Creating a Great Customer Experience

Have you ever really thought about why customers decide to buy? What are you doing right when talking to customers? How can you improve on your customer experience to win them over? Let’s look at a general example when it comes to customers calling your business:

A new potential customer may call you inquiring about one of your products. Let’s say you are a new sales representative for the company and are eager to help any new potential customers. You are friendly, respectful, and really do everything you can to help. The customer responds and makes a purchase.
At the same time another potential customer calls inquiring about the same product. A different sales representative interacts with the customer. This seasoned sales representative has already met their sales goals and is excited as the day is ending! While the representative is pleasant, the customer can hear them organizing their desk, moving stacks of paper around, packing their bag, and not really listing to what is being asked. The customer assumes their business is not wanted and the call ends with the customer saying thank you and no sale is made.

What is the real difference in these two examples? It’s really about listening, fully engaging in the conversation you are having, and finding ways to connect with your potential customer. It’s the excitement of really wanting to help the customer which will lead the customer to a purchase.

I have had many experiences just like this. My first interaction with a company is fantastic and I think to myself “wow, this company is great”. My next interaction is a complete disappointment as I don’t receive the same level of service. Creating consistency with the customer experience is not easy but can be achieved.

Whether you are a large company with hundreds of representatives, a small business with a few sales people, or an entrepreneur handling everything on your own here are few tricks to keep the customer experience positive:

  • SMILE – On the phone or in person make sure you smile often! Teach this to your representatives, remind them in sales meetings, smiling changes your tone of voice, this change caries over in person and on the phone. Need to see the study? Check out: Smiles Really Do Boost Sales.
  • STAND UP – If you are on the phone and are feeling off, having a bad day, or just don’t seem to be connecting with your customer standing up will add new energy to the conversation. This works for all types of sales inbound, outbound, or cold calling.
  • REMINDERS – Add a note to your phone or computer screen with a key word. For example if your focus is to enhance the customer experience you might just write “best friend” as a reminder to talk to the potential customer with the same passion you would as if you were talking to a best friend.
  • POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS – Create a list of 5 or 7 possible positive experiences you would like your potential customers to have. Add the list as a screen saver, background, or just post it where you will see it as a reminder when you are talking to customers.
  • LAST QUESTION – Get into the habit of asking each customer “is there anything more I can help you with today?” It’s a pretty simple question and will add to the customers overall experience. Not mention you may possibly receive more sales my simply asking.
    Remember, creating a positive customer experience allows you to start a long term relationship. As you follow up with the customer the relationship will grow into additional sales and referrals!

I have had many people ask me how I am always so positive or always in such a good mood. I would love to say I am always happy and positive 100% of the time! My intention is to have this be my reality and by using these tricks I come pretty darn close!

SWOT Analysis: Acknowledging Your Weaknesses

Last week I talked about strengths, following up from my post on SWOT Analysis:  Simple Tool to Improve Your Business.  If you missed one of these previous posts it may be best to go back and review them in order.

SWOT Analysis:  Simple Tool to Improve Your Business

SWOT Analysis: Defining Your Strengths

Today I will review our discussion on Weaknesses (the “W” in SWOT) as it applies to my business as well as the 15 other small and mid size companies in the exercise.  The discussion on Weaknesses was led by Alan Underkofler Blogger for Follow Up Success and Consultant on follow-up strategies for your business.  (that’s me!)  I started out the discussion just like the previous week.  A brief description on SWOT, and discussed how are we going to interact as a group, as well as setting some guidelines for the discussion.  I really stressed to everyone not to take the feedback personally but really look at the feedback and decide it it’s you or not you, is the weakness real or not real?  The more real and honest the weakness is the more value you will have with the SWOT Analysis.  The group had the following ideas to think about before our discussion insuring each person was prepared with at least four weaknesses:

  • What could you improve?
  • What should you avoid?
  • What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
  • What factors lose you sales?
  • What would your clients say your weaknesses are?

I then picked a few people in the group to start sharing their weaknesses.  Here is some of the discussion:

  • Rufino Autus, Independent Financial Planner for Autus Financial group listed his weaknesses is as, organization skills, time management, procrastination, prioritizing call backs, and at times when meeting with clients he tends to over educate or give them too much information.  Kerry Klindtwoth, a Realtor with Keller Williams suggested hiring an assistant and committing to a calendar system.  The group also talked about the perceptions we have of Rufino and making sure they are in line with who he is or wants to be.
  • Owen Fabert, Consultant for Pampered Chef listed his weaknesses is as lack of organization, lack of self confidence, uncomfortable in a leadership roles, follow up, easily distracted, and listening.  Paula Sassi, owner of Handwriting Consultants International added “What you perceive of yourself is not how we perceive you” .  The group all agreed Owen is a leader and we could see no self confidence issues.  Angie Swartz, Executive Coach and Blogger for Six Figure Moms Club quoted Howard Schultz Chairman and CEO of Starbucks on the challenge of facing obstacles and doubt while working through something unfamiliar and uncomfortable, “There’s a fine line between self-doubt and self-confidence, and it’s even possible to feel both emotions simultaneously.  Back then, and often enough today, I could  be overwhelmed with insecurities, and at the same time have an abundance of self-assurance and faith.”  Angie points out most people striving for greatness have this same feeling.  It’s not that you are not a leader it’s that you are striving to grow yourself at all times.
  • Ted Pittman, Owner of T.L.E. Promotional Products listed his weaknesses as organization, some limits on capabilities, small size of company, procrastination, awareness of his company in the market.  I added one of the products Ted provides is corporate apparel and suggested he should be wearing logoed apparel to promote his brand and business.  Angie asked about sponsoring events and suggested donating products with his company logo on the products to create more awareness.

With this discussion on weaknesses, I found myself looking at different areas of my life, both business and personal, where all of these weaknesses have come up for me at one time or another.  Time management, clients and potential clients perception of me, talking too fast, and even working too much are all areas I am currently working on.  Listening to the other members of the group really allowed me to identify weaknesses from my past, reflecting on these past weaknesses is a great way to insure they do not show up again.

My last thought on this discussion of weaknesses is no matter what your weakness is you can change it.  If it’s truly a weakness you cannot change the easiest solution is to surround yourself with people that excel in your weakness.  If organization is a weakness for you, hire very organized people.  If time management is a weakness for you, identify your highest priorities and schedule them into your day.  We have solutions to each of our weaknesses, most times right in front of us.  Quoting my friend John Assaraf, founder of One Coach “hire people that play at things you are not good at”.

As we move along in our SWOT Analysis reflect on your newly discovered strengths and weakness.  You can start amplifying your strengths and eliminating your weaknesses anytime.  If you have started making changes in your business from reading about SWOT please share them with us by leaving a comment.

Next week our discussion will be on Opportunities (the “O” in SWOT).

Changing One Family’s Poverty: You Make the Difference!

This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day, joining thousands of other bloggers to write about one topic for a single day. This year’s topic is poverty.

I remember three years ago driving into Mexico for my first Corazon project. I was a member of Rancho Bernardo Sunrise Rotary and we were going into one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tijuana to build a home as one of our Rotary International projects. As we were driving to the site on a dirt road, rocking back and forth from the dips and holes, avoiding random abandoned trash piles and cars, I remember looking around and taking in the environment.

The dirt road, lined with trash, dogs running all over, and in the center a small steady stream of really dirty water I would later find out was the main sewer line for the neighborhood containing everything from runoff to human waste. Riding in the comfort of our cars was a bit surreal. We purchase our cars to drive to and from work, shuttle our kids around, or to keep up with our lifestyle, not really thinking much about it. Here in this neighborhood the cost of most of the cars in our caravan could provide five homes and completely change the lives of five families. The nice homes on this street were stone block or a simple wood design similar to what we were building this day. The average homes were made of old garage doors, wood pallets, and random materials, combined all together turning into some kind of complete structure. The worst of the homes were made of anything they could find, wood, cardboard, plastic sheets, a complete hodgepodge of materials, open and exposed to the environment around them.

When we finally arrived at our site I saw a stack of wood piled high in the center of a just set cement foundation, and a family standing to greet the group of people who were going to build a new home for them. The family is receiving their home through Corazon which has an amazing program where families earn their home by volunteering in their own community.

Our first step is to sort all of the materials so the assigned teams could start their projects of painting, cutting, and building. As the hours pass you start to see walls being formed, and then placed into position. By lunch the roof is framed, plywood is being handed up, and just as this is complete you hear the constant humming of hammers as the shingles are put into place. While this is going on another group is painting inside and out, a small counter for cooking is being tiled, and windows are installed.

It amazing to think about this process of building homes with Corazon, 50 people coming together to build a simple home, most have no construction skills, yet here we are, the day is over, and the home is finished. All of the volunteers gather around as the family has written a letter of gratitude which is now being read to the group. The last and best step to this process is handing the keys to the family for their new home.

Driving back home, slowing with the Tijuana border traffic, in front of me I have a perfect view of downtown San Diego, beautiful skyline, Coronado Bridge, all the city lights, my comfortable life awaits. Behind me, just an hour away from where I live is all this poverty, the poor neighborhood, where we just changed the lives of one family. For me I get that feeling in my gut, in my heart, in my mind, I have so much more to do. It’s not about one family for me one time per year. My path is leading me to many more experiences as I know one person in this world can make the difference to millions. I know I will positively affect the lives of millions of people through humanitarian projects I personally create, fund, or participate in. Projects like this home in Mexico are just one small step on my path, on my journey.

My last thought are for those who are most likely not on the same path as me. Follow Up Success is about attracting clients and increasing your referrals. I write about follow up strategies, marketing, sales, relationship marketing, networking, client retention, and resources for your business. Building homes in Mexico accomplishes many of these topics. It does not have to be homes in Mexico, any type of service projects in and outside of your community will help your business. By pulling clients, customers, and friends together with other people from your community you will forge strong relationships. These relationships will create many opportunities for you and your business. The benefits from helping others are endless! If you have experiences where helping others through service has helped your business, please support this post by making a comment and sharing it with everyone.

SWOT Analysis: Defining Your Strengths

In my last post, SWOT Analysis: Simple Tool to Improve Your Business, I gave an overview of SWOT and talked about a few of the benefits of applying a SWOT Analysis to your businesses or to yourself as a business professional. As I mentioned in my previous post I am part of a small group of business owners and sales professionals who have committed to SWOT exercise for the next four weeks. The format for our SWOT exercise is fairly simple. We meet each week prepared to discuss the current element of SWOT as it pertains to our business or ourselves. We then discuss our findings with the group getting valuable feedback from the other participants in the exercise.  This allows us the ability to further refine our SWOT Analysis.

Today I will review our discussion on Strengths (the “S” in SWOT) as it applies to my business as well as the 15 other small and mid size companies in the exercise. The discussion on Strengths was led by Kerry Klindtworth a realtor with Keller Williams. Kerry started out the discussion with a brief description of SWOT using sites like Mind Tools as references and discussed examples of different strengths from the site. These included the following ideas:

  • What advantages does your company have?
  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What unique or lowest-cost resources do you have access to?
  • What do people in your market see as your strengths?
  • What factors mean that you “get the sale?”

Kerry started engaging the participants asking them to share their strengths with group. Once they were complete the group would question, add, and help refine the Strengths of that person. Here is some of the discussion:

  • Paula Sassi, Certified Graphologist and owner of Handwriting Consultants International listed her strengths as; 28 years of experience, knowledgeable, timely response (responding to client requests within 24 hours), very easy to contact, great speaker, and entertainer for special events as well as tradeshows. Kerry added “Paula is an expert in her field”. Rufino Autus, Financial Advisor with Autus Financial Group added “Paula is a straight talker and has a unique business for her market”.
  • Justin Stewart, Customer Service Supervisor with San Diego National Bank listed his strengths as; builds rapport with customers quickly, passionate about what he does, thinks outside of the box to find solutions, privately owned local bank, 11 years in banking, and constantly expanding his banking knowledge. Rufino added “Justin loves what he does”. Jexter Isip, IT Consultant and Principal of Dedicated Network Solutions added “Justin is amazing with followup insuring his customers know he values them”.
  • Cathy Peterson, Insurance Agent with Farmers Insurance listed her strengths as; great followup, vast insurance knowledge, and a personal passion to insure her clients have the right coverage. I added “Cathy not only has great followup, she has great follow thru! Always keeping you up to date with referrals she has received”. Jexter added “Cathy has great communication during and after the process of buying insurance”.

So how did I do in this process? What are the strengths of Alan Underkofler, Blogger for Follow Up Success, Consultant on followup strategies for your business, quickly becoming a go to person in the world of Social Media, Speaker, and soon to be published Author. Like everyone else in the process I took time to really reflect on my strengths in regards to my business. The strengths that I listed were; simple tools, unique solutions, cost effective, ease of implementation, 12 years of marketing experience working with both Fortune 500 companies and brand new at home startups, passion for followup, and enthusiasm to help clients achieve desired results. The group confirmed my strengths and added passion and enthusiasm.

Passion and enthusiasm have been strengths of mine for a long time! Passion and enthusiasm has always propelled me to my next challenge in business. Passion and enthusiasm pushed me to go after clients that everyone said were impossible to get, I was blind and deaf to the reasons they gave me! Passion and enthusiasm pushed me to commit to writing inventory and category management software that was unprecedented in our industry, I was blind to the fact that this was not possible! Passion and enthusiasm is what pushes me now… Right now! Pushing to be a blogger, pushing me to complete my book, pushing me to be a better speaker, pushing me to be a top producer in everything I do! I am blinded by my passion and enthusiasm! For me passion and enthusiasm allows me to be blind to failure and negativity, when you can’t see failure or negativity you can’t fail and you have no choice but to be positive! No choice but to be positive!

Obviously I got a bit more out of this than I ever expected! Hopefully you did too! This last paragraph was not about this post. It was about me and what I needed to hear! So, thank you for being a part of it!  What are your strengths, what inspire your passion and enthusiasm, what propels you to succeed?

Look for next week’s post as we take a closer look at Weaknesses (the “W” in SWOT).

SWOT Analysis: Simple Tool to Improve Your Business

SWOT Analysis is strategic planning method and effective tool to help you understand your Strengths and Weaknesses, and identify the Opportunities and Threats facing your business.  The analysis was created by Albert Humphrey during a research project at Stanford University using data from Fortune 500 companies.  Using SWOT you are looking at the internal and external factors of your business.  Internal factors would be your strengths and weakness while the external factors are the opportunities and threats.  Taking a look at these factors can help you apply your resources and capabilities to your market.

The reason SWOT is so powerful is that in a few hours you can discover opportunities within your business to expand or develop.  Exploring your business weaknesses will allow you to change or eliminate a negative pattern or element of your business you may be unaware of.  As you look at your businesses as well as your competitors using SWOT you will begin to see what sets you apart from your competition and then focusing on these discoveries can give you the competitive edge you are looking for.

SWOT Analysis can be completed by you, with a consultant or coach, with your management team, or with a group of business owners in your network.  The value of bringing others into the discussion is the discovery of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you may not see on your own.  This should make your analysis more complete and powerful.

The benefit of participating in a SWOT Analysis for small and large business as well as solopreneurs and individuals are dramatic.  Starting next week I will be discussing each element of the SWOT Analysis with a group of small business owners and will share with you what we discover.  The goal is to give you real life examples of how to use SWOT and how it can make a difference in your business.

So you might be asking yourself how does SWOT relate to followup?  Followup will show up as a strength or a weakness for you and your business.  If it’s identified as a strength you might look for ways to improve on what you are already doing.  If followup is identified as a weakness then focusing on followup systems for your business will give you a huge advantage in your market.

Are You A Multitasking Follow Up Extremist?

In an effort to follow up with new contacts and customer requests I often find myself multitasking, I am sure you can relate! Managing multiple projects and tasks is not new to me by any means. As a Sales Professional either in a corporate environment or as a business owner multitasking becomes an art! I find myself always exploring new ways to get more things done!  I tend to create new habits to squeeze just a few more minutes from my day. As with all new habits and processes we create to achieve more, sometimes it’s good to reflect on the cost these new patterns have.

Yesterday I found myself driving down the road talking on my cell phone, answering a text, switching to my email to respond to a request and just for good measure checking in on Twitter! All of this reminded me of a recent email forwarded to me from Harvard Business Publishing regarding texting while driving!

Is texting while driving really worse than driving under the influence?

A recent study by the RAC Foundation based in London found the average reaction times slowed by 35% while writing or reading texts!  Compare this to the 21% slower reaction from those who had taken cannabis and 12% slower among those who had drunk to the legal limit! A January 2007 survey by U.S.-based Nationwide Insurance suggested 19 per cent of motorists said they texted while driving.  I am sure among my network of friends and colleagues this number would increase to well over 50%!  Are you thinking to yourself…  “this is great but I am an amazing multi-tasker!”? Look at this video of Richard Westcott testing the effects of texting while driving using a simulator.

Take a moment and really think about the urge to read or respond to a text while driving.  Is it really worth the cost?  Can it wait until you arrive at your next destination?  I am all about great follow up and have definitely been known to be an extremist but even I am rethinking some of my habits in regards to multitasking.  Having reviewed the study, I think about a few close calls I have had over the last year while driving on the phone and texting, reading emails, and checking twitter.  For you this might be checking the news, sports, stock market, or the weather.  Whichever other activity you are choosing while driving, hopefully this post will allow you to reevaluate the possible cost!

Take a moment and really think about the urge to read or respond to a text while driving.  Is it really worth the cost?  Can it wait until you arrive at your next destination?  I am all about great follow up and have definitely been known to be an extremist but even I am rethinking some of my habits in regards to multitasking.  Having reviewed the study, I think about a few close calls I have had over the last year while driving on the phone and texting, reading emails, and checking twitter.  For you this might be checking the news, sports, stock market, or the weather.  Whichever other activity you are choosing while driving, hopefully this post will allow you to reevaluate the possible cost!

Successful Networking: Mastering YOUR 60 Second Commercial

Yesterday I visited a Business Networking International (BNI) group in Del Mar. BNI is a group of business professionals who meet weekly to exchange business referrals. I was asked to come and fill in for one of their members Rick Itzkowich owner of Productive Learning and Leisure and writer for the Xtraordinary Living Blog. BNI requests members to have a substitute when they are not able to attend the meeting.

It was a lively group at 6:45 a.m. and they were very welcoming. As the meeting progressed we arrived to the presentation portion. BNI typically has a few members speak more in depth about their business and the type of referrals they are looking for. At this meeting Riley Cardwell, a business coach and BNI Director for San Diego was attending so the leadership skipped the member presentations. Riley did however do an amazing presentation on creating your successful Sales Manager Minute (SMM), or what to say when you are at a networking event in 30 to 60 seconds. Here is what Riley discussed:

 

Part 1

Your Name

Your Company Name

What you do

 

Part 2

Briefly describe ONE of the products/services you offer

BNI calls this your LCD or Lowest Common Denominator. What you want to do is break down your service or product into its most basic from (LCD).

A plumber might talk about replacing old piping in the house, a financial planner could discus the value of an IRA, Real Estate Agents may talk about how they work with first time home buyers.

 

Part 3

What will your product or service do for the referral you’re looking for? Why do they buy this from you?

What you really want to describe here is the benefit of your product or service. Telling a brief story is often very helpful. Riley asked a few of the BNI members what their benefits were.

  • Suzanne Rhodes with Proforma Pepper Promotions offered employee retention as a benefit.
  • Bob Johnson with Coronado Catering talked about the joy of experiencing your party by allowing Coronado Catering to handle all the work.

 

Part 4

Do the Ask!: “The referral/introduction I’m looking for today is…” What to look for (WTLF); be extra-specific.

Tell your sales force what action to take for you. Give them a “conversation starter” What to say for you (WTS).

The idea here is to ask for the contact at a specific company you are trying to meet or when someone is at a party with friends you want them to know what to listen for which may lead to the referral.

  • Cal Campbell owner of Cal’s Plumbing, Inc. said to listen for people complaining about lack of hot water.
  • Gretchen Seitz, L.Ac. owner of Seitz Acupuncture told the group to listen for people who are suffering from migraines.
  • Dr. Rhonda Lilien a Chiropractor with La Jolla Integrative Health asked the group to look for people who had difficulty turning their head.
  • John Naviaux, Registered Investment Advisor Representative with Western Financial Advisors offered the group a (WTS), “I know a financial advisor that has access to a lot of investment options”.

 

Part 5

Your Name

Your Company Name

“And Remember… (memory hook)

A memory hook is something you say at the end of your SMM that helps people remember who you are. Most times these are catchy phrases that relate to what you do. Here are some examples:

  • Promotional Products: If you want them to remember you, then remember me!
  • Plumber: If your pipes don’t flow you know where to go
  • Caterer: Little or small we cater them all
  • Chiropractor: When your spine s in line, you will feel fine!
  • Financial Planner: Doctors save lives, I save lifestyles

Why not take a moment and review your 60 second commercial to insure you are covering all these parts. A successful Sales Manager Minute or 60 second commercial can easily double your referrals in your networking group. This process will increase the number of referrals you are receiving as well as make your networking group far more dynamic.

You Already Have Your NEXT New Customer!

What is the value of our current customers? In sales it seems we are always striving to get the next customer… So much of our time and effort is spent towards new customers. As sales professionals we do many things to get the next customer or client. Our sales cycle could be hours, days, months, or even years. All of this work just to get the next new customer.

And then it happens! We win the next contract, get the new client, win over our newest customer. Depending on what you are selling you may or may not have some role with this new customer , possibly in training, roll out, or just insuring the sale is complete. At some point our new sale is finished. You are done, the sale is final, and hopefully you have been paid, only to move on to do the cycle all over again. Spend all that time and energy to get the next new customer again.

So that’s it! Let’s move on to the next customer! Right? Wrong! Who is more important to follow up with? New leads, old leads, or existing customers? Existing customers! Don’t get me wrong, you always need to have a constant flow of new customers. My point is the customers you already have are a great resource for new ones! John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing talks about this in his article What’s Your Referral Number? John suggests creating a percentage baseline for the number of clients referring business to you. Finding this number will allow you to improve on your processes so you can achieve the maximum referrals from your clients. Following up with your current customers will not only help you with your customer retention, it will also lead you to new customers. Why not start tomorrow by calling 10 customers you have not spoken to in the last 30 days. Just check in with them and see how they are doing. Make sure they are happy with your product or service. Ask them if you can do anything for them. It shows great customer service and you might just receive a referral to your next new client!

Remember the time you focus on your current customers will allow you to attract new clients with ease. Sometimes the all alluring next new client is right in front of you! All you need to do if followup, stay engaged, and build on the relationship you have already created.

Twitter: Engaging Participants at Your Next Workshop or Seminar

I am relatively new to Twitter having just set up my account a few months ago. I started using it in conjunction with my Facebook account for status updates. I remember thinking what could I possibly do with a micro blog where I can only post 140 characters? It seemed like I was using two social media platforms for no good reason but I was committed to search out the value of Twitter! Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and read other users updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 character in length. You can find out more about Twitter on Wikipedia.

The value of Twitter seemed to really present itself when I arrived at Blog World Expo. Twitter was used heavily throughout the entire conference. The organizers of Blog World created a hash code (an event code) and instructed everyone to label their micro-blogging with #bwe08 when twitting about Blog World. This was an ingenious way to keep everyone at the conference informed about schedule changes, social events, lunch, event details, and even real time class participation. (Not to mention a great marketing tool for the following year’s conference because not only could this year’s participants read the twits, but anyone on Twitter around the world could also participate. Talk about wetting someone’s appetite for future conferences. People from all over the country and world were weighing in and asking questions about sessions they couldn’t attend and didn’t pay for. How cool is that?)

So how did this make such a big difference? With everyone micro blogging using the #bwe08 you were able to search Twitter and bring up all the posts regarding Blog World. This gave me a running feed from people attending the workshop I was in as well as the many other workshops I could not make. It was like I was attending multiple workshops at the same time. On top of that most of the workshops had the feed up on the screen or created a new hash code for the workshop we were in like #cred.

As the expo continued the twitting evolved to an entire new level. Attendees started adding value to each workshop with comments, questions, and posting links to sites being discussed. The speakers and panelists of each workshop were reviewing the tweets as they showed up on the screens during the discussion. Many speakers would answer the questions real time and go into more detail based on what they were seeing.

Additionally, I can now go back and search these twits and use them as notes to remember what I learned in each session.

The end result was an amazing interaction at each workshop. A truly enlightening experience for me on how new media can make a big difference. I can’t wait for the next workshop or seminar I attend where the organizers are using twitter to interact with the participants.

I have discovered many additional uses for Twitter, future topics will include:

  • Using Twitter to enhance the customer experience
  • Large companies using Twitter to connect with their customers
  • Following up with new contacts on Twitter

How are you using Twitter? Are you or your company using Twitter to interact with clients or prospects? Become part of the conversation and add a comment on your experience with Twitter.

Tradeshows Like Blog World Expo Create Connection Explosions

I just attended The Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. My expectations were very mixed. I really had no idea what I was getting into. My goal was to meet new people, successful bloggers, and to learn how to make Follow Up Success the go-to resource for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals.

The Expo far exceeded my expectations. I attended some amazing breakout sessions with all types of bloggers both on the panel and in the audience. I had great discussions with bloggers, companies that support bloggers, and people of all levels in the blogosphere. For example, I met people I never imagined would be there like:

A good friend of mine and fellow blogger asked me today how I was going to follow up with all the people I met. (Is she joking? Does she not read my blog?) So how am I going to follow up with all these new contacts? To start, I am going to do what I have talked about in this blog 7 Steps to Follow Up Success of course! Everyone will be getting an email from me today letting them know how much I appreciated meeting them. I will also add the social platforms I use to stay connected to people in my network; LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Over the next few weeks I will be calling these contacts to learn more about them and explore ways I might be able to help them.

I am still digesting all the great information from Blog World and already know this experience has made a huge impact on me. I’ll be writing about this more in the future but for now, here are just a few of the highlights that really stick out:

  • New Media – Now’s the time to ride the wave and implement new tools…you can be a pioneer, opportunities are endless.
  • Twitter – The powerful use of a new tool…ruling the top trended topics, what could this mean for your business?
  • How companies like Comcast are using social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to expand the customer experience and add a new layer to customer service.
  • CNN and Twitter – CNN is using Twitter to pull in live questions and engage their viewers. How can you use this strategy in your business to engage your customers?
  • Are bloggers just crazy people with too much time on their hands? I will admit this may have been somewhere in the back of my head before attending the expo. Now I realize they are a group of professionals, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and writers. With that in mind how can you use blogging to support your business and follow up activities?

The blog world has a space for you too!  Reading blogs, making comments on posts, or starting your own blog are great action steps to enhance your business success!   If you would like a taste of what it was like at Blog World Expo check out Ryan Hupfer’s great post and video, It’s All About The Connections: Thoughts, Highlights, And Lessons Learned From Blog World Expo 08.  Lastly, consider attending Blog World Expo 09 or BlogHer in San Francisco next year.  Both conferences get rave reviews.   They are well worth the reasonable registration fees…which by the way are discounted if you twitter.  The expo was a rich experience for me and I enjoyed it so much I might just offer to speak myself next year.  We’ll see.