Celebrating Freedom!

July 3, 2013

Freedom, Imagehopefully you will be celebrating it tomorrow. Americans have paid a high price for freedom, and it’s worth it.

Have you ever thought about freedom in your business, or the price you pay for it? A business owner gets to set his own schedule, but what most people never understand is that he or she takes the business everywhere. You take it home, on vacation, wake up with it, and go to bed with it. I’m not saying it is bad that this happens. It’s just how it is, and most business owners love what they do, but sometimes a little breathing room can really help.

SDB Creative Group gives our clients a significant amount of freedom. First we give them their time back that used to be spent meeting with, taking phone calls from, and having to battle with different sales representatives from all types of different media (TV, Radio, Internet, T-shirts, Yellow Pages)…there are thousands that could be listed. Our clients simply defer all these calls to SDB and go on about working on their business.

Second we help put together a real marketing plan for them. We spend the time that they don’t have researching and zeroing in on the absolute best way to get their message in front of the most valuable target. We produce all the assets needed, negotiate and buy the media, and monitor and audit the performance of the campaign…all while our clients work on their business, saving thousands of hours of time over the lifetime of our relationship together.

If you’re feeling trapped by your marketing and advertising effort, I invite you to contact SDB. We’ll make it better, and we will give your freedom back. Here are a few words from one of our clients, Medical Center Pharmacy http://youtu.be/d5KCqkSUwcQ

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receptionist1We’ve all heard that first impressions are everything. Have you ever considered where first impressions are made for your business? Chances are most occur at your front desk. The great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, referred to the receptionist as one of the most critical persons in the sales process. This person literally has the power to break a sale, and that is why it should be a priority of yours to make sure everyone in your operation is fully trained on proper phone etiquette. Here are some tips for answering the phone that can make your business stand well above the competition:

  • Smile when the phone rings. Get in the right frame of mind.
  • Answer every call by the third ring. No one likes to wait.
  • Answer with enthusiasm and energy, but don’t speak too fast. Be easy to understand.
  • Clearly identify who you are and your organization.
  • Have a pen and paper handy so you can quickly write down the name and organization of the person and the details related to the call. This displays a high level of professionalism and makes the caller feel important and appreciated.
  • Listen carefully taking notes. Don’t take on other tasks while on the phone.
  • Confirm that you have everything right before ending the call.
  • Ask permission before putting the caller on hold. Don’t keep anyone on hold more than 17 seconds.
  • Always remain professional no matter how the person on the other end is acting. If you have someone who is upset, you have a much better chance at turning the situation around if you remain calm.
  • If you take a message for someone, make sure they received it.
  • Don’t use a speaker phone unless you need more than one person to be on your end of the call. Speaker phones give the impression that the call is not private and you may not be fully concentrating on the call.
  • Create an on-hold message. It’s much better than silence and you can highlight products, services, and achievements your company has made. It’s free advertising.

Hopefully you are already doing all or most of these, and if not, we hope you try them. Don’t have an on-hold message? SDB Creative Group can produce a highly professional one for you! If you have any other tips on answering the phone, we’d love for you to share!

Years ago I worked in the Sales & Marketing office for an upscale wellness center. One day I received a call from our front desk saying there was an upset member at the front who cheerswanted to talk to someone NOW! So there I was 1 minute later listening to a rant about cheap Q-tips that were now stuck in his ear. I knew what he wanted, so without hesitation I found some tweezers and pulled out the small bit of cotton. 2 days later he walked into my office with 2 friends ready to join. He also was very happy with the newly acquired Q-tips in the locker room. So a 5 minute activity earned me and my company a fan for life and new business!

Have you ever heard “A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world”? Even though this has been a business adage from years ago, it couldn’t be any truer than today, especially with the internet. From social media, to Google, Yelp and other review sights, there are a myriad of ways people can air their grievances for all to read.

So what do you do if you have an angry customer? Ignore them in the hopes they’ll just go away? Chances are they will just go away, and trash your company as they go, especially if they were never allowed to be heard. Negative referrals are often more powerful than positive referrals and the cost of replacing an angry customer can be 6-7 times greater than retaining their business. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when handling an angry customer, either on social media or in person.

  • Don’t delete negative posts. Show you’re handling the issue
  • Don’t respond with a formal-sounding copied and pasted reply
  • Don’t pick your favorite among problems. Help all customers the same across the board.
  • If you have an employee who has a knack for handling difficult situations, then this person should be tasked with contacting the unhappy customer.
  • Let the person vent and listen. Sometimes that’s all they really need to do.

Truly, you should welcome complaints and look at it as a way to improve your business. Before you walk into a heated situation remember, the people who will share a complaint, are also the customers who can turn out to be one of your biggest cheerleaders bringing you more business and great reviews!

Join SDB’s Super Service Shout Out and have the chance to win $100 Visa Gift Card! The rules are simple. Reward those who serve you with a smile. Every time you post on Facebook with a short story and photo about a positive experience you have had, take a picture and post it on Instagram or make a short video on Vine and get a double entry, #Summershout. It’s so simple and it will feel so good!

My son played in a soccer tournament in Greensboro, NC, last summer. While standing in line at a local restaurant, we started to giggle, when a lovely woman addressed every I Love these!customer as “honey bunch” or “sugar pie”. A person behind us got angry at our amusement and said that she is “the nicest woman and very genuine with her sentiment. Please don’t make fun of her!” We quickly explained that we weren’t laughing at her, but more at the general sweetness of the people of Greensboro, and how we had become used to cranky, poor customer service. That seemed to satisfy the defensive customer and she asked where we were from? I hesitated to tell her, Midland, TX, because I remember the good ol’ West Texas hospitality that I grew up with and realize how far we are from that now. Everyone is so busy, too busy it seems to be polite and it begs the question…Should we expect great customer service, when we are all so busy or should we just be happy to have any service at all?

At SDB, we put our customers first, no matter what and think we need to take a cue from Greensboro, NC and acknowledge good customer service when it happens! So we are going to give you some encouragement this Summer to focus on the positive and hopefully help change the way we all operate in the Permian Basin.

Join us in our SDB Super Service Shout Out! Whether it is the cashier at the pharmacy, the sandwich maker at your favorite lunch spot or the guy drying your car at the car wash, shout them out for great service. Stop complaining about how bad customer service is around here and focus on the positive. The rules are simple. Reward those who serve you with a smile, and be entered to WIN a $100 Visa Gift Card! Every time you post on Facebook about a positive experience you have had, you will be entered to win a gift card. Take a picture and post it on Instagram or make a short video on Vine and get a double entry, #Summershout. It’s so simple and it will feel so good!

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head scratchThis week is our final post about why you should hire an advertising agency? The simple answer is, “You don’t have time to do it the right way by yourself.” In most cases we rarely reveal anything new about an advertising strategy or objective that the business owner doesn’t already fully understand. What the owner is not able to do in most cases is implement the strategies and objectives. He simply does not have the time and resources because those are dedicated to running his business.

A great advertising agency like SDB Creative Group is an invaluable partner for a business. Imagine adding a full marketing department dedicated to selling your products and services to your key targets without adding the payroll, taxes and other overhead expenses. That is exactly what you get when you hire an advertising agency. All the research, planning, coordinating, buying, auditing, production, and especially the headaches are taken by the advertising agency, not you. All of the thousands of sales calls you receive wanting you to buy t-shirts, newspaper, radio, TV, internet, etc. are taken by the advertising agency, not you.

The advertising agency is your at will employee where their retention is based on their performance. You wouldn’t go to court without expert legal advice. You wouldn’t file your taxes without the expertise of a CPA. You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself. Why would you put your name and image in front of thousands of potential customers without expert marketing and advertising advice? Make it easy on yourself and hire SDB. You’ll be glad you did!

By Shane BoringImage

“Creative without strategy is called ‘art.’ Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising’.”
– Jef I. Richards

Last week we talked about one of the two main components of effective advertising, the message, or “the creative”. It is critical to have a great message, but if you’re not strategic in where you place your message, it is all for not. This week we will discuss how to buy the right media for your business.

Think first about all the options available to you. TV, Radio, Cable, Newspaper, Billboards, Email, Social Media, Website, Blogs, Magazines, Trade Shows, Promotional Items, Printed Materials, and on and on and on. Now think of how many different channels there are for each of the above categories. Add them all up and you have thousands of options to place your message. However, you should avoid most of them.

Know your customer inside and out. Put yourself in your target customers’ shoes. Know their habits. When are they home, in the car, at work? What do they like? How do they consume their media? This will tell you where to start. The next step is deciding which channels are the absolute best for you. Unless you have the advertising budget of Coca-Cola, don’t try to spread your message over all the channels. You need to have enough frequency with your target audience for it to work. If this means you can only buy one channel, that is what you do, and you keep it there until your business grows where you can add another. Trying to buy more than what you have the money for is one of the most common mistakes made. Don’t do it. The other is buying what you like, not what your customer likes. Don’t do that either.

If you want your advertising to be effective, you’re going to need to put a significant amount of time and research into it. If you’re not sure you can afford the time commitment, then your best option is to hire an advertising agency like SDB Creative Group. They possess the tools and talent needed to put together a real, effective advertising program for you. Plus with an advertising agency an outside perspective can be extremely valuable.
If you would like more insight on buying the right media, register for our June 19th seminar or schedule a consultation by calling 432.218.6736 or emailing us at info@sdbcreativegroup.com.

by Shane Boring

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“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.