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Churning Clients Off: How To Improve Client Retention

My sister recently had a horrible experience with an auto repair business. They quoted her one price and the next day, increased it by $60.00. She waited 4 hours for her car when they promised it would be ready when she arrived and the day after the repairs, my sister’s car wouldn’t start.

What a freakin’ waste of time and money! What lousy service!
Does this sound familiar?

All too often consumers feel victimized after their first purchase and the odds of them repurchasing is ZERO.

While the churn and burn method of doing business is still practiced, the success of your business relies on customer retention.

Smart entrepreneurs know the key to client retention is delivering great and consistent customer experience.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself about the customer experience in your business.
1. Am I clear when setting expectations? Transparency is key to a satisfied customer. Be very clear on what you need from the client and what they can expect from you.
2. Do I speak to all my clients the same? Not all clients are motivated by the same thing. Many clients are turned off by feeling like just another number. Identifying the types of client you have and tailoring your message to fit your client types will improve engagement.

3. Do I follow-up after the purchase? Asking clients if their needs were met is essential to increasing repeat buying. The feedback received will help improve your business and is an opportunity to solve a new problem.

4. How do I handle dissatisfied clients? Being kind, professional, and helpful when handling dissatisfied customers opens the door to future purchases.

5. Do I demonstrate that I care? Clients want to know that you care about them and their problem. Beyond solving their issue, what support do you provide?

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How To Start A Conversation: What To Say

Life is some much sweeter when you’re able to connect with others. It’s also great for business. And for those of you who want to connect but don’t know how to start conversations or what to say, this post is for you!

After many awkward attempts at networking, hours of reading, and listening to podcasts, I’ve learned there are 5 simple tips for befriending people. Practicing my suggestions will make talking with anyone fascinating, fun and easy.

Best of all, you will be adored while still being yourself.

1. Allow a 2 second pause before a response. Like your mom used to say, “Think before you speak.” No matter how emotional the conversation, collecting your thoughts before talking will prevent you from saying something you’ll regret AND be respectful of the other person. Conversing with someone who doesn’t cut you off is welcoming. By following this one tip, people will spill the beans and tell you everything about their lives and think the world of you.

2. A simple question equals a simple answer. I have to admit, I’m still practicing this one. Being longwinded isn’t a good look on anyone. If someone asks you what you do and you tell them your whole life story, that person will avoid asking you anything else ever again.

3. Compliment and ask.
If a person captures your attention by what they’re wearing, reading, saying, etc. compliment them on it and ask about it. Starting a conversation with a genuine compliment is a positive and easy way to engage someone. Be specific in your compliment. Describing what you like and why paves the way to an engaging follow-up question.

4. It’s not about you.
Starting conversations is about being interested in the other person. This requires active listening and asking questions. If you’re constantly critiquing your every thought and move, you can’t be in the moment. If you can’t be in the moment, you can’t focus your attention on getting to know others. So GET OUT YOUR HEAD! Stop worrying and self-criticizing and start being curious. The beauty of being human is that we’re all seriously flawed beings with insecurities. Not to mention, we’re all weirdos too!

5. Be aware of your facial expressions.  There are some of us who naturally hold a mean look on our faces. If that’s the case practice a more approachable look.  I had the habit of mean mugging people and wondered why no one wanted to talk with me.  Yet once I changed my neutral facial expression, strangers initiate conversations with me on a regular basis.

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How To Generate Real Referrals

Many business owners are overlooking the power of referrals and mostly focusing on online marketing. Although internet ads have its advantages, ads don’t compare to referrals.

Some of you may disagree. Yet, when we explore the definition of a referral, I’m sure you’ll reconsider.

What is a referral?

As Stacey Brown states in her blog titled All “Referrals” Aren’t Referrals and Aren’t Created Equal, the definition of a referral has become extremely diluted today.

Most people generalize different types of leads and group together terms.

Understanding the difference between an introduction and cold lead will help you identify the right actions to generate REAL referrals.
Savvy BOSS LADIES teach their clients how to refer qualified new clients.

Types of referrals

When someone mentions your services/products to a friend, it generates word of mouth buzz. The more your name is seen or heard in their world, the more likely they seek you out. Although word of mouth buzz isn’t a referral, free marketing adds credibility and that’s a good thing.

If someone gives you the name of a company or contact information but doesn’t connect you, that’s a cold lead. Although you can use the referral source name, you work just as hard to close the sale as you would any other prospect. Very little trust is transferred from your contact to the referral. In fact, extra work may be needed to build rapport and overcome suspicion.

An introduction provides a little more leverage. When someone introduces you, a transfer of trust is made. The referral source is vouching for you which helps build rapport. This connection is a warm lead. Some effort is still required, especially if the referral source doesn’t explain why she’s connecting you.

When the referral source positions you as being the premier person to solve a problem and the referral contacts YOU, it’s a true referral. They’re already sold on your solution, and the trust is established by the referral source. The only effort required is to listen and not screw up the sale!

Clients who present you on a diamond encrusted platter can grow and sustain your business better than any online marketing funnel can. Rock star clients who send REAL referrals your way are game changers because you’re no longer worried about the next lead. Being sought after is the ultimate position all entrepreneurs dream of so how do you get there?

Marketing your business through referrals is an easy way to grow your business if you do it right. Consistent referrals can be achieved in a systematic way by using these three tips.

1. Inform new clients on how you work. If they know your primary business comes from referrals and how it benefits them, they’ll be more likely to send referrals your way.

2. Teach clients on how to identify your ideal client. If they know who your ideal client is, they will refer qualified people.

3. Show your appreciation to clients when they do refer someone. Once you convert a referral into a client, send your referral source an appreciation gift thanking them for the referral. A thank you card is a nice gesture, but spending a few dollars speaks volumes.

If you need more ideas on what to say, or someone to walk you through the process, lets schedule blueprint session!

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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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