You meet with a prospective client, and the meeting goes good.  There is definite interest in your product or service, but not enough to buy right on the spot.  You leave feeling positive that you have a chance to win the business in the near future.  You don’t want to come across as pushy, and you follow-up in two weeks to set another meetingwho, but unfortunately it is too late.  The prospective client has bought from someone else.

This isn’t uncommon today, and it’s not personal.  What we all have to realize and believe is that our society is completely overwhelmed with tasks, meetings, and messages.  Our electronic devices that were designed to help us consolidate tasks and free up more time have simply allowed us to do way much more than we used to, making us more busy and distracted than ever.  They have also allowed competition, direct and indirect, from across the globe into everyone’s back yard.

If you really want the business, and you really want to keep it, you’re going to have to find creative ways to stay in front of your prospects and clients.  If you don’t, you’ll be forgotten all too easy. Make sure you are in front of your clients often, by scheduling regular meetings and they know your commitment to them.  Follow up with prospective clients several times a week with information that has great value to them.  Send them client testimonials.

There are all sorts of ways you can keep your name in front of current and potential clients.  Find what suits your personality and go for it, and best of all, this little discipline will put you ahead of nearly every competitor you have!

footballIt has become rather tiresome to hear about the rampant plague of poor customer service in West Texas related to the oil boom.  Was it really that great before?  Not really, and why is that?  Poor training.  You can’t expect your staff to perform at a high level without a comprehensive, proven training program.

Football season is about to start, so let’s make a comparison with the training a football player goes through.  All the training and practice is focused toward one game a week.  A season has anywhere from ten games for high school players to twenty for professional players.  Let’s call these games “opportunities” to equate them to the business world.  A football player has ten to twenty “opportunities” a year to perform.  That’s really not very many when you consider there are 365 days in a year.

A football player will spend his entire year training…training that is completely focused on these ten to twenty “opportunities”.  He may spend more than three hours per day training.  Most likely he will train at least five days per week.  If you do the math, that’s around 260 days of training, close to a thousand hours or more, for ten to twenty “opportunities” that will last thirty to sixty hours of playing time.

And you want your staff to have a week’s worth of training for “opportunities” that are abundant throughout the week?  Commit to quality, ongoing training.  Commit to great customer service.  Commit and you will have no problems blowing your competition off the field!

Follow up or Fall Out

June 27, 2013

Here is a really pathetic statistic. Over 40% of the time a new prospect is never followed up with after the first call. Consider how distracted our society has become, and Hellothat should really scare you. You are exposed to more than 35,000 messages a day between signs, email, texts, advertisements, etc. Chances are your prospects forget about you the next day. How could they not? It’s not personal. They are just simply overwhelmed with messages.

The good news is that you have a tremendous opportunity to stand out simply by developing your organization’s follow up skills. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Schedule a follow up call before ending your meeting.
  • Send a handwritten thank you note. This is a lost art, but will put you ahead of nearly everyone.
  • Confirm the details and next action of your meeting with a brief email.
  • Add every new prospect to your email distribution list.
  • Call all prospects at least one time per week.
  • Meet with current clients weekly if possible, and monthly at a minimum.
  • If you have an unhappy client or things aren’t running to their expectations, follow up with them right away. It’s better to deal with a problem head and let your client know you are doing everything possible to deliver.

Today we all have more competition for our clients’ attention, and most of it comes from indirect competitors. Remember that someone is going to call them, usually someone different every day. If you don’t follow up, one day someone else will win their business and you won’t. You may have to follow up with a prospect more than 20 times to get their business, but that’s ok. They will know you’re committed to them.

How do you follow up? Share some of your best experiences with us.

by Shane Boring

shane-3

“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” Henry Ford

“Word of mouth is our best form of advertising.” This is what 90% of advertising sales representatives hear when making an initial prospecting call. How much truth is behind this statement? 100%! No marketing compares to a referral from a satisfied customer. The problem is most businesses cannot simply survive only on referrals. That is why there is advertising.

The two main components of advertising are “the message” and “the media”. If you have a great message and are using the right media, you’re going to be very happy with your advertising. But if you have a poor message or you are not buying the right media, chances are you will be very disappointed. This is where a great advertising agency like SDB Creative Group becomes an invaluable partner.

First let’s consider “the message”. If you shortchange your potential buyer on this, forget about getting the results you want. Your message has to be compelling, and has to speak to your buyer from their point of view. Who do buyers care most about? They care most about themselves. Make your message about them.

Most companies advertising on their own without the help of an advertising agency completely miss on the message and talk nearly 100% about their company, not the consumer. “Hi! We’re here! And we’re open!” is the basic theme used by companies working on their own without the help of an advertising agency and is easily dismissed by the consumer. Think about how distracted our society is with the thousands of text messages, emails, commercials, and other messages we are exposed to every day. You have to get their attention, and you get it by talking about them.

A great advertising agency will bring an outside, unbiased perspective. The agency will know your company, its products and sales processes, and it will have very good understanding of your ideal client, and what makes them buy. This data and information is taken into a creative process where amazing ideas for solid, long-term advertising campaigns are born. SDB Creative Group has experience with this process and it is part of their everyday operation. Creativity is in their blood. You wouldn’t go to court without a lawyer. Don’t start shouting out your message without the expertise of a marketing expert like SDB.

Next week we will go in-depth on the second component, “the media”, but here’s a quick preview and some homework. Try to count how many different media channels you use in one day (internet, TV, radio, cable, print, outdoor,). I’ll bet it’s a long list.

Lonnie was framed!

Lonnie was framed!

Lonnie Richardson has worked for SDB Creative Group for several years as the Director of Video and Audio Production. His many years in the industry has given him insight into how to make great video production that will deliver the clients message and meet their goals. Lonnie’s work has earned him many accolades but recently he received the Best in Broadcast and Gold Addys for his work with Fitness Specialist and another Addy for his work with the Midland Chamber of commerce. We encourage you to check out the links below to see his work.

So, from the man himself, Lonnie gives us some insight on what inspired him to work in the creative field of commercial production.

One of the advantages of growing up in a small west Texas town, is the complete lack of entertainment. Of course, you don’t see it this way when you’re doing the growing up. But the absence of movie theaters, bowling alleys, and shopping malls, forces the young mind to develop its own form of entertainment. I credit much of my creativity to this upbringing of boredom.

Now a days, 300 cable channel TV, video games, and the internet, have flooded ample entertainment into every corner of our lives. You can’t even hide from it in a small west Texas town anymore.

While the times have changed, the usefulness of a creative mind has not. Now I use that creativity not just to cut through boredom and entertain myself, but to cut through the overwhelming clutter of media and deliver a message that stands out.

Yesterday’s play is now today’s work.

Less Can Be More

March 20, 2013

Can you say what you want to say in 140 characters or less? Do you believe less is more? If the answer is “YES” then twitter is for you. Twitter allows you to update your followers from anywhere you can get to the internet, which means access to a lot of people throughout the day. Twitter has evolved into a major social media player. As a business, you can use Twitter to attract potential clients and lead them to your other content on the internet such as your website, other platforms, and your bricks and mortar business, if you have one. Twitter can also facilitate excellent customer relations as well as help avoid poor customer relations. You must plan your campaign and create quality posts that interest people and make them want to follow you.

We’ve given you 4 details to consider, so you’re not just tweeting blind!

  • DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE AND GOALS
    If your primary goal is to drive people to your website, Twitter isn’t the platform for you. People on twitter want conversation with real people, not just to be pushed to your site. Do you want to keep customers aware of your daily specials or events you’re planning? Your goal is to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Plan your campaign to include all of your social media platforms, blog as well as your website.
  • ASSIGN THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO TWEET
    The person in charge of your tweets should be knowledgeable and dedicated to listening to your community chatter. They should understand the culture in your company and be someone you are comfortable with talking about your brand. It’s very important on Twitter to respond to messages in a timely manner. That’s what users expect. Real people want to know they are talking to other real people. If your company name is your twitter handle, you should list in your profile the name of those responsible for tweeting. Employees can identify themselves by including a carrot (˄) and their initials, such as ˄KD.
  • FOLLOW THE RIGHT PEOPLE:
    Quality outweighs quantity. Find connectors who post relevant content you will want to retweet with our followers. Look for people who post frequently about your business. Use the search bar often to see if anyone new is tweeting you want to follow.
  • HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR:
    Twitter is a perfect place for your company’s personality to come through. Don’t be afraid to use humor, as long as it is business appropriate.

These are just a few basics to get you started. Once you start tweeting you can find a wealth of people to follow. Businesses have come up with very creative ways to say more with less, and customers appreciate that! If you want to learn more, we invite you to our social media seminar on April 3rd, 11:30am-12:30pm. Give us a call for more details (432)218-6736

It’s hard to believe that some small businesses still shy away from an online presence. Just Imagehaving a website is not enough these days. Some businesses rely solely on Facebook when there are so many platforms engaging different demographics. Even if your company does use social media to stay connected to your customers as well as generate leads for new business, maybe you’re feeling tired of keeping up with the changes. Let’s take a look at the benefits of your business developing a successful social media plan. Maybe it will even re-energize you in your social media efforts!

  • Social Media drives repeat business by keeping your name in front of customers with more information about your company and products.
  • Social Media allows you to establish yourself as an expert. Blog, use message boards to answer questions, and become part of your community chat about your industry.
  • Social care is the new customer care. Using social media for your customer service is quicker as well as lower in cost compared to telephone and e-mail. Studies also show consumers with positive social care experiences are three times more likely to recommend the brand to others.*
  • Social media transforms the way consumers make purchasing decisions. Customers need to trust your company and your product before purchasing. Recommendations from friends encourage buying over any other type of advertising. 
  • Social media allows you to monitor your on-line reputation. Just because you’re not on social media, doesn’t mean your customers aren’t. I assure you, they are.
  • Social Media works together with all your other marketing activities. No company should rely on social media solely, but as part of a complete well thought out plan designed to meet your customers and prospective customers where they are. 

Each week we’ll be looking at social media platforms, discussing new players, changes in the ones you may already know about and how they can relate to your business.
*http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/12/turn_customer_care_into_social.html