Repeat and Referral Business

/Repeat and Referral Business

An Update on What Value Means to Your Business

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What makes you different and what is it worth?

What makes you different and what is it worth?

Everyone talks about value but what does it really mean? Simply put, it means going above and beyond what is expected. For instance, giving out cookies and hot chocolate during the holidays in your business can be considered added value. Cookies add to the festivities and are unexpected by the customers. Will all customers think they are added value? Probably not the people who are on a diet or don’t eat chocolate chips. Value added is a marketing and sales strategy for your business. It helps customers remember you, build repeat and referral business and build differentiation.

Before you can deliver, you have to know your customers, and what they expect. Yes, customers want to be treated with courtesy, feel that prices are fair for the marketplace and expect your place of business to be inviting. If you can’t deliver what’s expected, how can you go above and beyond and deliver the “added value?”

Once you know who they are, then you can go forward trying to figure out what you can do that they would like.

So added value is something the customer gets and finds delightful. Imagine giving your customers a beautiful winter blanket on a beastly hot summer day. The blanket is worsted wool, with horse blanket fringe as well as being soft and warm. Delivered in the summer, it isn’t valued, in fact, becomes a problem. You might say, “I wouldn’t care when I got the blanket, it’s so magnificent. “ Despite your excitement, many of your customers would not be feeling the same. So treating the customers using your standards may not be adding any value nor getting any points from your customers.

Instead of thinking what’s of value to you, find out what’s of value to your customers. For any of this to work, it must be determined within the context of your customers.  Of course, we all have fixed budgets, but we still have to look at the customer’s criteria. I go into the gym daily. It has become an important part of my health plan. One of the things, besides all the people I know is the coffee that is served free of charge in the lobby. It makes a huge difference to me; it’s always fresh and somehow signals the end of a good workout. So it’s a big deal to me; no, it’s not rational but value isn’t rational.

I know they make a big deal about wiping down the equipment after it’s used in the gym. (They consider this huge value.) Frankly, this doesn’t really matter to me; I know the best thing I can do is go home and change my clothes. I’ve been told the gym is one of the dirtiest places in the world so I don’t think a simple wipe down will help.

In all of our lives, it’s the simple things that make our own world special.

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“The Real Sale Begins When the Customer Gives you Testimonial”

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The customer only cares about three things: me, myself, and I.

The customer only cares about three things: me, myself, and I.

I was talking with John Gregory, owner of Capital Vacuums, in Albany, New York. John has been in the  vacuum cleaner business for most of his life; he started by selling vacuums door-to-door. He insists the key to business is by giving customers a positive experience through “added value.” I asked John if he would share his ideas with us.

 

“When I was knocking on doors, cold calling I came up with procedures to follow. Once you learn them you develop good habits that make your job more exciting and profitable. One of the habits I want everyone to learn is to call our customers after the sale.”

 

Happy customersJohn’s theory of business is simple, add value and make the customer happy.

 

“If the customer isn’t happy with the product/service/experience we need to know it.   If they’re  happy with the product/service/experience we need them to tell the world by giving us an online review.”

 

Retail is a game that both the customer and the store have to win. If the customer is happy, everyone is happy. In the end the business will get more referrals and sales.

 

An online reviews seals the deal!

An online reviews seals the deal!

It used to be we thought when the customer paid us, they were satisfied. Now, we don’t consider the transaction over until we get a review online or a “like” on Facebook. Since I know that 90% of my business is from referrals, the real payoff is the customer’s review. It’s a satisfying   feeling to know that my team can provide an experience worthy of a good review.

 

Years ago we had to ask the customer for referrals. We would ask them for a list of names or ask them to go out of their way to tell their friends and family about their experience with us. No matter how good the experience was the chances of that customer sharing it with friends/family were pretty slim. Most likely, the customer would soon forget about it. Now they can do it with a “click of the mouse,” or by hitting “send” on their phone. It’s amazing!

 

Think about how powerful that is. If we’ve met and surpassed the customers’ expectations, they can put it on the Internet for everyone to see. It’s just as easy for someone to spread the bad word about our business if they aren’t  happy. If they tell us first, we can fix it before they tell anyone else. Businesses need to be proactive.

 

Remember, business is built on value not on price. If you build it on price, you may not be in business very long. You must be able to define value if you’re going to deliver it. Here’s John’s take on value:

 

  • Building value can be as simple as explaining all the features & benefits of your product or service to the customer.

 

 

  • Building value can be as simple as engaging in real conversation with the customer, finding out their needs and conveying/painting a picture/ getting a customer to visualize using your product or service.

 

  • Building value is making sure the customer sees how the product or service will make their life easier or better. The idea is to make the value exceed the price. Make your product or service worth more than what you’re asking!

 

  • Building value can be throwing in something extra with their purchase. It can be as simple as a pen, mug or vacuum bag. It’s a present and we all like presents.

 

  • Building value can be an extended warranty, maybe a service plan.

 

Whatever value you give the customer it should be given to the customer as a present. Who doesn’t want a present? For your present, visit John and his staff at Capital Vacuum, 1593 Central Avenue, Albany, New York. http://www.capitalvacuums.com/

Lisbeth has been coaching for over 20 years. To consult with her or have her speak with your sales team, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

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4 Ways to Transition Your Salespeople from Employees to Business Partners

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EmployeesIt appears that the country is trying to instill an entrepreneurial attitude into all of us. With many of the traditional high-paying jobs disappearing, we find ourselves in a quandary.

There are many people who were fortunate enough, often without much education, to move into jobs that paid well and provided a good retirement. It would appear that many of these jobs have disappeared. In addition, consumers have transferred much of their trust from the salesperson to the Internet. The role of the salesperson has been altered.

Salespeople have long been in a position to provide important product and service information to inquiring customers. Now, customers ask their friends or get information from many social media outlets. Let’s face it: A good salesperson has to think differently now. Salespeople are still part of the equation but must see themselves as more than salespeople. Having an entrepreneurial spirt will help.

As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for ways to find new business and come up with new ideas, and we realize that we can make or break a business. A successful entrepreneur is always looking for ways to understand his or her customers and find ways to become a trusted confidant.

I believe that anyone who receives compensation for a job is a partner. Many people often say, “I just work here,” implying that they have no say or effect on the business. These days, everyone needs to realize they have an effect on the business, and the customer certainly does care what they have to say.

Whether it is online or in the store, customers are seeking them out for advice, information and as a connection. Changing the salesperson’s role will have a tremendous effect on your business.

Here are some thoughts on how to take the employee-employer relationship you currently have and forge it into a new partnership:

  1. Ask your salespeople daily about their customers. What did they find out, what do they know and what changes do they think you should make in your business? Learning how to be inquisitive is one of the skills that should be taught. More than ever, it’s important to know how the customers got into your store and how the Internet has affected their decision to purchase.
  2. Encourage salespeople to seek new ways of engaging customers—new ones as well as existing ones. It’s likely that the satisfied customer will be your link to your next customer, since 90 percent of your business is from referrals.
  3. Engage and teach your salespeople skills that will help them connect with their customers. These days, whoever gets to the customer first will probably win. Getting there first means getting to them before they get into your store. Once they’ve connected to the customer, the salesperson must be building a marketing plan to stay in touch and link to the next customer.
  4. Determine what tools your salespeople will need in order to continue to become the customer’s partner. Will it be contests, holding events in your store or writing a blog to engage the customer?

All of our roles have changed; it’s no more business as usual. A partnership implies helping each other achieve goals and bringing more talent and expertise to the table. How will this work in your business?

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing consulting and training for businesses for over 20 years. If you would like to book a consultation or have her speak with your team, reach her at 518-495-5380.

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Please Macy’s, Don’t Forget Me!

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Businesses with great customer service stay in touch with their customers.

I  must admit I love the clothes and shoes in Macy’s.

In the 70’s I had a Macy’s credit card and used to receive offers from them. It seemed like once I stopped using the card I never heard from them.  Every time I would purchase at Macy’s the clerk would ask if I had a credit card. I would tell her yes, but they could never find it. I just paid cash, purchased less and wondered how they lost me.

Did  I forget to pay a bill? How could Macy’s lose me?

Yesterday I was in Macy’s Shoe Department and found the most unforgettable pair of shoes. Of course the clerk asked if I had a credit card. This time I decided to say I didn’t have one.

“Let’s get you one, she said, there’s a 20% discount today if you get a new card.”

After 10 minutes of questioning back and forth,  she finally said, “They want to talk with you.” Now I’m nervous. Are they going to announce  over the loud speaker that  Lisbeth Calandrino is a deadbeat?

I thought they would tell me I had an unpaid balance of $10.00 and they’d crossed me off their list. Instead they asked my name, address and phone number and then said they wanted to talk to the clerk.

“You have a card she said, how come you haven’t used it?”

“They won’t let me,” I replied. She laughed and said, “That’s strange.” It may be strange to her, but every time I told the clerk I thought I had a credit card, my purchase was denied.

The clerk announced that Macy’s has decided to send me a new card. (By the way, no 20% discount for me. The 20% discount is only for new card holders.)

I guess they’re trying to tell me  I can’t put one over on them.

So how do businesses lose customers? Do they  decide some customers are better than others? What criteria do they use? Frankly, in this case, I just think it’s a case of not paying attention.  I should be receiving offers and discounts automatically from them.

Great customer service is remembering your customers and staying in touch with them.

White House/Black Market never loses me. Cachet knows where to find me. As a result of their coupons, discounts and special offers, I’m at both  at least twice a year when the seasons change. There have been many times I wanted to charge something in Macy’s and pay it off in two payments but passed on my purchase.

Your most valuable customer is one who has purchased from you. Why would you forget them? They didn’t spend enough?

I’ve told lots of people over the years about my Macy’s credit card problem and have avoided shopping there with my friends   The only reason I was there yesterday because I was doing a SodaStream demonstration.

(By the way, you must see the SodaStream commercial they wouldn’t air on television.)

Consider your past customer is your connection to your next new customer. When my friends want to go shopping, I always say, let’s not go to Macy’s.

When you don’t keep in touch with your customers, they make friends with your competitors. Not going to Macy’s has forced me to check out new stores, and get new credit cards. Oh well, I guess I’m not that important to Macys.

I read a statistic that the average business loses 10% of their customers yearly.

I found some other statistics that might be important to you if you own a business.

  1. 73% of marketing managers of various large companies credit “Repeat purchase behavior” as integral to the definition of successful customer engagement –Forbes Magazine
  2. A survey asking which is the most important marketing objectives, shows that 29.9% think that it should be customer acquisition, and 26.6% think that it is customer retention.
  3. However 62.2% admit that they concentrate on customer acquisition, with only 20.6% focusing on customer acquisition. –Emarketer
I guess Macy’s isn’t the only offender.

Want more information on repeat and referral business? Check out my Surfaces Blog from 2012.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal and profitable customers through customer service training and social media marketing. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service is about to be published in its updated version.  To book her for training  or speaking, she can be reached at redhotcustomerservice@nycap.rr.com.

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By |2017-03-03T12:07:02+00:00February 17th, 2013|Blog, Repeat and Referral Business|0 Comments