Archive for January, 2017

Using Testimonials In Your Marketing

Customer testimonials are an invaluable marketing tool, especially when you are first starting your business. Testimonials instill confidence in prospective buyers and lend credibility to your offering.

Even if you’re just starting out, here’s how you can build an impressive list of testimonials to promote your business. No customers yet? That’s OK. Try going back to previous business associates and ask them for a personal testimonial. If their experience with you was a good one, they’ll more than likely want to assist you in your new pursuit.

Another good method for newbies—the ethical bribe. Offer your product or service for free, then solicit their feedback. Once your business is rolling, it’s important to make testimonial gathering a continuous part of your customer service process. When you receive emails with positive feedback, immediately request to use it as a testimonial.

If you receive good remarks over the phone, write them up and send them to the customer asking their permission to use their words. A few rules to keep in mind: Always get the permission of the person whom you are quoting to prevent any legal troubles. Rather than asking for a written testimonial from the customer, write one for them and ask them to approve it.

You’ll get more testimonials if you do the work. Your customer can always make changes to the text you provide. If you’re selling a B2B product or service, providing the company name and title of the person giving the testimonial will give it greater impact.

Add a Little Drama to Your Marketing

Everyone loves a good story. They can transport you to another time or place or reality. They can inspire and motivate. And they can take your marketing to a whole new level with your prospects and the media.

Adding real-life anecdotes to your marketing arsenal by talking about a problem your company faced or how you met a particular challenge, helps your prospects identify with and relate to your message. Adding a bit of personality and drama helps put a face to your business and helps to differentiate you from your competitors.

Any story won’t do, however. You want to use stories to convey a particular message. So clarifying what message you want to deliver is the first order of business. Then you build your story around that message.

Weave your stories throughout your marketing media: website, brochures, press releases, conference speeches…to draw your prospects in and keep them engaged while you sell them on your service or product.

Make Your Point Clearly

People tend to use careless language when they speak because they assume other people know what they mean. Unfortunately, they often leave others uncertain or confused about what they want.

At the New York Center for Critical Thinking, they recommend that you pay close attention to the way you express yourself. Think before you speak, and make sure to present your thoughts logically. It helps to use examples.

When listening, listen not only for the facts but for the feelings behind them. If you don’t fully understand what you’re being told, ask what the person means by that or why it was said. Explore the conversation, and you’ll learn more.

Communicate With Authority

You can learn to speak with confidence by studying the way you make statements. If you often say “I think,” “kind of,” “maybe,” “probably,” or “just,” you minimize the importance of your statements.

One of the most empowering things a person can do is to speak confidently because words shape the attitudes of others.

As you consider your linguistics, note how many times you use words that indicate indecision or ambivalence. The word “try,” for example, indicates that you will make an attempt, not that you will actually do something. “Try” sets you up for failure because you don’t actually have to succeed.

The word “think” has the same connotation. If you say “I think it would be a good idea to …” your statement is much less powerful than, “It would be a good idea to …” “I think I could lead this project,” is far less effective than, “I could lead this project.”

Therapist Carol Juergensen Sheets says in group exercises, she and colleagues find that the average number of times people use these words is 16 times in a five-minute period. When you recognize that you use them, repeat the sentence to yourself without the qualifier and with confidence. Practice to change old patterns of speaking.

Sheets, of Indianapolis Psychiatric Associates, says your ability to speak confidently and assertively makes a difference in how others see you. If words shape attitudes, it’s important to choose words that empower your belief in yourself and increase your confidence.

Make Your First Impression The Best Impression

The first 10 to 20 seconds are crucial in creating the best fist impression in your first meeting. People observe you from head to toe. They study your physical personality, demeanor, mannerisms, body language, your style or fashion, etc. It is therefore vital for you to make the best impression. Because once the impression is made, it is mostly irreversible. If you have made a good one, it is good; but if you have not, the damage is done. You may interest some and disappoint others. Most of us wish to make the best impression in others whether the meeting is personal or professional.

How do people assess you the first time they see you?

You are always appraised in initial business and social environments. When they see you for the first time, people notice your dress, your shoes, handbag and hairstyle, your body language, your mannerisms, etc. Certain elements contribute to making your first impression. They are: Physical appearance, body language, verbal communication and how well you perceive other people. Here are a few tips from Colorado Tech to make the best first impressions.

  1. Be authentic. Think about it: there’s no bigger turnoff than when someone is perceived as faking an interest in you. Don’t do it to other people. Show real interest, and they’ll show it back. All the other suggestions here come back to this: If you genuinely care about someone or are genuinely interested in them, that will show in your interactions with them.
  2. Ask open-ended questions. Avoid questions that can be answered “yes” or “no.” You want to start a conversation. The best way to do so is to ask questions that are open-ended and require longer answers. Do you understand? Yes. Oops.
  3. Maintain eye contact and smile. If you’re looking over the shoulder of the person you’re talking to in hopes of finding someone more “important,” or otherwise looking bored and not making eye contact, then you’re sending a clear signal that you’re not interested. The person you’re talking to is likely to show you the same (dis)courtesy.
  4. Listen. This seems obvious enough, but if you’re in the midst of a group, or thinking about other things it might be hard to really take in what someone is telling you. But it’ll be obvious if you’re not paying attention, so focus in. Make the person you’re talking to feel important and relevant.
  5. Follow through. Even if you’re networking because you’re on the lookout for a new opportunity doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help others in the same position. Did you meet someone who might be a good fit for a job opening in your company? Did you tell someone you would follow up with that name of an electrician? Make sure you follow through to make a good impression.
  6. Do things you enjoy. Networking isn’t just about meeting strangers in your industry. You can network anywhere, at any time. If you are uncomfortable at traditional network events, branch out. Join professional organizations, or clubs where professionals meet to do activities together like volunteering, tennis playing, or dining. You will be surprised at the types of people you meet and the natural way in which you interact when “networking” isn’t the ultimate goal.
  7. Say thank you. If someone helps you or does something for you — no matter how small — write a thank you note. That small effort will make you a big standout.

Then the bad:

Don’t:

  1. Ask for a job.That kind of request puts a lot of pressure on the person you’re asking. Instead, make the person you’re talking to an ally in your job search by asking them for insight and advice. If you do this, then it might very well be you they think of when they have an open position.
  2. Hit and run. A hit-and-run networker is someone who connects, gets what they want, and then disappears, never to be heard from again. Or at least until the next time they need something. Instead, follow up, tell them thank you, and offer any reciprocal help you can.
  3. Avoid talking to the “little people.” Everyone is important. No one deserves to be ignored or treated poorly, no matter their job title. The most junior member of your department? She will remember the length of her career how you treated her. The secretary? He knows before anyone else when a position is about to open up. The guy who mops the floors? Learn his name. You never know when you will need someone’s helping hand, and you’ll be surprised at where that help comes from. (source)