“See you next time.”

A great way to increase your sales revenue and profit is to build a loyal following of repeat customers.

Think lifetime value of a customer snd the relationship.

I’ve been traveling on vacation to Aruba every year for over twenty years. Unlike any other place we travel, many of the vacationers also traveled to Aruba more then once and often many times.

The way I first came across Aruba is when I owned a limousine service in New Jersey. Many of our travelers told me that they would go to Aruba every year. When I asked why, they’d said “just go once and you’ll see”.

During our first trip to Aruba many of the other people we met there had been coming there for many years.

Some of the reasons are the weather. It’s always 80-83 degrees, outside the hurricane belt and very little rain. The local people are friendly and it is a safe island.

There are many more reasons too. Since tourism is their major business, the locals have grown up in hospitality and a customer service focused world. The people who live in Aruba and work at the resorts are wonderful people. They are friendly, attentive and just nice people.

I did notice something that first year and every year since. They ask you how long have you been coming here? When that is part of the conversation, you start thinking about returning again. after all so many others keep coming back.

The other thing I noticed is when you mention it’s your last day or tomorrow is your last day and again at checkout, the people will say “see you next time”.

We all know it’s better to keep a long time returning customer than constantly look foe new customers. Think about what you are saying and talking about with your customers. Are you doing specific actions and inviting them back?

Is everything you do making your customer so impressed that your bustier wants to come back?

If you haven’t yet traveled to Aruba, go there for the first time and I’ll see you next time.

80% of people don't have their dream job.

Recent studies have shown that 80% of people don’t have their dream job.

Are you in that 80% or the smaller 20%?

It starts with your idea of your dream job. What is it that would make “a dream”?

Use your imagination. You can make your job whatever you wanted. Would it be income that mattered? Location to where you live or wanted to live? Would it be an environment that challenged you to do something meaningful every day? Would it be helping people?

Each of us are different and there is no wrong answer. But like many things in life it starts with knowing what you value and what your goals are.

A good exercise to accomplish a change of thinking and action is to write down your dream job. What is the big picture? Then start drilling sown on how to get there. Enter your goals on a calendar. Don’t be too aggressive in your goals. Your goal is to have “a win” in getting there. The small accomplishments along the way can help motivate you to the next bigger goal.

Imagine yourself as one of that 20% of people in their dream job. What would that mean to you?

I always like the idea of writing it down. It’s been said if it isn’t written, it isn’t real. There’s a reason many ideas come and go. They are a passing thought and without writing it down, reading it and rereading it, it passes. It’s probably the reason that 80% number is so high.

To move to the smaller group you need to take some action to get there. It will take time to get there, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to consider yourself as one of the fortunate few that have your dream job?

Perception becomes reality. You can do this it just takes some action to start.

“Don’t make exceptions”

I love the Marriott. Whenever we are traveling somewhere new, we know what to expect when we stay at the Marriott.

On a recent stay st the Marriott Surf Club in Aruba our lamp was broken. We called down to the front desk and a maintenance man came up to replace the lamp. While we were talking with him, he mentioned that Marriott has trained him “not to make exceptions” if a guests asks for something out of the ordinary. At first you might think that isn’t too customer friendly but actually it is. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, we like the Martiott because we know what to expect. When a company is first starting out and doesn’t have a reputation and s standard, they are learning what makes them different. But the Martiott is the worlds largest hotel company and if every time a customer went to a Marriott they had inconsistent experiences, the value of choosing “The Martiott” would be deminished.

When you have s working differentiator it’s important to have consistent experiences. This comes with training and management do ing what the employees and customers know what is expected.

So when a Martiott employee mentions that the is trained “don’t make exceptions” that may be what keeps their brand having value to their customers.

Raise your Prices, Increase your Profits

A quick way to immediately raise your profits are to raise your profits.

This may be a scary idea for many. After all, aren’t people always looking for lowest price? Hopefully that isn’t your customer.

When I first started my limousine service in 1987, I didn’t know what I should charge. I called some other local competitors and price shopped what they charge.

Next I discounted my rate lower than theirs. I was new and inexperienced and that decision wasn’t a good one. It was a while until I realized I wanted to raise my rates, and profits. SInce my company mostly drove business executives to and from the airports and New York City, I needed to first convince myself that my customers would be willing to pay the higher price and not leave me for another cheaper competitor.

What I did first was to up what I was presently doing. We started offering chilled Poland Springs bottled water. We offered an Express Pick Up option to help our executives and busy travelers to get into the car quicker and home quicker. We increased what we normally offered first.

Next we tried a modest increase. We quoted rates at five dollars more than we were used to. We picked a date, January 1st to increase all existing customers charges too. No one batted an eye.

We started our new higher rate for all inquiries as well as existing customers.

We realized a few things. First, we immediately increased our revenue and our profits without any increased costs.

It’s often the fear of the business owner that if you raise your rates you’ll lose your customers. That’s just a fear, not reality. If you’ve been serving your customers consistently well first, they will be less price sensitive. The customer who wasn’t willing to pay your previous price won’t pay your new price either so that isn’t a loss. You’ll actually attract better customers.

I would suggest looking at your pricing and come up with an educated price increase, Pick a price that is modest and not too severe, but is meaningful. Perhaps a five percent increase to start.

If you were to take your annual revenue and increase it by five percent without any additional cost, that’s also a five percent increase in profits.

It’s also said that companies like Apple, Marriott and other higher priced companies also have a higher perceived value.

This is a repeatable revenue and profit builder. You’ll have to decide when the next price increase makes sense. I think that after the results of your first time, you’ll be more comfortable the next time.

To summarize, what are some little things you can do that will up what you are presently doing? When customers first see you doing things to improve their experience, they will be less likely to be resistant to your new, higher price.

How Millennials can partner with retirees for success.

Innovation has created some amazing products, businesses and improvements. Think life before Facebook, iPhones or the Ring doorbell.

Texting used to be sms messages sent over cellular. Now there’s WhatsApp, Apple iMessage and a series of other apps that make it difficult to know the true number or texts sent & received.

Apple says people send as many as 2000.000 iMessages per second.

The problem Start Ups face are they often have one idea and not a lot of knowledge or experience of how to bring it to market and sustain the business and fizzle out before they get going.

Enter the retiree.

Many people and companies use outside consultants to help with a specific strategy or project. These consultants (often retirees) have the knowledge, education and experience to help avoid common pitfalls and mistakes and often help to accelerate the business to a level it may never have reached.

Don’t dismiss a retiree as old school or stale when the real life experience may prove to be invaluable.

People who are great at sales and attracting new customers may not be as successful at maintaining the organization once it’s started.

Consider real life case of an HMO. The people who marketed and sold new members to join the new HMO weren’t really good at maintaining all that goes into running an HMO. The HMO’s Financials suffered and they soon got themselves in trouble with the SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission.

When they hired an experienced, retired HMO executive to lead their organization’s management they were only then able to become a successful HMO. Without the experience of the retired HMO executive to get their financials in shape, they would have gone out of business and possibly incurred criminal charges.

The ket in to partner with someone who compliments your weaknesses. You may be a great idea person, but the experienced retiree may be your ticket to ongoing success

Perhaps considering the innovation of the new idea, matched with the experience that a retiree offers will help accelerate the business to sustainability and growth.

www.billatkinsmarketing.com

The power of a handwritten note

Recently we went to a restaurant we found on Open Table. We had visited New Hope, Pa & Lambertville, NJ many times. It’s located on either side of the Delaware River, on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border. We like trying different places to try something new.

We were impressed the moment we walked in. The restaurants appearance was very nice and we were greeted quickly and our hostess was friendly and we had a nice table. Our waiter, Scott was very polite and attentive. At the end of the meal, when presetting the check, Scott asked if we would mind filling out a comment card?

We filled out the comment card. It’s always a good idea to let the management/owners know how your experience was.

About a week later, we received a post card not from the restaurant or some generic email survey, but from our waiter Scott himself. Of course Scott was representing the restaurant but being from the actual waiter meant so much more.

Too many times, businesses are busy spending a lot of time and money going after that new customer, while forgetting about their existing customer. You see, we had already made a decision to try the restaurant, we were a customer by dining there and now because of this genuine hand written post card after the meal will get us not only to go back again as a repeat customer, but also share this story about our great experience at The Lambertville Station Restaurant & Inn.

You could invest in creating a system of reaching out to existing customers in a creative and personal way to stand out form your competitors.

The next time you are on the NJ/Pennsylvania border consider dining at The Lambertville Station Restaurant & Inn. A great meal, great service and a nice personal follow up too.

Come be a Big Fish in Our Pond

Come be a Big Fish on Our Pond.

An unusual saying, but very true.

When I first started in business, I was small. I started a limousine service with just one vehicle and just one employee, me.

Looking back, I did what a lot of others do when first starting, I tried to look bigger than I really was. After all, if a competitor is bigger, they must be doing something better, right? Maybe.

The problem with this way of thinking is I wasn’t one of the big guys. I didn’t have a big fleet, large staff or even the experience that others may have. It was a struggle to try to get new customers. No one really knew me or my company. I didn’t really have anything to help me stand out in a crowded and competitive space, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I joined and attended the local Chamber of Commerce and went to meetings with a goal to get my name out in the business community. A much larger, very big limousine company was also a member of the Chamber and also attended those same meetings. Not knowing better, I decided that I would compete on being cheaper in price than the bigger competitor. I actually ran ads in the local newspapers showing my price and the bigger competitors higher price next to each other, hoping to get some of their customers.

It was frustrating to attend these meetings where my much larger competitor was bragging about how big they were. Then it happened. At the next meeting I attended, the larger competitor stood and bragged “We have the largest fleet in the area. We have more cars than anyone else. We are the biggest”. When it came for my turn to give my 30 second introduction I stood and said “Did you ever deal with a really big company? Think of the Department of Motor Vehicles, or calling the utility company and being out on hold indefinitely. I hate when companies make me feel unimportant. When you travel with my company, you’ll always be important. We won’t treat you like a number or an inconvenience to us. I’d like to think Come be a big fish in our pond, where it’s YOU that’s important to us”.

It was the start of realizing that I no longer had to compete with another company on their terms again. Customers doing business with my company were the ones who would be benefit. My company being smaller was the advantage over the too big to care companies out there.

The premise of this book is based on how being different is not less, but better for the customer. After all isn’t the customer who should be the most important?

Figuring out what you do differently can be your big advantage over others.

The new book “Dare to be Different” being released in Spring 2019 will give you real life examples of how you can not only survive, but thrive in any economy regardless of who your competition is.

Years later, when my company grew in size and became a bigger company, we still followed the principles of being a smaller company. We had more systems in place to keep the consistency there, but always with the personal touch that made us “different” and better for our customer.

PS - I no longer competed on price again.

Who are you, what do you do?

One of the most common questions you’ll here is “Who are you, what do you do?” 

Often you may respond with the name of your position, I’m a sales person, or an accountant, or a lawyer or another general title that we’ve heard of many times before. The problem here is that once you tell someone your title, you are put you into whatever that means to the person. Maybe there was a bad experience with the accountant the person is thinking about. Even if it wasn’t bad it may have been a neutral position about the category of accountant. You surely don’t want to have your first impression be a bad or even neutral position.

Another reply to the question may be the person’s title. “I’m VP of the eastern Division at my company”. In this case, the person may not have any previous experience to relate what you do, but once again, that doesn’t help you be memorable. You really never answered the question, “what do you do?”. You gave a vague answer that you know what it means, but not a great first impression.

Another answer may be mentioning the name of your company without defining what that means to the other person. “I work for ACME”. 

In the first few seconds, people are sizing you up and forming their first and often lasting impression.  When you frustrate the person by not giving them a clear answer to their question they won ’t remember you in a good way or worse yet forget you entirely.

One way to introduce yourself is knows the Elevator Pitch.

The story originated like this. A writer hoping to get his manuscript in front of the busy movie executive goes to the movie studio and steps into the elevator on the bottom floor. Just as the doors of the elevator are closing, the movie studio’s president holds the door and steps in. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. The time it takes to get from the ground floor to the executives top floor is approximately 30 seconds. Now what?

What do you say that will have an influence on the person you’ve been waiting to meet? Some may use the examples listed above. Saying your position, your title or the name of your company. But as noted above, none of them will most likely score you that connection you so badly wanted to create.

Once you create an elevator pitch that works, you can use that in all your marketing, including your introductions. 

First, you have to know your purpose. If you really think that your marketing should based on a haphazard ride in an elevator and expect to get your biggest sale you may want to rethink that. 

As with all your marketing, you should always have a plan.

Here are some specific ways to craft your winning elevator pitch.

Keep it simple. Use a formula that you can repeat over and over.

Your name, a problem your customer has had, and the way you overcame the problem.

Try coming up with your 4 parts of your perfect elevator pitch.

1. Your name _____________________________

2. Your customers problem: _______________

_____________________________________

3. What you did to solve the problem/pain? 

____________________________________

______________________________________

4. Call to action - what is the next step?

______________________________________

______________________________________

You can try experimenting with your message. Don’t try it on your perfect prospect the first time. Just like if you are going on an interview for your dream job, first go on a series of interviews where your goal isn’t that position, but rather to practice some of the questions and response during the interview.

When people ask you “who are you, what do you do?” use the words and sentences you have prepared and see what the response is?  Are you getting better more meaningful responses? Is the introduction conversation moving forward? Does the other person start asking questions about yourself and sharing more about themselves? If they are it means that you have been effective in building the conversation. That’s a lot better than being forgotten using the same responses that most people use.

Having a plan ahead of time will always help improve your chances of getting to where you want to go. You need to have a plan of what you want to accomplish. 

It may be to set up a follow up meeting. It could be an introduction to meet another person. Know what your goal is before then take the steps to get there.



Which restaurant would you choose?

Each year, my wife & I go to Aruba for a two week vacation. We’ve been going to Aruba for nearly 20 years and love the weather, the people and relaxing own their sunny beach.

Over the years, we’ve frequented our favorite restaurants. There are many great choices. One of our friends we met in Aruba a number of years ago suggested a restaurant that he and his wife frequent. Our friends are going to be staying one of the weeks that we are and we wanted to make reservations to enjoy dinner for a few nights together.

Some restaurants get booked a head of time, We often make our reservations weeks before we actually visit. This year, two of the restaurants we requested to make a reservation for our upcoming trip replied in two very different ways.

First the good response was from a restaurant called Barefoot.

The service is always attentive, the food delicious and the view is great as it’s right on the beach. Sunsets are wonderful to watch while enjoying dinner.

Here’s their reply to our reservation request:

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  • If, for any reason, you will not be able to be here at the reserved date or time, please let us know! We are not the largest restaurant on the island, and if we hold a table for somebody who is not able to come, we must let other people down”So, please, if you cannot make it, let us know!”

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This was a great response. I can see how a restaurant that’s main customer is tourists may have a problem when people don’t show and don’t cancel in advance. Their message was honest and explained;ained their situation in a friendly way.

The other restaurant that we requested to make a reservation replied, but in a very different way.

First the good response was from a restaurant called Azzurro.

Here is their reply to our revelation request:

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Dear valued guest.
Thank you for choosing to reserve with us at Azzurro. To confirm your reservation, we respectfully ask that you read our policy and fill out the form below.

Reservation Policy

Should you arrive 10 minutes or more after your confirmed reservation time, we reserve the right to enforce our cancellation policy (as seen below) to ensure the best possible level of service to all our guests. It is essential that we are notified of any specific dietary requirements prior to your visit to ensure that we can cater for you appropriately. If you have not informed us at the point of booking, please contact the restaurant to discuss your requirements with a member of our team. Tables are allocated on the day by the restaurant team and although we will do everything we can to allocate a table in your preferred area of the dining room, we cannot always guarantee this.

Cancellation Policy

Our restaurant’s continued availability relies on reservations being honored by our customers, and adequate notice being given of any changes or cancellations. Accordingly, the following applies:

  • We reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee for any booking that is cancelled, or if numbers are reduced without prior notice.

  • For all bookings, you must notify us of a cancellation or any changes to the number of guests at least 1week prior to your booking. Please ensure this is done by email azzurro@giannisgroup.com.

  • Azzurro reserves the right to charge a cancellation fee of $35 per person for any bookings changed or cancelled within this 1 week notice period.

  • The cancellation fee reflects the cost incurred by Azzurro in terms of staffing, food, and any lost revenue as a result of turning away other potential bookings.

  • We will notify you if any cancellation fee is applied.

  • Any bookings which fail to turn up without any prior notice, will also incur a $35 per person fee.

  • Where possible, the Azzurro team will actively manage restaurant bookings by checking

    attendance with the main guests/contact we have in our reservation book.

    Reservation Confirmation

    By filling and signing this form, I am authorizing Azzurro to charge my account. I also acknowledge and fully understand the cancellation policies of the restaurant. In the event that I fail to cancel the reservation within the permitted time, I am responsible for the $35 per person charge. At the receipt of this form I understand my reservation will be confirmed.

Cardholder information all information will remain confidential

Credit card Type

Name (as stated on the Card) Credit card number Expiration Date
Security Code

I agree that I will not wave my liability for any of these charges.”

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After getting this reply, we reached out to our friends and decided to not make a reservation with Azzurro’s. The food, staff and restaurant might be great but we’ll never know, because we won’t be dining there.

I am a very easy going person, but I also know it’s my choice where to give my business and dollars to, so Azzurro has helped me make a choice to dine at one of gather competitors.

Does your business have strict, unfriendly policies that turn people away before they even become customers?

From the two examples above, the situation was the same, the difference was how the two restaurants were inviting or not.

Have someone read your fine print and policy before considering sending it out to a customer or prospect.

Dick's Sporting Goods Gets it Right.

When you bring back unwanted gift you received to Dick’s, you’ll get a refund, plus a 15% Off Coupon to be used within 3 hours of the return.

Retailers love the days leading into the busy Christmas holiday and the sales that go along with all those people buying gifts.

The days after Christmas are the ones that many retailers dread. Just how much do businesses give back in returns? Last year, Americans returned about $284 billion in merchandise, according to the National Retail Federation. 

As a retailer, it’s difficult to give back some of those dollars you worked hard for and all those hours to plan, prepare and work on the selling floor. After getting the first few returns the day after Christmas, many retailers ruin all the good will they built to get the customer, who may have never been in their store, by having a restrictive No Return “policy”. Short term you may think you are saving those dollars you would have given away, but what you’e actually doing is frustrating your customer and leaving a bad impression.

Think in the customers point of view. They received something they didn’t want. Instead of putting it in a closet and forgetting about it, they bring back the unwanted item. When the person behind the register gives them a hard time, a bad attitude and states the “Company Policy” the customer isn’t getting what they want - to bring back the unwanted gift.

Dick’s Sporting Goods gets it right. When you bring back unwanted gift you received to Dick’s, you’ll get a refund, plus a 15% Off Coupon to be used within 3 hours of the return. Brilliant.

The customer didn’t want a stressful time. Dicks’ gave the customer what they wanted, a refund, without hassle. Then the brilliant thing is they made it easy for the customer to buy something right there. Within three hours is a fair way to offer the customer something extra. Many times the customer will use the 15% Off coupon to purchase something, plus they’ll buy more than the initial item cost, making the refund become a profit and additional sale for the businesses.

Reciprocation is very powerful. When you give to someone first, the other person is compelled to return the favor.

The result is Dick’s is able to recapture some of the dollars they would have lost and even more importantly turned a dreaded return into a positive sale. And get others, like me, to share this positive story about doing business at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

If you’re a retailer, do you have customer Un-friendy “No Returns Policy” signs at your register or in the fine print on the back of your receipt? You may be loosing a lot more than you think you’re gaining.

I encourage you to be generous to your customers and watch your business and reputation grow.

Is your Automated Customer Experience frustrating your customer?

Many companies are trying to automate the customer experience. At Home Depot, you can order On-Line and pick it up at the front of the store, never having to walk through the store again . At your local supermarket, you can order your entire shopping list On-line, have an employee pick the items and have it bagged up and ready for you to pick up, without walking up and down the aisles yourself. At the airports you can scan your iPhone at the self check in kiosk. But what about when something goes wrong?

Think about who is the airport representative who has to field the frustrated customers questions when they can’t get their airline ticket to scan. Their entire flight is in jeopardy. Since the airline has chosen to automate the process, the representative is most likely not trained well and not a manager or someone who can easily fix the problem. This automation has really ticked off the customer.

Recently, I purchased a replacement tile, a small bluetooth disc you put on your keychain to use to find misplaced keys. The tile lasts for about a year and they you have to order a new one as the battery wears out. This was my third year purchasing a tile. I was happy with the product and happy to purchase another one. I ordered my new tile On-line and received a confirmation letting me know they received my order. About a week later, I received an email letting me know myna tile was shipped and on the way. I received an additional email telling me the delivery date. All good. I next received an email letting me know that the new tile was delivered. The problem was I never received it. I went back to the tile website to see who I can contact to let them know I never received it. I clicked on their contact link and was directed to a “Chat Live” button. Another problem. They didn’t have anyone answering g their Chat Live button. In fact it took over two and a half hours until someone finally came up on their chat live. I explained the situation and their response is I should contact the Post Office, UPS or whoever touched the package during the shipping route. No where during this process was I able to speak to a Live Person and obviously felt they didn’t care and the automated process failed me as their repeat customer. Their automation frustrated me and changed by opinion of them and next year I will most likely forgo purchasing another tile when the battery wears out.

Automation can be great, as long as it doesn’t alienate you from your customer.

What's your Recipe?

When watching makeover TV shows like Bar Rescue there is a common theme. The owners are at odds, disengaged and the staff is poorly trained and there is chaos.

When the host Jon Taffer comes in, he and his assistants work on training the staff to make the drinks perfect along with getting the kitchen cleaned up, having a workable menu that can easily be repeated.

Have you been to a restaurant and enjoyed a great meal, then the next time at the same restaurant, the meal is different? You were then let down as you didn’t get what you expected.

This could be if the cooks are left to do there own thing.

The situation is customers love consistency.

The way that great chef makes her meal be able to be repeatable is using a recipe. It allows another cook to replicate the same meal and once again satisfying the customer.

A great way to make your business different then your competition who may be leaving everything to chance is to have clear, written “recipes” of how to perform in a consistent manner. I think of Marriott or even Dunkin’ Donuts where I can go to any location and get the same consistent experience.

When you measure what the perfect experience you delivered to your customer, break it down into repeatable steps. When you have a written plan it makes it easier for your staff as well as allowing your customer to enjoy that experience and want to repeat it for the next visit.

What’s your recipe?

Help vs Sell

No-one really wants someone to “Sell” them anything.

It’s. big reason why people fail. They may have a great product or service, but don’t have the confidence or think they are “Selling” something that the other person doesn’t want or need.

We hear bad slogans like “Always be Closing” or other cliches that simply are wrong and don’t work. Think of the perception of a car salesperson who is out to trick you and get your money.

You can change everything by learning to switch the word “SELL” with another word “HELP”.

Don’t most people want to help someone else? If you believe you are helping people you’ll start thinking differently. Instead of dreading your next interaction, you’ll welcome it and look for more opportunities to help more people.

You’ll be more eager to look for better ways top know your product better so you can better help someone. In my business I truly believe that when someone was inquiring, I was helping them by providing the best match to the service they need. I love helping people.

If you deal with incoming phone inquiries, and a prospect asks you your price or rate, simply respond with “I can help”, then have a conversation why they will benefit from closing you. Ask questions to better know what it is they are looking for, then how you can help them. Never put down or disparage a competitor, instead, align yourself with meeting and exceeding the needs of the person inquiring.

Get ready for your next inquiry and you can help someone.

Thank you note.

Thank you.

It’s two of the words everyone loves to hear but too often isn’t said.

Watching the tribute to the passing of President George HW Bush something was mentioned again and again. He made every person feel like they were his best friend. Not by being phony but rather by taking time to listen to them and often said “Thank you” by writing hand written Thank you notes.

Imagine the feeling you would have if the President sent you a personal Thank you note.

He was admired by many and at one time had a 94% approval rating, the highest of any President. From leaders of both the Democratic and Republican Party, along with many he encountered he was admired. Vice President Pence mentioned how in August of this year, George HW Bush penned a handwritten note to Pence’s son when he got his wings in the Navy.

You don’t have to be George HW Bush to start building your reputation. Today, you can get in the habit of looking for opportunities to notice the many things that happen everyday that are worth your handwritten Thank you note.

Once you start doing this, you’ll form a habit of appreciating those around you. You’ll actually train your brain to recognize the good in others.

The little bit of time it takes will pale compared to the reputation you build by doing these small acts of kindness.

By doing this, you’ll be creating some of the Thousand points of light that George HW Bush is also known for so eloquently saying.

Let me finish this thought with a “Thank you” to your for reading this message and I hope I can encourage you to start writing Thank you notes.

For a New Year's resolution this year, try offering a subscription plan.

A big New Year’s resolution is to loose weight. Your belly has been big and getting bigger for the last year. Thanksgiving dinners didn’t help either. The idea of having a resolution nears, loosing weight is a common resolution many people make.

New memberships at gyms are up with the biggest increase for the entire year. But those January new members growth is not repeated any other month of the year.

Although sales are always important, retention becomes the profit maker after the new members have. joined.

Health clubs and gyms come up with innovative ways to keep their members interested. From classes and workshops to moving members from occasionally exercising to working with a trainer.

Think about your present customer. They have already shown you a lot of things that make them your perfect customer. They have shown that they have an interest in your product or service. They have actually used your product or service. You may have already paid for them by using advertising or the costs of acquiring a new customer. Those are a lot of drilling down from just anyone to someone who could be a good match for repeat sales.

Some of the most successful companies are already using subscription service successfully. Netflix charges $7.99/month while Amazon charges $119/year. People are already used to subscription pricing. What can you do to offer an ongoing membership? Offer a plan that benefits the customer. Netflix makes income on your monthly subscription fee while Amazons yearly membership allows you to purchase throughout the year with free shipping. You may use one of these strategies that works best for you. They key is to build repeat sales and keep you in front of mind in your customer.

What’s a subscription that you can offer to your customer that will be a benefit to them while creating an income stream that keeps your customer coming back?

The World's Shortest Survey.

Sometimes businesses send you an online survey asking you for ten or fifteen minutes of your time.

Pages and pages of questions with multiple choices and normally nothing that resonates with the customer. Neither the customer or the company benefit.

Whew! That’s a big ask and offers the customer nothing in return.

There is a way to get valuable information without asking too much from your customer.

One question. That’s it.

Here it is:

“You’re one of my best customers. Can I ask you one or two reasons you do business with us?”

Instead of having your customer fill in questions why you “think” they do business with you, why not instead make it an open ended question? You’'ll get answers that you may not have even thought of.

By getting one or two reasons from your customer, you can start to build a profile of what your next customer probably wants too. The more customers you reach out to, the better your specific reasons of why your customers do business with you will be better defined. You can use this specific reasons in all your marketing for future prospects.

Plus, your customer will love that you started by thanking them along with a question that will help you serve them better.

Do away with the long imposing surveys that your customer gets so often it’s like spam and replace it with “The World’s Shortest Survey” (plus when using this as your subject line on your email, you’ll more likely get someone to open it, read it and respond.)

To make it easier, there are plenty of On Line survey websites. You may want to look into Surveymonkey.

Goal Setting

Why do some people and organizations achieve more than others?

Setting a vision and having a clear, specific goal always sets you up for better results. So how do you identify the specific goal?

Think backwards.

What is the picture of what achieving the goal looks like to you?

Think about the end result first. Then start putting the pieces of what has to happen before you achieve that one part of the bigger goal.

Let’s say you want to archive a 10% sales increase. What are some of the ways you can build to get that goal? Perhaps you know that for every 10 outgoing sales calls you make, you set 3 appointments. You there know that making 2 additional sales calls per day for a 5 day work week means a total of 10 additional calls or 2 additional appointments set.

What if you know that calling your existing clients with a thank you call nets you one additional purchase for every ten calls? If you make 2 additional calls per day for the same 5 day work week, nets you one additional purchase.

You can see how once you break down the parts of your goals into small achievable pieces, you can achieve the bigger goal.

The important thing is writing down your goal, along with each piece you need to get there. Before each day, plan how you’re going to get there. After each day, see how you did in accomplishing your bigger goal.

If you didn’t achieve today’s goal take a moment today to plan how to reach tomorrow’s goal.

Professional speakers can improve your team’s performance.

Want to start the new year off with fresh inspiration for your team?

While higher pay and  incentive programs are key factors that guarantee high performance and productivity, they don’t have to be the only tool in your tool box.

Have you ever considered hiring a professional speaker to reinvigorate your team?

Someone who can motivate and engage your team over the course of an afternoon or few day workshop.

Many businesses regularly hire professional speakers because they provide invaluable advice to employees to boost their productivity.

Here’s how speakers can help improve your company performance:

Motivate your team

One of the most influential and important things that professional speakers can bring to the table is their share of success stories.

They share compelling personal stories that are motivating because they are firsthand and come directly from experience.

These speakers provide the kind of validation that we human beings seek from larger-than-life individuals to be able to learn from them and their life-lessons.

They also come up with numerous ways to integrate audience’s expertise with their own life experiences through their powerful words and speech.

The fact that these speakers speak about their journey of successes and failures, and then use these examples to establish a relationship with the audiences s’ experiences ultimately builds a strong connection to inspire your team.

Challenge your team’s perspective

While it is normal for companies and teams to fluctuate between highs and lows in performance, consistent stress and burnouts  can take a toll on your team’s performance.

However, when these speakers talk about their life events, they help their audiences see things differently. They inspire your team to see their tasks in an entirely different light.

For instance, they can enhance the team’s’ ability to look at stress as a challenge and motivator than as a threat or potential danger.

Get your team aligned

Derailment is a risk when your team feels there are contradictory goals, and ideas.

Sometimes team’s performance can dip if they don’t understand the company’s goals and objectives.

A situation like this is usually a result of miscommunications or inconsistencies in the way a messages are delivered.

Misunderstandings concerning a company’s overall targets can lead to stagnation and can also stifle employee motivation.

A professional speaker can  help align paths between the company and its teams where they offer key insights for company growth and directions to improve.

They may also help the teams  identify the overarching  goals to establish a clear trajectory.

These speakers directly align employee performance with the company’s objectives which helps run the business engine and foster a renewed sense of achievement and success.

While pushing people towards creativity, a speaker also provides excellent understanding on the subject of business growth and makes them able to achieve clarity and improvement.

Inspire your team

Tackling problems and performing arduous tasks can often make team members feel like they are stuck, which may result in them feeling unmotivated and uninspired.

It can also be reinvigorating to escape the day-to-day office life to take a breather. In situations like such, reliving stories of others and learning from how they got out of the bland phases of their life can prove to be highly motivating and inspiring.

A little inspiration can go a long way and getting the right speaker for your company can ensure both overall and personal performance.

Get your team engaged

One of the major factors in low morale within teams and inefficiency is when the individuals are disengaged and disconnected.

Research shows that almost every survey of employee engagement has discovered that 60-70% employees in the U.S. are highly disengaged at work.

A gap in morale and motivation like such leads to repercussions in the the team’s relationships,  as well as the company’s productivity.

This goes to show that having someone from the outside to give your employees an experience of a lifetime can help them find motivation and fuel their own growth.

Could your team benefit from being more motivated, inspired, aligned and engaged?  going through any of these problems?

Are you looking for a new and fresh way to reach them? Are you looking to improve your company’s performance?

Consider hiring a speaker from outside your company to bring a fresh perspective.