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6 Customer Rules Guaranteed To Grow Your Business. Tried And Tested Business Ways That Have Been Shown To Work, Time And Time Again. written by Robert Viney It would be stating the obvious to say that customers are the 'life-blood' of any business. But, they really are. Without sufficient customers, you will have insufficient sales and profits to sustain the business and eventually your business will close. Every business owner should keeping thinking how they can get more customers to their business. Here, 6 TOP CUSTOMER RULES guaranteed to grow your business are discussed:
. 1.   Always Welcome Your Customers Customers should always feel welcome to your business.  This particularly applies if your potential customer actually physically enters your business, such as a retail business  ~  here, generally, retail businesses are very poor at 'welcoming' people. It just needs a simple "Hello" and a smile to make a customer feel comfortable and to make the customer feel wanted by the business. Whatever your business you should think how you can make your customers welcome.

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2.   Always Say “Thank You” The same as a nice "welcome", a business should always say “thank you” whether that person has bought something or not.  If it is a retail business, a nice “thank you” is the last thing that that person remembers when they leave.  If their customer experience had been good, this will reinforce their memory of the experience. If you operate a non retail business a nice message at the check out after a purchase or when someone leaves your website can leave a lasting memory. Whatever business you run, give your “thank you” some thought and think how you can possibly improve it. The second of our 6 customer rules guaranteed to grow your business is to say "Thank You"

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3.   Always Be Transparent Customers hate surprises such as hidden costs etc.  In nearly 40 years in business, I have learned that the more transparent and open you are with your customers, the more they will trust you and the more they will buy from you. Always be transparent on prices for your products but be honest about extra charges such as delivery etc.  Don’t let customers find out at the check-out, for instance. This is a good way to lose them. You should never over promise, just to get a sale – for instance, don’t promise a delivery time of 5 days when the true delivery time is 9 days. The answer for success is always UNDER PROMISE & OVER DELIVER. . 4.    Never Disregard Complaints Every business will get customer complaints from time to time but how you deal with them could put you above your competition. Some business owners will ‘bury their head in the sand’ and either ignore the complaint or out off dealing with it.  Neither way works. The quicker and better you deal with the complaint to the customer’s satisfaction, the more you are likely to keep that customer. Surveys consistently show that 70% of customers who complain will return to buy again, if their customer is dealt with to their satisfaction. I know, from own experience, that is very true. So deal with your complaints quickly and efficiently as part of our 6 Customer Rules Guaranteed To Grow Your Business. 5.  Always Focus On The Customer I said at the top of this piece that the customer is the ‘life blood’ of your business. In fact without enough customers you will not have a profit for your business. This makes your customer the single most important part of your business. With such importance, your primary focus should be your customer and not your company or business. Your company should be run around the needs and musts of your customer, including:
  • Which products you sell
  • The prices you charge
  • What customer service you offer
  • The customer experience, you offer
Always make your customer you primary focus. . 6.    Always Deliver The Best Customer Experience If your customers enjoy the experience they derive from the products and service that they buy from you, they are more likely to buy again from you and they are more likely to tell their friends. Many businesses go wrong by not thinking enough about the Customer Experience and how they can improve this. Your customer experience should always be prioritised.

. Here is a short description of 6 CUSTOMER RULES that I know really do work. As with everything in business, it is all down to how you think about your business.  Give these 6 CUSTOMER RULES some though and think how you can enhance each for your business. I am sure over time, your sales and customer numbers will grow. . If you wish to talk more with me about this, please do contact me at: robert@prestigebusinescoaching.co.uk or contact me below.  It would be great to hear from you.

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Visualise Your Success. See How Visualising Your Goals Could Boost Your Business Success Prospects. . Recently a client of mine won a prestigious business award from ex Dragen’s Den, Theo Paphitis. Charlotte Kleban of Hand Drawn World (www.handdrawnworld.com) is a very gifted and award-winning graduate textile designer who specialises in hand print design but two years ago, when I first started to coach her, she harboured some doubts in her ability to build and grow her business. In order to strengthen her self-belief in her ability to eventually make a success of her business, I introduced her to VISUALISATION.
On receiving the award from Theo Paphitis, she sent me a message: “I visualised myself winning so many times and it’s finally happened” . The ‘Small Business Sunday’ Award (#SBS) is the most recent of a long string of business awards that she has won and arguably this is the most prestigious of them all. Every award has built her confidence and self-belief and has created much needed and positive exposure on social media and other outlets. . Exhibiting Her Products Was Important. Charlotte Kleban creates and sells a large portfolio of products from Teapots and tea-sets to socks and greeting cards and exhibiting her products to potential customers and talking to these people was a major part of marketing her business. I remember her texting me just before exhibiting as a trader at The Manchester Youth Market, saying she was a bit nervous. I texted her back and said: “visualise yourself talking to your potential customers and visualise them loving your products and buying them”   … she succeeded in winning a Highly Commended Trader Award at the event.

. Now her business is going from strength to strength with a strong demand for her products and she is in a ‘good place’.  As I write this article, she messaged me to say that she had just enjoyed her best week of sales, ever. I am sure Visualisation has worked its part in her success. . When I First Started, I Doubted Myself When I first started in business, I doubted my ability to grow a business successfully and I used visualisation to boost my self-belief and self-confidence. I wanted to own and run my own public house, but I am a naturally shy person and knew I had to be able to talk to people. And, that was difficult for me. I repeatedly visualised myself talking to my customers, serving them with beer and them loving my public house. It was tough at times, but I achieved it and the White Hart was a great success, with the business growing to include a total of five public houses and a brewery, building to an annual turnover of £5 million. Much of this was down to my use of visualisation to boost my self-belief. . Many In Business Suffer From Self-Doubts Many business owners can suffer from self-doubt and the lack of belief in their ability to grow their businesses into a success. If you have the same self-doubt, you are not an exception. Importantly, though, you can do the same as Charlotte and myself did  -  and it could be easier than you think. . Visualise Your Goals Create yourself a goal or a visual image and keep thinking about it and keep visualising it in your mind. It could be:
  • Selling to customers
  • Talking to happy customers
  • Receiving a business award
  • Seeing orders flooding into your ecommerce site
  • Receiving good customer testimonials
  • Seeing a bank statement with a large cash balance
  • Buying a nice car, you have bought from the profits of your business.
. The process works by visualising any positive situation, positive thought or positive image that you can picture in your mind; it must relate to a good, positive goal being achieved or a good successful stage within your business being attained. It could be something you have achieved in the past or something that you wish to achieve in the future. By thinking about something you have achieved in the past, it can give you the confidence to know that you can achieve good things, especially at times when your self-belief is minimal.  By thinking about something in the future, it gives you a goal or target to reach for in the future, in the same way that Charlotte visualised winning the award from Theo Paphitis. Importantly, visualisation can be used to create development in yourself and in your business, thus driving yourself and your business forward. . You Must Keep Visualising Repeatedly It is important that you continually visualise your positive image or positive thought (past, present and future) literally many times a day.  By doing this, your sub conscious mind will gradually accept it and it will make it easier to use the image or thought for your benefit. . Our Subconscious Minds Are There To Protect Us Our subconscious minds are very powerful and are there to protect us. Going back thousands of years to when we were in the jungle, our subconscious minds worked to protect us from dangers such as wild beasts and our tribal enemies, etc..  When confronted with a ‘dangerous’ situation, our subconscious minds would automatically kick in to move us away from the danger, without us consciously thinking about taking action. These days, it can work differently to protect us;  it can, for instance, work automatically and spontaneously to keep us inside our comfort zones and away from difficult situations, without us thinking consciously. If confronted by a situation that makes us feel uncomfortable, our subconscious mind will stop us getting into that situation. . We Can Override Our Subconscious Minds It is possible, however to override our subconscious minds;  by repeatedly thinking about and visualising a situation, thought or image that takes us outside our comfort zones, we can program our subconscious minds to accept that we want to experience an uncomfortable situation. Eventually it will allow us to do this. For me, it worked by allowing me to enter a bar full of customers and to talk to them.  For Charlotte, it allowed her to talk to people at her exhibitions and it allowed her to have the courage to put herself and her business forward for business awards. . Visualisation Helps Focus Repeated visualisation also allows us to maintain focus on our goals and our business journey. When the goals involve personal self-development and growing our businesses, the continual visualisation ensures we are continually focused on moving forward; then continual progress forward is achieved. Focus is really important, if business success is to be attained. . Visualisation Can Cancel Out Negativity Very often, doubts can manifest themselves when negative comments are recieved or a negative situation arises. Mentally, it can only take one negative comment to cancel out the positive feelings created by a large number of good comments or one negative situation can cancel out the effect of many positive situations achieved previously. By using visualisation, you can cancel out a negative comment or a negative situation. When a negative comment is received or a negative situation arises, for instance, you must first deal with it, then you must visualise the many good comments and good situations that have occurred in your business, previously. This then should divert the focus from the negativity to the positivity. . Here Is An Example At The White Hart, complaints were very rare. I remember one situation on a Saturday evening when we received one complaint about a meal after serving 300 meals  -  the staff were feeling a little dejected because they were focusing on the ONE complaint. We had been showered with compliments that night from the other happy customers and I said to my staff: “Please focus on the 299 happy customers NOT the one unhappy customer”  . That comment changed their mood, completely, as they visualised the happy customers, that they had served, and forgot about the one unhappy one. It is very easy to focus on the negative – we can all do it. .

. Try Visualisation Today, Yourself If you do lack self-belief or self-confidence, you can use visualisation, yourself, to bolster your self-belief by setting and achieving goals. Use this method:
  • Make a short list of your main goals
  • Choose the one or two most important goals
  • Break each of the chosen goals down into the steps, need to achieve each goal
  • Write down each goal and the steps required
  • Visualise each goal and its steps in your mind
  • List the challenges on the way and visualise you combatting these
  • Visualise the benefits that you will derive from achieving each goal
  • Write notes to remind yourself of these goals (and steps) and leave them in strategic places in your home and office – even the loo!
 . Breaking your goals down into steps will allow you to see how your goal can be achieved and this process should give you some confidence to think that the goal can be achieved, eventually.  There will be difficulties and challenges along the way and you should visualise yourself combatting these. Each goal should be big enough to create ‘benefits’ for yourself or your business and you should visualise the benefit that will come from achieving each goal. . Use ‘Post-Its’ ‘Post its’ are a good way to remind yourself of your goals and the steps  -  try leaving them anywhere that will prompt you, several times a day. Gradually your subconscious mind will accept your thoughts and goals and it will allow you to act out the steps to achieve your goals. . Visualise The Benefits Visualising the benefits can be very powerful. If, for instance, your business is making a trading loss, this situation could creat worry and stress for you  –  can be a ‘horrible’ feeling. You could set a goal to gain a certain number of new customers to stop the losses and to create a profit.  Here the real benefit would be greater sales from the extra customers and hopefully the creation of a profit. You could imagine the ‘nice’ feeling of making a profit replacing the ‘horrible’ feeling of worrying about having a trading loss. I hope you can see how visualisation can work. . Go Back To Your List Of Goals When you have achieved your first goal or goals, then go back to your original list of goals and choose more and repeat the process.

. Give Visualisation A Go I hope you can give Visualisation a go to move yourself and your business forward  -  whatever your situation, I am certain it could make a difference. . This is a very short explanation, but if you wish to talk more about visualisation, please contact me below or email me: robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk.

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Want To Boost Your Customer Numbers? Engage with every customer & treat them like a 'guest' visiting your home.  Written by Robert Viney I am certain that if you greeted a visitor into your home, you would be courteous, polite and friendly. Am I correct? When an existing or potential customer visits your business, do you extend the same courtesy? I would hope you would. But if you do, I think, quite possibly, you could be in the minority. Many Businesses Do Not Treat Their Customers As Guests In my experience, many businesses do not do this. And, sadly, these businesses are missing out on new customers, more sales and more profits, as a result, and they cannot see it. A Sure Way To Grow Your Customer Numbers Is To Engage A sure way to grow your business customers, sales and profits is to put yourself out and to engage with everyone who comes into contact with your business. Then, over time, many of these people could be converted into paying customers. Convert Guests Into Customers I know, for certain, that this works. For more than 30 years, I have practiced making people feel like ‘guests’ and I have been able to convert many of these into paying customers. In all my businesses, it has never failed to work. I Often See Businesses Not Engaging Constantly, I see businesses not engaging sufficiently. Let’s look at the retail trade … I am continually disappointed by the reception that I get when I visit high street shops. It does not matter where I am, I often get the same reception … or the lack of reception. More often than not, there is no engagement from the staff or owners of these shops. Not even an acknowledgement! I Expect This In Larger Shops Sadly, I expect it in larger shops owned by large chains, but I often see the same action from smaller independent shops when the owner is present. So many make no effort to engage, not even a “Hello” or even ‘eye contact’ I take that as being very rude and this action can make it uncomfortable for the customer to be in the shop. I certainly don’t feel like a ‘guest’ For me, my thought is often this: “If the owner cannot be bothered to engage, then I cannot be bothered to browse their shop and spend my money” So, I leave the shop and I know many of my friends and associates feel and do the same! Have you had this experience too? These businesses are losing potential customers and sales and they cannot see it. I Have Worked In Retail Most Of My Working Life I have worked in retail most of my working life  –  I have run public houses and high street shops  - and engaging with customers has been easy for me. When a customer is in front of me, making eye contact, saying “hello and welcome” is a spontaneous reaction. I have always felt not to talk is VERY RUDE. I Have Always Made The Effort To Talk I have always made the effort to talk to them. It does not have to be a long conversation, just a few words to make the customer feel welcome. I have treated them as if they were a guest in my own home. Most Customers Want To Be Welcomed Most customers just want to be acknowledged with a nice “Hello” to break the ice. Surely, in that situation, there is really no excuse on the part of the business owner or employee not to engage when the customer is just a few feet in front of them. No engagement is very rude! No engagement is ruining businesses and losing business owners customers, sales and profits. No wonder the High Street is dying! It Does Not Have To Be A Long Chat The skill of the retailer is knowing whether the customer wants to just a quick “Hello” and a short chat or whether the customer wants a longer chat. Not all customers are the same, but all customers deserve the courtesy and politeness of at least being acknowledged.

I See Poor Engagement Everywhere It is not just retail businesses where I see little engagement, it is everywhere. There is the telephone … I have had more poor experiences than good ones, here. Many times, I have experienced an unhelpful person on the other end of a telephone line, who keeps engagement to the minimum, making me feel they don’t really want my business. Have you had this experience too? I am sure you have. The good telephone operative should be able to make a potential customer feel like a ‘guest’ by making them feel welcome to ‘visit’ their business, even though it is on a telephone line. I See It Online Too Online offerings from businesses can be similar. The customer’s journey starts much earlier than it used to before the internet came along. 85% of customers will view a company’s website and their social media output and read their customer reviews, etc before buying from the customer. But Many Are Not User Friendly But, too often, the online offerings, such as their website or social media sites are not user friendly or are sparse on detail and don’t draw visitors into their businesses. Half of businesses still don’t have websites (incredibly) and many of those that do have a website, do not seem to prioritise them by regularly updating them and making them easy to use. Social Media is a great platform to engage with people before and after they buy, and many businesses are not taking advantage this great facility -  much of which is free to use. Many Are Out Of Date I often see websites and social media output that are not regularly updated. One bad practice for social media is what I call ‘post & go’ – here a piece of content is posted about their business and then the business owner disappears, often ignoring corresponding comments and questions or not responding quickly to them. That is no way to engage and this poor level of engagement puts people off the brand. People Should Be Made To Feel Like ‘Guests’ On Line, too When someone visits the online offering for a business, they should be made to feel welcome and again be made to feel like a ‘guest’ – but sadly many don’t. If a visitor feels like a ‘guest’, they are more likely to stay on a website or a social media platform and have a good look at what is offered and be tempted to make contact or buy. Some Businesses Try To Sell Too Hard Other businesses make the mistake of posting content that tries to sell sell rather than educate on their Social Media accounts. These businesses do not realise that customers want to learn about the products and the business selling them before they consider purchasing. People do NOT want to be sold to All target customers want to learn about a business, its products and the benefits that can be experienced. And, they all want this before they buy. People Want To Learn About The People Behind A Business Furthermore, people want to learn about the people who own and run the business. If social media marketing is done right, it is very possible to gain an insight into the personalities of the owners and the culture of the business. All of which can influence a purchase. Engagement Does Work Not all businesses are poor at engagement. Many do it very well, some incredibly well, but sadly, from my observations, such businesses are in the minority. But, I know with great certainty that the businesses that engage and talk well to their customers, always achieve higher sales and profits. Always!!! Why Does Engagement Work? The reason engagement works is very simple. People Buy People! A person is more likely to buy from a business if they know and like the people who own and run it. It is basic psychology. When a customer likes the people behind a business, they will buy more of their products, be loyal to their brand and they are more likely to tell others about that business. Conversely, though, when people feel no affinity for a business, its brand and its products, they do not buy. I Ran A Delicatessen Business For 12 Years For 12 years I ran two very successful delicatessens/sandwich shops in Torbay. Myself and my employees engaged with all visitors and customers to the shops. I say ‘visitors to the shops’ as I was not bothered if people entering the shops bought. Everyone received a nice greeting and each was made to feel welcome and, importantly, there was no pressure to buy. Each visitor was made to feel like a ‘guest’ My philosophy was simple: Get to know people through engagement and then build up a relationship with them rather than try to sell to them. On average, 8 out of 10 people always returned to buy eventually. And, when they did buy, we were always keen to thank them and to engage further, encouraging them to return and, I am very pleased to say, most did. In this way, we were able to build up a huge army of loyal customers who returned to buy more and more. Businesses That Engage Are Busier Any business whether, retail, non-retail or online that adopts this same procedure of engagement are always busier with larger numbers of customers and sales. Always! It always works, if done right. For Your Business, Set A Deliberate Strategy To Make People Feel Like ‘Guests’ If you don’t have a strategy of engagement now, set yourself one now to create greater engagement and make your customers and potential customers feel like ‘guests’. One of the biggest tips that I can give you is to think about how you interact and engage with your customers:
  • Before a purchase
  • During a purchase
  • After a purchase
Look at all the contact points between your business and your customer  -  even make a list of each contact point and critically analyse how you and your employees engage and interact. Whether a contact point is direct or indirect engagement with your target customer, review this contact point. Does it make your target customer feel welcome and comfortable within your business? Does it make them feel like a ‘guest’? Look at your website and social media channels and ask yourself if you sell too hard. Do you educate or sell? Ask yourself if you provide enough information about your products or services to enable the potential customer to make an informed decision about buying. Will your potential customer understand everything that they need to know before they buy and is this information easily accessible and presented well? 80% Education To 20% Selling I think, from experience, an average ratio of 80% education and 20% selling is a good ratio that can be very effective. Try to adopt this ratio in your engagement.

Think How You Can Develop Long Term Relationships This approach has successfully created thousands of long-term relationships with my customers and these relationships have been a large contributor to me being able to build up an army of loyal customers with each returning to buy more from my businesses, time and time again. You can do the same. Want More Advice? If you would like to discuss this article more with me, further, and how you can develop more engagement within your business and how to make your customers feel like ‘visitors’ and ‘guests’, please contact me below or by email: robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk

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Want To Double Your Customer Numbers Written by Robert Viney Would you like a sure way to grow your business customers – even double the number you have now? Would you like to know a way that is guaranteed to give your sales and profits a big boost too? Here, I wish to share a way that has always worked successfully for me in seven businesses over the past 30 plus years and a way that I know has worked successfully for many other businesses too. Many Businesses are Missing Out On Customers & Sales Many businesses are missing out on easy sales and easy profits because they either don’t know about this way or they know about it but they don’t try hard enough to make it work. Are you missing out, too? You could be! What Is This Way? This way is CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT. One of the most successful ways that I have used to drive up my customer numbers, and through that, driving up my corresponding business sales and profits has been through customer engagement. In all my businesses, it has never failed to work. I See Businesses Not Engaging Constantly, I see businesses not engaging sufficiently. In particular, I am continually disappointed when I enter shops on any high street and there is no engagement from the staff or owners. Often there is not even an acknowledgement. Sadly, I expect it in larger shops owned by large chains, but I often see the same action from smaller independent shops when the owner is present. So many make no effort to engage, not even a “Hello” or even ‘eye contact’ I take that as being very rude and this action can make it uncomfortable for the customer to be in the shop. For me, my thought is often this: “If the owner cannot be bothered to engage, then I cannot be bothered to browse their shop and spend my money” So, I leave the shop and I know many of my friends and associates feel and do the same! Have you had this experience too? These businesses are losing potential customers and sales and they cannot see it. I Have Worked In Retail Most Of My Working Life I have worked in retail most of my working life and engaging with customers has been easy for me. When a customer is in front of you, I have always made the effort to talk to them. It does not have to be a long conversation, just a few words to make the customer feel welcome. Most customers just want to be acknowledged with a nice “Hello” to break the ice. Surely, in that situation, there is really no excuse on the part of the business owner or employee not to engage when the customer is just a few feet in front of them. No engagement is very rude! No engagement is ruining businesses and losing them customers, sales and profits. No wonder the High Street is dying! It Does Not Have To Be A Long Chat The skill of the retailer is knowing whether the customer wants to just a quick “Hello” and a short chat or whether the customer wants a longer chat. Not all customers are the same, but all customers deserve the courtesy and politeness of at least being acknowledged.

I See Poor Engagement Everywhere It is not just retail businesses where I see little engagement, it is everywhere. There is the telephone … I have had more poor experiences than good ones, here. Many times, I have experienced an unhelpful person on the other end, who keeps engagement to the minimum, making me feel they don’t really want my business. Have you had this experience too? I See It Online Too The customer’s journey starts much earlier than it used to before the internet. 85% of customers will visit a company’s website, social media and read their customer reviews before buying from the customer. But, too often, the online offerings, such as their website or social media are not user friendly or are sparse on detail and don’t draw visitors into their businesses. Half of businesses still don’t have websites (incredibly) and many of those that do have a website, do not seem to prioritise them by regularly updating them and making them easy to use. Social Media is a great platform to engage with people before and after they buy and much of it is free to use. Here again, I see social media accounts that are not regularly updated or suffer from what I call ‘post & go’ – here a piece of content is posted about their business and then the business owner disappears, often ignoring corresponding comments and questions or not responding quickly to them. That is no way to engage. Some Businesses Try To Sell Too Hard Other businesses make the mistake of posting content that tries to sell rather than educate on their Social Media accounts. These businesses do not realise that customers want to learn about the products before they consider purchasing. People do NOT want to be sold to All target customers want to learn about a business, its products and the benefits that can be experienced. And, they all want this before they buy. People Want To Learn About The People Behind A Business Furthermore, people want to learn about the people who own and run the business. If social media marketing is done right, it is very possible to gain an insight into the personalities of the owners and the culture of the business. All of which can influence a purchase. Engagement Does Work Not all businesses are poor at engagement. Many do it very well, some incredibly well, but sadly, from my observations, such businesses are in the minority. But, I know with great certainty that the businesses that engage and talk well to their customers, always achieves higher sales and profits. Always!!! Why Does Engagement Work? The reason engagement works is very simple. People Buy People! A person is more likely to buy from a business if they know and like the people who own and run it. It is basic psychology. When a customer likes the people behind a business, they will buy more of their products, be loyal to their brand and they are more likely to tell others about that business. I Ran A Delicatessen Business For 12 Years For 12 years I ran two very successful delicatessens/sandwich shops in Torbay. Myself and my employees engaged with all visitors and customers to the shops. I say ‘visitors to the shops’ as I was not bothered if people entering the shops bought. Everyone received a nice greeting and each was made to feel welcome and, importantly, there was no pressure to buy.

My philosophy was simple: Get to know people through engagement and then build up a relationship with them rather than try to sell to them. On average, 8 out of 10 people always returned to buy eventually. And, when they did buy, we were always keen to thank them and to engage further, encouraging them to return and, I am very pleased to say, most did. In this way, we were able to build up a huge army of loyal customers who returned to buy more and more. Businesses That Engage Are Busier Any business whether, retail, non-retail or online that adopts this same procedure of engagement are always busier with larger numbers of customers and sales. Always! It always works, if done right. Set A Deliberate Strategy To Create Engagement So, if you don’t have a strategy of engagement now, set yourself one now. One of the biggest tips that I can give you is to think about how you interact and engage with your customers
  • Before a purchase
  • During a purchase
  • After a purchase
Look at all the contact points between your business and your customer  -  even make a list of each contact point and critically analyse how you and your employees engage and interact. Whether a contact point is direct or indirect engagement with your target customer, review this contact point. Does it make your target customer feel welcome and comfortable within your business? Look at your website and social media channels and ask yourself if you sell too hard. Do you educate or sell? Ask yourself if you provide enough information about your products or services to enable the potential customer to make an informed decision about buying. Will your potential customer understand everything that they need to know before they buy and is this information easily accessible and presented well?

80% Education To 20% Selling I think, from experience on average, a ratio of 80% education and 20% selling is a good ratio. Try to adopt this ratio in your engagement. Think How You Can Develop Long Term Relationships This approach has successfully created thousands of long-term relationships with my customers and these relationships have been a large contributor to me being able to build up an army of loyal customers with each returning to buy more from my businesses, time and time again. You can do the same. Want More Advice? If you would like to discuss this article more with me, further, and how you can develop more engagement within your business, please contact me below or by email: robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk

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Your Employees Could Be A Gold Mine. Extract The Gold Dust Buried Within To Grow Your Business. Are You Getting The Most From Your Employees? I expect you have never thought of your employees as a Gold Mine? But your employees could be a gold mine. Buried within your Gold Mine could be tons of valuable Gold Dust which, if extracted right, could be used to grow your business, your sales and your profits. But, as any good miner will tell you – you must open up the mine in order for it to give up its riches. I Want To Share Two Methods To Grow Your Business. In all my businesses, I have always thought of my employees as Gold Mines and I have often used TWO METHODS to open this mine to yield the Gold Dust contained within. If you employ people within your business, you must think to use the same TWO METHODS to extract your own Gold Dust. Two methods that, if used right, should boost your business, your sales and profits. But first I want to ask you a question. You might be the boss of your business and quite possibly the founder, but do you understand your business better than your employees? I expect you might well answer “yes” But is that really the right answer? I would suggest the answer should really be “No” As the person running the business, it is quite likely that your culture and your philosophy is stamped onto it. It might even be an extension of you and your personality. But, in my experience, business owners can become ‘blinkered’ and short sighted about their businesses, seeing their businesses only through their own eyes. In many ways this can be of benefit to the business but not always. Others Could See Your Business Differently Others within your business could well see your business differently to how you see it. Your employees, for instance, will be able to observe you within your business and how you run your business, and they will quite possibly see things differently to how you see yourself and your business. Have You Asked Your Employees What They Think But have you ever asked your employees what they think of your business? Quite possibly your answer will be “No” In my experience, very few business owners have done this – especially owners of small businesses. Many don’t think that the opinions of their employees are valid and appropriate, and some owners are even frightened to ask, as they are fearful of what will be said. The Most Important Opinions Are Those Of Your Customers The most important opinions are, however, those of your customer; these determine whether a customer buys from you or not. But how well do you know and understand the views of your customers? Again, quite possibly, the answer could be “No”, again, if you answer honestly. In my experience, most business owners could improve their understanding greatly. Most Owners Would Learn Much By Asking Their Employees Most employers would learn much by asking the opinions of their employees. Your employees are nearer to the ‘coal face’ than you are. Many would have direct contact with your customers and would almost certainly have better contact with your customers than you do. They will consequently understand the needs, wishes, desires and views of your customers well. You Need To Know The Views Of Your Employees & Customers When you ask your employees for their comments, you will not just get your employees’ views but, almost certainly, you will get the views of many of your customers, too. By asking your employees, you will could get views from two important and valid sources. These views will be Gold Dust to you. These views and opinions would definitely be something you should know about, if you are to keep growing your business success. These will be the equivalent of Gold Dust, giving you the knowledge to improve your business and the opportunity to increase your sales and profits. With Gold Dust in mind, let me share two methods with you that I have often used to obtain this Gold Dust contained within my Gold Mine.
  • Method 1 involves primarily the personal views of your employees
  • Method 2 should involve a combination of both employee and customer views
Method 1 Method 1 involves periodically asking each employee individually a number of questions to gauge how they are thinking about their position and their job within your business and what they are thinking about your business as a whole. Here are some questions that I have asked in the past and which have always created some good interaction:
  1. Which part of your job do you like best?
  2. Which part of your job do you like least?
  3. How could your job be improved?
  4. How could you become more effective and more productive in your job?
  5. What ambitions do you have within the business?
  6. How long do you plan to be employed within the business?
  7. Do you feel you have been trained right for your role within the business?
  8. What training would you like to improve their skills?
  9. Do you feel your skills are being best used within the business?
  10. What qualifications would you like to acquire within the business?
  11. Do you feel the team within the business runs as a team?
  12. How do you feel the team could work better?
  13. Do you feel the leadership provides the right leadership?
  14. Do you feel inspired and motivated by the leadership?
  15. Do you feel encouraged and motivated to keep improving yourself within the business?
  16. Do you feel you can easily talk to the business leaders?
  17. Do you feel you can suggest ideas that would benefit the business?
  18. Do you feel you are listened to by the business leaders?
  19. Do you feel that your ideas are used within the business to grow it?
  20. Do you feel appreciated by the business leaders?
  21. Suggest three ways to improve the business
You could ask all or some of these questions and, quite possibly, you could think of your own, as appropriate to your business organisation. It is good practice to issue a version of this questionnaire to your employees once a year. With the answers in, you can either review the findings individually or collectively in a group or both. I have done both and I have always learned much from the process and, indeed, have my employees, too. The Process Can Stimulating & Invigorating I have always found the whole process very stimulating and invigorating, for myself, and I know for certain for everyone else involved within the business, too. Every time that I performed this exercise, the business and the team always benefited greatly. Method 2 The second method involves asking a separate set of questions that could provide you with a good insight into how your employees think your business can be improved. Remember earlier, I said that your employees are at the ‘coal face’ of your business and are probably closer to your customers than you are. Again, with your Gold Dust in mind, you could ask the following questions:
  1. How do you think the business could be run better?
  2. What do customers say about our products?
  3. Suggest three ways to improve our products or services?
  4. Could you suggest products or service that we could offer but presently don’t?
  5. Could you suggest products that have been requested by our customers?
  6. What do customers say about our customer service?
  7. Could you suggest three ways to improve our customer service?
  8. What do customers say about our customer experience?
  9. Could you suggest three ways to improve the customer experience?
  10. What do customers say about our pricing?
  11. What is your view on our pricing?
  12. Could you suggest three ways to improve customer contact?
  13. Could you suggest three ways that we could improve any aspect of our business?
This is a generic list of questions that you could ask your employees and, again, you could probably think of others, appropriate to your business organisation. The best process is to ask questions that are specific to your business and your products. For method 2, I have found the best approach is to ask just 1 or 2 questions only at a time to get the best response and the best ideas. Asking just one or two questions is a good way, as it achieves the best engagement from the employees and it reinforces their focus. Discuss Ideas As A Group I also found that when discussed as a group, a good dialogue and good ideas evolved – better than when discussed individually. One note of caution here, though, the more reserved employees often made the less contribution to the process but often presented some of the best ideas. Both Methods Can Yield Good Ideas I have always found both methods to be very informative and I have always found the suggestions and ideas from my employees very constructive, very useful and, when implemented right, have made a great contribution to the growth of the business. Employees Like To Feel Valued Most employees like to feel valued and they like to feel part of the business and part of the decision making. The process involving these two methods nearly always creates other additional business benefits, worth mentioning here, too:
  • Employees feel their voice is being heard
  • Employee loyalty can be enhanced
  • The business team can become closer with a stronger tie
  • The owner/employee bond can become strengthened
  • The company culture can be reinforced
Many employees also like to be able to excel in their roles and this process can give them the inspiration and opportunity to do this. You Will Certainly Receive Some Good Ideas Almost certainly, you will receive some good ideas and suggestions and you could be surprised by the quality of these. You should always implement the best ideas suggested as this will make your employees feel the process is working.  If you do not use their ideas, you do risk de-motivating your employees. Let Your Employees Take Ownership When a certain employee suggests something good, give them ownership of the idea and the role and responsibility to introduce the idea into the business with your support and encouragement. In my experience, employees are often very keen to take and perform this role and I have often been surprised by the level of motivation and confidence created, correspondingly. You May Not Like Some Of The Truth At first, you might well learn some uncomfortable truths about yourself and your business but it is important not to take these personally but to accept them in the spirit that they are offered. Most Employees Want To See Their Business Flourish In my experience, most employees wish to help to improve the business that they work for and to help grow it and to feel inspired and motivated within their roles within the business. Open Your Gold Mine & Extract The Gold Dust I guarantee if you use these two methods right, you will become the proud owner of a very fruitful Gold Mine, yielding much Gold Dust, with which, you should be able to grow your business. Exploit Your Gold Mine If you employ staff within your business, think about your Gold Mine and the Gold Dust buried deep within. Your employees could be a gold mine. Mine the Gold Dust and use it to grow your business. Your Employees Could Be A Gold Mine Please use these methods within your business and please tell me how you get on, Best of luck If you wish to discuss these methods with me further, please email me at robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk or contact me below.

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Use Word Of Mouth To Slash Your Marketing Spend
Want To Slash Your Marketing Spend? Use Word Of Mouth. Word Of Mouth Can Be Very Powerful In Spreading The Word About Your Business & At Growing Your Business

 

In 30 years in business, I have created massive sales using one very powerful marketing method that has cost me nothing to implement. Many business owners know about this same method but very few use it to great effect and I have yet to meet anyone who has used it as effectively as I have done with the same incredible results. In this article, I want to share this method with you and I want you to use it to drive up your sales, too.   Word Of Mouth Is Very Powerful I am sure you know that Word of Mouth can attract new customers, but do you know that if you make it your main marketing tool, it can be incredibly powerful in driving up customer numbers and sales in your business? Your customer numbers and sales can literally be catapulted if you repeat my strategy.   Word Of Mouth Creates Trust Word of mouth works well because it conveys trust. When a recommendation about your business comes from one person to another, it conveys trust to the second person, and generally people buy when they have trust in a business, its service and its products. I have been in business a long time and have started and run several businesses and I have always used WORD OF MOUTH as the biggest part of my marketing strategy. Yes, not just part of my marketing strategy but the biggest part!   I have Included Word Of Mouth In My Marketing Strategy Every Business Plan that I have ever created has included it. As part of my marketing strategy, I have gone out of my way to make everything about my businesses, my products and my customer service really excellent, creating an excellent customer service and making my customers happy and excited. Then, through this excitement, I have got my customers to tell others. This strategy has worked really well in every one of my businesses and if you were to set the same strategy, you could achieve the same. I have written about creating an excellent customer experience and making your customers happy, previously in two blogs. You can read them here: Provide an excellent customer experience and you would never have to search for customers again Boost your business success by making your customers happy   Word Of Mouth Saves Money, Time & Effort In my in businesses, I have spent very little on marketing and advertising because of Word Of Mouth.  In fact, I estimate my expenditure has been just 0.005% of total sales generated. Now that is cost effective! But anyone can do the same  -  I am absolutely certain ANY business could create the similar return on investment too.   Your Customer Ambassadors Do The Marketing For You When you excite a customer enough to make them repeatedly tell their friends and associates, they become what is often known as a ‘Customer Ambassador’  -  they become unofficial ‘Ambassadors’ for your business. Many customers don’t know they are called that and many will not realise the function they are performing for you. But every time one of your customers tells another person about you, they are doing your marketing for you. And, importantly for your marketing budget, they do not get paid for this either, making this process very cost effective.   Many Owners Are Too Busy For Marketing Their Businesses The one comment that I frequently get from small business owners is they do not have time to market their businesses. But if every business owner set a deliberate marketing strategy of making their customers really happy and very excited through offering and delivering an excellent customer experience, they would not have to worry about marketing their businesses.  Their army of unpaid ‘Customer Ambassadors’ would do it for them, while they get on with other stuff, saving them time and effort. Surely that must be very attractive to every business owner.   Set A Definite Strategy As Part Of Your Marketing Plan And Your Business Plan Please repeat what I have been doing for years and think about setting a definite strategy of creating unpaid ‘Customer Ambassadors’ by making your customers so excited that they will tell everyone else about your business. Do the following to create your own WORD OF MOUTH strategy: 1.       Decide that you will create an army of ‘Customer Ambassadors’ 2.       Decide that you will make your customers really happy & excited 3.       Decide that you will offer the very best customer experience possible 4.       Think how you can make the customer experience as excellent as possible 5.       Look at everything you do in your business and make it excellent 6.       Look at the customer journey through your business from when they first become aware of you, through to the buying process. 7.       Look at every customer contact point and make sure every point is an excellent experience for your customer. 8.       Send your customers away so happy and excited, that they want to tell the world.   The place to start is to first decide that you will create ‘Customer Ambassadors’ by making your customers really happy and excited enough to tell others by offering the very best customer experience.   Ask Yourself Three Questions Then, try to think as the customer thinks and ask yourself three crucial questions: “What would I want if I was my customer?” “If I was my customer, what would give me a good customer experience?” “How could I excite myself, through my business offerings, if I was my customer?”   Try asking these questions of your existing customer, friends and colleagues, too.  You should then make a list of the possible answers and think how the answers apply to everything that the customer experiences within your business.   Make A List Of Every Customer Contact Point Make a list of every customer contact point for your business and appraise each point with an honest score from1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest or is excellent.  To make your customers happy and excited you need 9/10 for each contact point. For customer contact points that score less than 9, look to see how you can improve these and achieve excellence in everyone. Then apply the answers from the questions above to each contact point along with other improvements that you think will be appropriate until you can achieve scores of 9 to 10 for each.    Monitor The Results Finally, you must monitor the results to make sure your WORD OF MOUTH strategy is working. You need to ask your customers for their opinions on what you are offering and delivering and how they perceive the improvements that you have made. Hopefully you will get more positive comments about your business and you should gradually see new customers coming to you, as a result of the extra word of mouth generated.    Give It A Try Now Give it a try now – I am certain, if you can do things right, you will see word of mouth start to work for you, increasing your customer numbers, growing your sales and decreasing your marketing costs. If you wish to talk to me more about this article, please contact me below or email me at robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk.

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Boost Your Business Success By Making Your Customers Happy. Driving Up Your Customer Satisfaction Rating Will Drive Up Your Customer Numbers. More Customers Will Mean Greater Sales And Greater Profits.

 

When a customer is happy with a certain business, that customer will support that business much more, through buying more and telling others about it. This may seem obvious, but so many businesses just don’t understand how important having happy customers is to their success. I constantly see BIG and SMALL businesses with obviously unhappy customers and no efforts on the part of these businesses to improve things. In my view, this is ONE BIG REASON why businesses fail. And to be honest, any business that neglects its customers, deserves to fail.   Every Customer Deserves To Be Looked After Every customer to every business deserves to be well looked after, to have their needs and wants satisfied completely and to be made to feel valued. If a business is not doing this, then it does not deserve to be blessed with customers buying from it. If you are not making your customers happy in your business, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself and start to change things.   My Objective Has Always Been To Have Very Happy Customers With every one of my businesses, I have always strived to make my customers VERY HAPPY; and, that has been a big reason for my success. My ultimate objective was to always achieve a HIGH CUSTOMER SATISFACTION RATING. I have achieved that by focusing heavily on my customers and their wants, needs and desires and by delivering an EXCELLENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. In simple terms, I worked out what they wanted and gave it to them.   It Is Not That Difficult To Do It is not that difficult to do. Any business owner can do the same as I did - work out what your customers want from you and give it to them in the best way possible. And, then focus on this process intently, day in and day out, and make it central to everything you do.   Every Business Needs Customers Every business needs customers to survive. Without them, there are no sales and no profits. The more customers a business has, the more sales it will have, so it makes sense to drive up your sales by driving up your customer numbers. And, the best way to drive up customer numbers is through having HAPPY CUSTOMERS.   In An Earlier Article, I Described How An Excellent Customer Experience Will Attract Customers In an earlier article, I stated that you would never have to search far for customers if your customer experience was excellent.  I said that happy customers will return to buy more from you and they will tell others about you and your business, creating good ‘word of mouth’. In the article, I describe how I used intense focus on the customer and the delivering of an excellent customer experience to acquire large numbers of customers and high sales for my seven businesses in 30 years.   You can read the article here:

Related Post:    Provide An Excellent Customer Experience & You Will Never Have To Search Far For Customers Again. Please read it now. Within the article, I explained a procedure that you can adopt to improve your customer experience. I emphasised the importance of knowing and understanding your customers and their wants and needs and of providing products that satisfy these. But I also emphasised the need to always send your customers away really happy, so that they become loyal to your brand and they tell others, creating ‘word of mouth’.   Customer Satisfaction Must Be Measured Again, in the same article, I said that once you have enacted a strategy to create an excellent customer experience, you must appraise it and monitor it, continually. When the customer has an excellent experience, their customer satisfaction rating should be high.  But you should never assume your rating. It should always be measured. As part of my strategy, I have always measured how satisfied my customers were.   I Did Not Just Want To Hear The Good Stuff Crucially though, I have not just wanted to hear the good stuff and know that my strategy was working but, also, I wanted to hear the bad stuff too. Through the bad stuff , I could see where things were not working right and I could work out how to rectify things. And, I always did and I always did it quickly.   I Had A Strong Message For My Customers In my businesses, I had a strong message for my customers. I used to say to them: “If what we do makes you happy, please tell your friends. But if what we do does not please you, then please tell us, so that we can correct things”

  And, our customers did help us here. Most were very happy and did, indeed, tell others but occasionally our few unhappy customers did tell us about their poor experiences and we were able to rectify these. Importantly, by talking to our unhappy customers, I was able to put things right and to make them return again to purchase more from us. In fact, in most cases, I was able to convert unhappy customers into loyal and happy customers, over time. I did not lose them.   Things Don’t Always Go To Plan It is almost impossible to run a business where things do not always go to plan and where the customer experience suffers. But many businesses have a poor contact with their customers and this makes it difficult to quantify how happy their customers are. They are ignorant of their true Customer Satisfaction Ratings.   Some Business Owners Don't Want To Know Some business owners don’t want to know what their customers are thinking, hiding their heads in the sand, not able to confront their customer dissatisfaction. That is not the way to trade a business. As Bill Gates of Microsoft once famously said: “Your unhappiest customers are your greatest source of learning”   You Must Know What Your Customers Are Thinking Customer numbers and sales will only grow, significantly, if you know what your customers are thinking about you and you can address the concerns of your unhappy customers. You will lose your unhappy customers and you will not attract new ones and eventually your business will die. Furthermore, your unhappy customers will tell others and that will create negative ‘word of mouth’ – something that can seriously erode and hamper the growth of a business.   How To Achieve A High Customer Satisfaction Rating It is much easier than you think to change things and here I present a good way to do it.   Set One Big Objective Set yourself one BIG OBJECTIVE of creating and achieving an excellent CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE and an EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION RATING.
  • Set the objective of achieving excellent experiences and an excellent customer satisfaction rating
In short, set yourself the objective to make your customers VERY HAPPY. You should keep thinking about this, over and over again, until it sticks in your mind. Then, start thinking about your customer experience and how you can make it better.  If your experience is already good, you should still think how it can be improved. In my view, every business can make improvements.   Set A Strategy To Optimise Your Customer Satisfaction Rating It is very possible to make your customers happy and to optimise your customer satisfaction rating and to minimise your number of customer complaints. Here is a 9 Step Strategy that you should implement:
  1. Create a strategy to provide an excellent customer experience. Use the procedure that I suggested in my article - Provide An Excellent Customer Experience & You Will Never Have To Search Far For Customers Again.
  2. Ask your customers for their comments and their reviews.
  3. Invite your customers to tell their friends if they are happy and to tell you if they are unhappy.
  4. Analyse the reasons for your customers’ unhappiness.
  5. Make changes to what you do, to improve your experience.
  6. Compensate your unhappy customers and encourage them to return.
  7. Set an objective to reduce the number of customer complaints.
  8. Don’t get complacent when you achieve a high overall customer satisfaction rating.
  9. Keep working hard to create happy customers, excellent customer experiences, a high customer satisfaction rating and a low customer complaint ratio.
  Central to this procedure is understanding your customer and their needs, wants and desires and to giving them the products that satisfy these, in the way they want to receive them and at the prices they want to pay. Once you get this right, you can then look to making the experience EXCELLENT.   Talking To Your Customers Is Key Whether your business involves face to face contact with your customers, such as retail, or distant contact with your customers, such as an online business, you must devise ways to talk to your customers and to ask them for their views on what you do. You must listen to both the good and bad comments but, in particular, you should listen to the bad comments and you should take action that effect changes to improve your customer experience. Your unhappy customers should be compensated and appeased and you should attempt to encourage these to return and to become loyal customers - this is very possible, if complaints are handled in the right way and quickly. Over time, the number of customer complaints should diminish but you should set a low complaint ratio as your objective.   Don’t Get Complacent It is important that you don’t get complacent when you achieve consistently high customer satisfaction ratings. You must continually work hard to provide an excellent customer experience and high customer satisfaction rating and low a customer complain ratio.   Start Doing This Today What I advise here does work, as I have done it myself over many years and I have advised others to do the same. So, please start today, copying my methods. Today, set yourself the BIG OBJECTIVE:
  • Set the objective of achieving excellent experiences and excellent customer satisfaction
  Then, set about implementing my 9 Step Strategy. If you can do this right, your customer numbers should go through the roof, as will your sales and business profits.

  I Want To Inspire Every Business Owner To Focus On Customer Experience & Customer Satisfaction The purpose of this article and all my others is to encourage every business owner, to do better in their businesses. If you have found the article useful, then please copy what I have done and make your customers really happy and drive up your customer satisfaction rating. Also, please circulate it to other business owners and business friends, too, so that more can benefit from this.   Best Of Luck Everyone Best of luck to everyone and please let me know how you get on.   I Coach Business Owners To Think And Act Differently Having sold my businesses, I now coach other businesses on the tried and tested methods that I have used for 30 years to drive my own success.  I have many methods to teach, but focusing heavily on the customer, customer experience and customer satisfaction is a principle one. Business success is down to the quality of the thinking and the quality of the actions - the better both are, the greater the success potential. Also central to much of what I coach is changing how and what business owners think and how they act.  The ultimate goal being to achieve far better results in less time and with greater efficiency. If you would like to learn more about these processes, I include links to articles that should help you in your business, here. For Greater Business Success, Change Your Thinking - Create Smart Business Thinking  For Greater Business Success, Change Your Thinking - Create Smart Business Actions Become One Of the 10% Most Successful Business   If you would like to talk to me about this or you have any comments, please contact me here. Also, if you have your own stories of how you have achieved an excellent customer experience, I would love to hear them.

The post Boost Your Business Success By Making Your Customers Happy appeared first on Prestige Business Coaching.

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