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How Much Does Your Excitement Matter to the Customer?

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Eat more oatmeal!

Eat more oatmeal! Today is National Oatmeal Day.

A smile and excitement are worth quite a bit if today was any indication of it.

Today was “National Oatmeal Day” so the Quaker representatives were handing out fee oatmeal in NYC Penn. Station.   It was interesting watching the response they were getting from consumers. . Some of the reps. were very enthusiastic, smiling and making a big deal about the day. Others didn’t smile and just tried to get people to take the oatmeal.  The ones that were smiling and excited were getting people to take two; the ones who didn’t smile literally “couldn’t give the oatmeal away.”

I kept thinking back to something I say in sales training. “Remember whatever you have it’s catching to the customer.” The person with the highest or lowest energy will shift it to the other one. If you’re excited, it’s catching, if you’re miserable, it’s catching. It was incredible how obvious it was today.

I took the oatmeal with a smile on my face. I also took a good look at it and read the ingredients. The woman’s excitements made me curious and want to know more. Hey, not a big thing; we’re just talking oatmeal now!

I consider NYC the place for looking and shopping. I had an appointment in the city but instead of taking a cab, I choose to walk the 1.4 miles. (Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea in heels.)  I went into several stores to watch salespeople and look around.

Desigual is fun.

Desigual is fun.

My favorite store is Desigual out of Spain. The clothes are very arty and super different. The people, who work there is darling, just like the store. They laugh with the customers and talk about how you have to be careful how many of their prints you wear together, or you’ll look like a clown! I left laughing and energized. They truly have an energized brand.

 

For me NYC is energizing. There are many different types of people, interesting fashions and the most helpful that I know. I left my phone on my car seat and had to keep asking directions to my destination. I choose to ask many people to see what type of reception I would get. People took out their phones to look for directions, some walked with me to make sure I was heading the right way.

We all need to reenergize. Some of us get it from alone time and others from other people.  Getting refueled is about connecting with yourself and who you are. Get out of the house and go to the movies, get to the gym.  I enjoy being around people who have lots of energy because I feel lifted. In fact, it will carry me thought many days of work. I also love when I can share my energy with others. Energy goes both ways.

If you get a free moment, check out your energy and the people around you. Are you in a major slump? People can energize you as well as deplete you of your energy. Take a minute and think about yourself.

Remember what the flight attendant says, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else.”

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By |2017-03-03T12:06:49+00:00October 29th, 2015|Advertising, Blog, Building relationships, fun|0 Comments

Is it Your Obligation to be Happy?

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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 |2017-03-03T12:06:52+00:00September 13th, 2015|Blog, Change, fun, Motivation|0 Comments

Want to Improve Your Bottom Line? Hold Events in Your Store

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Proven ideas to drive customers to your business.

I was speaking with a friend of mind that owns a culinary store. “It must have been a tough winter, with all the snow,” I said.

“It was a great winter she said. We started holding cooking classes, and we were swamped.”

I mention her success because holding events has   always been a winner. No matter what your retail store, thoughtful promotions will attract new customers and thank your old ones. Holding events also creates a “buzz” that will have your neighbors paying attention. It doesn’t have to cost much money. It just takes some thoughtful promotions; don’t be  afraid to go all out. The more people you can bring in the better. The purpose of an event is to get people into your store and get to know them. Since 85% of your business is probably referrals, you don’t want customers to forget you.

Anything you do that pleases the customer improves your customer service. The more interesting the customer experience the more the customer will remember you. Customers have so many places to hide online that reaching them  has never been more difficult.

Making people feel special is cheap. Don’t you love getting an invitation to an event even if you can’t attend? It means that someone is thinking about you.

We’re all looking for things to do that aren’t expensive.

Events don’t have to be related to your products. For many retailers not promoting their products seems to be frightening. They’re afraid if they don’t talk about their products, they will lose customers. Actually just having fun with your customers is a way to build relationships. Even though we know it’s a good way to build sales, retailers seem reluctant to hold them.

My advice, “Get over it.”

  1. You shouldn’t spend a lot of money. Having lots of balloons will create a party atmosphere and putting your event on your social media will get the word out. It’s not necessary to advertise in the local newspaper unless you have extra dough. These days social media can do it all for you.
  2. You don’t need a big space. Hold your event during your off season. During the holidays, their is lots of competition for your customer’s attention. With the summer coming, this is a perfect time to have a garden seminar in your parking lot. If you’re a risk taker, have a barbecue at your house. Several years ago, I had a fund-raiser at my house, and it was fun and people just loved coming to my home.
  3. Customer appreciation day always works. David Campbell, owner of Amazing Toys in Great Falls, Montana, holds a customer appreciation in October before the holidays. He also gives reduced prices at his events for Christmas shopping. (Click on the link for information on how to hold a customer appreciation day. )
  4. Have you held an Anniversary party? Why not celebrate your business and share it with your customers.
  5. How about a special “guest” appearance? Every town has local celebrities. Some even have worldwide celebrities. Maybe you can have them make a special appearance. If you can involve a local not-for-profit, you will have a better chance of getting a celebrity to  your business. I remember when we raised money for the special needs program  in our neighborhood; we didn’t have any problems getting Yankee great Phil Razzioto to make an appearance! It was so exciting.

Holding events is the way to bring in customer and build relationships. If you need ideas for events, check out my recently published book, “50 Events to drive Traffic to Your Store.” It will soon be on my website and on Amazon.

Are you attending “Coverings” this coming week? If so, stop into my seminar on “How to Use Events to Grow Your Business” on Friday May 2, 2014, at 9:30-11 A.M.

Lisbeth has been a retail consultant for over 20 years. She specializes in improving customer service and building sales strategies that drive traffic. To have her speak at your store, she can be reached at 518-495-538-.

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Do You Know Where You’re Going?

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Take a riskI hope this article is timely for you; it is for me.  For many of us the  economy is still moping along and we’re trying to figure out what to do next. Consumers are changing their buying habits, myself included. Friends are downsizing their lifestyles and examining their life choices. The recession may be over, but the landscape has changed.  In many ways it’s unfamiliar; at least it is to me.   I’m in a different place too. It’s not a bad place, it’s just a different place and different doesn’t always feel right–especially in the beginning.

Change is good. Well, change is interesting but it’s more interesting if it’s happening to you rather than me. In my case, I find when it’s time  for a change I put more hours in at the health club! Somehow I know it’s a safe place for my mind and my body. I feel less stressed after my workout and  feel I’ve done something good for me.

Each of us is building new roads, repairing our highways and hopefully avoiding serious pitfalls.  I’m convinced that sharing this journey with positive friends who have good intentions will make our journey more pleasant and safe. It’s time to re-cultivate your the garden and  get rid of the weeds that might be choking you from making new decisions. Sometimes, these weeds come in surprising forms–forms we call “friends.”

Just as I’m writing this article, I received this from Kevin Clancey a Realtor in Albany, New York from his Monday Morning Mojo:

The biggest obstacle to creating a wonderful life is self-limiting beliefs. A self-limiting belief is an idea you have that you are limited in some way, in terms of time, talent, intelligence, money, ability, or opportunity. Brian Tracy

At times we all have limiting beliefs, and there’s nothing to fear except fear itself and fear can be defined with the acronym “false evidence appearing real”. So, now what, where do you begin? It’s time for you to become your own coach, a good coach.

Speaking of coaches, one of my guests on Red Hot Customer Service Show was John Stahl from The Growth Coach of New York  serving business owners throughout the Northeast. John talks about limiting beliefs. Of course, beliefs simplify our lives but limiting beleifs dis-empower and hold us back. John talks about “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” while making changes. If you’re talking about business challenges, Johns says the biggest challenge is between the ears of the business owner. I think this is a problem that many of us share.

Coach Vincent Lombardi once said that the difference between a good coach and a bad coach is the good coach always knew what the end would look like. If you don’t know where your want to go, how will you get there? If you get wherever “there” is, how will you know it’s the right place? In Warren Bennis’s book, “View from the Top“, he examines ninety leaders and found that one of key strategies was “attention through vision.”

What’s vision you ask? Vision can be a simple act or a thought; what do I really want out of life?

What makes me happy?

What are my dreams, my goals or my purpose? What would I like more of in my life?

I know I want more time at the lake.

Sometimes visions are statement for the future, a destination that you want to achieve. Last year I joined Toastmasters. I have competed in several events and recently joined the advanced Toastmasters Group. My goal is to continue to advance my speaking craft–I love speaking. The club gives me the opportunity to test new topics, get feedback and make changes. It’s a way to continually focus on something that’s important in my life.

Your vision may be simple. If you are invested in the outcome and feel ownership over your vision, then the happiness is in the journey– the appreciation of the uniqueness of the components it takes to get there.

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You Never Know Where A “Cat-astropic” Event Can Lead

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Cats don't kill people (or dogs) guns doIt was reported that two kittens, Snowyday and Winter somehow dented the bell on a $5000.00 bass trombone.

Trouble in river city.

How did they do it? They probably used a  a chair. The owner, Anthony Giles, a professional trombone player, felt dented, just like the bell but unexpected events often lead us to new discoveries and new ideas.

Did  Edison really sit on the light bulb to create its unique shape? The best brass repair guy was called in New York City. Everyone knows  The Brasslab, Chuck Alexander, the master of Red Hot Customer Service. The “bone” was packed up for its trip to New York City.

An immediate diagnosis indicated that the bell needed to stay for  repair. This is not good. So, the trombone player, Anthony Giles went searching through through his “spare bells” and came up with a 10 year old  bell which turned out to be a better fit for his playing. I’m told that, as a musician, you’re always looking for ways to improve; By accident he had found one.

I think the kittens are not only off the hook but may be psychic and  were trombone players in one of their other lives.

So what  does this mean to the rest of us mortals? Can we possible train our mind to move from “victim” to being “proactive?” Stephen Covey in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People  talks about “mindfulness.”

Make lemonade out of lemons, the obvious.

Realize that even a seemingly a  disaster can be a new path for your life.

Be always thinking and wondering.

Life and success is all about attitude; never let circumstances dictate your feelings.

Think out of the box, why do you even need a “box to think out of ?”

Did I  say, don’t leave your trombone on the floor?

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Funnier Than Funny, But Does It Sell?

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image of Stanley Steamer commercial with alpaca

This makes me laugh!

I have been intrigued with “Have you ever cleaned an alpaca?” a commercial from Stanley Steamer. The two cleaning guys are in the truck and one is explaining how exciting it is to clean up after an Alpaca. It is cute, funny and definitely different. I went to Youtube to  view the video and look at the comments. The comments are interesting, what they say is ,  “I want and Alpaca, they’re so cute.” So much for Stanley Steamer, the cleaning company  being cute.

It would be interesting for the franchise people to ask their customers how they came into the store. Was it a friend’s recommendation or a past experience with the company.  They may have seen the commercial but  seeing the commercial might not be connected to their coming into the store. How many commercials have you seen, and liked, but didn’t drive you to the store or buy the product?

Maybe it would have been more relevant if they went to the local Humane Society and put their products in the animal cages or used their product to clean the cages. It would mean something to me and thousands of pet owners. As my friend Godzilla said, if you have an Alpaca in your house you have more problems than most of us that won’t be solved by either cleaning or special carpet.  It would have hit home and many of us would have gone to the shelter to adopt some pets. This is another important connection to the customer.

Another commercial similar to this was when Mohawk Carpet went to the Birmingham Zoo and featured Ricko the Black Rhinoceros as the featured mess maker to see if SmartStrand carpet with built-in stain resistance would do its job. Included in this was a Save the Rhino pairing with the Birmingham Zoo. This can be watched at

I love the Geico commercials and the latest being the “little Piggy cried all the way home.” The parody at Saturday Night Live,  are even funnier.


Remember “where’s the beef?” Did it change your mind about Burger King.

Both are darling commercials, bringing in the customer  through their love of animals as well as their carpet and carpet cleaning concerns.  Differentiation is what businesses need to build a competitive advantage but not all differentiation is considered a competitive advantage. When you have a competitive advantage it’s easy to build Red Hot Customer Service.

How do you know? You may not but you should try by asking your customers.

Ask customers about your commercial, in their mind how does it connect with their problems?  Most customers probably don’t have Rhinoceros or Alpaca stains. Does the customer get the part that both of these products will solve their most difficult problems? Does the customer think they have stains as awesome as the Alpaca? Do they think this is over kill? Do they think they need a product that will prevent staining like Ricko or do they find all of these stains disgusting?

There is a commercial for Schweppes that was a take off on the old James Bond movies. this commercial starred John Cleese. It was slapstick funny, didn’t seem to fit with Schweppes and wound up on the cutting floor. Maybe too funny or just too stupid. Frankly I didn’t really get it but love John Cleese.

Fun will sell if you use it to lighten up your customer and still use it to  reinforce your important message and  the promise to your customer.

It should be funny but not too funny so the customer forgets what you’re selling–and so do you.

Funny is a way to produce emotion in your customer and emotion is one way to build rapport. Humor is a grand way to build a connection with your customer but if it’s  so funny that you can’t connect it with your product or don’t  connect it’s a problem.

Suggestion: use humor it to add a light moment for your customer rather than an out-of-this-world funny. Save the funny for the comedians.

The key to funny, the commercial should make the product unforgettable and make the customer want to buy it.

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Change Is Good?

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As much as I talk about making changes it’s hard for me too. I started my blog on type pad three years ago and built my blog page over the years. It has been my opening page on Internet Explorer and I love opening to the blog. I loved looking at the page, adding new pieces and hoping for comments. For a year I’ve been fighting moving my blog to my web site, why, I’m not sure. Maybe it was the end of something I liked and the beginning of something I didn’t know I would like.

I’ve been afraid you wouldn’t like it that makes sense because you are my readers. Do I know if you’ll like it, of course I don’t? I know that it makes it easier for you to leave comments and for us to communicate. Isn’t that the way it should be?

I think I’m experiencing what many of you have experienced; it’s working, why should I change it? Things need to be fresh and new; would you continue to read a magazine if the cover never changed? Of course you wouldn’t but I’ve not changed my cover in years.  Like the rest of the world I like to be comfortable but being comfortable can keep you from being successful.

Successful people are always uncomfortable, learning new things and taking risks. Today’s risk can be tomorrow’s success but you will never know unless you try.

The way to keep young is to embrace change and the newness that the world has to offer. will keep you from being successful.

Embrace new technology (in my case more video) and say you love it. You know you can talk yourself into it? I often hear people say, I’m just not comfortable with it; when I get comfortable I’ll do it. With the way the world is changing, you may not have time to get comfortable you may just have to do it. Nike is still right!

I need to find better ways to connect with you; I’m going to try new things for my blog. I’m going to get out more and take photos and video of the world. I have to trips planned to watch customers in the act of shopping and buying. A not very undercover spy!

The path to change does not have to be alone. There are so many talented people who can help you through the change—and you know it’s more fun with others. I recently brought a group of friends to talk about how we might help each other to get more business. Everyone sees it different and embracing our differences is what makes the world go round.

So look for more changes, a new web look, new products, tips, newsletters and whatever else you want. I get emails from many of you weekly asking for new ideas. Even stuff that works gets boring. I’ve heard the expression, you could die of boredom; I don’t know what that would be like but we’ll have none of that. What about your ideas? Share what’s making your day, share what you’ve discovered and what has given you that Ahha moment. Got a great idea, let me know and let’s work it into a blog.

I love this quote from Harrison Ford: We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance. 

 

 

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By |2017-03-03T12:07:13+00:00August 28th, 2010|Blog, fun|1 Comment

What’s the Purpose of a Birthday?

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People yell, "Don’t remind me of my birthday – it just reminds me of my age." And what’s wrong with that?

Why are birthdays only important to kids and not most adults? They could remind us of a most important time in our life, our birth. I don’t know anyone who actually remembers their birth but I’ve heard some do. I bet your parents remember; it was probably one of the most memorable days of their lives. I remember when my sister was born, I was six at the time, and it was a terribly snowy night. I remember dad putting me in the back seat of the car, wrapped in my raggedy blanket (I never went anywhere without it) with a bottle of juice. Maybe you have a brother or sister who remembers your birthday event.
I started thinking differently about my birthday about 30 years ago when my parents were still alive. I sent my mother flowers on my birthday, she was thrilled. I told her that without her participation I wouldn’t be here. She actually thought it was quite funny until I asked her about my birth. She asked how many times did she have to go through it. We laughed about the snow and daddy pacing outside the delivery room. These days anyone is allowed in the delivery room including the paparazzi. I asked my mom if her doctor, Dr. Bowerhan, was a good doctor to which she replied, he made house calls and in those days that made him good. Mom said I cried all the way home, no mommy and nothing to show for the night intrusion. Like many 6 year olds I thought birth meant the possibility of a horse.

I asked my older cousin about my birth; she said everyone was excited — except her, she didn’t really care!

I also talked to my dad; he laughed and said "your mother never made anything easy. Both you and your sister were born in the middle of the worst snow storms in history."  What about your grandparents? Your birth was also their special event. When did they first get to see you, what presents did they bring? I called my grandparents, they cried. I was the first grandchild. I wish I had some videos.
My friend Mary celebrates her dog’s (Basil) birthday by giving him a party in the park with his dog friends and their parents. She orders dog biscuits and pizza, take your pick. Basil gets to dress up and Mary gets to throw a party—any excuse. It’s actually quite an event, Basil has about 20 friends and he looks cute with his balloons tied to his collar. I used to celebrate my cat Maguai’s birthday; she used to walk on a leash but wasn’t friendly with the dogs in the park and we never found any cat friends.
Some people name their cars/trucks and celebrate their birthdays. Some people celebrate their home’s birthday. Some celebrate the birth of the house and the death of the mortgage.

Maybe you’re adopted and have two sets of parents to thank. You can’t have too much love.
How about your business? Do you celebrate its birth and all the hard work you put into keeping it alive?

Every day I think, what can I give thanks for, what can I celebrate? I have two new kittens and have given them birthdates so we can celebrate. Spring is worth celebrating and so is the sun. How about to be alive and celebrate the day? If you’ve ever been really sick, you know what I mean.

I went to a workshop and they had us build a life chart on graph paper. The chart represented a carnival and the years used were considered rides. We were asked to chart our life from year one to the date of our probable death.. We then colored in the “rides” already taken and to compare them with the ones left. I used hot pink for the rides I had already enjoyed and left the others blank. Scary, there were fewer rides for the future. How many rides do you have left?

How many seasons do you have left to enjoy, how many vacations will you take?

Let your birthday be the reminder of who you are and those you love the most. Italian food and a movie with my friends suit me just fine. Hey enjoy the rides. Thank you all for the wonderful notes, cards and telephone calls. Today’s the day to thank you all for your support throughout the years. I’m so lucky to have you in my life. I love you all.

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By |2010-03-14T15:11:51+00:00March 14th, 2010|fun, general|1 Comment