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President Obama's Views Post Presidency

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, May, 28, 2018 @ 16:05 PM

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Thanks to Okta for inviting me to Oktane18 and giving me the opportunity to hear President Barack Obama - truly a "life experience."

Todd McKinnon, CEO and Co-founder of Okta hosted the hour-long question and answer session.

Following are the points made by the President with the parenthetical notes my own:

  • We live in culture today where everybody feels the crush of information and collision of world’s in a way previous generation. haven’t felt.
  • Previous generations knew 100 or 150 people.
  • How many people do you know today? (Thousands thanks to social media and CRM systems).
  • Today, there are rural villages in Africa in which everyone has a phone.
  • We have the ability to absorb information in ways that can be confusing.
  • While there are a lot of questions around technology and social media, the U.S. had a head start in trying to figure it out because we’re a people that came from everywhere else.
  • We've had to figure out how to work together since the country was founded.
  • The challenge today is how to maintain sense of common purpose, how to join together as opposed to splinter and divide.
  • If we don’t figure it out it will be hard for our democracy to survive (just what the Russians are fomenting in social media).
  • There is a misperception that government doesn’t work, and people don’t work hard based on their experience of getting their driver’s license renewed (everyone laughed knowingly).
  • The public sector has extraordinary talent and does a lot of things really well.
  • There is a big gap in technology, especially with responsiveness and nimbleness. A lot of this has to do with government's antiquated procurement requirements.
  • In a host of areas, like taking government data and putting it out there so organizations can use to improve people's lives, we made real progress during my term.
  • We tried to create, re-architecture and replace legacy systems in the FDA.
  • There is a need for big data sets to achieve the promise of personalized medicine.
  • We made inroads in a few of those areas; however, the political system is not being as responsive as it could be (because we are divided rather than united).
  • Creating a framework that’s agreed upon and transparent, most people understand is a challenge we should welcome and approach it in a systematic and transparent way (however, little in Washington is transparent).
  • We need to be proactive identifying the questions we have to grapple, with the tools we have to protect information, and be transparent about what consumers are giving up (Google, Facebook, et al).
  • There is a big lag between how we’re thinking about the social organization and technology.
  • We underinvest in the IRS because no one likes it; however, it can be a great deal more efficient.
  • As a consequence of no one wanting to give up their write-offs, we discovered the basic IT infrastructure of the IRS is held together by string and bubble gum.
  • If you made no changes to the tax structure you could make interaction with the IRS more user-friendly, but it requires front end investment no one is willing to make.
  • Business identifies the essential problem and hires good people to solve business problem.
  • Government procurement requires you to identify the problem and allocate a budget up front. That's not how a successful business works.
  • We need a good conversation between the tech community and people in Washington for ongoing deliberation and exchange.
  • There should be bias towards making voting easier not harder, there’s a legacy that dates back to Jim Crow to disenfranchise voters and it is being perpetuated.
  • If we can secure the voting process, and there’s a paper record generated along side the electronic vote, I believe it will come to pass but it will take awhile.
  • Laws are structured to make it hard for people to vote.

 

How did you instigate change?

  • Change is hard in personal live, it's hard for groups, it's hard for institutions.
  • The U.S. evolved from an agricultural-based economy to manufacturing-based economy over a period of 120 years.
  • Today we're evolving to a technology-based economy in just 20 to 30 years and that's hard for everyone to accept.
  • Principles for effective change:
    • Talk to people whose lives will be disrupted so you appreciate who they are and insure they are heard before you instigate change.
      • Listening is a good starting point for change.
    • Every issue you are dealing has probabilities.
      • Get the best info available.
      • Have, and listen to, diverse voices around the table.
      • Understand the different perspectives.
      • Have people who can argue all of the sides of the issue.
    • I set up processes so that by the time I made the decision I could say, with confidence, I heard all the voices, had all of the information, and made the best decision I could.
    • Initiating change requires enough situations like that, even when there are disruptions. where you can anticipate the disruptions and be prepared to address them.
    • There will be disruptions with technology (There already has been and there will be a lot more).
    • People are going to be resistant if their jobs are threatened.
    • Anticipate this and be prepared to address the change.
    • Ask people “What do you think?”
      • I would catch people by surprise and they would tell me what they really thought, rather than a prepared answer.
      • Deliberately reach outside the bubble of obvious decision makers.
    • I had a good b.s. detector, if a question wasn’t answered with confidence I’d drill in until I learned what the person was really thinking.
    • Insist on people delivering on bad news quickly.
      • Part of the culture we tried to build, these are human enterprises, they’re going to be flawed when you do screw up or you can’t solve something bring it to me and let’s solve it together

 

How did you go about vetting and hiring people?

  • The government has two million employees or so, only 3,000 are political appointments.
    • The entire process during transition, gathering names, going through folks who have the qualifications we were looking for, as well as interest in the position.
    • Tech is where we had a problem because tech pays much better than the US government.
    • So, we set up US digital services – a SWAT team of amazing tech folks who, like the Peace Corps, would come into the US government for six months to two years to work on a particular problem – example of the need for more creativity of how we staff government and non-profits.
  • Think of creative ways for people to take leave and make an incredible contribution.

 

What advice did you receive going into office that was useful and what wasn't?

  • Advice not useful and slowed us down and hurt effectiveness early on was the sense that somehow now that you are president there are certain ways you should do things that had to do with traditions but were not effective.
    • During the campaign, we communicated in a way that was fresh and accessible. That changed when we moved into the White House – it made the team feel more conventional than we should have. We corrected this near the end of the first term. There were a lot of fires to put out immediately when we got to the White House..
  • The best advice a number of people gave us was to maintain your humanity. Michele and I, partly because we didn’t want our girls to get weird from being in a weird environment, were very focused on this. It was important to make sure we did not lose ourselves, that we stayed intact in what we believed in and how we treated people, expectations of ourselves, kindness, honesty, being useful, and taking responsibility
    • People given great responsibility, power, and wealth begin losing a sense of what’s important, who they are, and holding on to what they have rather than responding authentically. We did not lose that, we came out intact.

 

What are your greatest observations post presidency?

  • I don’t miss the trappings of the presidency.
  • I get more sleep now versus five hours a sleep each night for eight years.
    • That's what's required if you are going to stay up to speed on all of the issues and consider different points of view.
  • There is a physical and mental element to being president if you are serious about the job.
  • Everything now seems to move in slow motion.
    • Today it takes two weeks to set up a meeting rather than two hours.
What are you and Michele going to be doing with Netflix?
  • I would not have been president if I had not learned early on the importance of stories.
  • As a community organizer I learned instead of telling people what they should think, I needed to ask people about themselves and their stories.
  • If you listen, people will tell you their story.
  • Discovering those stories creates relationships and committed people.
  • I continue to believe if we are hearing each other’s stories and recognize ourselves in each other that our democracy works, if we don’t then our democracy doesn’t work.
  • We want to identify people doing amazing work and create platforms for them to tell their stories.
  • We have all these amazing story tellers and we want them to continue to tell the stories we think are important, lifting up talent to identify the connections that we have between all of us.
  • We want to train leaders around the world to tell their stories.
  • We’re all human and have basic needs, wants, and desires for our families, for our children.
  • The country can go in one of two ways: 
    • We can go tribal, go ethnic, pull in, push off, think "us versus them," think power-first, view life as a zero-sum game, and have a need to dominate.
    • Or, the other narrative is a more fragile, newer notion that we can think, reason, connect, and set up institutions based of the rule of law, dignity, and the worth of every individual based on science and facts. This narrative is one the human race has pursued, and America has been at the forefront of, since World War II.
  • We’ve made progress in all of these areas in "fits and starts." Now there’s a clash in the two alternative ways of seeing the world.
  • Part of the political polarization is if you watch Fox News and read the New York Times you are viewing two different realities (this is divisive rather than inclusive and not in the best interest of democracy).
  • Obviously, I believe the second of the two ways is we need to proceed if we are going to be united.

Tags: Trustworthiness, Ethics, transparency, trust, integrity, authenticity, listen intensely, empathy, inspiration, community, customer insights, big data

Vulnerability = Courage

Posted by Tom Smith on Sat, May, 19, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

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Great presentation by Dr. Brené Brown, Research Professor University of Houston during Nutanix' .NEXT conference in New Orleans on May 10. Dr. Brown has been studying vulnerability and courage and the soon to be published The Four Pillars of Courage.

Dr. Brown's Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability has more than 34 million views on YouTube.

Here's the gist of her presentation I was fortunate to see:

  • You have to be vulnerable to be courageous
  • Vulnerable = at risk, emotionally exposed
  • There is no courage without vulnerability
  • “Daring greatly” came from Teddy Roosevelt
  • Can we lay out the code for being a full-stack individual?
  • Shame is walking out of the room of people you know well and when you leave, and they speak badly about you
  • It’s not the critic who counts, the credit goes to the one in the arena who comes up short again, again and again. If s/he fails, s/he does so daring greatly.
  • If you’re brave with your life you’re going to get your ass kicked
  • Life is volatile you will know failure if you are brave with your work
  • We live in a comfort crisis – we believe we are entitled to comfort
  • There is nothing comfortable about being courageous
  • Vulnerability is the most accurate measurement for courage
  • If you are not in the arena being brave with your life I am not interested in what you have to say
  • When you’re brave there is pushback
  • The mean-spirited words from the cheap seats should hurt but you need to know who’s opinions matter – it’s not the people in the cheap seats
  • Know the people you can trust and listen to them
  • Shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety, uncertainty = vulnerability
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy
  • Joy is the most vulnerable of all human emotions
  • We dress rehearse tragedy because we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop
  • Don’t squander joy
  • Don’t dress rehearse tragedy
  • Stop in the moment and be grateful
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of: courage, trust, empathy, innovation, creativity, accountability, adaptability, inclusivity, hard conversations, feedback, problem-solving, ethical decision making
  • Set up a culture of no vulnerability you get no innovation, no risk-taking
  • The opposite of accountability is blame
  • If you don’t do discomfort you’re not a good fit for us
  • If you cannot have a conversation about a difficult subject (race, class, gender) you cannot be a successful leader – be willing to excavate conversations that need to happen because they’re getting in the way of good work
  • People are not willing to be vulnerable, brave
  • What are you doing instead of the hard conversations?
  • We’re not having hard conversations because we’re not willing to be vulnerable
  • Relational vulnerability – you cannot be brave or lead without it
  • It takes courage to have ethical decision making
  • When we’re in struggle we need a story for our brain – the story I’m telling myself right now is . . .
  • Myths:
    • Vulnerability is weakness
    • I can opt out
    • Let it all hang out
    • I can go it alone
  • Vulnerability, clarity of values, trust, rising skills = the four pillars of courage
  • What’s worth doing even if you fail?
  • Vulnerability doesn’t always work out but it’s better than ending your life asking what if I had showed up?

Tags: integrity, extreme trust, emotional connection, total radical transparency, empathy, inspiration

Integrity Results in Customers for Life

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jan, 07, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

Integrity gets customers for life

 

 

 

 

 

 

Integrity means doing what you say you'll do when you say you'll do it. It's the imperative foundation for creating trust.

 

If you cannot guarantee something for a customer then do not make them a promise.

 

Provide the best insights, advice and recommendations you can and leave it at that. Making commitments that are questionable will lead to your customers having questions about you, your word and your firm.

 

If you do happen to make a commitment you cannot keep, let your customer know as soon as possible. Do not wait until the due date/time, it just erodes your credibility further.

 

Explain why you cannot keep the commitment. If you've built sufficient positive equity with your customer over the course of your relationship, they'll forgive you. Just don't make a habit of it or you'll surely run out of equity.

 

Never lie to a customer -- it's hard enough to keep up with the truth.

 

You can never thank a customer too much. Thank them in person, thank them over the phone, via e-mail and especially with a handwritten note. In this day and age, a handwritten thank you note is very powerful.

 

Find creative ways to thank your customers and show them you appreciate their business. Amazon used to include bookmarks with their books. I thought this was a great value add and advertising vehicle for them but they stopped.

 

Thank your employees for treating your customers well. They're on the front lines with customers representing your business. Treat your employees the way you want your employees to treat your customers.

 

A company's commitment to provide outstanding customer service starts with senior management. That level of commitment is reflected by every employee. Zappos is a great example of this.

 

Ensure that you and your customer's definition of excellent service are congruent. Set or define expectations early in your relationship to minimize confusion as the relationship expands. If you're not sure what your customer's expectations are -- ask them!

 

A friend of mine, Dr. Ralph James, wrote a book for the construction industry called The Integrity Chain. While Ralph wrote the book for the construction industry it is relevant to any industry. The premise is, without integrity you will have fewer customers and less revenue over the long-term. I could not agree with him more.

 

Do you and your employees just want to make the sale or do you want customers for life?

 

Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: customers for life, do what you say you will do, trust, integrity

4 Tenets of Conscious Capitalism

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Jan, 05, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

I just read an interesting interview with Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store and a leader of a growing movement called Conscious Capitalism which teaches business leaders to create shared value by making their companies more successful and competitive while advancing the quality of life for the community and the world.

 

The concept of Conscious Capitalism is consistent with a personal philosophy that I shared with a colleague several years ago -- there's plenty of business for everyone that plays nice and plays by the rules.

 

Sadly, we see a lot of individuals who do neither making a lot of money at the expense of others (i.e., executives at Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Bank of America, et.al.).

 

Conscious Capitalism puts purpose before profits with the belief that balancing the needs of all of a business' stakeholders -- employees, customers, suppliers, community and shareholders -- is the right thing to do and will result in a more profitable and successful business.

 

Four businesses that exemplify Conscious Capitalism are The Container Store, Whole Foods, Zappos and Southwest Airlines.  

 

All four of these companies put employees first and focus on providing an outstanding customer experience -- both of which are integral to the second tenet since employees and customers are both key stakeholders.

  1. Higher purpose.  Also known as the "mission" -- the purpose of the company beyond making a profit or dominating a market position.  A compelling sense of purpose can create a high level of engagement by the stakeholders and generate tremendous organizational energy.
     
  2. Stakeholder orientation.  Explicitly managed for the good of all stakeholders including customers, employees, investors, suppliers and the larger communities in which the business participates.  By creating value for all stakeholders, the whole system advances.  Zappos is making a dramatic contribution to their community by significantly revitalizing a "dead" downtown Las Vegas.
     
  3. Conscious leadership.  Management is driven by service to the firm's higher purpose and focuses on delivering value to the stakeholders. Conscious leaders adopt a holistic worldview that goes well beyond the limitations of traditional business.  Enterprises, and individuals, are part of a complex, interdependent and evolving system with multiple constituencies.
     
  4. Conscious culture as captured by the acronym TACTILE.  T = trust.  A = authenticity.  C = caring.  T = transparency.  I = integrity.  L = learning.  E = empowerment.  A conscious culture is very tangible to stakeholders and outside observers.

The result of this is empowered employees who we know work harder, are more creative, care more and are responsible for driving greater customer experiences.

Another result is long-term trusted relationships with suppliers, consistent with The Integrity Chain, which is more profitable for both parties.

Would your company benefit by following the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism?

What is your higher purpose?

If you're interested, you can sign up for the Conscious Capitalism newsletter here.

 

Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: conscious capitalism, empowerment, transparency, integrity, mission

Top 10 "Insights From Analytics" Blog Posts of 2014

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Dec, 30, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

 

Following are the most read blog posts during 2014.

 

Thank you for reading and sharing with others you think would be interested.

 

Please let me know if I can assist you, or your firm, in any way.

 

  1. Top 10 U.S. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for 2013

  2. The Importance of Face to Face Communications

Happy New Year, have a great 2015!

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customer experience, integrity, accelerate sales, net promoter score, NPS, face to face communications

16 Ways to Build Trust with Customers and Prospects

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Dec, 03, 2014 @ 12:12 PM

trust resized 600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the Edelman Trust Barometer who has been performing this study for the past 14 years. This year's research includes 33,000 respondents from 27 countries.

 

The findings are the fundamentals we all need to follow to build trust with customers and prospects:

 

  1. Listen to customer needs and feedback and have a closed loop process to address them. I suggest using a three-question Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to begin the dialogue.

  2. Treat your employees well. Your employees will only treat your customers as well as you treat your employees.

  3. Place customers ahead of profits. Do what's right for the customer and everything else will take care of itself. Do what's wrong by the customer and you'll be called out on social media and will fail faster.

  4. Communicate with integrity and honesty. Be open and transparent. Again, if you're not, you'll be called out on social media and your business will be toast.

  5. Have ethical business practices. Do unto others . . .

  6. Take responsible action to address issues or concerns in a timely manner. If you can't resolve the issue by the end of the day, let the customer know the status of the resolution and when they can expect their issue to be resolved.

  7. Have transparent and open business practices. Perhaps cell phone and cable companies would have higher NPS scores if they had this philosophy?

  8. Offer high quality products and services. Give people products and service of value. Ask customers if they feel like they're receiving good value from your products or services.

  9. Be innovative. Offer new products, services or ideas. Anything you can do to make life easier and simpler for customers will be rewarded with more business and mentions in social media.

  10. Work to protect and improve the environment. It's telling that all of the BP stations in my area of North Carolina are being rebranded.

  11. Address society's needs in every day business. This goes back to having a vision and mission that's more than about just making money.

  12. Create programs that positively impact the local community. Give back to the community that supports your business and livelihood.

  13. Partner with NGO's, government and third parties to address society needs. We're beginning to see more public-private partnerships to address the country's crumbling infrastructure.

  14. Have highly-regarded and widely-admired top leadership. Your leaders are your brand outside your company. Are they on brand? Are they active on social media and within the industry expressing their point-of- view? Leaders don't hide, they're out front engaging customers as well as critics.

  15. Rank high on a global list of companies. Decide what you want to be known for and be the best you can be at it.

  16. Deliver consistent financial returns to investors. Companies that build trust with customers and have high NPS scores tend to perform better financially than those who don't. It's simply good business to do what's right by your customers and prospects.

To me, these 16 ways to build trust boils down to my personal mantra: "Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it?"

 

Which of the 16 things is your company doing well?

 

Where can you improve?

 

If you don't know, ask your customers. 

Tags: transparency, trust, be responsive, integrity, customer centric, do what you say you'll do when you say you'

Accelerate Sales with Social Media

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Sep, 02, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

use social media to enhance customer engagement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use social media to build authentic engagement with customers and prospects throughout their customer lifecycle.

 

Open, transparent and honest conversations accelerate the customer lifecycle, as well as the sales cycle.

 

The more you know about your customers and prospects, the more you are able to help them by providing information of value that will simplify their lives.

 

The more you simplify their lives, the more loyal they will be, the more they will buy from you in the near-term and the greater lifetime value they'll have for your firm.

 

Strive to build relationships.

 

Facilitate conversations across all stages of the customer lifecycle. The person who is just considering your product or service for the very first time is very different than a previous customer or someone who has been researching for the past few months.

 

As an example, I’ve been evaluating marketing automation software for employers and clients for the past five years so I’m a fairly well-informed prospect; however, the features and benefits of the platforms change so frequently I need to get a demo every six months so I'm fully aware of what one platform offers versus another.

 

Know what your prospects know and then share with them what they need to know to make a well-informed decision.

 

Customer communities help build engagement and brand advocacy.

 

Prospective customers trust what other customers say about your product or service, twice as much as what the company says.

 

Empower your customers to speak to others on your behalf.

 

Encourage them to do so by providing "wow" customer experiences that they want to share with their friends, family and colleagues, as well as their social media followers.

 

You can drive engagement and activate revenue through persistent, discoverable and relevant conversations.

 

Make fleeting social interactions more persistent and long-term to build trust and credibility.

 

Relevant content drives conversion. Achieve this by prioritizing and contextually appropriate community topics.

 

Ask your customers and prospects what they want to know more about and then engage them.

 

Engagement = (Content + People) x Participation

 

Relevant answers to relevant questions accelerate revenue.

 

Know your customer's buying cycles.

 

Know what their questions are at each stage of the cycle.

 

Answer the question before they ask it.

 

You will earn their trust and make their lives simpler and easier.

Click Here to Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" that Will Accelerate Sales

Tags: trust, integrity, voice of the customer, accelerate sales, authenticity, listen intensely, social media

Limiting Online Reviews Inhibits Transparency, Integrity and Insights

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Jul, 31, 2014 @ 11:07 AM

Lack of transparency

 

 

 

 

My sister in-law is a frequent traveler who booked a three-day trip to New York to shop and visit museums with a friend of her's from Chicago.

 

She used Expedia to book the six-star Pierre, a Taj Property, and was disappointed and embarrassed by the service she and her friend received.

 

When she tried to post a less than stellar review on Expedia, she was told, "Your hotel review needs revision."

 

This is the gist of what she said:

 

  • The staff was polite but they didn't know what time their restaurants opened.  My friend and I were sent back and forth between the restaurants at the hotel because neither were open with staff telling us they were open when, in fact, they weren't.
     
  • My tea arrived on a pretty tablecloth but the waiter brought French toast which I didn't order.
      
  • The tea pot burned my hand because the handle was metal and had no cover.
     
  • The hair dryer was cheap and burned my hair,
     
  • When I checked out, we asked the porter for our 5 pieces of baggage.   he said "okay", then turned around and started talking to the other staff members.  when we reminded him we had a flight to catch, he went to get the bags, which we could see in the hallway.   It took three staff members to count our bags. How many staff members does it take . . .
     
  • All in all, I chose the hotel expecting first rate service and got just an above averge hotel stay.  I was so disappointed because I thought so highly of the hotel's reputation.
     
  • The location is superb; can't ask for better.

 

"When I told my friends at work about my experience, they said........"maybe that's why you can find that hotel on Expedia."

 

Expedia is not doing themselves, their customers or the Pierre any favors.

 

I saw recently where Four Seasons had just surpassed Ritz Carlton in terms of customer service.

 

If Taj Hotels don't get feedback from disgruntled customers, how are they going to improve.

 

Companies like Expedia are wasting the value of voice of the customer (VOC) feedback by trying to supress less than perfect ratings.

 

I've seen car dealers do this and they're just hurting themselves.

 

Be real, be reliable, and be responsive -- or be gone.

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"



 

Tags: consumer insights, transparency, be reliable, be responsive, integrity, be real, VoC, voice of the customer

B2B Companies Need to Provide Information of Value Upfront

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Feb, 05, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

information of value resized 600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several reports have noted that today, 60% of the B2B buying process has taken place before the prospect ever speaks to a sales person.

  • The prospect has already checked out your website, and that of your competitors.
  • They've read your blog posts and those of your competitors.
  • They've been in LinkedIn groups and asked questions about you and your competitors.
  • They've read reviews of your product or service, as well as those of your competitors.

So why not go ahead and provide all of the information your prospects might want upfront?

It accelerates your sales process and eliminates non-qualifying prospects upfront thus eliminating calls on people who are not prospects for your product or service.

Providing information of value gets you more web traffic and generates more leads.

By answering prospects' questions upfront, you earn their trust and you establish yourself, or your firm, as the thought-leader as well as the industry leader.

Be willing to share anything in advance that you would share on a sales call.

If you're afraid to do so because your information is proprietary, you can assume your competitors will get the information within an hour of you providing to a prospect.

The internet rewards those who share information and penalizes those who hoard information.

Answer every question a customer has ever asked online, preferably on a blog. This wll create awareness, trust, improve your website's SEO and generate more leads.

So how do you handle the price question? In a straightforward manner. Our prices are based on the needs and requirements of the customer. A basic single unit costs $X while we have developed customer enterprise-wide solutions for $Y. We'll be able to give you a more specific quote once we know your needs.

Fail to answer prospect questions upfront in a straightforward, transparent manner and you'll fail to earn their trust, and possibly a call from the prospect.

By the way, when the prospect does call, or send an inquiry, answer the phone or respond immediately.

Companies that respond in five minutes, or less, are 100-times more likely to convert that lead to a qualified prospect than those that reply in 30 minutes. Fewer than 37% of companies respond within the hour.

This will improve as companies realize the importance of immediate response. Are you prepared to make the commitment to improve?

In the age of the internet, use content to establish awareness, thought leadership, trust, traffic and leads. Then be prepared to follow-up on those leads the moment they come in. 

Let me know if you need any help developing a content marketing strategy that will generate trust, awareness, traffic and leads.

Click Here for an Evaluation of Your Website

Tags: transparency, trust, integrity, earn your customers trust, information of value

7 Steps to Accelerate Sales and Profits

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jan, 29, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

steps to accelerating sales and profits

 

 

 

 

 

 

We're nearly a month into the new year.

How are your new business initiatives going?

Need some additional horsepower to generate awareness, traffic and qualified leads?

How about additional revenue from exisiting customers?

Try some of the following:

  1. Blog. Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors. The more frequently you post a blog, the more traffic you will generate. 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day have acquired a customer through their blog. Every blog you post adds a page to your website giving you another opportunity to be found and increasing your SEO performance.

  2. Expand your product/service portfolio. People buy from those they know, like and trust. So who are your best prospects? Your current customers. Learn about their needs and wants and fulfill them with complementary products or services. Zappos started just selling shoes. Now they sell shoes, everything related to shoes, as well as sporting goods, cosmetics and accessories.

  3. Develop strategic alliance and referral partners. Referrals are still the most powerful and effective form of marketing; however, today a lot more referrals are made online by strangers. Leverage relationships with your vendor partners to share leads and recommend B2C or B2B clients to one another depending on what business you are in, respectively.

  4. Add more price points. Give the customer what they want at the price you want. By adding an infinite number of price points, you end up leaving less money on the table and increasing your profitability. Every customer wants something different. They want what they want, their way. Terrific. Give them what they want and charge them for giving them what they want their way. Develop a pricing model that accounts for every different way the customer may want your product or service. Yes, this is an "evergreen" model since your customers will always be wanting something different -- and better.

  5. Actively participate in social media. Build awareness of your brand by sharing information of value in an open and transparent way. Answer questions openly and honestly. You'll build credibility and trust for you and your brand.

  6. Hire a marketing professional. Yes I am a marketing professional. It's what I went to school and got a degree in. It's what I've done for 30+ years. I know it looks easy and you think you know what your customers want; however, based on having worked with more than 80 clients you very likely don't. Who in your company represents the customer? Do you know why your customer thinks your product is "different and better" than the competition? Do you know who your customer sees as your competition? You won't know until you ask. Also, a marketing professional understands the importance of presenting the brand in a consistent way. Any inconsistency confuses the customer and confusion breeds distrust. If you can't afford a full-time marketing professional, hire one by the hour.

  7. Deploy an inbound marketing strategy. I was an outbound marketer for 25 years; however, the internet and social media have flipped the customer as buyer dynamic and now the customer defines your brand for you. You can help them by providing information of value that informs them, rather than selling them, and earning their trust. If you haven't seen Marcus Sheridan's Ted Talk, I recommend taking 12 minutes to watch it. You'll understand the importance of honesty, integrity and transparency in everything you do.
What steps are you taking to accelerate revenue and profit?
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Tags: transparency, trust, integrity, earn your customers trust, information of value, accelerate sales, consumer insights accelerate sales, be relevant