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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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Join us at The International Surface Event 2016

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On the Cutting Edge

On the Cutting Edge

This is your opportunity to do some significant networking. Bring your walking shoes and your team of employees. Spread out and take in all you can to kick your business up to another level.

Once again the flooring industry is headed to Las Vegas to display new products and trends as well as offering thought provoking seminars.  have been attending The International Surfaces Show for twenty years and it just gets better and better

For the past two years, the event has been paired with Design and Construction Week (DCW). DCW features the co-location of the NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). If you’re in the flooring business, this is certainly the place to check out new customers and get serious about improving your bottom line.

Are you prepared to work this show? Here are some quick tips.

Determine why you’re going to the show and what the top 10 things you hope to accomplish are. It’s easy to get off track. If you meet someone you haven’t seen in a long time, take their card and write a note to call them when you get home. It’s likely that they’re on a tight schedule also.

Register early before the show and get the “lay of the land” before you get there. Know what your hotel has to offer, how far it is from the event and if there’s a shuttle to get where you need to go.

Make a list of who you must definitely see. If possible make an appointment with them before the show. You must do this quickly because calendars fill up fast, especially if it’s a short show.

Get dressed up. You don’t need a suit but looking prosperous is always a good thing. I always go shopping before the show and see if there’s something outstanding.

Have more than one pair of shoes with you. I always carry an extra pair with me and change in the middle of the day. This will give both your feet and shoes a chance to recover. Don’t wear brand new shoes if you haven’t ‘broken them in.’ I have found that some shoes are comfortable for short times only. I have done some serious damage to my toes.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of cards. When you take someone’s card, take a photo with them also. This way you won’t forget who they are and what made them unforgettable. Don’t bring lots of large brochures; it’s easier to send things electronically when you get home.

Make friends in the lunch lines! If you decided to grab a snack talk with the person next to you in line. If you think it’s a good contact, maybe you can sit with them and get to know them. If you’re alone, find a table of people and ask if you might join them. This has always been good for me.

Take lots of pictures if allowed. This was you can put them on social media to show your customers what you’re up to. I’ve had several people tell me they’ve actually gotten orders from customers who have seen the ‘hot, new items’ on line. Some people like being first.

Make sure you find to recuperate. Working a trade show is like having another job, but a good one.

Lisbeth Calandrino, speaker, Associate Publisher and Director of Social Media, Fabulous Floors Magazine, http://fabulousfloorsmagazine.com/, https://lisbethcalandrino.com/.

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By |2017-03-03T12:06:49-04:00January 5th, 2016|Advertising, Blog|0 Comments

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 |2017-03-03T12:06:49-04:00October 29th, 2015|Advertising, Blog, Building relationships, fun|0 Comments

7 Mistakes That Make Your Email Campaign Look Lame

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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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If you Can’t Change it, How do you Know When to Give it up?

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Where are you in your plan?

Where are you in your plan?

I just returned from Coverings; the largest stone and tile show held yearly in the United States. One of my topics was about the millenniums, how to hire and how to motivate them. There is much ado about them; for a group of business owners, the most upsetting information is their apparent lack of wanting to stay in the same job forever. A gentleman said he was disturbed because of his biggest need for installers. A position that takes years to train and would it be in vain? He wanted to know how what could he do to make them stay. He was extremely annoyed at the circumstances and wanted it to change.

I started thinking, what we can do when faced by a situation that is unlikely to change in our favor? Is there a value in forcing the situation?

I asked what he thought his choices might be. I was trying to see if he thought that it might be time to change or expand his business, so he wouldn’t be as dependent on this “disappearing” employee.  In my mind, the problem was taking on a new perspective. Would this mean he should close his business? Instead, I asked if he thought there might be some changes that would have to be made in his business to accommodate this shift. His reply was, “I just need more installers.”

When a shift happens in your life, what does it take to be able to stay still with the uncertainty of a situation until you can come up with alternatives? Sometimes you must live through the situation and actually grieve the impending loss before you can move on. Possibly you should talk with someone you trust who has more information or experience than you.

Not wanting to deal with reality often gets in the way of us seeing situations clearly. To become empowered, we must face fear head on so it has no power to frighten us. When we finally give up being led by fear can we examine the alternatives and make the best choice possible.

There’s no way to control the future; there is only the strength and our willingness to stay present and let the fear dissipate.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses grow and become more profitable through sales and customer service training for the past 25 years. To schedule a consultation, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park, Albany, New York with her cat Rainyday. If not out training, she can be found at the YMCA gym in East Greenbush.

 

 

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Nike Offers Personal Training in Store

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Run, Train, Live

Run, Train, Live

I just read this article and thought I should share it with you. Why has it taken  so long for Nike, or anyone else, to add this concept. “It’s called, try it and buy it.” Notice the new slogan: Run, Train, Live.

I know everyone thought JC Penney was crazy when the offered Yoga in their stores but the concept was solid. It was the execution that was a little off base. This article is from Chain Store Age and thought it was worth the space on my blog.

New YorkFitness buffs can shop and also get in a workout at Nike’s new women’s store at Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, California. The 6,000-sq-ft. plus space combines the best of the company’s women’s products with an in-store fitness studio. The glass- and wood-paneled studio, the first for Nike in a U.S. retail location, features free group or personal fitness training sessions. It also enable customers to try out training and running footwear and apparel. The store offers an array of specialized services, weekly programming and special events. In-store services include run analysis, bra fitting, footwear trials and pant hemming. Programming includes the Nike+ Run Club, Nike+ Training Club and yoga classes. “Our women’s business has never been stronger and this new store is the ultimate expression of our commitment to women who run, train and live the look of sport and fitness throughout their day,” stated Amy Montagne, VP, general manager of Nike Women. I suggest that businesses hold monthly events for their customers but few rarely do. What better way then to show your customer you care then sharing something special with them? Nike is building communities with their customers.

February Heart Month

February Heart Month

February is Heart Month which offers so many ways to engage your customers. It’s about building a competitive advantage PAST your products. It takes more than products to build a competitive advantage. Products are everywhere; the  key is to present your products in an atmosphere that makes them interesting. This is what Nike is doing. Here are three  ideas:

  1. Ask yourself, how many times in my customer’s lifetime will they need my products? If you’re selling homes, it may be very few. Maybe that’s the reason why realtors forget who you are after the sale. If you’re good at what you do, why wouldn’t your customer refer you to someone else? 90% of your business is now referrals; it’s up from 80% two years ago!
  2. Talk with your customers,  what charities do they support and ask if you can help with a fund raiser. This is a great opportunity to bring in other vendors and access their data bases. If your vendors can bring in new customers to see your business, you’ve won the game. Raising money for a charity will also help you be remembered.
  3. This is the age of transparency: don’t worry about how silly or ridiculous your event is. Who knows it might turn into a reality show!
  4. If you need information on how to run and event; let me know and I’ll send you a copy of my book, “50 Events you can Hold to Bring in More Customers.”

I  would  love you to tell me about your event. Lisbeth Calandrino has been a Coach-sultant for the past 20 years helping businesses engage their employees and building strategies to impact their bottom line. Lisbeth lives in Historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York with her cat Rainyday. When not training, she can be found at the gym. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.   

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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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6 Ways to Insult An Old Customer

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Old people driving.

Old people driving.

We find old people annoying because they walk slow, talk slow and spend time counting out the exact change for you.  Old people know they’re old and don’t need or want to be reminded. I notice that clerks look annoyed when the older person takes more time to get out their credit card or are looking for their glasses.

Age is just a number; it only becomes more when you choose to make it so or someone reminds you of it.

The other day I was in the gas station and heard the clerk tell the owner that the elderly lady from down the street said she thinks you undercharged her for the oil change. He’s my age; does she call him old too?

Why are we reluctant to deal with the process of aging? You can either get old or drop dead, which to you prefer? If it scares you learn more about it.

The Tibetans have a saying, “to get over your fears, bring closer to you that which frightens you the most.”

Here are my top 10 things that really make me hate you. Feel free to add a few of your own.

  1. Call me “dearie “when the hot chick next to me gets lots of smiles and jokes.
  2. Ask me if you can help me carry the quart of milk to my car. Do I look that frail?
  3. Do you need to sit down? I just walked in and now I need a chair. You don’t mind if the girly girl walks around because she has nice legs.
  4. “Take your time with it.” Can I first open my purse?
  5. If I say, “Prices seem high,” it’s not necessary for you to say, “Compared to what they were in your day I’m sure they are.”
  6. “You look tired.” Don’t ever say this to anyone unless you want a swat.
  7. “Shall I give these to your son to carry?” Could that “son” be my boyfriend? You probably don’t know about the famous artist, Georgia O’Keeffe and her companion who was 48 years her junior.
  8. Tell the customer after looking at her license, “I just saw your birth date; I can’t believe you’re that old! Or, you really look good for your age.
  9. Ask me for my license to prove I’m 21 when I want a drink.
  10. Give me the “Yes and No Mam” treatment.
  11. Just because I need to get my glasses doesn’t mean you need to read it to me. Everyone I know wears glasses.

If you would like more ideas for insulting old companies, take a look at Stan Goldberg’s blog,http://stangoldbergwriter.com/about/top-10-insults-for-old-people/.

Give us a break, one day you might be old.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses be more profitable for over 20 years. To have a consultation with her or have her speak to your employees, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. To read her Success Blog on the Albany Times Union, go to,http://blog.timesunion.com/success/author/lisbethcalandrino/.

She lives in Albany, New York, in Historic Hudson Park with her cat, Rainyday. When not in her office she can be found at the gym.

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