Are You Losing Customers?

Are you so successful that you can afford to lose good, long-term customers?  Most of us want to retain customers and continue to provide value for them.  But  inflexible policies and procedures can cost you business.

dreamstime_s_43391176Let me share a story.  I recently moved from Florida to California.  I notified my banks, the IRS, my credit card companies, etc.   All transferred me over to the new address except one- a gas company.  I had been their customer for 26 years. That's a long time. I typically spent $4000 a year with them, including some $500 moving across country

And they would not allow me to change my address.  I called and they said I needed to provide proof of the move in writing,  Which I did- to no avail.  They continued to send bills to the old address, where anyone could see my credit card number and use it. (Most companies no longer put account numbers on bills for this very reason.)  They were not concerned about that kind of fraud; I was.

They refused to accept the proof I sent them. They wanted something from the Secretary of State of California. They were absolutely rigid and unyielding. And so I cancelled my card.  They lost a 26 year customer over a policy.

It's the exact opposite of how a customer-focused organization like the Ritz Carlton operates.  As I understand it, every employee is empowered to fix a customer problem up to $200.  Above that, they can go higher and seek assistance for the guest.

That's how you keep long-term customers.  Think about your policies and the way you do business.  Could some added flexibility enhance relationships?

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©2016, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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No More Excuses

Overwhelmed man with too much work from Stress ExpressNot long ago, I met a gentleman who was downtrodden and beleaguered. He explained to me all the reasons his business was not doing well and declared that he was just no good at that Internet stuff.  He also went on to say he had avoided a certain market because he was afraid what they might do.  He had all the perfect excuses for why he couldn't succeed. I felt sorry for him and had compassion for him.  But ultimately, he made his own choices and he is now sitting in his discontent.

Excuses- we all make them and we all have them.  And ultimately, they mean nothing. NOTHING.  They are just rationalizations as to why we think we can't do something.

In this man's case, he could have taken courses to learn the Internet,  hired a college kid to do it for him, or used his own kids.  There are so many different ways he could overcome his fear of the Internet but instead, he just gave up.

Don't give up.  And NO MORE EXCUSES!

You can overcome almost any challenge.  Ask for help. Take courses. Check and see if your assumptions are true.  Network with others in your field and learn how they handle these issues.  Just don't sit around whining. Take action to overcome these challenges.

I once heard Christopher Reeves speak  after his debilitating accident.  He talked about control and how he had lost so much of it when he became paralyzed.  But then he realized the one area he could take control was how he treated his caregivers.

If someone like that can take control, take action and move forward, you can, too.

 

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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The 1 Key to Great Presentations

Do This and You Cannot Fail

AYP4LRSo many people ask me as a professional speaker how to overcome nervousness and anxiety about public speaking.

And the answer is really simple: PREPARATION.  The more you prepare in 4 ways, the more likely you will be confident, relaxes and effective in your speaking.

#1 Prepare your material
Know what you are going to say inside and out.  Research it, cite  sources, know your facts, and most of all, have great stories. People love stories and they remember them.

#2 Prepare your audience.  Get to know them in advance.  What are they worried about?  How you can help them with your material?  What are their victories and can you share about them?  Can you make them heroes? Ask questions, get their participation, enroll them in using social media, if appropriate, with hashtags, etc.

# 3 Prepare your space.  Know where you will be presenting and if possible, control the room set.  Make it easy for everyone to see you, and if you use AV, make sure it works. I don't encourage people to use Powerpoint® because it can be so boring.  Instead, give action worksheets and get your audience involved with your speech.

#4 Prepare yourself. Practice what you are going to say in front of friends and get their feedback.  Don't memorize- it's fine to have notes.  Tell stories and demonstrate a sense of humor. Have lines ready for when you flub up.  Your ability to laugh at yourself shows confidence and relaxes the audience.  They want you to succeed. Pick professional clothes that show off your best features.  Be polished and ready.  Smile and be yourself.

Now go fire them up!

 

For more information about how to present , check out my latest new audio CD and mp3.

Fire Up! Your Presentation Skills!
(especially helpful for Introverts)

HAPPINESS CD1 artMost everyone gets nervous when they have to give a presentation. In this comprehensive audio, you’ll learn:

• how to overcome fear, no matter who you have to speak to
• the most important things to know as you prepare
• the best tools to relax while you are speaking
• how to harness the power of body language
• the winning formula for a good speech
• how even introverts can become excellent speakers

Only  $20.00 mp3

 

 

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5 Ways to Fire Up Your Sales

Ignite Your Sales with These Quick Tips 

Never push a prospect- add value.

Never force or manipulate- demonstrate listening and caring.

Businessmen Handshake1.Truly listen to your customers
Everyone wants to be heard, and appreciated. Ask what their needs and concerns are, find out what successes they have had, focus on them and do whatever you can to help, even if it means you don't get the sale, this time.  Be a valued resource and trusted advisor.

2. Use stories and customer testimonials -   Give examples of real people who have had a problem you solved. Tell the truth. And use customer testimonials to back up your stories. Always get written permission.  Here's an example from one of my speaking programs: "Snowden McFall, may I personally say what a fabulous speaker you are. We all enjoyed your keynote speech. Productivity is certainly the topic of the decade. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." Mary Fisher - I asked her permission to use and she said absolutely.

3. WIFT Always focus on the benefits to that particular customer.  What is in it for them?  Why choose you over all the other competitors out there?  Demonstrate you understand their needs, fears and pain points and show you have
proven solutions for them.

4. Overcome objections by raising them yourself.
You know what the push-back is.  Overcome it by demonstrating why the objection is not valid, or how you have resolved it.  Show you think like they do.

5. Have genuine enthusiasm for your products or service. Nothing sells like genuine enthusiasm- it is rare and it is contagious.  Get Fired Up! about what you are sharing and keep that top of mind. Your Fire will spread and ignite theirs.

 

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Unlimited Choice is NOT a Good Thing…For Your Business

Have you ever been to a restaurant with a huge menu?  I have and it just frustrates me because there is too much to focus on.

SwitchcoverMost of us think that "more" is always better.  But recent research indicates that is not the case. In the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick, cite several researchers demonstrating that too much choice paralyzes buyers.

Too many choices overwhelm   Iyengar and Lepper share several studies where too much choice is "demotivating." A gourmet store featured a line of exotic, high quality jams.  Customers tasted samples and received a discount coupon to buy a jar.  6 varieties were used on one trial; another featured 24 varieties. 30% of people in the 6 choice trial bought the jam; only 3% of people with 24 varieties bought the jam.

What does this mean for you and your business ?

• Limit the options  If you have a variety of services or products, cut down on the choices. Make them no more than 6, if possible.  Make it easy for buyers, patients and customers to decide.

Be crystal clear about the value they will receive.  Differentiate between each option so they can choose what it exactly correct for them.

The old KISS method applies here.  Keep it simple & straightforward.

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©2013 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Sales Tip: Overcome Objections by Leading with Them

Take a Tip from PR Specialists

Fired Up presenterIf you've ever watched a scandal unfold, you've seen how well or poorly it can be handled.  Most PR professionals believe in breaking an imminent story first, so that they can control the message and lead with the truth.  That's good advice for sales as well.

If you know there is an obvious question or objection to your product or service,
after you have carefully listened to your prospects needs and concerns, control your message by overcoming any objections up front.  Lead with them, show why they are not true and give real case studies that back up what you say. Be relaxed and confident about any objections, not defensive or reactive.  That's a position of strength and integrity, which positions you well versus your competition.

Take the time to truly study your competition, know your strengths and weaknesses and anticipate any possible objections. Overcome them with courage and data; it will serve you well.

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©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Why is Good Customer Service So Rare?

Ok- I admit it- I'm frustrated.  Very frustrated.  I have dealt with many vendors including phone companies, insurance companies, and banks this week who seem like they could care less about their customers.  They don't return phone calls, they change your plan without your permission, they start charging you fees out of the blue because they want to and they really don't care if you are unhappy.  They break agreements, lie to you and then consider this acceptable.  This is not the way to run a business.

You and I both know that if we treated my customers and clients the way I have been treated this week, we would be out of business. In my speeches and trainings, we focus on adding value to the customer, delighting them, giving them so much more than they expect.  Often what happens is they become viral advocates for your business and tell others how great you are.  But that's not the reason to do it.  The reason to do it is because that's the way to do smart business- to provide quality, excellence and added value.  That's how you stay in business.

Maybe one of these days conglomerates will start to understand that- as their customers leave in droves.  I am certainly thinking about it.

How about you?  Any great customer service stories?

 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Fire Up Your Marketing with Genuine Testimonials

 Use Longer, Meaningful Testimonials for Impact

We've all seen the phony sounding TV commercials with hackneyed phrases that don't ring true. That is not good advertising. It turns us off. What is highly effective is the use of authentic customer testimonials which are highly specific about the value received.

At Brightwork, my ad agency,  we regularly call our clients' customers to ask them the right questions to ascertain this value. . That often will yield powerfulmarketing information that the client was not even aware of.   Then we get written permission from the customer to use the testimonial in all marketing for the client, noting that no compensation will be provided for this usage.  That legal document can be important. Real testimonial quotes like these can make a substantive difference in your Internet presence, brochures, direct mailers and websites.

Consider this one, for example:

Fired Up sales person"I've worked with a dozen realtors and Sue Bird is by far the best.  She constantly stayed on top of every detail in our deal... She saw the entire transaction through from start to finish...even staying in touch after the sale tobe sure I was satisfied.  In a day when incompetence is rampant, Sue is refreshing.  Her confidence and knowledge made me feel comfortable.  She has great expertise and I will definitely use her again." Dan O'Brien

Some people think short one liner testimonials are better- such as 'Sue did a great job."  I disagree.  Meaningful testimonials which speak to value received are much more powerful.  Consider this with your marketing- and here's a tip- have someone else interview your clients.  It's difficultto do this effectively for yourself.

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference.