I want you to take 30 minutes, or how about a full hour in the next week to cast your mind back over 2011 and what you achieved for your business and where you fell short of your expectations.

  • Did you grow your customer base last year and if so how?
  • Did you increase your sales last year and if so by how much?
  • Did you improve your products or services? What prompted this?
  • Did your sales fall? Why was this? Did you take your foot off the pedal, were market conditions …

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'Humph! I go the extra mile and then get moaned at!'

 

You can make any customer ripe for defection by delivering a lacklustre, insincere or unhelpful service. Unwittingly you are sowing the seeds of discontent in their subconscious mind.  When approached by a competitor, although not completely dissatisfied with you they will still be open to considering their offering.  Of course, the oppositecan also be true.  If you can consistently go the extra mile for customers, you are sowing the seeds of contentment and gaining advocates that will …

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Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength. Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

“You have absolutely no interest in me and you’re not even bothered about concealing this fact.” I’m sure that you have attended many networking events and after giving it your all in the rapport building department with a fellow business networker you’ve walked away with that conclusion under your belt. But should you walk away or should you actually confront such rudeness? I found myself in this situation a few weeks ago and I would …

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'I need to review my client list'

I can remember having a conversation a few years ago with the franchisor of a successful  franchise. He explained to me that his franchisee recruitment policy had changed dramatically over the years. When he started his franchise, with no franchisees on the books and a whole raft of costs to recoup, his franchisee selection process was roomy and expansive! If the potential franchisee had the funds and was keen to start, he was more than happy to sell them a franchise. …

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'The bad news is that our customers hate us. The good news is that we have far fewer of them.'

Sometimes it leaves you with a sinking feeling and you just want to ignore it… other times you feel like standing in the middle of a bustling networking event announcing the glowing accolades. Yes, customer feedback can generate these intensely contrasting emotions. But the fact is that if you want to grow and prosper through continually improving and enhancing your customers’ experience, you need to listen to it. …

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'I don't want to pester. He'll ring back in his own time.'

During a conversation with one of my clients recently I was curious to find out what he thought were the reasons behind his many business successes.  Interestingly, (but not unsurprisingly given he is a bullish Yorkshire man), he conceded that tenacity – not giving up until the miracle happens – combined with an unswerving belief in his service are what fuels his success. He illustrated this with a case study of a second meeting he had …

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'No way am I leaving my comfort zone.'

Something I talk frequently about is the need to push out of our marketing comfort zones.

What do I mean by this?

Well, in the last 20 odd years I have spoken to thousands of small business owners and invariably once we’re in conversation, I like to find out how they market their business; what works for them, what less so. What often comes across loud and clear is that the business owner has fallen into a comfortable but often unproductive …

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'There are two rules to staying an expert. 1 - Never tell anyone everything you know.............and that's it.

Forgive me for repeating a somewhat timeworn tale but I’m confident you will identify with it. It’s about what can happen when you become so effortlessly expert at what you do that folk think it’s as easy as falling off a log!

The tale is about the industrialist whose production line breaks down at a cost of many millions per day. After a long search he finds an expert who upon investigating his machine takes …

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'I'm trying to daydream but my mind keeps wandering.'

I am a huge advocate of the compelling power of daydreaming. Finding a comfortable space in which you can drift into superstardom without those all encroaching ‘what ifs’ blotting your landscape. I don’t know about you but when I daydream I visualise myself in a place where I want to be even if attaining that coveted place entails a huge amount of effort and overcoming of obstacles. I’d like to share with you how one of my dreams has …

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If there’s one brand that really knows its onions when it comes to branding brilliance, it’s Pret a Manger. I was reflecting on this last week whilst sitting in the Pret outside Vauxhall Station.

Firstly, you’ve got the Pret passion facts – framed images on the wall with quirky little sayings about the attention to detail and the lengths they go to in order to create a fabulous customer experience. Even the napkins have jaunty slogans and  the food is presented with labels that combine nutritional information with quite charming copy, …

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