Posts Tagged ‘word of mouth’

Customer Loyalty So You Have It?

The 20th century business model focus was labor intensive. Creating satisfied customers was the goal.  However, the 21st century has changed the marketplace forever.

With the click of a mouse thanks to the dramatic impact of ever changing technology, your satisfied customer can leave and become easily satisfied by your competitor. What will you do then?  Continue the same practices, policies, and procedures through archaic customer service training?

Customer loyalty is truly about your bottom line.  Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention can have a 25% to 100% in profits?

Take a moment to think about the impact of this figure to your bottom line. You already have satisfied customers.  By converting them, you save money by not acquiring new customers which is far more costly.

But the real power is that these loyal customers become your greatest marketers. They are singing your praises to everyone through Word of Mouth (WOM) advertising. And everyone in business knows that you cannot pay for a referral.

So what is keeping you from building loyal customers?  In many cases it may be your policies, procedures and customer service training.

For example, some organizations focus on timing the interactions between associates and customers.  Speed becomes the driver of the customer experience.  The customer cannot complain that the transaction took too long, but they will complain about being treated like a number, like an empty bag, like less than a human being. Have you ever had that experience?

Smarter salespeople are coming to realize that unresolved problems are keeping them from loyal customers.  If a customer has a problem and that problem is resolved to the satisfaction of the customer, repeat sales happens.  In other words, resolved problems create loyal customers who want to come back and spend or invest their dollars with you.

TAKE ACTION to think about your customers.  What can you do to build loyal customers?  If you do not have a customer loyalty strategic action plan, then construct one is where to begin.

And remember, the digital disruption will impact your customer loyalty strategies.

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How Your Marketing Turns on Sales Objections – Part 05

If we remember marketing extends beyond paid advertisements and the importance of word of mouth marketing, then our actions or our company’s actions specific to delivery can generate sales objections.  How often do we hear the negative comments about this company or that company not delivering on time?

sales objections


Delivery or the inability to deliver your solutions (products or services) within the ideal customer’s (sales lead) time frame is usually the last sales objection.  How you as a salesperson handle this objection is essential to ensuring your ability to increase sales.

Bad PR Sales Objections

Word of mouth is unpaid PR.  Good comments about your firm are embraced.  Bad comments can be a disastrous. Some firms actually pay people to watch social media for any negative or even misleading comments because social media is a marketing channel.

Documented Historical Behavior Sales Objections

Any ideal customer can conduct his or her own research to learn if your firm delivers on time.  When delivery is not as promised, this might be the time to get ahead of the potential bad PR and issue a statement.

Implication in the Marketing Message Sales Objections

Sometimes we hear the boastful salesperson talk about exceptional delivery and then later learn he or she was not completely accurate.  This inaccuracy harms the credibility of the salesperson and the small business he or she represents.

Delivery of solutions is always dependent upon many factors.  Salespeople need to know these factors such as a strike, plant maintenance or shutdowns.  By having this knowledge and sharing it when conducting business to business networking (marketing), reduces resistance to future sales barriers.

Peter Drucker said (paraphrasing) when marketing is done well, selling is effortless.  In today’s competitive world, the ability to increase sales starts with effective marketing that turns off sales objections instead of turning them on.

If you missed any of these postings on how marketing turns on sales objections, please feel free to review them as follows:

How Your Marketing Turns on Sales Objections – Part 01 – You as the barrier

How Your Marketing Turns on Sales Objections – Part 02 – Your company as the barrier

How Your Marketing Turns on Sales Objections – Part 03 – Your solution as the barrier

How Your Marketing Turns on Sales Objections – Part 04 – Your price as the barrier

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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How Real Estate Marketing Reveals The Desire to Sell

As in any industry, there are proactive realtors and those that are not so much so. What I have observed is how real estate marketing separate those with the “desire to sell” from the “desire to show.” Let me explain.



One of my clients who will be putting their house on the market spoke to the real estate agent who sold them their current home over 15 years ago. She asked him how he would market their higher value property.  His response was “word of mouth.”  This agent, the realtor in waiting, had an informal understanding because of an existing friendship he would sell their current home.  Nothing was put into writing.

Since my clients bought this home, they have established friendships with other realtors.  One of these real estate agents is very proactive with a proven track record of selling higher value homes because of her strong desire to sell.

This realtor told them about a home that would be going on the market. She knew they were thinking of selling and downsizing. This viewing would give them an opportunity to better understand the current real estate market and what type of home they could consider.  She also wanted to educate and help “her friends.”

About a week after seeing this home, the “realtor in waiting” let them know about this same soon to be listed home. They shared the other realtor had told them and they had already viewed the home.  The “realtor in waiting” became quite upset (I am being nice by using the word upset) and said the other realtor was not going to steal “his listing” and “his sale” from him. His behavior was not about the desire to sell, but rather the more common desire to show.

Real estate marketing is no difference than any other kind of marketing. It is 100% about attracting attention and building relationships.  The proactive realtor understood the relationship between my clients and “the realtor in waiting.” Yet, her proactive marketing revealed the difference between her and “the realtor in waiting.” He was not proactive and his marketing was dismal at best. He was one of the many realtors with a desire to show and instead of true a desire to sell.

Selling high value homes ($300,000 plus) is not as easy as selling $150,000 homes. The average time on the market for higher value homes in Northwest Indiana is at least six months depending upon location. Realtors who truly understand real estate marketing goes beyond word of mouth will sell more high value homes than those who fail to understand how to effectively market.

And those realtors who fear their competitors also reveal they are thinking more of their own pocketbooks and less about the homeowner, their client.  This is another common difference between exceptional proactive realtors with a desire to sell and those with only the desire to show.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Community Marketing Catapults Word of Mouth

Word of mouth marketing is one of the best strategies to attract positive or negative attention. The reason is simple people believe other people usually family or friends before any advertising or other marketing activities no matter how good those actions are.  Yet today mostly because of social media, we now see collective word of mouth advertising or what is called community marketing.



The Power of Community Marketing

This past week I once again saw the power of community marketing. A small group of like minded sales professionals including top salespeople, sales coaches and sales trainers supported one of their own who was the recipient of an unwarranted attack on a social media site.  The majority of those who supported their fellow sales trainer belong to one community established several years ago.

During the past several years after being involved in this group and several others, I have personally witnessed how community marketing catapults word of mouth.  For example one social media post is not only shared by the writer, but this community of like minded professionals will share it within their own communities such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook.  Through the use of automation tools the sharing is consistent and the influence of all community members grows as does traffic to their websites.

A Real World Example

Currently I have 10,300 followers on Twitter.  The collective Twitter Power of just 5 of my fellow community members increases that reach six times to over 62,000. Given this particular community is over 25 members strong, one can easily see how powerful this marketing strategy and tactic actually is.

Unfortunately for so many small business owners, they fail to take their business to business networking to this next level. Instead they focus only on the status quo of face to face, the mandated referrals and ignore the incredible business growth opportunities provided through this collective word of mouth marketing through the various social media channels.

Social Media Is Strength in Numbers

To be seen and heard on social media does require strength in numbers. Twitter currently has 271 active million accounts. There are approximately 6,000 Tweets being sent every second. LinkedIn has 259 million accounts. LinkedIn members continue to expand their content marketing through the daily updates and  publishing via the LinkedIn Pulse platform. One can be easily lost in the tumult and crowded seas of social media.

Time to Build Your Communities

Facebook recognized the value of communities through its various groups as did LinkedIn. Now is the time for you to create and develop your own social media marketing communities. If you belong to a formal or even an informal networking group, you already have the foundation for community marketing. Yes it does take a little time to establish your community of liked minded small business professionals and entrepreneurs. However the numerous automation tools keep you from personally having to update your social media accounts.

If you truly want to expand your influence, increase sales leads and small business growth opportunities, then consider taking your current word of mouth marketing to that next level.  You just maybe surprised by the results.

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It’s All About Me & My Small Business

One would like to believe small business is about people working together, supporting each other and moving the economy forward because these individuals lack the resources of the big companies. They build networks through social media communities and personal interactions with the express purpose of expanding their market influence.

small-businessHowever it appears there are basic 3 types of small business owners and business professionals:

  1. Givers who give without thinking about anything in return. Quid pro Quo these folks aren’t
  2. Fence Sitters who may give and then may focus on something entirely else
  3. Takers who use your request to their own economic advantage

Yesterday I had a conversation with an executive coaching client who made some outreach to her or his network specific to a new endeavor.  There were about 20% of those who said “Hey, whatever I can do for you, just let me know.”

Then there were probably about 70% who sort of committed or asked questions of “How did you do that?” specific to some of the marketing success this individual had recently achieved.

Finally, about 10% of his network said “sure, as long as you pay me.” Now what is ironic is my client has supported all of these individuals equally and he or she was quite astonished and in disbelief upon receiving proposals ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 from the small business takers.

Talk about a kick in the gut!

During our conversation my client was surprised that I was able to identify some of the small business owners within each group as we share many of the same connections.

My client’s experience is not usual as this attitude “It’s all about me and my small business” is very prevalent with 97.7% of all small businesses having under 20 employees.  These small business owners must build communities to market their solutions. Unfortunately, for so many ( 80% or so) it is a one way street leading only to their businesses.

Some of these sales hungry takers hide behind truly disingenuous messages such as the one I received yesterday from one of my first degree LinkedIn Contacts:

“In an effort to keep my connections with the most up-to-date information about (name of small business), I ask that you please follow our company page. You can find the page here (link inserted):”

Now if the person had included something like “Please share your company LinkedIn page or any other social media page with me and I will respond likewise” I would not have been put off.  However her or his message wreaked of “It’s all about me and my small business.”

What these takers fail to realize is word of mouth marketing spreads slowly among shared communities. Eventually their selfish, self centered and greedy “It’s all about me” behaviors will be known by many more and the results of less referrals will follow. For me, personally, if their behaviors are consistently egregious I will disconnect them from my social communities.

The questions to ask yourself are:

  • “Are my small business behaviors consistent with my core values?”
  • “Do I freely give without expectation of anything in return?”
  • “What are my motives for helping someone?”
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Repurchases Increase Sales

Common sense dictates that repurchases will increase sales. Also when customers continue to buy your products or services, time after time, your business saves money because you do not have to go to extraordinary means to market to them. Yes, you still reach out to them even McDonald’s does that, but the added value is they share their experiences with others and word of mouth advertising is the best kind.

A study by Epilson a significant gap in the marketplace specific to repurchasing of 7 products or services revealed that on average 60% of the buyers would not repurchase from their existing vendor. Auto insurance customers had the greatest loyalty of 58% to their providers while credit card companies had the worst repurchase rate of 27% and beat out communication service companies whose rate was 39%.

Another interesting fact was how buyers made decisions. The product reviews on websites, friends and family, sales person and the brand’s website all contributed or probably influenced the buyer. What is interesting to note is that the seller e.g. the sales person or the insurance agent  never was the first influencer of the buying decision process. Friends and family, product reviews and the brands’ websites were the first  influential source. What was quite surprising is for the products surveyed, email was the preferred channel to receive information.

When customers fails to repurchase, they also fail to recommend and this only reduces the bottom line. In the book The Ultimate Question, the author suggest it costs 7 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Now the only firms making any money off these non-repeat customers are probably the marketing firms who are eager to show what they can do to stem the tide of those fleeing customers.

What this means for any business or organization is to:

  1. Determine why your customers are not repurchasing your products or services because you cannot outgrow losses
  2. Establish a written customer loyalty plan within your overall business action plan

By taking this actions, you can be the Red jacket, stand away from your competition, increase sales and while still reducing costs. Now isn’t that a truly better place to be?

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Word of Mouth Marketing Still Priceless

Marketing is all about attracting attention (positive) with the goal to increase sales.  One of the best ways is word of mouth (WoM).  A posting late last year to this blog Return on Behavior said that spending on WoM in 2008 rose by 14.2% to $1.54 billion in the US despite the recession. Additionally, there is a prediction that this figure may almost double to $3 billion by 2013. (Source: PQ Media and WOMMA)

Wikipedia defines Word of Mouth (WoM) as the passing of information from person to person. In modern marketing, WoM is all about getting that buzz, spreading your marketing message like a virus (viral marketing) where very quickly everyone knows about you. This is one reason why having search engine friendly websites to including social media into your overall marketing action plan goals are so critical in today’s technology driven society.

WoM marketing is also directly connected to building customer loyalty. When your loyal customers tell others about your products or services, then they are spreading the good news that is priceless. Of course, you may need to encourage them through reward or incentives programs such as frequent fliers miles, customer service satisfaction online surveys with the promise of a 15% coupon (thank you J.C. Penney), etc.
The encouragement practice is newer as WoM always existed. Now innovative marketers are looking as to how to expedite that buzz. To learn more about this newer marketing strategy, you may wish to read Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz.

Finally, WoM helps to strengthen your own brand. In a highly crowded and competitive marketplace, you truly must Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits and WoM helps you do just that. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Remember, you must continually strive to be ahead of the flow and not just with the flow.

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