How to Get a Lifetime Customer and How to Lose One Forever

I had my car smog checked a few weeks ago. When I got ready to pay I was given a list of things that needed fixing on my car. This was a surprise to me because a few months ago when I had work done there were no problems. I was told I needed my brake fluid changed, my alignment done, new spark plugs, a new brake light, a new license plate tag light and a few other things. I was puzzled and suspicious especially when I wasn’t given an estimate of prices to make the repairs.

Oh, let me say I went to this new place after the business I had been to a few months ago closed down and had their phone number forwarded to the new place. I was shocked that an automotive repair shop that had been open for years closed suddenly and with no notice to customers. I hadn’t received a postcard, letter, email or phone call that my repair shop was no longer going to be servicing my car.

Hmm, poor marketing could be a huge reason why it went out of business. I also hadn’t received a time to get your oil changed notice and my car was overdue for an oil change. Another failure to communicate with customers. In the past I’ve received repeated postcards from places for months that I only went to once and didn’t like their service and so never went back. Yet this place that I liked, didn’t keep up any continued contact about regular maintenance on my car.

Maybe I should’ve noticed this before hand but I hate getting my car serviced so I don’t think about it unless I have to travel out of town then I start thinking of checking out my car. I don’t want to end up stranded somewhere because I failed to get my car checked out. I have friends who’ve had that happen and then been at the mercy of out-of-town auto repair shops.

This new shop sent me a thank you card which I thought was good follow-up and then I got a letter about the supposed needed repairs. Again with no cost estimate enclosed which aroused my suspicions again. I also got a coupon for what seemed like outrages prices for an oil change and tune up.

I decided to ask a friend who worked as a Fleet supervisor about this list of repairs. After explaining the list he gave a derisive laugh and said I likely didn’t need any of those things done and to see a mechanic of his recommendation.

He told me it sounded like this auto repair shop where I had the smog check done at was trying to make some easy money off me. I didn’t like that at ALL! I called the first shop he told me about and scheduled an oil change. I figured this should tell me what problems I really have by seeing someone new.

At this shop I mentioned up front my car shimmies at higher speeds. Immediately the manager said I needed my wheels balanced and recommended a local tire store to do the work. I noticed he didn’t say I needed my wheels aligned and was willing to refer me to another business whose niche was tires and balancing tires, etc. I was happy to be doing business with the shop already and they hadn’t even started working on my car!

When I came back to pick up my car I found out the only new problem was the replacement of the license plate tag light which cost me all of $1.94. Who knows what the nefarious smog check place would’ve charged me for it. I even asked if anything else was wrong with my car. I was told it was in good working order and reminded to have the balance done at the tire shop.

Wow! What a huge difference. An honest mechanic willing to refer me to other businesses. This was even better than frequent mailers. I could trust this business to take care of my car and not over charge me. They may not know it but they have a customer for life. Finding a mechanic you can trust is vital especially for a woman.

In the past I’ve had auto repair shops try to rip me off because I’m a woman and not very car savvy. One thing they didn’t realize is I have male friends that I ask questions before getting new repairs done. That has saved me hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars. Plus I keep all my repair receipts so if some dishonest mechanic tries to sell me a repair I’ve already had done I can point it out and save myself money. And let me tell you it has happened more than once over the years!

Don’t business people realize the fastest way to lose a customer is to rip her off? And the quickest way to get a lifetime customer is to be honest and trustworthy? This is especially important when marketing to women. Women value relationships and trust is vital in relationships.

Cheat me out of even a nickel one time and you’ll never see me again. Be honest and I’ll do business with you for years and years.

Oh and I went to the tire shop and since I had purchased tires there before they balanced my tires for free. Now my car drives smooth like frosting on a cake! Sweet!

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Check Out these Resources if You Market to Women

If you are trying to sell to woman you need to do some research. I found a few links you need to check out as you plan your marketing promotions.

If you want to find out if your website content markets effectively to women check out our Website Diagnostic Review. Direct Marketing Rx will do a Site Content Audit to see if your web marketing message is selling to your target marketing. Get started in two easy steps. Read about it at “Is your Web Content Earning or Burning Money?” or Contact Us directly for help now.

Wonder Branding
by Michelle Miller provides news & views on the female customer. Check out her post about The New Demography of Motherhood. The post discusses the change in age range for mothers and the impact cultural differences will have on your marketing campaigns.

Mashable
has a great article about marketing to women read it here: 10 Musts for Marketing to Women on Facebook.  My favorite point – Listen! Women like to have their needs heard and met. You can do it with the right marketing.

She conomy
is a guy’s guide to marketing to women. Check out some quick facts about marketing to Boomer Women.

Adweek Media
has a downloadable pdf report you can find here: The Family CFO.

Find out what women really want.  Knowledge about your target market can only enhance your marketing campaigns and increase response rates.

Last Minute Ideas for Getting Business during Tax Season

Most dread the April 15th deadline to file taxes. But you can turn it around and help your customers relax and making money too!

Have an “EZ” Discount – Use the tax form numbers as promo codes when ordering for example 1040EZ.  If you have a product you can price at $10.40 you can offer the special price good on April 15th only.

“Enjoy Your Refund” Promotion – Have a special sale for your customers who filed their taxes early and are ready to spend the cash the got back.  Have a follow-up sale a few weeks later for the people who filed at the last-minute and won’t have their refund by April 15th. Offer it to early birds too and get them spending twice.

Relieve the Stress of Paying the IRS –   Offer special coupons for a spa day, special dinner or box of chocolates. Encourage your customers to have a relaxing treat of their choice on April 15th.  Send an email to your best customers to get them spending. Or even entice new prospects to your business.

15% off Discount – Make April 15th a positive date not a bad one by offering 15% off purchases made.   Send out a quick email or post on your blog about the special discount only available until midnight on April 15th and pick up some extra sales on a potentially slow business day.

Use these last minute ideas to bring in extra sales on Tax Day April 15th.

Meanwhile enjoy this YouTube video of the Taxman by the Beatles while you come up with your own April 15th Tax Day promotions:

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bad Customer Service Equals Bad Word of Mouth

If you give your customers the run around when they have a problem you could be ruining your reputation. Think of Kevin Smith and his outraged tweets when he was kicked off Southwest Airlines. Good customer service could’ve dealt with the situation in a way that left Mr. Smith happy with the airline.

That’s not the only story of bad customer service. Musician Dave Carrol’s guitar was broken by United Airlines and it took months to get any kind of resolution.

It’s been almost two years and his YouTube video is still getting hits. United made a poor customer service choice they won’t forget. Neither will anyone else with this music video written by a customer done wrong.

Even though he made follow up videos describing the resolution this original one is forever out there showing all potential customers why they should avoid an airline with bad customer service. Treat your customers with respect and avoid bad word of mouth that lingers forever on the Internet.

Why not give your customers such great service they make a video about the experience.

Is It Better That They Buy from Their Heart or Their Head? 4 Ways to Support Prospects in Making a Great Decision!

by Lisa Sasevich

I’m thrilled to address this topic today, because it really transformed my own thinking. In fact, the first time I spoke of it during a teleclass last year, I was moved to tears.

The Head vs. the Heart
When you’re in the gap with prospects, which means that you’re supporting them as they feel the distance between where they are and where they want to be, they are also connected to their heart and intuition. In that place, they have the most inner knowing about whether something is right for them or not. They may feel a tingle in their gut. And sometimes it’s an “oh, no” feeling. They may be thinking, I wasn’t planning to transform in this area today. I wasn’t planning to step into my total greatness TODAY!

As prospects move through that tension inside themselves, it can be uncomfortable. But it’s actually a magical place, as they realize the possibility of who they could be.

Now, imagine a prospect, connected to her inner knowing, who never before has seen so clearly how her pain could be transformed. She’s in a lifeboat with you. You’re showing her the way. But, alas, you encourage her to go off and “think about it,” to use her intellect to decide whether she wants to invest. You return to the ship, and she’s out there alone, adrift, with her logical mind, her small self and her fear to help her decide. You probably thought that you were honoring her process, but what if you were actually encouraging her away from her intuition, from her best, highest source of information?

Do you see what a disservice that would be?

Instead, encourage your prospects to remain in the lifeboat with you until they decide from their hearts and intuition YES or NO. Here are 4 ways to facilitate that process.

1. First of all, remember that people are investing in themselves not in you. When you really understand that people are not investing in you, but via you, you take ego out of the equation, and so many things become possible. You’re more able to tolerate a person’s tension while they’re in the gap, you can price your services based on their value to your clients, rather than trying to gauge your own personal value, and you can serve your clients better, from a higher place.

2. Don’t focus on the delivery system. I’ve seen this so often: presenters spend 90 percent of their time talking about the delivery system, whether it’s a teleseminar or CD or webinar, and only 10 percent on the outcome or transformation their offer provides. Prospects don’t care much about the form in which the transformation arrives, they want to hear how your offer will improve their lives!

3. Elicit specific information. Vague questions yield vague answers. But specific questions, such as “How many fights did you have last week with your wife? Or, what is your body fat percentage?” elicit specific information that connects your prospects with their pain. Once they get in touch with what their situation is costing them, you can then have an authentic dialogue about the possibility of transforming that area.

4. Encourage them to make a decision. You’re not trying to get your prospects to say yes. You’re supporting them to make the best decision for themselves. Assisting the prospect to either a yes or a no is a real service. If it’s a no, this isn’t for me, then the person is now free to find something that is. And if it’s a yes, it’s a hell yes! and now you have a client fully invested in the transformation you’re about to embark upon together.

That’s why I believe this work is such a privilege. Whether your prospects say yes or no, you’re doing God’s work in the world.

Sales-from-the-podium expert Lisa Sasevich has x-ray vision for seeing the sales opportunities that exist in every company, and the creativity to convert them into gold! If you’re looking for simple, quick and easy ways to boost sales without spending a dime, get your FREE Sales Nuggets now at www.theinvisibleclose.com.

Your Doorway to a Successful Marketing Promotion!

Today I opened my front door to find a hanger on my door. Annoyance turned into happy surprise. Kohl’s hired someone to hang discount tags on the doors in my neighborhood and possibly every neighborhood in town. It was a coupon for $10 of a purchase of $20 or more. Good sized discount and it lured me into Kohl’s. I don’t usually shop at Kohl’s.

The clothes I like are usually in the “I’d have to be anorexic and flat-chested to fit into” sizes. (I’m a buxom not skinny gal.) And the women’s clothes my size look like stuff matronly middle-aged women would wear. On that note my mother loves buying clothes at Kohl’s. The other items they carry I can usually find cheaper somewhere else.

But Kohl’s does have great sales. Although the coupon said the purchase had to be minimum $20 the part that really got me into the store was the small print that read “off all products, including sale items and clearance items”. I thought “Wow, after I stop in at Borders I’m checking out Kohl’s.” The stores happened to be in the same shopping center where I live so it was an easy decision.

This is where many businesses cheap out and look stingy. I’ve seen numerous coupons where they put so many limits on my ability to use them I end up tossing the coupon in the recycling bin.

Afterward I only think of those businesses with amazed disgust. Why bother offering what amounts to a non-existent discount in your coupon advertisement? You’re only going to alienate customers who will go on to shop at stores that appreciate their business and reward them for it.

I really appreciated that Kohl’s offered me a discount coupon I couldn’t ignore considering I’m not a regular shopper. And with only one minor limitation besides and end date which was also generous. The offer was valid until March 14th and started on February 28th.

I didn’t want to miss the deadline so I felt compelled to go in and use the $10 discount on stuff I hadn’t planned to buy. Kohl’s does have good products and I’m more than willing to shop there when the deal is worth it.

If you’re wondering what I bought I’ll tell you. I got a cool new watch and a set of colorful eye shadows in a compact shaped like an iphone. Oh and the items I bought were sale items and I still got my $10 discount. Yippee!

End result for Kohl’s – they got a reluctant shopper in the door spending money and feeling good with their generous Door Hanger Campaign. Now I understand why my Mother loves shopping at Kohl’s. They appreciate their shoppers and reward them for coming into the store.

Are you ready to try your own Door Hanger Campaign yet? Not sure? Interestingly enough, Dan Kennedy recommends using Door Hangers as a unique promotional campaign. I wonder if someone in Kohl’s marketing department reads Dan Kennedy’s newsletter. Hmmm…if so kudos for marketing savvy.

Let me know if you decide to try your own Door Hanger campaign and the results.

Five Refreshing Topics I’m Tracking:

I try to read about more than marketing. Here are a few topics that currently have my interest.

Lifestyle:

Introverts Corner – How to live a quiet life in a noisy world.

I’m an Introvert. If you’re familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator You’ll now what I’m talking about. Introverts get energy from spending time alone to recharge their internal batteries. Extroverts are energized by spending time with others.

This blog is worth checking out whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. The benefit for Introverts is reading a blog written by someone who understands your needs. Extroverts can benefit by reading the blog if they know an Introvert and want to improve their understanding, communication and overall relationship with the Introvert.

Click here to check out the Introverts Corner.

Tech stuff:

Makeuseof.com

It’s a blog that features nifty websites, computer tips and downloads that help you be more productive. MakeUseOf is like your own personal tour guide to the web, taking you to sites you’ve never seen before to enhance your life on the web. You’ll get daily links to websites with all kinds of useful tool, software and how to tips. Check it out here at MakeUsOf.com


Charitable:

Lemons for Literacy

I love to read. How about you? It’s terrible to think there are people who are unable to enjoy reading like we do. Let’s do our part to stamp out illiteracy. When you play this game for every answer you get right someone gets help learning to read. Lemons for Literacy has two goals:

  1. To help cure illiteracy by providing free literacy materials to people in need.
  2. Provide free education to everyone

Help combat illiteracy while playing a fun educational game: Lemons for Literacy

Modern language:

Urban Word of the Day

Keep track of changes in language by subscribing to this site. Daily you will get a new word or phrase and an example of how it’s used. Entertaining and also keeps you from saying the wrong thing when words take on new meanings.

Click here to get your daily dose of Urban Words.

Advice:

Consumerist – Shoppers bite back

The blog posts information to help consumers avoid scams, fight back against poor customer service and a variety of other valuable information. Its hardly boring – expect to be entertained while learning how to protect your consumer rights.

Visit it by clicking Consumerist.

Published in: on February 23, 2010 at 12:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Problem Isn’t the Problem

Wondering how to avoid a Toyota sized public relations nightmare when you have a problem with your products or services?

Check out this two minute video by Tom Peters:

Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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5 Hot Blogs to Make Add Sizzle to Your Marketing!


Are you searching a few informative and topical blogs that are worth your time? With all the useless vanity blogs out there I thought I’d share blogs I’ve found valuable. I subscribe to several blogs but the following are my top 5 daily must reads:

1. Glazer Kennedy Insider’s Circle Blog – If you want outrageous advertising check it out. Dan Kennedy will never steer you wrong.

2. Sweeties Sweeps – If you want to promote your business using a Sweepstakes or Contest you’ll want to get mentioned on Sweeties Sweeps site. Thousands of people visit the sites mentioned as having a sweeps worth entering. New products are often launched with a sweepstakes or contest which also helps you find out what your competitors are doing to get new customers.

3. ProBlogger – Write a better blog with these tips on blogging. I’m working on the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog program myself.

4. Men With Pens – A web design and copywriting blog from Canada. Good stuff comes from Canada.

5. Chris Brogan – A blog about community and social media

Check them out and let me know what you think about them. Oh, remember to subscribe to my blog too! Did I miss any blogs you feel should make the list?

Marketing Idea for White Chocolate Lovers!

September 22nd is National White Chocolate Day. Send your customers a certificate for a box of white chocolates when the make a purchase online or visit your business.

Some people love white chocolate. My mother enjoys it but I’m a milk chocolate gal. I do like a rice crispy treat dipped in white chocolate on one end and milk chocolate on the other made at a local sweet shop. Yummy.

If you run a candy store have a special promotion to celebrate National White Chocolate Day. Post signs in your store windows to get customers coming in. Offer gift baskets filled with a variety of white chocolates and related items.

Yes I know white chocolate isn’t officially chocolate but it’s delicious and if your customers love it get them in your store with it.