As a mission-driven business, we’ve always been more motivated by a greater purpose than simple dollars and cents. The following TED speech by career analyst Dan Pink adds a nice twist on the balance of creativity and motivation.
Sometimes it is not enough to provide an outstanding product or service. More often, your personal approach is just as important. Some of the most successful business owners create a unique connection with their customers and prospects by providing their own custom touch to the marketing process.
Below are seven tips on salesmanship that may help you develop a special relationship with potential customers.
- Tease Out any “Red Flags”. It may seem counter-intuitive, but an early step may be to look for reasons NOT to do business. Before you give your sales pitch, take time to research your prospective client and forge an honest assessment. Here, any serious “red flags” may immediately come to the surface, giving you the option to walk away before you invest a lot of energy, time and money. In order to accomplish this, have to ask the right questions in an initial survey or meeting and don’t be afraid to dig deep into the answers with follow-ups. Here, you may discover that the customer’s needs and expectations are not a good match for the services you provide or, more importantly, you may set a solid foundation for the legitimate goals that you want to collectively achieve.
- Be Responsive. When a customer or potential client reaches out to you be sure to respond, even if the subject seems frivolous or you can’t provide an immediate solution to a problem. Responding in a timely and consistent manner demonstrates your undeniable commitment to a customer’s needs.
- Court Your Clients. In order to spark the interest of a potential customer, you may have to develop a way to hook them somehow. This may be by sending them an interesting article that’s related to their business or highlighting a positive customer testimonial and suggesting ways to maximize its effect. In any case, it is also important to give them the time and space to respond and be respectful of their busy schedule.
- Make Your Business as “Close to Home” as Possible. The best way to connect with a new client is to use the “corner store” approach, by remembering the little things and shared references to create an maintain a bond. Use casual conversation and genuine interest to discover common missions, places, values, or passions and make the customer feel that she is seen as more than just a potentialdollar sign.
- Communicate on Multiple Levels. While it’s often much quicker and less stressful to email, phone conversations and face-to-face meetings can be far more effective in creating and maintaining meaningful connections. Further, it is important to use other means of communication like social media or online customer sites to lend your support and/or help spread the word on your customer’s business.
- Focus on the Big Picture and Look Long Term. Sometimes it’s easy to go on a tangent and get lost in a particular small detail, while losing sight of the real goals of a business arrangement. The longer arc of developing a vision for the future is just as essential as the pressing daily tasks which may require immediate attention. Like many things in life, it takes patience to develop fruitful and lasting customer relationships. Resist the temptation to rush the process and bring the relationship to a level it has not naturally matured into. Take the time to explain how your service benefits the prospect over time and exhibit patience in cultivating a business relationship which slowly works towards achieving those goals.
- Be Especially Loyal to Your Most Loyal Customers. This is something that is of particular importance here at 33 Dimensions. We see big companies make fantastic offers to “new” customers while excluding those who have been loyal and true over time and this method baffles us. We do the complete opposite and have always had an unwritten policy to offer the absolute best rates to those who have been in good standing for the longest amount of time. While both are important to growing a business, we place a higher stock in maintaining the business relationship with those who have built a positive bond of longevity than be preferential to the “shiny new” prospect.
Lately I’ve come across a lot of situations with new clients where they are having trouble getting access to their existing source files or getting their current providers to cooperate in many ways. So today I’m going to talk about three business fundamentals that should be established when starting a website.
1. Establish Ownership. The first and most important one of these principals is to own everything – your domain name and all of your content (words, pictures, logos, graphics, videos, etc.). There are many, many companies who will offer you great deals up front (such as a “free” website for a year) but then retain ownership of your site, so you are left with little options or flexibility. Although the initial cost may be higher, establishing ownership will pay dividends throughout the lifespan of your website by assuring that certain barriers to progress will not be imposed.
2. Have Complete Access to Your Content. In many (if not most) cases, there is one major exception to the “establish ownership” rule and that is in regards to hosting. Most small businesses just do not have the time, resources, or know-how to manage their own hosting servers so it makes sense find an established hosting company to handle these tasks. However, when you employ a hosting company, it is important that you have direct access to all your files via FTP. Many small business owners don’t understand the process or the importance of this ability, but by having full access a professional developer can instantly add, modify, or delete any website item on your behalf.
3. Adaptability and/or Agility. This is the only one of the three which actually deals with website design (my specialty). The basic point here is that the online universe is rapidly evolving and it is important that your website’s design has the ability to integrate newer features, technologies, and design features. Of course, this is much more of an art than a science because none of us know which innovations are on the horizon. But by keeping your site agile and not “painting yourself into a corner” with too many static features and dependencies, you and your developer will maximize the possibilities for the future.
~ Ric Albano
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the coining of the term “Cyber Monday”. It grew out of the growing practice of Americans returning to a normal work schedule off the extended Thanksgiving weekend and buying items online on this Monday each year.
2015 marks the first time that 33 Dimensions will be getting into the act and offering our own great deals for new and existing customers. Please check the list below of the primary services we offer and give us a call or Contact Us for a low cost, high quality and customized solution, delivered in a timely manner.
Owner and Chief Designer
33 Dimensions LLC
What We Offer
Content Management / WordPress
Search Engine Optimization
Online Marketing / Social Media Services
Inbound Marketing Solutions
Original Articles and Blogging
Digital Images and Graphics
White Label Services
Training and Consultation
Complete Content Ownership for Our Clients
You can shop for great Cyber Monday deals to your heart’s desire at Amazon.com and still support our great little small business. Just click Our Amazon Affiliate Link and start shopping!
The Bagman Goes Green
These days you’ll hear all kinds of people and companies say that are “going green” to help save the environment. No doubt, many of these pledges are sincere. But there is no one we know who has actually done more along these lines then Ron Davis of R. Davis Enterprises.
Based in Lancaster County, PA, Davis (a long time client of 33 Dimensions) is commonly known as “Ron the Bagman” because of his longtime business of wholesaling plastic bags and other supplies for markets and auctions. About two years ago, Ron started recycling as a secondary service, but this aspect of his business has rapidly grown to be his primary focus. Ron picks up all forms of clear plastic (LDPE, ABS, PET, PP, twine, drip tape, and filed mulch from the farm) from agricultural and industrial locations and then brings the material back to his warehouse where it is baled and loaded on his trucks for delivery to a recycling/manufacturing center which provides R Davis with the plastic bags and trash can liners that he wholesales. This entire process is done in the USA and removes approximately 200,000 lbs of plastic waste from landfills or incinerators each month. The only current problem with this whole process is that demand for recycling has outgrown Ron’s current capacity to meet it.
R Davis is looking to make necessary upgrades to their infrastructure by installing a new horizontal baler as well as new loading docks and other improvements which will ultimately triple their current capacity so they can handle about 600,000 lbs of material per month. In order to help make this happen, Ron has launched an IndieGoGo campaign where he will give cases of his high quality plastic bags and/or trash can liners in exchange for donations towards his eco-friendly, efficient and environmentally sustainable operation in Central Pennsylvania and neighboring locales.
Owner and Chief Web Designer
33 Dimensions LLC
Author Mike Kaminski will be doing a book signing for his intriguing novel Life After Russian Roulette: Game Over. on Saturday, October 24th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at Cornerstone Coffeehouse, 2133 Market Street, Camp Hill, PA.
Speaking of Cornerstone, they are offering fantastic catering and private event services, providing the perfect atmosphere and cuisine for bridal and baby showers. Be sure to book your event now because dates are filling up fast!
Join me for my first gig in a few years as we celebrate John Lennon’s 75th birthday with plenty of songs from the Beatles and Lennon’s solo career. Special guests will also be performing some songs. Free admission / all ages.