Is loyalty important to you? Is loyalty necessary in business? Does loyalty make you feel safe? Is loyalty the definition of success in your business? What happened to loyalty?
Most business owners want customers to pick them, to only buy from them, to only talk about their business in a positive way to others, and then send those they tell, and those new customers have to do the same thing. It’s a pipe dream of course, but in a perfect world, your customers would stay yours, they would shop no where else but with you’re business. It’s also not realistic. Let’s be honest, you go where you get the best deal, not because you felt it was the right thing to do, like shopping locally instead of out of country. There’s some moral thing happening there, but people are people, they mostly think about themselves, what they want, not what the business owner wants, and eventually needs.
If we’re speaking truth, and nothing but the truth, business owners do one thing, some do it well, and most don’t, they gear everything to getting as much of your money as possible on that visit. Why? Because they know you’re not loyal, you probably won’t be back! You, the frugal shopper you are, are looking for the best deal, not a relationship. But what if you built a relationship with that business owner, and you kept coming back, what do you think would happen? The problem isn’t the relationship, it’s the time you would have to invest to bring it to a place where you felt like you were getting more than you paid for.
As I look out 5 years from now, what does loyalty look like, will it exist? There is such abundance today, a plethora of places to get what you’re looking to buy, I would be hard pressed to say loyalty will be in the equation. Having said that, something old is going to happen, we will go back to our old habits, we tend to get lazy eventually don’t we. We tend to go back to the places we bought from before, places we think we trust, and we never have to leave the house! That’s what it used to be like for bricks & mortar business, you had to go to them, there was no online choice. Today, just a click of the mouse gets the result you’re looking for, without the physical effort.
So, will there be loyalty for the future of business? Sure. But it will be because we dealt with that business online before, not because we looked long and hard for another better deal. Digital does two things, it gives you a false sense of security, and you don’t have to deal with a particular business if you don’t want to. The security only comes from a positive experience with an online business, nothing went wrong, so you place your trust there be it right or wrong, that’s what we tend to do. And as far as looking, searching for a better deal, you might…but we are lazy, and we’ll default to where we dealt with before.
That’s if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, you know, speaking truth. Loyalty in the future won’t be as earned like it used to be, and that relationship will be shallow, it will based on whether something went wrong or not. It will become about availability, on a moments notice, when you need or want a specific thing, not because you won’t buy somewhere else because you have a loyalty to a person or business.
Business owners who preach and truly believe that extreme, over the top customer service is the way to a customers loyalty button. This I know is true, I have customers, clients….no, friends, that have been with me over 7 years. They stay because they know, I’m going to be there, I’m looking after them….everything just works. So it’s possible, it takes tons and tons of work, are you ready for that kind of investment business owners? Just saying.
It’s 12 days from Christmas, most are hanging tough, waiting for the Christmas break to come, and some can’t wait for it to pass already. This time of year can be stressful, it’s the desire for more, and not having the means to acquire the more. The push and pull of wanting more, but it doesn’t just happen at Christmas, we always want more, all year long. It’s human nature.
Contentment is seriously misunderstood, it’s measured mostly by how we feel rather than reason. This year the Greaves household is holding fast, we don’t want more, we actually need to purge! The cars are parked in the driveway instead of the garage, the garage is full of the more. To clarify, most of it belongs to other family members, because we have the space to store it, no…because there is a place to put it. I’m not complaining about family, I wish they were here to take what’s theirs, but they have passed away to leave what they had behind, and we had to store the belongings somewhere.
The aspect of Christmas I miss the most, is being a kid. My Mother & Father made Christmas a very special time, they spoiled us, and we liked it, we got more stuff! I actually miss how I felt, and being around my family more than getting more stuff, but that was fun too. I think we all feel this way as Christmas approaches, we tend to reflect rather than look ahead. It’s not right or wrong to look back, but we spend far too much time there, we should “do more” instead of reliving the past. We should practice foresight.
My Father used to say success was having more stuff, he who has the most toys wins thinking, I didn’t buy that for second, success is different for each one of us, but we don’t tend to understand success when we have it. I’m generalizing of course, but we often think success is a destination, when most of the time it’s the results of an endeavor, a journey. We forget to enjoy the process, we think we have to wait to until we get to success before we can stop and enjoy what’s happened and what has been done to get there.
Success is more about failing, more about doing, and the willingness to lose what you have, otherwise we couldn’t measure success. For every equal good, there is an equal bad. The same is true of the decisions we make, the goal of course is to make more good decision than bad, more right decisions than wrong. All these decisions happen along the way, the journey, that lead to what you would define as success. I recommend you stop and enjoy the journey, that in itself is success, in that you are on a journey.
The journey you are on was meant for you and only you, those around you are spectators, and in some cases we are players in and on your journey. We all have a roll to play, a voice to be shared, and more importantly, gifts to be used to make the world a better place, and that’s why Christmas makes us reflect, we have a deep need to cherish family, and the things that make us unique. Everyone can bring something to the table, you have to choose to, if you don’t bring it, there most likely is no success. Success rarely happens by itself, it almost always happens because people are involved, you will never really be successful without the love and help of other people. Even Snoopy need help to decorate his tree. (above)
Websters Dictionary defines success in this manner:
– That which comes after; hence, consequence, issue, or result, of an endeavor or undertaking, whether good or bad; the outcome of effort.
Funny how there is no mention of people, but you and I know most things in life that define success, tend to be based in relationship, the people in our lives, not stuff. It’s really a matter of perspective. However, success is the heart of the matter, we all strive to be in the moment of that word.
On that note, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for a fabulous 2012, you made it awesome, and I’m grateful that you even take the time to come here and read what I have to share. Most of us think it, but rarely actually show it, but we do say it often, we always say we care. I’m not the brightest bulb on the tree, but I love to help people, and I can only hope what I share here helps you some how.
I pray you have an awesome Christmas, that you get to reflect and look ahead with hope, but mostly you should cherish those in your life, because we all will shall pass and become a memory. You are valued here, I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak into your heart, it’s where we all life.
Merry Christmas my friends.
What Makes Your Business Unique?
Some always asks this question, it’s a way of measuring whether that someone should do business with you or not. I was on a Forum this week and someone posted the thread title exactly as this post.
Let’s do this, let’s say you own a business with a saturated market, you and thousands like you sell and support the exact same product & service. You have the same inventory, you have almost identical costs. You can’t just say you have the world’s best support and get away with it. So what is more important, uniqueness, or solving a problem? Do people do business with you because you are different (unique), or because you actually solve a problem?
Is it a chicken & egg thing? I frequent a restaurant here in my community, it’s unique only in that they do something to the food. They have tables, waiters & waitresses, menu’s, alcohol, friendly staff, and good service. How do they make it? I mean there are literally hundreds of restaurants in my community, why should I eat at this location? Because they are unique? I don’t go there because they are different.
They do solve a problem for me, but I can get my problem solved anywhere, so why do I keep going back to this establishment. It’s simple really, and it should be for you. The common denominator for me is not uniqueness or a problem being solved, it’s because of the relationship I have with the owners. Ya, the food they serve is different, it’s an acquired taste for this old man, the food is fabulous. I know we don’t think of hunger as a problem that needs to be solved in this country, but if we were in a 3rd world country with a food shortage, that would be different. They would be solving my problem of hunger…if I could get in, or could afford to eat there.
All businesses should do one thing extremely well, and that is to make sure, no matter what the cost, your customers don’t have a reason to speak poorly about you and your business. How are you doing with that, and how do you measure your success & failure, better yet, how quickly do you fix the brokenness?
While sifting through the Forums posts on this topic, someone posted a funny, in reference to the question of uniqueness. They said, we’ve got a dragon : ) that is kinda cool isn’t it. I would probably come see you if you had a dragon.
So, is it more important to be different, does being different bring you business? It might if you solve a problem in a cool unique way, in a way no one has ever done before. But it still has to solve a problem, it can’t just be a novelty, or an amusing thing.
I do believe it’s a combination of being unique, solving a problem, while maintaining and or building on the relationship with your clients. It’s a small town rule thing, everyone wants to be treated special, with respect, and most of all, they want to know you care before they do. So which is it, uniqueness, solving a problem, or is it the relationship? By today’s standards, not yesterdays. And just what are those standards anyway?
What do you think is more important, uniqueness or solving a problem?
This has been on mind for some time now, why corporations don’t get social media. I may be way off base here but there are primarily two or three reasons why they don’t or can’t wrap their brians around what’s happening in the new way marketing.
1.) They haven’t tried, touched, or even asked what the meaning of Social Media is or is not.
2.) Don’t have a clear understanding of Outbound & Inbound Marketing concepts.
3.) Only know how to Broadcast – push, sell products & services.
4.) View a relationship as a sale only.
I’m sure this list could be longer but it’s clear to me that unless there is a simple way of helping the highly educated (constipated) executives, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Why do a very small few get it and the majority don’t? Fear of Change, Fear of Loss, Fear of not seeing the big picture due to a poor understanding of what they are being asked to participate in.
I know a particular business owner who has been picking my brain, wants to understand the details first, make sure he experiences somekind of ROI before commiting to this new marketing environment. This would lead me to item #5 – CONTROL – there is a fear of losing control like never before, look at the music industry, a prime example of the fear of losing money. Eventually, music will be free, or at least some kind of Collective License that allows for a mutual interest rather than a monopoly.
It’s not all the business owners & executives fault. The fault lies with those who consider themselves experts in this Social Media environment, provide poor information and relate the message that only confuses them more.
This has been written about before, I’m not saying anything new here. The truth is it will never change, just as there are criminals, Internet Marketers and Social Media Experts…there will always be people looking to find a short cut to success. Most people don’t want to wait, have patience and or do the work, they just want to cash grab and do as little as possible. Knowing that, I’m not shocked or surprised at how business owners respond when the topic of Social Media comes up.
So what’s the answer? Do your homework, get a good understanding of what your prospect or client is asking, learn what Social Media is, learn Social Media’s place in the marketing mix, and above all….if you don’t know, shut your mouth or say I don’t know but I’ll find out. Don’t spew crap so you don’t look bad, tell the truth and go on the journey with your prospective client, better yet, invite someone who does understand to the meeting. This problem #6 – poor representation which means the wrong information is being shared.
I’ve ranted enough on the topic, there’s a Social Media Mess out there and it’s up to us to clean it up. If Social Media is putting the power back into the hands of we the people, then let’s make sure we are using that power correctly and for good.
Why Corporation’s Don’t Get Social Media? You tell me, I’m just one voice, one person listening to business owners in my area, what are you coming up against and how are you being part of the solution?
I attended a Blogger event here in my community at a pub / restaurant / night club called The Duke of Dublin, we tried to talk but the live entertainment meant we had to yell. It’s a nice facility but probably not the best place to sit and talk quietly, get to know each other and cover items like blogging. Having said that, it was still great fun to catch up with a few people I already new and of course its always fun to meet new faces to match the names on Twitter.
The two primary question’s were, do you have a Blog and do you monetize your blog? Interestingly enough everyone had a blog but not all have monetized their blog because that wasn’t the reason why they started the blog in the first place. My primary goal is to help businesses with I.T. Strategy and how to use Social Media and Social Media Networks in their businesses. I’ll admit I didn’t start out with the intent of monetizing but over time I have put up some low level ways of monetizing my blog.
Once there was a break in the music we were able to share some stories and swap business cards. If you haven’t attended a Tweet-up or a Blogging Event you should, you meet the coolest people. These aren’t the most flattering pictures but I’m posting them anyway, enjoy!