What to Know Before Meeting Clients Face-to-Face

Whenever you have an interaction with a client it is important that you put your best foot forward. This is especially important when you are meeting with a client in person. In this situation, you want to make sure that you are making a great impression and instilling confidence in yourself, your professionalism, and your business. Here are a few important tips that can help you to have the most successful meeting possible. 

Preparing for the Meeting 

One of the most important things you can do to make your meeting go well is to do some prep work before you go. While you can’t anticipate everything that will come up during your meeting, you can figure out some likely questions and prepare yourself with answers. Thinking about common concerns and learning about the specific client will both help you to move the meeting along smoothly. It also helps to learn about their needs so you can meet them throughout the meeting. If your meeting will be over lunch, it can help to know about dietary restrictions in advance so you can choose the right place for your meeting to take place. The more preparation you do, the better it will be. 

Get to Know Them 

The better you know your clients, the better your meetings are likely to go. You should take a little time to get to know your client before the meeting even begins. Try asking a few questions over email or phone call so you can surprise them with your knowledge and accommodations. You can also research them or their business online to add a little more to your knowledge base. You want to always walk the line so that you are always balanced between knowing what you need to know and not crossing any boundaries unnecessarily. 

Be On Time 

There is nothing you can do worse than showing up late for your meeting with your client, especially your first meeting. It sets a negative tone for the meeting and can cause your client to feel poorly about your professionalism and your company in general. It’s better to be a little bit early so you can take a second to breathe and prepare right before the meeting begins. If you do have to be late for the meeting it is important to communicate and make sure that you assure your client that you are doing everything you can to get there on time. But if you can make it happen, strive to always be on time. 

Dress Professionally 

The way you dress sends a message to your client and dressing professionally will show them that you are capable and smart. It’s important to find the balance between professionalism, style, and modesty when you dress for your business meeting. You can feel beautiful and confident in a modest dress when meeting with your clients. You want to make sure that your clients feel confident and comfortable with you and your clothing choices can go a long way towards making that positive impression. Take time beforehand to choose your outfit and make sure that you are dressed to impress. 

Figure Out Your Company’s Best Features 

When you meet with a client the goal is to sell your products and services in a way that works for that client. That means taking the time to figure out what your company does best. As you gain a better handle on what your business has to offer, you can figure out the best way to sell those aspects to clients. It can feel awkward at first to talk about how great your business is, so it may be worth it to practice talking about what makes your business great before the meeting. Then you can show them all the amazing things you have to offer. 

Be Open to What Your Client Says 

As important as it is that you be able to tell your client what you do well, you also need to listen to them. Sometimes you and a client will be on different pages, but good communication can help you to make up for that difference. Listen to your clients and ask questions if you aren’t sure what they need or what they are asking for. Remember that your clients are people and that by talking and listening you can learn more about each other and build a stronger professional bond. 

Prepare a Presentation 

Sometimes things will flow perfectly at a meeting and you will be able to talk through things without ever needing to turn to your presentation. But it’s important that you have your presentation prepared so you have something to say if the conversation falters or you feel like you haven’t said everything you need to. You want to be very familiar with your presentation materials so that you can improvise and talk about it in a way that works for your clients and for the kind of conversation that you are having with one another. When presenting, take a deep breath and make it a point to speak slowly and clearly. 

Make Goals for the Meeting 

It can be hard to define success in a client meeting, especially if you don’t know what your goals are in the first place. Take time before the meeting to figure out what your goals are and how you will define the success of the meeting. Make sure that your goals are quantifiable and reasonable for the meeting you are having. It’s not a good idea to come in with too high of expectations for the first meeting, instead plan as well as you can, set clear goals, and have plans in mind for the future. 

Meeting with clients for the first time can feel both exciting and scary. Harness your excitement and do what you can to minimize your fear. Preparation and care can go a long way towards making sure that you and your clients both have a great and productive time during the meeting.

Read this next: How to Rescue Your Business From Falling Sales

How You Can Engage with Your Customers Online

Getting skilled with the digital landscape is essential if you want your company to find success. Websites are essentially a virtual storefront, from which customers can buy goods and understand your company on a deeper level. Gaining customer trust online can drive more traffic to your business. Learn how to talk with your audience no matter the platform, and your company will make more money.

Connect on Social Media

The clearest cut way companies can talk with their customers is through social media. There are billions of users on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and more platforms are being created every day! Not only is it wise for you to make an account, but it can also be essential in some industries. Some businesses have ditched their website and rely fully on these social media platforms.

Post content that is sure to satisfy your fans. Ask them what they like about your company. Be casual and funny when you post. Use this as a tool to gauge what the public thinks about your business before you make major changes.

Respond to Reviews

Another valuable way you can interact with customers is by responding to their online reviews. Digital feedback is a relevant indicator of your company’s overall success. If your company has under three stars, it is unlikely that anybody will come to your business intentionally.

While you can mitigate bad press by changing up how you do things, you can also respond to reviews to show that you care. Only about 24% of businesses respond to negative reviews. This is unfortunate, because it can show that you genuinely want your customers to have a positive experience, and can make some people give you a fair shot.

Help Center

Customers want to feel like they aren’t out of the loop, and creating a help center can be a great way to satisfy people’s questions. For one, you can implement a live chat feature into your website to assist with customer questions. This is cost-effective and works around the clock.

On top of this, you can have a call center operator who interacts with confused customers. Ensure that your support team is trained to be positive and optimistic. Otherwise, a disgruntled employee may hurt a customer’s impression of your company, and you cannot have that.

Using the internet to work with customers is incredibly helpful. Not only is it more efficient to use digital platforms for communication, but it can provide you with clarity on how your company can improve over time.

Read this next: Content That Your Website Needs to Keep Visitors Engaged

How to Use Customer Data to Improve Your Business

Running a business can be difficult and it’s even worse when you’re trying to figure out how to improve your business. It’s important to look at every resource that you can. A few places you can find customer data and use it to improve your business is to collect data at checkout, analyze reviews, and utilize social media.

Collect Data at Checkout

One great way to use customer data and improve your business is to collect data at checkout, like phone numbers, email addresses, etc. The resources that you collect can be used for future marketing. If you have your customers register with an email address when they checkout, then you can start using the emails to spread coupons or information about new products that can draw the customers back to your business. You can also use the data to figure out what customers are buying and which market you need to tailor your business towards.

Analyze Reviews

Reviews are the perfect way to see how your customers are feeling about your business. These reviews can help you see where you do well and where you need to improve. Once you’ve analyzed the reviews, you can begin to create a strategy to implement some things you learned. Customers will be more likely to return to your business if they feel like their complaints or compliments are being heard. Both good and bad reviews will help you as long as you’re willing to accept a little constructive criticism. Customers may even start to recommend your business to their friends.

Social Media

Social media data is one way that you can find out how to improve your business. If you have a business page on Instagram or Facebook, there are ways you can track the people who are looking at your page. These social media sites want businesses to do well and have created a way for you to see exactly who your audience is. You can see if it’s primarily men, women, young adults, parents, college students, et cetera. This can be valuable information and you can tailor your website and products towards your specific audience.

There is no set rule book for how to create a successful business. There is a lot of trial and error involved in the process. A good start to improving your business is to collect data at checkout, analyze reviews, and utilize social media.

Read this next: How to Make Your Website Effectively Represent Your Business

Understanding Conversion Rates: Big Numbers Don’t Always Mean Big Profit

Understanding conversion rates can be tricky.  There are countless “internet famous” people who aren’t making a dime off their fame. On the other hand, there are a smaller number of individuals who have managed to take their smaller following and develop an income-producing business out of it. Why is that? It’s because fame is not necessarily a sure way to financial success, but planning and strategy is.

Tips for Improving Your Conversion Rate

You Do Not Need Tons of Subscribers – It’s a fact that “the money’s in the list,” but you don’t need a super large list for this to be true. You just need the right people on your list that you make the right offers to at the right time.

You Need Targeted Subscribers – Anyone who subscribes to your list should do so because they really want the information you’re going to provide them. They should also be in your target market and be part of your ideal audience profile. Subscribers who aren’t interested don’t help your conversion rate.

You Need the Right Lead Magnet – This is where you must be very careful not to offer a freebie that is so broad that you get people on your list who do not want to ever buy anything but only want the free item. Create a lead magnet that is so targeted that only your audience would even want it.

You Need to Build Relationships with Subscribers – When you build a relationship with someone, you are thinking of their needs. You find ways to connect with them, to make them smile, and to make them feel as if they know you, like you, and trust you.

You Need to Segment Your Audience – It’s important to segment your audience so that you can send them the right information. For example, you may want to send certain information to people who downloaded lead magnet A. That’s different from people who may have downloaded lead magnet B, and very different from the segment who bought product 1, and so on.

You Need to Send the Right Information to Your Audience – Once you have people on your list, or following you on social media, you must send the right information to them on a regular basis. Try not to get off track, and always think of exactly who your ideal customer is when you send the information.

You Need to Ask for the Sale – When you send information to your audience, remember that some of it should be informational and some should be promotional. Try not to make every message promotional, or else they’ll just start ignoring you. You must promote, but do so strategically.  At the bottom of this post, download my free formula for the perfect ratio of promotional/informational posts, and how to deliver that.

You Need to Follow Up – When someone does answer your calls to action, it’s imperative to remember that the follow-up is important. You want a small list of targeted consumers that want what you offer, and you want them to not only buy again,but also to recommend you to others. You can do that by continuing to build on the relationship even after the sale.

So, stop trying to be internet famous and “go viral.” Instead, continue to push out important and relevant information on a regular basis, while building relationships with your followers and subscribers.  Don’t forget to download the free formula for posting now so that you can get it just right and exponentially improve your conversion rates. But, be ready in case something you do does happen to go viral, so that when it does, it will actually pay off.

Fire Your Worst Customers: A Bad Customer Can Stunt Your Growth

bad customerFiring a customer may seem like a radical concept, but in the quest to provide excellent customer service and keep customers longer, sometimes something important gets lost in translation. When you have a particularly bad customer who is expecting too much for too little, eating up your time and resources, yielding no profits or benefits, and generally making you feel bad about the whole interaction, it’s not healthy for anyone.  If that customer is, in essence, wanting your blood in exchange for the business relationship, it might be time to fire them.

Characteristics of Bad Customers Who Might Need to be Fired:

They Cost Money – The fact is, a client who is needy, doesn’t respect you, or is simply a wrong fit can be a money sucker too. If you spend a lot of resources putting out fires due to this customer’s actions or requests, you’re using up time and money that could be put to better use with customers who love and respect you.

They’re Not Your Ideal Customer – As you get used to targeting the right customer, you may find that some of your older customers just aren’t a right fit. They’re really not doing anything wrong, but they’re not really adding to your business in a positive way since they’re not the right customer. Letting them go makes room for more right customers.

Sunk Costs versus Opportunity Cost – Sometimes it’s hard to let go of a customer because of all the time you’ve already invested in them, and you hope that someday it’ll pay off. But the fact is, when you make any business decision, the thing you are supposed to consider is opportunity costs – not sunk costs. Sunk costs are those that you’ve already spent; opportunity costs are those that will happen in the future. If there are better opportunities out there, fire the customer and go after the right ones.

Too Much Emotional Investment Required – Some customers want you to be emotionally invested in them in a way that is draining. They require too much time and effort for the payoff due to their neediness. They expect you to be available at all hours of the day and night at their beck and call.  That is an unreasonable and unrealistic expectation, and the rest of your customers will suffer for it.

They Want You to Share Their Risk – Some customers are really selfish. They want you to share their risk, but get none of the rewards. This type of client is dangerous to your entire business, because they’ll blame you when things go wrong even if it’s due to them not following your advice.

They Control with Fear – Some customers will threaten you to try to control you. They’ll say things like, “If you can’t handle it, I’ll find someone who can.” and other types of threats, both direct and veiled. They truly have no intention of firing you, but they like keeping you off balance. Get rid of these types of customers.

They Don’t Pay on Time – Sometimes you will have a customer that you actually like but they tend not to pay on time. Plus they use a lot of delay tactics. They may eventually pay, but having someone not pay on time can be very stressful and affect your cash flow. The best thing is to let these types of customers go after giving them sufficient warnings.

They Don’t Share Success – Some customers will freely share blame when things go wrong but when they experience success, even if directly related to what it is that you do, they will not share that. When you experience that type of customer, it’s best to let them go as soon as possible because you’re not going to get anything more out of the relationship than what you’ve already got.

Firing a really bad customer will leave room for more of the right customers. Anytime any one customer, even if it’s not totally their fault, makes you feel like you’re losing your mind or investing too much time and emotion for the payoff, it’s time to consider letting them go. You don’t have to say, “You’re fired,” but you can calmly and politely end the contract per your agreement terms.  As with any breakup, it can be amicable and what’s best for both parties involved.  When you finally do get rid of a bad customer who is causing you anxiety and stress, you will feel light a huge weight has been lifted and you will be more productive in your business as a result.

Patience is a Virtue, or is it? [Strategix Video Tip]

I don’t get frustrated very often, but when I do it’s usually related to waiting. Waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in traffic etc. What is it that frustrates your customers? You need to watch this episode to dial in on the solutions, not only for the sake of customer service, but so you can have your customers talking all about the great service you provide. Now that’s real marketing!

Ten Things You Can Learn from Customer Feedback

suggestion boxWhether it’s compliments or complaints, you can learn a lot from customer feedback. If you pay close attention to it, you’ll figure out what is working and what is not working for your customers. You may also identify gaps in your products or services that you can correct.

10 Things You Can Find Out With Customer Feedback

1. If the Buying Process Works – If you find that you are getting a lot of abandoned carts, as well as emails asking how to do things or find something on your website, it’s a sign that the process isn’t working. You then need to revamp it according the customers’ feedback.

2. How Well Your Website Communicates – Your website likely has a FAQ that is designed to answer questions before they contact you for information. If you’re getting the same question asked that is in the FAQ a lot, you may need to fix the keywords used or the headline so that your customers can better find the answer.

3. Whether Your Shopping Cart Works or Not – If people want to buy what you’re selling and they can’t due to a faulty shopping cart system, they will contact you. Listen closely to their experiences so that you can get it fixed fast.

4. If Your Sales Pages Convert – If you have a lot of hits on your sales pages but not a lot of sales, then you need to revamp your sales pages. Even if no one contacts you but you’re getting hits and no converts, there is a problem.

5. If There Is a Problem with Your Product – Buyers will be faster to tell you of a problem with your product or service than if something is good. Therefore, it’s imperative to listen when they tell you about a problem even if you initially do not agree.

6. If There Are Gaps in Products or Services – When a customer purchases a product from you, give them time to enjoy it, then send them a survey giving a couple of open-ended questions designed to find gaps that they’d like filled.

7. How to Make a Product Better – When customers give you feedback, you can often learn how to make your product better. When a customer gives a great idea, take it for what it’s worth and improve.

8. What You’re Doing Right – Yes, from feedback you can also learn what you’re doing right and what your customers want. You can then do more of it in order to increase your income.

9. Help You Generate New Ideas – Every time you get feedback, whether it’s on social media or from a survey, if you read carefully your creative juices will be activated and you’ll get new ideas for new products or services.

10. Learn New Ways to Use Your Product – Many times, customers will send feedback and tell you about a way that they are using your product that you had not considered. Knowing these new ways to use your products can help you improve your marketing efforts.

Learning from customer feedback is an important part of doing business. One of the least expensive forms of market research that you can conduct is through the follow up. Whether you send a survey or call your customers to ask them for information about how they like your product and services, you can use what they tell you to improve your business.

How to Get Prospects and Customers to Want More From You!

message-580300_640When you have prospects and customers, it’s important to stay in touch as often as possible. Get them on your email lists, segmented according to where they are in the buying cycle so that you can target your messages accordingly.

8 ways to keep ’em coming back for more:

1. Tell Them What to Expect – When someone buys from you or signs up for one of your email lists, send a thank you note with an explanation of what to expect from you in the future. How often will they hear from you? Make some promises and assurances to them.

2. Do What You Say You’ll Do – It’s very important that you do whatever you said you’d do. For example, if you say you will send them a newsletter every Friday, send them a newsletter every single Friday. If you skip days or switch the days, they may be confused. A lot of people actually forget they signed up for a list and when you don’t stay active they will report you for spamming them.

3. Remind Them of What You Said – Periodically, within other messages, be sure to remind your prospects and customers about your previous promises and assurances. This will help them remember who you are, and what you said. It will build more trust.

4. Let Them Know When You Follow Through – When you do something you said you would do, tell them. “I told you I would send you an update on my xyz product, as promised, here it is.” This again, reinforces the point that you stick to your word and can be trusted.

5. Ask Them for Input and Opinions – Once in a while invite your prospects and customers to submit their ideas and input. If you have a new product idea, tell them about it. Ask them what they think. Ask them what they’d pay for such a product or service. Ask them if they would like to see something from you that you’ve not delivered.

6. Tease Them about New Products – Never pass up an opportunity to give them some hints and small bits of information about a new product, service or event. As you hint about it, make them really want it by explaining what’s in it for them.

7. Thank Them for Buying – When someone buys something from you (or answers any call to action), be sure to thank them. The thank you is always a nice thing to do, plus it gives you just that little bit more real estate to give them more information about you and your products and/or services.

8. Follow Up Regularly – Even after someone has purchased, and you’ve thanked them, it’s not over. It costs a lot less to create a repeat buyer than to turn a lead into a buyer. Cultivate your relationship with buyers even more consistently than you do leads and prospects.

Using the pattern of telling them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them will do wonders for all your marketing. Most people need to hear things multiple times before it sinks in. The more you stick to your word and the more value you can provide your audience, the more they’ll look forward to whatever you offer them.

Developing A Loyal Blog Audience [Infographic]

When it comes to blogging there are all sorts of opinions on how to do it. There are all sorts of suggestions on how often to blog, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that blog loyalty is definitely the ultimate goal. Who doesn’t want their prospects and customers regularly coming to their site and reading the posts they have spent such a long time crafting. The problem is, it just doesn’t happen often enough, especially for smaller companies with a very small audience. So how can you maximize your content? This infographic by Quick Sprout explains how you can go about achieving that goal. The 3 main pieces of advice we can glean from this is to: focus on producing quality content, respond to comments and build your personal branding.
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Top Tips for Building a Powerful and Profitable SMS Marketing Campaign

SMS marketing can help you increase your marketing reach exponentially if you know what to do. Think about it – the customer has their mobile device with them all the time, and according to many studies the open rate for text messaging is over 97 percent. With results like that, you can’t turn down the opportunity to incorporate SMS marketing into your business practices.

Target the Right Audience

You want only people on your SMS lists who want to be on them. Get permission to market to them via SMS by being direct and upfront about why you want their mobile number. Give them options so that if they want to receive messages in other ways that they can.

Follow the Law

Just like there are anti-spam laws for email messaging, there are laws regarding SMS messages. You must have an easy way for consumers to opt out of receiving messages and the system must work to remove them immediately when they ask.

Use a Service

The easiest way to follow the law and to run a profitable SMS marketing campaign is to use the right services and software which help you automate the system, follow the laws, set up all your marketing messages in advance of the campaign, and send messages on the fly when you feel like it.

Create Thought-Out Messaging

Don’t just throw anything together when it comes to SMS marketing messages. Ensure that your message has a reason for being, and that it leads to some sort of action or conclusion by your recipient.

Host a Competition

People love competition and SMS is a great way to host one using polls, voting, and surveys to complete the competition and allow participants to win something of value.

Announce Last-Minute Sales

SMS messaging is a perfect way to announce last-minute or time-limited sales. Sending out a text message that gives the recipient a code with three hours to respond is going to get a lot more buyers than you can imagine if you’ve done the work to build a responsive, targeted list of customers.

Be Viral

SMS messages need not be boring. They can even become viral if you take the time to think about what message you want to send. You can include links to images, videos, and more right to your customer at any time of the day or night that they can then forward to their friends.

Use for Product Verification

Need a way to get people to join your SMS list? Ask for phone numbers to verify the product and to provide free training for your product or service. Most people who have already bought from you will have no issue entering their number for verification.

Create Awareness

Using SMS campaigns to create awareness of new products and services is a great way to circumvent the unopened emails. For example, if you’ve collected email addresses and SMS information, try sending the information via SMS to the people who did not open the email. You’ll probably get a higher open rate and the awareness will be spread.

Offer Coupons, Deals and Specials

Everyone loves a special deal and your SMS list members are no exception. In fact, if you send out a coupon or deal at the right time, you’ll be surprised at how many people will take advantage. The key is to understand your customer enough that you know which deals to offer at which time.

Engage Customers

Don’t forget that SMS marketing is much like any other social media marketing – it’s social. Therefore it’s important to engage with your members strategically so that they will help spread your message and answer your calls to action.

JV with Others

An SMS marketing campaign isn’t really that different from an email marketing campaign. You must build your list, send focused messages, engage them, and provide value to the people who trust you enough to give their information. If you do that, your SMS marketing campaigns will be successful.

SMS marketing is a powerful marketing method that many small businesses should be involved in. If you’re not using SMS marketing yet, why not?