Category: Education

Sometimes life and business are chaotic; which choice are you making?

Sometimes life and business are chaotic; which choice are you making?

Businessman with umbrella overcome challenge in chaos office. Mixed media

Do you choose to fight against chaos, or Do you decide to order your chaos?

Sometimes life and business are chaotic; which choice are you making?

In my former career as a summer camp director, as an industry, we used to use the term controlled chaos to explain what camp was like.

However, I was not too fond of this term; it was like we were in conflict with what we were doing and not truly in control.

In reality, we can control our experience by creating processes and systems to give all of our people the greatest level of preparedness as well as teaching them what to do if it does not go right.

My team and I created an intentional, repeatable experience through processes and systems. This was everything from a detailed schedule with employee roles to how, who, and when we communicate difficult information to our two client types (kids & parents) and how we handle a problem at the moment and after.

If your business is feeling crazy. Build yourself a system that can be replicated over and over again.

Let me know what is causing chaos in your business below?
#business #process #IASbiz #experience #summercamp

Why is signage important to your customer experience?

Why is signage important to your customer experience?

As I am sitting here at my favorite coffee shop. I enjoy the quiet, but I can’t help but notice when people use the restroom because they never know how to get in. 

People will stand there giggling the handle, waiting patiently, or knocking. Since I am a nice guy, I tell them, “you need to get a key from the counter.” I am usually sitting there getting work done; this process can be disturbing. I ask myself every time, why don’t they just put up a sign? 

Adding a sign that says, “Please get the bathroom key from the front counter,” could elevate this minor problem. My point is that signage is your passive communication tool for getting your clients/customers to do the things you want. 

Think about your sign on the door; it is designed to catch a person’s eye to entice them to walk in. The menu on the wall is to explain what options are available. Every single sign is about creating an ideal behavior. With all this in mind, here are a few tips on making and using effective signage in your business.

 

Tip 1: Design Your Sign to Convey A Clear Direction

 

A good sign tells a person where, when, and how to do a specific behavior. Therefore, it is essential to think of your signs as a sequence of physical actions—a step-by-step experience. You need to consider the person who will follow these directions, who they are, and what problem they have? 

 

Tip 2: Does Your Sign Tell Your Story 

What is your business identity? Why do you exist? What problems do you solve? A great sign can convey these messages. For example, take Royal Caribian Cruises. A few years ago, they rolled out their Live, Love, Cruise Campaign. It was to transition their brand from cruise vacation into a lifestyle.

 

If you walk around their ships, they have artwork, decals, and signage just to share and reinforce their beliefs. So when you think about your own location, consider what beliefs will support your companies identity.

Tip 3: Know Your Desired Customer Behaviour

 

Make sure you take the time to map out the action that is important to a successful customer experience. This may take the form of walking through your experience as your customer or creating a process map. It doesn’t matter but make sure you get into the head of your customers. 

 

Tip 4: Talk with a professional about all the above elements

 

Take your time to find a company that will understand your brand and the experience you want to create. Then, they will add their expertise to design signage that does all your desired outcomes and more.

A quick suggestion is to talk with my friends at Spark Signs and Graphics; they get that a sign is more than a sign. It is a visual story ready to be told. Here is what owner Alex Maurer has to say 

 

“When working with clients, we set out to understand their business and what challenges they are trying to solve. As an example, effective directional signage within a building – whether it is a corporate environment or a church – can make a visitors’ experience so much more positive when they get from point A to point B in an efficient and easy way.”

 

As you seek to create the best experience for your customers and yourself, make sure to consider these 4 tips. If you want additional help creating a business that thrives and generate the lifestyle you deserve, consider taking a test drive and see what our profit acceleration can do for your business.

 

Remember, the best time to change was yesterday, so you better start changing today.

Why is signage important to your customer experience?

Why is signage important to your customer experience?

Why is signage important to your customer experience?

As I am sitting here at my favorite coffee shop. I enjoy the quiet, but I can’t help but notice when people use the restroom because they never know how to get in. 

People will stand there giggling the handle, waiting patiently, or knocking. Since I am a nice guy, I tell them, “you need to get a key from the counter.” I am usually sitting there getting work done; this process can be disturbing. I ask myself every time, why don’t they just put up a sign? 

Adding a sign that says, “Please get the bathroom key from the front counter,” could elevate this minor problem. My point is that signage is your passive communication tool for getting your clients/customers to do the things you want. 

Think about your sign on the door; it is designed to catch a person’s eye to entice them to walk in. The menu on the wall is to explain what options are available. Every single sign is about creating an ideal behavior. With all this in mind, here are a few tips on making and using effective signage in your business.

 

Tip 1: Design Your Sign to Convey A Clear Direction

 

A good sign tells a person where, when, and how to do a specific behavior. Therefore, it is essential to think of your signs as a sequence of physical actions—a step-by-step experience. You need to consider the person who will follow these directions, who they are, and what problem they have? 

 

Tip 2: Does Your Sign Tell Your Story 

 

What is your business identity? Why do you exist? What problems do you solve? A great sign can convey these messages. For example, take Royal Caribian Cruises. A few years ago, they rolled out their Live, Love, Cruise Campaign. It was to transition their brand from cruise vacation into a lifestyle.

 

If you walk around their ships, they have artwork, decals, and signage just to share and reinforce their beliefs. So when you think about your own location, consider what beliefs will support your companies identity.

Tip 3: Know Your Desired Customer Behaviour

 

Make sure you take the time to map out the action that is important to a successful customer experience. This may take the form of walking through your experience as your customer or creating a process map. It doesn’t matter but make sure you get into the head of your customers. 

 

Tip 4: Talk with a professional about all the above elements

 

Take your time to find a company that will understand your brand and the experience you want to create. Then, they will add their expertise to design signage that does all your desired outcomes and more.

 

A quick suggestion is to talk with my friends at Spark Signs and Graphics; they get that a sign is more than a sign. It is a visual story ready to be told. Here is what owner Alex Maurer has to say 

 

“When working with clients, we set out to understand their business and what challenges they are trying to solve. As an example, effective directional signage within a building – whether it is a corporate environment or a church – can make a visitors’ experience so much more positive when they get from point A to point B in an efficient and easy way.”

 

As you seek to create the best experience for your customers and yourself, make sure to consider these 4 tips. If you want additional help creating a business that thrives and generate the lifestyle you deserve, consider taking a test drive and see what our profit acceleration can do for your business.

 

Remember, the best time to change was yesterday, so you better start changing today.

8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

There are 30.2 million small businesses in the US, accounting for 99.9% of all businesses in the country. Even though they account for 99% of all business;

  • They employee less than half of the American workforce
  • The average annual business revenue is $46,978 
  • 86.3% of small business owners make less than $100,000 a year in income

It begs the question; what is holding back your small businesses from reaching its full potential and becoming multi-million dollar businesses. This series will discuss 8 reasons why your business may not be growing and the action you can take to fix it. Today we will discuss numbers one and two.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model 
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust) 
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage 
  6. Lack of curiosity 
  7. Vision with a plan 
  8. A mirror 

Cash Flow

Cash flow is considered by many to number one business killer. There is a saying cash is king when it comes to your business; there is no more accurate statement. For those that don’t know this term:

 

The term cash flow refers to the net amount of cash and cash equivalents being transferred in and out of a company. Cash received represents inflows, while money spent represents outflows. A company’s ability to create value for shareholders is fundamentally determined by its ability to generate positive cash flows or, more specifically, to maximize long-term free cash flow (FCF). FCF is the cash generated by a company from its normal business operations after subtracting any money spent on capital expenditures (CapEx). (definition provided by Investopedia)

 

So how do companies get into cash flow trouble? 

  • Accounts receivable; you have provided service but have yet to receive the cash. Again, this usually comes down to your payment terms and your ability to collect whenever possible try to get full payment before or at least at the time of completion. 
  • Paying Bill First; we all hate owing people, but many businesses do not take advantage of the same payment terms. For example, if someone offers you net 30, 60 payment terms, take advantage of them and wait until the last opportunity to complete payment without accruing penalty. Also, consider renegotiating for a more favorable term.

There are many other ways to develop cash flow problems, but these are two of the biggest. Please take the time to review your cash flow statement & balance sheet see how your cash flow looks. Then, consider setting goals to improve your cash flow as a tool to increase the value of your company.

 

Dependent Model

Now that you have begun to conquer cash flow, the next step will be to make an independent business model. But, of course, you’re probably asking yourself what the hell does that means?

It means creating a business model that does not rely on you as the owner to push the buttons, pull the levers, provide the basic service. It is the philosophy of shifting from working in the business to working on the business. 

There are several reasons why owners struggle to make this transition; we will discuss a few today but remember there are many more, and it is up to create time to do the work and discover your cause and correct it. Today we will discuss the sphere of control.

This is a big one for most owners. At some point, you will get to the place where you can’t be everywhere at once and can’t interface with every client. This can be very tough because this usually means you need to hire middle management. It requires a different set of skills than the ones you have hired before but usually comes with a dip in profit. So what can you do about it?

The first step is to get organized and answer these two questions:

 

What do I need them to do?

Where is the information they need to get the job done stored?

 

Simply put, to create a stable sphere of control, you need to have a documented process with clear expectations, responsibilities, and most importantly, the information to be successful. The standard term for this is SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures).

Creating your companies SOP’s or engaging these new hires in creating the first version can significantly reduce the mistakes, miscommunication, and headaches that occur.

I hope you have begun to see your opportunities to improve your business. As always, our fractional COO’s are here to help with these and all of your other operational challenges. Thanks for reading, and remember the best time change was yesterday, so you better change today. 

Is growing your business your goal? Then a COO should be your next hire.

Is growing your business your goal? Then a COO should be your next hire.

The right time to hire a chief operating officer (COO) is just before trouble appears in your company. But, unfortunately, the reality is that most businesses realize they need a COO too late.

Signs that you need a COO:

  • You spend too much time working in your business and not on your business.
  • You find yourself stopping business growth activities to maintain your everyday. 
  • You are feeling constantly overwhelmed and struggling daily in your company.
  • You know you need to strengthen and solidify your leadership team.
  • Your company needs to grow significantly in scale operations.

A COO — especially your first one — should come from outside your company. Insiders are typically part of the problems you are facing. However, they lack the perspective, required knowledge, skills, or experience to view your company objectively and with checked emotions.

The COO Position

A COO is quite different than any other employee in your company.

Typically, the leader of a company is a visionary. As the visionary, you operate best when thinking long-term, generating big ideas, fanning a fabulous culture, and cultivating strategic relationships. Without a COO, you become mired in the day-to-day operations, which can cause your business to stagnate, wither and eventually die.

A COO is your team’s number 2, your MVP! As your integrator and executor, the COO brings your entire company together to deliver products and services effectively and efficiently.

The COO is the quintessential “change champion.” They define needed changes, lead the change effort, manage the change and even celebrate the success of the change.

Your COO is your closest partner, coach, and mentor. The COO is trusted to run your company when you are not there. They have the ability to take your vision and execute it to an extent unimagined. As a coach and mentor, your COO not only supports your personal and professional business development but that of the entire company.

Your First COO

When you need a COO, you are looking for someone typically with years of experience and education — much more than most companies can afford for their first COO.

A COO is much more than a highly paid operations manager. However, companies typically make one or all of these four mistakes when they need a COO:

Mistake #1. Possibly the most egregious mistake is they hire the COO last. Instead, the companies prioritize the  CMO, CTO, VP of Sales before hiring their COO, causing an effect that leads to dysfunctional and siloed organizations without a clear vision and priority.

Mistake #2. Instead of hiring the C-suite executive they need, they seek a director or vice president of operations. This choice saves them an executive salary, benefits, bonuses, and perks. People hired in this role are expected to operate at the position of a COO without the title but usually cannot.

Mistake #3. They lowball the salary of their new COO position. This forces them to hire someone capable of being a director or vice president of operations but who will fail to meet the expectations of a COO.

Mistake #4. The company treats the COO position as if it were any other position within the company. Thus, the hiring process, benefits, bonuses, and perks all mirror those of most other employees.

The reason companies make these mistakes are because of two things. One, they cannot afford the true talent they need. They do not understand the inherent differences between this position and every other position in their company.

The first COO is one of the most critical positions to get right. Hiring the wrong COO can cause your company to struggle significantly.

Consider A Fractional COO

If you cannot afford what your company needs, how do you move forward? You cannot keep struggling in your visionary role while being the full-time integrator.

A fractional COO is a business professional with many years of experience willing to work in a temporary capacity, part-time. That would typically amount to the same as hiring someone full-time. However, you can bring on talent with experience as a business owner, business coach/consultant, or former full-time COO without all the costs. Fractional COOs might get paid the same as a full-time COO, but they bring to your company much more. Plus, there are many other benefits to contracting with a fractional COO.

Benefits:

  • A fractional COO will take a company through a process that produces the tools to answer the essential questions of how can we grow?
  • A fractional COO works in a hybrid model, saving you from creating a separate executive office.
  • Fractional COOs do not require an elaborate executive hiring process — thus, you do not have to build separate HR processes for just one position.
  • Being a contract employee, the fractional COO does not require executive benefits, bonuses, or perks.
  • A fractional COO creates a try-it-before-you-buy-it experience, allowing you to kick the tires and determine what you need from a full-time COO.
  • The fractional COO is there to work themselves out of a job — they focus on building your company so you can truly afford a full-time COO in the future, and they can even help you find and hire their replacement.
  • If the fractional COO does not work out, let them go — firing an executive can be a grueling situation fraught with cost and legal dangers, but allowing a contract employee to go is relatively easy.

If you take anything from this blog, invest in a COO if you want to grow your business, produce franchises, make a sellable business, or achieve whatever goal you have. They’re your partner who specializes in making your dream come true. 

If you want to discuss if your business is ready for a COO, click the link and sign up for a one-hour strategy consultation. Remember, the best time to change was yesterday, so you better make the change today. 

 

Wouldn’t it be Nice to Mind Your Own Business?

Wouldn’t it be Nice to Mind Your Own Business?

The concept of minding your own business means that while you are grinding away at your day job, you need to be investing in your future and minding your own business. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to walk away from that day job and mind your own business full time.

The best way to do this is through the acquisition of real estate. 

Let’s take a quick look at where you are losing all your money in taxes. Taxes have been around since the dawn of organized civilization. While the original intention was to only tax the wealthiest of the population, obviously, that’s trickled down to the masses, including those in poverty. 

Now, keep in mind the more money you make, the more taxes you pay. The wealthy know a way of getting around this by forming a corporation. Corporations offer tax benefits and protect you from lawsuits. To learn more about this, talk with one of our business coaches or your attorney. 

We’ve all heard the golden rule of Pay Yourself First.

But many of us don’t do it. Until you learn and put this rule into effect, you won’t have any chance of getting out of the rat race. What this rule does is force you to come up with more income to pay your expenses. 

There are some critical areas of finance you should learn about; taking classes is one of the best ways to do this. Here are the basics you should understand:

Accounting

It pays to know how to read financial statements. When acquiring businesses or assets, you need to quickly see the financial standing of the company you are acquiring.

Many grown adults do not know how to balance a balance sheet. In the long term, this knowledge will pay off for you and your business.

Investment Strategy

This skill will sharpen with experience. Talk to investors and observe how they play the game. 

Market Behavior 

Know the laws of Supply and Demand. No business owner can do without understanding these basic principles of the market. Bill Gates saw what people needed. Open your eyes to opportunities. Look at what sells and who buys.

Law 

Do everything you can to grow your business within legal boundaries. Know your corporate, state, and accounting laws.

Once you know these areas of finances, you can make them work for you. The rich practically invent money. You have to know where to find a great deal. Let’s continue with real estate. Look for houses in trouble or find the court in your area that handles foreclosed, police impound, or other real estate situations. You can either renovate and sell or rent for residual income. 

So, essentially there are two main types of investors:

  1. Those who buy pre-packaged investments
  2. Those who create their own investments

You know which are the most successful. To be one of those people, you need to know what to look for and how to respond.

You must:

  1. Find a good deal other people have missed.
  2. Raise the capital needed for the transaction.
  3. Put together a high-performing team to execute the plan.

There is risk involved in every acquisition. The goal is not to avoid the risk but to respond to the threat with confidence and a steady hand. 

If you need help identifying potential money-makers, where to get the capital you need, and how to put together an intelligent team, try our academy to access our resources and tools. 

Claim your free 6-months trial of our E-learning Academy by emailing Doogie at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com. Offer is available to the first 12 respondents.

Win The Rat Race

Win The Rat Race

We’ve all worked jobs we hated. We were underpaid, underappreciated, and bored out of our minds. We either quit these jobs or were fired for poor performance because we just gave up. Instead of taking that approach, you need to consider every job an opportunity to learn something new that you can apply down the line to find success.

When you give people the tools they need to come up with unordinary solutions, you are enhancing their lives for the long run. What if one of your terrible jobs had been one with no pay at all, and you needed to come up with some ingenious ways of making money and finding value? 

You’re an entrepreneur, I bet if you were forced into this situation you would find a way to make ends meet and position yourself to reach your long-term goals. This same urgency can be applied to your company now.

I don’t recommend going into the next meeting declaring that no one will receive pay anymore. Instead, you can tell your employees that their potential raises, bonuses, and other perks are now dependent on their creativity in ways to enhance business. Present them with the opportunity and put success in their hands. This is the abundance mindset approach, it simply says there are infinite possibilities, resources, and opportunities it is up to us to see them and take advantage. 

Adapting an abundance mindset is integral to your success, the company’s success, and your employees. One way to start becoming abundance-minded is through a concept called financial literacy. A concept that sadly is not taught in school but is still essential to know.

 So, what is financial literacy? 

Our culture teaches people to be good employees and not employers. This mindset will never make you wealthy. Instead, you need to focus on becoming a good employer. You also need to learn how to not only attain wealth but sustain wealth for generations. This is what financial literacy is all about.

So, how do you get out of the rat race and start working toward a wealthier future? You need to understand the difference between an asset and a liability. Take a look at your own life, and you’ll probably find the following:


Assets

  • Real Estate
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Intellectual Property

Liabilities

  • Mortgage
  • Consumer Loans
  • Credit Cards

 

You’ve probably been fooled into thinking things like your house, car, and entertainment system are assets. They aren’t! Assets should be continuing to make you money. When you continue to struggle, you are not building wealth. If your primary income is from wages and each time you make more money, you pay taxes, you’re not creating wealth either, are you?

So, if buying a house isn’t an asset (and it’s not because you spend about 30 years of your life paying it off), then what is? Here are some of the best assets to attain and when you can start to see wealth being created because of it:

Average time of holding on to an asset before selling it for a higher value:

One year

  • Stocks (Startups and small companies are good investments)
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds

 

Seven years

  • Real estate
  • Notes (IOUs)
  • Royalties on intellectual property
  • Valuables that produce income or appreciate

 

So, here are the steps to getting out of the rat race and onto your journey of creating wealth:

  1. Understand the difference between an asset and a liability.
  2. Concentrate your efforts on buying income-earning assets.
  3. Focus on keeping liabilities and expenses at a minimum.
  4. Mind your own business.

If you need help getting out of the poor mindset and into the wealthy one, start by reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Then schedule a call with one of our coaches to integrate wealth concepts into your company’s daily operations.

We went through the first three, and next time we’ll talk about how to mind your own business to keep your eye on the prize.

20,000 ft. to go until your next client

20,000 ft. to go until your next client

In my previous blog, I gave you a laundry list of tips and tricks you can use to make your word of mouth program work for you. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to review and decide which one to three tips you plan to use in your campaign.

If you have not, make sure you go back and read the list, pick the tips and tricks the best fit your product/service, ideal customer, and company culture.

Today, we will wrap up this series on word-of-mouth, where we provide you with a 20,000-foot view of your campaign. 

Now, let’s get started building your campaign:

  1. Build your influencer network.
    1.  Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers. A good influencer is passionate about the problem you solve with your product/service and has access to 5000 or more of your ideal customers.
    2. Provide a channel or help the influencer to activate theirs, allowing them to share their experience.
  2. Review & Testimonials 
    1. Capture testimonials from the beginning and before they’re done with your service or product.
    2. Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
    3. Develop clips on your website featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other excited customers. 
    4. Create an opportunity for prospective clients to meet past clients.
  3. Create an opportunity to share experiences 
    1. Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
    2. Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley-Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
    3. Hold seminars and workshops.
    4. Create a club with membership benefits.
  4. Gorilla 
    1. Pass out flyers. 
    2. Tell friends. 
      1. Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends.
    3. Put business cards on all the cars you see
  5. Put the Internet to work.
    1. Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word-of-mouth. We live in an age of 10s video’s.
  6. Empower employees to go the extra mile.
  7. Encourage networking and brainstorming ideas.
  8. Run special sales.
  9. Encourage referrals with the use of a strong referral program.
  10. Use a script to tell people exactly what to say in their word-of-mouth communication.

These are all fantastic ways to get the word out about your products and services and start a word-of-mouth campaign that takes on a life of its own. However, before you can release your word-of-mouth campaign out into the world, you need to go through the checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

Word-of-mouth campaign checklist:

  • Are all of your communications sending the same simple message? If it can’t survive word-of-mouth, it’s not a compelling story.
  • Is your product positioned as part of a category? Ex.”A dandruff shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair.”
  • Are your examples outrageous enough to be shared?
  • Do you enhance your materials with success stories from real people?
  • Are you using experts effectively and in an objective manner?
  • Have you created mechanisms so people can follow up on the word-of-mouth they hear, as well as simple ways of inquiring or ordering?
  • Have you made the decision process easy for customers?
  • Have you created events and mechanisms so that your prospects hear about your product/service once a year, and it is easier to try or buy?
  • Have you written down the specific behaviors you want your prospect to follow during each step of the campaign?
  • Are your people primed? 
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional communication?
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional business?

These are essential elements to keep in mind when taking a second or even third check over your word-of-mouth campaigns. I hope you’ve found this series on word-of-mouth to be a great resource and are getting ready to put it into action for your products and services.

Remember, if you need help with anything in this series, try our FREE test drive to gain access to the best resources, tools, and business coaches you can find.

39 Tried and True Lessons to Put Your Word-of-Mouth to Work

39 Tried and True Lessons to Put Your Word-of-Mouth to Work

In the last post, we talked about conducting word-of-mouth research and then putting that research to work. Today we’re going to give you 39 great tried and true ways to use word-of-mouth when building and executing your campaign.

We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. For more information read George Silverman’s “The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing”.

Here they are:

  1. Give them something worth talking about
  2. Cater to your initial customers shamelessly
  3. Give them incentives to engage in word of mouth
  4. Ask them to tell their friends
  5. The customer is always right
  6. Always tell the truth
  7. Surprise the customers by giving them a little more than they expected 
  8. Give them a reason to buy, make them come back, and refuse service from anyone else other than you
  9. Make eye contact, and smile, even through the telephone
  10. Find ways to make doing business with you a little better: a warmer greeting, a cleaner floor, nicer lighting, a better shopping bag, extra matches, faster service, free delivery, lower prices, more selection.
  11. Never be annoyed when a customer asks you to change a large bill even if he doesn’t buy anything.
  12. The customer is your reason for being. Never take her for granted. If you do, she will never come back and will go straight to your competition.
  13. Always dust off items, but never let the customer see you doing it.
  14. Never embarrass a customer, especially by making him feel ignorant.
  15. Never answer a question coming from a desire to show how smart you are. Answer with a desire to help the customer make the best decision.
  16. Never shout across the store, “How much are these condoms?” or anything about the personal items a customer is buying.
  17. When you don’t know, say so. Do whatever you can to find out the answer.
  18. Every customer is special. Try to remember their names.
  19. Don’t allow known shoplifters into the store.
  20. Don’t ever let two sales staff talk when a customer is waiting. The worst thing you can do is count your cash while a customer is waiting.
  21. If you can suggest something better, they will be grateful. Always respect their choice.
  22. Never pressure anyone into buying anything.
  23. Never knowingly give bad advice. Just help people come to the right decision.
  24. Personally visit the store of the competition or assign people to visit and report back to you.
  25. Hire a shopping service to prepare periodic reports on how your people are treating your customers.
  26. If you hear of a store where the management is insulting the customers, buy it, then put up the sign “Under New Management” outside. Then sell it later based on the increased sales.
  27. One expert (in the drugstore’s case, a nurse or physician) who is convinced you are better brings hundreds of customers and their friends through word of mouth.
  28. Always look for ways to make a stranger a customer.
  29. People will walk several blocks to save a dollar, or see a smile, or be treated right.
  30. Always run a sale promotion or an offbeat event. Make them come back to see what you are cooking up next.
  31. Use the best sign-maker you can find and pay him more than anybody else.
  32. If someone is mad at you, they will tell everyone who will listen for as long as they are angry, maybe even longer. So correct any dissatisfaction, and ask customers to send their friends.
  33. Treat your employees and salespeople who sell to you the same way you treat your customers.
  34. Have a zero-error system. There may be terrible consequences for example if a mistake is made filling a prescription. Have people check each other’s work for safety.
  35. Occasionally make intentional mistakes to see if people are checking.
  36. Always measure your performance.
  37. Always ask a customer to “come back soon.”
  38. If customers say they are moving away, offer to send them their favorite items by mail.
  39. Tell jokes.

 

I know your looking at this exhaustive list and asking yourself how can I implement these lessons. We’re going to wrap up this lesson to give you a chance to digest, prioritize, and plan. To aid you with this here is a little homework assignment.

Go through the list again, find 1 or 2 lessons that fit your company and that you feel you can implement. Then I want you to write down we business activities the lessons are relevant to. Next, write down a no more than 5 step process to implement those lessons into that business activity. This will provide you with a quick action plan.

If you need help with this process, feel free to email me at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com and I will review it and provide you with feedback. 

Remember the best time to change was yesterday, so you better start today.

Search & Implement

Search & Implement

People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising, and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm; in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new. 

As you research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:

What are the users willing to tell the non-users?

  • Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
  • What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
  • What are the things they need to know but are unwilling to ask?
  • What happens when these issues are raised?
  • Precisely what do your prospects have to know to trigger purchase?
  • Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
  • How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
  • How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
  • What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers tell to your prospects?
  • Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
  • What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace to turn the tide in your favor, and how will you deliver them?

 

There are two main reasons why word of mouth research is so important:

  1. To get the real impression and feedback from customers
  2. To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates

There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your word-of-mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.

2-2-2- Model

What this breaks down to is:

  • Two groups of customers 
  • Two focus groups of prospects
  • Two mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)

 

In these groups, you need to ask the following questions:

  1. What would you tell a friend?
  2. How would you persuade a skeptic?
  3. What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
  4. How would you answer their objections?

The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. To avoid adding pressure to the situation, these teleconferences should not be conducted by you but by an independent party.

We’re going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word-of-mouth campaign. First, we’ll talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:

  • A superior product
  • A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
  • A cadre of experts willing to bat for you
  • A large number of enthusiastic consumers
  • A way of reaching the right prospects
  • One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
  • A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
  • A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
  • A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee

 

Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word-of-mouth program. Some of these situations are:

  • When there are credibility problems
  • When there are breakthroughs
  • When there are marginal improvements
  • Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or over time
  • Where there is a high risk in trying the product
  • With older or mature products that have a news story that people tend to ignore
  • With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors or telling lies about your product
  • When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly

 

While most of the word-of-mouth tactics are favorable for your word-of-mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:

  • Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
  • Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
  • Products that are inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
  • Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
  • The medium will not be cost-effective for products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume). 

This wraps up this post on word-of-mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word-of-mouth campaign. However, if you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need with our top-notch resources and tools.