Archive for Customer Service Skills
Advertisement Ideas: Turning Browsers Into Buyers!!!
If you have worked in retail you have heard oh I am just looking. When I hear this I ask what are you looking for? By doing this I get an idea if the customer is truly interested or is wasting my time. In not asking yes or no questions you open up the dialogue and thus you increase your chance of turning a browser into a buyer. I work with Celebrity Sports in Plantation, FL and I believe that everyone who walks into the store can be made into a customer. When I am in the store I make it a point to start conversations that will lead me to show the customer something that will peak their interest and as a result they will make a purchase. In knowing the merchandise and being able to show the customer what we have increase the opportunity to turn them from a browser to a buyer.
When I graduated from Hofstra University in 1987 I went to work for The Oaktree Men’s Clothing Store in Boca Raton, FL as a management trainee. With in 3 weeks I was the #1 salesperson in the country for this division of Edison Brothers Stores. I was asked by The Regional Vice President How I managed to be #1 in the country in a short period of time. I simply replied I turned the browsers into buyers. He then asked how did I do that. I said I greeted everyone within 5-10 seconds of coming into the store and asking them what brought them to Oaktree today. In doing so I began to build relationships with customers who then became regular customers. I remember a businessman from Chicago came in and was seeking casual wear for meetings he was attending and I helped him and he said he came into town every 3-5 weeks. I told him stop in when you are here and see our new arrivals. It turned out that he did just that and on average spent $300 with me. In getting to know your customers you can turn them from browsers to buyers.
I am asked by people all the time JDOGG what of you do not have a brick and mortar business and you aren’t selling tangible items then how do you turn browsers into buyers? My answer is by having a service that they seek and building their trust after all people like to work with people they know, like, and trust. If you have a website make sure you have a page where they can book your services and pay for them ahead of time. If you have merchandise like CDS, DVD’S. Books, and other materials make sure they can order hem and pay for them. In having a strong call to action you will be able to turn browsers into buyers.
Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time networking and we find ourselves dealing with many browsers. The question is how do we turn these browsers into buyers. The answer is to have something they desire, something that solves a problem, something that is relevant and resonating. It is important to follow-up with everyone who you get a business card from within 24-48 hours with a clear and consistent message that has a strong call to action at the end. I strongly suggest setting up a one on one and finding out what they are looking for and letting them know how you can be of service and value to them.
As many of you that read this blog you know I host a TV Show, The Anything Bucket, which airs on WRPBiTV. I invite many people to be on the show and give them the option of buying a fully edited clip of their appearance on my show for $200, which is a great deal to have a very useful tool to turn browsers into buyers. I explain the value of having the clip and how it can be used on their website, across social media platforms, and in all their marketing materials. I have found that those who purchase the clip and use it effectively increase their brand awareness and their cash flow. I have seen many of the people who came into the studio as browsers become buyers because my producer and I explain the value and how if they follow our suggestions they will have some success. I do not sell everyone the clip and I understand not everyone will be a buyer. The key is to have the mindset to always be closing in order to turn browsers into buyers.
Use your platforms to turn browsers into buyers!!! Stay Positive!!!
Advertisement Ideas: Stop Being A Grinch!!!
This article was inspired by some of the interactions I had this week while I was out collecting donations for The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Sunrise, FL. I was out promoting the donation page, http://main.acsevents.org/goto/jdogg3, and taking donations on the spot. As I approached businesses to donate many were very open and receptive and I collected $65 bring my total to $442 toward a goal of raising $100, however there were several businesses that I felt were being very Grinch like in the way they treated me. This had me thinking how many clients/customers are they losing because of their Grinch like attitude. I actually told one business owner from Robert’s Barber Shop that he was being a Grinch as he said what is it people don’t want to work which really struck a nerve with me as I was collecting to give the gift of hope and healing to cancer patients and their families. I tried to explain this but he wasn’t comprehending and kept trying to disparage my credibility. I did everything to reassure the man that the money he donated is not for me but for those touched by cancer and will be used for research, education, advocacy, and services. I left thinking wow what a Grinch. I understand that business people are hit up all the time for donations and there are many scams out there and you must be skeptical, however you must also realize that there are many legitimate people like myself out there collecting and that we may be soliciting today we could be a customer tomorrow and we just might recommend you to our contacts if you are not a Grinch.
I came across another Grinch at The Boost Mobile Store in The Welleby Plaza in Sunrise. Again I went in to ask for a donation and the gentleman was very upset and stated how I had the nerve to interrupt him while he was trying to do business. I apologized for interrupting his business and I did my best to explain that I was doing a good deed and that I could help hos business. He wanted no part of me and told me to leave his F-ing store. I stood by the door for a while just to egg him on and see how far he would go. he threatened to call the cops and I said go ahead. He then came at me and when it seemed he was going to get physical I left. I know I pushed it a bit far, however I have learned that if you believe strongly in what you are doing it will resonate with many people and you will find success. I have come to learn that there are many Grinch’s out there and the best we can do when encounter them is to simply ask them not to be a Grinch. Maybe they will realize that their Grinch like attitude is the cause of their lack of success and they will change. I have come to realize that all I can do is make them aware and then let it go. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: Banging For Business!!!
This is an open door that leads to opportunity. I have learned over the years that if you bang on enough doors and you say persistent in your pursuit you will develop customers/clients and thus you will continue to have success in all you do. When was the last time you went out into the community and sought people to share your product or services with so as to generate leads and keep an active pipeline going? One of the best things I have done in working with non-profit entities as well as with for profit businesses has been to include going door to door as part of the strategic marketing plan. In going business to business to solicit donations for The American Cancer Society Relay For Life over the last 16 years I have raised over $35,000. I have also been able to secure more teams for Relays in the communities where I live, work, and play. As a representative of several companies I have found going business to business with brochures to be very effective as it helps to build name recognition and gives you a distinct advantage when you follow-up. If you are not banging for business you need to incorporate this practice into your 2016 plans.
When you bang for business it is important to utilize your phone and to make calls to set up appointments with people so that you can have the opportunity to show them how you can be of service and value to them. You phone can be a great tool to bang for business as you can post photos to social media from it, make videos and share them across all social media platforms, text message potential customers/clients with special offers, set up an application to interact with existing clients/customers and potential clients/customers. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: Having Relations!!!
As I went about my business today I began to think don’t people in service positions understand the importance of having relations? I went to a Walgreen’s on University Drive and McNab road in Tamarac, FL to get my blood pressure checked. I was told we don’t so that and I answered since when then the pharmacist said the machine didn’t work and that she could get another machine and I would have to have a seat and wait. I told her I don’t have to do anything and a better way to have answered would have been sir I can help you shortly please have a seat and I will do my best to accommodate you. She said okay and I waited and guess what the machine didn’t work. I told her that is okay I will be by another Walgreen’s later and will try them. As I left I thought no wonder sales may be down at this location bad customer service. I started to think how is Walgreen’s training their people and are they aware that they are losing sales because of bad customer service or do they think they are so big that they can recoup losses that easy. It all comes down to good customer relations. One the opposite end of the spectrum is The Walgreen’s on University Drive and Oakland Park Boulevard I am greeted and most of the employees now know me by my moniker JDOGG. It is amazing how two stores in the same chain can have such different levels of customer service. I support Walgreen’s and shop there because they are a National Corporate Partner of The American Cancer Society Relay For Life. This leads me to the point of the importance of good community relations.
I have encountered many businesses that just do not understand the importance of community relations and as a result wonder why they struggle. People like to do business with people they perceive to be giving back to the community. I know from a personal stand point that if your business supports my efforts with Relay For Life chances are I will use your product or services when a need arises and I will recommend others to do the same. Think about community relations as an adjunct to your marketing and the value it has. I support Starbucks because they support Relay For Life and they also support many other charities in the community. I support many businesses and promote others who have supported Relay For Life. I usually do not go to California Pizza Kitchen however they were doing a give back night for The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Sunrise, FL so I went and had dinner. By California Pizza Kitchen doing this they picked up business that they normally would not have had on a Tuesday night. If your business is not tied into the community this could explain why your sales are off. When you are seeking to build your brand and increase your cash flow remember that it is important to have relations with the community. When you do something for the community make sure you are sending it out to the media. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: The Full Monty!!!
Today’s post was inspired by The Show, The Full Monty, where the cast is definitely maximum exposed. As I reflected on the idea of maximum exposure I realized just how many business people are under exposed with their marketing and media relations and how many do not even have a strategic marketing plan. It is important to put yourself out there and remember that you are your brand and how important it is to figuratively give people The Full Monty. It is imperative that you continuously are out in the community promoting yourself and the products or services you offer and how you are different from others doing what you do. It is also a priority to show people how you are of service and value and why they should be doing business with you. Many people go into business and they do not have a written plan about their marketing and media relations and then wonder why they are not being as successful as the envisioned. If you are going to exceed in business you need to have a plan and work your plan.
Advertisement Ideas: The Full Monty Formula!!!
Know who you want to do business with and know where they get their information and what other businesses they frequent. In knowing where your audience is it will make it easier for you to build your following.
Set up a budget to print and distribute collateral material. Have a budget to do on-line marketing. Have a budget to do video marketing. Remember that marketing is not an expense it is an investment.
There are may things that happen in your business that are newsworthy so having a strategy to get the information out to the news outlets that your target audience is watching, reading, and listening to will play a major role in strengthening your brand and increasing your revenue. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: Go Fund Yourself!!!
Many people want to be entrepreneurs but they forget the one fundamental principle needed to succeed and that is you must have funding for all aspects of you business. So many people open the doors and don’t have a marketing plan and then wonder why they have no traffic to their brick and mortar business. Part of the reason is that they didn’t adhere to the idea of funding themselves. I have watched countless businesses open only to close their doors with 3-5 months of opening. Those that closed all shared one common thread they did not set aside funds for marketing and advertising. Yes people there is a difference Marketing is primarily done to build brand recognition to put your brand on the top of the consumer’s mind while advertising is done to not only build your brand but to also drive traffic to your business. It is important to fund yourself so that you can have a solid marketing/advertising mix so that you don’t end up shuttering your doors. The key is to set aside money strictly to fund your marketing and advertising campaigns.
As someone who has been involved in some form of advertising and marketing for over 30 years I can tell you that I am always amazed when a business owner tells me they do not advertise and I ask what to you do to let people know who you are, what you do, and why they should use your products or services. I usually hear oh I do word of mouth. Word of mouth is a good start but should not be the form of advertising you do. If you are a local business you should be involved with activities in the community that attract your target demographic. It is important to fund yourself to reach your desired target audience as you do not want to be dog walker advertising in a cat magazine though some cat owners do own dogs. I asked a shoe store owner who his desired audience was and his answer was anyone who needs shoes. My answer was that this is to broad of a statement and that perhaps finding his niche market and planning to fund himself to reach that niche market might be helpful. I remember working for Footlocker and knowing the lay of land of the Wellington area and the surrounding communities. I asked the district manager if my store could have funding for 144 white tall tees in XL and XXL because one of the biggest football games of the year was being played in the area, The Muck Bowl, and the kids from both high schools shopped at The Footlocker where I was an assistant manager and had a tradition of decorating their own shirts. At first he hesitated and made excuses why not to do it and then I said well as a district manager you can fund yourself and he said what and I said you have a district marketing budget why not take the expense for the 144 shirts from there and make a sign for the window Prepare For the Muck Bowl Tall Tees available here. He finally agreed and my store received the 144 tee-shirts and in 2 days sold out. The key is know your audience and deliver what they want and to always find a way to fund yourself. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: Get With The Program!!!
When I was kid I would here this phrase quite often as many of the activities that I was involved in were very structured. As I got older and started to venture into the world of marketing, advertising, media relations, and public relations I began to realize that many business people did not understand the importance of these areas and as a result struggled and eventually closed their doors because they did not get with the program. Today as I present opportunities to businesses and non-profit I hear many programmed responses like I don’t have a budget or I am not interested. There have been many times that I wanted to reach through the phone grab the person on the other end and simply yell GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!! I have encountered many people in positions of authority who simply do not get it and then wonder why their sales are down. Such was the case yesterday as I called the sales manager at Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet in Coconut Creek who I had been leaving messages for about The South Florida Gold, a professional basketball team that plays in The American Basketball Association. When I left messages I explained the relationship I had with the dealership and he didn’t return the call. He picked up the phone yesterday and after I introduced myself his answer was I am not interested. I replied sorry to hear that I can really be of service and value to you and I have been a customer of Lou Bachrodt for many years. He then said I don’t have a budget as I allocated all my advertising dollars. I replied I just want to meet with you to see how we can be of service and value to one another. His reply was I told you I don’t have a budget.I said okay I’ll call someone else. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: Back To The Basics!!!
When I was a kid we has a supermarket in our area called Basics. It was place where you brought your own bags or boxes and most of the products were generic. The store did massive advertising and flooded the area with coupons. They were doing a good business but then the landlord decided to raise the rent and it got to be a bit pricey and cut into the profit margin and the store closed. The store sat empty for many years and now there is a Lowes Home Improvement store on that site. As I reflected on the concept of Basics Supermarket I began to think how many times we in business get away from the basics and then wonder why we aren’t having successes. How many times to we come up with an advertisement idea but we don’t implement it because we do not know if it will work and then we make many excuses as to why not to implement it. The key is to remember that if you do not advertise your business you will eventually lose so it is time to get back to basics.
The first basic principle is to get out there and hit the bricks. This sounds like an old school principle but it works. Last week as I was promoting my TV Show, The Anything Bucket, which airs on Tuesday at 6:30 PM EDT on www.wrpbitv.com I decided to walk a shopping plaza and share who I was and that I was seeking guests for my TV Show. I walked into Wise Little Shoppers in Sunrise,FL and the owner Sparkle was receptive to the idea of being on my show. She called me the next day and booked a time to come into the studio to tape a segment for the show. She came taped a segment and bought her clip to use in her marketing. In hitting the bricks you will meet people who can benefit from your products or services. I have been one to go business to business to share who I am and what I am doing and it has proven to be effective. Whatever I find myself promoting be it my TV Show, my charitable work with The American Cancer Society Relay For Life, or the South Florida Gold, a professional basketball team that I represent I find the best way is to get out in the community and go face to face, eyeball to eyeball, flesh to flesh to get the best results. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: No One Is To Blame!!!
As I was discussing some issues of the day I realized just how quick people are to blame others for their problems instead of taking responsibility and being accountable for their actions. How many times have we heard oh it is Bush’s Fault from Obama and his supporters or oh outsourcing is hurting our country or it is the economy? How many excuses will people make and how many others will they blame until they realize it is them and their actions that determine whether they will thrive or will they struggle. I wrote a piece a while back titled it is not the economy it is you to show that those who were willing to adapt and overcome were continuing to have success while those making excuses and pointing blame were struggling. I have seen people play the blame game instead of taking responsibility only to see it led to their demise. It is not the competition, it is not the government, it is not the community, it is you. Maybe you wanted to advertise but you came from a position of lack and thought you couldn’t afford to and your competitor put out fliers and went out into the community and supported charitable causes while you found reasons not to invest in your marketing. Maybe you chose to go into a magazine or a mailer without doing your due diligence while your competitor found publications and other media sources that reach his audience. Maybe you didn’t do a video and didn’t utilize social media like Facebook and your competitor did. Maybe you judged the guy who came into your business offering assistance with marketing and public relations while your competitor spent $100 on a session and received a ready-made press release, a video testimonial, and shout out across his social media platforms. Perhaps you said not to being on a TV Show and your competitor went on a TV Show. Perhaps you did the show but didn’t buy the clip for $175 but your competitor did and put it on Facebook and other social media and picked up some new clients/customers. Maybe you used someones services and tried to get out of paying and your competitor used that person’s services and paid promptly. The key is to look at how you are conducting business and stop playing the blame game.
The key is to stop playing the blame game and to break away from the norms by building brand awareness and recognition by creating a buzz about your products or services. Think about what pain do you take away.If you are a restaurant you take away the pain of hunger, if you are a dry cleaner you take away the pain of looking good and making a good impression, if you are a massage therapist you take away physical pain that may be stopping someone from reaching their full potential. Look at what pain you take away and then formulate a marketing campaign that will express this and cultivate clients/and customers. Instead of blaming the competition for taking your customers look at ways you can breakaway and get them back or cultivate new ones. If it was price that drove them away then finds ways to show the value you they are getting for your price. Find out why they went elsewhere and if you can fix that reason and bring them back. The # 1 reason people do not do business with someone is a bad experience. Think of ways you can avoid bad experiences. I remember one day at Starbucks they didn’t make my drink for about 20 minutes and I went to ask about it the manager made my drink and gave me a coupon for a FREE one the next time I came in. In acknowledging the problem and doing something about it Starbucks kept my business. Read More→
Advertisement Ideas: Make It A Positive Experience!!!
I have noticed more and more businesses bashing their competition instead of building themselves up when I see this type of marketing I usually look for another option when I need the product or service that is being offered. I have also seen a trend in brick and mortar businesses where the interaction is far from positive and when I have a bad experience with a business I generally don’t go back and I let others know so they can avoid the same experience. In today’s ever more competitive world it is imperative to make every experience a positive one. When you are dealing with the general public their will be interruptions of your daily routine which to you may seem ridiculous but to the person walking into your business or calling you on the phone it is important. If you can take the time to be courteous to all those who you come in contact with and create a positive experience you will see an increase in your sales and a strengthening of your brand. Every aspect of your business should reflect positivity from your voice mail to your advertising to your human interaction. The idea is to be positive in everything that you do so that the end-user thinks positive of you and comes to you when they seek your product or service.
There are certain businesses I frequent just because I get a positive vibe from the moment I enter until the time I leave. I also frequent businesses where they have taken the effort to get to know me. I have a big advantage as I am generally positive and thus am met with positive responses. I had someone ask me JDOGG how do you make each interaction positive? My answer was I look for the good that comes from it, for example the guy at Pucinnis Pizza in Boca Raton was not receptive to my Relay For Life. At first I was upset as I though everyone would come forward to help this great project and then I realized you know what it saves me a phone call and creates an opportunity to find people who will support the cause. Had the man been open and receptive he could have had a more positive outcome because he would have had an ally in the marketplace speaking positively about him and recommending his business. I have had people give me some excuses and I simply do my best to overcome the excuses and then if that doesn’t work I thank them for their time and wish them luck. The key is to help as many people you can through your business so that your business is seen in a positive light and so that customers and potential customers have a positive interaction with you.
The greatest thing that a business can do is to find ways to establish goodwill in the community. A local Pizza Restaurant at Boca green Plaza, Davito’s, sponsored a track marker for The American Cancer Society Relay For Life Of West Boca Raton and I have personally been there for lunch on 2 occasions and have given him shout out on Facebook and promoted him at committee meetings as a result of his creating a positive interaction he has gained me as a customer and I represent about $8 each time I come in. Think If I come in 40 times in the year he makes a small profit all because he spent $100 on a track marker sponsorship. I come from the tradition of supporting those who support me. I think there is enough to go around for a business to support many charities. If your business is not supporting the local community there is a strong chance that you will go out of business. If you are struggling in business look at all the areas where you interact with people and what your attitude is. I remember walking into a business years ago when I worked for Forum Publishing Group selling advertising and they said I am not interested I don’t need to advertise. I said okay and I left. There were many times I was in the neighborhood and needed their services but I didn’t use them I went to their competitor because the competitor gave me the time of day and listened to me and though did not buy an ad asked me to check back with them on a regular basis. Guess what the negative interaction business is out of business no longer selling his subs and the positive interaction business is still in business and thriving. Ask yourself which one are you going to be the positive or the negative business? Read More→