One of the most popular Jeff Bezos quotes goes like this: “Start with customers, and work backwards.”
Most people read that and think, “OK, that’s nice. I get it. Customer satisfaction is important.”
But few stop to think, “What does he actually mean by that?”
Because I love learning, I dig deeper. And I found a powerful thing that Bezos said about the relationship between customer satisfaction and business success: “Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas.”
Read that again, because this marks a fundamental shift in how you run your business.
Rather than treating customer service as an afterthought, you make customers the focus throughout the buying experience — from the first moment you pick up the phone and answer a customer call, right down to the last moment you leave the customer’s home.
At my company, that’s what we do. I call our approach “sell it right.” It’s the last and most important step of our eight-step sales process. I’ve trained hundreds of technicians myself through this — and our results back up what I say. We went from $50,000 in debt to nine figures, along with 2,000-plus customer reviews averaging 4.8 stars. We’re not alone either: The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) found a strong correlation between customer satisfaction and business growth in their 2012 survey of 26,000 consumers.
So, how can you sell it right?
Sell It Right: What It Means And How We Do It
Let’s role-play for a second. Let’s say I’m your home service technician and I just completed a door repair. You give me the check.
At this point, most people just take the check, say a quick thank you... and leave!
Here’s what I do instead to sell it right:
I finished the job. I took your check. Now — with a smile — I’m going to run everything over with you so that you are happy about everything I did. I’m going to show you the repair warranty information so that you know what to do if there’s still an issue. I’m going to clean everything so that you have absolutely nothing to do after I leave.
And before leaving, here’s what I say to you:
“Listen, we cherish your business. We really appreciate it. It’s so amazing that we got to work with you today.”
My goal is to make you feel that “Wow, that sure was worth the money.”
Why go to such lengths? By selling it right, you immediately get a few benefits:
On a deeper level, selling it right means that you grow your business more sustainably and effectively.
You can spend all the money on marketing, but all of that investment would go to waste if you can’t retain customers for long. It’s like pouring into a leaky bucket.
That’s why we measure business success differently: Lifetime value > Upfront profit
Here Are A Few Ways You Can Start Selling It Right:
Most importantly, make sure that you get your team’s buy-in. Work with them to design a sales process that's focused on the customer. Provide ongoing training and coaching.
Selling it right only works for us because we’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in systematically training our employees. (In the next three months, we will complete a brand new training center, which I’m very excited about!)
After all, your customers are that important to you. What we want is customers not once or twice, but for life.
Image Credit: Photo by Jopwell
Three Reasons Your Business Should Leverage Livecast (And Three Tips For Getting Started)
We have entered an era of media overload. At every turn, consumers are met with the newest influencer, advertisement or article, and there are only so many things you can do to stand out from the crowd.
Livecasting has been on the rise for years, and now it is more important than ever for businesses to leverage it in their marketing plans. But why? Let’s dive into what livecasting can really do for you and your business.
Build Trust And Community
When the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, people’s values began to shift. One of the biggest shifts was in how much people value the ability to speak and communicate face-to-face.
This is what livecasting can offer your consumers: the chance to see and connect with the real people behind a business. Not only does this foster the kind of trust between business and consumer that is essential to any brand, but it creates a feeling of social support for everyone who joins your livecast.
Livecasting provides the opportunity for real-time engagement, and whether it is simply through attendance or comments, it's more likely attendees will feel like they are a part of a community, and creating a community can make your brand more recognizable and successful.
Broaden Your Audience
Prior to the pandemic, most events hosted by businesses were exclusive to those with the resources to attend. With the growth of platforms like Zoom and Facebook Live, though, this no longer has to be the case.
Online, anyone who is interested can join your livecast, and it stands to reason that viewers are more likely to share brand videos they’ve watched or participated in with friends and family. This is the kind of reach an in-person event simply doesn’t allow for.
Plus, you can pull the reports on not just who came to your livecast but on how long they stayed. This data allows you to see which of your livecasts were the most and least successful and use that information to improve with every future livecast.
Increase Your Bottom Line
This is really what it boils down to: Livecasting is economically advantageous to your business. There is no venue to rent, pamphlets to print or refreshments to buy. The cost of a livecast is significantly lower than the cost of any in-person event because, aside from perhaps camera equipment, what is there to pay for?
But here are the real economic benefits: According to one survey, 87% of video marketers report that video gives them a positive ROI. According to that same survey, consumers are watching almost double the amount of online content compared to 2018. Those numbers sound pretty good.
But why make it livecast? Why not just pre-record a video? Because live videos hold viewers’ attention for 10 to 20 times longer (paywall) than any pre-recorded content, and the more time your viewer invests at the moment, the more they’re willing to invest in your company in the future. And once the livecast is over, you have a recorded video ready to optimize for use on your social media or website.
So, how can you leverage livecasting to ensure that you make the most of these benefits?
Use Your Brand
Livecasting isn’t about making an advertisement for your company — it’s about connecting with your viewers and showing them who you are. The best way to do this is to keep your brand’s values and mission statement at the forefront of your mind when planning your livecast.
If the point of your livecast is to promote or launch a product, it shouldn’t feel like just another ad or TV commercial. Show the faces behind the product. Show your viewers why you are excited about it and what it can do for them. Make your livecast feel as human and authentic as possible.
Getting your audience involved helps them feel like they are part of a community, so get creative with it. Put out polls, host a Q&A, incorporate games. Audience members can participate through comments, likes, reactions and shares, and you want to do whatever possible to ensure that they do. To keep that feeling of inclusivity and community going, invite them to engage after the livecast is over through things like newsletter signups, giveaways or feedback surveys.
No matter how genius your livecast is, it won’t matter if no one is interested enough to attend. You need to know what audience you are trying to appeal to and you need to promote to them in an eye-catching way.
Come up with a catchy title and description for social media. Make a flashy graphic or release teasers. Make sure your consumers know about your livecast and get them excited!
The benefits to your business are always important to consider when embarking on a new marketing strategy. Knowing how to optimize those benefits is just as important.
But here is one last thing to consider. Don’t think of livecasting as just one more chore to add to your list. A study revealed that 80% of online consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read their blog.
Livecasting isn’t an addition to your plan. It’s a substitute for some of the work you’re currently doing, and it’s a substitute that will benefit you in the long run.
Image Credit: Photo by Ivan Samkov
Success in any business largely depends on the success of its marketing efforts. But with so many ways to market and so many areas to focus on, it can be challenging to narrow a campaign down to a single focal point. However, if you fail to create a focused strategy, your marketing efforts will likely be less than successful.
To that end, 11 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) were asked the following question:
“What’s one area small-business marketers should focus the bulk of their efforts on this year, and why?”
Here’s what they think should be on the to-do list of small-business marketers in 2022.
1. Building Community With Customers
“One area small-business marketers should focus the bulk of their efforts on this year is building community. When you build a community with your customers, their lifetime value is longer and they’ll be more likely to refer contacts to purchase your product or service.” ~ Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
2. Telling Stories in Marketing Communications
“Small-business marketers need to introduce and focus on storytelling in their marketing communications. People don’t connect with businesses that only want to create sales. They value companies that have a meaningful story to share with their audience. I suggest reading books that teach you about storytelling in marketing. Apply them and you’ll notice a difference in how people engage with you.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
3. Leveraging the Metaverse for Promotions
“Small-business marketers should consider focusing on the metaverse and how it can be leveraged for promotional purposes. It’s a new domain and primed with opportunities.” ~ Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
4. Sharing Their Story on Social Media
“Your small business doesn’t have to crawl its way up to success. It can simply boom with one social media post. Most small-business owners have found their way to success through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, which provide an option to share your story. As subtle as it may appear, sharing your business story will increase your market size and awareness and spur excitement.” ~ Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
5. Building Automation for Redundant Tasks
“Focus on building automation so you don’t get stuck in the weeds or miss out on opportunities. There are redundant tasks that are important but that can be done at scale. For example, you can schedule automated text messages to nurture crucial client relationships. Then, you can automatically add these relationships into custom ad audiences on Facebook and Instagram to provide top-of-mind awareness.” ~ Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising
6. Appointing a Team for Digital Marketing
“Digital marketing needs to be a high priority, and you can’t outsource it to contractors. Work with an established company or develop a team in-house; one person alone cannot carry an entire marketing campaign. They need support and resources. Having a team working on digital marketing will sustain your efforts through the year.” ~ Duran Inci, Optimum7
7. Creating Shareable Video Content
“Creating shareable video content is going to be key for small businesses wanting to grow in 2022. Between platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and user experience on websites, compelling video content is a must. The more creative, the better.” ~ Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
8. Building the ‘Know, Like and Trust’ Factor
“Small businesses need to connect with their customers on a personal level. Consumers want to know who they’re doing business with. This year, the focus should be on building the ‘know, like and trust’ factor for business owners. Let your audience into your business. Be transparent in your practices and let consumers know how they fit into the bigger picture.” ~ Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
9. Considering Voice Search Optimization
“Business marketers need to start thinking about voice search optimization. More people use voice search to browse and buy products online than ever before. If your site doesn’t rank for long-tail, voice search-specific keywords, you could be missing out on a lot of organic traffic and countless sales opportunities.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
10. Helping Customers Solve Problems
“Small businesses that want to get more customers with less effort over time need to focus on inbound marketing. Here, you don’t push to sell or promote yourself very much. Instead, the focus is on helping customers solve their problems, like by providing free tutorials on YouTube, for example. You’ll build an audience and develop trust in this way, and people will buy from you down the line.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress
11. Humanizing Their Brand for Followers
“Focus on humanizing your brand. Go live on your social channels and have one-on-one interactions with your users. Introduce your team to your followers and give them a sneak peek into your office. Let your audience know that there are real people behind the brand name who are working hard to make their lives easier. This will help you connect with your audience better and reach your goals faster.” ~ Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
Building your small business team is always challenging – but even more so in 2022. You may not be able to control the overarching uncertainty and worker shortages. But you can make sure your hiring and onboarding practices are in order. Here are tips from members of the online small business community for building a solid small business team.
Welcome New Hires
Once you find the right people to hire, it’s time to make them feel like part of the team. The right welcoming strategy can help them collaborate more effectively and work more productively. Mandy Caruso of ClickUp shares tips for welcoming new hires here.
Re-Open Workplaces Safely with Hybrid Models
Many offices are starting to reopen. But there are still many safety concerns. Luckily, hybrid work models offer some flexibility and safety benefits, while still bringing some workers back in person. Harry and Sally Vaishnav go over the benefits in this Small Biz Viewpoints post.
Consider These Factors in Changing Professions
There are many reasons why people choose to change professions. This isn’t just relevant for job seekers. It may also be relevant to business owners looking to hire those professionals. Get some insights from this post by Lisa Sicard of Inspire to Thrive. Then see what BizSugar members are saying here.
Reduce New Hire Churn
Constantly hiring and replacing employees can put a huge strain on your HR and leadership team. So it’s in your best interest to keep employees for as long as possible. To reduce new hire churn, check out this post by Grace Donaldson of Process Street for tips.
Prepare Before Expanding to Another State
Expanding a small business requires growing a team, researching a new market, and completing lots of paperwork. Going into a new state may even require some specific legal steps. Nellie Akalp goes over specifics in this CorpNet post.
Create Repeatable Processes with Great People
Part of the reason an amazing team can help your business get more done is the ability to create processes. Repeatable tasks provide more efficiency within teams. To learn more about this concept for teams, read this Startup Professionals Musings post by Marty Zwilling.
Ensure a Happy and Comfortable Workplace
Happy employees tend to get more done. While you cannot ensure that everyone on your team is satisfied in their personal life, you can provide a comfortable workplace. This Platter of Gold post by Anthony Williams includes tips for doing just that.
Deliver the Best Customer Experience
Hiring the right people for your customer service team can dramatically impact the experience. But this is just one aspect of improving the customer journey. Learn more in this Noobpreneur post by Ivan Widjaya. Then head to the BizSugar community to see what members are saying.
Find the Best Tax Deductions for Your Business
The tax deductions you can take depend on the structure of your business. If you’re self-employed, you’re likely the only official team member in your business. But there are still opportunities to save during tax season. Tim Parker of ZenBusiness lists options in this post.
Acknowledge Employee Burnout
So many workers have felt burned out over the past few years – perhaps none more than those in healthcare. Even if you don’t run a healthcare business, it’s important to notice and address when your employees have reached their limit. Lauren Galli shares an employee’s perspective in this Strella Social Media post.
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