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Marketing, Networking & Customer Service

by Alan Rock

Writing my daily blog at HoldMasters1.com, I make them succinct due to space restrictions. Writing an article gives me the opportunity to stretch out some thoughts and additional information.

In business today it is imperative to not only to keep your market share but to gain some as well. One of prime ways of keeping it is through two things; one is to have an excellent product and/or service and two, by giving great customer service. By having a great product and/or service you will most likely get referrals from satisfied clients which by its very nature will help you gain market share. And great customer service will help you retain the share you have. Of course there is always attrition and you must replace that business at once.

Finding new business is a full time job. You can advertise for it in print, radio, TV, or on the Internet, or you can network for it by attending Chamber meetings or joining small networking groups. Depending on your budget, advertising does work if you know what you are doing. You cannot advertise on the cheap and expect it to work. Advertising is a commitment of both time and money. The time is that period when your message is not only heard, but also be understood. It is said that your radio or your TV commercial needs to be seen or heard at least four and a half times before it's even noticed. And to sell your product and/or service even many more times.

If you are planning on using paid media (print, radio, TV, Internet) I would strongly suggest hiring a professional advertising agency since they specialize in knowing what works, how to say things that sell your product and/or service. I would also suggest that you have a media mix. That means don't put all your eggs in one media basket and with any advertising have a social media component.

Networking is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful ways of getting your product and/or service in front of new potential clients. With networking someone you know is recommending you to someone they know who could use your product and/or service. You are expected and the door is open. This is where you have a chance to increase your business from a welcoming prospect. It's also your opportunity to lose as well if you don't have a winning presentation. Once you are given a referral there are some 'shoulds' you must do. You should, call and make your connection as soon as you get the referral (within 24 hours). You should go online and learn about that industry, its challenges and needs. You should go to that prospect's web site and learn as much as you can about that company. All of this makes you smarter than the representative who just comes in with a standard sales pitch. Also you will find your satisfied clients great sources of networking to their business friends but only if you must remember to ask for referrals.

What about your customer service? How is that handled? If I owned a company or was the CEO or COO, I would call in as a customer and see how I'm handled. How is the phone answered? Am I connected to where I need to be in a quick and courteous manner? Or, am I put into a maze of press this and press that? If I'm put On-Hold what do I hear? Do I hear nothing but silence, thinking I might be disconnected? Do I hear a radio station playing music and running commercials for some products and/or services I'm not interested in or maybe a commercial for your competition? Or, do I hear a message all about your business giving me information about things that would be helpful. Informing me of products and/or services you are able to do. You need to understand no one wants to put anyone On-Hold, yet, according to AT&T research, 70% of all calls are put On-Hold. If there's only silence, chances are they will hang up within 15 to 30 seconds. If there's a radio station, you might keep them on the line one minute. With an On-Hold message you can keep them for at least 4 to 5 minutes. By the way, an On-Hold message is more cost efficient than any other form of advertising since you have a captive audience and On-Hold messages, again according to AT&T research shows an increase in sale from two and a half to five percent. On-Hold messages work not only for large companies, but people who work out of their homes with a one or two line phone system they bought at a box store. HoldMasters has been serving the business community since 1987 and would love to assist you in increasing your business.

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