October 20th, 2011 by Sue L Canfield
How well do you know your list?
Who are the people on your list that receive your newsletter or blog? Do you have hundreds on your list? If so, do you know where they all came from? If you had to write each one of them an individual message, could you include something specific that you know they would want to hear?
We have an extensive network of people around the world that we stay in touch with via blogs, emails, newsletters, forums, etc. Some have opted-in to a newsletter or blog that we don't personally know. Otherwise, I can tell you something about just about everyone we to whom we send out a mailing.
Joel and I were recently getting ready to send out a mailing about our web design company, Spinhead Web Design. We wanted to announce our new service, Kindle Formatting. It had been a while since we'd sent anything out so we decided to review the list first to make sure that only people who would really be interested received our email.
We started out with over 300 on the list and pruned it to about 120. But I could tell you where every one of those 120 contacts came from - how we met, whether in person or online. We knew these were people that had either done business with us or were fans of ours. These all are people who are our fans. If they don't need our service, we know they'll refer someone else who does.
It's not effective to send eblasts out to those who are either going to ignore you or feel annoyed. But targeting our fans - that's effective!
Thank you to all our fans!
January 18th, 2011 by Joel D Canfield
Baking bread this morning. I use paper towel to dry my hands when I wash them, so I'm not clogging up a dish towel (and subsequently the plumbing or someone's laundry) with gooey glutinous flour. I use 'em for wiping up the counter between loaves, too. Especially if my hands are still covered with gooey dough.
The kitchen trash is under the sink; not my favorite arrangement but it's not my house. Went to pull the cupboard door open to toss the paper towel, and there's no handle. No knob. It's one of those cupboards where you have to grab the edge of the door to pull it open. I hate them. Invariably at some point during every meal prep, I slip and bend a fingernail on the edge or get a door open just far enough to bang when it slips shut. I hate sharp loud noises.
Why don't the cupboards have handles or knobs?
My years in construction and architecture tell me it's either for looks or to save money, or both. Bad reasons to make something that works poorly.
We all worry about appearances. Do you ever find yourself doing what looks good; what makes you look good, instead of doing what's right?
If doing the right thing is gonna make you look bad, that's a serious problem. But I'll bet that the embarrassment you think you're going to feel or the bad press you think you'll be facing from saving face is all in your head. Putting on a front is time and effort wasted. Your true fans want to know the real you, flaws and all.
You can't get away with incompetence, but you'd never do that. What you can get away with is being human, flawed, imperfect. In fact, your fans would much rather you were flawed like them than for you to be superwoman, never letting the cracks show.
If knobs make the cabinet work better but they don't look as good . . . well, you know what to do.
April 29th, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Earlier this week a fellow virtual assistant asked what to do when you lose a client due to an error. I replied, "even if you've already lost the client, apologize and do what you can to fix it and make it up. Use it as a lesson for your business. Be open and honest about it. People appreciate that. Then move on. Don't dwell on it. Use the experience to make your business even better."
Other comments included:
1. Do all possible to correct the situation.
2. Ask the client what you can do to make things good.
3. Learn from the mistake and think of ways to avoid it in the future.
4. We all make mistakes, that's how we learn.
This virtual assistant has done all she can and is moving on. This is exactly the right thing to do. Though it's never easy to lose a client, once we've done all we can it's important to move on. We don't want to allow negative energy to be drawn away from our existing clients.
Thoughts, comments, suggestions?
March 12th, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Many of us hear the word salesperson and think of a pushy car salesperson. We don't like to be sold to and so we hold back from selling our services because we don't know how to do it without feeling like we're being another pushy car salesperson.
If you're in business, you're in sales. So let's think about how we can sell our services the right way. Here are 3 things to consider:
1. Diagnose - How can you make a recommendation to your prospect about how your services are their solution when you haven't yet diagnosed their problem? And how can you diagnose until you've come to thoroughly understand the prospect's situation?
2. What do they want? - Just because you and your prospect agree on the problem does not mean you agree on the desired outcome. Find out what they want the desired outcome to be so you can then offer the solution that will result in that particular outcome.
3. How will you provide what they want? - Explain in as much detail as possible exactly how you will provide their desired outcome. Be specific in what they will get, how you will work with them, what will happen. The more they know, the more reassured they will be that you can provide the desirable outcome they want.
This requires communicating with prospects. Listen to them, understand their situation and needs and desired outcome. Explain clearly how your solution will benefit them. Give your prospects solid reasons to work with you. Then invite them to get started!
March 9th, 2010 by Sue L Canfield
Ask yourself these questions about your marketing efforts:
- Do you feel your marketing efforts are becoming stale?
- Are you marketing the same way and with the same messages you did one year ago?
- Do you feel your efforts are not producing the results you'd like?
It's time to try something new!
Perhaps you need to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Have you done one of the following yet?
- Create a free report for your market and add more value to your marketing efforts
- Shoot a short video with tips for your market and post it on your website
- Attend a networking event
- Invest in yourself and learn a new thing that will benefit your network
If what you are doing now isn't working and getting the results you want, then doing the same old things is not the answer. It's time to try something new. Take some time to brainstorm and envision the future you want to create for yourself. Then go out there and do it!