Six Methods to Understanding Who Are Your Customers

Trail T CoveDo you want to understand how to connect with your current customer base, new prospective clients, and anyone looking for the products or services your firm offers? Seth Godin asks six questions in his post “Who are your customers?” that require us to connect with how in-touch we are with the people that help us thrive.

Seth Godin’s 6 Questions: Who Are Your Customers?

  • What do they believe?
  • Who do they trust?
  • What are they afraid of and who do they love?
  • What are they seeking?
  • Who are their friends?
  • What do they talk about?

If you can’t answer each question then some research is in order. Where do you begin to answer any of these questions?

6 Methods to Learn: Who Are Your Customers?

Finding answers is not always easy or an intuitive process. The following are some simple methods to get started in understanding who are your customers?

  • Survey: create a customer survey, add an incentive to increase your response rates, asking your customers the questions you need answered
  • Sales Department: poll your salesforce and provide incentives for everyone to ensure you receive the most accurate information. Concentrate on those employees in direct contact with your customers and customer service
  • Industry: attend industry conventions and events and listen for intelligence about your firm, product, and services
  • Offers: create a digital e-mailing, a post card campaign, or advertising campaign that provides value to your customer base for their intelligence about your brand in return
  • Monitor: identify and listen within the channels your customers use to talk about your products, services, and industry. Gather intelligence
  • Town Hall: provide a live town hall meeting where your customers can comfortably voice their feedback, solutions to possible problems, and opinions.

Essentially, the answers will come to the surface through your crowdsourcing efforts if you allow your customers and prospective customers to provide their feedback in an environment that encourages sharing.

2 Jeffrey Gitomer Resources for Jobs Seekers & Entrepreneurs

Jeffrey Gitomer is a best selling author, world class keynote speaker, and one of the most important resources available for job seekers and entrepreneurs today. Gitomer specializes in many important facets of business including business development, sales strategies, and networking. Yet it is one very simple concept, that remains one of the greatest takeaways I have learned in my business career. Jeffrey’s mantra “Give value before you receive value.” When you network with people he instructs people to give value, give it continously, and give value without asking for anything in return. Here are too very valuable resources that help people understand networking and the sales process:

1. Newsletter: Sales Caffeine

This is a fantastic resource. Jeffrey asks a weekly question that is both thought provoking and instructive.

Q: What is the most significant long-term benefit of successful networking?

A. You will not have to cold call to get new business

B. You will build business friendships and relationships

C. You will be able to use your contacts for sales and referrals

D. You can call people later and they will already know you

Answer is here

2. Books: “The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets to Network Your Way to Rich Relationships

Gitomer has authored 12 books from customer loyatly and sales principles to persuasion and success. The most influential book I have ever read that changed my mind set and results is Jeffrey’s “The Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets to Network Your Way to Rich Relationships.” Here are some of the concepts that changed my business life:

  • How to give value constantly without asking for anything in return
  • How to become a go-to resource of value
  • How to research before networking
  • What to give first in order to create value for my networking partners
  • Why your network building is the most important concept that must be a continuous process throughout your business career
  • Understanding networking etiquette for different networking groups
  • What networking is NOT
  • Where to find the best resources to network
  • How to assess your networking efforts
  • How to stay connected and relevant in today’s networking environment

Tips for Entrepreneurs: How Do You Work on the Road?

Chefs.com published this deansguide article 1-14-09

Special welcome to Chefs.com as a new publisher of deansguide content. Thank you and welcome!

What does a networking day look like to you? I drive 150 miles round trip to network in Silicon Valley one to two days a week. The following are tips on how to develop your day, on the fly, when things change unexpectedly. The first scenario represents my original plans for my day. The second scenario is the reality that was my day.

Road Tips to Save Time, Educate, and Accomplish Tasks

1. Practice Time: I practice one of my 5 workshop presentations on the 60 minute drive to the Valley. It is quiet time and a great place to practice

2. GPS: A GPS system for your car is a simple tool to keep you from losing time consulting your iPhone or laptop in search of directions.

3. Buffer and Flexibility: Schedule enough time between events, sales calls, or appointments so that you can reconnect with business tasks, call backs, and keep your day moving on all fronts of your business.

4. Give Value : Be prepared to give files, printed materials, articles, and any reference resources when you are making sales calls, new consultations, networking events, or any other place you wish to give value or support your points.

5. Be Ready for Opportunity: Be ready to present your case, workshop, or product at the drop of a hat.

My Schedule Before the Day

1. 10:00am-1:30pm  CSIX Connect: This is the best employment group meeting in the Valley. The meeting runs from 10:30-1:00 at the iRestaurant in Cupertino. It includes lunch, networking, and speaker’s workshop. This is stop #1 in my day.

2. 2:00 and 3:00pm Consultations: I scheduled two consultations after the CSIX meeting.Both of my consultations centered around current clients’ needs and my need for an evaluation of their efforts to date.

3.  3:30pm Sales Call: ProMatch is a large Edd group in Sunnyvale that Susan has presented to in the past. My goal is to secure a speaking engagement on blogging to employment, Linkedin, Twitter or any social media Web 2.0 subject.

4.  4:30pm Administration: Send follow up documents and monitor our blog.

5.  5:30pm De Anza Community College: Inquire about facility rental, sales call, schedule meeting to pitch social media curriculum.

6.  6:30-7:00pm: Final call backs, wait for rush hour to thin begin home at 7:00pm

My Actual Day

1. 10:00am-3:00pm CSIX Connect: I met 7 new contacts and our lunch conversation continued until 2:00.

2.  3:00-3:45pm New Consultation: I met with a new contact to discuss social media for job seekers

3.  4:00-5:00pm New Consultation: I met with a new contact to discuss change, transition, and understanding direction.

4.  ProMatch: my opportunity to reconnect with my contacts at ProMatch is gone as they close at 4:00pm

5.  5:20pm Phone Consultation: In coming call from former client to reevaluate past issues. New focus and strategy discussed. Invite to attend ASTD monthly meeting.

6.  6:00-8:00pm ASTD “Mentoring” : Kim Wise gave a very interesting presentation on the benefits of mentoring to companies and individuals, software developed for mentor selection, and her vision of future trends in organizational development.



Six Principles of Influence: Create Change That Benefits Your Customer

Influence is one of the most important factors in any business from the one-off entrepreneur to the largest global corporations. To understand the power of influence and persuasion, you must first understand the definition of influence.

The best definition is offered by one of the world’s leading experts on influence, persuasion, and negotiation Dr. Robert Cialdini as told in his interview for Guy Kawasaki’s great book “Reality Check.” Dr. Chialdini, a psychology professor at Arizona State University and Phd defines influence:

“Influence means creating change in some way. Change can be in an attitude, it can be in a perception, or a behavior. But in all instances, we can’t lay claim to influence until we can demonstrate that we’ve changed someone.”

Six Universal Principles of Influence

1. Reciprocation: People give back and treat you the same way you treat them

2. Scarcity: People are motivated to “seize the opportunities” of a limited offer that you provide to them if they realize the supply of this offer is rare or in dwindling availability

3. Authority: The greater your knowledge and credibility on a subject is the easier it is to persuade people

4. Commitment: People will feel the need and obligation to “comply with your request” if it is consistent with what they have publicly agreed (committed) to in your presence

5. Liking: The degree to which people know and like you is the main factor in their preference to say “yes” to you

6. Consensus: People love company in most decisions. If you give them evidence that others, just like them, have said yes to you, they then “will be likely” to say yes to you more often than not

Does Twitter Really Help You Build Your Business: Ask Amazon.com

Reuters.com published this deansguide article 11-25-08

Twitter.com is fast becoming the go-to source for small and big business marketing. For me, Twitter represents my greatest content resource, broadcasting opportunity, and a fantastic networking opportunity with industry leaders. One of those leaders, Guy Kawasaki, dropped a “tweet”, aka mini message, about the power of Twitter in growing your business.

The following is a comment, on MotleyFool.com, answering the question: “Does Twitter Help You Build Your Business?”:

  • On November 24, 2008, at 3:56 PM, j2xl wrote: I work at Amazon. During a lunch break last March I wrote a simple bot that posts Amazon’s deal of the day to Twitter. Since then I’ve added Lightning Deals throughout the day. The bot now has close to 3,000 bargain-hunting followers and drives all sorts of orders every day. Add it to the list of Twitter success stories. Check it out at http://twitter.com/amazondeals .

Analysis:

Big corporations like Amazon, small firms like Innerarchitect.com, and entrepreneurs like Adam Helweh of Secret Sushi Creative are building their businesses, creating opportunities, and connecting with industry leaders on Twitter. The next time you are looking for a method and strategy to increase your business, make new connections, find opportunities, look for a job, or broadcast news about you–look no further than Twitter.com. It is your “mini PR release-sound bite broadcasting” tool.

Adam Helweh

guykawasaki


Realtor’s Floor Duty Tip #1: Stop Hard Selling-Start Engaging

This morning I called an agent to find out the listing price of a condo in my condo complex. The longtime resident is a good guy and I wanted to compare prices with some of the other properties as a measure for our market. When I called the agent I asked the question: “Hi, Tom can you tell me the list price on 123 Main St?”

The answer I received made me think of a few things I want to share with you since I am a consumer and NOT an agent.

Questions Are Not Buying Signals

1. Asking a question about a property is NOT a buying signal. Check out Mark Dembo’s article on buying signals for practical advice. When I asked for the price, I followed up that question with “What is the square footage of this condo?”  Tom the agent answered the square footage is “1,408” but then.  .  .

Hard Sell Launch

1. Agent Tom, thinking he had permission to slam me with a sales pitch launched into the following ramble:

Tom: “This is one of the biggest units in the complex (that’s not true-I know for a fact it is avg); this unit has one of the biggest garages in the complex (that is also false); you have private use of your own boat dock (that’s true); you have plenty of parking; two bedrooms 2 1/2 baths; community pool” and the list of features continued.

Note: During this Features “Puke” Tom was on a roll, never stopped to measure my interest, and continued at a speed where I could not ask another question. His attitude was just sit back and listen to how great this property is and how great it would be for you.

My Reaction

1. Run, run fast, run away immediately. So that is what I did to Tom. I told him: “Thank you I appreciate the information have a good day.” I hung up before Tom could react with ANOTHER DOZEN FEATURES I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT.

2. My perception of Tom:

a.) Tom knows the Hard Sell

b.) Tom does not know how to engage on a personal level and create a connection

c.) Tom is desperate, he is selfish

d.) Tom is unprofessional

e.) Tom did not attempt to brand himself

f.) Tom did not give me a feel for the buyer’s situation

g.) Tom did not ask one probing question

h.) Tom did not care for anything but puking his information all over me.

i.) Tom does not know how to give value in order to connect

If I Were a Betting Man: Tom’s Reaction To My Call

1. I was just another tire kicking clown

2. I was not serious

3. That call was a waste of time

4. That guy was rude as he did not let me continue my mindless info puke

5. Floor duty sucks!

Opportunities Tom Missed and Things He will Never Understand

1. I could be somebody who could help his career- I would write about him and help him with Web 2.0 transition or sales transition if he had just engaged with me

2. He doesn’t know who I know- I know lots of friendly people here on Active Rain. He needs to be here and I will bet (sorry I would make this bet) my house he is not aware of Active Rain or the power here

3. He did not try to befriend, engage, or create a personal relationship-again I do know the county as I grew up in Marin County when the market for starter homes was $19,500-I know lots of people even today

4. He did not ask permission to provide more information- this would have shown respect and I would have gladly accepted his info puke

5. He did not brand himself and offer a glimpse of his differentiating factor

6. He did not offer any value give, any value information, any value advice

The Secret That Is NO Secret

Every call is an opportunity to show why a person should be interested in you. The method to gaining access to people, their confidence, and their group of friends is to provide free information that people value.

Networking Newsletter Gold: Gitomer and Montana’s Gift To You

Scarfaceinthefall.jpg

Courtesy Scarfaceinthefall.jpg wiki

“My gift to you” was one of the famous, yet subtle, lines uttered by Al Pacino aka Tony Montana in 1983’s blockbuster hit “Scarface.” It’s a story about a small time refugee who makes it big as an “entrepreneur.” Tony was a relentless worker, a non-stop marketing genius-how can you not love that globe, and he understood brand recognition.

My Gift to You

My gift to you is a link to sign up for Jeffrey Gitomer’s newsletter “Sales Caffeine” Link

http://www.gitomer.com/sales-magazine/Sales-Caffeine.html

1. It’s free

2. It’s the best networking tips and concept available

3. It includes sales strategies based on creating a “connection” first

4. Each issue has a “Self Test for Success” poll

5. Each issue includes one youtube style video tip about sales, networking, engaging, influencing the influencer and a bundle of other subjects

Today’s Main Focus is on people of influence and how they are successful. Included in this are 7 characteristics of a influencer.

Reading this newsletter will make you smarter!

Vesta Strategies “Sales Pitch” Marketing Information They Forgot To Pull?

Information about Vesta Strategies LLC is beginning to come into view–and the view is quite ugly. Attempts to find old information about Vesta on the other hand is difficult to find. Yet with some digging, reminents of their marketing campaign can be found. The following is a pitch found on a social networking site for a Vesta Strategies employee:

Vesta’s Sales Pitch

“Just as McDonald’s doesn’t actually sell hamburgers, Vesta Strategies LLC doesn’t really sell 1031 exchange solutions. We sell personal service. For most anyone who utilizes the services of a qualified intermediary or accommodator, peace of mind and security are of high importance. As an established national provider of 1031 exchange solutions, Vesta Strategies LLC differenciates itself from the competition through personal, hands-on service. In addition to my own expertise, cour clients can draw from our large offering of resources in legal counsel, real estate practices, title questions, NNN leases, DST’s, and TIC’s.”

Final Pitch

At Vesta Strategies LLC, we specialize in virtually anything related to 1031 exchanges. We provide expert information about how to structure exchanges, how to find replacement properties, and whether or not an exchange makes sense for you on a particular transaction.”

The New Sales “Paradigm” In Real Estate: “The Hard Sell Is Dead”

The era of real estate hard sell tactics, cold calls, badgering email spam campaigns, and endless (Non-targeted) advertising is coming to a painfully slow end as many Realtors are beginning to painfully understand. The new paradigm shift and strategies, not tactics, are best described in Pat Kitano’s “The Hard Sell is Dead-Slideshow.”

The “Old Way”

1. Call to Action- Realtor attempts to force prospect to make decisions that require a definite action

2. Endless Ads- Always having an advertisement, usually the exact same ad, in as many places as possible

3. Spam- Everyone is a potential client actions of email spam, twitter spam, any unwanted unqualified sales pitch

4. Lead Generation- agents purchase unqualified leads then spam or cold call in attempts to “convert”

5. Unsubstantiated Claims- agents cold call and claim expertise without substantiating, proving, or providing evidence of such stature

The “New Way”

1. Blog- share your knowledge continuously for free proving your knowledge and analysis of your market

2. Social Media- leverage your knowledge by providing “real time” commentary and analysis via social media networks

3. Clients- unknowingly clients follow your blog writing and social media commentary eventually RSS subscribing to your blog

4. Let Them Come to You- clients will contact you without you attempting to reach out to them first

5. Law of Attraction- prospects are attracted to your writing, honesty, personality, and analysis. They will seek you out

Misguided Referral Strategies

1. Brokers- teach the “sphere of influence” friends and family plan of networking but that has limited scaleability

2. Spamming and Hunting- once you have gone through your friends, family, and sphere of influence where do you go for your next lead?

3. Bufini, By Referral Only, and Mike Ferry- they work in the old world but all three of these expensive coaching systems lack “one key component”: They have NO social networking strategy

Buffini Lead Gen Kit: 100 items of value; 50 custom personal notes; 100 Ch By The Way foil stickers; Dry erase board; tracking website setup assistance; Daily activity tracker; Laminated dialog poster

Keys To Understand

1. Online vs Offline Referrals- It’s easier to make an online referral if you write articles and commentary explaining your analysis and take on the market than it is to attempt to cold call an unqualified “prospect” who is not expecting your contact via email or phone

2. Social Media Key to Referral Strategy- Physical networks, like Rotaries or Chamber of Commerce, are moving onto social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Plaxo

3. Information Free Era- transparency in business and free information blogs and site are changing our business environment. What has not changed is the fact that a real estate transaction is often complicated and Realtors are necessary within this transaction

4. Expert Interpretation- leverage your writing platform (blog-freelance articles-newsletter-social commentary) and public speaking platform as methods to “make money selling your expertise”

5. Establish Your Online Expertise- your “network” of people considering hiring you and past clients follow your blog writing, your social commentary, and your bookmarks (digg etc.) which establishes your credentials as an expert in the online world

10 Chracteristics Of A Great Realtor: If You Don’t Have These Skills You Are “Selling” Yourself Short

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article July 7, 2008

Please read this article then refer to this fantastic historical blast through Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 by Mike Wesch

What do you do if you are ready to address a new prospect and the first thing out of their mouth is: “I don’t know if I really need a Realtor”? Are you prepared for that statement or have you comforted yourself with the idea that 99.99999% of the consumers at large understand the value of a Realtor during a real estate transaction?

The Idea Simply put you should think of your job as:

1st an educator

2nd a sales person

Sales Perspective #1

NEVER ASSUME anything. Consider the idea that you should have the attitude that you need to sell your prospective client on the benefits of representation. Do not think that just because they found you, they are sold on paying you thousands of dollars for the priviledge of doing business with you

Help them understand the safeguards YOU bring to the table in these shaky economic times and era of mortgage meltdowns

Safeguards?

1. You are an expert at contracts, interpreting contracts, and explaining all aspects of the contract to clients

2. You are the informational expert for your county, city, town, region, or neighborhood

3. Although you do NOT have to be, you are an EXPERT in mortgages, appraisals, and credit issues. If need be you could perform your affiliates job with ease

4. You understand home inspections and their importance

5. You have a “team” of affiliates who have the same “educator-expert-sales” approach

6. You are a technologist and understand the marketing importance of blogging, Google search, and viral marketing tools for maximum exposure

7. Your broker supports your efforts 110% with real world marketing-ads in local, regional, and national publications (when necessary)

8. You are AVAILABLE to answer questions

9. You have connectivity aka you are networked into the communities political structure, industry hierarchy, and familial community outlets

10. Your reputation is your calling card. “It’s who knows you-NOT who you know” that counts