Tag Archives: Sales

Money Making Advice

I have been very fortunate to have been able to surround myself with some pretty impressive mentors from all walks of life. Some I talk with almost daily, others monthly, and one – just once a year. Either way, their advice has proven priceless over the years and I thought I would share some of their thoughts with you, perhaps you will find a nugget in here that will help you accomplish some of your goals too.

Only you know what you are truly great at.

This advice, though it sounds simple, was a thought I had never marinated over until it was said to me by the wealthiest person I know. We were talking about career goals and business goals and I told him that I was frustrated with so many opportunities that seem to appear to me, all of which look attractive – but I just don’t have time for them all. His first question was, why did the opportunities come to me? The common answer I gave him was “Someone noticed I’m good at X,Y, or Z, and thought I would make a great partner, owner, or employee for/with them.” Initially my mentor sat back and said “Feels good huh?” He was right, it felt great!

The next thing my mentor said was “Only you know what you are truly great at. All of your life people will offer you opportunities if you work hard and are not afraid to out work your competition. The challenge is that in your heart there is a very small list of things that will truly light your fire.”

I often see small business owners who lose sight of what they are truly great at. Perhaps it’s a bookstore who gets influence by the major chains and tries to open a cafe’ and a bookstore. Down the drain goes the entire operation…why? They lost sight of what they were truly great at.

THINK.

This advice came from a mentor of mine I know very well and also an extremely successful guy – My dad. I cannot recall how many times as a child my dad would say to me “David, Think before you take the next move…” This simple word is not the easiest one to obey, but can help make or break your company.

Angry at a customer? THINK, before you send that email response. Pissed off about your competition? THINK, before you post that comment. Being pressured to lower your prices? THINK, before you take your next move. Sometimes it pays more to breathe before you jump.

Keep your focus on what new business you can earn, not what your competition is saying about you.

This little nugget was offered to me just last week while I was in the midst of closing a big client. We began talking about how he created such a successful company, and what types of distractions he would avoid. He shared with me that he stays focused on innovating and prospecting – not chasing his competition or comparing himself to larger company’s.

Do not sacrifice your family for recognition amongst your peers.

This was shared with me by a close friend who now lives in North Carolina. He has been a mentor to me for many years and he got his start in the computer industry back when computers took up entire rooms, he has since sold that company and now makes his living running a successful Amway marketing business. Many times we have sat on his porch to discuss the trappings of success and how easy it is to get caught up in your own success but one day turn around and see your house is empty and the only thing full – is your wallet. I do not remember who he would quote that said, “Do not get so busy creating a living, that you don’t create a life.

How often as small business owner’s do we choose a “fun” evening networking event over the challenges of a home life? Perhaps your spouse is sick, a child is acting up, or you have bills to pay. It is much easier to have a few suds till 8pm with some cronies who will not help your company actually grow…than it is to go home and deal with the issues that may be cracking the foundation of your family.

I can offer this advice as an offender of this rule. My wife has had pancreatic issues for roughly 5 years. When we first got married I would choose to work late or “make sales calls” till 7pm, rather than come home and have to face how scared I was of loosing her. This makes me sound like the ultimate jerk I know – but I justified it with the thought of “I’m providing for us.” Was I really?

What nuggets have you gleaned from mentors in your life? Do you agree with the advice I have been given? I would love to hear your thoughts and someday soon I will add some additional thoughts. In closing I refer back to what Dylan Thomas once wrote,

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old time is still a flying,

This same flower blooming today,

Tomorrow may be dying.”

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Facebook is bad for business…

Facebook is bad for business – when your business doesn’t allow interactivity. Let me introduce you to a recent negative experience and let’s see what could have happend.

Meet the As Seen on TV Eggie. You know what I’m talking about. They appear on TV around

An eggie with an egg inside

11pm right when your munchies are kicking in and you’re really thinking about eating something fairly healthy before bed. BUT WAIT, there’s more – they will double your order if you buy right now! So, my loving wife – did. My wife is pretty awesome – did your wife buy you a set of eggies? Didn’t think so.

Anyhow, we were really pumped when our Eggies arrived. So much so that we started taking pictures of the Eggie process and posting them on Facebook. We even Liked Eggies on Facebook and had every intention of tagging them on our Facebook Page so our Friend’s could go and Like Eggies too. BUT WAIT, there’s more – Eggies wouldn’t let us tag them…or write on their wall. Apparently they can’t manage the comments they might get so instead of all 600+ of my Facebook friends being able to check out Eggies page, they only got to see my page.

Facebook is bad for business when a business doesn’t believe enough in it’s product and won’t allow their customer’s to brag about how great the product is.

The question you are all wondering – are Eggies as cool As Seen on TV? YEP! They sure are! I will include a few more picture of them and would love to include a link to their Facebook page but I am not going to…I don’t think Eggie really cares about me, or you.

Facebook is bad for business when a company launches a page and sets their permissions to make the page totally unreachable by it’s clients. Eggies, I am so disappointed in you. I wonder if you have a key word alert so that at least you can thank me for endorsing your product? We shall soon see.

There's my shell-less hardboiled egg.

In closing I encourage every business owner out there to make your page and your company accessible to folks like me, who love to brag about great products. I take pictures of my food, free stuff from Klout (that’s a future blog), and even the random soda can or dog in the park. Us humans love to share with our friends, that’s why Social Media is…social. Please, come be social with us. If you would like to see more of the photo’s you’re welcome to friend me on Facebook. My Facebook

Not boobies...Eggies.

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10 Rules for a successful Facebook Business Page

I often hear business owners say  “I have a Facebook Business Page but I don’t know what to do or more importantly – what not to do. Help!” Below you will find 10 Rules for a successful Facebook Business Page, please let me know what I leave out, there’s so many great rules to follow! (I am breaking this into two shorter 5 rule blogs for the sake of brevity. The Brain can only absorb what the buns can endure.)

  1. Be Human. Your Facebook page is an area where your customers get an opportunity to see behind the curtain, not read an extended piece of sales literature. Have fun with your customers, use a human voice and don’t be afraid to ease up. Remember, people like your page because they want to hear from you and want to interact. Looking for a great example? Check out Pepto Bismol’s Facebook  page – they do a super job.
  2. Have Fun! Having fun is one of those things that most business’s claim to know how to do – only to find out they really suck at it. Dale Carnegie said “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” That same thing applies to your Social Media Marketing campaign. Have fun, make people smile – don’t be afraid to loosen the tie ~ no matter what your brand is.
  3. Don’t just sell. Everyone loves to buy…no one likes to be sold. Why do you hate to buy a car? Because you know as soon as you walk onto the lot some shark dressed in a cheap suit that is two sizes too small for him, is going to try and sell you a vehicle is that is $100 more than what you had planned for a monthly payment. Do not make your Facebook page a used car lot — be more like Little Caesar’s – $5.00 for a whole box of goodness…quick and easy. We know what you make, just let us buy it when we’re ready.
  4. Respond. How many times did your mother say to you..”Do you hear me?! Respond to your mother!!!” This is the same thing when it comes to Facebook. If a follower writes on your wall or tags you in a comment ~ consider that an invitation to talk back. They wouldn’t include you in the conversation if they didn’t want to hear from you. *Key Point* Your response makes that person feel special. – People feeling special = more customer loyalty.
  5. Share. You’re a pet store who just heard about a product recall? Post the link to your page. Does that help your business directly? No. But it does help you to stand out as the expert in the field. Take a look at some of the fun things a local shop here in Maine does – Paws Applause.

Check out Tuesdays entry for the final 5 Rules to a Successful Facebook Business Page.

What would you add?

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Social Media and Hospitality

 

Would you like to increase customer loyalty, customer connection and brand recognition? If not, you need to find a new job. If you would like to do these things then understanding, utilizing and capitalizing on social media for your property is a must.

As many general managers are finding out, gaining fans and followers isn’t as easy as just posting a sales pitch onto their Facebook page and sitting around waiting for the “likes” and “shares” to come barreling in. There is an art to social media and it does not consist of the same old techniques you used for your most recent magazine or newspaper advertisement.

Social media marketing consists of three main components that eventually branch off into infinium. The first thing you must do is to decide on your brand’s voice. Are you a large 4-star full-service hotel who has a brand already? Or are you a small boutique property who can make changes fast and reply with the freedom of not running it by corporate officers? Either way, a decision must be made.

Let’s start with this piece of advice: No matter what voice you choose to use, don’t be a salesman. No one likes to be sold, especially on Facebook and Twitter. If a client or potential guest has taken the time to follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook take that as a sign that they already know what you do. There is no need to try and sell them on your services again.

Think of it like this: When you get home from a long day at work and your significant other is waiting for you do you walk in and re-introduce yourself again? Do you tell your significant other all about who you are, why you’re the best choice and why they should be glad they didn’t choose someone else? The better question is this: What would happen if you did?! I’m fairly certain your partner would either slap you, ask you to leave, or tell you to get lost!

Why then would you start a Facebook page, gather a decent following and then abuse everyone by stroking your ego and telling them about your amazing pool, beds or workout center? Guess what, they already know!!

Am I saying that you should never share your property’s features and benefits? No. I am saying to do it in a fun way. Instead of saying, “Come stay at XYZ Hotel and enjoy our amazing salt water pool.” Why not say, “While staying with XYZ Hotel take a dip in our salt water pool; we promise, there won’t be any sharks!”

Your objective is to gain attention, trust and conversation. If you pitch your followers in the same way you pitch a client you will loose the people you worked so hard to gain. By deciding on the voice of your hotel you will know how to say the cute things to the prospects you want to say it to.

Your second task is a very important one. Decide who will speak for your property. For instance, if you have decided your voice is going to be a fun loving 4-star property who enjoys teasing and playing with your followers you must decide who will do the typing.

I am a huge fan of having just one social media expert on staff. This guarantees having a solitary voice that never changes. If your hotel is too large and has so much activity on your networks that you need to have more than one staff member man the gates, just be sure they are on the same page and work out a system to reply to ALL comments.

I do not recommend farming-out your social media commitments to an available intern or just any available front desk employee. One of the many reasons why people love social media is to hear the many voices of the various companies they follow. If you allow your intern to do it, (who may do it well) you could be setting yourself up for failure. How long is your intern supposed to be with your property? Is social media the best thing they can be doing for your hotel? This all comes back to deciding on your voice – the voice of your property must be steadfast and friendly. Choose wisely.

Once you have decided on a voice, and who is going to be that voice, you must also decide on what your social media policy is going to be. It is important to meet weekly with the employee who is doing your tweets, Facebook and whatever other mediums you decide to use. Talk about what the week ahead holds, who interacted with your property, and who your new followers are. Remember that social media is not just about “likes” and “followers,” it is about interaction and eventually turning those interactions into profit!

Facebook offers a great tool to measure your interactions and see where in the world your followers are interacting with you from. This tool is called “Insights.” It is easy to convert the statistics into an Excel sheet and definitely worth going over every week with your social media manager.

A common concern is what to do if an unhappy guest posts something negative on your page for all your other guests to see. The easy answer to this is a fun phrase commonly tossed about on the Internet: “Do not feed the trolls.” A troll is someone who posts negative comments on your website or Facebook wall just to get a reaction from you. I recommend one of two simple solutions:

First ask yourself is this negative criticism possible? Perhaps the comment has some validity and you may even have a record of it from your night auditor or security personnel. If the negative comment is valid, I recommend responding on your page publicly with a simple apology and asking the guest to call you on your office phone or to email you, and let them know you will fix the issue if at all possible. Do not take time to react, rebut or pass the blame. Remember, all of the other people who follow your page will see your response. The best response they can see is your confident and competent ability to handle the issue and fix it.

The second case scenario is someone is posting inflammatory remarks on your page that are totally unfounded. If this is on Facebook it is quite easy to delete a comment before many people have seen it. You have the option on Twitter to mark a tweet as SPAM. Only do these types of actions when you are certain the poster is leaving untrue statements about your property.

In some cases a post may be trying to raise controversy about an event at your hotel. If this is the case, do not feed the troll. Let the post stand but do not add gasoline to the fire. In some cases, the best response is no response. Use your best judgment and, again, cover these situations with your social media manager so that he or she knows how to react.

The final step to having a successful social media marketing push is to never stop learning, and be prepared for change. The Internet changes every minute, and it was not too long ago that everyone was raving about MySpace and AIM. As of right now the newest technology is Google+ (which does not allow business accounts yet).

Change is inevitable and that is why it is vital to have a member of your team with open eyes and an open mind to the new changes coming to your property. The fact is, social media will not go away — it is only going to change. Be ready for the changes, embrace them, and above all else, have fun.

This article was written by David A. Pride, owner of this blog and originally published on hotelsmag.com.

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