connecting with customers

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19 05, 2015

4 Key Factors that Will Help Determine Your Business Success

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00May 19th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Marketing, Success, The Millenniums|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on 4 Key Factors that Will Help Determine Your Business Success

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Business success is determined by your customer.

Business success is determined by your customer.

Do you really know what your customers think about you?

I’ve asked many business owners about their competitive advantage. They tell me they have great salespeople, installers, a beautiful showroom and super customer service. This is often in contrast to what the customers have written on line where their ratings are two out of five stars!

Why does this happen? Businesses think they’re in touch with their customers, but they really aren’t. If a customer says something unflattering about them, they usually dismiss it. “We could never please that customer, “is what they say.

If you’re not connecting with your customers, you’re doing a disservice to your business. If you don’t know what they like, how can they brag about you? Yes, you need them to brag about you. Consider that 65% of customers make decisions about where to shop and ultimately buy based on recommendations from their friends. Often the friends are social media friends they’ve never met!

Here  are four factors that you should consider:

Understand your marketplace. Are you located in the right place to attract your customer? Can you describe common traits about your customers? If you can’t, how can you attract more of them?

Know what products your customers like and buy more of them. If your customers are high end, why is your showroom stocked with so many cheap, uninteresting products? Being “all things for all people” just confuses both customers and salespeople.  Customers don’t have much time to shop so why bore them with things they don’t want?

Get the right business partners. Do you carry everyone’s products because the prices are good? Find  partners that are looking out for yor profitability  and your customers. They should also understand your marketplace and help you distinguish yourself from the competition.

Plan for the changing marketplace.  Businesses are heading down the tail end of the richest generation—the Baby Boomers. They fueled the marketplace with plenty of money and a desire for buying new things. As they age, their needs have changed. They are being replaced by a generation with different ideas about the world and seem to value “experiences” over certain things. (Electronics are one category they crave.)

You might not be able to be ahead of change, but you can certainly keep up.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a strategic thinker who has been helping businesses improve their bottom line for over 20 years. To schedule a conference or have her speak at an event, reach her at [email protected] She lives in Historic Hudson Park, Abany, New York with her cat Rainyday.

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11 01, 2012

Is There A Woman I Can Talk To?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00January 11th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Customer Service, Sales|Tags: , , , , , , , , |3 Comments

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Woman talking to the Progresso Soup chefSeveral months ago I wrote a blog on how women were no different than men; it was sort of tongue-in-cheek and it caused quite a stir which is always fun. I’m always on the alert for gender related commercials; there’s a fine line between funny and insulting and it’s not always obvious. I recently read there are three parts to an advertisement,  the surface meaning, what you see immediately and your first impression, the advertising intention, what are they selling and the cultural part of the ad–how we really get connected. ( By the  way, this information is taken from and  included in an interesting blog, the Gender Ad Project Blog which shows you how to analyze advertisements and their meanings.  

And then I noticed  the  Progresso Soup commercials. The one I like the best is the one where the woman is excitingly telling the chef about her weight loss. Since he doesn’t quite get it she asks if there’s a woman she can talk to. In the photo above, this woman is talking about her weight loss and her engagement.

The commercials are charming and very clever and give us insight into this particular woman; she believes a woman would be more interested in talking with  her about her weight loss. 

 I went to YouTube and checked out the Progresso Soup commercials and found several more involving women , as well as some home grown  “copy cat commercials” that are really funny. The commercials show  grown ups having fun talking about their grandmothers and one of our favorite childhood foods–soup. My own grandmother, Christine,  used to make a mean lentil soup. The key to all these commercials is the personalization and the connection to the family.

The commercials are just funny and nostalgic and involve happy customers. How does this fit for your business? Do your commercials involve nostalgia  and personalization? After watching one of your commercial do customers feel delighted and connected? Many business don’t realize that anything that anything that them to their customers is a form of  great customer service.

 Here are 6 ways to stay involved with your customers whether they’re men or women.

1. Vow to have fun with your business and your customers ; the world is far too serious so lighten  up. Go ahead and make fun of yourself and your business. As a salesperson, you need to to ask  your customers what they think about your commercials. This way you will have a way to connect and you will know what works.  Your customers know better than anyone if your advertising connects. Fun and humor are a great way to connect with your customers.

2. Involve your customers in your commercials; Progresso has a cute contest where you can make your own commercial and write a 300 word essay about your “soup” experience.

3. Post your commercials and ideas to your YouTube channel and invite your customers to do the same.

4. Invite your customers to share their ideas about the use of your product; give a prize for the most original idea or several prizes.

5. Don’t forget to feature everything on Facebook and invite comments. Who knows what you’ll discover about your products.

6. Whenever possible, build connections with your customers, personal connections. Get to know them, their likes and dislikes and become friends. 

I read through the comments on one of the Progresso videos  and someone wanted to know who made the tile backsplash–they wanted it!  It just shows, business can come from anywhere.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a small business consulting providing sales and customer service training. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be ordered from her web site.

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