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If you’ve been to the movies lately (and my family has been a bunch this summer ’cause there have been some great ones!) you notice there’s a trend going on that kind of seems to come and go. You’ll see ads  and commercials for local organizations run before the previews of coming attractions start.

You’ll also notice that in addition to ads for local organizations, there are ads for the ads. That is, you’ll see a message of some sort that says you, too, can purchase advertising that runs before the previews of coming attractions.

What struck me the other day is their value proposition: Your message can run in a “distraction free environment.” And that’s pretty much true! No other messaging is competing for the audiences’ attention at that time. True, the ubituitous cell phone is a potential distraction, but my observations have been that most people are enjoying their $11 soft drink and $20 bucket of popcorn and are at least observing what’s going on before them on the screen. And if the message before them is compelling and is something for which they are a target customer, then using such a tactic might make good sense.

So good for them for making the most of that valuable digital real estate!

If you want to catch fish, fish where the fish are.” – Unknown

You’ve probably heard the saying, “70% of success is showing up.” You may have heard different statistics associated with it and/or you may have heard the quote attributed to different people. Regardless of who originated it, like a lot of sayings that have been passed down through the ages, there’s a lot of truth in it.

The majority of success in many things in life is indeed directly correlated with simply “showing up.” Simply taking actions that can move you toward your goal will help you get there. No great surprise. “Showing up” is certainly VERY important when it comes to being a successful networker, but the MOST importatant thing you do in networking may be following up.

Yes, it’s essential that you stay in the habit of regularly networking, especially when you may not feel like it. But even more essential is that you make sure that as you meet new contacts, you follow up with them so you can keep yourself top of mind when it comes to ways you may be able to help them. Or for ways you may be able to help those they know so they can eagerly refer you to them.

Show up, follow-up, repeat. Keep after it and you’ll be happy with the results you see.

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” – Emory Austin

 

 

Off and on over the years I’ve taken a few jabs at Wal-Mart. You might think it’s because I grew up in a family owned business and that family-owned business was a little grocery store and that I have such dislike because Wal-Mart is often accused of running the “little guy” out of business.

Nope, what set me off at Wal-Mart was the lousy service I was getting, particularly at the Neighborhood Market near where we live. I mean it was pathetic. Complaining didn’t do a lot of good so I decided to boycott them and drive a couple more miles to CVS and pay a few dollars more where I knew my business would be appreciated.

But I happened to be in my Neighborhood Market some time ago – sorry, I can’t recall exactly why I decided to give them another chance – and it was, literally, a different place. It was a different place because all those grouchy, loafing sour pusses had been replaced with a whole new customer-oriented leadership team that would make ole Sam Walton proud.

But I’m still not a Wal-Mart customer…

I consider myself a customer of Tyrone, Glenn, Zach, Carol, Tim, George, Shea, and Barb and all the other nice folks on the team at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market who now take care of me.

I could give you all kinds of stories from my recent experiences to back up my renewed endorsement and why they’re now referral-worthy, but the common denominator is SERVICE!

Incidentally, the lesson is that no matter what size your business is or what sector you’re in, service is how you differentiate yourself. Service is how you get and keep customers for life. And that lifetime customer value is the cash flow that keeps you in business…And ahead of your competition!

 

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Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.” – Peter F. Drucker

 

 

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I often hear decision-makers talk about how they need a new logo, a new brand identity, a new website, or they need to “do more social media” or any other number of things that may indeed be worth looking at, but may not be the real problem or the best place for their attention.

One of the best books I ever received was Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith. Perhaps not coincidentally, the book contained one of the best pieces of marketing advice I ever read, too.

Mr. Beckwith urged the reader to first fix your service! Make sure your customers are getting first class service as a priority all of the time. The best marketing in the world can’t make up for a lousy customer experience.

If you want to test this advice, put your consumer hat on and think about how you spend your money and you’ll probably agree.

 

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Something I like to help clients do is maximize every resource. When that maximization also offers some potentially high ROI activity, all the better. It should come as no surprise that Amazon provides us with a fine example of this very concept in action.

I ordered some stuff from Amazon and it arrived in the box shown in the pic to the left.

As you can see, the box features promotional copy for the movie, “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman.

The industry term for this is “printed packaging” and not only is it something Amazon is using, it’s become another profit center for them because vendors pay Amazon for the privilege of using that space to get their messaging in front of the eyeballs of Amazon customers.

Once again, Amazon, BRILLIANT!

 

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Congratulations to Jeff Bezos. Turns out he recently surpassed Bill Gates as the world’s richest person.

Mr. Bezos became the world’s richest person as the founder of Amazon.com. Amazon, of course, started out as an “online bookstore” and has now evolved into the world’s largest retailer. That was accomplished by setting a grand vision, working to make it so, celebrating the successes, divesting of the failures and not dwelling on them, and constantly listening to what the customer wants.

And that last one is the big one. By simply listening to what the customer wants and working to provide it better than anybody else, you can’t help but win. And if your goal is to be the biggest, richest, or whatever, giving your customer more value than anybody else is the way to get there.

Focus on that and maybe I’ll be writing about you before too long!

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan

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There are a lot of fine points to networking, and you can find a lot of good tips all over the place from a lot of authors, but to me, here’s one big secret you need to know if you want to be successful at networking.

Here it is:

You gotta do it!

Like exercise, networking isn’t a spectator sport and it isn’t a passive activity. You’ve got to consciously be practicing professional networking all the time with the goal of growing the number of people who are willing to help you, and they’re willing to help you because they know you’d do the same for them.

Yes, this may get old. Yes, it may often seem difficult. And yes, it may require monumental effort on your part.

So on the days you might not feel so much like networking what should you do? Do it anyway! Push yourself! You’ll be glad you did not only because you can celebrate that feeling of accomplishment that comes from meeting a personal challenge, but also because you’ll be moving one step closer to the results you’re looking for.

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway!” – Emory Austin

 

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Yep, I’ve got a sure fire, time-honored, market-proven system that’ll help you have all the success you want in your endeavor, and then some.

Three simple steps:

1. Find out what your customers want.

2. Find a cost-effective and profitable way to give it to them.

3. Repeat.

Just that simple. Start doing this and you’ll be amazed at the results you get. If you’re already doing something like this, go back and make sure you’re not leaving a step out.

Test it for yourself and I’ll bet you’ll have a hard time arguing that it’s a simple strategy.

Simple, yes. Easy? Not so much. And that’s why so many fail.

A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine. – Murphy’s Law of Computing

 

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Every time I attend a seminar or pick up a book on marketing I find myself fighting the urge to go down one rabbit trail after another. While it’s good to keep an open mind and check out lots of different ideas and viewpoints, I think a much wiser approach is to peek through the forest and be sure you see the trees. Focus on what is most important.

In marketing, the most important thing is the customer! Your customer!

If the latest and greatest idea, whether it be related to big data or social media or any of the other new buzzwords out there, seems like something that would enhance your relationships with your customers or help you get more of your ideal customers, then it’s probably worth pursuing. If you’re not sure whether it would enhance those relationships, ASK your customers. And if you’re still not sure, try whatever it is (if it’s not too costly or risky to your brand) and study whether or not it enhances customer relationships. Whatever it is. Focus on what matters most: Your customer!

A similar strategy could be employed in life, too. Rather than chasing after the wind (Thank you King Solomon), figure out what is MOST important to you and be sure that becomes your main focus.

It may not be easy, but it is that simple.

Go get ’em!

“Starve your distractions, feed your focus.” – Unknown

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