Confused by social media and how it applies to your business?

Confused by social media and how it applies to your business?

You are not alone!

Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest …and the list goes on.

You know you need to be on social media – at least that’s what everyone tells you, but do you need a Facebook page or a group?

Maybe you should get on LinkedIn – or Pinterest?

Too many choices and lots of advice from all sides!

Social media and time investment

I’m not a digital native – that means I did not grow up in the era of computers and smartphones. I was well and truly working before these entered my life…but I’ve been using social media for well over a decade.

There’s been a lot of trial and error including a few rabbit holes I managed to run down – relate to those?

I am not a social media expert by any means but I do understand exactly how it fits into a broader business strategy and that’s what is important.

You have to have a reason for what you are doing on social media – there must be a strategy – otherwise, you’re just off down a rabbit hole and when you emerge many hours have gone by!

My 5 Social Media Top Tips

1) Consistency is key – turning up consistently is essential.

You can’t just pop in and out as the fancy takes you or when you decide you want to “sell” something.

You need to consistently be present to create a relationship with your audience. It is not there to sell from but to get conversations going.

2) Set goals and stick to them – decide what your goals are for social media and make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Is it to create engagement?

To make sales?

To get referrals?

Each of these requires a different approach.

Once you know what your goals are it is much easier to create your social media strategy.

3) You don’t need to be everywhere – being “everywhere” is not necessarily the right thing for your business.

Be strategic.

Identify where your target audience hangs out.

4) Focus on key platforms – once you know where your audience is you need to be active on those platforms.   The focus should be on interacting and gaining their attention by being active, insightful and supportive rather than salesy!

5) Manage your time wisely – plan out what you are going to share, when you are going to be active and how you will keep audiences engaged.

Set aside time to look at insights, and spend time analysing your results for the effort you’ve invested.

Your time is also an investment, not just the $$ you spend.

My Channels

I tend to stick to Facebook for my business running both groups and pages.  I also use LinkedIn.

I do have accounts on Twitter and Instagram but I am not altogether comfortable with them. More importantly, that is not where my audience hangs out so I have not invested time in learning how to effectively “work” them.

LinkedIn keeps me in touch with my professional networks, and Facebook helps maintain a presence that is on a more ‘friendly’ level.

Monitoring

In the online world, algorithms are rapidly changing so the landscape is ever-evolving when it comes down to social media.

This means it’s really imdata is the key to knowledgeportant that you continue to be monitoring what you are doing. Note where you are getting the best results and be on the lookout for trends.

 

It’s not a case of set and forget.

Understanding how it applies to your business means making sure you are abreast of your channels and any changes being rolled out.

It’s a confusing world out there and the more we can help each other the better!

When I learn something new, I share with my audiences via email. Sometimes they are already aware of the changes but other times it’s a new discovery – it’s all about paying it forward and helping each other out. You can sign up as a subscriber here.

How do you handle keeping up to date? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!
Michelle

Referrals are gold!

Referrals are gold and in business, there are generally two types of referrals. One is formal and the other informal.

The informal referral is golden as it is 100% authentic.

    No money changes hand and no coupons are sent out.

The referral comes as a result of good service, quality product, personal experience and a willingness to assist.

4 Reasons Why Referrals are Gold

  1. Customer acquisition costs are a bare minimum.

Your happy customers are doing your marketing for you.

Of course, this only happens if you give good service, and are attentive to your customers’ needs.

  1. Customer retention rate is higher.

Think about what it costs to gain a customer and it immediately makes great business sense to do everything possible to retain them.

When people are happy with your services, they are most likely to keep doing business with you.

  1. The market place is generally crowded so it’s hard to be noticed.

This makes getting your message to stand out from the crowd difficult. Investing in advertising is one way to get noticed, another way is to build a referral network.

We listen to people who we know and trust, hence word of mouth referral is so valuable.

  1. Conversion rates are higher.

A prospect introduced to your business by someone they trust is far more likely to convert into a new client/customer.

Making the Ask

Knowing when and how to spot a potential referral opportunity is a good way to kick-start your referral system into gear.

However, unless you specifically ASK for a referral, it may not be made. People are happy to help when asked, and if you don’t make the ask, they simply may not think about sending more business your way.

When a happy, satisfied customer comes along and gives good feedback, grab the opportunity to ask them to spread the good about your business.

Are you harnessing the power of referrals? It’s never too late to start and if you need some help framing the ask reach out to us in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Dragon head image

Michelle

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Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector, is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

Does technology solve your communication problems?

Does technology solve your communication problems? Clever advertising and marketing might have you think so.

The temptation to grab a new app, invest in a new piece of software or hardware can be all very tempting…BUT it is not a magic wand.

Let’s be honest, life gets pretty hectic – both in the personal and professional sense.

Managing a pretty packed schedule; juggling business commitments, making sure to spend quality time with the family, as well as plugging in some “Me Time” is pretty much part and parcel of daily living these days.

It’s one big juggle.

By strategically embracing a few key pieces of tech it can be easier to keep all the balls in the air.

Note I said easier, not easy!

But it can also be a burden around your neck as you wrestle to get your head around how it operates and the intrusion it can often make into your life.

Technology makes it easier

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, Skype, WhatsApp, Trello, Dropbox, LinkedIn and…

…the Nespresso machine is part of our daily toolkit.

In a world where you have virtual assistants,  independent freelance experts, speech recognition and a myriad more timesaving options to choose from there is one thing that jumps out at me…

Despite all the changes and the new technologies at our fingertips, there is one thing that never changes.

That is the need to master the simple art of communication.

Communication

The need for strong communication skills remains as vital today as ever. In fact, you could say that this is even more important today.

And here’s why…

BECAUSE despite all the time-saving devices, fancy ways to send and receive messages,  the impactful way to connect comes down to genuine, authentic, respectful communication.

Communication is a two-way street

The need to feel connected is a strong human emotion.

We communicate with words and the words we choose can make or break a connection.

Choosing the right words can only be done when we understand our audiences, their perspective, their needs and the nuances of different demographics.

When we listen, we start to understand and that’s when the magic starts to happen – real communication that runs two ways.

Technology is wonderful, but nothing beats a face to face conversation, picking up the phone or doing a live interactive video call.

Being able to relate

If you stop to think about it, the need to connect on a relatable level is why things like Facebook live and video communication is so popular.

The audience gets to see you which helps them relate. As they hear you speak your words they feel directly connected provided you are using words that resonate with them.

Communication styles can be developed and honed with practice, but they always need to sound natural.  Building a relationship is something that needs a human touch no matter what kind of technology is being used to deliver your message.

If you’re struggling with making connections you may like to grab my FREE e-guide The Five Essential Steps to Networking & Creating Connections .

Fly like a dragon,

Michelle

 

LIVE – Learning Experiences

LIVE Learning Experiences – LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Webinars.

Each of these platforms encourages “going live”.

Being live offers amazing opportunities to reach a much larger audience.

BUT, you do need to be comfortable with:

1) Putting yourself out there

2) The tech side of things

Although I regularly use Zoom there is one small drawback. It’s the fact that your participants have to download Zoom.

This can be an issue.  As I am often working with individuals who are not technically minded – and although it’s simple once you know how – it can be a challenge.

Now, although I ‘ve done lots of online teaching, I have never done an online workshop – at least I hadn’t up until last night.

Because I didn’t want to have folks getting all flustered before they even arrive at my workshop, I decided I’d try out a new platform.

Choosing a platform

Here’s where it gets confusing.

There are soooooo many choices. AND there are so many differing opinions of which works best.

I’d pretty much decided on Webinar Jam (I already have EverWebinar) until I started to check out some of the recent feedback – glitchy and not so fantastic from tech support.

I ended up choosing to try Demio – they offered me a free trial – all good 🙂 – and that pushed me across the line. After all, if they are confident to offer that, they must believe in their product.

How did it go?

It looked super easy.

I enrolled, set up and sent out the link to my attendees. Created the meeting room and uploaded the workbook.

Nice going. I’d had a couple of queries, but tech support was right there within 5 mins to help.

Cool.

I’m good to go and have time to spare.

As always, there’s the temptation to make last moment tweaks -and this is where it all started to unravel.

I know, I should have known better!

BUT…

I made my tweaks – just a couple of tiny ones. Not really necessary but I wanted to do it.

This was in beta mode (my participants knew this) but I wanted it to be the best I could make it.

I’d said up-front there was the possibility of some glitches.

I was uploading my presentation slides an hour out from the workshop.

First little glitch – not possible to load them except as a PDF or as a YouTube. Maybe I had been told this – maybe not. I don’t recall.

Okay – not a problem…Plan B is to share my screen.

Let the games begin 🙂

Time to go Live. Participants got in really easily.

No sound. Easy fix. I just needed to click a box.

I’m feeling a tad flustered. I share what is happening in the conversation with attendees – I mean they can see me on screen – and goodness knows what they are thinking!

Share my screen to launch the presentation. They can’t see it properly. Sizing is not right.

Fiddle. Fiddle. I get it working BUT not as I wanted it to.

It’s not flowing and appearing as it did in my run through.

Maybe I should not have made the tweaks!

Actually, I definitely should not have made those tweaks.

Fortunately, I know my subject – Strategic Planning – really well. At least I am not panicking about what to say.

The results?

Participants engagement was high – I think my “comedy show” (think Faulty Towers!) at the beginning helped create a real “authenticity” factor.

I always tell my clients they need to be authentic as people relate to people.

Well, this was definitely authentic. No doubt about it.

The chatbox worked well. My wonderful assistant did a fantastic job of writing down the answers from the chatbox and running them into me.

Note to self – need to make sure I have another monitor beside me so I can see the questions.

The recording feature was excellent. I now have a recording I can share. But… I’m not going to send it out. I don’t think the comedy show will be as funny if it’s not live.

Feedback

The quality of the information presented and taught went over very well. Participants said the pace was good and I didn’t cram in too much.

They’ll be back for Part II next Wednesday. In the meantime, I’m going to be re-running Part I so I get a decent recording to send those who could not show up for the live.

How often do you experiment with new technology?

If you have a tale to share, I would love to hear it in the comments.

Fly like a dragonDragon head image

Michelle

 

MAXIMISING YOUR LUNCHTIME

Maximising your lunchtime makes great business sense. And, I don’t mean having a sandwich at your desk as you pour over reports or jumping on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

Making time to have lunch, to step away from your desk/place of business is essential to maintaining a helicopter perspective.

When you’re leading a busy life, especially if you’re running your own business, it can be really tough to squeeze the extra time out of your day.

BUT…here’s the thing…you need to eat!

So maximising that time for your own benefit makes good sense – right?

Put down your phone – at least stick it in your pocket or handbag – stand up and walk out of the office.

Walking down the street, stopping to say hello to people and having a quick chat. Sitting quietly in a park/at the beach and absorbing nature, or having lunch with people outside of your normal circle all serve to help either ground or stimulate you.

What you choose to do each lunchtime depends on the outcomes you’d like to achieve.

The key is to make a conscious choice to utilise your lunchtime wisely. After all, it is time. Time is a finite commodity and once passed cannot be recovered.

Alone Time

Choosing to spend time alone, to sit in the park/at the beach will give you silence.

In that stillness, you have the chance to reflect quietly. You’ll often get to hear your inner voice that has been drowned out by the chattering monkeys.

Many of our clients who work in front-facing roles that demand they are “on” for most of their business day love these kinds of lunch breaks.

Actively Being Out & About

If you’re working in isolation, then getting out and about helps to switch off that intense focus your work demands.

Walking down the street and stopping to chat with a couple of people can often provide that human connection that is so important to people who work alone all day.

Alternately, if your work causes lots of pent-up frustrations, bursts of physical activity like a brisk walk, jogging or working out at a gym full of people can be a great tension reliever.

Group Lunches

Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals, from different industries is another productive way to spend a lunchtime. You gain a different perspective which is so very valuable.

I’m not talking about a boozy lunch at a fancy restaurant. You know, where everyone talks about how great they are and no one remembers anything much afterwards. I’ve been to a few of these over the years. Enjoyable but really very unproductive.

Rather, I mean a quiet place where you actually get to connect with authenticity and help each other out through the sharing of information in a supportive environment.

Lunch & Learn Sessions

Lunch and learn sessions are common in large corporations. Often used as a means to minimise downtime, and maximise employee engagement.

Now, if you’re a small business or solo operator you won’t have this luxury BUT… a group lunch and learn for others in the same boat is not too hard to organise.

We know because we’ve facilitated quite a few over the years.  Topics are always varied so attendees choose which they are interested in.

The objective is always that participants leave having learnt something of value – not just had a great lunch.

Scheduling

The key to successfully maximising your lunchtime and being able to get away all comes down to scheduling.

Consider it an important appointment with a very important person. Yes, that’s you!

If you are struggling to get started with this habit, begin with a day a week, and gradually increase it over a period of a month.

Once you start consciously working on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes. More importantly, the benefits that you gain are invaluable.

Speaking from a personal perspective – my lunchtime habits are one of the ways that I have been able to keep sane during challenging times. As an added bonus they’ve also brought Dragon Sisters new business connections.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – let me know in the comments how you spend your lunchtimes – I’m always curious 🙂

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

Social media marketing is here to stay.

Yes, it can be a moving feast of pixels, insights, reach, engagement and algorithms.

BUT…before you even start to think about those, there are a few basics to get a handle on.

Talking basics

It is very important to understand that marketing is not the same as sales.

Generating on the spot sales is not what marketing is about. It is very rare that a sale will come from a cold audience.

When you are engaged in marketing you are actively building the know, like and trust factor with your audience. You are keeping your name out there and in front of mind.

Social media marketing is huge. There are so many channels to choose from. You do not need to be on all channels.

Do one and do it right. You can always add others later.

The key is to choose the ones that are right for your business. The one where your audience is likely to be hanging out. It’s the place to build the relationship and get your name known.

Often times these people may not buy from you but end up referring others to your business.

The key focus is on building your audience.

It’s about creating a relationship.

Facebook is the biggest platform and that’s why we always recommend it as the best place to start.

Your 5 Essentials

Social media marketing is a changing landscape, but there are five key steps you need to take to make sure you are “dressed” for business.

In the online world this means:

1) A good clear profile picture/logo

If using a photo of yourself, remember it does not necessarily have to be studio shot but it does need to be clear and recognisable.

This means no hiding behind sunnies or under a big hat.

If you can afford a professional headshot – get one done!

2) Link your personal page to your business

This is important because if you interact in a group you are interacting as yourself when you make comments.

If folks are curious about you, they click your profile to learn more. Naturally, you want it to lead them to your business page. Check out the video clip on why here.

3) Join groups where your target audience hangs out

These can be really great sources of market research. Watch, listen and get a feel for what is happening.

Be helpful without the expectation of gaining anything.

Be interested in what others have to say – like and comment as appropriate.

Remember, social media marketing is not about what you have to sell.

4) Be consistent

It’s a crowded marketplace so consistency is key.

This means showing up regularly. Not just on your own page but visiting others too.

5) Interact

When people visit your page, make sure you interact.

If they leave a review make sure you thank them.

If they’ve left a comment, at the very least like that comment. Even better respond! After all, that’s what you’d do in a face to face encounter.

Let me know in the comments if you found these tips helpful.

Fly like a dragon!Fly like a dragon

Michelle

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CHANGES = NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Changes are part and parcel of all our lives. From the day we arrive in this world, change is inevitable. We are constantly changing as we grow. Learning. Evolving. This goes on for our entire lives.

Being in business it’s exactly the same. Periods of growth and evolution. Changing is not unusual. Adapting to meet the demands of the marketplace and the needs of clients.

Sometimes changes are planned…other times they are thrust upon us by circumstances.

I’m currently finding myself in one of those “thrust upon you” changes. Not planned but something that has to be dealt with.

My ageing parents (almost 80 and 90) mean that I now need to be physically close to them. I have a lead role to play in helping care for them in their own home.

And you know what? I welcome the role.

They have taken care of me for my entire life, stood by me and seen me through ups, downs and bumps in the journey of life.

It is my turn to give back. To be close by. At hand to help as needed without being asked. It’s what our family does.

But of course this does have a massive impact on my business; big changes need to happen.

Changes needing to be managed

I’ve travelled my entire life. It’s never been a big deal for me to hop on a plane to meet clients, or to take Skype calls across time zones at weird hours.

BUT…that cannot continue…at least not for the immediate future.

So what does it mean for my business?

It means lots of juggling and in a nutshell, a bit of a restructuring.

I’ve spent many hours mulling everything over and thinking about what is possible in these new circumstances.

Challenges are actually opportunities…to explore other ways of doing things.

Opportunities

Opportunities come in many guises if we are open and receptive.

No point in looking at a door that is closed. Instead, it’s important to search for openings that lie ahead.

The result for me is:

1) Moving further into the online market.

What I have done for the last 10 years is help businesses move ahead by helping them to learn HOW to tackle challenges that prevent them from moving forward.

This can be done online; it actually works out a lot cheaper than having me on the spot. It makes my services more affordable and is actually a win/win.

Below are some of the things now available via online teaching:

  • Identifying your Unique Selling Point
  • Creating a Strategic Plan for your business
  • Elevating your brand profile without being ‘salesy’
  • Building a marketing/sales funnel
  • Understanding the power of social media and harnessing it to help your business
  • The key steps to take to CLOSE a sale without coming across as pushy

I am still here to answer the questions, but there is a component delivered via online modules.

Benefits

Way cheaper for a start!

Access to the modules at a time that works for you.

Queries are answered through weekly online sessions and via a private Facebook group. It’s not quite as instantaneous as one on one but the cost benefits make our services more affordable to many.

2) Less Travel

I can’t just hop on a plane to fly overseas or around Australia. Bookings for my in-person presence need to be scheduled well in advance.

3) Increasing the Writing Bureau output

Ghostwriting, grant writing, sponsorship proposals and of course our favourite area…

…supporting authors taking them from the idea stages to the finished and marketed product.

Never widely promoted previously, this is an area that has been steadily growing since Sasha joined the team; we’ll be ramping it up further.

Coping with changes

Coping capacities are determined by mindset and attitude. Being individuals means we each react in different ways, but being in business means it’s important to be proactive.

I’m getting feedback that I must be Wonder Woman, being able to put together business proposals, deliver workshops and also deal with current family circumstances. I’m no such thing – although it is flattering 🙂

The reality is simply this – learning to be resilient and excellent time management. It’s a skill I’ve picked up over many years.

I’ve also learnt that when you are open and using a smarketing mindset, there is always an opportunity.

The opportunity often means adapting to what circumstances present themselves. Looking forward…not backward. Being grateful for what you have.

I’m extremely grateful to still have my parents.

If you’d like to help me with this next phase of my business I would love you to get in touch or recommend me to anyone who’d benefit from my new model of service.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon

Michelle

Facebook Groups – Time Management

Facebook groups and time management can often present a huge challenge.

Running your own group or being part of one can be extremely beneficial for your business.

BUT…

It’s really important to be able to understand what your objective is.

It only works to your advantage if you can control how much time you spend in the group…

AND… you are really clear on your purpose for being in the group.

Identifying your WHY

In order to successfully utilise and enjoy being part of a Facebook group, it’s vital to understand why you are there.

Is it to learn?

If this is the case, make sure that members are knowledgeable and generous with sharing.

Or maybe, you are just there to learn how other people run their groups. That’s fine too, but remember that each group reacts differently and it all hinges on the personalities involved, so what is working for one group may not always work for another.

Is it to teach and share your own knowledge?

Be sure that the admin of the group will welcome what you have to share. This can cause angst if the admin is not generous in spirit and sees you as “competition”.

To find potential clients?

This is definitely the most common reason most business people are in groups – although there is some exception (like our SMART Circle.)

If this is your reason, you need to be prepared to share your knowledge in a non-sales way.

Most importantly have a strategy going into the group.

After all, you want to share but you don’t want to give so much away that no one will need to pay for your services.

Size matters

The bigger the group the more there is to keep on top of.

It’s important not to make the mistake of thinking you have to comment on every post or read everything that goes up.

Big groups are not necessarily always super active. As a general rule, there tends to be a small core of active participants with the rest being “lurkers”.

When you first join a group take the time to look around. Then write a small introduction about yourself. Chances are you’ll get a few welcomes below your post – these are the people who are, likely as not, the most responsive members.

My personal observation is that smaller groups tend to be a lot more interactive than larger ones.

Spend your time wisely

Being active in groups can be a huge time drain. The first step is in recognising and acknowledging this.

Once you know the potential for time to gallop away it’s much easier to guard against it.

1 ) Be firm with yourself

Make a rule about when you will be in the groups.  Plan this into your diary.

What works for me is to pop into the groups I am a member of first thing in the morning and then again in the evening – not every day.

Spending 5 minutes skimming through the content is normally sufficient.

Do not be tempted to read every single comment unless the subject is something you really need to learn about or have expert knowledge on.

2) Build relationships

Commenting on a few key posts rather than hitting like on a whole bunch is much more effective.

A comment is way more valuable than simply liking. By taking the time to comment you are building relationships.

Typically members ask questions in groups. They are searching for answers. Answer the questions that relate to your area of expertise.

3) Know when it’s time to leave

After a few weeks in a group, if you are not getting valuable engagement that is either helping you or your business to grow, it’s time to pull the pin. There is no rule that says you need to stay.

Use the tools available

There are some very handy tools available on Facebook that help with managing what appears in your feeds and your time in the group.

Search

Use the search function to find questions/discussions on topics that you are interested in answering/learning more about. This way you don’t have to scroll through all the posts. It’s especially helpful in very active groups or if you’ve had a short break.

Notifications

When you like or comment on a post, if you don’t turn off the notifications you can end up with a whole stream of notifications pinging your way.

Similarly, if you want to follow a post, simply because you are interested, but you don’t necessarily want to comment, you can turn on the notifications.

Copy Link

Even better than turning on the notifications – if it’s something you want to refer back to – grab the link and paste it into an Excel spreadsheet.

You can then come back to visit it later when you have more time.

Turn Off Commenting

This one is great when you have a post that is getting heaps of engagement, but it’s now way past time the subject closed.

You have the option to delete your post or better yet, just turn off commenting. That way nothing else can be added but everyone can still read it.

One final tip

Limit the number of groups you belong to.

Work out how much time you can afford to spend engaging. Then count up the groups you’re in to come up with a realistic figure of what time you can actually afford without it impacting on other areas of your business and personal life.

By limiting the number of groups you belong to you’ll end up being able to offer better value and create stronger relationships.

Let me know in the comments if you found these tips helpful.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon

Michelle

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Which words would you use to describe yourself?

An interesting post cropped up on social media this morning.

It went like this:

On those days that you’re just feeling like a BADASS — you’re clear, you’re productive, you’re feeling great — what word do you associate with, most?
For example, you kill it with your presentation or sign 3 clients, etc. 
“Damn I’m good. I’m such a ______!”

Everyone was then asked to vote for the word they would use and there was even a place to pop in your own word.

Word Choices

Of the choices, shown in the diagram below, I added the word SUCCESS as my word of choice.

The reason for my choice is this – when you’ve done a great job with a presentation or whatever it is you were working on, you’ve been successful. You’ve achieved your goal.

I personally do not like the word BADASS and would never apply it to myself.  To me, it is filled with negative connotations.

Yes, you may have won or achieved your goal, but what was the cost?  The word to me implies you’ve had to step on someone to achieve.

A badass is not what I would call a good thing to be calling yourself.

Or am I a dinosaur? I know these days the term is used to mean an achiever.

Connotations

I prefer words that have a positive connotation like Leader, Role Model, Success.

LEADER is a much better word than boss.  Simply because it gives the sense of bringing a team along with you. To me, it’s about empowering those around you to achieve (as opposed to bossing them about!)

HERO – I feel is a word others allocate to you, not for us to use to describe ourselves. Seems a tad big headed to me.

Words have power

Much more than you may realise.

The ones we use can make a real difference in how we think and feel.

My point is that it’s really important to choose the ones that resonate with you personally.  Especially when it’s a word you are going to be using on a regular basis in your own self-talk…perhaps even when you are speaking to others about your work.

As an example “She’s a real badass” vs “She’s such a success” – what pictures spring to your mind as you hear these words to describe someone?

Yes, we should never pre-judge based on words used to describe someone before we meet them, but the reality is…that’s exactly what each of us does. Right?

Which word would you choose to describe yourself when you’re clear, you’re productive and you’re feeling great?  Let me know in the comments below.

Michelle

4 Reasons Why Referrals Make Great Business Sense

Referrals. Gold for your business.

With the popularity of Facebook and online forums, establishing a good referral system is essential to your business prospecting activities.

Yet, when working with clients we are often surprised that many do not have a formal strategy in place.

Not having a referral strategy in place for your business is leaving money on the table.

Different Kinds of Referrals

Developing your strategy begins by being conscious of the power of referrals.

The more expensive something is going to be, the more likely referrals are to be the deciding factor.

This does not mean that more expensive is necessarily better. Rather it means the decision is more measured when it comes to items at a higher price point.

Similarly, when putting our trust in someone to handle things that are very personal to us…like our health. Or haircuts. Special occasions that will not be repeated.

Two of the main types of referrals are:

1) Online Reviews

How often do you check the online reviews on TripAdvisor when you’re in a new town? or on Facebook when you’re thinking of using a business for the first time?

I’m willing to bet you do that quite a lot! Am I right?

2) Personal Recommendations

When was the last time you went to a restaurant because a friend kept on raving how great the food or the service was?

Have you ever asked a family member/friend to recommend a reliable plumber/electrician to take care of your dripping taps or broken fans?

I do this on a regular basis because good tradies are hard to find!

Similarly, doctors, dentists, web designers, accountants and a myriad of other professionals.

The Trust Factor

If you’re like me, then you probably like to give your business to, and place your trust in, someone that comes recommended by somebody you know and trust.

When you’re new to a place, or looking for a service for the first time where do you look before making a decision?

These last few months I’ve been spending a lot of time in a new location – Bribie Island – I’ve found a hairdresser, a masseur as well as my airconditioning installer and electrician all through referrals.

Most of these referrals came from online recommendations in a local community group Facebook page. I then did my own due diligence and checked out their websites and also the profiles of the reviewers.

If you’re in business your online profile deserves your attention because you never know when you’ll be ‘snooped’ by a potential client.

Referrals definitely work!

Referral strategies need to have a key place in your business.

Even more so now that there is so much happening out there in the social media landscape. Tapping into that landscape is GOLD.

4 key benefits to your business

1 ) Customer acquisition costs are minimal.

Your happy customers are doing the marketing for you.

Of course, this only happens if you give good service and are attentive to your customers’ needs.

This means going above and beyond what is expected.

2) Customer retention rate is higher.

If people are happy with your services, they are most likely to keep doing business with you.

However, you also need to remain front of mind, so it’s important to maintain contact via a strategic communications plan.

3) The marketplace is crowded.

There is so much going on out there in “internet land.”It makes getting your message to stand out from the crowd difficult.

Who better than to recommend and refer you than happy clients/customers?

Remember, we value the advice and recommendations of our friends.

4) Conversion rates are generally higher.

A prospect introduced to your business by someone they trust is far more likely to convert into a new client/customer for you.

Spotting a potential referral opportunity

The old adage that an unhappy customer will tell everyone and a happy customer usually won’t say anything much is definitely true.

What this boils down to is this…

Communication.

You need to make the ASK.

1) Ask your customer to spread the good word about your business.

2) Be quite specific in your ask.

3) When you get a referral be sure to follow up and THANK whoever made the referral for sending business your way.

4) Continue to keep in touch AFTER the job is finished.

Keeping in touch is a vital part of the relationship building. You’re going that extra mile to make sure everything is running smoothly or, in the instance where there may be a problem, you can immediately offer a solution BEFORE it becomes a bigger issue.

If you haven’t got a system in place, it’s not too late to start!

You’ll be surprised at how easy it really is once you are open to creating and maximising the opportunities.

Need some help working out HOW to ask for referrals? Ask us and if you’re struggling to choose a business consultant to work with – check out our tip sheet.

Fly like a dragon
Michelle

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.