Archives for August 2011

What is Your Marketing Key Note?

The night before my keynote presentation to independent retailers this past weekend, I was testing and preparing the final details for the next morning.

Just before knocking off for the evening I decided to clean up my blog reader.  That’s when I discovered some new research that reinforced the key note or point of my presentation:  that not only is the web now central for every business, the social networking component is growing in significance.

To be perfectly honest, the above statistic surprised me.  Given that, I suspect it was definitely a wake-up call for some of those in my audience.

I’m sure many were thinking they still had plenty of time to get their business ready for social media.  Apparently, that time is now.

Awareness Leads to Readiness

One of the reasons I enjoy my work is that I truly enjoy helping others – as I’m sure you do too.  When you can share your expertise and experience to add value to the lives of others, its value is enhanced.

One of my favorite films is A River Runs Through It.  One of the more memorable lines in that movie is this: ” Why is it the people who need the most help won’t take it?”

This is sometimes how I feel about my work.  If you have children, you have undoubtedly experience similar feelings.  Even though you are more than willing to help, they prefer to struggle a while longer before taking it.

Why is this?

The answer is simple.  They aren’t ready yet.  Many of us need to thrash around a bit before we are ready to accept the help that is right in front of us.

As the Zen proverb infers, the teacher will appear when the student is ready.  For that to happen, there has to first be a wake-up call.

Readiness Leads to Action

For professional speakers, the keynote presentation is largely designed to increase awareness.  It’s not a solution, rather it prepares the audience for taking the next steps that will be the solution for improving their condition.

What is your key note?

What is your most essential message for raising the awareness of your prospects to ultimately engage them with your small business so that you can help them? And how is it best delivered?

I am continuously recording ideas and looking for new ways to refine and enhance my keynote presentation.  It’s a practice that I highly recommend for any marketer that wants to enhance the awareness and readiness of the “students” in their community.

How about you?  Do you have business practice that is designed specifically for preparing those in your community for doing business with you?

Leave a comment below or share this with your social community by liking it on Facebook, or sharing with any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff

Ask Your Customers the Tough Questions

What is the most valuable, and and yet underutilized resource in your business?

For most small businesses, it is your customers – and what they will tell you if you ask them properly.

If you believe this to be true – as I do, then the challenge is determining the best questions to ask them (and then doing so).

The Easy Questions to Ask Your Customers

  • Are you pleased with our service?
  • How can we serve you better?
  • Is it alright if I get back to you on that?
  • Why do you do business with us?
  • What would it look like if we hit the ball out of the park for you on this project?

We’ve all asked these questions. Why?  There’s very little risk – and naturally, very little reward too.

The Tough Questions to Ask Your Customers

  • Would you pay more for a better product?
  • What do our competitors do better than us?
  • What would you do differently if you were the owner of my business?
  • How are we really doing?
  • If you couldn’t work with our company, who would be your next choice?
  • Have you ever considered doing so?  Why? When?
  • Is there anything else?

If you really want to make the most of these tough questions, you have to be prepared to wait for the answers – being completely silent while your customer prepares, and then finally delivers the equally tough response.

Your Best Customers Will Tell You The Truth

Your best customers want you to succeed – both for their benefit and yours.  So why aren’t you taking advantage of the opportunity by asking them the tough questions that will give you the information for accomplishing that?

#1 – You don’t have the guts.  This is understandable and a personal decision.  It’s also one that is preventing you from learning what you need to know for moving your business forward.

#2 – You know they may not give you the truth.  This is also understandable. However, if you ask the right questions in a personal, face-to-face situation, you can read the body language to get much of the truth.

#3 – You will indeed get the truth!  All the more reason to ask.

People are smart – both you and your customers. However, our society conditions us to play safe. That’s a surefire formula for mediocrity – and possibly failure.

You’ve heard it before:  “You won’t know unless you ask.”

So, why aren’t you asking?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Is Your Online Marketing Intuitive?

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. That’s an expression that I have always lived by.  It’s also one that can create a great deal of pain for perfectionists like me – and turbulence for those around us. Perfectionism is a personal quality that I normally keep to myself. Nobody wants to be around a […]

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It’s Only a Matter of Time

Years ago we used to joke about not knowing how to program our VHS recorders. Eventually the pain of missing our favorite television programs forced us to learn. That piece of technology was for entertainment.  Now technology has become essential to running a smart business. One of those technologies is web marketing, which includes social […]

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How Giving Your Customers Your Best Energizes Your Business

Are you giving your customers more than the competition? How about your absolute best? Both approaches will enable you to keep their business.  One of them will make you better for all of your customers – while also helping you to attract new ones. This weekend we successfully moved my daughter into the house she is […]

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Social Media Tips for Local Retailers

What is the primary goal of a local retailer?  Getting people into the store. That’s what I’ve learned while doing my research for my keynote presentation next week to about 750 retailers. If you are an online business you want to drive traffic to your website because that’s your place of business.  If you are […]

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New Ways For Using QR Codes

Can you scan a QR code at 30,000 feet? Indeed you can – even without an Internet signal.  The logical question is where is the value if you cannot link to the web?  Read further and I’ll share some insights. Use QR Codes to BookMark Links When you scan a QR code with one of […]

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Why Communities Are The New Markets

If you are invested in any of the global stock markets you recently experienced some unnerving fluctuations as valuations fluctuated by 25% or more in a matter of days. And what was the cause?  Human behavior. There is no other way to explain the highs and lows.  The value of those companies did not materially […]

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Email Marketing Done Right

When used well, email marketing is one of the most powerful and reliable methods for delivering valuable information to a distinct audience – one that asked for it. Email Favors the Better Marketers What I like most about email marketing is that it favors the better marketers – those that greatly respect their subscribers. Today, […]

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