From the Desk of the Editor
Welcome to the 94th issue of the MLM Woman Newsletter. This month we feature articles on how to keep your customers and create more profits, how your habits control your business success, how to build your business through relationships, how to make the most of marketing at the holidays, and 5 high-impact marketing tips to boost your sales quickly.
Linda Locke, Editor MLM Woman
Theres no doubt about it; customer loyalty is key to profitability. A mere five percent increase in your customer retention could as much as double your bottom line profits! On the flip side, it costs anywhere from 6-30 times more to get new customers than it does to keep the ones you have that is, if theyll stay!
The key to customer loyalty? Creating consistently positive experiences time and time again. That involves knowing your customers expectations, delivering service basics brilliantly, and maintaining an upbeat, can-do positive attitude throughout every interaction and at each touch point. Here are 5 positivity pointers to keep in mind so you can reap the rewards of creating more awesome experiences for your customers, co-workers and yourself:
1. Positive thinking is a habit.
Some people are born with a positive outlook; others have to work hard at shifting their focus away from depressing media stories and from the things that are going wrong in their own lives. The great news for those born attitude-challenged is: You can prevent yourself from being tossed about by the winds of worry and negativity by making positive thinking one of your good habits its just like exercise and eating right!
2. Positive thinking is a choice.
As with the creation of any new habits, the first step is to choose to do it, to commit to and intend to be positive. At first, learning what keeps you in a positive state of mind and remembering to make time to use those tools can be challenging especially when youre focused on professional or personal goals that require a lot of your time and energy. Sometimes its actually easier to stay stuck in a negative place than to break the cycle, brush yourself off, take a breather and consciously change your state of mind. Thats because we all love our comfort zones, even if theyre bad for us!
Think back to past commitments you have made and kept to yourself. Think about what motivated you and sustained you as you reached your goals. Can you apply some of your strategies and techniques to becoming a positive thinker? Then think about what you need to do to remind yourself to do frequent attitude checks and, if necessary, adjustments. Would Post-it® notes help? A timer that goes off every half hour? A daily phone call from a supportive buddy? The extensive pay-offs of positive thinking (which youre about to get a peek at) are worth these efforts.
3. A Positive Attitude makes change easier to take.
Change happens all the time in every aspect of life and its happening especially fast in todays business world. If we dont keep up, we fall behind and no business today has that luxury.
Some changes feel welcome and comfortable; others elicit resistance as they push us out of our comfort zones. The fact is, retaining a positive attitude about change makes it much easier to flow into. Example: Think back to when the Internet began to catch on as a must have form of communication. Those who embraced the technology, or who were at least positive about it, had a much easier time adjusting than those who resisted. They unlearned their old habits and learned new ones more quickly, and benefited from the changes earlier than later.
To stay positive during times of change, remind yourself of past changes in your life that pushed you out of your comfort zone and into an even better situation than youd imagined. Remain open to the idea that change can continue to create all-new possibilities and opportunities. Think about how your self-esteem and self-confidence have grown every time youve risen to whatever changes a challenging situation called for. Just thinking back to those moments can make you feel great!
4. Positive thinking is chock-full of benefits!
Optimistic people people who believe the world is inherently good - are healthier than pessimists. Lets count the ways:
They have higher energy levels, stronger immune systems and, no surprise, tend to live longer. Their optimistic viewpoint stimulates fresh and creative thinking - it gives the brain the go ahead to stretch and to play with different solutions and options.
They may feel the fear of change or of trying something new, but they have more energy to act despite the fear. You might say they have more courage!
Their faith in themselves enables them to more quickly
learn from their mistakes. They interpret problems as challenges - not
obstacles. That means they experience less distress and more easily
access the emotional boost they need to get through tough times.
Clearly, we can alter and enhance our lives by altering our attitudes. Positive or negative, its a choice. Choose the rose-colored glasses, the ones that brighten up the view!
5. No one likes you when youre grumpy.
Sure the people who love you still love you even when you go through a grumpy spell. But that doesnt mean anyone likes you while youre in a foul state of mind. Customers dont like a grump, co-workers dont like a grump, bosses dont like a grump nobody likes a grump!
Positive, life-affirming, optimistic people attract goodness to their lives. They attract positive people and circumstances, and they achieve great results. And why wouldnt they? Theyre a joy to interact with! Whether theyre waiting on your table, checking you in at the hotel, repairing your computer, writing you a check for your new mortgage, selling you a new network or solving a billing problem at your credit card company, they can make a genuine difference in the quality of your life in that moment if they treat you with a positive, up-beat and can-do attitude. And you can do the same for your customers. Its so much easier to keep customers and create profits when you give your attitude some altitude!
©2004 JoAnna Brandi & Company, All rights reserved.
About the Author
How Your Habits
Habit: A consistent behavior you perform so frequently that it is automatic.
For example, if you learned to drive a car with a standard transmission, the first few lessons were pretty jerky while you learned to synchronize the clutch with the accelerator pedal. If you released the clutch too fast, the car would stall. If you pressed the accelerator too fast without releasing the clutch, you raced the engine but you and the car were still sitting there! However, with practice, practice, and more practice, you learned to synchronize control of the clutch with control of the accelerator so that you dont even think about it any more. It is now a habit.
All habits consist of knowledge combined with skill from practice. What all this means is that you can learn new habits to replace those that are no longer working for you. You have to change what youre doing, how youre doing it, and the choices you make in order to change your business results.
If you keep doing what youve always done, youll keep getting what youve always gotten.
That means that if your business is not headed in the direction you desire right now, you must make new choices and start new habits to ensure you ultimately get the results you want.
Your choices of habits, determine your success.
That may seem harsh to you. Especially if youd like credit for having Good Intentions. The fact is that your intentions, however good, are immaterial until they are supported by your behaviors. In fact, good intentions that are not actualized will drain you of the energy necessary to take effective action. Remember, the only question of significance is What's working and What's not?
Every habit has its consequences. Habits that are working for you create positive consequences; habits that are not working for you create negative consequences every time. You may not like that your habits create consequences but youll still receive those consequences just the same. Whether or not you like it isn't a factor. The fact is that as you keep on repeating a behavior you will get repeatable, predictable results.
Up to 90 percent of your current behavior is based on habits.
By and large, these habits work for you. They save you from the tedium of having to make new decisions each day. Wouldnt it be boring and a waste of energy if each day you decided to brush your teeth, but then had to decide where, with what toothbrush, with what of the 100s of toothpastes now available, for how long, with what type of action on the toothbrush, and so forth. It's much easier to go into automatic and let your neural net take charge freeing you to plan for that important meeting with your big client at 2 PM.
Habits are part of being human; we all have them. We use them to conserve energy and effort; to provide familiarity/security; to free up energy for other things; to improve and fine-tune our skills; and to assist in avoiding physical and/or mental pain. Often, a particular habit can lose its usefulness. Yet, because we are human we tend to continue the habit, knowingly or unknowingly. Only with awareness and a strong reason or motivation to change can we initiate and sustain change.
Habits tap into the nearly human obsession to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. For good or for ill, the drive to be (and to look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of change.
To understand why consistency is so powerful a motive, it is important to recognize that in most circumstances consistency is valued and adaptive. Inconsistency is commonly thought to be an undesirable personality trait. The person whose beliefs, words, and actions dont match may be seen as indecisive, confused, two-faced, or worse.
On the other side, a high degree of consistency is normally associated with personal and intellectual strength. Certainly, then, the personal consistency brought by habits is highly valued because it provides us with a reasonable and gainful orientation to the world. Most of the time we are well served by habits... without them our lives and our businesses are difficult, erratic, and disjointed.
By superimposing a new habit on top of an existing habit, you can create a new way of doing things. In other words, you start replacing old negative habits with new positive habits.
For example, if you always show up late for meetings, your stress levels are probably high and you feel unprepared. To improve this you might decide to develop a new habit of arriving five minutes early for every appointment, including meetings. If you take on this challenge you might notice:
The first month or so of the new behavior is tough. In fact, youll find yourself reverting to the old behavior during times of stress or unawareness. This is normal because it is in compliance with our need to be consistent with our prior behavior. However, dont resort to self-recriminations for the backsliding. Just pick yourself up and recommit to the desired new behavior!
The more you activate the desired new behavior, the easier it becomes. Eventually, it will be become just as strong as the old habit you are replacing then it will supersede the old behavior. Employ the principle of consistency to help you build your new habit.
By systematically replacing your negative habits with new positive habits one at a time you can dramatically change all aspects of your business.
About the Author
Build Your Business
by Building Relationships
People do business with people that they know and trust. As a solo entrepreneur, your goals will be to make yourself known to your target market and then elevate the relationship to the trust level. This process of building relationships can take many forms. Take a few minutes to review what is working for you in this area. Then consider these ideas to add to your relationship building toolkit.
30 Second Introduction
Have you upgraded your 30 second introduction lately? If you havent revised it in the past year chances are the impact may be stale. A new introduction can spark your own energy which will show when you introduce yourself. Consider the use of powerful action words such as create, design, compose, organize, generate, solve, produce, and supply. Deliver it in front of a mirror and see what others see.
What do you have to give?
We often think of what we want to get from relationships. Things like a request for proposal, a new resource, a potential alliance, or a business contact or sale. Flip this over and consider what you are willing to GIVE to your network of potential customers. Do you offer sample products or trial services? Do you have free information that your target market can use? Can you provide a free evaluation of your clients current service provider? Keep in mind that building relationships is a two way flow that begins with you. Approaching these relationships in a giving, proactive mode is a terrific beginning.
Follow up, Follow up
The simple act of following up with individuals that you meet for the first time will make you stand out. Very few people use a consistent follow up method over a period of time. You must have contact information in order to implement this step. Successful follow up actions include handwritten notes (they stand out), e-zines, newsletters, holiday or birthday cards, an article of interest, and invitations to an event. Choose several actions that fit your personal style and do them consistently. Watch your network grow as you demonstrate an interest in building the relationship.
Consistency in building relationships will be difficult to maintain without a method to capture and maintain contact information in a practical way. This means being accessible and easily updated for changes. Contact software such as ACT, Goldmine, and Outlook were created for this purpose. Other options include business card files, Rolodex, Palm Pilots, and planner systems such as Day-timer or Franklin. Choose the system that fits your work style and schedule time for communication with your contacts and maintenance of the database. This nut and bolts step is an important part of building relationships over time.
Plant a Seed
Think of building relationships in the same way as planting seeds. In order for the seeds to grow, they need water, food, and sunlight over time. For relationships to grow, you provide opportunities for your network to get to know you, what you provide, and ultimately trust you with their business.
About the Author
By Biana Babinsky
Why should you expand your marketing efforts during the holiday season? Because doing so will benefit your bottom line. Naturally, you should not ignore marketing during the remaining 300+ days of the year, but you should redouble your marketing efforts as the holiday season approaches.
Many businesses earn as much as 50% of their annual revenues in the fourth quarter of the year; that figure increases to 60-80% for some specialty businesses. Thus, focusing on aggressively growing your revenue during the relatively short holiday season can have a dramatic impact on the overall annual revenue.
Here are three marketing suggestions you can use to generate more revenue this holiday season. These techniques can be used for both retail and service businesses. Retail businesses usually focus on marketing their products as gifts, while service businesses can use gift certificates for the same purpose.
1. Create a section on your web site that lists all holiday-related items (or items that would make great holiday gifts). Be creative almost any product or service can be packaged as a gift. Place prominent links to this section from your home page and other major category pages. Give the link to the holiday section to your newsletter subscribers and other potential customers who are looking for holiday gifts. This will ensure that your customers will not have to search for holiday products on your web site - they will be taken to the gift section immediately! Remember, make it easy for the customer to find the product!
2. Offer a volume discount. Do you know anyone who needs to buy just one gift for the holidays? Neither do I. Encourage customers to purchase more then one item on your web site. Discounts or shipping specials that kick in when multiple items are ordered are an excellent inducement to buy in bulk.
Examples include: 20% off an order of over $100 (where $100 is more than the cost of a typical single item), free shipping when you buy two items, buy one get one free, etc. Make it worthwhile to your customers to treat your business as a one-stop gift shop!
3. Offer Gift Certificates. This is particularly important for service businesses, since there is no tangible product to discount. While this is somewhat unorthodox, a gift certificate is a great way to gain a new customer who would never find out about your business otherwise.
Naturally, you should offer superior service when the certificate is redeemed to ensure that your new customer uses your services more than once. Encourage your current customers to buy gift certificates for friends and colleagues who could use your services. Offer a special on buying more than one Gift Certificate it's a win-win situation for both you and the customer.
Remember to give your customers a reason to come back to you once the holiday season is over. Provide great products or services, focus on excellent customer service and invite your customers to sign up for your mailing list to receive information from you in the future. Happy Holiday Marketing!
About the Author
5 High-Impact Marketing Tips
Here are 5 high-impact marketing tips you can use to boost your sales quickly. All are simple to implement and they involve little or no new expense.
1. Promote Only One Thing at a Time
Promote only 1 product or service each time you advertise. Many people have difficulty selecting one product when their decision forces them to delay or reject buying something else they also want. When prospects cannot make an easy choice they often make no decision at all . . . and you lose the sale.
Tip: Offer new customers a related product or service immediately after they buy from you. Many will accept your offer, producing an easy sale without jeopardizing the initial purchase.
2. Provide Multiple Ways for Customers to Buy
Providing choices of what to buy will reduce your sales. But providing choices of how to buy will increase your sales. Offer many different ways for customers to buy from you. The same method is not convenient for everybody. Prospective customers are more likely to act immediately when their favorite way of ordering is available.
3. Avoid Your Competitors
Look for some new niche markets you and your competitors
overlooked. You may uncover a market you can dominate with little or
no competition. One quick and easy way to find profitable new markets
is to subdivide your current market into several narrowly defined
Tip: You can narrow the appeal of an existing web site without losing its effectiveness with your main market. Just create customized web pages for each market segment you want to target. Then add a link to each of these specialized pages on your home page.
4. Use Alternative Marketing
Look for alternative media your competitors may be overlooking. For example, many internet marketers are beginning to use direct mail postcards to generate traffic to their web sites. It?s a low cost way to bypass the heavy competition online. A brief captivating message on a postcard with an enticing offer sent to the right prospects will generate a flood of traffic to your website - or a large number of sales leads.
Tip: Postcards are also an excellent low-cost alternative to email. People get so much email today that even legitimate messages are getting deleted unread. But they get few if any postcards. Your message is guaranteed to get their attention when it's delivered on a postcard.
5. Encourage Questions
You're walking away from a lot of easy sales if you don't encourage prospects to ask questions about your product or service.
Only interested prospects will take the time to ask questions. Many will buy . . . especially if you answer their question quickly and completely. You can even include a promotion for your product or service as part of your answer.
Make it easy for prospects to ask questions when they are at your web site or in other selling situations where there is no personal contact. For example, provide a phone number or an email address they can use to ask questions.
Tip: If you find yourself personally answering a lot of questions, add a Questions and Answers section to your web site or your sales brochure. Include the answers to the most frequently asked questions. It will reduce the number of questions you have to answer personally.
Each of these 5 marketing tips provides a simple way for you to boost your sales quickly . . . and for little or no new expense.
About the Author
We want your feedback!
Copyright 2004, Regent Press