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Why to your retail store foot traffic is dropping and how to bring customers in

Getting foot traffic to retail stores is harder than ever. These are unique ways to attract customers to your shop.

Chocolate cookies can increase retail store foot traffic.
Chocolate cookies can increase retail stores foot traffic.

You know your sales go up the more your retail store foot traffic increases, but store visits are at an all-time low? Is everyone shopping for everything online now? Yes, they are.  71% of shoppers believe they’ll find better deals online.

The good news is that shoppers do still want an in-person experience as part of their buying process. And 94% of retail sales are still credited to brick-and-mortar stores. The bad news is that most retail shop owners are failing to create the experiences that attract customers to their location. With over 5,000 stores closed this year, can local retailers compete with e-commerce giant Amazon?
Want more creative ways to attract customers to your retail store? Download this free guide.

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Everything is different now. So here’s a list of unique ideas for retailers to boost foot traffic and increase sales in their brick-and-mortar stores.

Create curb appeal that increase retail store foot traffic

Humans are visual beings and it’s no secret that attractive and well-kept spaces invite people in, literally and figuratively. Use flowers and landscaping to create a store front so beautiful, people stop what they’re doing to come inside and check it out.

A compelling window display, like showing how a product is made can do wonders to grab the attention of people walking or driving by. The human brain is trained to detect movement, so an active demo can draw consumers into your retail store.

Bricks and mortar stores can offer amenities that online stores cannot

We’ve all had the experience of our phone charge being on single digits with no charging options in site. A unique, inexpensive and extremely valuable service you can provide customers is a charging stations. Promote this outside with a fun sign and you’ll draw people in easily. Plus, they’ll stay until their phones get a decent charge and the longer customers spend in your store, the more likely they are to purchase.

Offer ways your customers can recharge their personal “batteries” with a hydration station. Everyone needs water and if you add more options, like, tea, coffee and snacks, people will naturally want to step inside your shop. Attract more retail store foot traffic with chocolate chip cookies, granola and hot cocoa.

Have you ever been to a luxury car dealer and visited the customer lounge? Acura offers Starbuck coffee, water, sodas, fresh cookies, chocolate, chips, fruit and more. Lexus kicks it up a notch with a customer lounge experience that feels more like the VIP Admiral’s club than a car dealership. They have lots of seating with charging stations and a coffee and pastry bar that rivals any patisserie. Customers order the beverage and baked goodies of their choice and receive them at no charge. Sometimes there’s even a charming gift shop available for perusing while you wait.

The secret to increasing foot traffic to your retail store is to provide an amazing experience that makes customers want to come in and stay. It is all about creating incredibly positive customer experiences. And retail stores can do that so much better than e-commerce stores. Are you up for it?

Get the secret recipe for bringing more foot traffic into your retail store. FREE Guide!
Get the secret recipe for bringing more foot traffic into your retail store. FREE Guide!
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The 4 selling tips small business owners must use to avoid failure

Which steps must you take or face business failure? This post includes the four selling tips small business owners need to follow so they can rock their success. Skip these at the risk of your own peril.

Starting and running a business is challenging! Business owners wear so many hats and have so much to do every day. While it’s essential for entrepreneurs to do many things well, I’ll give you the bullet points for the sales essentials you need to use to ensure success.

(Interested in more sales tips for small business owners? Download this free ebook, “From Cold to Sold” and get 17 sales secrets.)

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The selling tips small business owners are smartest to use are efficient and useful.

Have a selling plan

The importance of having a plan cannot be understated. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Without a plan, all the other selling tips for small business owners are wasted. Author Katherin Peterson famously said, “a dream wihout a plan is just a wish”.

SMB owners can keep the sales plan simple, for a start. Have one place where all leads and customer information is kept. This can be a CRM or an Excel spreadsheet. Create sales goals, even if you’re guestimating. 

Also, have an idea of how many opportunities you’ll need to close to reach this goal. Start with a specific target number of phone calls or in-person appointments. As you close sales, track how many prospects you contact for each sale. It’s also helpful for seeing how much follow up is required to close the sale. This is highly valuable data you can use to continue refining your selling plan. 

Know your unique selling propostion

Most likely, you’re famliar with this term. But unique selling proposition (USP) is still too YOU-centric. Like it or not, humans are ME-centric, which means the best way to make your product appeal to your prospect is to make the USP about THEM. This comes down to what does your product or service do for your client? A “value proposition” is the customer-centric version of the USP. 

Don’t even pick up the phone until you have a clear understanding of what your service or product does FOR your customer. What pain does is alleviate? Which problem does it solve? How does it remove fear? Understanding the value your offering delivers to prospects is essential to grabbing and keeping attention. No one has any interest in hearing descriptions of a product when they see nothing in it for them.

Sales techniques that focus on the prospect

Listen to customer’s needs

Asking questions and listening is powerful for building rapport and for discovering your customer’s needs. More about how much about the prospect your selling process must be. And guess what? People love talking about themselves, so getting your customers talking is easier than you might think.

Listening to customer needs also serves to further qualify what’s important to them and how they want to communicate. Which provides invaluable insight for tailoring your offer specifically to what your potential client wants. Thus increasing your likelihood of closing this sale.

Ask for the sale

Sound ridiculous? You’d be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. A common challenge facing small business owners is fear of rejection. Actually, this is a common problem for even the most seasoned salespeople.  Toss that fear of rejection out the door. If you’ve done a good job of qualifying your prospect, then you know if they have a problem you can solve. Simply ask if they want you to help solve it for them.

These are the top 4 selling tips small business owners need to use to ensure success. The list of others sales and customer retention techniques and  is endless, but these are the most important ones, in my opinion.

From Cold to Sold! 17 Selling tips small business owners can use to explode their sales
From Cold to Sold! 17 Selling tips small business owners can use to explode their sales
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Why a Lack of Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Killing Your Business

Good Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a nice-to-have. In fact, companies who want to grow MUST practice good Corporate Social Responsibility, aka, CSR. Those brands who don’t face losing sales.

Driven by millennials who prefer to do business with brands who have ethical and sustainable business standards, the recipe for sales and marketing success changed dramatically. So now, all generations have an increased expectation that companies who want to earn their business must practice sustainability. Is your brand adapting, or dying?

Millennials (and other generations too) are looking for four major qualities in socially responsible companies. Download the checklist here for free.

According to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).” Because of these factors, companies not yet engaging in good corporate social responsibility are losing sales.

Practicing Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Great for Business

In 2015, Nielson published its annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report. It indicated that, globally, 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. 73% of surveyed millennials indicating a similar preference. Additionally, 81% of millennials evexpect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship.”

As John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods puts it:

“The whole corporate social responsibility ideal is trying to graft something onto the old profit maximization model. Now more than ever, we need is a transformation [in] the way we think about business, what it’s based on. People want businesses to do good in the world. It’s that simple…. We now need a deeper, fundamental reform in the essence of business.”

So, traditional advertising won’t work with Millennials. Conveying CSR efforts to Millennials requires authenticity, and a unique approach. Since Millennials grew up with the Internet, they want their voices heard. And they expect a two-way, open dialogue with companies and their brands.

Millennials and many of the customers from other generations want to buy from companies who give back.  As a result, brands who want to attract more customers and keep existing ones need to have a good corporate social responsibility program.

Good Corporate Social Responsibility - Free Checklist Download
Good Corporate Social Responsibility – Free Checklist Download

 

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13 powerful strategies to increase customer retention

Customer retention strategies deliver highest ROI
Customer retention strategies deliver highest ROI

Question: What is the source of highest profit sales? Most likely, it’s your current and past customers. Next question: What is your customer retention process?

You’ve already attracted these customers to your brand, built the know, like and trust factor and earned a purchase from them. You successfully converted a lead to a paying customer. And it cost you money to do that. Maybe a lot of money. How much less expensive is it to keep good customers than acquire new ones?

Download the free Lifetime Total Customer Value calculator so you can get the maximum ROI from each customers this month.

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A good customer retention plan has amazing ROI.

In an article posted on Entreprenuer.com, Eric Sui said,  “According to Bain & Company, it costs 7X more to attract new customers than it does to keep them. Additionally, if you retain just 5% of your customers annually, you can generate up to 125 percent more profits. Retention strategies truly pay off in the long run and help you build a sound business over time.”

I’ve outlined 13 keys you must have for your customer retention funnel to be effective so you can score more sales.

1. Make retention a top priority.

Prioritize the highest ROI activity your company does, which is most likely customer retention.

2. Measure life time value of customers.

Determine the life time value (LTV) of your average customers. The additional purchases, upgrades, replacements and referrals they send to you add up to a much bigger dollar amount than just the first purchase they make. Download this free LTV calculator here.

3. Provide amazing customer service

Have you noticed that even the cable companies want to “delight customers”? They finally get the importance of keeping current customers happy because it’s way less expensive to keep customers than to acquire new ones.

4. After the sale nurturing

Create a system for following up after the sale at regular intervals. Depending on your business, that may be a week after the sale or a month. Pay attention to how your customers are engaging with your brand, it’s product and services. Respond quickly to customers. Always. A good customer retention funnel has as process that everyone who touches the customers uses to continue nurturing the relationship after the sale. Continue delivering high value content and service and you’ll score more sales.

5. Budget for customer retention marketing

Since the ROI on keeping customers is so much higher than on acquiring new ones, it makes sense to assign some budget to marketing efforts aimed at retention.

6. CRM

Without a good CRM, your customers may be on the business end of an ill-timed phone call from an inside sales rep pitching an upsell, when that customer is currently threatening to leave if a dire problem isn’t solved. Not a good customer retention play.

Since the beginning of CRM time, having a 360 degree view of the customer so that companies could avoid this type of mistake has been the goal. You can’t manage an effective customer retention funnel without a good CRM.

7. Communicate frequently

Your customers want to feel valuable after they’ve spent money with you. Communicate with them frequently to show you care. Birthday greetings, holiday messages, news and updates are great ways to show them you care. Remember to only email customers who have opted into your email list.

8. Engage on social media

Social media is the equal opportunity soap box everyone can use to rave or complain about their experiences with a company. Monitor social media and quickly respond to any complaint. Also, quickly thank customers who sing your praises. You can also use social media to ask your customers about what’s important to them and nurture relationships.

9. Convert complaints into opportunities

Everyone remembers the companies that handle their complaints with such concern for making the situation gone wrong into an experience that feels right. It’s interesting that what’s memorable is how great it felt to the customer that the brand went above and beyond to solve the problem, and not what went wrong in the first place. Be a hero to your customers when they complain and watch that same customer become your advocate.

10. Create a customer loyalty program

Rewarding customers for their patronage is a great way to develop their loyalty. Provide added value, special promos or offers that your customers want. The rewards need to be easy to earn and redeem. Keep things simple. Score more sales by rewarding your current customers and nurturing them to send referrals.

11. Host an event

Show your customer appreciation by hosting an event. An open house, after hours event or guest lectures can provide powerful incentives for your customers to spend more time with your company. Having fun and feeling valued has a way of bonding people tighter together. Events work whether they are virtual, like a podcast or live, like an open office social gathering.

12. Corporate social responsibility

Many customers choose to buy from brands that give back over brands that don’t. If your company already has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, share progress and successes with your customers. If not, get one. Select a cause that is consistent with your brand and aligns with your customers’ values and interests.

13. Upsell and resell

Since you’re paying attention to how your customers are using the products or services they purchased from your company, you’ll know what’s important to them. When the time is right, offer and upgrade or replacement product that has high value and will help your customer achieve their goals.

Email marketing with calls to action and free demos or trials, just like regular marketing campaigns. Incent the customer to try new add ons, upgrades and eventually replacement purchases, in some industries.

Lifetime Value of Customer Calculator
Lifetime Value of Customer Calculator

 

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Why getting referrals is harder than ever – how to get them now

Getting referrals is harder than it used to be. If 87% of happy customers intend to refer, why don’t they? What happened? Media changed, culture changed and how people interact has changed. We receive 105,000 words in 12 waking hours- 23 words per second! With 34 gigabytes a DAY coming in to us, our brains are full.

People have a hard time remembering everything they need to do for their own business. So they can’t remember to do something for your business too. Like send you a referral. And this is the problem – Getting top of mind awareness is harder than ever. The solution is to have a simple process for asking for referrals – and use it.

Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referrals.

We are competing with more messages than ever. Even when people INTEND to refer, they often forget. Successful businesses use an easy to follow process to convert those good intentions into sales.

Getting referrals isn’t just good for our business

Here’s the thing about getting referrals – it’s a way people give too. People love to help other people. And they love being a go-to resource for their friends. Who are we to deny them the joy of sending their friends to us?

People naturally enjoy connecting with others we know, like and trust. We rely on our relationships with others for referrals and recommendations. We feel good about ourselves when we help each other and when we are a resource others seek for recommendations.

In his blog post, “87% of your customers will give referral, if you just ask“, Michael Boyett suggests asking “for a specific introduction. Example: ‘Bill, I’ve wanted to connect with Martha Smith but haven’t had much success. You mentioned working with her. Would you be willing to introduce me to her?’

You know Bill knows Martha, so you are not wasting Bill’s time, but asking to connect. Think of the time and energy you’ll save.”

Ask for the introduction and if it’s appropriate, ask for the referral. Embed this into your customer experience and watch your business grow.

Whatever method you use for getting referrals, I encourage you to include these key elements:

  • Commit to consistently executing the plan
  • Hold yourself accountable
  • Regularly evaluate your referral process and improve it
Getting referrals can be as easy as 123
Download free 3-step template for turning on the flow of referrals from happy customers.

 

 

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Entrepreneur Success Starts with Step 1 – Respect

Part 1 of 5 in the RAISE Sales System blog post series for entrepreneur success.

Are you an entrepreneur who struggles with sales? If so, you’re not alone. Entrepreneur success requires strong sales skills and this struggle is a common problem that many business owners have. Entrepreneurs wear a lot of different hats and for most, selling isn’t their strongest skillset.

Respect the prospect - entrepreneur success
Entrepreneur success requires RESEPCT, step 1 in the RAISE sales system

One of the secrets to entrepreneur success is knowing how to ask for and close the sale. In this 5 part blog series, I’m going to share my signature sales system, RAISE.  I created this 5-step strategy RAISE from my 25+ years of experience across multiple industries and teach it in workshops and when doing sales coaching with clients. This is the sales process entrepreneurs and sales professionals use for dramatically increasing sales.

Download free ebook “17 Sales Hacks to Close More Sales”

RAISE is the word that is spelled out by the first letter of each of the steps in the system. This post is about the first step and each post in this series will reveal subsequent steps in the RAISE system.

The R in RAISE is for respect and I love starting with respect because this is where a relationship building begins. This is where developing the know, like and trust factors starts, so you can advance to asking for the sale.

Entrepreneur success secret #1 is Respect

You can’t close the sale if you’re no longer in the conversation. Respecting the prospect will keep you in the conversation longer than asking for the sale before they are ready to buy.

First of all, respecting where the customer actually is, and not where you wish they were in the buying process is vital to entrepreneurs success. It’s super essential to be aware of where your prospect is where their heads at what they care about where they are in the sales or buying process.

Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason

One example is at a networking event or a party. You have connected with somebody and they did most of talking, while you do a lot of listening. At the end of the conversation, they say, “You’re a great conversationalist!” And you think to yourself, “I said so very little and you did all the talking!” There’s a reason people say we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason:-)

Why is it that the person who did the listening is a great conversationalist? Because human beings love to feel heard. When we show consideration for people and actively listen to them, they FEEL respected and valued. Plus, we find out what is important to them and that knowledge fuels our own entrepreneur success. All of this goodness also allows us to build the know, like and trust factors.

Success Story Using Respect to Sell

Now I’ll share with you an example of how amazing the Respect step is for entrepreneurs to succeed. In the late 80s, I sold construction equipment in Florida, working for the only companies in the country that had female sales. I was calling on construction sites throughout Southwest Florida and I wasn’t always welcomed. One general contractor was using the old-style, less cost effective and more dangerous scaffolding on a project that was a prime candidate for using a boomlift. He wasn’t interested in hearing about a new technology solution from a woman who he perceived didn’t know anything about construction.

How I Cracked the Tough Prospect

If I was going to have any shot at selling this customer a boomlift, I knew I needed to get creative. I realized I needed to respect where he was, no where I wanted him to be.

Since I knew he felt competent as a general contractor, I asked him about the project. He was happy to talk about it. After listening, I offered to deliver the boomlift the next day at no charge to him. If at the end of the day, he found the equipment effective, he could keep it and pay only for the rental for the rest of the time he used it. If not, I’d pick it up and charge him nothing. No risk for him.

When I called this customer at the end of the day, he told me I could leave the boomlift.  I had the sale without ever asking for it. What is important to know, is that I respected where this customer this prospect was and stayed in the conversation. When building a relationship with a prospect, starting with respecting where they are and what they value is the best first step. R is for Respect and entrepreneur success depends upon it.

Download your free eBook “From Cold to Sold” and get the 17 secrets for converting more leads to customers.

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What is the lack of soft skills in millennials costing us?

We hear it often. “Millennials make eye contact. They don’t respect authority. They don’t show up on time.” Why? What happened? And how is this lack of soft skills impacting our culture and our businesses?

Millennials who have great soft skills have a huge advantage over their peers who do not.  Studies, reports and articles emerge weekly about the severity of the challenges that employers have with hiring and managing a generation that lacks people skills. That means that members of the most tech savvy generation who have solid soft skills have a serious competitive advantage in the job market.

In his recent post, “Is Lack of Soft Skills Hindering Millennials’ Careers?,” Kevin Howell cited several studies that indicate the answer is “Yes”.

Lack of soft skills is holding back Millennials in their careers

It’s such a chronic and acute problem, that, according to a recent McKinsey study, “40 percent of employers said they have difficulty filling vacancies because younger workers lack soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and punctuality. A PayScale survey found similar results, with managers highlighting leadership and ownership as skills that Millennials lack.”

What’s the cause of this lackluster skill set? Too much focus on STEM education and job? Maybe. Too much screen time? Perhaps. Some studies have shown that “social anxiety with face-to-face interaction increases with the amount of time spent online.”

“Regardless of the reason young workers struggle with soft skills, companies have to deal with it. Addressing the skills shortfall in the workplace means tailoring training and development toward those needs.”

And that means that soft skills training for millennials needs three things:

  • To be valued by millennials
  • Fun for them to learn
  • Include a lot of practice

Changing behaviors is hard and humans resist it. Shifting the way millennials interact in person is not going to be easy. Success will require engaging training, practice and accountability along the way.

This generation grew up with digital media and video games and they like activities to be fun. Gamifying soft skills training is essential to hold their attention.

Practicing new skills and repeating them often is how people skills behavior will change.

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How to accelerate lead nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals

Part 2 of the Secret Weapon: Referral partners can amplify your sales.

You’ve asked, listened and begun nurturing those new contacts. Awesome! Want to learn what will speed the relationship developing process along faster so you can convert contacts into referral partners?

Here’s how to crank up your list of referral partners: Follow up until they “Buy or Die”!

80% of sales require seven follow-ups (and that number keeps climbing)   [Source: Scripted]
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up  [Source: The Marketing Donut]

So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to attract more clients, these numbers are eye-opening. This means it’s likely your competition won’t follow up as often as you will if you commit to five times. BOOM! Advantage, you!

Download the free 3 Step Plan to get more referral partners.

Download nw
If you’re a job seeker, this underscores the importance of persistence. While no one wants to be a pest, it’s in your best interest to follow up multiple times. Some HR experts say, “Follow up until they buy or die.”
People are just too busy to remember who they talked to and what action they promised. Those who rely on new contacts to do the follow-up are guaranteed disappointing results. Instead, proactive professionals who make a point to reconnect after introductions impress and succeed.

Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship, so call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. Mention something specific they talked about. Ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

People are more likely to respond to social media than an email, so take advantage of that and meet them where they are. Showing social love to your contacts will accelerate you rapidly towards your goal of accumulating referral partners to grow your business. Public admiration and validation is pure gold!

Check out my post “5 ways to get free leads on LinkedIn” and “Promote Your Business with Instagram” for specific tips.
You now have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship and expanding your network. Repost things they post, make comments (positive and insightful) and make sure you do it within the first week, and then every couple of weeks after that.
Network like a pro and watch the job opportunities and sales flow in, right? There’s a little more to it than that, of course. Once you have the strong referral network in place, you need to know how to ask for the referrals.

When you’re ready to build a full pipeline of referral partners, consider a the RAISE online sales course.

Learn more about RAISE online course

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Referrals: the secret weapon used by the world’s most successful business owners

Part 1 of 2 in a series.

Quick question: Which is more important for professional success?
A) What you know
B) Who you know

If you answered B), you already know a lot. But who you know isn’t much help for advancing your career or business if you don’t have skills. Having knowledge is far more likely to lead to success if other people realize you have it than if you secretly have them. So really, the answer is A) and B), in that order. Knowing people is great for building referral partnerships, but it won’t get you a job or sales leads without some talent and ability.
And have amazing skills in a vacuum won’t make you successful.

Do you find yourself stressed out when you think about making sales calls? Many people fee frustrated when they realize they need to build a strong network, have no idea where to begin. It can be a little like the “How do I get experience if I don’t have experience yet?” syndrome.

Download free ebook “From Cold to Sold” 17 secrets to getting more customers

Some people are naturally gifted in the art of networking and some are not. Guess what? That’s totally ok! We are all different, which is what makes the world an interesting place. There’s no reason to feel badly about yourself if you don’t already have relationship building skills honed to a fine point. We can’t all be ace at everything. (For example, don’t ask me to file your taxes. Orange is definitely not my best color and I doubt it’s yours.) If you aren’t the best at relationship and network building, don’t worry. Skills can be learned.
So, what are the 3 steps you can take to build highly successful business relationships and bring referrals flowing into your business?

1. Ask. Be intensely curious about people. Ask a lot of questions about what they do, what they like to do, what success looks like for them, what their challenges and problems are. Ask what they enjoy most and least about their work. People love to talk about themselves, so this is easier than you might think.

Specifically ask them about their goals and concerns. Sample questions:
What’s the most important goal you’re working towards right now?
What’s your greatest challenge with achieving it?
What keeps you up at night?
Their answers will give you some insight to what they care about and the problems they are trying to solve. We’ll come back with what to do with the answers in tip 3.

To get 17 hacks for generating and converting leads, download my eBook, “From Cold to Sold” here.

Download Free eBook
2. Listen. Have you ever tried the experiment of listening more than you speak in a conversation? If you have, did the person you were “talking” with say, “You are so easy to talk to”? If not, try it out sometime. The results can be a fascinating illustration of how much value people place on sharing and feeling heard. It’s not a bad thing that we like focusing on our own experiences and telling others about them. It’s a human thing. When you’re building a network of relationships with humans, understanding this quality is invaluable. We are wired to connect and share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences with people. And that happens to be awesome for networking.

3. Nurture. Once you’ve met someone and discovered what they value and established some rapport, the most important step to adding them to your network, is to follow-up with them. I cannot emphasize the importance of following-up enough. Have I mentioned how essential the follow up is?

Look for part 2 of this blog post next week and discover exactly what you can do to accelerate relationship nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals into your business.

 

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Ready to give yourself a RAISE?

I recently presented my R.A.I.S.E. method for relationship building to increase income at the Texas Women in Business meeting at Austin Country Club. Get out your pen and get ready to take some notes. This is a really powerful system that works outrageously well to increase sales revenue, so you can give yourself a R.A.I.S.E.! Discover how to build relationship and financial wealth.

Schedule your FREE sales coaching session!

So if you’re wondering how to increase sales or give yourself a RAISE, watch this 3 minutes video and take me up on the offer for a free coaching session.  Investing even 15 minutes in your success can have a massive impact on your business and your life. YOU are worth it!

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Write Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened

Subject lines determine whether people click of don’t, so they matter. A lot! I recently created an email campaign for one of my clients and we saw very strong open rates, which has everything to do with great subject lines and brand name recognition. For this particular campaign, we were inviting the recipients to an event. Our  most effective subject line was:

You’re invited! [Company Name] [Event]

Subject line determines open rate
The email subject line makes or breaks your email marketing success rate.

Subject Line Determines Email Open Rates

It’s pretty important to find the optimal subject lines. Who cares how brilliant your email is if no one ever sees it? Test, test and test. Try different subject lines and track open rate performance. It’s almost shocking what a difference the subject line makes!

Some good subject line formulas:

  • Your Guide to [Industry-Related Topic]
  • How To Get the Most Out of [Product/Service]
  • 5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your [Product/Service]

Another technique that motivates readers to open emails is calling out the hot industry topics. Of course, any good marketer is creating content that address the issues that are top of mind for their prospects, so including those terms in the subject line should be automatic.

Read more on how to improve your open rates immediately with this post from Amelia Showalter, on CXL.  Once you’ve figured out the formula for fabulous subject lines, you may be interested in learning more about writing wonderful emails. Check out this post “Anatomy of an Awful Email” for a guide on what not to do.

Oh, and don’t forget to optimize the emails and landing pages for mobile. With mobile device use continuing to rise, demand generation efforts need to be responsive as well. You know the numbers: According to a Google Survey, 61% of site visitors using mobile device are likely to leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. With a third or more emails being opened on tablets and smart phones, marketers can’t afford to not optimize.

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Sales Tip of the Week – Active Listening

One of the most powerful ways to increase sales is to listen. Active listening means you ask your prospect questions and focus on hearing their answers. People love to be heard because it makes them feel respected and valued.

Plus, active listening often reveals insights that help you determine how best to help them solve their problems or entertain them. This information helps you illustrate the value your product or service offers, which helps you close the sale.

Active Listening – Sales Tip of the Week

 

Try it out and let me know how it works for you. I coach and train sales teams and entrepreneurs how to increase their income by 20 to 80%. Active listening is one of the most effective methods I coach my clients on developing. For a limited time, I’m offering a FREE 15 minutes Sales Strategy Session! Click the button below to schedule your session now. Spots are limited, so get yours on the calendar while you can!

Schedule a Free Session!

 

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Are You Losing Money Because of Your Sales Blindspot?

Your sales blindspot could be costing you money. A lot of money. You could be missing out on sales and not even realize it. But you can’t fix a problem you can’t see.

Are you losing money because of your sales blindspot?
Are you losing money because of your sales blindspot?

Wouldn’t it be great if you buy a little sales blindspot mirror like you can for your car? That way you could see where you’re missing opportunities to make more money and fix them. But sales blindspot quick-fixes aren’t a thing…or are they?

Do you know what your sales blindspot is?

You may detest networking. Or maybe it’s following up with leads that isn’t your favorite thing to do. It could be you don’t know how to ask for the sale. As America’s #1 Master Confidence Strategist, Jan Goss-Gibson told me, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.” In other words, everyone has a blindspot, so don’t feel badly.

The Solution – Identify the area of sales where you struggle the most

Get a qualified sales expert to show you what you can’t see because you’re inside the bottle trying to read the label. Click here to schedule a free 15 minutes session with me to discover your sales blindspot. The link takes you right to my TimeTrade scheduling app.

Once you see what you’re not seeing, you can makes some shifts in your selling and reclaim that lost revenue.

Every business owner wants more sales.  What if you could discover a simple tip you could use that would get you more sales right away? Schedule a free session with me and I’ll show you how to increase revenue right away. You may want to take advantage of this offer now, since the free session slots are filling up quickly.

Discovering and removing you sales blindspot leads to a major increase in income. What part of the sales process do you struggle with the most? Leave your answer to this question in the comments. I look forward to seeing your answers.

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5 steps to get new customers on LinkedIn – FREE!

Finding new customers with LinkedIn is actually fairly easy, especially with the new user interface. This social media platform is an incredibly powerful tool. Because most of us don’t know how to use the LinkedIn search tool, we miss out on finding and connecting with new prospects.

So, Here Are My Top 5 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Get New Customers on LinkedIn.

1 – Define Ideal Customer

Your your company’s success depends on how well your understand your ideal customer. In order to communicate the value that your product or service delivers to your customers, it’s essential to understand their pain points and how they seek to solve them. Sometimes this is called a persona or an avatar.

It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you identify who you’re targeting, so you know which prospects you’re looking for on LinkedIn.

2 – Start with clicking in the “Search” field. For example, if you sell a service to videographers, type “videographer” in the search box. With no other qualifiers in the advanced search, over 100,000 results come up. Now, you can narrow your focus by adding specific locations, like cities, states and countries.

After focusing on a specific location, I recommend adding the connection qualifier to see who you and your contacts know who meet your ideal customer profile. Connections with people you already know are warmer and easier to nurture.

3 – Narrow results with additional qualifiers. You can narrow the results down by the location by typing in the area you want to search in the location field. Below that field, you’ll see the check boxes for first, second, group and third and everyone else. You can further narrow the field of prospects by selecting these. Select third and everyone else for the broadest list of results. You can get more specific and with other details as well, like industry, past or current company, school and more.

4 – Create your hottest leads list. You can message first connections directly through LinkedIn. You can also access contact info for first connections. Often, they will have email, website and social media details listed.

You can connect with second degree contacts, so go ahead and click the “connect” button next to their names.

Sending an “Inmail” through LinkedIn is an option for reaching out to second connection. I find that it’s not as efficient as some other ways to connect.

Insider’s secret! #5! —> You can connect directly with people who are in groups with you! That’s right! You can connect with complete strangers if you share membership in th same LinkedIn group!. As of this post, LinkedIn allows membership in up to 50 groups. 

A quick message saying you look forward to hearing more about their business and would like to stay in touch is all you need. Finding something specific in the contacts profile or group discussion to mention will make your message stand out.

The easiest way to discover some interesting details, is to look at the contact’s LinkedIn profile and review what they have posted recently, where they have worked the past few years, school they attended and even nonprofits they like. Using a bit of a personal connection goes a long way to begin the conversation and start a potential relationship. Other ideas are to watch videos, view SlideShare or samples of work to get some insight about the new contact. a look at any of these videos like this.

Connecting with the new contact on Twitter or other social networks can be really useful for starting a conversation. Approaching people them from multiple platforms can increase your success rate. and reach out to

Success tip! –>  Making a positive comment about a prospect’s work or post can increase their response rate! Click here to download email templates that work great to connect with new prospects on LinkedIn.

“I deliver a service that helps videographers edit and deliver their videos quicker and more cost-effectively and wondered if you’d be interested in hearing more about this. ”

“I’m a fellow Tarheel and wanted to reach out to you to talk about a tool that I’ve got that will help HR managers work more productively. I went to that Final Four basketball game and it was crazy!

As you can see, researching on LinkedIn can be very powerful! The amount of information you can discover takes a little bit of time but can be like uncovering gold. It’s always good to know people who are successful, so it is extremely valuable to take your time to do your research to uncover the riches available to you on LinkedIn.

I’m looking for specific companies and want to find the contact I need to approach. I may find a contact of mine is connected to the person I’d like to reach out to. I could send him a message asking for an introduction.
“I’d like to meet x and it looks like you and I are both connected to him or her. I’d love to talk to her about what it’s like so you could I could have absolutely do that I could also i wanted to warm it up.

Some more I could look at the organizations and the groups and I could do all kinds of research on where people are what they’re doing and find ways to reach out to them and connect with them

Now we’ve looked at different ways to use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects – people who meet your profile an ideal customer.

  • Jobs
  • Title
  • Geography
  • Group memberships
  • Post and activity
  • Company – past and current
  • School

 

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5 Tips to Promote Your Business with Instagram

It’s not too late to get in on using Instagram to promote your business. There’s been lots of buzz about this fast growing social media platform and there’s still time to take advantage of all the good Instagram can do for grow your business.

Promote your business with Instagram
Promote your business with Instagram

Some companies have already done well with it, but it is my opinion is that Instagram has more big growth waves coming.

Use these Instagram tips to bring major growth to your business

Some techniques may #surprise you. Thought hashtags were so 2012? They’re back!

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#1 Use More Hashtags

Max Woolf studied 120,000 photos and likes on Instagram and discovered that using more hashtags actually does correlate to more reach and likes. So, spamming is good?!?! Well, not exactly. Spamming isn’t considerate of others and tends to annoy people. But using many hashtags that are closely related to your post on Instagram is worthwhile. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and it’s unclear how many is too many. My advice? Test what works best for your business and use keywords efficiently and liberally. Since long tail keywords tend to be the best, try a few of those first.

#2 Identify Instagram Influencers

In her post “How to Promote Your Business on Instagram“,  talks about collaborating with social media influencers. “As a small business, you should actively research which Instagram influencers are a great fit for your products. Chances are, their followers have the same interests and are potential customers”, Danielle says.

#3 Collaborate with Influencers

Have some fun brainstorming about partnership and collaboration ideas. Are there influencers who could benefit from your service or product? Could the followers of those influencers benefit from what you offer? If not, there may still be a way to nurture a relationship with them. You may be creating content for your own marketing that could be very useful to a potential social media partner.

For example, I have a client who films weddings and is looking to build his referral business with venues and event planners. These businesses want to show the world how beautiful their events are. Since many of them have a lot of followers on social channels, my client upped his social media game to increase his brand recognition.

Because he is one of the first certified videographers in his area to use a drone to shoot aerial footage, he is promoting this market differentiator across Instagram. Also, he noticed that very few venues and almost no planners have any video of their events on their websites or social accounts and even fewer have aerial video.

Recognizing a great opportunity when he saw one, this videographer uses drone footage he already had to help his potential referral partners so that they could market their businesses. As a result, they are blown away by the gorgeous video they have to use on Instagram and Facebook. Also, they are extremely appreciative of the wedding filmer’s generous gift.  Relationship nurturing is easy when we help others achieve their goals.

#4 Share Marketing Content

He has a library of stunning drone video from several weddings at a wide variety of venues. We created a business development program for him to reach out to these prospective partners and offer to provide them with this gorgeous aerial video to share across social channels and websites. It gives them a beautiful piece of marketing and sales content to share, it nurtures the relationship for my client and it cost him nothing. This is all goodness for his brand. Helping his customers grow their digital presence increases the value of his relationship to his customers and prospective customers.

#5 Use Apps to Simplify Posts

Who’s got time to schedule posts on a bunch of different apps? Instagram doesn’t play as well with social media scheduling tools. Grum is a fun app that allows scheduling Instagram posts from a desktop. About time! I like how Grum makes it easier to manage followers and following. Plus, the app provides an easy way to deliver scripted direct messages to new followers. Grum has a cute little messaging like interface.

Social media and live video are changing fast! Subscribe and stay up to date on the latest social media marketing trends.

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3 Steps For Awesome Relationship Building – Keys to Success

In the era of customer experience is king, successful relationship building is key. Some people are naturally gifted in this art and some are not. We are all different, which is what makes the world an interesting place.

So, if you don’t already have relationship building skills honed to a fine point, there’s no reason to feel badly about yourself. We can’t all be ace at everything. (For example, don’t ask me to file your taxes. Orange is definitely not my best color and I doubt it’s yours).

If you find that pleasing others interferes with your own happiness or success, you’re not alone. Many of us have a tendency to be people pleasers. And it doesn’t have to be a permanent condition:-) I’m a reforming pleaser and discovered steps that help me experience more joy and peace by reprioritizing my thoughts and actions. I share these steps in my ebook “Stop Pleasing Others and Get More Joy in Life” and invite you to download a free copy. Click the link below to get your free ebook:

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Relationship building skills can be learned.

Here are 3 simple and impactful steps I use to nurture relationships. Try them out and let me know how they work for you.

1. Ask.

Be intensely curious about people. Ask a lot of questions about them. For example:

  • How do enjoy life when you’re not working?
  • What projects are you working on right now?
  • How do you define success for yourself and your business?
  • What challenges are you dealing with?
  • What do you enjoy most and least about your work?

Since people love to talk about themselves, this is easier than you might think. Their answers will give you insight to what they care about and the problems you (or someone you know) may be able to help them solve. Showing an interest in someone is the ideal first step to great relationship building.

2. Listen.

Have you ever tried the experiment of listening more than you talk in a conversation? If you have, did the person you were “talking” with say, “You are so easy to talk to”? If you haven’t, try it out sometime. The results can be a fascinating illustration of how much people love feeling heard.

Because people enjoy focusing on themselves (and that’s not a bad thing) it’s naturally a good thing to let them share ideas and insights with you.  It’s a human thing to connect, share, listen and feel heard. When you’re building relationships with humans, understanding this quality is invaluable. We are wired to connect and share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences with people.

3. Reconnect.

Now that you have established some rapport and discovered what your contact values, the most important step is to follow-up with them. Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship. Call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. I also suggest mentioning something specific they talked about.

Also ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

The magic of successful relationship building is to continue nurturing.

Now you have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship. Use social media to develop your new relationships by liking, reposting and making comments (positive and insightful, never negative). I suggest doing this within the first week, and then at least every couple of weeks after that.

Finally, since nurturing a relationship takes time, stay in touch with your new contact by email or text regularly. You don’t want to stalk your new contact, but you do want to stay in touch. so I suggest checking in with them every month or so.

Finally, for more tips on ways to ramp your success, subscribe here . You can have a look at “Three Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do First Thing in the Morning”.

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400% Increase in Referrals – The Success Story Video

Referrals are awesome! You know you’ve done a good job nurturing business relationships when your referral rate goes up by 400%!  That’s what one business coaching client saw as a result of the marketing and social media efforts. Watch the video below to see how we did it!

Hint: We didn’t have a marketing budget or dedicated marketing person. I worked with my client to create a plan that HE could implement and feel GOOD about. At first, he was worried he would dread contacting colleagues in his industry to network. He thought, “Ugh, I hate calling people to ASK them for something.”  We needed a plan my for building up referrals that my client could enjoy. Sound familiar? I knew the secret to his success would be making this process easy…and maybe even fun.

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Getting Referrals Can Be FUN – Really!

I’m serious. Connecting with other people in your field can and should be fun. Referrals are so crucial to the success of most entrepreneurs and yet, I find many business owners avoid networking like the plague.

Social media can be a great way to expand your network. It can also be a tremendous way to waste precious time, so learning how to use social platforms efficiently is the key to success. In my recent post, “The 1 Thing to Do on Social Media Today”,  I outline how to focus your content on the highest value you can deliver to your prospect.

LinkedIn offers very powerful tools for finding new potential referral partners and prospects. The advanced sear tool is incredible  – but using it can be overwhelming. To unlock how to use LinkedIn’s search tool to find more referral partners and leads, click here.

Do you have some techniques that work really well to grow referral networks? Share them below in your comments.

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What my dog taught me about social media

What my dog taught me about social media marketing
What my dog taught me about social media marketing

Ever noticed how dogs behave so much better in an off leash park than on leash anywhere else? Social media is like an off leash park for humans. Free range to say what we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want. No leashes constricting us!

What is it about an off leash environment that makes dogs get along so well? Dogs adhere to an ancient and universal set of guidelines for interacting in off leash encounters. Dogs don’t discuss the guidelines ahead or time or sign waivers before they engage in off leash play. (Their humans might have to, but they don’t.) If people were to adhere to a commonly accepted set of guidelines for engaging with each other on social media, we could enjoy substantially reduced: hurt feelings from inflammatory statements, offending remarks, escalation and online bullying. It might even help us move closer to world peace. Certainly, the level of civility would improve. 🙂

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So what guidelines do dogs use that humans could adopt for more civil social media engagement?

  1. Enter social situations with respect. Healthy dogs approach a new social situation with submissive energy and body language. They don’t enter a free range social situation like an off leash dog park with aggressive or dominating behavior. People who demonstrate a healthy respect for others, rather than blasting social channels with bombastic posts gain the respect of others. As a result, they gain more followers and repel fewer.
  1. Get to know others first. How relieved are we that the polite way for humans to get to know each other does not emulate dogs?!? Butt sniffing would be SO embarrassing! Fortunately, finding out more about another person is as easy as asking them.
  1. Accept our differences. Alaskan Malamute, Dachshund, Lab or mutt, dogs take each other at canine face value. Different isn’t bad to dogs in a free range area; it’s good. Different smells, different sizes, different shapes, different everything. Except that the general guidelines for polite doggy behavior is the same and dogs who don’t go by those rules are shunned. Dogs have no reference for breedism. If people can learn to treat those with differing political views, religion or opinion with this same regard, the world would indeed be a more peaceful place.
  1. Invite others to play nicely. The adorable and universal body language for dogs who want to play is the same across all breeds. Front feet down, hind quarters and tail up and open relaxed face. No teeth baring or growling, no fur standing up on their backs. Dogs who want to play will engage with the pups who show they want to have fun. If a dog doesn’t respond to the invitation with the same playful body language, the other dog moves on to invite someone else.

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  1. No means no. When a dog is uninterested or is through playing, they adopt a “No thank you” stance. They look away or walk off. Persistently playful dogs (@mylabs) might attempt to engage this dog in play another time or two. But once they get the message, the pup will move on to someone else.

Seems to me, our best friends can provide us with an excellent example for how to treat each other in our own off leash areas – social media.

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Live Video Streaming is How Michael Phelps Announced His Retirement – Not TV

Live video streaming is beating out cable and network TV for celebrity announcements. That’s not all. Life and business is changing radically.

Michael Phelps showed the world how game-changing live video streaming is by announcing his retirement on Facebook Live this week. His fans loved the feeling that they were right there with him and his teammates hanging out in between races in the Olympic village. We loved watching him talk with us as if we are his friends and as he bared his soul, announcing that Rio would be his last Olympics. This illustrates how authentic live video makes the experience feel for the broadcaster and their viewing audience. The unscripted and conversational style allows the viewing audience to connect with the people they watch on live video. It is so comfortable, natural and easy. Of course we love it!

Live video is on fire. Like, white hot fire! I feel like a kid in a candy store because we are at the beginning of a new wave of communication that changes, oh, just EVERYTHING! How lucky are we to live right now!?!

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If the internet was the greatest invention since the car and social media was the great democratization for people across the globe, then live video is the paradigm shift that empowers everyone to become their own broadcast stars. Talk of content being king has been around for years now and recently, video content has become most effective at garnering our ever-shortening attention spans. But live video broadcasting is a whole new and exponentially more captivating dimension.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video may be worth a million and live video is worth a trillion words. Don’t quote me on the math, but there plenty of studies that show our brains are wired to detect and focus on movement. So, while I view all content as having intrinsic value (I myself love painting and drawings), it depends on the context. Of course video content grabs out attention more quickly than still content. Of course it’s more compelling for our brains to watch moving pictures and action than read words. (Sorry, my dear talented writers. People do still love to read. It’s all about context and right now we are talking about the digital screen context.)

Instapage

Moving images + real time live action = incredibly compelling content. Plus, thanks to camera phones and social media, anyone, anywhere with a smart phone can be a live video content creator, aggregator and publisher. How cool is THAT?!?!?

Google introduced video conferencing with “Hangouts” in 2014. Twitter launched Periscope as their live video streaming platform in spring of 2015. Also in spring of that year, Blab went live with their beta version of live video. Facebook Live launched to celebrities in the summer of 2015 and rolled out to most members with fan pages in April of 2016. Less than five months later, Blab shuttered their platform in the same week that Google announced it’s closing down “Hangouts” next month. Google wants everyone to migrate over to YouTube for live video. YouTube has some work to do to make that platform more user friendly.

Now there’s a mad scramble to claim the live video streaming territory. Blab and Hangouts both allowed multiple video hosts to participate. That was really compelling because humans like to watch interactions between other humans more than watching one human monologuing.

Instagram added live video recently. Huzza has emerged as a live streaming platform that offers multiple video feeds and hosts, plus it’s is more stable than Blab ever was. Huzza recently added a beta feature that allows live video broadcasters to connect and stream over Facebook Live simultaneously. It has a few bugs so we’ll see how that works out. Meanwhile Facebook attempted to launch 2 person live video, but it was nothing more than glorified Facetime. Wah-wah-wah. Periscope continues to thrive, since people all over the world can “scope” live to anyone who who wants to watch. It’s easier to get discovered on Periscope than on Facebook. IMO, Facebook might wanna close that competitive gap.

Whatever the live video streaming platforms do this year, this is going to be a fun and wild ride!

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Customer experience is the brand, so keep it warm and fuzzy

“Good real-time marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, but feels like a favor enhancing the relationship.” I like that. It sounds so…nice. All warm and cozy. Like a friendship I get to choose. And that’s the point, really. A great customer experience builds the know, like and trust factor.

As a human being, I like to choose with whom I spend my time…and my money. I feel much happier and open to companies who provide a nice, warm, fuzzy customer experience. But, this is the competitive world of a global economy, so how do we measure ROI for customer relationship building efforts?  Ted Rubin’s post on Loyalty Lab blog, “Real-Time Marketing: 4 Best Practice Examples of Getting It Right at the Right Time“, highlights four executives who got this right. He said, “Customer loyalty programs that engage the proper context and allow customers to feel control over the message, leads to an emotional attachment between the customer and the brand. Wwhich is at the very core of a Return on Relationship.”

Create an easy Customer Experience (CX).

Make it simple for me to find what I’m looking for. And if you have a useful suggestion, as Amazon always does, I will consider it and feel grateful for your help. If you make me feel like I’m being pressured or pushed in a specific direction, I’ll leave and likely never return.

Make an emotional connection with me. Safe, happy and valued feelings make me much more likely to buy from your company. Building a warm connection with customers goes a long way towards building loyalty.

Crafting the right marketing message to me at the right time is crucial to earning my business. Because that’s how you will earn my trust and my loyalty. Companies collect and analyze the big data generated by their customers online and in social media. Next, they use that information to understand what offers to make and to whom, and when to make them. And t hat’s real time marketing and it delivers real ROI.