Posts Tagged ‘Elaine4Success.com/contact’

Creating Effective Websites

Use an eye-catching informative website banner

Use an eye-catching informative website banner

Having the most attractive website on the internet is only valuable when your target audience reads it and takes action.

What is the Most Effective Website?

You can have pictures of luxurious living, text which jumps and flashes and even an image of yourself walking on to the screen and talking.  I’ve seen a wide variety of website designs and even tested quite a few.

Use the Acid Test

  1. What appealed to you when you were searching for a home based business?  Did you go for the fancy websites which looked like an advertisement for a carnival sideshow?  What style appealed to you?  If you are looking for someone similar to yourself, take a suggestion from what content and appearance appealed to you.

 

  1. What do you believe will be appealing to your target audience?  Select words and pictures which will appeal to your target audience.  If you are appealing to stay-at-home moms, emphasize the time flexibility and display pictures of women playing with their kids.

 

If your target audience is composed of corporate executives, focus the headlines on maintaining and improving their professional lifestyle while working in their home office.  Show images of a more casual dress code, cheering for their child at a sporting event, or having a casual breakfast with the family.  Think about what they may have missed being able to enjoy because they were working so many hours away from home.  Demonstrate that they can enjoy the lifestyle and maintain or exceed their professional income.

 

  1. Layout, colors, images and headlines are all important, but those elements are only part of the website.  Functionality is extremely important.

 

How easy is it to obtain information?

  • Name of the company –List the company name but also list your name
  • Company vision
  • Compensation plan
  • Primary product information
  • Your personal blog

How easy is it for the prospect to gain valuable information about the company and about you as their mentor and leader?  Remember all of the questions you wanted answered before you selected a home based business?  They probably have the same questions.

  1. How easy is it to move around the site and locate answers to questions?

 

  1. How much does the site reveal about you as a leader?  This is not about bragging on yourself; this is about allowing them to get to know you as a person.  People do business with those they know, like and trust.

 

Don’t forget to display your picture.  You don’t have to look like a professional athlete or a movie star; you do have to be visible.  If you are appealing to professionals, dress like a business professional in your photo.  Dress appropriately to appeal to your target audience.

People decide in the first three seconds if they want to stay on a website or hit the delete button or the back button.

Use an appealing headline and select your words carefully in your opening sentence.  The job of the first sentence is to get them to read the second sentence and so forth.

Your website is a reflection of you and your business.

 

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/about or www.Elaine4Success.com

Customer Service is Key to Long-Term Success

Top Fortune 100 companies are obsessed with delivering outstanding customer service.

What does it take to consistently deliver outstanding customer service?

Words create memories - good or bad

Words create memories – good or bad

Who is responsible?

Of course it is the customer service department, but it is also every employee.  The company reputation is derived from the impressions generated by every employee.  You never know who is listening.

Difficult to Build and Quick to Lose

It takes time and concentrated effort to build a solid reputation.  Unfortunately, that stellar reputation can be damaged far more quickly than it can be built.

In the “pre internet” days of the 1980s and before, it was commonly accepted that one happy customer told 3 and an unhappy customer told 10.  Now with a few keystrokes, an unhappy customer can tell hundreds.

Remaining diligent about customer service is extremely important.

Starbucks is an excellent company.  Yet even the best can stumble.

May 1, 2014 I received an email directly from Starbucks reminding me that my Starbucks card ending 6279 has a balance remaining.  After searching my cards and being unable to locate that one, I search Starbucks.com.  Still unable to locate the card, I called customer service.

The woman who answered the customer service line first told me that the card did not exist.  When I explained about the email from Starbucks (addressed to the current and correct email address) she requested to put me on hold.  She came back and said the card did not exist.  I calmly read her the short but specific email.  She requested to put me on hold again.  When she returned, she verified the exact balance remaining on the card and that the card was registered to me.

Now we’re making progress, or so I thought.  She next stated, “That card was closed in 2006.  You have a balance on the card but since the card is closed, you can’t use the balance.”

“May I ask why I received an email only a few days ago reminding me that I had a balance on the card?”  She replied, “Yes, you do have a balance on the card, but you can’t use the money.  The card is closed.”

Excellent customer service would have been to honor the balance since the reminder notice had indeed come from Starbucks and was the accurate amount.  (Truthfully, it was less than $20.)

Bad customer service was to acknowledge the card number and balance remaining as mine and then decline to honor it.  She did not even apologize for an email having been sent by Starbucks regarding the un-used balance. She matter-of-factly stated.  Yes that was your card and that is the balance remaining but there is nothing I can do.  The card is closed.  “Anything else I can do to help you today?”

Guard Your Customer Service Reputation

If you make a mistake, and we all do, acknowledge it and make it right with the customer to the best of your ability.

The old Dale Carnegie “How to Win Friends and Influence People” concept is still valid today.

Excellent customer service does win friends and influence people.  Bad customer service influences people to do business elsewhere.

It takes twice as much money to win a new customer as to retain a current customer.

It takes time and effort to build a good reputation.  Enough careless disregard for customers and the reputation can plummet.  I’m certain I am not the only one who received that “balance remaining” email.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/about or www.Elaine4Success.com

 

 

Difficult to Build and Quick to Lose

It takes time and concentrated effort to build a solid reputation.  Unfortunately, that stellar reputation can be damaged far more quickly than it can be built.

In the “pre internet” days of the 1980s and before, it was commonly accepted that one happy customer told 3 and an unhappy customer told 10.  Now with a few keystrokes, an unhappy customer can tell hundreds. 

Remaining diligent about customer service is extremely important.

Starbucks is an excellent company.  Yet even the best can stumble. 

May 1, 2014 I received an email directly from Starbucks reminding me that my Starbucks card ending 6279 has a balance remaining.  After searching my cards and being unable to locate that one, I search Starbucks.com.  Still unable to locate the card, I called customer service.

The woman who answered the customer service line first told me that the card did not exist.  When I explained about the email from Starbucks (addressed to the current and correct email address) she requested to put me on hold.  She came back and said the card did not exist.  I calmly read her the short but specific email.  She requested to put me on hold again.  When she returned, she verified the exact balance remaining on the card and that the card was registered to me.

Now we’re making progress, or so I thought.  She next stated, “That card was closed in 2006.  You have a balance on the card but since the card is closed, you can’t use the balance.” 

“May I ask why I received an email only a few days ago reminding me that I had a balance on the card?”  She replied, “Yes, you do have a balance on the card, but you can’t use the money.  The card is closed.” 

Excellent customer service would have been to honor the balance since the reminder notice had indeed come from Starbucks and was the accurate amount.  (Truthfully, it was less than $20.)

Bad customer service was to acknowledge the card number and balance remaining as mine and then decline to honor it.  She did not even apologize for an email having been sent by Starbucks regarding the un-used balance. She matter-of-factly stated.  Yes that was your card and that is the balance remaining but there is nothing I can do.  The card is closed.  “Anything else I can do to help you today?”

Guard Your Customer Service Reputation

If you make a mistake, and we all do, acknowledge it and make it right with the customer to the best of your ability.

The old Dale Carnegie “How to Win Friends and Influence People” concept is still valid today. 

Excellent customer service does win friends and influence people.  Bad customer service influences people to do business elsewhere.

It takes twice as much money to win a new customer as to retain a current customer. 

It takes time and effort to build a good reputation.  Enough careless disregard for customers and the reputation can plummet.  I’m certain I am not the only one who received that “balance remaining” email.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/about or www.Elaine4Success.com

Unexpected Events

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate
with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant

Leadership is Earned Through Performance

Leadership is Earned Through Performance


with the weak and the wrong. Sometime in your life
you will have been all of these.”

.

~ Dr. Robert H. Goddard

This resonates with me in so many ways.  If we apply it to business, we have all been new to some aspect of business, experienced at some aspect, challenged or frustrated with business and uncertain or wrong at times.  This quotation applies on so many levels.

 

Regardless of the particular time or circumstances of our career situation, one fact remains absolute.  It is not about what happens to us but how we respond which makes the difference.

 

Mindset

 

When something happens which you did not expect or particularly want, or doesn’t happen when you really expected good news, what do you do?  You can choose to get upset or you can adopt the mindset of, “What good can come from this?”  If your mindset is constantly looking for an advantage to every situation, you will find that advantage.

 

I recently had an unexpected and truly unwanted experience.  A writing assignment which I was enjoying immensely suddenly came to a screeching halt.  I was working as a as a subcontractor for the marketing director.  To my surprise, I received an email saying that her employment had been terminated; therefore, my position was also eliminated.  Ouch!  If you have ever lost a job, you relate.  The more unexpected the situation, the more you relate.

 

What do I do now?  Start looking for a job, start my own business, eat a bag of chocolate or pull my hair?

 

Stop and Breathe

 

A sudden change of plans gives us the opportunity to examine what we really want.  In a relationship change, we can decide what is really important to us in a relationship and what we really do not want in a future relationship.

 

In a career change we have the opportunity to refresh our resume and choose our future path.

 

What did you like best about your prior job or jobs?

What did you not like about prior employment positions?

If you could design the ideal career for yourself, what would you include as a priority, a like but not a necessity and a dislike?

 

Once you have the criteria clearly defined, you have parameters.  You would never start out on a vacation without having a vague idea where you wanted to go.  You cannot expect to plan the next phase of your career without a vague direction. (BTW, these exact questions work for determining a new relationship as well.  Both are relationships; one is personal and one is professional)

 

Success Plan

 

Once you have created your success plan to know what you do and do not want, you know where you want to start looking.  Form a plan of action, success plan, to know what specific type of position you are seeking, which type of companies would most likely offer that position and which ones are in your area.

 

We can continue refining the success plan as to the best methods to locate access to key personnel within those industries or companies.

 

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/about or www.Elaine4Success.com

 

Focus

Push past emotional blocks

How many times have you sat down to write a marketing piece and stared at a blank sheet of paper desperately searching for a flash of inspiration?  Suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to make a cup of coffee.  The corner of a note on your desk catches your eye and you remember a promise to phone someone.  Three or four interruptions later you are still staring at a blank sheet of paper; you are now out of time to write.

 

David Foster, known as the Hit Man for all of his hit records, said in his Success Magazine cover story that sometimes he does not feel like writing a song.  He does it anyway.  Maybe it will be good rather than great, but it will be a song.  He went on to say that he forces himself to sit down and start writing; the inspiration will come.

 

Professional writers have spoken about writing a ten page paper and throwing away the first two pages before they hit their stride.

 

The Nike slogan says it best, “Just do it.”

 

How?

 

You can reach for the ultimate comfort food – warm chocolate brownies.  Or you can stop giving yourself excuses and start working.

 

Easier to tell yourself to concentrate than to do it?  

 

Probably true, but also realistic.  Amazing how many excuses and distractions you can create when you do not want to do something, do not know how to do it, or are simply not motivated to do it.   

 

  1. 1.       Set a timer for thirty minutes and tell yourself that you will focus until the buzzer rings.  Once you actually start writing, it usually starts to flow.

 

  1. 2.      Give yourself a reward when the project is completed. 

 

  1. 3.      Ask yourself a critical question.  What do you want the audience to think, feel or do after reading the material?  Answering that question can provide inspiration.

 

  1. Who is your target audience?  Until you know the individual you are expecting to read your material, you do not know how to write in the manner in which they will want to receive the message.  Think about your target client and write as if you are speaking to them.

 

  1. 5.      What problem would you like to solve for them?  In the case of the focus issue, the problem is writers block; the goal is to get the writer “un-stuck.”

 

What would you tell one of your clients, one of your employees, or one of your children if they were hitting a blank wall on an assignment?  Would you subscribe to the “Take my advice, I’m not using it” theory?  You probably would not admit it to them.  I’ve hit the wall many times with projects.  These are the ways I solve the inertia problem.

 

Take my own advice

 

What do I want you, my reader, to think?  Think that you are not alone.  Every business person faces the dilemma of “blank page syndrome” from time to time.

 

What is the goal for you to feel?  Feel that a solution exists.  Think of the block as tissue paper rather than stone and know that you can push through to success.

 

What should you do?  Follow the Nike slogan and “Just do it.”

For more information on overcoming emotional blocks, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

Words Linger

Words create memories – good or bad

How important are the words you put in print?  We hear about blogging, social media comments and even writing marketing copy.  Your written words are actually more important than your spoken words.

 

Spoken words may be forgotten, but the written word is permanent.  Once you hit “send” or “submit,” those words are available to be found forever.

 

Private?  Think again.

 

That funny party picture you posted as a joke is available also.  I hear some of you saying, “no, I posted in my private setting.  That posting will never be public.”  Wrong.  Regardless of the privacy setting, if someone wants to find it badly enough, they will.  If even one person re-tweets or copies the picture or text, it is now public.

 

True story

 

A young woman was so proud of her body building contest results that she posted the picture on her Facebook page.  If you know anything about those contests, you know that the attire makes a string bikini look prudish. What seems like harmless fun in her 20s may come back to haunt her.  Would you want a “nearly nude” picture of yourself on the internet for your parents, children and your boss to see?

 

Words come back to bite you

 

Be conscious of the words you write.  You are representing yourself and your company with each comment.  This is the age of the spontaneous comment.  It only takes a second to hit “send” but the results remain

 

Am I trying to scare you into not posting on the internet?  Absolutely not.  I’m posting this right now.

 

Another true story

 

Two individuals in an organization chose to escalate their disagreement into a public display.  Feelings were hurt, words were written which in retrospect should never have been said.  The repercussions are still being felt throughout the organization seven months later.  A disagreement which could have been solved quietly has mushroomed into a major disruption.  The entire organization is suffering.

 

Once written words become public, they may be retracted, but they are not removed from memories.

 

Words linger

 

.Why is writing important in your organization?  Your marketing copy is obviously public.  It represents your company.  The image you project in your marketing materials must be positive, but it must also be honest.

 

There is a common expression throughout network marketing and other media to “fake it until you make it.”   The catchphrase was originally designed to create a feeling of success; by acting “as If” you have already achieved the desired level of success, you will trick your sub conscious into making that your reality.  The problem is that when that statement goes public, others do not know whether it is an internal statement or the truth.  97% of people fail in network marketing.  Perhaps some entered the business with a false sense of probability.

 

Be aware of the consequences of your spoken words and your written words not only on yourself but also on others.

 

For more keys to a successful spoken or written presentation, contact Elaine Love at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com or www.Elaine4Success.com.  If you want to take your communication from Now to WOW, implement this simple key.  Want more keys to success for yourself and your company?  Hire Elaine Love as your coach, corporate trainer or keynote speaker.

 

Conquer the Battle Within

Cherokee Proverb

Torn between emotions
Torn between decisions

 

What is your battle?  This internal dilemma theme has been touted in the pop song, “Torn Between Two Lovers” and the movie of its origin, Doctor Zhivago.  Country songs have moaned about it and our legal system is clogged with cases of two opposing viewpoints. One of the more definitive statements about internal turmoil is the Cherokee proverb, “There is a Battle of Two Wolves Inside Us All.”

 

One is evil.  It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego.

The other is good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.

Which wolf wins?  The one you feed.

 

Name Your Wolves

 

Destructive Wolf

 

Who are your destructive wolves?  Can you call them by name?  Anger, blame, guilt, resentment and lack of deservability are among the most familiar.  How often do you feed them?  Allowing your thoughts to drift too frequently to these negatives or remain there too long and you may be feeding them a seven course meal instead of a snack.

 

Don’t think for even a moment that I have not ever fed them.  Unfortunately there have been times when I felt sad, alone, hurt or even mistreated; those are the times I fed them.  If anyone ever tells you that they have never been upset, angry, disappointed, resentful or even jealous, they are lying, forgetful or delusional.  Experiencing the full range of emotions is normal human behavior.

 

Gentle Wolf

 

The gentle wolf is when my small grandson snuggles up beside me and just cuddles.  He doesn’t even want to talk or play, he just wants to be loved and feel safe and wanted.  How many times in your life have you experienced the supreme bliss of just being with someone?  Neither of you even had to say a word; you were content just being together.

 

Perhaps there were times you were consoling someone or being consoled when you felt better because they were there with you.  Remember the times you did something for another person without wanting or expecting anything in return.  Remember the warm feeling; it is like the glow of a fragrant candle in a dark room.

 

Turning Points

 

Jim Rohn, famous business philosopher, tells a tale of the “day that turns your life around.”

 

It may be the day you declare “I’ve had enough.  Things are going to change right now.”

 

Jim tells the story of a young mother who asked her husband for ten dollars and he said “What for?”  She vowed that very day that she would never ever ask for money again.  She looked for new skills.  She found the classes.  She looked for new opportunities to stretch and grow.  She kept looking until she found them.  Twelve years later she was vice president of a major jewelry company in New York City.

 

Her entire life changed because she turned loose of the fur of the wolf which fed her inferiority and embraced the wolf of hope.  Which wolf do you need to stop feeding and chase away?  Which wolf do you need to embrace?  The choice is yours.

 

The book Emotional Ice Water helps you identify each destructive wolf and release it.  You know you will always receive more of whatever you give your time, energy and focus.  Focus on the gentle wolves.

 

For more information on identifying and releasing emotional blocks, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Purchase the book Emotional Ice Water.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Appearance Counts, Especially for the Owner of a Start-Up

Elaine Love

Dress for Success

The business start-up is more than an idea, a business plan, and initial finances.  Does it sound exciting to be able to work from home in your robe and slippers?  Ok, so you put on jeans, flip flops and a hoodie to go to the bank.  Unfortunately that will not create a successful image.

 

As an entrepreneur you are wearing all of the hats.  You are the President and CEO, the accountant, the receptionist and even the office cleaning and maintenance staff.  You never know who you may encounter on your trip to the bank.  What if you met the banker to whom you had just applied for a small business loan?  What if you met the ideal customer who could make a major purchase of your product or the individual who would refer you to that ideal customer?  Would your attire and manner convey the impression of a successful business owner?

 

Darren LaCroix, 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking, considers himself on duty for the client from the time he arrives at the airport to depart for his professional speaking booking.  A future audience member, meeting planner or corporate executive may also be traveling through that same airport at that exact time; they will form an impression which can influence current or future bookings.

 

My speaking and business coaching clients are encouraged to dress business casual with their hair coiffed and clean shoes; females have makeup and the guys are clean shaven.  Does it require extra effort?  Of course.  When you are properly dressed and ready to face the public, you carry yourself just a little more erect.  You smile a bit more and feel better about yourself.

 

As a new entrepreneur, can you really afford to turn away encouragement or financial support?  Probably not.  Did I ever experience such a bitter lesson?  Come with me to Steamboat Springs Ski Resort in Colorado in the early days of Mountain Castles Property Management.

 

It was an especially busy day with tourists departing and new tourists arriving within a few hours for the same five-bedroom homes.  Two housekeepers called in sick.  There wasn’t much choice but to leave my office, put on cleaning clothes and fill the housekeeping gap.  As I stepped into the house, the omen of trouble was immediate.  The sink was piled high.  There is a dishwasher; hadn’t they even washed one dish for the entire week?  My frustration mounted.  One peek into the oven revealed a disaster resembling a burnt out college bond fire.  After a couple hours of scrubbing, it was apparent that there were not enough cleaning materials with me to transform this catastrophe into the sparkling property necessary for the next guests.  I made a hasty dash back to the office to replenish supplies.

 

I entered the office looking especially scruffy and dirty.   I was suddenly face to face with one of my most affluent and impeccably attired female clients.  Neither apologies, explanations, nor excuses could possibly erase my unsavory appearance from her memory.

 

Yes, that appearance error was unavoidable, but what about the avoidable “too much of a hurry to bother” occasions?

 

As the owner, you are making the sales pitch for funding or product sales.  Though you won’t wear a three piece suit to sell products to an auto mechanic shop, it is always respectful to the client to dress up at least as well as they do and preferably slightly better.

 

The old adage of “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression” holds ever so true for the appearance of the owner of a start-up.

 

Take the extra time to pay attention to your attire and grooming.  Your future business and future bank account will thank you.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career? Inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation.  Go to  www.Elaine4Success.com or contact Elaine at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com

Emotional Roller Coaster Solutions

Holiday seasons can be an emotional roller coaster.  Black Friday ads permeated the air, clogged your inbox and assaulted you from printed publications stuffed into your mailbox.  Today it is “cyber Monday” ads.  The media is telling you to BUY BUY BUY for the upcoming gift giving season.

 

Holiday lights and decorations appear in our neighborhoods, stores (some stores even start their Christmas displays before Halloween) and every public area.  We are told to be happy, excited and spend with exuberant abandon.

 

This is a tough economy.  People are out of work or underemployed or simply struggling to make the financial ends wave at each other.  The goal of actually making the financial ends meet and have money left over is simply not a reality for far too many people.

 

If you are not in an ideal emotional relationship or even in an acceptable emotional relationship, holidays can be an emotional drag.

 

What do you do?  How do you handle the holidays in a healthy emotional mindset?

 

Holiday parties abound.  Every organization seems to promote their holiday party.  Holiday parties frequently come with adult beverages – sometimes excessive adult beverages.  Alcohol is a depressant.  You may have heard someone call those beverages “holiday cheer.”  If you are feeling up and happy and festive, they may be holiday cheer.  Caution.  If you are feeling down, a few drinks, or a few too many, can plunge you even further down.

 

What can you do?  Am I telling you to avoid parties or curl up in a corner, hide from life and pretend that the holidays do not exist?  No, of course not.  There are things you can do.

1.    Arrive at the party a little late and stay a short time rather than the entire time.

2.   Be certain you eat something.  Food helps ease the effects of alcohol (if you choose to indulge in an adult beverage.)

3.   In my early twenties I discovered the strategy of sipping an orange juice or a ginger ale with a slice of lime.  Other guests were comfortable because we all had a glass in our hand.  Later if someone offered me a glass of wine, I was perfectly fine to have one.  One throughout an evening was perfectly acceptable.

4.   Steer clear of the David and Debbie Downers.  Grumpy bears and angry, critical people can send your mood plunging down at a rapid rate.

5.   Spend time with upbeat people you enjoy speaking with; spend time with the people who encourage you and bring you up.

6.    Go help someone less fortunate or a friend who needs an emotional lift.  Concentrating on bringing them up will help you stay up yourself.

 

Emotional solutions for the holidays

Positive ways to deal with negatives

Here are only a few ideas to keep a firm grip on your emotional sanity and even bring it up a few notches.  The book Emotional Ice Water  is packed with helpful ideas to boost your emotional spirits.  It is written in an enjoyable story form; you can relate to the true life stories.  More than anything, you will appreciate the positive solutions you can implement into your life immediately.

 

Don’t let the roller coaster of emotions over the holidays or at any point in your year get the best of you.  There are positive ways to deal with negative situations.

 

For more information on overcoming negative feelings and situations, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Purchase Emotional Ice Water.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

How important is your competitive advantage?

Develop your Competitive Advantage

What is your competitive advantage?  Why would people choose to do business with you instead of your competition?  We are in the midst of a challenging economy in United States as well as many other countries right now.  Competitive advantage is even more important now than at any other point in my lifetime, perhaps yours as well.

 

 

If you are an investor, you may be thinking, “How does this relate to me?  This is my market.  There are more sellers than buyers right now.”  True.  If you are the seller, how do you attract that ideal buyer or investor?

 

Fine tune your competitive advantage

 

What is the value, quality or delivery you offer which is superior?  An investor wants to know what you have to offer now; they will build on their additional advantages.  Unless you have something intriguing to offer, they are on to the next opportunity.

 

So what if they don’t invest in your business?  Developing a stronger competitive advantage will make your business more profitable in the interim.

 

Do you believe you have an excellent product or service?  If not, improve it until it is excellent.

 

How to improve your competitive advantage

 

Interview your current customers.

 

  1. What do they like about your company or product?
  2. What do they NOT like? (Not a fun question but very informative.)
  3. What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

 

Interview your competitor’s customers with the same 3 questions.

 

Interview prospective customers.  You will be amazed at how powerful it is to ask them what they want rather than endeavor to sell them something.

 

Now do something with this valuable feedback.  No, not stuff it in a folder to be reviewed at some distant point in the future.

 

Research how other companies have overcome these “dislike” issues.  You are probably not the only one to ever face these challenges.

 

  1.  Contact your mentors or icons in the industry.
  2. Search for information.  Use the internet as well as current print publications.
  3. Visit some of your competitors or purchase a product from them.
  4. Do a blind test and purchase from your own company.

 

Take a vendor to lunch.  Ask their experience with how other companies handle similar situations you deal with in your day to day operations.

 

Ask you CPA.  They work with other companies.  Look outside your industry for ideas

 

Form a plan to improve your competitive advantage

 

  • Find a way to build on your current advantages.  Emphasize them in your marketing

 

  • Compile all of your research information into an organized format.  Brainstorm.  Use the “How can I” approach rather than “That won’t work.”  A positive attitude does wonders.

 

  • Make a list of actions to be taken.  Prioritize the list and add a timeframe to each.

 

  • Take action.  Start the plan immediately

 

Competitive advantage is even more important now.  Adopt the attitude of Amazon in 2008.  The CEO called the key staff together and said “There’s a big recession coming.  Let’s miss it.”

 

Whether you are a seller, buyer, investor or customer, competitive advantage is paramount.  Take action to make your advantage outstanding in the marketplace.  Your employees, customers and bank account will thank you.

 

For more information on competitive advantage, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Competitive Advantage or Perish

Product benefit list

Your competitive advantage is your quality, value, delivery or service.

Marketing is designed to present your competitive advantage to your target client.  When you know what problem your product or service solves, your research begins.  The next step is to determine who has that specific problem and how can you reach them.

Do you have an excellent product or service?  Why isn’t the world beating down the doors to purchase from you?  The answer may be your competitive advantage.  What is a competitive advantage?

There have always been a plethora of companies who offer similar products and services.  How many brands of toilet tissue, orange juice or automobile tires are in the marketplace?  If you are in a niche market all alone, fabulous; however with the access to the internet, your competition could be anywhere in the world.  Ideally you will develop some positive variation of the business which would make customers choose your product instead of your competitors offering.  How do you do that? You create a competitive advantage.  Your competitive advantage may be changing the quality, value or delivery.  Your advantage could be your customer service, your speedy delivery, or even the convenience of purchasing.  If price becomes your only advantage, beware.  One price war with a large company and you could be devastated.

BI (before the internet), the majority of your competition resided within less than 100 miles of you.  Now you either compete on a massive scale or pack up and head home. At one time speech coaching was a face to face customer basis.  With the arrival of Skype and web cameras, your speech coaching client could be in France.

Your advantage should change the behavior of the customer.  Entice them to want to come to you and do business with you.  How do you do that?  Offer a benefit to them.  Spend some time speaking with them and discover the problem they would pay to have solved.  Once you know their pain, you know exactly what product or service to offer from your product line which will solve their problem.  They can’t and won’t purchase from you until they know what you have to offer.  Job number one for a company is to be certain their target market knows what they have to offer.

How can you extend your reach to “touch” more customers?  Enlist your employees in the process.  It is in their best interest for you to be successful.  Pay checks do not continue to flow out from unsuccessful companies.  Offer unique incentives to employees to assist in promoting the company.  Supply them with the latest marketing promotional materials; keep them informed and “in the loop.”

Once the customer knows you have the solution, it is a matter of selecting the ideal solution from your product arsenal to solve their problem.

Your competitive advantage must do something positive for the product or the customer.  Be specific about the benefits of your product.  Carefully avoid listing features; describe benefits.  A lady sat at my kitchen table recently attempting to sell me her line of skin care.  She recited a long list of ingredients.  Ingredients are features.  If she had said, “Elaine, use this face cream and it will reduce your wrinkles by 30% in 10 days.”  If she had given me that benefit, I would have purchased on the spot.  People buy on benefits, not features.

It is not truly a competitive advantage until your employees or customers take action.  Children react on rewards or penalties.  Employees and customers follow the same pattern of reacting to consequences.

Conduct interviews with current customers, past customers and potential customers.

What do they like?

What do the not like?

What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

What would they pay to have which they do not have right now?  You may be asking yourself what is the difference in the last two questions.  The difference is a “nice to have” which they may or may not be willing to purchase at this time or a “need to have” which they will absolutely pay for right away.

Competitive advantages are improvements in quality, value, delivery or service.  What is your competitive advantage?  If you don’t know, start creating one.

For more information on competitive advantages, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm