Monthly Archives: October 2015

Oh NO! What If All You Heard from Prospects was Yes?

OH NO! What If All You Heard from Prospects was Yes?
By Talmar Anderson

We talked about customer service recently and after my experiences today it reminded me of one of my favorite topics.  Planning for success!  Oh, I know you all think that is what you are planning for, right?  Not planning to fail.  Risk assessment is part of that strategic consideration.  We often spend time considering how we will define a minimum requirement for operational costs and break even points when setting goals.  How many do I need to sell to NOT go out of business? Business owners can forget to plan for something that is just as possible…sometimes more so! And that leads nicely into my inspiration for today’s blog post…My first Blab!

Blab is a new and exciting video streaming tool that is going to be a wonderful bridge between you and your audience.  Wherever you are.  Wherever they are. Live Q & A or content delivering all while creating informal video content to help drive your SEO…oh yeah!  (Learn more by checking out my Business Side of Business Podcast on Blab!) I am not an affiliate. I am however very interested in this technology

Anyway, as I prepared to be interviewed on my first Blab appearance a common growth problem came up.  Everything went right!  What I mean is, it seemed like there were so many users trying to log onto this hosted site at one time (10:00am EST – sound like a commonly used meet up possibility?) that Blab broke.  As I write this it is all conjecture.  I am not informed on why Blab was not working for anyone but the specificity of the time (especially as my interviewer had diligently checked the site earlier. Blab is very careful to explain they are still in Beta. Read “Beta” as: living and learning phase of technology development) lead me to speculate that they had more users coming on line than the platform was built to handle.

Capacity issues can happen to ANY company during a launch or sudden growthA clothing manufacturer can run out of inventory on the most unexpected color. A professional services firm can run out of staff with available billable hours. An online platform company can have a blank and unresponsive website when the best possible number of clients wants your company’s offerings all at the same time!

The lesson? Your strategic plan HAS To consider what if it all goes correctly.  What if 100% of your sale campaign market takes advantage of the offer?  Have you researched what other resources you could pull from?  Do you have competitors or others in adjacent industries you could hire or outsource the work to?  Do you know how your fulfillment company will handle a new expedited order?  What if the order needed to be 10 times as large?

Planning for crazy success has some great benefits. Planning for high response and engagements lets a business owner truly start considering how scalability is going to work within the company. Going down this path of “what if”s lets us consider alternatives before we have a driving or overwhelming immediate need.  This, of course, allows time to make the best possible decisions and start building those relationships and resource channels now!  Having these options accessible in high pressure moments can, not just save your sanity, but save your company’s reputation.

There is one more great benefit for planning for success and everything going right.  Dedicating time and consideration brings you that much closer to believing it will happen.  How much fun would it be if everyone agreed that your company was THE ONE with the right solution for them?  Can you see all the exciting possibilities and opportunities? NOW we are talking growth and scalability, my friends!

Want more Talmar? Check it out here!

Is Your Price Increase going to Make Your Clients Happier?

Is your price increase going to make your clients happier?
Higher prices mean better service so Get Your Operations Organized!!
By Talmar Anderson

Deciding to increase pricing can be a difficult piece in any business if you do not make it a regular part of your strategic review process. Is now the right time for a price increase?  Are you worried how the customer will respond? If you are a company that understands both the business need and the market demand that should be involved with a fee or pricing increase, there is a way to make sure success and happy customers are on the other end of those new price quotes. We need to ensure we deliver on every touch outside of the product or service delivery time. “Ummm, but aren’t the clients buying the product? Isn’t that the point?” Yes, and no.

Yes, I am SURE you are brilliant at what your business offers and have got down that repeatable process.  Now, I want to ask about ALL the other repeatable processes that your clients crave and covet.  In fact, this piece is where your business can turn clients into;

  • fans that understand the value and barely consider the pricing when writing checks

OR

  • reputation & growth stoppers that lightning fast switch from current to previous clients

Customer service is where you add high level value that give your clients confidence in you, your business and allows them to trust you to steward their needs.

Think about your own experiences. Have you ever dropped a restaurant from your neighborhood rotation after saying, “The food was alright but phew, that bad service!”? Or have you ever chosen a restaurant because of the ambiance and great service instead of thinking of the food items on the menu first?

What about shopping in a high end store? It’s the always smiling assistants and the complimentary conversation you get from everyone.  I mean…it is a shirt.  You could buy it online, right?

Here is a big list of client engagement processes that will support your higher pricing. Consider how your business handles each of these.

  • On boarding new clients/customers
  • Billing, payments and credit card changes
  • Appointment setting, reminders and follow up
  • Prospect calls and appointments
  • Contract /engagement renewal
  • End of engagement
  • Support options and contact details for outside engagement needs
  • Resource or Recommendation management
  • Marketing process – don’t keep selling to a closed client…they should be on a different list!
  • Questions – Even if you think you have laid out the answers, higher value and there ore higher priced businesses  will always offer a place to direct your questions

The key to happy clients, whatever your price, is not just to set up these processes but to communicate HOW to use these processes from the moment one of them converts to your client. A business needs to set expectation early – when and how clients can engage with each of these processes. Make sure your customer always know what is going on by setting expectation Number 2: each process will need to communicate an anticipated response time. If your clients know it could take 48 hours – it keeps panic of being lost in the shuffle at bay! The last piece should be obvious, make sure your business meets or exceeds these promises! Timeliness is the definition

If this sounds like a lot …it is.  If you have not already, it is time to start hiring your support team.  A growing and profitable business will require more than your 2,080 hours a year and will be better served if it is not all on you.  Did you hear that?  YOUR business will be happier and even better if you get help!  

Understanding this need for hiring NOW will allow you to value price your services with consideration to your growing staff costs!  Clients will value knowing they don’t have to wait for you to finish with other clients to get responses to their questions.  Clients will value knowing that their immediate need is someone’s priority – not necessarily waiting on a list for you to “get to” between meetings. That operational contact and organization can either stop growth in its tracks or turn your satisfied client into a full voiced and excited advocate! The later would make ME happy as a business owner, what about you?

Want more Talmar? Check it out here!