Smooth Harold is a wee-bitty site. The little fellow gets a whopping average of 25 visitors/day as of last month. Little or not, that’s the most ever, so I thought I’d do a roundup of some of my favorite, most opinionated, and subjective business posts. Feel free to tell me where I’m wrong. I have no pride.
As a young boy, I used to dream about being a shoe designer for Nike. Something about “tennashoes” always fascinated me. I loved sports and I guess I really believed or wanted to believe that my kicks could help improve my athletic performance. So I drew shoes.
I entertained and acted upon that dream from grade school to my late middle-school years. I would seclude myself in the corner of my shared room and draw shoe mockups with only a pencil. I must have gone through dozens of notebooks. Finally, when I was about 11 or 12 and through my own initiative, I decided to look up Nike’s corporate address and send them my work.
For all you salesman out there (which is just about anyone who tries to influence others), here are three of the most consistent prospecting methods:
Asking for referrals. Remember to always ask clients, colleagues, even prospects if they know anyone who could benefit from your services.
Executive Networking. Let your work speak for itself. Get your client CEO’s to call or email others in their industry on your behalf. Executive-to-executive sales will always outperform seller-to-executive sales.
Cold Calling. Yup. That’s right. Contrary to popular belief, the reason this method keeps re-occurring in sales is that it works. No other method can increase your prospecting efforts like cold calling can. (I have personally closed many profitable clients this way.)
There are lots of other ways to build your pipelines, but hopefully this will prioritize them and remind you of what works.
[Source: Power Prospecting by Patrick Hansen]
There is a plethora of business books out in the world claiming to reveal the next big thing to make money or better run your business. Some are good, most are bad. There are books on management, sales, and even customer service. The last one I think is laughable. Customer service is equivalent to how you cordially serve your customers to make them happy. If you don’t understand that, I don’t know how you would be in business.
I therefore present Griffio’s “corporate policy” on customer service. It’s rather simple and is based on one thing: accountability. Be responsive to those you interact with. Here’s how:
Return phone calls within 1.5 hours – it’s tough, but it can be done. You will be surprised how comforting a returned phone call can be to your customers. By your doing it, they will have more respect for you and your company.
Reply to emails on the same day – When someone writes an email, respond to it. It usually takes about 10 seconds to do so. I recently emailed a gentleman last week inquiring about his marketing services. I still haven’t heard from him. My bet is that if he treats his potential customer’s poorly, a paying customer probably won’t get much response from him either.
Reason being: customer service is about character not dollars. It’s something that is hard to teach although it can be done. The two above items should help your efforts in showing your customers that you care enough to respond to them. They have been the only formal customer service policies we follow and have taken our company a long way in being one of the most responsive firms in our industry. Sure beats reading a long, boring business book on customer service.
Some of you may like to know: exactly how does Griffio go about solving our clients’ business challenges? Well, we’ve loosely documented but rigidly followed the below ideology. (It applies to all sorts of problems and not just how to make web-based business software.)
Discover. Find out what the problem is. A lot of times, you can just ask, “What’s the problem?” or “How can I make your job easier?” Otherwise, conduct in-depth research, such as thorough exploration and investigation to expose the predicament.
Design. After you understand where the problem is, you need to think it through. What ways can you solve the issue? What would work best? Continued research must take place to test your ideas during this phase. Contrary to popular problem solving formulas, this is where most of the testing should take place. An example would be how a certain web page will work or how my audience would react to this idea. Try to uncover any potential hang-ups the idea or process may have.
Develop. Create or build the supporting materials. This step generally includes the use of technical tools such as a software editor, a hammer, or even written notes. Good craftsmanship must take place to ensure quality.
Deliver. Once the system or idea is built or completed, deliver it, launch it, present it, or sell it. This is the part where you give and/or tell the “problemee” what you think will best improve their current state.
Support. This is where you help implement you solution, be it an idea or website. Problem solving requires change, both logistical and behavioral. Good support facilitates that change. The audience should be free to ask questions or get training as to how to best use your idea.
Hopefully, this will help or add to how you approach problems. The idea is to use these steps or a derivative of them in solving just about anything. If you come up with any areas that this might not work (i.e. marriage) please let me know by filling out our quick and easy comment box.