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Want More Sales? Cake & Business #Networking Group- #Stoke – Tuesday 5 August 6.30-8.30pm

A new Stoke based open-networking club has launched very successfully by local businesses in conjunction with the Coffee Lounge in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent will be meeting again this month, and highly recommended by us to attend.

The next meeting is Tuesday 5 August at the Coffee Lounge, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 2AA from 6.30-8.30pm and every first Tuesday of each month thereafter.

Come along to network, listen to the guest speaker, make business contacts and get to know other professionals living and working in Stoke and Staffordshire in an informal environment + enjoy some great food and coffee from the Coffee Lounge itself.

For more information and to confirm attendance on 5 August please contact:

connects@thecoffeelounge.org.uk or www.thecoffeelounge.org.uk

To download the event flyer with all the details – PLEASE CLICK HERE

Please let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels by reposting this wherever you find it – Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook or Google+.

Look forward to meeting local business ourselves on the night. If you want more advice or guidance on your open networking & how to get the most out of it then please get in touch via linked-in.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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First Thursday Club – Stafford #Networking Group – Thursday 7 August 5-7pm

The new Stafford based open-networking club launched very successfully last month by local businesses in conjunction with the Staffordshire Chamber Of Commerce’s FINEST sub-group for professionals in the County will be meeting again next month, and highly recommended by us to attend.

The next meeting is Thursday 7 August at the Swan Hotel Café, Stafford, from 5-7pm and every first Thursday of each month thereafter.

Come along to network, make business contacts and get to know other professionals living and working in Stafford in an informal environment. Over the first meetings, we personally met 6 new professionals working in Stafford and reconnected with 4 others, a great result from any open networking environment especially with follow-up 121s.

For more information and to confirm attendance on 7 August please contact:

Louise Dubber – louise.dubber@staffordshirechambers.co.uk
Debbie Streeton – deborah.j.streeton@hsbc.com
Amy Glover – amy@jobsonssolicitors.co.uk
Please let all your friends and business acquaintances know through the normal social media channels by reposting this wherever you find it – Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook or Google+.

Look forward to meeting local business ourselves on the night. If you want more advice or guidance on your open networking & how to get the most out of it then please get in touch via linked-in.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want To Avoid Paying More Tax? Use Your Married Status Wisely!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

These great tips are again thanks to Paul Woodcock, Director of top local accountants PJW Accounting based in Rugeley.

Today is no exception with yet another excellent one-page of easy reading on this topic- “Are you married? Splitting Income- with flexibility”:

“For anyone who reads my LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140722155036-75256715-the-6-tax-and-other-financial-advantages-of-being-married?trk=mp-edit-rr-posts this week’s tax tip fits in well with the theme of the tax advantages of being married.

As a married couple you can move assets between you without it affecting your Capital Gains or Inheritance Tax position. You might want to do this if one of you in the relationship pays a lower rate of tax. However, you need to elect to the Taxman to have the income from those assets split unevenly and this might not be helpful if your circumstances change in the future. So is there a way in which you can build in some flexibility to take account of your changing circumstances….  Read on…”

CLICK HERE TO READ HOW TO SAVE MONEY BY NOT PAYING MORE TAX!

If you want to talk to Paul on more top tax tips to help your business then please contact him via Linked-in or call him on 01889 586431.

Watch out for more top tips on all sorts of subjects from local experts.

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let me know via Linked-in

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want More Sales? Get Even More Focus!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

This one is again is from our old friend Simon Chaplin from GreenStones’s, a great firm of Accountants in Peterborough, and Socks-Up-Simon which was founded to INSPIRE, CHALLENGE and SUPPORT business owners, managers and their teams to be the best they want to be.  This follows up on the previous post with his great tip about being specific and being focused on your target market to get more sales leads an referrals – To read CLICK HERE.

Let’s leave Simon to explain!

“A couple of blogs ago I shared the Most Wanted sheet we use at GreenStones.

If you have not seen that blog you’d best follow this link…. http://www.socksupsimon.com/wanted

And in the last blog I shared a couple of things we do to make the Most Wanted sheet more impactful.

If you have not seen that one visit… http://www.socksupsimon.com/wanted-2

Once you have read both those blogs here are some more ideas on how you can use it.In addition to just having a sheet to show customers when you are speaking to them.

Here’s the first…. Blow the sheet up to A0 size and put some copies in the windows that face the road at your office.  Here’s how it looks at GreenStones…

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People might be able to see the logos as they drive by but it certainly Provokes some interest.  We have even had people walk back along the road to see what it says!

And the second…  Put another A0 Size poster in an A Frame in your car park or if you are allowed on the pavement outside your office.

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That way everyone who comes to see you gets to see your most wanted before they have even stepped into the office!

And the third…  Put a copy on the meeting room table so when people come in they can look at it whilst they are waiting for you.

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Stuart Ramsay at Accountancy Extra (I work with Stuart on a one to one basis and through Darners – See www.socksupsimon.com/bookatestdrive if you want to see what that is all about) has taken this idea one step further and produced some mini pop up banners the can take wherever he goes.

And the fourth…  I know not all business offer their customers a menu of drinks when they come to visit them but if you do why not stick it on the menu?  We came up with this idea as people were getting to ask using the sheets. Even though it was on the agenda!

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This way everyone gets asked as soon as they sit down!

Any finally…..  On the way out we ask everyone to give us feedback on the meeting they have just had.  That is the machine on the right of this picture.

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And on the table is the final copy (apart from the one in the car park and the one in the window) for then to look at as they leave.

Now, you might consider this overkill. If you do, I encourage you to take just one idea (maybe just the sheet that you take into the meetings with you) and start using it.

I know it will get you results and it will certainly make your customers more aware you are looking for more businesses.

Until then…  Let’s Get Started….  Pull Your Socks Up…

Simon”

We will be inviting Simon soon to speak to us here in Staffordshire, but if in the meantime you want to know more about GreenStones or Socks-Up-Simon then please get in touch with him via Linked-in.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want More Sales? The Fortune Is In The Follow Up!

“Following up with networking contacts after a networking event is important if you want to turn those prospects into paying customers.” – Carrie Greene

“The networking follow-up is a vital component of building your business. It grows relationships that will ensure your success. Following up and keeping in touch with both your new and existing contacts is absolutely critical.” – Rob Brown

Fact – Networking brings companies a rich stream of new contacts and business that can make them more successful & profitable
Fact – Networking help them to understand their customers and the marketplace better whilst testing their message and its effectiveness.
Fact – One of the things that makes some business owners reluctant to go networking is that they don’t feel comfortable rolling up to complete strangers and starting to talk to them.
Fact – When they do pluck up the courage, then failing to follow up is one of the biggest errors business owners commit when they network or attend a referral marketing group.
Fact – Following up after meeting someone at a networking event or following-up a lead or referral from a referral marketing system may have different approaches but the mantra “the fortune is in the follow-up” still applies!!!

Networking Follow-up:

I love to network. But, after a fabulous event even I have faced that pit-of-the-stomach feeling when I look at the business cards I’ve collected.

How am I going to follow up with these people? Will I be bothering them if I call? Will email seem too impersonal? Is it presumptuous to friend them on Facebook or connect up on Linked-in? etc etc etc

Here are some other top tips in your first “follow-up” message:

  • Mention the meeting and the conversation.
  • Refer to something specific that came up in the conversation, especially a mutual interest.
  • Suggest a way to continue the conversation.
  • Attach an article or include a link that will please the other person (not a hard-selling piece).
  • Mention a next step you will take.
  • Remember each step requires making a memorable connection with the other person and then mentioning it in the “message”. Worse thing they do is ignore your message – this will be a minority.

For more great tips, a great resource is networking expert Rob Brown’s 45 Powerful Networking Follow-up Tips available here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/207146945/45-Powerful-Networking-Follow-Up-Tips

Referral Marketing Follow-Up:

Let’s assume you have got over your initial shyness at meeting strangers at a networking event.

Now relationships with other people has developed on “know, like and trust”

Specifically, you might be members of a more formal networking or referral marketing group where formal “contribution” or “referral” slips are swapped.

The participants have put details of leads, referrals or requests for meetings etc on the slips etc for people to follow-up. This is the “referral marketing gold”.

Even more important to follow-up because you might have shown true character and competence by having a proper plan for the businesses and contacts you wanted to be referred into. Don’t disappoint!

Not following-up will damage your reputation with the people you meet, and further leads will not be forthcoming.

We have seen too many examples that have cost real money where people have not followed, up and brilliant results when people have – see the presentation below for some of them.

Finally:
When you start to network remember remember remember this crucial saying “The fortune is in the follow up!”

People procrastinate and put off following up on contacts, referrals and leads for numerous reasons including poor time management, fear of phoning, or fear of rejection. Don’t let this happen to you!

Follow through efficiently and quickly on all meetings, referrals and leads you are given. Remember – The fortune is in the follow up!

Networking is not about selling its about relationships. You must follow up & build these relationships consistently to watch the referrals start & grow! Its all about Know, Like & Trust.

Conclusion – Don’t put it off! Do It Today!

If you have any other top follow-up tips for networking or referrals then please leave us a comment via Linked-in.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing plans, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want More Sales? Don’t Lose Your Customers!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

Today’s great tip is no exception thanks to Lee Evans, Owner, CEO & Customer Experience Management Expert at SurveyMe, a fantastic digital platform to Create mobile surveys, Capture real-time feedback & Reward your customers.

Originally published as a blog post on their website, this excellent essay on the topic of customer retention was titled - “4 Reasons Why You Lose Customers”:

4 Reasons Why You Lose Customers

How many customers has your business lost in the past year? Are you certain of that number? How many just simply stopped buying from you, but you don’t know why or even realise they have stopped buying from you? Remember; even in a recession, people don’t stop buying, they may just stop buying from you!

The important question is why do we lose customers? There are many reasons, some of which are below. But how many of us know why they lose customers but just chose not to do anything about it? Is that the way to run a business in any climate?

Here at SurveyMe we want to supply you with the tools every business needs to maintain loyalty with customers, gain new customers and help you create a process that exceeds your customers and staff’s expectations. We offer a free trial meaning you can trial the system so visit www.survey-me.com to register free.

More often than not, your customers will walk away from you without telling you. Research tells us that for every customer who complains, there are 26 who remain silent. So unless they have built up a really good relationship with you, in which case they might tell you, you may never know what you’ve done to make them go elsewhere. Some of the principal reason why your customers will tend to go to your competitors:

1. You don’t show them any love – well not quiet but you don’t show them any personal attention making them feel unloved. If you don’t show you care, e,g. by actively listening to them, they will go somewhere that shows they care. Your customers want to feel valued and listened to and you get extra brownie point if you can then demonstrate what you have heard and what you have acted on as a result.

2. Misplaced staff training. If you don’t know what your customers value most about buying your service, how can you train your team to serve their needs and exceed their expectations? Knowing what is important to your customers, by asking them, is the first step in improving your customer experience management. Apart from saving you money on training in the first place, it will make for a happier team serving happier customers, and increased profits. Everybody wins!

3. The wrong people in the wrong jobs. I’m constantly amazed by how many unfriendly people there are in service industries who are forced to interact with customers. Customer engagement skills are inherited personality traits – they are not something that can be taught! When your team interact with customers remember they are the first, and often lasting, customer’s impression for your company so let someone do it who has manners and skills to do it right!

4. Your staff blame anyone or anything for not being able to help your customers. The old saying goes there is no “I” in team, if you’ve not read it have a look at ‘What happens in the “I”… “They” culture’, this is a clear indication that your company has communication issues which need to be resolved. This mindset will eventually manifest itself in customers leaving you. Engaging with your customer facing employees for their feedback helps identify potential communication issues before it’s too late and leaving you wondering where your customers went! If you can’t be bothered to invest in listening to your employees, customers will not put up with delays and problems that are not dealt with correctly and professionally they will somewhere that puts customers first not last!

How many times have you heard or even said yourself that the reason for losing profits is no customers. The bottom line is that customers will go where they feel they are cared for, listened to, appreciated and that what they say is heard and acted on. Happy employees + Happy customers = Increased profits and healthy business.”

Using mobile survey apps like SurveyMe can help you engage with your customers and your employees in one simple system. Like us CLICK HERE – Sign up to a FREE trial and see for yourself what a great tool this is for your business.

Read about the product HERE or watch their promo video on YouTube HERE.

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let me know via Linked-in

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

 

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Want More Sales? Give Out Some Thank Yous!

An often forgotten but very effective referral marketing tool – is the thank you card or thank you letter.  I was reminded when sent one by our old friend Simon Chaplin from GreenStones’s, a great firm of Accountants in Peterborough, and Socks-Up-Simon that helps business owners be the best they want to be.

I got this card in the post from Simon for introducing him to a local accountant here in Staffordshire.

Such a simple gesture really made us appreciate our relationship with Simon, and guess what we will be looking for more referrals for him in the future!

So if you want more leads, do take the time to thank your customers, friends, partners or suppliers when they do something to help your business.  This will always lead to more opportunities flowing from the relationship and thus more business.

Get yourself some cards today and start thanking your top referrers and referral partners!

 

We will be inviting Simon soon to speak to us here in Staffordshire, but if in the meantime you want to know more about GreenStones or Socks-Up-Simon then please get in touch with him via Linked-in.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want More Control Over Linked-in? Take Control Of Your Account Settings!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

Today’s great tip is no exception thanks to Philip Oakley, Director of Outserve, a top local social media & on-line marketing consultancy.

Originally published as a post by him on Linked-in, this excellent note of easy reading on this topic is entitled – “Turn off LinkedIn Broadcasts when you change your profile and other automatic updates!”:

“As well as the updates you post yourself on LinkedIn there are many other updates that can show on your connections timeline that LinkedIn post automatically for you. These include when you make changes to your profile (e.g. add a new position etc), make recommendations and even follow companies.

If you have a look at your LInkedin home page you should see some of the these updates for your connections just as they would see the equivalent for you if you are using the LinkedIn default settings (which many people are).

Like many social networks LinkedIn wants you to share as much information as possible to your network to encourage engagement and activity. Many people like to check their updates to see who has changed jobs or positions and of course where there is change there is often opportunity. Read on…”

CLICK HERE TO READ HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LINKED-IN ACCOUNT SETTINGS!

If you want to talk to Phil on more top social media or CRM tips to help your business then please contact him via Linked-in or call him on 07515 358621.

Watch out for more top tips on all sorts of subjects from local experts.

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let me know via Linked-in

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want More Sales? Get Some More Focus!

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

This one is again is from our old friend Simon Chaplin from GreenStones’s, a great firm of Accountants in Peterborough, and Socks-Up-Simon which was founded to INSPIRE, CHALLENGE and SUPPORT business owners, managers and their teams to be the best they want to be.  This follows up on the previous post with his great tip about being specific and being focused on your target market to get more sales leads an referrals – To read CLICK HERE.

Let’s leave Simon to explain!

“Once you have read it here’s two little tips that improve the effectiveness of the Most Wanted sheet:

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  • #1 When you ask the customer, introducer or supplier if they know anyone on the Most Wanted sheet make sure you hand them the sheet. That way they take ownership of what they are sharing and are more likely to share information or a recommendation.
  • #2 Make sure one of the logos on the Most Wanted sheet is already a customer. When you hand over the sheet say something like “We don’t need to know about X as they are already a customer”.  This proves to the recipient that the sheet works and they are not wasting their time when sharing. Because it has worked once it will work again!

If this sheet is against your values in anyway make sure you don’t use it until you have converted at least one person from the list or alternatively say something like “We don’t need to know about X as we already know everything we need to know about them”. It is not as strong as the first statement but still add evidence.

Next time we’ll look at other ways you can use the most wanted sheets.

Until then…. Let’s Get Started…. Pull Your Socks Up

Simon”

We will be inviting Simon soon to speak to us here in Staffordshire, but if in the meantime you want to know more about GreenStones or Socks-Up-Simon then please get in touch with him via Linked-in.

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.

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Want To Avoid Paying More Tax? Avoid Taking Illegal Dividends?

Occasionally we like to share information on other topics from top local experts.

These great tips are again thanks to Paul Woodcock, Director of top local accountants PJW Accounting based in Rugeley.

Today is no exception with yet another excellent one-page of easy reading on this topic- “Are your dividend payments illegal?”:

“Most of us are aware of the tax advantages of paying dividends rather than salary. What is less well known is the problems that can be caused by taking too much dividend (i.e. taking out so much dividend that the retained profits are depleted to retained losses).

The Taxman might try to hit you where it really hurts in such circumstances (in your wallet). So what can you do if you unwittingly take too much dividend from your Company? Read on…”

CLICK HERE TO READ HOW TO SAVE MONEY BY NOT PAYING MORE TAX!

If you want to talk to Paul on more top tax tips to help your business then please contact him via Linked-in or call him on 01889 586431.

Watch out for more top tips on all sorts of subjects from local experts.

If you know of any great Staffordshire or West Midlands experts we can share with the world – let me know via Linked-in

If you want to discuss your referral marketing, social media, business networking needs & how to get the most out of them, then please do get in touch with me via linked-in.