Just a quick reminder that today is your last chance to get huge savings at the Success Store. Purchase The Whole Shebang by midnight tonight and get it for $100 off automatically (for a total savings of $327). New products are being added soon and I will never again be offering our complete business foundations and systems at this price.
Archive for the ‘Raves’ Category
You may remember my blog post from April 9 on Taking the Marketing & Referral Bull by the Horns.
In that post, I shared a great example of a service provider “asking for the business,” and how you could likewise follow-up and ask for referrals in your own administrative support business.
My client and I had such a great experience working with this service provider. He presented a very professional image. He was polished and business-like, conducting all his interactions with us very professionally. And once the job was fully completed, he asked us for our feedback and referrals, which we were very happy to give.
Being in Washington, we don’t have much need for process service in Minnesota. We’ll definitely pass this fellow’s name around to those who might be able to use his services, but truth be told, those opportunities to do so will in all likelihood be very limited.
I’m sure he realizes this as well. And yet today, he offered another great example that Administrative Consultants can take a cue from.
I received an email from Brian, this service provider. He hoped we were doing well over here on the west coast and let me know that through his networking, he came across a process server in Tacoma that he wanted to recommend to us. He made it clear that he hadn’t actually worked with him, but his communication with this fellow was impressive enough that he wanted to send his contact info our way.
Why does this simple, unassuming email have such an impact?
Because in an industry that is rife with unprofessionalism, unbusinesslike operations and fly-by-nights, it offers a stellar example of how to nurture relationships, deliver fantastic customer service and provide added, personable value.
Brian is no dummy. He realizes that as out-of-state customers it not likely we’ll work together again any time soon. But he clearly understands networking and building relationships.
He knows that in a highly commoditized industry like process service, it’s the relationships he nurtures and the value he provides that get the word out about his company and have it standing heads and tails above the rest.
Administrative Consultants will do well to heed this example.
In my own practice, I had a wonderful experience recently working with an out-of-state vendor.
One of my clients needed to serve a lawsuit we’re handling in another state and I needed to find a process server for the job.
The service wasn’t entirely straightforward, but the process server handled everything in stride and followed up very diligently and with great attention to detail.
Once completed, he sent his invoice which we promptly paid.
Afterward, we got a very nice message from him thanking us for the business and speedy payment. He went on to ask us this:
“I was wondering if you would please spread my contact information around to others in the profession who might need service done in Minnesota. Also, if you have a chance, would you be so kind as to write a review/referral that I could post on my website and/or my marketing materials.”
I was more than happy to oblige him and sent him a fabulous testimonial.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because it’s such a fantastic example of taking the bull by the horns and asking for what you want or need in business.
The way he worded his request was perfect in its simplicity, sincerity and directness.
Administrative Consultants can and should be doing the same thing in their businesses.
Here are some pointers to help you do that:
- First, make sure your loves the work and service. No one is going to recommend you to others if this isn’t the case (and asking for their referral in this event will be even more off-putting) so be sure to elicit feedback and make sure they are happy and satisfied before asking anything of them.
- Don’t ask for referrals/testimonials/recommendations prematurely. Again, this can be very offputting. If the work is project-based, don’t ask in the middle of things. Wait until it is fully completed and your client is happy before asking. If the client is one you work with continuously (such as on a retained basis), make it part of your process to elicit feedback and testimonials at least every six months.
- Ask for what you want, just like this business owner did. On a regular basis and at the end of every project, ask clients for their recommendations and to spread the word about your service. You act proactively on behalf of clients; do the same for yourself!
- Make it as easy for clients to refer you. This fellow’s request made it very clear who we should refer (“anyone needing process service in Minnesota.”). The more you have your target market specifically defined, the easier and more frequently folks will refer to you and spread the word.
Now go get those referrals and recommendations!
Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
I really like this word because when all is said and done, business is about people.
And in this day and age of the mile-long, hyped-up, disingenuous, contrived and calculating sales page, authenticity always catches us by surprise — very pleasantly so.
So what is authenticity all about?
Well, I love how John More of Brand Autopsy describes it. When asked about his pick (authenticity) by Scott Ginsberg for the RainToday.com article The Most Important Word in Marketing, Part II, More answers:
“With the world becoming one gigantic ad, consumers today can sniff out anything that smells the least bit fake and inauthentic. Success will come truer and faster if companies can design products, programs, and services that are authentic in meaning, purpose, and delivery.”
Explaining a bit more deeply about what that meant, he states:
“Authenticity is usually a by-product of a purpose-driven business. And, unfortunately, there ain’t enough businesses out there with the purpose of making a positive difference in the world.”
Words to live by.
Authenticity never goes out of style; it comes from within, and there’s no purchase necessary.
I have to upgrade my computer soon. I haven’t been looking forward to it since it will involve reinstalling tons of software and restoring files.
In the meantime, I thought I could take a short-cut to improving my computer’s lagging performance by upgrading my RAM.
Much to my chagrin, I discovered that they don’t make the particular memory my computer uses anymore. Buying from the manufacturer, it would be so pricey I may as well buy a new computer.
Alternatively, finding the obsolete parts online is like finding a needle in a haystack, and since I’m not a technical person nor someone who has ever bought anything on eBay, I’d have to place a lot of trust that the seller was legitimate and the parts in working order even if I did find them.
So I asked a group of colleagues if they could check around for me. One woman turned me on to a couple of website addresses of computer stores she had done business with in the past and highly recommended.
Since it was the first one she listed, I looked up JNCS.com.
Oy vey! It was “Z91E” this and “Asus A8N32 SLI Deluxe” that.
Needless to point out, I am a complete dolt when it comes to computer technical stuff. I may as well have been reading Greek or trying to interpret hyroglyphics. So I called their 1-800 number and reached a fellow who introduced himself as Scott.
OH-MY-GAWD!!! I had the most “Wow!” customer service experience, I (almost) can’t even tell you.
Scott answered all my idiotic questions with not a hint of impatience or condescension at my ignorance, and went above and beyond that to give me a wealth of information in such easy to understand terms.
I felt like I’d just received a degree’s worth of knowledge in this one phone call with him, and all the bits and pieces of technical info that had been scattered in my brain that I never truly understood lo these many, many years suddenly got the synapses connecting and it all made sense.
And not once did he act like he had better things to do or was in a hurry to brush me off. You know how some places are like that? They can’t be bothered with phone calls even though we are customers just as if we were standing right there in the store, and sometimes even then they can barely tolerate taking the time to talk with you.
He was so nice, friendly, polite and engaging. His attention was fully in the conversation and nothing was distracting him. That kind of personal attentiveness and quality service is just so hard to find anymore these days.
And once I got off the phone, I didn’t feel the need to talk to the other place, even just for the sake of comparision. I had just experienced such stupefyingly uncommon excellent service that I would have gotten on a waiting list to do business with this guy if need be, and probably even paid for the privilege of doing so – not the other way around.
And not once did it occur to me to wonder if he was the cheapest. I know I’m not going anywhere else when I need the services this fellow offers. And he’s on the other side of the country from me on top of it!
Now that’s sales and service when they make you not even consider the competition.
That kind of superior helpfulness and courtesy is the most simple, effortless, cost-free rapport-builder you can extend to both clients and prospective clients alike.
Think about it. This guy made such a favorable impression on me that here I am writing about it on my blog. Free press, free marketing, free advertising reaching who knows how many people all over the country from someone who hasn’t even done business with him yet.
It’s a lesson that all businesses can learn from.