Category Archives: Customer Experience

Building your Brand – Basic Fundamentals of Turning your Idea into a Business

You’ve done it.  You’ve finally decided to launch your business.  Now to get your name out there so you can have customers.  You have all these skills, but running a successful business requires more than just knowing the service you provide, it requires getting your business brand out there.  ready. Set. Go.  Here’s what you need!

Name

“Keep it simple stupid,” The saying our mom’s have been telling us our whole lives.  A name should be easy for your customers to remember, and even easier to spell.  Anything more and anything less and your customers will either never find you or not remember.

Logo

A lot of money has gone into studies about colors and shapes, but realistically, your logo should reflect your company. The best thing to do is think about all your favorite brands, gather up images of their logo and ask yourself what comes to mind when you look at their logo.  Do you think the person who created this logo wanted you to feel this way?  From there, write down what you like and try to incorporate it into your logo.  Once you have a prototype, think about investing in graphic design help from a professional.  Meet with them, tell them your vision and list out the qualities that inspired your prototype and w3atch them bring your logo to life.  Try to give them as much detail and direction as possible to keep cost down and money in your pocket.

Business Mantra

What solution are you providing? If you’re a lawyer, are you helping win cases?  Of course, you are just like all the other lawyers out there!  So what makes you different?  Is it your pay as you go pricing or your ability to communicate the law to the average Joe?  Think about the solution you provide, how you are going to deliver it and why they should choose you.  Write it down, and more importantly, make sure your business practices this every day, from you the business owner, to every employee who represents you.

Start Small, Build Big

If you are a lawyer, everyone you know and interact with should know you are a lawyer. Going to the grocery store and you strike up a conversation with someone, give them your card.  If you can’t sell your service to the people around you in your daily life, then throwing money at high dollar marketing plans will be risky.  If you say things like, “they won’t buy from me because they know me too well.”  Well then ask yourself, why they don’t trust you and work on yourself to build your brand and gain their trust.  Sometimes convincing the people that know you best will be your toughest test, but overcome those obstacles and you will set yourself up for success.

Do It yourself Marketing vs. Paid Marketing

There’s time to go cheap and there’s times to spend the dough. Knowing when to and when not to can be tough.  But like step 4, start small and test.  Exhaust all your free options and take the lessons learned from them to figure out a solution for paid marketing techniques.  Perhaps contract work out to test again new theories you are not experienced with.  When you find someone or something that works, invest smartly and capitalize.  Many programs these days offer simple, easy to use paid marketing techniques for business owners looking to develop this skill set.  Watch the videos, contact the company and soak up as much knowledge.  Facebook business offers simple solutions but find someone with success using their programs so you can know what you are getting into.

There’s probably a million more things to list and even more to do, but starting with some basics to help you develop a roadmap to success will keep your wallet full and your knowledge growing.  Good luck!

Selling for Business Owners who didn’t know they would have to Sell so much when Running a Business

You wanted to open up a mechanic shop, a photography business or restaurant.  You love working on cars.  You can find the beauty of how light should reflect off the subject you are photographing.  Your friends have been raving about your chef skills for years and you never have leftovers after a night in the kitchen because everyone eats it all like it’s their last meal.  Whatever your skills are, you have now accomplished the dream of opening up your own business.  Now to keep that dream alive, you realize, you have to sell that dream to investors for money, your coworkers to work hard and your customers because you need their consistent business.

In this article, you’ll get the basic fundamental tools you’ll need to learn, or at least get comfortable selling. 

Greet

More than just hello, the greet starts as soon as the customer sees you or your business. Clean appearance, dressed for the occasion and an organized look even before saying hi will get you started on the right foot.  Make eye contact, shake hands sternly, and say “pleasure to meet you!”  After pleasantries, the most important aspect is to ask an open ended question, meaning, ask a question that can’t be answered with a “yes or no” response.”  For instance, if you’re a photographer, and someone ask what are your rates, before answering, get the customer invested by asking some simple question such as, “what kind of pictures are you looking for me to take, who are you giving them to, and what inspires you to take these?”

Understand

When the customer answers your questions, don’t interrupt, but listen. Absorb as much as you can and find things to build on.  Find what the customer truly wants from her interaction and experience with you and find a way to deliver the desired results.

Evaluate

Think, think, think – it’s okay if you don’t have an answer right away, just make sure you are asking questions to drill down as deep as you can to find what your customer wants. Gather all the info, confirm you have everything correct and then think about how you can match your service to her expectations.

Suggest

Now you have a few options to suggest and suggest away! It’s best to give customers a few options, at different price tiers so they can make the decision on how much to invest. Perhaps you baseline package offers what the customer wants, but a premier package solves a customer’s future issues making it easier for them in the long run.  Always suggest based off what they ask for and mention as valuable to them.  Never guess or assume what they need or don’t need as you are still trying to gauge a customer’s level of interest and readiness to buy.

Take Action

You’ve listened, you offered different packages and now you know what the customer is interested in. Time to take action.  This is the step most people are often afraid of.  They don’t want to come off as pushy and aggressive, but at the same time, you know you’ve offered a great deal and the customer just needs some reassurance.  To go along in our mock example, a suggestion could be during the negotiation process, to start snapping a few fun photos of the person on the spot. Show, sample and give them the fun, light hearted feeling of working with you.  Show the pictures to them share some more ideas and ask “what day do you want to take pictures?” or “a deposit today will lock in your date, do you want to use cash, check or card?”

Re-evaluate

The customer still isn’t ready. That’s okay!  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If it still doesn’t work, list out the entire customer’s request again, and explain how each request is solved by your product and service.  Suggest they look up your reviews.  Offer them a low cost incentive for purchasing today or within a 24 hour period.  Tell them to talk it over with their spouse but make sure they have all the info in a clean offer letter with an incentive to purchase sooner rather than later.

Referral

Great news, they purchased. Your work isn’t done yet.  After fulfilling your customers request and making sure they are satisfied comes round 2. Ask them if they know anybody who could use your service.   Perhaps even offer a discount or finder’s fee.  Ask to be tagged in their photos on social media.  And last but not least, ask them for a review of your services on your website or social media accounts.  Always ask for a referral.

5 Great Promotional items to give out at Sporting events 

Sporting events are a great place to gain exposure for your brand. There you will find a diverse group of people in a relaxed environment, coming together for a common goal.  An easy way to connect with them is to offer promotional items they can use at the game displaying your logo to go along with the positive feelings of the game itself.

Here are 5 winning promotional items to distribute at sporting events:

Can coolers

Start simple. Most people in the lead up to the big game, from pro to college football, often enjoy more of the pregame festivities than the game itself.   Walking around in the tailgate section of a big game handing out can coolers for all the thirsty potential clients to keep their beverages nice and cool while keeping their hands dry.

Bottle openers

Those same thirty tailgaters will love bottle openers they can use that same day and to keep for future use. Bottle openers are great for targeting men and a high-quality bottle opener can go a long way for very little investment.

See Through Bags

We live in an ever-changing world of new security restrictions intended to keep us safer at large gatherings. The NFL in recent years has led a charge to only allow see through game day bags in for fans.  Being as these bags are not yet too popular, tis is a good idea to hand out these types of bags wth your logo on it as many people will need these at the stadiums.

Rally Towels

Down by 6 with 2 minutes to go. Bottom of the 9th inning, bases loaded and two outs.  Whatever the game is, rally towels do a great job of generating a positive reaction.  Seeing multiple people in the stands with rally towels, will get the people without a rally towel asking “where can I get one?”  And even better, rally towels often find their way into homes because people generally don’t throw towels away for no reason, instead they will try to find a reason to use your rally towel.

Pens?

I’m assuming if you’re reading this you already know the great benefits of the Pen. But did you ever notice that there are millions of different kind of pens, all doing the same thing, writing and promoting your business.  So make sure you get a good deal, with high quality ink and trustworthy service!

4 Easy Ways on how to have a Successful Happy Hour with Clients

We’ve all been there, trying to open a new account, someone you’ve been prospecting for ages but just can’t seem to find the solution to closing the deal.  You call, email, mail and sometimes you even fly across the country but can’t get it done!  Sales are slow and you know if you can just get this one client, all the hard work will have been worth it.  Well, a good sales person knows that if you can’t get in the front – back – side door, well then, change the venue.

In this blog, you’ll find the basics on how to have a successful happy hour to set the setting on closing the deal.

1 – How to ask – It’s simple. Just ask.

For some, asking a client out can be scary, and for others it the perk of the job.  I often go with the basic “Hi XXXXX, I’ll be in town on this date, what’s a good bar or restaurant we can meet for happy hour?  I’m buying!” It’s simple, straight to the point, provides a small sense of urgency with open ended response, plus the client knows he won’t be spending much money to go to his/her favorite watering hole or place they have been wanting to try.

2 – People

Sometimes talking one on one can lead to some downtime or awkward moments as you try to get the client to relax and open up. So ask him if there is a co-worker or manager who might want to come with. The client will fill more comfortable and now you have someone else who you can try to convince in case you get stonewalled by your client.  And perhaps you may even find out better perspective of who the client reports to, what he struggles with in the office or what his manager looks for.  Tip: if they do invite someone, think about inviting one of you coworkers so you’re not out numbered and so if you stumble, you’ll have help to overcome obstacles.  But make sure they add value to the conversation and mood.

3 – Place

As mentioned earlier, try to let the customer decide. If you take them to a place they have wanted to try, it will evoke a positive experience.  Just make sure, it’s a place where you guys can talk so not too loud music, comfortable seats and a not too complex menu for picky eaters.  And have a backup place just in case you can’t get a seat or the place just doesn’t turn out to what you expect.

4 – Perception

Nobody like a Debbie downer. Stay positive, upbeat and remember just because you’re not in office, you’re still working and representing your company and/or business.  Keep the conversations light, ask more about them and listen to what they are saying, or even not saying sometimes.

5 Referral Marketing Ideas | Best Way to Get Referrals

Proactively generating sales is made that much easier when you know how to drive referral traffic to your front door.

Here’s the simple message: referrals are important. This notion has been a cornerstone philosophy in the sales world for decades. So why does asking for and getting referrals seem difficult? Does it feel intrusive? Too time-consuming? Are you out of referral marketing ideas?

The referral is one key foundational element to any good sales strategy, and learning how to get referrals is incredibly important. Start with these five referral marketing ideas to get you started if you’re feeling stuck:

1. Ensure Your Client Knows the “Real You”Personal

Many clients won’t refer you to others because they aren’t 100% sure about you, your business, what you offer, and what you don’t. You’ll want to connect with these clients and provide them with some insights into your brand and business. They should leave thinking “I have the perfect client for these guys…”

One way to keep your business at the forefront with clients is to leave behind customized promotional products that are useful, exchange hands easily, and will remind those in your industry of the importance of creating a mutually beneficial relationship with your organization.

2. Create a Referral Program

refer a friendTake the guesswork out of the process by structuring a referral program that will entice your clients to drive traffic toward your business. A referral program can also help minimize most of the jitters salespeople feel when asking for referrals, as a company-sponsored program tends to legitimize the idea of asking for referrals in the first place.

3. Create a Client-Partnership

handshakeWhen you begin treating referring clients as partners, you’ll likely receive an increased boost in referrals. These clients should feel like strategic partners working alongside your business to foster mutually beneficial results and shared success. Once they see that their business can improve when they refer to you, they’ll want to maintain close ties to your organization.

4. Be a Content Source in the IndustryContent Source

The best way to get referrals isn’t by merely asking and trying to be a good partner. You’ll also want to create information and shareable resources that can increase awareness of your brand.

Invite others to a seminar or webinar that addresses current industry topics. Then, show how your business can be a good strategic partner for these invited guests.

Make sure to include links or buttons on your social pages that encourage clients to visit pages like Yelp or Google to learn more about your brand. Who knows, you might even boost the number of positive reviews on these sites by doing so!

5. Ask for Referrals

Ask for referralSimply asking for referrals seems so obvious – yet a failure to do so is one of the biggest hindrances to building a successful referral program. Your sales or marketing team will have to position your company in a way where referrals are beneficial, either for them or the person they refer. Just ask and you’ll often receive – as long as you’ve created a value proposition that makes sense for the client.

Referrals represent one of the best ways to generate leads and land new business, yet so many today struggle to create consistent practices that can drive sales growth. Follow the referral marketing ideas above on how to increase referrals, and see just how easy it is to solicit new business when you’re on the receiving end of a quality referral.

eBook: How to Maximize Your Tradeshow Experience

eBook: How to Maximize Your Tradeshow Experience

Trade shows are a wonderful way to gain exposure to prospective customers or clients at an industry focused event. Those exhibiting and attending are usually intensive around one subject or industry such as technology, home improvement, and medical.

Whether you are a tradeshow newbie, you’ve gone to a tradeshow and wish it had gone better, or maybe it went great, and you just want to make it even greater, this free ebook download is for you!

Included eBook Features

This ebook is a one-year planning guide of how to be a successful exhibitor at a trade show. Having a guide like this will ensure that every deadline is met, your staff is prepared, and that you are completely ready for the big day. From travel accommodations to ordering your promotional items, this guide lays out all of the steps you need to take in a timeline format so all you have to worry about is doing your best.

View eBook: How to Maximize Your Tradeshow Experience

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Boost Small Business Saturday in Your Favor

lpg paragon penLike the quote says, “Build your own dream or someone else will hire you to build their’s.”

It’s not easy to break out of the mold, quit the typical 9-5 desk job, and start your own business.  As many risks and fears, there are associated with starting your own business, there are far more gratification and satisfaction.

In general, people want to support small businesses. But when it comes down to price, small businesses, as you well know, have a hard time competing with your industries big players.

Fortunately, Small Business Saturday has gained a lot of growth, recognition, and participation over the past few years. This year you need to take advantage of everything this specially designated day has to offer your small business.

FIRST – Social Media

Use Social Media to get involved in small business groups and list in small business directories. Use social media to advertise your small business Saturday offerings. Maybe host a coffee or wine event at your store on Saturday morning or evening, or maybe it is an early morning discount.

SECOND – Stage

Make your store holiday fabulous. From Christmas music to decorations, that time between Thanksgiving and the December holidays is short – it is important to join in the festivities.  Embrace the spirit of holidays to invite customers into your establishment and engage with the atmosphere.

THIRD – Incentives for Repeat Customers

Have a special for return customers. Maybe offer 50% off one item next time they visit the store, or even if it’s 10% off their entire purchase, having this added special is bound to have customers return. Feeling creative? Put your special for repeat customers on a business promotional item. Have the Deal or Special printed on our Paragon Pen or other best-selling products!

Small Business Saturday Tips

Small Business Saturday is almost here! This Saturday, November 24, marks the 3rd annual day that this event will be held.  As small business owners, planning and developing ways to effectively enhance your business image is a vital process in attracting and procuring customers during this day.

Inform the Customer, Raise Awareness:

Letting people know that Small Business Saturday is on November 24, or this Saturday is crucial.  Many people are aware of national events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but being that Small Business Saturday is only in its third year, they still might be unaware.  When customers come into your store during this week, let them know that the event is going to be going on this Saturday and find ways to raise awareness.

Create Something Tangible:

Whether an advertisement, fliers, a storefront sign, or a creative display, let people know what Small Business Saturday is all about. Tangible items and/or products better inform the community and provide them with added information needed in decision-making processes.

Provide a Takeaway:

During this week leading up to the event and also on the day of, provide your customers with something that will allow them to remember YOU. Takeaways allow customers to ingrain your business into the back of their minds and remember what you have to offer them.

Build Relationships:

Lasting relationships will not only benefit business success but will also highlight your business proficiency and effectiveness for meeting needs. Make the customer and community feel as though it is family.

So let us “shop small” and show support within our community by helping those who give so much to us!

 

Let Us Better Serve You!

This week is National Customer Service Week, and we at National Pen are always looking for ways to better extend excellent customer service to those who do business with us. Customer Service is highly important to our company because ensuring that our products fulfill your needs and wants is our top priority.

In any business, it is the company’s duty and responsibility to ensure satisfaction on all fronts. The customer is the main determinant of business prosperity and without the customer, there can be no business. Below are service highlights that have shaped National Pen Co. and our mission towards generating excellent customer service:

  • 100% Confidence and Full Year Guarantee: http://www.pens.com/guarantee-national-pen
  • Tried and True since 1966-over 46 years of business!
  • Consistently we rank in the Top 40 of promotional products
  • We are Top 5 in direct mailers of promotional products worldwide

Customer Care Center with many outlets for support: http://www.pens.com/customer-service-national-pen

These highlights have built the foundation for extending excellent customer service to all. We take great pride in serving our customers and would like to hear from you as well to improve. How can we better serve you? What can we do to make our business more efficient? What changes would you like to see us make? During this week we want to hear from you, the customer, on ways we can better provide our services! You can contact us via our Customer Care center (http://www.pens.com/customer-service-national-pen) or find us on Facebook and Twitter to contact us as well. Have a great weekend!

Knowledge is Power

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” – Peter Drucker

January 19 is Get to Know Your Customer Day. It seems like we should spend more than a day learning
about our customers, right? Customers are the key to your success so it’s important to get to know them as well as you can. Learn about their interests, needs, and challenges so you can offer the products and services that are best suited for them.

What are the best ways to do this?

Surveys: An easy way to learn about your customers is to just ask. There are plenty of easy-to-use online survey tools that you can use to collect feedback. Ask about their satisfaction, where you can improve, what needs are not currently met. The benefit of doing this online is that customers will speak candidly and let you know the good and the not so good. Also include some questions that can help build your relationship. Do they like to travel or play sports? Do they have kids? You may find you have more in common than just your business relationship.

Personal Meetings: If you’re in the sales field, take your top customers out for lunch or coffee. Instead of just sticking to business, keep the conversation diverse so you learn as much as you can. If you have a retail or service location, consider providing refreshments for an hour or two when you can mingle and chat with customers.

Social Media: The Internet makes it possible to connect to your customers year-round. Set up accounts on Yelp, Facebook and/or Linked In for your business. Let customers know where to find you so you can keep an open dialog with them. The bonus to you is that new customers may find you online, especially when you get rave reviews!

The most important thing about getting to know your customers is taking the time to interpret what you learned. Listen to what they’re telling you, and read through their comments. Based on what you now know, think about what you can do to best meet their needs. Answer that succesfully and you’ll have more customers to get to know next time around! Happy customers tell their friends…

We value your support would love to know more about you and what you think about National Pen. Please let us know how we’re doing!