Staying True to Your Core, Your Clients and Yourself
By Julia Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing
What are your intentions? At the risk of sounding like a dad quizzing his daughter’s date, I dare to ask this question of you, the entrepreneur. Understanding your intentions and reaffirming your core values is a great way to start each day.
As markets tighten and the economy shifts, it’s sometimes easy to fall into the traps that remove us from the heart of who we are and who we choose to be. Some find themselves cutting corners, “exaggerating” the truth and being dishonest–not only with the people around them, but also with themselves. They justify their actions by telling themselves that their intentions are good, but there is just not enough time, money, energy, etc. these days to do what’s right or necessary.
Intent is everything, and with it must come integrity, character and the passion to be not just the person you are, but the person you intend to be: The superhero your children, family and friends rely on. The one you can look at in the mirror at the end of the day, knowing you did your best and gave your all.
Intent goes by many names. Steven Covey calls it your moral compass, your guiding force. Some call it conscience, others your ‘authentic self.’ What do you call it? It’s interesting how that divining rod that drives some to greatness day after day is totally missed by others. It can be the difference between becoming your personal best and just getting by.
So for today, this month–or hey, maybe a lifetime–I challenge you to stay focused and true to the things, practices and principals that enable
you to successfully:
-help those around you
-believe in abundance
-cast off the negative
-focus on high-priority activities
-seek and give guidance
-sleep easy, knowing that you have done your best
Consider these “integrity trackers,” and ask yourself at least
once a week:
-Am I providing the best service possible for my customers?
-Am I thanking those who help me succeed both personally and professionally?
-Am I seeking out personal development opportunities such as courses, seminars, books and audio series?
-Am I being financially responsible by creating and acting on a plan that will provide security for myself and my family?
-Am I consistently reaching out to my sphere of influence so that I can effectively grow and maintain my BusinessBASE™?
-Am I taking the time to recharge mentally, physically and emotionally each week so that my family, clients (and that face in the mirror) get the happiest, healthiest me possible?
For some, it will take reorganization, introspection and real courage to stay the course in this tough market. Is it worth it to stay focused on the things and people that matter? To ensure you’re abiding by the principles that guide your life for the better? Sure it is. As Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true.” So the concept must have some staying power! Believe in your ability to maintain integrity, and you will grow your business with momentum and peace of mind.
Market after market, year after year, client after client, people want to work with those whom they trust, respect and care about. Your intentions are your “tell.” They give you away, mark who you are and guide your life. It’s up to you to make good on them.
Go ahead, show us what you’re made of. We believe in you! It’s one of the best parts of our job here at Opportunity Knocks: holding tight to our intentions while helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals and realize their dreams. And in keeping with our “integrity trackers,” we thank you for the role you allow us to play in your lives.
Discover how we can help develop your team with vision, purpose and productivity through foundation-building skills, winning mindsets and tremendous tools not just for tough markets, but for ANY market. Now more than ever, it is essential to play with intention and integrity in our daily lives.
Our team of professionals is ready, willing and passionate about bringing the best resources in the industry to your organization. Call us at 800.287.5710 or visit http://www.oppknockspostcards.com if you need us! We’re here to help.
How to master the traits of top producers
By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing
“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” That classic Napoleon Hill concept certainly has withstood the test of time, hasn’t it? Think about the high achievers you know, and take a look at the commonalities that have led those talented sales professionals to the pinnacles
Now, while sales and service industries as a whole don’t offer up college degrees, you can be sure that studying the principals and practices of super-achievers will earn you higher response rates, productivity, profitability and a career you can be proud of.
So, don your thinking cap and consider these seven elements that you’ll always find at the very core of the very best:
1. They are believers. It’s more than self confidence; successful people embody the belief that anything is possible. They think expansively rather than seek the closed door of failure.
One of the greatest gifts we have is the ability to open our minds, hearts and lives up to all of the resources within our reach. Mega-producers shift from “I think I can” to “I know I can” each and every day. As the amazing Walt Disney once said: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Believe that you can; it’s a tremendous place to start.
2. They live in the present. Of course they do. Doesn’t everyone? Sadly, no. How many people do you know who wallow in the past or are paralyzed by fear of the future—what could or might happen tomorrow? Top achievers recognize that today is what they have. This minute, this hour is what they can control. They become masters of the moment. They embrace the day, the conversation, the relationship, the business and sometimes even the silence.
It’s amazing how these people with so much to do and so much to accomplish each day seem to do it with ease and joy. Consider how much lighter your load would be if you left the past firmly behind you and the future out in front of you. Don’t you think that would make today much easier to walk through?
3. They work hard. I’m stating the obvious here as a reminder that success doesn’t happen by accident. Top producers get up earlier, stay later, go the extra mile for their customers and strike the best balance in life—all while counting their blessings rather than complaining. They consider their career part of who they are and what they love—making work a lot less like,well, work.
In today’s market, the “pie” is smaller, which makes the competition for each “piece” tougher. Know that it takes more prospecting, preparation, time management, skill building and closing to stay ahead of the competition. If you want to travel on the high road, you have to be willing to go the extra mile.
4. They consider themselves “works in progress.” Anthony Robbins calls it CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement). The great Og Mandino tells us: “Take the attitude of a student: Never be too big to ask questions; never know too much to learn something new.”
Real winners are successful students; they never stop learning. They’re passionate about absorbing everything there is to know about work, life, relationships, balance, etc. They recognize that our world is abundant in resources that can help them learn, master their crafts and expand their horizons. You’ll find many are both mentors and protégés, as ongoing teaching and learning are necessary not only to make it to the top, but also to stay there.
5. They take responsibility. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish when we take personal responsibility for our actions, successes and failures. Too many people try to look busy, place blame or find reasons why something won’t work rather than doing what it takes to make it to the top.
Leaders accept the challenges before them, step up and learn from their mistakes and don’t wait for success to come knocking at their door.
6. They are resourceful. Top producers think ahead and actively acquire the skills, strategies, tools and techniques they need to keep their edge in any market. They not only create new ways to “build a better mousetrap,” but they also set out to build a better “self.” They think ahead of the trends and seek out the lessons they need to thrive. Rather than saying, “I don’t know,” winners add the words, “but I will find out.”
Get creative. Explore the resources that are available to you—from libraries and the internet to mentors and mega-producers.
7. They put people first. Successful people think outside of themselves. They understand that their customers are the lifeblood of their business and that the care and keeping of those customers is a top priority.
They also realize that living an exceptional life requires a delicate balance among work, family and self. All work and no play usually makes for someone who ends up alone. They cherish and guard family time with as much fervor as they use in cultivating business relationships.
How do they do this? By using prospecting systems that ensure they stay in touch with their customers every month and putting time-management systems in place to ensure their family time is uninterrupted.
I challenge you to continuously study your profession and hone your skills and knowledge base. Incorporate these elements into your own life and business, and realize that you, too, can conceive, believe and achieve greatness.
To download your free copy of BusinessBASE™, visit http://www.oppknockspostcards.com and click on BusinessBASE™. Learn more about the best practices and systems necessary to ensure that you are building the strongest customer base possible by calling our marketing team at 800.287.5710. Our team of professionals is ready, willing and passionate about bringing the best resources in the industry to your organization.
The six silent killers of sales successBy Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing
I thought I’d cast a darker than usual spell over this month’s article for two reasons: One, many sales and service professionals are feeling more tricked than treated these days; and two, to share what can happen to your business if you let any of these “silent killers” creep into your organization!
Don’t be afraid; just be aware of these top customer service mistakes that can be deadly to your bottom line:
1. Inaccessibility: One of the top customer complaints of all time is, “They never called me back.” In customer speak, that translates into, “They don’t care about me, and they don’t want (or deserve) my business.” Consider these tips, and be sure you consistently:
o Answer phone calls and emails within six hours, and always within 24 hours.
o Use automated systems to keep up with web and direct mail inquiries.
o Make yourself available; do NOT launch a marketing campaign and then leave town, attend a four-day workshop or head for the slopes. You laugh, but I wouldn’t mention it if I hadn’t witnessed it myself more than once. Ours is an “instant gratification” society. People don’t like to wait, so don’t make them!
2. Talking more than listening: I’m not sure who said it first (although I remember my mother sharing it a time or two), but this classic line really does put this point in perspective: “You were given two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason! Listen more than you talk.” Listening allows you to hear objections, get a real feel for the comfort and motivation level of your customers and effectively answer their questions and meet their needs. Listening attentively also makes the client feel important, connected and cared about. Remember this: They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
3. Dishonesty: Lies–big, small and every size in-between–have a funny way of sneaking up on you and biting you on the bottom line. Now more than ever, consumers are looking to work with professionals they can trust implicitly. When the economy gets tighter, each financial decision becomes bigger, and they need an advocate more than someone who will just tell them what they want to hear. Step up the integrity, say what you mean and mean what you say; it will mean the world to both your customers and your longevity in this business.
4. Forgetting that manners matter: It might seem to some that as generations pass and our world becomes more and more chaotic, it’s fine to let manners slide or common courtesies wane. For sales professionals at the top of the ladder however–, patience, civility and good old fashioned manners such as “please” and “thank you” as well as shaking hands, making eye contact, opening doors and being respectful are not just tools of the trade, they are marks of true character. The golden rule remains a life lesson that is truly “golden.” Top professionals wouldn’t even consider:
o Keeping a client on hold.
o Talking on a cell phone in the presence of a customer unless negotiating on their behalf or handling a real emergency.
o Using profanity or any disrespectful language in front of a client.
5. Quitting too soon: Sometimes “no” just means “not right now.” Too many business owners stop reaching out to customers because they’re tired of sending “stuff.” Consider the words of direct response guru Dan Kennedy, “Everyone shows up once. The ones who win keep showing up over and over again.” He’s right; it’s not about us, it’s about them. So hang in there for the long haul. Give your customers as much time, attention and patience as they need not only to be your customer right now, but also to be your customer for life. Every one of them could be worth tens of thousands to you over the course of your career in business and referrals.
6. Failure to get to know your customers and allow them to get to know you: Ours is a people business–and a busy one, at that! We all forget from time to time, and the more clients you have, the easier it is to not truly connect if you don’t have a system in place to methodically get to know everyone who will be the lifeblood of your business both today and for years to come. Create a database on your computer, or download our free BusinessBASE? and begin to fill in the details about your VIPs–birthdays, employment, children’s names, hobbies, important events, etc. Contact everyone in some way every 30 days, and not just with sales or referral calls. “How’s the golf game?” “When is your daughter’s play?” “I saw this article and thought of you.” “Do you have any questions?” All of these are great communication strategies and a great way for you to get to know your customers and allow them to get to know you.
Statistics tell us that businesses spend six times more to gain a new customer than they do to retain their current ones. That’s truer today than it’s ever been. Think back to the “old days” when you bought a Ford because your father bought a Ford and his father bought a Ford. You used your bank because it was your parents’ bank or one insurance company because it was your family’s agent. That type of brand loyalty has all but disappeared.
With changing times come changing challenges, and those who realize that extraordinary customer service, relationship marketing and perseverance are the “tricks” of the trade will appreciate the “treats” this business provides for years to come–never even pausing to consider laying their career to rest.
Need help building a customer base and staying “alive” in today’s sometimes spooky economy? Visit http://www.oppknockspostcards.com today or call 1.800.287.5710. We’re here to help you discover the powerful tools, systems and resources you need to scare up new business each and every month!
Savvy business owners turn to the experience and insight of marketing innovators who have the ability to blend “old school” best practices and foundation-builders with new “in-line” marketing channels to ensure success in any market. Let’s take a look at five essential keys for keeping your marketing in step with today’s challenging times:
1. Understand the elements. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but in terms of what works and doesn’t work in direct mail marketing, know that your marketing piece can be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, but without the three essential elements of offer, information and response, it will never earn you a “second date.”
• Start with a compelling OFFER. In any market, this is crucial, but in tough times, it’s even more important to ensure that you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and consider their wants and needs. Features are reserved for your interests and benefits are truly what appeals to your customer. Sharing how your organization can solve a problem, sooth a fear, or give a customer something of real value such as a free trial period, free gift or attractive terms is key. Remember to answer these important questions in your direct marketing:
o What is the benefit?
o How is it unique to your audience?
o What is your call to action?
• Include the RIGHT information. Consumers respond to clear-cut messages with enough information to allow them to make a decision. If they have to guess, think about it or find your message confusing, they won’t respond. The bottom line? No response equals no sales. Again, put your consumer hat on to determine if your offer has enough information to move you to take action. Test your message on people outside your organization and gauge their response before going through the expense of mailing, or trust an industry resource with a proven track record for effectively matching message to market segment.
• Response equals results. The best rule of thumb in direct response is “make it easy for people to buy from you!” How often have you been online or even in line at a store and have had trouble “checking out” or finding what it is you came in to purchase. Always keep that in mind when crafting your response offer.
2. Invest in your mailing list. Even more important than WHAT you send is the audience you are sending to. Strong, effective direct marketing matches the message to the market segment – so who are your best customers and what do THEY need to hear? It’s now or never time in today’s tough market. So, starting now, get organized! Who should you market to? That’s easy!
o Your current customers
o Your past customers
o Your competition’s customers
o Customers that demographically match your best customer profile
3. Integrate for a one-two punch. Direct mail is a proven solution in today’s tough market, but business owners who truly want to turn up the heat know that adding multiple marketing channels greatly increases their success rate. Consider DID numbers (direct-in-dial call capture numbers), personalized urls or webpages, even voice mail options to reach a wider spectrum of consumers and better track your return on investment.
4. Become a good habit. Only the companies that maintain their brand, stay in consistent contact with their customer base and fuel their relationship building systems will survive in shifting economic times. In fact, not only will they survive, they’ll emerge as leaders when the market does make the shift. They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. The Direct Marketing Association tells us that the ideal time between marketing mailings is 21 days. There’s a coincidence worth noticing. Develop the good habit of staying in touch with your customers faithfully, and you’ll find when it comes to putting their faith in a company to do business with – yours will rise to the top of the list.
5. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Don’t panic. These are tough times, and tough times call for tough measures and tough-minded thinking. More importantly, they call for smart strategies and a need to keep your eyes on the road ahead. You can’t change what was, nor can you control THE economy. However, with solid systems in place, best business practices on your side and a focus and commitment to stay close to your customer base first and grow your business from there, you can control YOUR economy.
There’s never been a better time to look at what you’re doing to solidify and build your business. We’re here to help. From recession-proof marketing ideas to good old fashioned customer service. Your success is our business. We look forward to being the resource you can count on. Need help? Call us today at 1.800.287.5710 or visit us at http://www.oppknockspostcards.com or http://www.birthdayprospecting.com
The 80/20 Rule is Alive and Well…How to Leverage These Little Numbers for Big Results in Your Business
The 80/20 Rule, or what’s known as the Pareto Principle, has been around since 1906, but don’t let old age lull you into thinking the idea is old-fashioned or out-dated. It’s alive and well and more relevant than ever for top companies looking to leverage growth in a challenging economy. Like anything else in this world, it’s all in how you use it!
A little history lesson. The “birthright” of this principle was thought to have originated with economist Vilfredo Pareto back in 1906, when he used it to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country. Twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the property and wealth. Dr. Joseph Juran, however, a management pioneer in the 1930s and 1940s, was the one to come up with a universal “law” or “principle” of the “vital few and trivial many” which described the idea that 20% of something always are responsible for 80% of the results. Juran used Pareto’s observation in his writings and the name Pareto’s Principal rooted.
Now – why it’s important to you! I know what you’re thinking, “So, how does this relate to MY business?” That, of course, will depend on you! Applied effectively and consistently, these two little numbers can change the course of your future in many ways, most notably in terms of your business and life FOCUS. After all, when it’s said and done, what you focus on MOST will determine your direction, your success and your well being both as a person and a business owner. Let’s look at three ways the 80/20 Rule can help you focus on what’s important and leverage big results:
Find it, develop it, and share it to build the business you’ve always imagined.
Let’s get started!
Finding new ways to build bottom-line revenue for customers in today’s market is essential for us – and obviously for them. That’s why we’re consistently keeping our eye on the ball and our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry.