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So There’s a New Consumer in Town, Why Should We Care?

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What are they thinking?

We keep hearing about the new consumer. We are heading through an era where our Baby Boomer consumer is about to be replaced by a Millennium customer.

Why are we making such a big deal about it? Because it is a big deal. This consumer shops differently, lives online and has no tolerance for those of us who aren’t sure how to turn off our phones!

I heard this funny story about dating online. You know first impressions matter but we’re looking for new things. Sure we want them to be good looking, smart and considerate but what if they have a ‘flip phone?’ Does that immediately exclude them? Suppose they hate Facebook, as you sneak a peek at your phone.

This new consumer is disrupting the marketplace.

If you’re around New Britain, CT, on March 15, 2017, join me at Surfaces, 327 Park Street. I’m going to talk about this new consumer and what it means to your business . For more  information, check out the event page at the Marble Institute of America in the next couple of weeks.

To have Lisbeth speak at your event, contact her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or call 518.495.4380.

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By |2017-09-27T19:07:54+00:00February 20th, 2017|Marketing|0 Comments

“Don’t Dig for Gold, Sell Shovels!

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Thanks to Dave Schneider for image.

And we thought the gold diggers were the ones who made money! According to Frank Rumbauskas, Author of Never Cold Call, “The people who prospered most during the gold rush weren’t the ones digging for gold.” Those that made money were those who provided goods and services for the miners. Those that opened bars!

WHY? They knew their customer and what their customers needed.

What does this mean to sales people?

Many people spend hours “digging for gold.” We have been told the more calls we make the more customers we will get and eventually we will ‘strike gold.’ We’ve been told ‘play the numbers;’ the more you play the more opportunities you will have. If that really worked wouldn’t all of us be rich?

IT’S NOT SO! SURE YOU SHOULD FISH WHERE THE FISHING IS BETTER!

Sure you need customers, but cold calling isn’t getting leads; it’s calling on people who don’t know you or even care about you. They are ‘cold.’ Sure I know if you snag one of these you really feel good but why waste your valuable time when there are other ways to get customers?  You need quality leads, not just leads.

Why would you do that? There are other ways to get quality leads.

First you have to know your customers. Who buys from you and what do they buy. Customers who have bought before are always better prospects. They are willing to pay your prices because they already like and trust you. In sales it’s critical to be liked and trusted. Forbes suggests you analyze your market and know exactly what your customers like and if they’ve sneezed!

I know you think you’re unforgettable but it’s not so. Pay attention to customers who have bought from you. In other words, follow up after you’ve sold these customers. It doesn’t matter when they will need your services again; eventually they will. How will they remember you if you don’t stay in touch?

85% of your business comes from referrals. Need more business, go back to your sold customers and ask them for help.

Warm up those cold leads! That’s what social media is for; use your LinkedIn connections, your Facebook friends. It’s likely if you ask enough people you can get your self-connected.

Don’t get caught in the cold call trap.

Need Lisbeth to help you warm up your cold leads? For personalized training to get more customers call 518-495-5380.

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By |2017-09-27T19:09:55+00:00January 30th, 2017|Marketing|0 Comments

So You Think You Understand Romance?

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What is romantic to one is not to everyone else.

What is romantic to one is not to everyone else.

The only way you know if you’re good at it is the response you get from your target audience. Roses seem to be the flower of choice for Valentine’s Day, but not everyone likes roses.

The key is knowing your audience.

Let’s talk about something we all understand; pricing. Pricing merchandise is more than a system, it’s an art. What makes  the Tag Heuer,  Monaco watch sell for $25,000, on sale ; don’t you wonder what it costs to manufacture the product?

In some ways it looks like many other watches except the face is very unique. More than the look is the romance and history behind the watch. Yes, you can say it’s the name, but  how did they build it?

This is how the watch is explained:

In 1969, TAG Heuer released the first automatic chronograph, and broke with tradition by creating the first square waterproof case to house it. The Monaco became an instant icon on the wrist of legendary actor Steve McQueen in the 1970 film, Le Mans. TAG Heuer continues to break all the rules with the revolutionary Monaco V4, the world’s first timepiece with a belt-driven transmission.

Notice the first line, speaking about an “automatic chronograph with a square waterproof case to house it.” When I first read it I wasn’t sure it was a car or a watch! How about you?

 

Check out this description of a boring black dress:

 

Typical product description:

 

The boring Indie dress.

The boring Indie dress.

Indie Dress

 

The Indie Dress features a cross-over neckline and empire bodice. Made from 18.5 micron New Zealand merino wool. Side slash pockets. Relaxed Hood. Machine washable. By Ibex.

YAWN….

Product description with personality

Indie Dress

Free yourself from fussy when you pull on the Indie. Cross-over neckline and empire bodice move easily from well-dressed to “WOW,” but never compromises on easy care and comfort. Made of the finest blend of merino wool from only the best and happiest New Zealand sheep. 18.5 micron means wool so fine that there’s zero itch. Side slash pockets, relaxed hood. Machine washable. By Ibex.

Tips for ‘romancing your products:

1. Make it personal, ’ how would my life change or be different if I bought your product?

2. Why should I buy it; what makes ‘IT’ different than a similar product?

3. Why can’t I live without it?

“Whisper more sweet nothing in my ear. You may think actions speak louder than words, and a picture is worth a thousand of them, but you’d be amazed at what the right words can accomplish.” Jeff Greenhouse.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build marketing and sales strategies for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have you speak at your business, reach her at 518.495.5380. www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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Is Your Customer Wearing an Invisible Cloak?

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Is your customer invisible?

Is your customer invisible?

My friend said she went into a local high end lighting store the other day; despite there were sales people walking around, no one approached her. It was almost as if she was wearing an invisible cloak.  What kind of customer experience is this? The salespeople may have been busy or maybe they didn’t see her, but does that matter? My mother used to say that she had to “have eyes in the back of her head” when I was little. That’s what salespeople need. They must always be on alert.

She had never been in the store and was in desperate need of a part for a chandelier. Yes, we are closer to developing an invisible cloak, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I just read an article about how customer service should be invisible; I don’t think so. If you’ve got superb customer service everyone in the world should know about it. By the way, we are close to producing an invisible cloak; then what will happen to our customers?

When it comes to developing a working invisibility cloak, we may not be at Harry Potter level yet, but today’s newest breakthrough is nonetheless impressive.

A team of researchers led by Xingjie Ni—a nano-engineer at Pennsylvania State University—have just unveiled an fascinating invisibility cloak: one that takes the form of a sleek skin of nano-material.

 

We talk about providing a great customer experience; how can that happen if we don’t make a connection? Great customer experiences don’t just happen, we have to make them happen.

 

“Why didn’t anyone wait on me; she asked, didn’t I look right?” There was a hint of sarcasm in her voice, but I think there was some truth in her question. My hunch is you’ve had it happen to you.

Here are 2 simple ways to keep your customers from feeling invisible:

  • Approach your new customer immediately. If you’re with another customer, politely ask them if it’s okay for you to greet the customer coming in the door.
  • Make the customer feel like an old friend. If you can offer them a place to sit or a beverage they will feel acknowledged.
  • Connect with them in other ways. Complement them when you say hello, notice their smart phone of tablet.
  • Be proactive. Can you reach out to your customer before they get to your store?

I know these may seem simple but they are common courtesies that are often forgotten but go a long way in building a customer relationship.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build positive customer experiences for the past 20 years. To speak with her about your business, call her at 518-495-5380.

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Why do Businesses say Stupid Things to Their Customers?

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no cookingOn my way to the gym I pass this restaurant; today the sign outside says “No Cook.” I’m assuming that means they’re not open. Why would you put that sign up? This is just a ridiculous thing to post for your customers. What’s the point? What kind of customer service can a restaurant deliver without a cook?

It brings up all kinds of thoughts for me.

  1. They don’t pay their help very much or why would the cook leave?
  2. There will be no food until they get a new cook; will the new cook be good? Should I even try it?
  3. When the new cook comes, will there be a sign that says, “New Cook?”
  4. They don’t sound very resourceful, why not just start cooking? There must be someone who works or owns the place that knows how.
  5. Why do we care about your cook? It’s your problem now it’s mine.

Why would you share any of your misfortune with your customers? Consumers don’t care about your problems only that you make them feel good.

Actually, I would have liked it better if the sign says, ‘cook quit or cook fired.’ At least, I can get a laugh about it. It reminds me of the nursery that had the sign, ‘closed during the winter,’ of course; we know that. Why not the sign that says, ‘can’t wait for spring?’

There was another sign on a restaurant door that said, ‘closed because of lack of customers.’ I guess that’s my fault; nasty implications with that sign.

Why not be positive with your customers? Why not close because you’re giving your business a face lift, or you’re having a face lift? My friend had a sign on her restaurant that said ‘owner taking a cruise; she needs it. Thanks for being my customers see you on July 1.’ Those of us, who know Carmella knows she works really hard and deserves a vacation.  We were all excited to welcome her back and ask about the cruise. She even came with gifts for her ‘regulars.’

Customers always want to know, ‘what’s in it for me?’  There’s nothing in it for me when the cook leaves. We all listen to the radio station, ‘what’s in it for me.’ WIIFM. If you do something that inconveniences the customer you can be sure they won’t be happy.

If you can’t make the customer happy, at least make them laugh, or  hold their hands to improve the customer experience.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and customer service strategies for over twenty years. To have Lisbeth consult with you, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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How To Get The Most Out Of NeoCon For Your Business

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neocon1What could be better than spending two days in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago to attend one of the most premier shows of the design industry? Unfortunately, conferences represent challenges for all those attending. How do you possibly attend all of the seminars and wonderful new product and design collections presented in two days?

NeoCon is a perfect place to make important new contacts and catch up with old friends. For anyone in the design industry, NeoCon is certainly “the place to be.” The show features over 100 carefully crafted seminars designed especially to meet the goals of the audience. The keynote speaker program is extremely impressive. My personal favorite is Emmie-nominated host of National Geographic’s #1 rated series “Brain Games,” Jason Silva and his “Luminosity.”

His games are available on his web site or on Facebook and good for challenging yourself while ‘on hold.’

Here are some thoughts on maximizing your time at the show:

1. Plan your list of important contacts and connect with them before the conference.  If you don’t plan before you get there you may be disappointed that all your contacts are already scheduled.

Neocon_inside2. Your best contacts and new associations will be made at ‘after hour events’ so don’t shy away from the cocktail parties even if you’re alone. A welcoming smile and friendly face will be help you connect and be appreciated by others attending. If you don’t plan you’ll never get to see your most important connections. Don’t forget to post lots of photos to your social media pages.

3. Don’t forget your clients at home are depending on you to excite them with new ideas. Why not establish yourself as a ‘trend expert. ‘This is the time to make your social media pages work for you. Clients want to know what you’re up to and what’s exciting your brain. Attending the show should be the means to an end for your personal business. Think how you’re going to use the information to ‘network’ and build your trade when you get back to your community.

4. Consider writing a press release before you attend the show. Talk about what new ideas you’re after and how you will spend your time. Post your ideas to LinkedIn as well as Facebook, and don’t forget to tweet from the show. Your followers will be with you every step of the way and will want a full report on your return. Consider what organizations will be interested in hosting your thoughts and photos before you leave. In addition remember the press release will temporarily help your SEO as well as catch the eye of the local reporters. If you’re from a smaller city, contact the newspapers and television stations and let them know the value of NeoCon and see if you can get an interview or a spot to report on what you saw at the show.

5. Think of yourself as a ‘thought leader’ and attend seminars exhibiting interesting trends and in the forefront of products and design. You can set up interviews with notables, snap a few selfies and post them on your social media. In addition, you can write about your findings on your blog. You might contact a local at home newspaper and offer to pen an article on what’s fresh and trending. This will help you attract new possible contacts and just cement your expertise with your clients.

Establishing expertise often takes years of work and customer referrals. One way to support this is to become the expert and getting information. If you have a particular expertise in a specific industry such as health care, research the seminars and trends at the show and call a local hospital or health care facility and offer to do a seminar. Don’t forget developers and construction customers who also deal in your area of expertise and offer to meet with them after the event.

NeoCon is a way for you to get new ideas for your business and your customers. One new good idea could land you your next job. Try not stress yourself out with what you didn’t get to see. Plan to have a great time and just enjoy.

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By |2017-03-03T12:06:52+00:00June 10th, 2015|Customer Experience, Marketing|0 Comments

4 Key Factors that Will Help Determine Your Business Success

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Business success is determined by your customer.

Business success is determined by your customer.

Do you really know what your customers think about you?

I’ve asked many business owners about their competitive advantage. They tell me they have great salespeople, installers, a beautiful showroom and super customer service. This is often in contrast to what the customers have written on line where their ratings are two out of five stars!

Why does this happen? Businesses think they’re in touch with their customers, but they really aren’t. If a customer says something unflattering about them, they usually dismiss it. “We could never please that customer, “is what they say.

If you’re not connecting with your customers, you’re doing a disservice to your business. If you don’t know what they like, how can they brag about you? Yes, you need them to brag about you. Consider that 65% of customers make decisions about where to shop and ultimately buy based on recommendations from their friends. Often the friends are social media friends they’ve never met!

Here  are four factors that you should consider:

Understand your marketplace. Are you located in the right place to attract your customer? Can you describe common traits about your customers? If you can’t, how can you attract more of them?

Know what products your customers like and buy more of them. If your customers are high end, why is your showroom stocked with so many cheap, uninteresting products? Being “all things for all people” just confuses both customers and salespeople.  Customers don’t have much time to shop so why bore them with things they don’t want?

Get the right business partners. Do you carry everyone’s products because the prices are good? Find  partners that are looking out for yor profitability  and your customers. They should also understand your marketplace and help you distinguish yourself from the competition.

Plan for the changing marketplace.  Businesses are heading down the tail end of the richest generation—the Baby Boomers. They fueled the marketplace with plenty of money and a desire for buying new things. As they age, their needs have changed. They are being replaced by a generation with different ideas about the world and seem to value “experiences” over certain things. (Electronics are one category they crave.)

You might not be able to be ahead of change, but you can certainly keep up.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a strategic thinker who has been helping businesses improve their bottom line for over 20 years. To schedule a conference or have her speak at an event, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park, Abany, New York with her cat Rainyday.

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By |2017-03-03T12:06:52+00:00May 19th, 2015|Blog, Marketing, Success, The Millenniums|0 Comments