The Importance of Consistently

by Lori Saitz

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of the adverb “consistently” is “in a systematic or consistent (reliable, steady) manner.” No matter what you’re doing, doing it consistently is the key to success. Now that I just wrote that, let me add the caveat that whatever you’re doing also needs to be in harmony with the universal concepts of good. I’m thinking someone who consistently robs banks will eventually get caught and therefore not be successful. But I digress.

Recall all the times you’ve started an exercise program. After several weeks of working out consistently, you start to see results. It’s not as important that you work out really hard or for a long time each session as it is that you do it consistently. Maybe the results are not coming as quickly as you would like; that’s okay. Trust that changes are happening. If you continue to work out consistently, after a few more weeks, you’ll see definite and positive improvement in your physical and mental conditioning.

If you want to talk about things moving at a glacial pace, we can look at, well, glaciers. They move incredibly slowly, right? But they are moving consistently and eventually you (okay, maybe not you, but a scientist) will notice that they’re in a different place than they were.

We can apply the same principle of consistency to your business and the good news is it won’t take millions of years to see the changes. Research has discovered that communicating with your clients at least 25 times a year is optimal. WHOA! That’s the initial reaction I get from people when I say that. “Twenty-five times a year is way too much for my business!” No, it’s not. Here’s how you “touch” clients 25 times without being a pest.

Personal contact

You probably talk or meet with each of your clients at least once or twice a year just in the normal course of doing business. Personal contact is very important to keeping the relationship going. If you can’t manage to make a phone call or have lunch with a client once in an entire year, he’s probably not that good of a client. And for sure he won’t be a client for very long.

So that’s two times of contact.

Send birthday acknowledgement

A card, a little gift, something to let him know you remembered his special day. When is the last time one of your vendors or business partners acknowledged your birthday? Has it ever happened? Generally your birthday is a day that is yours alone; it’s not like a national holiday that everyone is celebrating, so it’s your special day. If you have a good relationship with your client, sending a birthday acknowledgement is not a hollow gesture and will be much appreciated.

That’s one more time, so we’re up to three.

Share industry information or tips

You can do this through an e-zine like this one, regular e-mail, a printed newsletter, copies of articles from a magazine, whatever works for you. I recommend sending this kind of information at least once a month. You may argue that you don’t have time to compile stuff that often and that once a quarter is good enough. I’ll give you that quarterly is better than not at all, but higher frequency, more consistently (just like working out) yields better results. If you are providing useful information, recipients will not mind receiving it.

Do it 12 times a year, added to the previous three and we’re at 15.

Mail postcards or greeting cards

Promote a special occasion, upcoming workshop or unusual event. Everyone sends cards and gifts for the holidays at the end of the year. Now more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon to send stuff at Thanksgiving, thinking that will set them apart from all the December exchanges. Who is reaching out at Groundhog Day (February 2), International Customer Loyalty Month (April) or Flag Day (June 14)? Pick a few times throughout the year and use them to express your personality, say thanks for your business or ask for a referral in an unusual way. Your clients will remember you better and more often.

Every other month is six times, plus the 15, and we’ve got 21.

Recognize clients’ accomplishments

When you see an article in the newspaper or hear through the grapevine about a client’s good fortune, send a handwritten note, (or at least an e-mail), to say “Congratulations!” Who doesn’t like recognition for a job well done? And your client will feel good about you for having taken the time/interest to let her know you’re aware of it.

Let’s say you do this once a year and now we’re closer to the target with 22.

Write a column for the local newspaper, industry publication, association newsletter, etc.

Share your expertise with an audience that includes your clients, as well as potential clients. You position yourself as an expert and you reach a lot of people at one time with minimal effort. If there are 1,200 readers, it certainly beats making 1,200 phone calls, doesn’t it?If you get published three times, we’re all the way up to 25! Wow, that wasn’t so difficult.

In addition to these suggestions, you may have some other ideas on what you can do to keep in touch with your clients. Take some time today to come up with a plan for consistently communicating and improving rapport with your clients.

You’ll soon see that whatever you choose to do, doing it consistently yields fantastic results.


Lori Saitz is an appreciation marketing expert and the founder and president of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She created the Zen Rabbit Gratitude Program for business professionals who believe expressing appreciation – for their clients, referral sources and anyone else who supports their success – is important.

Developing Your Introduction

by Amanda Chocko

How do you answer the question, “What do you do?” When answering this question you need to have a clear understanding of what you do, why, and for whom. You should be able to articulate what makes you special or different from others in the same field. And believe it or not, there are certain guidelines in developing your elevator pitch or business commercial.

First, do not try to encompass everything you or your company does in your introduction. It should be no more than 10 to 20 seconds in length. Your goal is to peak interest and encourage conversation, not give a monologue. If it sounds too rehearsed or like a sales pitch, you are sure to lose them at “hello.”

Come up with a unique title and identify the main benefits (not features) your company offers. Envision every person you meet with the letters (WIIFM-what’s in it for me?) written across their forehead. For example, when people used to ask me the question, “Amanda, what do you do,” I would respond this way:

“I own a company called Ready Set Network!” (Ho hum.) “I organize and facilitate networking events and workshops for professionals and job seekers.” (That’s nice.)

This response sounds okay, but I have come up with a better one. Now when someone asks me this question, I say “I am a Professional People Connector” (notice the catchy title?) This immediately invokes curiosity in the person I am speaking with and is usually followed by, “Really, how does that work?” or, “Tell me more.” Then, I explain the benefits of my business: “I help professionals become more confident and effective networkers. I do this by facilitating speed networking events and presenting networking workshops.” More often than not, the other person wants more information.

Your elevator pitch should also be simple to understand. Try not to use industry jargon, technical terms or acronyms that people won’t understand. First of all, most people will not ask you what you are talking about because they may feel inferior for not knowing, and you want to make it easy for people to refer you to their network. If they do not understand what you do, they will not be able to tell other people, and that is what networking is all about.

So, before you go to your next networking event or social gathering, practice your own unique introduction that sets you apart from the competition and gets people saying, “Tell me more.”


 

Amanda Chocko is the founder of Ready Set Network! offering “speed networking” events and networking workshops that will give you tools necessary to become a more confident and successful networker! She may be reached at (616) 450-2321.

Marketing Idea #31: Know Your Neighbors

know your neighbors

Especially in a retail environment, it is important that retailers work together to synchronize and support each other’s activities. Likewise, the same can be true of strategic partners, where physical location isn’t as important as reciprocal efforts. If you haven’t taken the time to meet your neighbors (e.g., the businesses on your block, in your complex, in your part of town), you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Building relationships with these folks will lead to the ability to refer business to them, as well as the opportunity to receive referred business from them.

Marketing Idea #25: Always Carry Business Cards

marketing ideas business cards

Always have enough business cards with you. While this seems like it should be obvious, people are still caught off-guard without their business cards. You’ll never know when or where opportunities will arise. Also, whenever you know you’re on your way to a trade show, mixer, or other networking event, make sure you take a lot of business cards. It’s better to have too many than not enough!

Tip: Keep a number of “card caches” around you at all times. Keeping business cards in your car, at your desk, at your home office, and in your briefcase or purse can keep you from looking ill-prepared if you forget to replenish the cards in your wallet.

What NOT to do: I’ve seen people leave their business cards randomly at restaurants, in rest rooms, and on bar counters by registers. Maybe this works, but I’m doubtful. In my mind, this would be even less effective than placing your business card on a bulletin board! Do you really think the wait staff are going to keep you business cards after you leave? Nah. I think they’re going to clean the table and those expensive die-cut, embossed business cards you had to have are going to end up wearing your table scraps in the trash.

Hint: Save your cards for the people who care.

Marketing Ideas #32-37: Navigating Networking Events

Marketing Ideas Who to Look for at Networking Events

You’ve arrived at the latest networking event. You have your name tag. You have your drink. You’re looking sharp. Now what?

If you arrived at the event with someone else, you shouldn’t be standing around talking to that person all night. You’re there to make new connections.

#32: Don’t be afraid to smile, extend your hand, and introduce yourself. This is why you’re here: to meet people.

Trick: If you don’t know anyone, stand in the food or bar line. This way, you’ll always have at least two people to talk to: the one in front of you and the one behind you.

#33: Don’t interrupt a conversation. Not only will this create a poor first impression, but everything you say after that will be received at a deficit. Instead, stand close, and when a pause presents itself, ease into the conversation gracefully.

#34: You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately. It’s about them, not you. Ask about them and show a sincere interest. “They don’t care what you have to say, until they know that you care.” —Zig Ziglar

#35: Ask smart questions. Listen and learn. Prepare several qualifying questions before going to a networking event. If you find a prospect, qualify him before arranging a follow-up.

#36: When it’s your turn to talk, be brief but succinct and powerful. You must be able to present your case in sixty seconds or less. This may include who you are, what you do, what benefits you offer customers, and why you are better than the competition.

#37: Be enthusiastic and positive. People don’t want to hear you complain about your day, your boss, or your lot in life. (Save that for your spouse, therapist, or best friend.) People enjoy working with positive people.

Remember: Your goal at a networking event is to meet as many people as possible, qualify them, and arrange appropriate follow-up. Sell yourself first, and then your products and services.