Archive for the ‘First Person PR — Yours’ Category

Will you retire from work when you’re 65 or 95?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

Some people retire when they’re 65 or 70. Others are not the retiring type and still work in their 90s. Others go back to work after retiring. Or you might want to volunteer. Your decision will probably depend on your financial resources, your personality, your interests and how rewarding your life style is.

Here are some helpful resources as you consider the next chapter in your life.

Consider your possibilities to see what “works” for you?!

Do Your Customers Love You?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Because “you need your customers more than they need you,” Jeb Blount offers the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Service” in his book, People Love You – The Real Secret to Delivering Legendary Customer Experiences.

As Blount explains, “The fact is customers are not loyal to products, services or companies. Instead, they are loyal to people they like, trust and believe in.” So while the mechanics and process of servicing customers are important, your real goal is to build “strong emotional bonds with customers that last a lifetime.”

Thus, Blount presents “The Seven Essential Principles of Customer Engagement”:

“Principle 1: You Need Your Customers More Than They Need You. The number one reason companies fail is a lack of customers. Whether you are the boss, account manager or sales person, top customer service professionals believe their mission is to help their customers win and reach their goals. They are advocates for their customers. And they believe that by helping their customers reach their goals, they will reach their own.”

“Principle 2: Customers Are People. They are emotional, irrational and human. They feel fear and stress. They are overworked and underpaid. They are time starved. They have ambition and goals. They have an insatiable need to feel important and appreciated. They have families and priorities. Each interaction with a person crates an experience that they remember. Though you may believe that your product or service has a greater impact on your customer’s experience than you do, remember that customers don’t do business with companies, they do business with people – you.”

“Principle 3: You Are Always On Stage. Business is a grand stage and…from that stage you deliver customer experiences. Everything you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language can and will have an impact on your customer’s experience. Your words and actions have meaning. A misspoken word, display of raw emotion, or slip of the tongue will impact the relationships you have with customers. … This is where customer experience is born. Yours and theirs.”

“Principle 4: Customers Act on Emotion and Justify with Logic. “One of the core principles of the ‘People Love You’ philosophy is the universal law of human behavior: People act first (or buy) on emotion and then justify those actions with logic.’ Yes, there are ‘folks who will argue this point to the death.’ And, yes it is true that we all try to make logical purchasing decisions based on facts, numbers, observations and stats. But it is the emotion we feel that causes us to act.”

“Principle 5: Customers Do Things for Their Reasons – Not Yours. Account managers or customer service professionals should embrace the belief that though customers may not always be right, they are always first. They stand in their shoes and view situations through their customer’s perspective.”

“Principle 6: Customers Don’t Do Illogical Things on Purpose. While some managers believe ‘customers do dumb things on purpose’ … there is usually an alternative explanation for their actions. … Top customer service professionals assume positive intent. In other words, they recognize that the customer thought she was doing the right thing. They know that when a customer is doing the wrong thing, there is a reason and it is in their best interest as a service professional (because they need their customers more than their customers need them) to investigate why the person is doing something that seems illogical rather than simply judge it as such. This helps them to either gain understanding or uncover and remove the root cause.”

“Principle 7: Always Give More Than Is Required. Generally, when discussing customer service, the cliché is to ‘exceed customer expectations.’ But, Jeb Blount explains, ‘it is not always possible to exceed their expectations, since you may not know what they are or can’t exceed them. “At my company, we have a simple value statement that we live by. We always do more than we have to and we will be kind to everyone, no matter what. … Focus on what you can control – your actions. … That is, ‘give your customers more value that they paid for.’ We often forget about our expectations and instead think about how good we feel and our experience.”

Blount discusses the “Five Levers of Customer Experience that help you move people to love you by tapping into the motivations that are driven by human emotion,” and he explains how to “make breaking up hard to do.”

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How to Increase Your Business Referrals

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

“The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word-of-mouth referrals are what drive business today,” John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing,  says in his book, The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself. “Human beings are physiologically wired to make referrals. That’s why so many businesses can grow and thrive by tapping this business-building strategy alone.”

The Referral Engine encourages you to take an objective look at your business and reevaluate your marketing strategy as well as your business model. Get ready to “craft a strategy that compels customers and partners to voluntarily participate in your marketing, to create positive buzz about your products and services to friends, neighbors and colleagues.”

When we buy products or services, we are really buying experiences. Yes, referrals start with the quality of your professional knowledge, skills, services and products. However, as Jantsch explains in The Referral Engine, the “first step in the design of your referral system is to unearth the simple remarkable difference that is your chief competitive advantage. … It’s not enough to be an accountant who gets the tax return done before April 15 or your money back. If you want people to talk, you’ve got to be the accountant who gets the tax return done before April 15, then gets your oil changed at the car wash next door while you discuss your return in his office.”  And, that’s just the beginning.

If you need help developing a “core talkable difference” or innovation for your start-up or mature (needing some reinvention) business, The Referral Engine is loaded with resources, examples, and strategies to help you identify new strategies for building your business and endless referrals.

What does your business do and what does it mean to your customers? Who are your ideal customers? What is your added and “extreme” value? How do you and your staff engage customers in a memorable way that leads to word-of-mouth referrals? Why do or should they choose you over a competitor? Do you know which referral system would work best for your company?

“In preparation for writing this book,” Jantsch says, “I conducted an informal survey of several thousand small business owners. Unsurprisingly, I found that 63.4 percent felt that over half their business came by way of referrals. “But,” he notes, “of that same group, 79.9 percent readily admitted that they had no system of any kind to generate referrals.”

Is it time for a new approach?

“If you love to cold call and dig spending money on advertising, then The Referral Engine is not for you,” David Meerman Scott says in praise of the book. However, if you appreciate the value and potential of referrals, then, as Seth Godin notes, “This book will pay for itself in one day.”

 

Challenges of the Self-Employed

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

You might be considering self-employment as your new year’s goal and could find these perspectives helpful. If you are already your own boss, please share your experiences.

4 Big Challenges Today’s Self-Employed Professionals Face

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9996-self-employment-challenges.html

The Challenges of Being Self-Employed

https://www.theselfemployed.com/working-from-home/challenges-self-employed/

Five Challenges of Being Your Own Boss

https://timsstrategy.com/5-challenges-of-being-your-own-boss/

Risks and Challenges of Being Self-Employed – How to Reinforce Your Small Business

https://www.next-insurance.com/blog/risks-challenges-of-being-self-employed/

The Self-Employed on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/theselfemployed/

You will find many more resources when you Google “Books about self-employment” and “Magazines about self-employment.”

Happy New Year !!!

What is Your Brand?

Monday, December 10th, 2018

How do potential customers perceive your product or service? Do you have an “attractive” brand that communicates what they can expect from your business?

Define your audience. Are you trying to reach college students, working parents or corporate executives? Find adjectives that describe your business approach (i.e. traditional, reliable, playful, whimsical, fun). “Look at the marketplace and find examples of your competitor’s branding,” notes Luke Renn, Luke Renn Design. “Then determine what you like and dislike about their branding. Always be unique when creating your own identity, but keep in mind what has been successful in the marketplace.”

To start, your brand identity will be expressed through a logo, colors and typography. Keep in mind, the most effective logos are typically simple (think of the Apple logo). Once you’ve created your fundamental branding, it can be applied to many types of marketing materials: “business cards, envelopes, website, social media, t-shirts, banners, vehicle graphics and much more,” notes Renn. Behind these potential ideas, however, is your target market and audience and how they respond to your brand. Remember their expectations and your commitment to them. It’s an ongoing process of establishing a solid image or impression with an individual, group or organization.

You and your brand should build trust and confidence. Branding reflects what others think about your abilities. You want to develop a solid personal reputation. People like supporting local businesses and other professionals. Know your audience…what are their expectations?

In addition to graphic design Luke Renn’s brand also includes being an actor and voice-over artist.

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Holidays…It’s Time to Job Hunt!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

You may want to relax and enjoy the holidays, but November through January are considered optimal job hunting months. You’re networking at holiday events, your boss may be more relaxed and open to “promotional” conversations, and many companies are trying to fill positions during this time.

If, while focusing on the holidays, you wouldn’t mind fine-tuning and improving your job hunting strategies and skills, then you might be interested in a few resources.

Top 11 Reasons to Job Search During the Holidays: 
https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-reasons-to-job-search-during-the-holidays-2062214

10 Tips to Job Hunt Successfully During the Holidays: 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/12/03/10-tips-to-job-hunt-successfully-during-the-holidays/#660818fe672d

Happy Holidays!

Blogging for Business

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Millions – yes, millions – of bloggers cover a variety of subjects and interests. Here are just a few of those that could help you make the decision.

 

4 Reasons Why Blogging Is Important for Your Business

https://blog.wishpond.com/post/47804902390/4-reasons-why-blogging-is-important-for-your-business

The Importance of Blogging

https://www.firstpagemarketing.com/blog/the-importance-of-blogging/

9 Reasons Why a Blog is Important for Your Career and Life

https://www.jeffbullas.com/sponsored/9-reasons-why-a-blog-is-important-career-life/

5 Reasons Why Your Website’s Blog Is Important for SEO

https://netvantagemarketing.com/blog/5-reasons-websites-blog-important-seo/

How to Write SEO Friendly Blog Posts –

My Step By Step Process (Alex Chris)

https://www.reliablesoft.net/seo-friendly-blog-posts/

This Is Exactly What Your First Blog Post Should Be About

https://www.shoutmeloud.com/write-first-blog-post.html

History of Blogging — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging

 

For some inspiration, you might want to Google “First Blog Post of Famous Bloggers.”  While you’re Googling, you will learn: how many bloggers there are; how many make money; how many make a living (megabucks at times); and, much more. Then you will understand if and why you want to blog?!

How to Network

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Business networking has been with us forever. While the venues and opportunities grow and change, we learn more about ourselves and how to develop mutually rewarding relationships. Contacts can emerge through referrals and introductions whether face-to-face or via phone, email, social media, or networking websites.

Here are resources that can offer rewarding results. Let’s start with some How To’s:

How to Network Like A Pro – Forbes  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/05/…/how-to-network-like-a-pr

How to Network Like You Really Mean It

Inc. Magazine, by Minda Zetlin

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/8-things-power-networkers-do-make-connections.html

How to Network When You Don’t Like Networking

https://fairygodboss.com/articles/how-to-network-when-you-hate-networking

How to Network

Lots of information from YouTube networkers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfNN3b1dofQ

And, more resources:

10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

http://www.businessknowhow.com/tips/networking.htm

5 Things You MUST Do During Networking Events

http://www.workitdaily.com/networking-events-things-must-do/

12 Things Not To Do When Networking

http://www.careertoolbelt.com/12-things-not-to-do-when-networking/

Lots of books discuss the business networking process. One of them is Guerilla Marketing in 30 Days, 3rd Edition, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager. Among their many suggestions is to develop networking goals. For example:

  • Meet 10 new people.
  • Receive eight business cards.
  • Note something of interest on each card.
  • Write a follow-up note to five of these people (or all).
  • Call and set up an appointment after writing to three contacts.
  • Continue the relationship with two of these.

The book also offers encouraging “Ongoing Networking Tips and Techniques” and  “Action Steps.”

Here’s to your networking success.

Do you know the secrets to rewarding phone conversations?

Monday, September 17th, 2018

“How many of your business conversations happen on the phone? For many people, it’s most of them. In fact, some of us spend more time talking to people we can’t see than we do in face-to-face interaction.  Your body language shapes what they hear and that shapes how they feel about you,” notes Catherine Johns, speaker, author and former radio personality.
https://catherinejohns.com/

“When people hear your voice, even if they can’t see you, they’re forming impressions of you. It helps to understand the secrets of compelling conversations with unseen others,” adds Johns.

Here are her suggestions.

  • Stand up. Your voice will have a lot more energy in it if you stand while you speak. Even if you do most of your work seated, you’ll project more strength when you stand up for that important phone call.
  • But if you sit, sit up straight. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor, your bottom squarely in the chair, your spine erect and your shoulders back and down. No hunching over the desk. Sitting like this, you’ll be grounded and your voice will be stronger and more resonant.
  • A headset helps. Holding the phone to your ear makes your arm tired, and a lot of us press our ear to the phone and strain our necks in the process. A speaker phone solves those problems, but the sound is thin and hollow. Use a headset instead. Even the earbuds that have a mic on the cord with give you freedom to move with decent audio quality.
  • Speak from your core. The energy should come from the power center below your navel, not from your throat or your head. With the phone or a mic close to your mouth, there’s no need for big volume. Don’t shout. While you want energy in your voice, you’ll get it from being grounded and relaxing your body.
  • Energize your voice by moving your body.  Use gestures just as you would if you were right there in the room with the person. Your conversational partner can’t see your hands moving, but the gestures animate your voice and they will hear the difference. When you gesture to emphasize a point, for instance, you’ll soundmore emphatic too.
  • And don’t forget your face. Facial expressions reflect your inner state and people can sense your mood even when they can’t see your face. So, don’t pick up the phone with a frown unless you’re about to let someone have it, for good reason. Some people find it helps to have a mirror near their desk – looking at yourself is a reminder to smile.
  • Or theirs. Talking to someone you don’t know? Let’s say you’re making a sales call. Or, it’s the phone screening that precedes an in-person job interview. When the stakes are high, it’s easy to freeze up so you sound stiff and unnatural.  As you prepare for your call, pull up the person’s picture on LinkedIn or the company website. It will give you something to focus on and help you sound as if you’re talking to an actual human.

If you do know the person, visualize them as you place the call. Just make a mental picture – there she is, sitting in her office, seeing your name on Caller I.D. and smiling as she reaches for the phone. See how that sets you up for a warmer conversation?

  • Speak a bit more slowly than you ordinarily do. Enunciate. Remember that visual cues are missing. All they have to go on is your words and the tone of your voice. To make sure they understand everything you say, you may need a slower pace than you would in a face-to-face conversation. This is especially true if one of you is not a native speaker of English, of if you’re covering complex—or controversial –content.
  • Pause to project confidence. A moment of silence enhances understanding and gives your listener a chance to absorb what you’re saying. The pause is also a powerful signal that you’re comfortable and confident. You’re not rushing, you’re not apologizing for taking up their time, and you’re not desperate for this conversation to be over.

 This is especially important when you are desperate for it to be over!

You may have had an experience where you didn’t know how to finish so you just kept talking and eventually it became awkward. It’s better to put a period on it and settle into the silence. Let the other person be the next to speak.

  • Listen more than you talk. You’re brilliant, of course. You have important information to impart and deep insights to share. They’ll be more impressed with all of it if they hear as much of themselves as they hear from you.

On the phone, we can’t see someone’s eyes glaze over. We may not be aware that they’ve tuned out and started checking their email. The way to head that off is to say what you have to say—once. Say it well. Then zip it. And listen.

If you follow Catherine’s suggestions, you’ll have more rewarding phone conversations. And you may be surprised at the opportunities they create.

Ready for Your Interview?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

All of us are familiar with interviews, whether as the interviewee or interviewer. We might be job hunting and the interview is critical. Or, in researching a subject for an article or book, we have to interview an expert in the field. Or, a media reporter wants to interview you.

Whatever our goal and perspective, we should be prepared for the interview so we know we did our best.

Here are some interesting and helpful resources that will keep us on top of the interview.

If you want even more insights about interviewing for a job, check out Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, Chapter 12, “Hand-to-Hand Combat, Winning the Face-to-Face Interview.” The book was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Authors are Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.

Interviews offer new perspectives, information and opportunities we might not have considered. You never know?!!!!