- The homeowner that lingers over the service contractor questioning the hows and whys of every step of his process and material used.
- The restaurant patron who complains about everything from the temperature of the room, to the softness of the green beans.
- In my world, the netWORX marketing client that needs to know every detail of how you manage the account.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Do you have a client that costs you money. Most of us have had one at some time or another. It's the guy who needs constant attention, doesn't trust your expertise, or just plain takes too much of your time. It may look like this...
Most of the time, these customers are not the best paying ones. Maybe there service has some sentimental value that has kept you at their beckon call all this time. (One of few constant repeat customers, your first customer, business is slow and they are A customer). But, chances are, you'd be better off without them. Figure the time you spend making them happy or answering their questions. How much does it slow you down? Take your profit from having them as a customer and subtract dollars lost in time and stress of pleasing them. How long would it take you to find a replacement customer to make up the difference in their value.
It is more important during a slow economy than ever before, to chose your customers wisely. You can't afford to run in circles for little or no profit. Seek the
Chances are, not long. It is more important during a slow economy than ever before, to chose your customers and how you spend your time wisely. You can't afford to run in circles pleasing one difficult customer (and every business has one) for little or no profit.
Which customers do you need to fire today?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Yesterday I ate the best PB&J sandwich ever. It's really easy. Here you go.
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1/4 cup of blueberries
- Crush the blueberries with a fork or put them in one of those little dicing things. Like a Magic Bullet but I use some sort of other brand that works awesome too.
- Spread the peanut butter on once slice of the bread
- Spread the crushed/diced blueberries on the other slice
- Mash 'em together.
- Make another
- Make a 3rd
If you follow steps 1-5 only... congratulations, you've just made the healthiest peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever known to mankind. If you followed steps 1-9, you found a way to screw that healthy thing up.
The thing is, it's not only health, but I think it was the best tasting one I've ever had as well.
Monday, February 23, 2009
My wife and I had an interesting conversation a few days ago. You see, she was playing the Bubble Breaker game on my phone (a popular favorite around the Riley home), when she saw I had a reminder scheduled on my calendar to pray with my wife.
Does the fact that I had to schedule that prayer time still make it sincere?
Absolutely. Whether you're reminder is to pray with your spouse, praise your kids, or praise your employees, the fact that you schedule it means that it's important to you. If you didn't care, you might just "hope you remember". Because spending focused time in prayer with and for my wife and the things that may be on her mind is important to me, I want to make sure it doesn't slip my mind. Same goes with my kids. If the reminder to praise my daughter shows up and I've not intentionally looked for something positive to praise her about, I find something right then to remind her how she pleases me.
Be careful though not to make that time just be a check mark on you "things to do" list. If it appears to be just a check mark, it will not be genuine or well received. Only do this if it is really truly important to you. But, please do remind yourself if it's important to you. Don't let it slip you mind.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I was surfing the net this morning and came across what I thought was an entertaining blog entry. It is a compilation of similes, metaphors, and analogies written by English students across the country. The lack of my own knowledge of proper writing kept me from poking fun at or even realizing those mistakes in their entries, however, some are pretty creative and humorous.
It made me think of sitting with some friends watching a ball game one time and when one of my friends was teasing another, the second simply looked and said... "I'm about to go Bobby Knight on you." We all nearly peed our pants at the thought of our friend choking the other with his hands or throwing chairs across the room like the infamous coach throwing a fit during a game of hoops.
I remember once when my wife was pregnant someone made a comment about her being so skinny with just a round belly sticking out in front. Saying... "It's like a marble taped to a pencil." I think it was meant as a compliment too. My dad used to get mad and say he was about to "be on me like stink on sh*#t." I have a friend that will say he's "busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest."
What are some of the favorites you've heard?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What if sales based organizations focused on customer retention as much as they focus on customer acquisition? I know that most companies say that's a focus for them but their action plan states something different.
How does your commission plan or bonus plan for your sales team encourage retention rather than simply acquisition? Too many times sales reps are rewarded for playing "bump-and-run" coverage with your customers. Companies do this by shuffling accounts among reps, paying high sign bonuses on sales, or by paying inflated early commissions that deflate over time. Techniques like this are meant to force ones sales force to continue to seek new clients rather than settling in a comfort zone thus slowing focus. These practices all are counter productive to your bottom line and your companies reputation. They encourage your team to make the fast money and forget their client in order to move on to the next paycheck.
Chances are that you can afford to pay in month 3, month 6, month 16, and month 36 what you paid in month one. Why not pay a good, fair, commission that recurs as a client continues business with your company.
My hope is that my sales reps will all one day hit a comfort level with the amount of recurring accounts they maintain repetitive business with and can spend their time drinking coffee with and maintaining a good relationship with those accounts for the long term. When that happens, I'll simply hire a new rep to sell those new accounts and keep them coming in.
I believe that this will avoid the pinwheel of sales reps cycling through my office that so many companies have. Rather than feeling like their running on a treadmill, they can actually reach the goal of this race.
Monday, February 16, 2009
An effective website is a 3-Headed monster.
- Content - Surely you have something to say to people visiting your site. Maybe yours is for entertainment, information, sales, networking or any combination of purposes. Without content that matches it's purpose, it won't do it's job.
- Design - No matter how great your content is, you must have good design to keep people there. Your site must be easy on the eye and visually appealing as well as easy to navigate and map through.
- Visibility - This is th most often missed absolute of having an effective website. Let's say you have a wonderfully designed, easy to navigate, beautiful website that's packed full of interesting content. Who cares if nobody sees it. There was a day (about fefteen years ago) when you could throw your site on the World-Wide-Web and anyone looking for your type of content would end up there. Those days are over my friend. It's time to start thinking about how you will get people to visit your site.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I am a huge fan of the YMCA and all it does for the communities where their locations are. Currently the YMCA Association in the Oklahoma City metro area (including the Edmond OK Y's) is running their Strong Kids Campaign.
This is a campaign to raise money that is used to provide invaluable services to the community. A single mom might receive assistance through childcare so that her kids have a safe place to go after school. Young kids receive swim and water safety lessons. Each year thousands of area kids enjoy day camps provided by the YMCA. These are the same kids that otherwise would be left home alone and experimenting with who knows what.
I encourage each of you to give to the local YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. You can contact the Edmond Oklahoma Area Y's by calling (405) 348-9622. You can call and make your commitment. Payment can be deferred until October if needed.
Just call up and say that you read about it on my blog.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I often see vehicles driving around town with a company logo on them. Unfortunately, most of them are a waste of space. The reason is that most of them have the name of a product or company that doesn't include what the product is or what the company does.
For instance, if you saw a billboard or logo on a vehicle that simply read "netWORX 405.761.0266", it probably would read nothing. Even if you could benefit from this service, you'd never know because you don't even know what netWORX is.
Replay. What if that same billboard or vehicle said "netWORX helping your site be found on the web 405.761.0266"? Now, that says something totally different. If I've been wondering how to get traffic to my site, you just told me you can help.
Advertising your brand is great, however, you must have a strong brand or also state what that brand does.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I just turnded 30 last week and, though I'm not devestated like a prom queen with a zit, it is like someone has flipped a switch in my head. I have this feeling like all of the sudden, I'm supposed to be something different. I'm kind of a high energy guy who can have fun in the most boring of meetings. However, it's as if that was fine last week (when I was in my 20's), but is unacceptable now. What is it about 30 that makes me feel like I have to stop all the fun and become a stiff?
I don't care to fight the aging. I welcome the gray hair, wrinkles, and wisdom I gain each year. However, I refuse to grow up. A wise man once said... "We don't stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing."
Monday, February 2, 2009
Many small businesses are made up of partnerships on some level. Make sure you have tough conversations up front so you can preserve your relationships later. You both should have a say in major decisions, but should decide up front which tasks, departments, employee groups, or projects that each of you will have primary responsibility for.
This will help streamline you business making you more agile in your changing economic environment, as well as prevent the ocassional hurt feelings over not being included or, more importantly, prevent your business from missing an opportunity due to someone not knowing if they had authority to make certain decisions. Missing an opportunity due to inaction can be tragic. So, instead, set up checks and balances as to what decisions need consulting and which ones are futile. For this reason though it is important that you place yourselves in the roles you are best in, not the ones you like best.