This week I’ve been at the hands of 2 businesses getting their words very wrong, and because of their words it has directly impacted on my view of their organisations. Think that’s no big deal?
Which in hard facts translates that I’m unlikely to buy from them in the future.
First example is Booking.com (sorry no hiding the names to protect the innocent here because in my view they are not!) I booked a short break for me and my family and when the confirmation came through we went ahead and booked ferries, kennels, etc. Well the bottom of the email did say this:
2 days later we received an email pretty much saying “sorry we double booked you, here is a hotel nowhere near where you want to be, offering you none of the facilities that you were looking for.”
I thus spend a couple of hours on the phone, emailing etc trying to rectify this error. In their favour the 2 super people I spoke to at Booking.com were…well…..super and really apologetic, but that hardly puts me back in my French fishing village paradise within strolling distance of the restaurants does it?
And although it’s all sorted out now, what feelings do I have about Booking.com?
Don’t dismiss feelings as a girly thing to say when it comes to sales, the fact is we buy with our emotions, and Booking.com have created lots of unpleasant ones for me, before I’ve even locked my front door and said goodbye to my dog!
Booking.com you don’t sell hotels and holidays you sell memories that I will treasure (as will my kids, hubby and parents) for the rest of our lives.
Clarice House – I have a voucher for a Germaine De Capuccini Facial, the paper work came through to confirm mine and my Mums upcoming pampering, only for the description to have changed to “Express”. On phoning them I was informed “all facials unless otherwise stated are 25 mins long” hardly that pampering, relaxing hour I was anticipating. Okay so I assumed (and we all know the dangers of THAT word!) that it meant a full hour facial, but then Clarice House hardly did anything to help me assume otherwise did they?
The fact is as a consumer before I’ve even walked through their doors expecting relaxation, stress free girly time with my Mum, with good food and a day of sheer bliss – there’s that little bit of a nasty taste in my mouth, like I’ve been duped. And how does that make you feel?
Ready to go back and buy again?
Desperate to book another spa day before I’ve even walked out the door?
A business that forgets that a consumer buys with emotions forgets at their peril. Good businesses aren’t just about the sale today they are about the sale tomorrow, next week, next year. Loyal customers, don’t just comeback they tell everyone they know – why your products beat everyone else’s. So when you read your business literature how is it making people feel? And can you deliver what you say you can?
The moral of this business story is – chose your words carefully and ensure you create the right emotions in your customers, everyday – even when they are not ready to buy!
It’s a serious questions every business woman reading this should be prepared to ask themselves. Because if your business is not making sacks of cash, it’s not a business it’s a hobby, and let’s be honest most hobbies are rather expensive. And businesses are supposed to generate money not consume it!
So if you feel like your being a consumer rather than a generator here’s a wham bam Thank you Mam, quick tip guide to checking you’re on the right track to sacks of cash;
1. Ask the question “Is My business making sacks of cash?”
To do this you will need to know your accounts inside out, and every accountant on the planet will tell you how important that is. It will highlight good weeks/months, bad ones, opportunities, weaknesses and help you look out for tell tale patterns to be aware of. Assessing where you are allows you to move forward – forget this at your peril! So become best friend with your numbers.
2. Next ask yourself “What am I going to Do about it?”
Note the capital D on Do. You see procrastination is highly likely to attack your business progress if you don’t have an action plan. Remember Procrastination is destroyed by action! So what action do you intend to take? Ask yourself what has worked in the past, what has not worked in the past. And a word of caution here – if it didn’t work in the past, will it miraculously work this time, unless you make changes?
3. Say good bye to Ron
Have you met Ron? He lurks in every business woman’s psyche – “I will do it Lateron” “This is more important, I will have to leave that to lateron” Ron just loves to hear you say this. So take action on Ron. Knowing what action you intend to take is nothing without working out WHEN you are going to do it. You have probably heard the saying “working ON your business and not IN it” Every successful business needs the space to implement the new ways to ensure success.
4. Get out there!
It’s a biggy! And a pet hate of mine to hear that a wonderful business is relying on business cards and a website and maybe a spot of networking to ensure a wonderful stream of new enquiries, leads, contacts and most of all new happy customers. Even if you are mega busy you still need a multi level approach to your marketing. If you can’t list off at least 8 different things you are doing to engage with customers right now – then somewhere down the line you are going to have trouble – and highly likely to not have sacks of cash!
Okay so there are a ton of other things I could be telling you about right now, including your current customers, up-selling, side selling, multi sales, dangers of special offers, underpricing nightmares, confidence issues, your relationship with money, wrong products, wrong customers, Wow! This list truly could be endless, but you see right now nail these 4 and you WILL see results, you WILL see more of what you want in your business and less of what you don’t. So no more reading, chuck Ron out and take action!
Okay you finally wrote a blog, you finally appreciate that the world and his wife is writing blogs not just because they have a passion for writing as I do) but because it actually is a little god send of a free marketing tool for your business, but now what?
The fact is the world and his wife ARE writing blogs, so how is yours going to stand out?
How are you going to ensure yours does not languish in Never Read Land?
How are you going to ensure that people sign up to read it again and again?
Well let’s start with the reasons why you write a blog and they include;
To share advice, ideas and opportunities with people – it’s not about selling, it’s not about resplurging your website – it’s about giving away just the right level of advice and information (a word of caution to follow here*) that makes you useful. That gets you known as the thought leader which means you are the expert that they are going to trust, know and love – remember you can’t dictate when someone buys but you can have a say from who they choose to buy from.)
To showcase what you can do for people – again this is not a resplurge of your website – this is about sharing. Think about your favourite customer right now – the problems they talked about, the issues they faced, the solutions they needed. If they have that issues stands to reason other potential customer will have the same issue) so share posts that solve problems.
This very blog came about because a brilliantly talented makeup artist to Italian Vogue and London Fashion Week (you know who you are Michelle Court!) asked me how to get her blog seen – she actually called me Queen of Blogging – I like that!
And here’s that word of caution* don’t give everything away. Don’t write mighty long tomes of a blog that bore the pants of people. In this hyper fast world everyone wants answers fast and easy – so deliver easy to read content that answers the question succinctly – better to write 2 blog posts with a lot of material than one long one – finish the first blog with “and in our next blog we will be sharing with you…….”
People often make the mistake of not sharing really useful advice and ideas because they assume that the person reading it will go off and do it all for themselves and not need what they have to offer. Just because I know in theory how to play snooker it does not mean I can, just because I know how to paint a car it does not mean that I have any intention of actually doing it. If someone can learn from you something useful that makes their life easier they will come back for more. If you help them, they will want to work with you.
A great blog gets you known as the expert, it raises your profile and promotes your brand – and that leads to free PR, great marketing, more customers, new opportunities, speaking engagements, and so much more – I speak from experience here.
And lastly the written word is not the only kind of blog to produce. If your business is visual why are you writing 300 words? You know what they say about a picture painting a thousand words? What about a short video too? By the way anything longer than 3 minutes is not short.
Get visual, introduce sound, let people feel like they know you, so that your blog quietly answers their questions, get’s them out of tricky spots and shares some great ideas and stories and guess what? The next time they need what you do, for some inexplicable reason your name will be on the tip of their tongue. One of the most read recent blogs we produced was a 5 minute video showing you how to set up MailChimp!
In my next blog I will share with you how to ensure your blog doesn’t languish in Never Read Land. (see what I did there?)
So yesterday a client says to me thats its hard work sending out individual emails to everyone and what results do they get anyway? Thus I mentioned Mailchimp – its free, I can keep in touch with clients/potential clients/ and business women looking to grow their business effectively, knowing who reads it, how often and if they open the links I included and even automatically share on my social media too - great right?
Here’s a taster 5 minute video to help you get going;
Get started, pause the video as you and do send us your finished results.
As Essex Coordinator I often get told “There are so many networks to chose from, how do I know yours is any good?”
And its a fair point. There is a ton of choice out there – which is great for the consumer…..and the network. You see we never placed ourselves as a rival, on the contrary we regularly promote other networks and business groups, why? Because if its good for business we want to be telling you about it.
A different approach you may say, well yes, but then it works. You see we are here to do the hard work for you. Try out the networks, the seminars and workshops and we share with you the good stuff. You can expect to hear about those ideas at every event in the business ops slot at 10.30.
But lets get down to the nitty gritty – you network because ultimately it leads to leads and sales and profit and success. On top of those things at the BWN you can expect support (it can be a lonely world for a business woman – and its great to know what you are experiencing or finding tough someone else has the answers to - probably because they have been through it too!)
You get motivated into action – so often women say to me, thanks to coming to The BWN last week, I picked up the phone/got in touch/changed my website/got up and spoke about my company/challenged their decision/went for it/took my business to the next level. And that results in even more success.
The BWN blogs and “What Business Women Say” pages of our website are packed with testimonials of how we have helped business women get what they want for their business and their success – all in an environment that is always welcoming (never clicky!) motivational and business focussed – we may mention what gorgeous heels you are wearing but then its straight back to business. Because we know that’s what matters to you.
….Asked a fabulous business woman this morning on Twitter, and since I’m stuck in bed having used up too many spoons (ask @ClareLauwerys about that – its to do with your health and ME) after a great night of partying Friday night as we were finalists in the Colchester Business Awards (no shiny awards but 3 categories – Excellence in Marketing, New Company and Highly Commended.)
So I have the time to answer personally.
So what should be on your business card. A great place to start is to ask people who you know will give you a genuine answer. Your Nan maybe your biggest fan but her critique of your business card may not be as sound as a fellow business woman at a networking event. So take along your current one and be brave.
The thing to remember is your business card needs to be a key to people wanting to know more. You know how the 60 second elevator pitch is “What you do to get someone to want your business card” Well your business card is the “What you do to get people to want to keep it and use it”. And that means creating a desire to keep in touch, and to keep up to date on all you do.
Things to consider are:
If you are using social media effectively make it easy for people to connect with you and have your links there – especially if your picture doesn’t give it away.
Testimonials are great – but not too many.
What your clients get – remember this is not what you do – this is what they get. You don’t walk into the butchers and say “Hey I would love a dead pig sandwich please do you?” So saying what customers get can be very powerful.
A great tag line is great – but only if it adds meaning – for instance ours is “As Passionate About Your Success As You.” And BWN business women KNOW it! So what is powerful for you?
As the fab business woman that contacted us via Twitter said “Less is defintely more” but if you are struggling to work out which words are most powerful – list them all and then get feedback from other people – You are always welcome to use the BWN social media to gain feedback (you can access that on the home page of the website.) Business women do love to support the success of each other, and in doing this, you are still raising awareness to you and your brand and what you do. So before your new business cards are even printed, people will be knowing you and your business.
Pictures and images – are they relevant? As pretty as a beach or a flower is, does it have any obvious meaning to you and what you do? If not is it taking away from your overall message?
Most importantly ensure your contact details are clear and obvious and Tiny writing is a hate – so don’t do it.
Hope that helps – for more ideas just get in touch – thats our job!
My names Mandie Holgate and I am the coordinator for Essex – There are other fabulous coordinators in our team and we are looking to grow across the UK, since we know what The BWN genuinely results in more business, more skills and more confidence.
So do get in touch anytime – firstname.lastname@example.org 07989935556
As the title asked, seriously are you in love with your website?
Unfortunately the question is not if you are in love with your website but are your customers?
And more importantly, your potential customers.
Many of you already know that it takes about 3 seconds to work out if the website you are on is going to be useful so what are you doing to ensure visitors fall in love at first site?
Is it interactive? (Blogs, ideas, newsletter sign up, questionaires, reports, eBooks – can people easily learn more without having to talk directly to you – remember people want to buy when they are ready.)
Is it automatically interactive? (You need to be off earning the money, and that can’t happen if you are constantly replying to people – autoresponders will be a godsend.)
Can they get free stuff from you? (Getting known as the thought leader in your field is an ideal way of ensuring that when people are ready to buy its you they buy from.)
Are your contact details easily found? (You will be surprised by how lazy we all can be, and how easily we get turned off of the idea of picking up the phone or getting in touch.)
Is your social media links easy to access? (And tempting enough.)
Is your website too wordy? (Something that is too wordy will numb the pants off of your audience – sorry I never did go to subtle school, but short punchy relevant sentences are key – think inside your favourite customers head, what were they saying to you before you saved the day? They are the words you need to be using.)
If you have products and services are they even best served by words – many bypass Google altogether to get their answers, heading straight to YouTube and as fabulously corporate as it is to have a £1000 professional video, capturing your passion, energy and talent on film is a great way to bring you into someones office or home. Remember when surfing the net not everyone wants to read a ton of words – images and video are key.
And lastly if you don’t know the answer to these – ask your potential customers – What do you think of my website? Remember if you don’t ask you don’t get, so asking what people think is the key to knowledge and the key to finding out what & how people will fall in love with your website……and that leads to falling in love with you and all that you do and that leads to sales – Love it!
(This blog came out of my thoughts after 2 coaching sessions with clients this week and as I prepare for The Marketing Business Clinic this morning – hope you find it useful – for more ideas feel free to get in touch email@example.com 07989935556 – because I just love hearing from you!)
In various meetings, seminars and sessions with clients this week. A word has cropped up time and time again…..
But what is the big deal?
Why are we all using this word?
I found myself thinking about this, and I think this has something to do with it.
We have been through a time where clever marketing got us to buy things, then marketing got cleverer and still we bought things. Now as we are told the world is ending, banks are collapsing (mmmm who was it that announced over a billion £ profit this week in the banking world?) countries economies are toppling, the air is polluted…..”Run for the hills, we’re all gonna die” well you get the idea.
The fact is in the current nervous climate we want things transparent. We don’t want to be sold at. We want the facts.
What will it do?
How will it do that?
Will it make a big difference to my life, my business, my hair, my health……?
And so transparency becomes so important to us.
How many times has someone phoned you and rattled on about a million things, not cutting to the chase of what they want, what they want you to do, and how and when they want it to happen?
Wouldn’t it be great if people were more honest?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was no hidden agenda?
I think that is why honest marketing, clear talking and transparent ideas and actions are the order of the day.
And if you can get that into your marketing, your business ethos and the way you engage with people, they are far more likely to interact with you. And we all know where that can lead don’t we.
They want the real you, they want to know that the people they chose to work with care and will do their best, and the best way to show that is with transparency.
And a point to remember is, if you come up against people and businesses that are not prepared to be transparent then, you start to question what are you hiding? What aren’t you telling me?
When people feel like they have the whole picture, with no hidden agendas they relax, they get to like you and your products and that is taking you well on the way to a sale.
So get clear, transparent, see through, honest and straight talking in your business today.
(And a little note on the collapse of the universe – its highly likely business women like you and I will still get up tomorrow, get ready for work, make a difference to the people we work with and drink another cuppa – don’t buy into the media madness – its just a thought, but I know how powerful they can be!)
Mandie Holgate shared this with us, our Essex coordinator, if you are a coordinator for The BWN or have the Business Premier Pack and you have something useful or interesting to share with business women send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will link it to your website too.
Here are some examples of what the BWN does everyday for business women like you;
Business woman A worked for a large organisation and was great at her job, but now she needed to be good at marketing and networking too. Despite attending many events she was not getting the results she wanted. Thanks to the BWN she accessed like minded business women and business and development skills that have led to her networking producing great results.
Business Woman B was so low with running her own business she was reduced to tears when a coordinator asked “How’s business?” She was on the verge of quitting when she started attending the BWN and the work she had to accept was near on sole destroying to survive. Thanks to coming to the BWN she is now taking on her 1st member of staff and loves running her own business.
Meet Business Woman C, whose fear of public speaking was so severe, her voice wobbled, she gained the shakes and ran out of things to say! Within a few months of attending the BWN she was able to stand up and talk about her business to a roomful of business women and soon after was able to speak to 100+ with a microphone!
Business Womans D found that she was arguing with her loved ones over if she should go and “get a real job.” When she started attending the BWN she soon learnt new skills and made some connections that have led to 4-5 figure contracts not just in the UK but overseas too.
Meet Business Woman E & F whose businesses are growing fast. They now employ a few staff and find more and more they need to be in 2 places at once. Juggling family, work, health and life was proving to be too much. Somewhere down the line they were getting lost in mountains of paperwork and a sense of “Why am I doing this?” Thanks to coming along to The BWN they now know what they want out of business, have accessed the skills set to grow their staff and their business and are even gaining new leads even when they can’t get to a BWN event.
Lastly because Business Woman G is so amazing, we had to share this with you. Business Woman G is like many business women. Working hard day in day out. Having great weeks and tough days. Learning new skills and rising above the challenges of running her own business every day. She tenacious, she’s determined and she knows that however tough it gets there is the support and ideas to help her succeed. Business Woman G is like so many business women up and down the UK who gets on with it. But unlike many business woman Business Woman G has gained a plethora of leads, ideas and amazing opportunities thanks to attending the BWN regularly. However low she feels, she knows that The BWN is there just for her. She knows she is guranteed a roomfull of like minded business women who will motivate, inspire and connect with her for success spurning her on for another day.
Yesterday because our children had deserted us for a day of kites flying and eating E-numbers with grandparents my husband suggested a leisurely stroll around the shops. As we walked through a rather glittery department store (don’t you just love those? I feel they are like toy shops for women!) We walked through the cosmetic department.
That morning Hubby had watched me scrape the sides of my moisturiser and so as we strolled through he said “Why don’t you buy some products?”
What a stupid thing to say to a woman amongst so so so many pretty bottles.
I spent an hour walking around each counter, being introduced to all manner of products and it got me thinking.
When we chose to buy, what is it that makes us buy?
What is the thing that tips in one companies favour over another’s?
Well yesterday sums it up nicely.
You see, there was not going to be a single product in that store that would not brighten, reduce wrinkles or make your skin glow. Every product would promise things like that.
So how then do you decide which is best?
You could look at price – but a) hubby was intent on spoiling me (and who was I to argue!) and b)I wanted products that were right for me – price was secondary – and that dear readers is true of most people, with most purchases.
So price is ruled out, they all claim to do amazing things to make me look like a sprightly teen. So now what?
I chose on this.
As I walked from counter to counter. 3 people had stood out at 3 counters of gorgeous glossy bottles.
Woman 1 because every time I went to ask her a question she went into her spiel and wouldn’t allow me to finish. How many of you know someone that in their marketing concentrates on what THEY want to tell potential clients as opposed to what the potential client ACTUALLY WANTS to know?
Woman 2 because she was insistent that I love the cute bottles and the fact that their products were the best. Everyone on the planet thinks their product is better than their competitor (otherwise why be in business?) But the fact is that is not what matters to the customer, so stop bleating on to me about how amazing you are, people like to work that out for themselves. Otherwise they fight it and run away – which is exactly what I did – note here – these products were actually the cheapest, but I was completely turned off by the experience. I was on her agenda not mine. mmmm another analogy about marketing me thinks.
Lastly Woman 3 – I even remember her name, Lauren. Lauren listened to what I wanted. Lauren answered my questions directly. Lauren engaged with me. Lauren did not try and tell me I had to clear an hour in the morning to clean my face and moisturise. She LISTENED to the fact I had 10 minutes before I legged it to 412 other jobs (a lesson Woman 1 could well do with learning!) And on top of Lauren’s genuine interest in supplying what I the customer needed. Lauren had beautiful skin. (Woman 1 and 2’s makeup and skin were nowhere near as naturally immaculate as Lauren’s)
The fact is Lauren ticked all the boxes to make the sale;
She listened to what the customer wanted.
She answered the questions that the customer wanted answering.
She matched the needs of the customer with their products.
She acted like she cared about the customer.
But most importantly she gave the customer a really pleasurable experience that I will remember and I WILL go back – now who would like customers that automatically come back?
And lastly she was congruent to everything she said, and this gave her credibility.
Mmmmm amazing what a cosmetic counter can tell you about marketing.