Who doesn’t want more time?
As a small business owner it is your most precious commodity, so it only makes sense to use it wisely. Here is a simple, yet powerful, way to help you gain more time for your business and your family. Best of all, you’ll be helping another business owner do the same!
Get More Time & Business Here
I wanted to take 1 minute, to share this article that I wrote for BlogBNI as a reminder to myself today–no matter how busy you are, you can almost always scrape up 1 minute to do one of these things. I’ll bet the ROI will be far more than you invested!
One Minute to Better Networking
I live in a historic, well really just old, house. It was built in 1920 and challenges us weekly with quirky things that are the result of many different people living and working on this house over the years. This summer I decided that I wanted to paint the exterior of my abode, so I spent some time with my husband picking out colors and trying them on for size. We eventually landed on a combo that we thought served our Craftsman-style home well.
Good prep work is required to make sure the paint, or a referral, will stick.
With the colors all picked out, I was ready to paint. Just hand me a brush!
But, like the networking lessons I have learned in BNI, I quickly realized that a little prep work would go a long way toward making my paint stick. Like prepping for painting, prepping a referral can make all the difference:
- Tools: Now is the time, before you start any actual work, to assemble all the tools you may need to do the work, such as business cards or brochures.
- Clean: Do a little ‘rolodex” housekeeping and make sure you have the most accurate and up-to-date info on anyone you plan on referring.
- Fill: Make sure that any possible referral holes are filled by having a one-to-one meeting with your fellow BNI member before you refer them.
- Sand: Knock off any rough edges or sticky spots during the meeting. Ask them to educate you on how to best refer them. For example some businesses may have set rates that they want you to share, while others simply want a warm introduction.
After making the referral (or painting), it simply makes sense to go back and check your work. Were there any areas missed? Does something need to be gone over again? Making sure to check in with both parties is a sure-fire way to make your referral stick.
We all love receiving a testimonial about ourselves or our companies, but have you ever thought about what goes into making a truly excellent and useful testimonial?
- Speak from a position of knowledge; you need to have used the goods or services before you can give a testimonial about that person or company.
- Be Specific. People want know how and why you used the product and how it performed. Be sure to include some basic details about your age and demographics. i.e. Forty-six year old, mother of two girls.
- Honesty is the best policy. If there were glitches in performance but you were overall satisfied, include that information so that others can make an informed decision. Be sure to acknowledge your own role in any shortcomings.
- If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. At least in public. If you truly had a poor experience, take it directly to the company and let them know that you would like to offer them the chance to correct the situation. Don’t use a testimonial opportunity to lash out at someone else; it will only make you look bad.
- Short is sweet. You can give a great testimonial without giving two paragraphs of back story about why you decided to use the service. While people like to know a little bit about you, the point of the testimonial is to tell them about an excellent company or person.
- Put it in writing. The very best gift you can give a company or person is your testimonial in writing. Whether you write an online review on LinkedIn or speak up in a BNI or Chamber meeting, putting it on paper gives them something tangible that they can use to market themselves even better.
Bonus Tip: One of the best ways to receive excellent testimonials is to give excellent testimonials. Use these guidelines the next time you want to give a testimonial and see if the good karma you generate pays off.
The other day I bought an avocado at the store. I carefully selected one that looked fairly ripe as I was planning to eat it soon. A few days later I cut that avocado open for dinner confident that it would be perfect with our Mexican dinner.
Alas, it was still hard inside, even though from the outside it looked fully ripe. I went ahead and served half of it with our meal, but it was very unsatisfying and didn’t have the creamy taste or texture that we love.
Even if they look ripe on the outside, sometimes they aren’t.
As I thought about it, I realized it was a lot like making a good referral. We oh so carefully select the exact right person to refer. Then, when the time is ripe, we pass along the name, the phone number and some info about the situation to our referral partner. Because we have taken a little extra time and attention, we assume that the referral is perfect.
But sometimes, like my avocado, looks are deceiving and more time is required to fully ripen the referral. What can we do to help serve up ripe referrals every time?
- Make sure you understand the specific needs of the referee. Use basic interview skills to solicit their exact needs. What? Where? and Why? questions are your best friends.
- Know the scope of your referral partner’s services or products. One-to-ones and GAINS profiles can make all the difference here.
- Perform the referral introduction in person if at all possible. Not only does that allow you to add credibility to your referral, it also gives you a chance to start the new referral relationship off on the right foot. If you can’t do it in person, then perform introductions over the phone then send an email to both parties with contact info included.
- Lastly, follow-up with both parties within a week of giving the referral. This is your chance to ensure that your referral is ripe and tasty for everyone involved.
Follow these four simple tips for the ripest referrals possible and start serving up results!
Online or in person, understand that women want to be engaged and informed. They like having an opportunity to learn more about your product or services in a non-threatening and comfortable way.
Smart marketers listen when women are talking.
One of the best ways to engage women is to ask them relational questions. By this I do not mean talking to them about their kids (or yours) or assuming that they are a Soccer Mom or that they even have kids. Do not ask them when their husband will be joining them or in any way indicate that they are not the primary focus of your conversation.
Do not try to “game” the system and take shortcuts to establishing a relationship with women. You have to expend the time to build the relationship. One way to do that is to connect with women by supporting the causes they care about: education, health care and community. Above all, be sincere. Women can see through insincerity quickly and will walk away instead of confronting it.
What’s the payoff?
If you connect with the right women, the rewards are vast. A woman who loves your product or service will tell her friends. And because women value relationships so highly, they frequently have a lot of friends. But you have understand that she puts her personal relationships at risk to do this, so you need to acknowledge and even reward her trust in you and your company.
Learn to market to women today and your business will prosper and thrive over the next few decades as women control more of this country’s wealth and continue to make a disproportionate amount of the purchasing decisions. Even better, you may find that your products and services are much improved by establishing these long –term customer relationships with women. That makes marketing to women a win for everyone.
Filed under Marketing, Women
Here’s the thing. Marketing to women isn’t complicated; it’s just different from marketing to men. You can’t just slap the color pink on something and wait for women to come rushing in to buy it. You actually have to understand how women want to be treated and then treat them that way.
Since it’s inception marketing has been heavily dominated by male-centric thinking and messaging. That may have been ok into the nineties, but in ensuing decades it has only served to alienate women from many brands.
Why does marketing directly to women matter?
“Women make 85% of all consumer purchases.”
From a purely financial perspective, it makes sense to listen carefully. Women as a demographic are the largest group of decision makers in our economy. According to She-conomy.com, women make 85 percent of all consumer purchases and over the next decade they will control two-thirds of consumer wealth in the United States. If you weren’t paying attention to women before, you should be now!
This isn’t about men versus women; it’s about understanding both sexes in order to better deliver the value they both need. Clearly if women are making 85 percent of the purchases, they are purchasing for men as well as themselves. That’s a lot of money to leave sitting on any table.
Filed under Marketing, Women