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What The Tech? Top 3 Questions To Ask When Investing in Technology

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the latest tech talk?

If you’re anything like me, technology doesn’t get your go. In fact, it’s a little overrated.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars and time experimenting with software, equipment and online courses to discover there’s a lot of mediocre products out there.

Not to mention, purchased items I have yet to use.

Sound familiar, right?

I gained tons of wisdom that I’ll share with you so you can avoid costly mistakes.

Before you invest in technology ask yourself,

Will you actually use it?

Many times we run out to buy the latest tech because of the perceived benefits. Little consideration is given to the time and practice it’ll take to learn it. To implement a program, software, or equipment takes more time than we realize because new habits must be developed. Is it user friendly? Is support included? Are there additional fees? Any tech that will drastically change the way you work is not for you no matter how awesome the benefits are.

What problems do you want to solve?

Are you having issues with workflow, customer engagement, or sales? Identifying the root causes of issues will eliminate a lot of headaches. How many times have you purchased a solution that only addressed the symptom? Diagnosing problems is 80% of the work so take the time to identify the real problem before shopping for a solution.

Does it align with your philosophy?

How you run your business must be aligned with your why. If you’re an entrepreneur that’s big on building relationships, your communication methods shouldn’t heavily rely on email and social media. Doing so will be a breech of integrity and you’ll lose trust from prospects.

Tech you should invest in.

Technology is meant to compliment your work and make doing business manageable. It can never replace the human element. Software that helps with the back-end of your business like project management, velocity, and finance, will save money and minimize human error. Software such as CRMs and email automation handles the front-end of your business, where you engage prospects and clients. Using tech that assist with the front-end of your business will help increase revenue.

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What You Should Know About Chatbots


If you’ve heard talk about chatbots and are wondering what they are, you’re not alone. As the online world is constantly changing, it’s hard to keep up at times.
Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence.

Huh?

Like Amazon’s Alexa and iOS-Siri, chatbots act as an online concierge in text form. They can help customers search for a product, answer customer support questions, check the weather forecast, etc. By using artificial intelligence, chatbot programs learn your preferences to provide notifications, search information upon request, or hold conversations with you.

This sounds cool and creepy at the same time (two words, Minority Report).

Time is a premium for busy people and who isn’t busy? We search for ways to simplify and enrich our lives. Chatbot programs are playing a major role in helping us manage daily routines, or are they (Hear from Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus)?

Companies cash in on the benefits too since chatbots can improve customer experience, simplify customer support, save time and money.
Yet the boundaries of privacy continues to fade as convenience is given more importance.

Why are chatbots a big deal?

Besides all the benefits chatbot programs have to offer, data has shown that more people spend time on messaging apps than on social networking sites. In other words, people want to connect with friends in a private and personal way.

As a result, companies are forced to find new ways to reach their targeted audience. With chatbots companies can engage customers in a human way with little interruption of their daily routine.

No matter the concerns about artificial intelligence and it’s uses, this gravy train ain’t stopping.

As a business owner and consumer, I definitely see the advantages of using chatbots. As explained in the article, The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Chatbots By Matt Schlicht. Chatbots could replace apps and even websites in the near future. All business owners should know about this technology and how it can impact their industry.

If you’re interested in exploring Messenger’s chatbot platform click here.

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How Personal Touch Will Grow Your Business

How many times have you read about the importance of personal touch in business?

Sure, it sounds sophisticated, but what does it mean and how do you apply it to business?

Committed entrepreneurs struggle with answering these questions and are hesitant to verbalize their challenges, but they shouldn’t.

Let me reassure you, they are not stupid questions.

In fact, many business leaders struggle with applying personal touch tactics because the benefits aren’t identified or measured.

We all have an idea what personal touch means and if Gary Vaynerchuk does it, so should we.

But how much time and effort should we give to personal touch communications and what’s the ROI?

I mean, come on, who has the time to video blog 25 times a day?

When personal touch is applied effectively, it results in repeat business and referrals. Instead of pursuing business, you become the pursued.

In other words, people reach out to YOU to purchase YOUR products/services.

Now how powerful is that?

Personal touch builds the back-end of your business.

Or what I like to call pillow money.

Imagine business flowing to you effortlessly. Clients consistently buying your products and referring others without you asking them.

Yes, it’s very possible and personal touch tactics can get you there.
With the right combination of personal touch and automation, you can become a premier vendor in your industry.

Now that you’re aware of the benefits, let’s define what “personal touch” means.

If you were to google the phrase, you’ll find it simply means to make something less impersonal.

Pretty vague right?
But let’s dig deeper.

Personal touch is all about how you want people to feel when engaging with them. It includes the first interaction and beyond. Every touch point is an opportunity to reinforce that emotion about you.

Whatever emotion you want to evoke determines the tactics and methods of communication to apply in your business. Personal touch can be anything from addressing customers by their first name on email blasts, to appreciation gifts.

What’s important is how you want your customers to feel about you.

For instance, if you want your clients to feel special, a few tactics would include always addressing them by their first name. When sending email blasts, they only see their email not the thousands of other recipients, calling them on their birthday, acknowledging a milestone in their life, etc.

The secret to adding personal touch is the right balance of small tactics that leaves a lasting impression. It’s repeatable, consistent, and it doesn’t take a lot of resources for it to have serious impact. In fact, it can be done on a shoestring budget.

Clients want your TIME and ATTENTION. It’s a basic human need to be acknowledged and accepted. Simple yet thoughtful communication will show clients the time and effort you put into nurturing a relationship with them.

It ultimately shows you care.

In short, personal touch is about how you want your clients to feel. That emotion determines your tactics and communication methods. Whatever you decide, it shouldn’t use a lot of resources. In fact, you should be able to do it on a shoestring budget. Last, consistent thoughtful communication will show clients you care which will open up the flood gates to pillow money!

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How Client Retention Contributes To The Greater Good


If you were to ask an entrepreneur what keeps her up at night, there’s a good chance she’s worried about attracting new clients.

Client retention and referrals takes a back seat to the bright and shiny new client.

We all know repeat business is the low hanging fruit of sales.

In fact, the National Law Review reports it can cost up to 5x more to acquire new customers than to keep current ones.

But customer retention isn’t sexy to many business leaders because it requires maintaining relationships.

And relationship management takes a level of commitment some aren’t accustomed to.

Besides the financial benefits of client retention, there’s also an intrinsic value you should consider.

As social isolation is a growing public health issue, client retention efforts can reduce the effects of loneliness.

I know it seems borderline ridiculous to consider loneliness a threat to public health, but according a Harvard Business Review article titled Work and the Loneliness Epidemic, Vivek Murthy states “Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity. It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.”

What’s alarming are the millions of people who are suffering from social isolation.

In the Daily Science News, an article titled Social Isolation, Loneliness could be greater threat to public health than obesity,
“An estimated 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. In addition, the most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined.”

With the number of people suffering from loneliness in the millions, chances are your clients are being affected.

Loneliness carries a hefty price tag in business as it reduces task performance, limits creativity, and impairs reasoning and decision making which translates to thousands of dollars being loss.

Smart business leaders can help reduce loneliness in a number of ways.

Create add value that foster social connection. You can provide opportunities for clients to connect, promote social gatherings in newsletters, and reach out to your rock star clients with a phone call.

Provide opportunities for employees to build stronger connections. Provide opportunities for staff to get to know each other such as allowing a few minutes during weekly meetings for staff to share something about themselves.

Reach out to your network. Check up on people you haven’t seen or heard from in a while with a phone call. They’ll appreciate your call and you maybe the only one who cared enough to check in.

Being connected to others is a fundamental human need and it’s essential for business. Strengthening client relationships adds to your bottom line and contributes to the greater good.

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Want To Attract New Clients? Leverage Your Relationships

If you wanted to increase the number of new clients you served, what tactics would you use?

Would you increase marketing efforts, do more prospecting, or discount offerings to existing clients?

Most business owners would do at least 1 or all 3 of the tactics listed above. Yet each tactic comes with a hefty price tag. There’s a smarter way to increase your clients and it starts with your existing client base.

Savvy leaders leverage relationships to attract new clients. Do you?

In today’s modern world of internet networking, business owners assume electronic communications is all you need to keep your clients engaged.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Good business leaders understand the power of personal connection and use other methods of communication to nurture relationships.

With just a few tweaks to your communications strategy, you can leverage your existing client base to generate new clients

1. Reconnect with past clients, vendors, and associates. I get it, we all have contacts that have fallen through the cracks. More than likely, they’ve thought about you and wondered, so reconnect. If you’re embarrassed because you haven’t kept in touch, admit it. Acknowledge your guilt, apologize, and commit to consistent communication.

2. Identify the rock stars. Not every client deserve personal attention but your rock stars do. Those that have referred people deserve more than a thank you email. They deserve a bouquet of flowers, a gift card, or small appreciation gift. By acknowledging their efforts with a small gift, you’ll motivate them to continue referring clients to you.

3. Commit to good content. If you send e-newsletters, make sure it’s worthwhile to read. Emailing coupons and offerings shouldn’t be the only content they receive. Mix it up, entertain, inform, and uplift.

4. Connect on a human level. Putting relationships first sounds great but are you walking the talk? Do right by your clients by serving them on a personal level. What are their wants beyond the services you provide?

 

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Why Unhappy Customers Cost More Than You Think


As customers, we’ve all experienced lousy products and services. Most of us shrug it off and vow never to buy from that company again. Yet there’s a special few who go the extra mile in getting their revenge.

If you’ve shared your bad experience with others, complained to the company, or gave a bad review on social media you’re part of that special few.

Sure, at one time or another, we’re all been part of that group.

Do you know how much money you’re costing companies every time you write a bad review, or call customer service to complain?

To put bluntly, you’re costing them ALOT!

As consumers, this may sound like justice being served, but if you’re a business owner, you should be concerned and here’s why.

 Unhappy customers create a domino effect of revenue loss.

Companies lose much more then life time revenue. In Fred Richfield’s book The Ultimate Question 2.0, Fred explains the domino effect unhappy customers (detractors) create which results in huge revenue loss.

How can a detractor create a domino effect of revenue loss?

The unhappy customer takes their anger out on your frontline staff creating low morale. Dealing with 1 or 2 disgruntled customers is common place. Yet, as the number of detractors grow, the greater the impact on company morale and job satisfaction. The once serene workplace turns into a negative work environment which results in talented staff quitting.

Employee turnover is an expensive problem.
A Huffington Post article titled, How Much Does Employee Turnover Really Cost, by Jack Altman, states the cost of losing an employee is 1.5-2.0x an employee’s annual salary.

Darn you unhappy customers!

In addition, detractors impact revenue by bad mouthing your company. If your company’s brand isn’t well establish this could spell disaster, especially if you lack enough social proof to overcome negative reviews. For a prospect to consider your services, it could take 5 to 10 positive comments for every negative comment made.

Ouch!

To truly know how much unhappy customers are costing your business, calculate the potential revenue of a lifetime customer, plus the cost of loss staff, plus the loss of prospects and referrals.  Multiply this number by each detractor and that’s how much revenue your company is losing.

Yes, it’s a big number and why customer relationships are so important.  Customers can be your best salesforce, or your worse critic.

In essence, unhappy customers can put you out of business.

So moral of the story, do right by your customers!

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How To Optimize YOUR Brain Power & Take Massive Action

If you created your 2018 Business Success Plan or are working on it, chances are your plan will call for massive action.

We optimize our resources for efficiency and value. Why not optimize the most powerful asset available to us, our brain?

Most entrepreneurs buy in to the latest trend of hustling and overlook the importance of enhancing our brain power. Yet, when it comes to taking massive action, providing your brain what it needs to deliver peak performance wins hands down.

Experienced business owners understand how their brains operate and work with it to optimize results. Do you?

What do you need to know about your brain for peak performance?

We’ve all experienced the auto pilot effect.

For example, arriving home with few memories of the mechanical process of driving there, or our daily morning routine. When we repeatedly do something, it becomes second nature.

When you form habits they become part of our subconscious, or long-term memory. Using less energy, you perform habitual activities without thinking about them. Learning something new, or solving complex problems requires more energy.
You have to think about what you’re doing because it’s stored as a short-term memory.

The goal for brain optimization is 3-fold; to transition vital information from short -term to long- term as quickly as possible, reserve energy, and restore energy reserves when depleted.

8 way to Optimize Your Brain Power

1. Empty your brain of to-do lists and ideas. Keep a notepad with you so you can jot down ideas when they come and use technology to create to-do lists. As David Allen stated in his book Getting Things Done, “Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them.”

2. Practice makes mastery. Move essential information and knowledge from short-term memory to long-term through practice and reinforcement. Once in long-term memory, you expend less energy.

3. Use pictures and music to remember information. Did you know that long-term memories are stored in the emotional brain? Linking information with music and pictures will enhance your memory.

4. Reserve decisions making energies. Use your energy to make important decisions. Energy used to decide what to eat can be used elsewhere. Decide on breakfast once and have the same thing for the next week or month.

5. Work on complex tasks during peak brain times. Do you know what time of day you’re the most alert and focused? Are mornings the best time for you? Maybe you prefer the afternoons or evenings. If you don’t know, experiment and find the time of day you’re laser focused. Tasks the involve planning, brainstorming, or tasks you don’t want to do should be worked on during your peak time. FYI, it’s normal to have more than 1 peak time.

6. Rest and recover. When work becomes challenging, give yourself a break for your brain to recover. Allow at least 15 minutes. If you’re feeling stuck and can’t find the answer, walk away and allow your brain to relax. You’ll find your brain will give you an answer when you least expect it.

7. Stay nourished. Avoid skipping meals and stay hydrated to restore energy.

8. One thing at a time. Multitasking is a huge energy drainer. Avoid distractions and focus on one task for a determined time period.

BONUS: Have yet to create your 2018 Business Success Plan? Tap here to learn how to get started!

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Rookie Mistake: Awkward Sales Response

I enjoy networking. It’s one of many reasons I’m self-employed. Connecting with business owners is exhilarating. Until recently, I haven’t had to deal with being hit on. Either I’m completely oblivious when someone is flirting, or I assume it’s how some people build rapport. A week ago, I had an awkward encounter which  has given me reason to be more aware.

A prospect I met on a networking website wanted to start a referral program for his home improvement business. We discussed his needs and products options over the course of 3 months. He was very personable and we had a good connection.

While attempting to call a friend, I accidently dialed his number. Expecting a woman’s voice to answer, I quickly replied that I had the wrong phone number and hung up. After a few minutes, I realized who I called and that’s when I received a text from the prospect.

The text read, “I kinda wish you didn’t have the wrong number.”

Tickled about the situation, I immediately called the prospect back and jokingly explained what happened. We laughed and during our conversation,  he commented on the sexiness of my voice in a playful manner.

I laughed it off and didn’t think anything of it. He knew I had a boyfriend (at least I mentioned it before). We agreed to schedule a meeting for the following week.
Confident I would close him at our meeting, I began prepping paper work.

Finally!

All the time spent following up was paying off.

During the next few days, we scheduled an evening meeting via text at a local pub grill.

Prospect: “Is 6pm ok with you?”
Me: “Yes”
Prospect: “Cool, since it’ll be coming from work, could we get dinner?”
Me: “sure.”
Prospect: “Great it’s a date!”

Ummm wait, what? Let’s rewind this…. Personable guy, great business connection, thinks my voice is sexy, it’s date??
Oh no!

The feeling of uneasiness started to creep in. How should I reply? Should I brush it off? No, I gotta say something. I started to feel like a lady of the night.
Besides, if I kept this from Ryan, I would feel guilty.
Dang it!
I really want the sale. Should I risk losing the sale?
I completely over thought the situation and my conscience got the best of me.

I replied, “Well it’s more like a dinner meeting.”
Prospect: “When I said it’s a date, I didn’t mean a romantic date. I meant a date on the calendar.”
Like a rookie, I replied with a fist pump emoji.

Although my response was awkward, I was relieved. If it’s a misunderstanding, we can easily sweep this under the rug and continue the sales process.

To make a long story short, we didn’t meet. The prospect stood me up and never replied to my voicemail or text.
Yes, I lost the sale, but I wasn’t upset.

If he truly had no romantic intentions, he would have met with me, right?

I despite the rookie mistakes I’m pleased that I stood up for myself when I felt uncomfortable. Of course I could have used more tact, but practice makes mastery!

Have you ever experienced a similar situation? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you!

                                                                                  THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
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Purpose Revealed: Serving Entrepreneurs

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve gone off script with the last few posts and you may be wondering,”What the heck is going on?”

I’ve written about travel for several months and now you see posts about business and self-improvement.
Confusing right?

First, I’d like to apologize for the confusion.

The last thing I want to do is confuse my readers. I enjoy travel and believe in all the benefits it has to offer I’ve uncovered my true passion, helping entrepreneurs.

You know that feeling of complete bliss get after doing something you truly enjoy?

Well that’s the feeling I get when I serve entrepreneurs.

It’s time to accept my calling and share my wisdom with the world.

As a small business owner, I understand the challenges we face wearing multiple hats. We work countless hours marketing, serving others, and improving our business.

My entrepreneurial journey has been filled with triumphs and mistakes, Mount Everest peak highs and deep ditch valleys lows. Yet, through it all, I’m stronger, more confident.

I’ve spent countless hours prospecting, and feeding the marketing beast and almost depleted my resources. If I knew what I know now, I could have saved thousands of dollars and be further along in my business.

I want to share what I’ve learned with so entrepreneurs can avoid the same mistakes I’ve made.

I want your business journey be less tumultuous, and more fulfilling.

I’m committed to helping small business owners create relationship focused marketing strategies that are aligned with their branding and lifestyle.

We all know relationships are key to living a fulfilled life. It turns out the same is true for building a strong, sustainable business. There is a trend of hacking business relationships and it’s costing entrepreneurs money!

What if you could turn key clients into permanent referral sources? How much time and money would you save? How much money would you earn? It’s time to work smart not hard!

Future posts will focus on my passion and I ask for your patience as I transition. I’ll continue to write about travel as it relates to business and still include hot vacation deals from time to time.

If my new focus doesn’t interest you, no hard feelings. Share this posts with someone who would benefit from the information. If you’re a service provider and you’re tired of feeding the marketing beast, than stay tune for future posts.

Thanks for your understanding!

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Need More Referrals? Try Tiered Appreciation


Those who provide referrals should be thanked differently than those who provide leads. Thank everyone the same way and you overlook the superstars who could bring you more business.

Common sense right?

Yet most entrepreneurs send thank emails, or notes to everyone for everything and believe it’s effective.

Well, it’s not.

In fact, by showing your appreciation this way you’re hack your business and leaving money on the table.
Let me explain why.

There’s a difference between word of mouth,  leads, introductions, and referrals. They don’t have the same value.
Although each action markets your business, they don’t all motivate prospects to buy.

For instance, word of mouth buzz creates visibility. It doesn’t take much effort for your network to mention your business to others who need your solution. There’s little to no motivation for the prospect to take action.

A lead is contact information of someone who needs your solution. The only connection you have with the lead is the person who gave you their information. Name dropping might get you dedicated time (hopefully) but there’s no guarantee you’ll get the sale. In addition, you go through the same process as a cold lead.

An introduction puts you a step closer to a sale. When you’re introduced to a prospect trust is transferred to you and the sales cycle is shortened.

On the other hand, those who send business your way sell the prospect on why they need your services, what they like about you, and provides your contact information. All the upfront work is done for you. The prospect shows up wanting your services so there’s little work required on your behalf to close the sale.

All you need to do is to not screw it up!

True referral sources should be appreciated as the rock stars they are. They are literally your sales force and should be treated as such.
Tiered appreciation identifies the superstars in your network and who to give more attention to. Give your rock stars small gifts to show your appreciation and they’ll continue to refer you. Need help with gift ideas? Head over to the appreciation gift page.

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