog, Change, Entrepreneurs|0 Comments

5 Reasons Why Not Utilizing Social Media will be Your Demise

What's going on with your social media?

What’s going on with your social media?

I reached out to an old friend and asked him what he had been doing. During the conversation he told me he had been ‘forced’ to learn about social media. At first I was a little amazed and then excited that he was entering into the new ‘sales game.’

Some aspects of selling have really changed.  Sales professionals can use social media to reach out to and influence their customers. They can also meet new ones.

In fact to grow a business, it’s essential to reach out to your customers. If they don’t stay connected to you, they will make new friends with your competitors.  If they make new friends, they will just disappear.

Below are 5 reasons why social media is a good thing for salespeople.

  1. Statistics tell us that 73% of customers will not make a buying decision before asking their friends for advice. Yes, both men and women. You may have experienced a longer buying cycle with your customers and wonder what’s happening. According to Google, customers often leave a store and then go to social media to “checkup” on the store and the salespeople. (This makes the case for a strong LinkedIn profile.)
  2. This is the age of transparency and customers want to know who they’re buying from. You probably realize that we are entrenched with reality television. Everything from “Hoarders” to “Swamp People,” we are engaged in other people’s lives.
  3. Do you know what customers are saying about you online? Managing your online reputation is essential if you expect to get good referrals. These days the referral business is up from 80% to almost 95%. If the customer doesn’t know who you are, it’s unlikely they will do business with you. It’s important to ask customers to write referrals for you. You should Google your business and see what customers are saying about you.
  4. Social media will expand your customer base. New customers will be more likely to be interested in your products and your services if they see you online. Each salesperson should be posting information about their latest jobs, products and staying in touch with possible customers. You can’t have too many Facebook friends and fans!
  5. Blogging is a way to expand your expertise. Consumers want to know about you and what your business can do. They are also interested in ‘who’ you are. No you’re not ‘Swamp People’ but you’re just as interesting. Don’t shy away from getting ‘personal.’

I suggest that salespeople contribute to social media daily. Some people hire outside consultants to manage their social media—not such a good idea. You want customers to stay close to you, not to  your marketing people!

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and marketing strategies for over twenty years. It’s time for all businesses to merge their sales and marketing. Who knows their customers better than your salespeople?

To schedule a consultation or have Lisbeth speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Is it Your Obligation to be Happy?

Who should make you happy?

As I was leaving my Pilates class today, a friend and I started to talk about life. We were sharing how much we love Lois’s Sunday Pilates class at the Y and how motivated we felt after class. Lois is not only a good teacher; she has what we call, “a great soul.” Life is important to her.

My friend said she felt she had an “obligation to be positive and enjoy life.” I laughed and said, “That sounds like another job and I don’t know if I want one.” We laughed and she went further.

“I think about the present and don’t go to the future. This way, I always invest in whatever the moment brings. I want my children to understand how important the present is. What do you think,” she asked?

First I shared the story about my next door neighbor who was absent at our “porch” get together last night.  When someone asked where he was, his wife said he was sulking because he had a birthday the next day.  Apparently he had a melt down and went to bed.  I thought, Is that a luxury or a disease?

(Wow, what a great conversation we are having in the “Y” parking lot. This will make today worth remembering. )

I, like many, often fight to live in the present. It’s easy to think ahead to next week; friends I’m going to see or my Sunday Pilates class.  If you reflect on it, today is the day you looked forward to last week. I told her if I don’t stay with today, it has very little meaning. It’s like devaluing the day, and I forget to put my effort into enjoying the day and making it wonderful. Isn’t it a terrible way to use up a precious day?

We all know what it’s like to lose someone we love or something that was important to us. If we invest in the present, we will know we’ve loved the best we can and something great is bound to come out of it. We just have to make it happen.

It doesn’t matter how simple or magnificent the day is; it may be just enjoying the rain.

If we’re lucky, today will come so why not make it the best day ever? When you think about it, life is just a series of experiences linked together by our thoughts about them. Like a string of pearls, they surround our being.

Let’s focus on having them free rather than strangle us. Okay, she did say let’s go kayaking after one of our classes. Just having the conversation was good; we do need things to look forward too.

If you do the best you can for today, you’ll never be disappointed in yourself.

Thanks to Kristin Appenbrink for the motivational poster.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been a business coach for over twenty years. She helps business build strategies to their success. To schedule a consultation with her, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |September 13th, 2015|Blog, Change, fun, Motivation|0 Comments

7 Lies Customers Tell and How You Can Still Sell Them

Liar, liar pants on fire.

Liar, liar pants on fire.

Even seasoned professionals get taken in by customers who use statements to put them off. Rather than take it up with the customer they just give up.

Customer can bend the truth, especially if they haven’t made up their mind about buying. They will say just about anything to get out of the store. As a salesperson, if you’ve done your best, there is no reason to back off from the customer.

START BY NOT BELIEVING THE CUSTOMER’S EXCUSES! If you believe them, it’s over. If you believe them you do not believe in yourself or your business. 

Here are 7 standard customer lies and ideas for selling them.

  1. I can’t afford it. Now we all have had times when we couldn’t afford something; that doesn’t mean we didn’t buy it!

If you’ve explained the value of your product and how it will help the customer, they should be able to see that living without it would be a mistake. Ignore the statement and review the customer’s “conditions of satisfaction.” Give them the features and benefits that fit the customer’s key concerns. You can also suggest a product that is less money and explain the comparison. The customer may don’t let the customer scare you. Your job is to make them feel you have their best interest at heart, and your product is what they need.

  1. We’re just looking.” You’ve heard this a million times and you might be tempted to leave them alone. My suggestion, don’t.

Yes, people just look but if you leave them alone while they’re looking you run the risk of looking like you don’t care. Statements like, “We have some new products, and can I point them out to you?

“We have a huge store; can I help you find the right products?

These statements should be followed up with rapport building statements; anything other than trying to sell them. Talk about their kids, the weather or their smart phone.

3.”I have to ask my husband or my wife.”

One reason the customer might say this is because she or he doesn’t trust your judgment. If they don’t believe what you’re saying, they certainly don’t want to make the decision alone.  It may be true that they aren’t the decision maker so “nicely” review two or three benefits that fit their situation and be quiet.”

  1. “We weren’t prepared to buy; we have to look around.”

Don’t be afraid to tell them you understand, but you don’t want them to lose out on the product or pricing. Before they look around suggest that you review your product with them. Check out what they said about their situation and explain how your product fits the bill.

  1. I’ll know it when I see it.”

This is really a funny statement. If you ask them what it will look like they won’t be able to tell you. They may say you don’t have it. This is a good time to ask them to describe the perfect product to you. If you can get them to talk about it, you will probably come up with new ideas.

  1. It’s too expensive.”

This is a wonderful statement and gives you lots to work with. Review their budget with them and review how the product will work for them. This is similar, to “I can’t afford it.”

  1. “Your competition is cheaper.”

Your competition might be cheaper but are they as nice as you? In other words, building rapport and showing you care is more important than ever. Explain what makes you different and what you’re willing to do for them. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better even if it’s the same product.

What special treats do you have for your customers? A comfortable showroom, an interactive web site that really helps the customer finds the right products. Plenty of social media chatter that shows that customer’s trusts you. You might familiarize yourself with your customer’s online reputation.

How about this? A print out coupon they can only get on their smart phone while they’re in your store.  If you have “wiggle” room, make sure it sounds legitimate. It might do the trick.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to ask the customer  what she thinks about what you’ve said.  This is an easy closing statement that is overlooked by most salespeople.

Lisbeth has been doing sales and customer service training for over 20 years. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Why you Must Overcome the Fear Even if You’re Scared to Death

From the movie, "After Earth."

From the movie, “After Earth.”

Fear gets into the way of everything. Think about it, we’re not fearful of the thing that causes the fear; we’re scared  of the fear itself. It scares many to death; literally. We set up expectations about our life and how it should be and then are disappointed when it doesn’t turn out like we wanted it to. We seduce ourselves into believe in things that aren’t true and will never happen. We say we’ll do things when we get older,  have more money, find a new love or get a new car. The truth is, it will never happen the way we wish it would.

I talk about wanting to move, at least for part of the year. I tell myself I hate the inconvenience caused by the snow.  I actually had one opportunity that fit all my criteria. I could try it without relative risk; I liked the possibilities for work, and  my  dear friend was available to help me. When my friend died  suddenly I felt like I had to start over gain.  Like many, I like things easy, without complications and risks. Why has it taken me so long to take a risk? I tell myself it will be a great adventure, and I can make new friends but leaving the comfort of my home feels a little risky.

Every time you’re disappointed, check out the themes in your life. What fairy tales do you tell yourself about life? What do you want to   but have no real plans in place? Living with reality may not be the best, but at least you know where you’re starting from. We all have patterns or themes in the way we do things. What are you constantly  drawn to? What areas cause pain, what areas cause joy? You’ve heard it before, but push past the fear to live the life you deserve.

If you want to overcome fear, change your story. Give the store a happy ending instead one filled with doubt and anxiety. No matter what happens you can handle it, don’t let fear rule you!

Lisbeth has been working with people from all types of industries for over twenty years. If change is in your future and need some help, reach Lisbeth at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |August 30th, 2015|beliefs, Blog|0 Comments

9 Ways to Handle Pricing Before you Make it a Problem

Are you shooting yourself in the foot with your pricing? Thanks to Mike Myatt for photo.

Are you shooting yourself in the foot with your pricing? Thanks to Mike Myatt for photo.

Everyone has their own take on pricing; some ideas are better than others.

This week I produced a  training video with  Tony J. LaGreca, president of Edmar Floorcare. His product is a vacuum that cleans deep pile carpet. One of the features of the vacuum is a sonic bar that vibrates at 200 per second. Tony pointed out I could say 12,000 per minute and that big numbers are better. I started thinking, numbers do matter.

 

Here’s my take on numbers.

 

  1. Customers like big numbers when they’re in their favor. Instead of telling the customer that the sale price on the $100 item is $40.00 why not tell them it’s 60% off? The bottom line is the same but 60% has a bigger punch.

 

  1. Always remember to explain to the customer how much they’ve saved rather than how much they spent. They can continue to justify their purchase for the next year.

 

  1. Everyone is looking for a savings or discount; this is why Marshalls and T.J. Max do such great business. The Goodwill is so busy they are now opening a boutique style shop. At least 1/3 of the Millenniums shop at Goodwill. So if they’re your customer, don’t forget they want to save money and are looking to save a buck. Check out the stats on the Millenniums.

 

  1. Let’s not forget the concept of “Lagniappe” something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure. This expression thought of as New Orleans based, means giving the customer a tiny gift to tell them how much you care. It also helps soften the price; especially if the item is expensive. Think about serving coffee, bottled water or popcorn to make the customer feel welcome. Most retailers have a “kid’s corner” so the mother can shop. Ikea even has baby food in the fridge as well as a “Manland” baby sitting service with pinball machines and video games.

 

 

  1. If a  customer asks why you don’t carry the imposter  say you don’t think it’s a good product or it’s  worth the money. That will stop them in their tracks.

 

  1. When customers say, “I’ll be back,” ask them what they think about your prices. What do you have to lose? Pay attention to their answers and don’t justify your prices. Just listen. You can then ask the customer if you could explain why your prices are higher.

 

  1. Watch social media and see what your customers are saying about pricing in general. Are they talking about paying supermarket prices or the price of gas?

 

  1. Try different price points and test them on various products. Do customers like the $10.99 concept or is $11.00 okay? It was a big problem when JC Penney changed theirs to whole numbers.

 

  1. Connect with your customers on an emotional level, get to know them. The more you know about them and their buying habits the less likely you are to drop your prices.

 

The smartest thing you can do is not assume that price is the problem. Understand your products and the value you provide for your customers.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build retail marketing and sales strategies for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com .

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By |August 24th, 2015|Blog, Sales, Selling on price, The Millenniums|0 Comments

All You Really Have is You

I am in the midst of learning a script for a commercial video. I asked my acting coach to give me some pointers on what I had put together. It’s a bit daunting when you are performing for your coach. I kept thinking in my head, what makes this work, what brings this all together. I explained I wasn’t sure what was effective and how would I know. He suggested I perform the piece in my own way and not worry about what I thought they wanted.

“Remember, he said, they hired you because of who you are not what they want you to be.”

Suddenly, I had a thought; the person who hired me said he was watching videos that I had made. He also told me the parts he liked. In fact, he liked them so much he was watching them over and over.  I’m thinking to myself, what did he like about what I said? I realized he didn’t talk about the script or what I knew, he was laughing about my stories and my “in your face” attitude.

It was me being myself. What do I believe about myself?

I realize when I’m me; I find what I’m doing to be more fun and more real. How often in life do we give people what we think they want rather than just being true to ourselves? He watched several of my promo videos before he called me, so he obviously knew what he was getting. That’s why videos are really cool. Someone either likes your style, or they don’t.

All we have is who we are. Actors bring their own style to the character. If the character is supposed to be feeling sad, they bring their brand of the emotion to the scene.

Where we go wrong is when we get out of character. For whatever reason, we believe we should do it another way.  This has started me thinking, what makes me get out of character, why do I think I should be someone else? Maybe this sounds simple but for me; it’s actually profound.  As I go through my days, how much of the time do I spend being myself and when do I decide to be someone different.

I would say that authenticity is the key to building solid relationships.

Now I understand what Kermit meant when he said; “Sometimes it’s hard being green.”

Thanks to Lyle Verbilion for the photo.

Lisbeth has been helping business and people get what they need out of life. For more information, reach her at www.lisbethcalandrino or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |August 15th, 2015|beliefs, Blog|0 Comments

Talent Will Only Get You So Far

Professional sport's teams have plenty of talent but which ones will stand out?

Professional sport’s teams have plenty of talent but which ones will stand out?

I hear people saying, “Of course,  he’s good; he’s so talented.” But is talent all you need?

Major league teams have many talented players; and then there are some who take their talent a step further. A friend of mine was a pitcher for a minor-league baseball team. He always felt his talent was “off the charts” as he described it; until he got to the league. He never saw so many talented people, and he knew he was in trouble. It was easy in high school to “razzle, dazzle them,” but it was going to be a lot harder here. (Mostly because he was lazy!)

How many people do you know who are extraordinary talented but can’t seem to get past ordinary? We look at them and say, “If only I had that talent, what I could do.” It makes you wonder, what’s wrong with them?

Talents may come naturally but in order to grow, like anything else; they must be nourished. Along with your talent comes responsibility; if you want to make more of yourself, you have to decide it’s what you want and go for it. It may mean giving up “what you want now for what you want later.” There are many people who just don’t want responsibility and want to stay where they are.

I was looking through my high school yearbook and had the pleasure of talking with one of our “talented” graduating seniors. She was so smart that most of us weren’t even close to her. Did she become the doctor? No she dropped out of medical school and worked in menial jobs. And then there was the woman who was voted the best athlete of the year, an award I wanted but didn’t get. She did nothing with her talent, and I have continued to work at my love for sports and running and winning many 5K races.  (She was better than me but I wanted to be good no matter what.)

If you have talents, you have to continue to stretch yourself. Yes, the talent comes but can also go away. You must continue to stretch yourself and look for new heights. If you’re content with being in the same place, and live with mediocrity, you will be disappointed. You must continue to push, endure the hardships that come with it and persist on.

What does it take to break out and go for it? I had an oncologist friend, who recently died, who was homeless for many years and lived on the street. One day, he just decided he needed to do more with his life and finished college and was admitted into medical school.

“What happened, I asked; I finally realized that I was wasting my life away and had many other things I could accomplish.” He said he always wanted to help people and was ready to go for it.

One of the differences with those achieving successes is they continue to work despite the fact they are not appreciated. You must be able to see your goal and head for it, sometimes without anyone on your team. Achieving your goals can be very lonely.

Accomplishing your goals can be difficult. It takes continued work and effort, but if you have the talent, and we all do, why would you waste it?

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build extraordinary relationships with their customers, both internal and external. To have her help you with your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |August 8th, 2015|Blog, Motivation|0 Comments