Jul 11 2011

The Real Entrepreneurs

Many traditional marketers haven’t a clue . . .


Real entrepreneurs


respond in an instant and 


develop ideas thoroughly


from beginning to end.



Today’s marketing people are not adapting well to current economic realities. They see themselves as part of the solution to a problem that they do not understand . . . one they are not trying hard enough to overcome.

The no-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel economy we’re presently in doesn’t, for example, automatically translate to everyone being interested in finding a better dollar deal. Instead, when budgets are restricted is when entrepreneurs need to invest more heavily in building long-term relationships, as they would expect of their own suppliers.

Traditional marketing pros are missing this.

They are still knocking themselves silly trying to fit business owners into their media and social media games and patterns and rate cards and strategies instead of adapting what they know to help entrepreneurs do more with less

. . . instead of pulling their chairs up to the same side of the table.


This doesn’t mean reinforcing the customer service department. It does mean building customer service into the job decription for every single employee. When every staffer is also a customer service specialist –poof!– you no longer need a customer service department! Nurturing long-term relationships becomes your new business. 

Marketing traditionalists are missing this point, and others like it. The “new” cyberspace marketing pros are also missing the point. First off, the whole world is NOT tuned into the Internet which means the perspective that every human on Earth is aware of Mashable, YELP, Tweets, BFs, DMs, clouds, and the advent of Cicret Bracelets is false. So the perspective is warped.

Second, when traditionalists wrap their marketing strategies around media airtime, print space availabilities and “special rate card deal packages” or “online marketing and SEO experts” (most of whom are self-designated, unproven, and over-priced) parade out their website and email bells and whistles, entrepreneurs end up the losers. 

If you’re a small business owner, operator, or manager, you need to be looking AWAY FROM formula marketing solutions that do not bend over backwards for you the same way you bend over backwards for your customers.

This is not an economy where you can simply accept blanket marketing recommendations without questioning.


Marketing pros need to be thinking more like entrepreneurs. They need to be looking much harder at ways to market products and services for maximum impact without spending as much money as in the past. They need to be offering their services more on a performance incentive basis, and put their wallets where their mouths are. 

Entrepreneurs need to challenge marketing people more to get “more bang for the buck” and –by the same token — be willing to reward generously for performance. A marketing success that produces $1 million in new sales should be well worth a $250,000 or $300,000 fee because you end up with the balance — money you never had before! 

Bottom line: Get streamlined. Get simple. Look under new leaves. Push for impact and relationships instead of deals. Yeah, I know about car dealerships; but they’re in their own world. This post is about reality and your business. It’s about looking to Twitter instead of network TV, postcards instead of elaborate mailers, emails . . .


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Higher impact. Lower costs.


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Entrepreneurship & Expansion Coaching    931.854.0474

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May 12 2009


Train. Ask. Listen. Bend.


     First of all, there’s no reason in the world a small business needs a customer service department or customer service representatives. EVERY manager and every employee is or should be able to handle any customer complaint, concern, question or transaction. If they’re not, TRAIN them. Spend a few dollars to bring in a professional trainer (it’s cheaper than paying a rep salary or a department full of salaries).

     Periodically send a friend or relative in (physically, or by phone or email) as a “mystery shopper” to keep everyone fresh and on their toes. Tell your people of course that this will happen from time to time. You can even make a game of it with mystery shopper points for outstanding ratings, adding up to dinner for two or some inexpensive but fun reward (again, still less expensive than permanent salary or benefit increases or bonuses).

What should the training be focused on?

ASKING customers’ questions. (Not “What can I interest you in today?” or “How’s the weather outside?” or “Why don’t you want this product?”) Ask how they are or were using, or plan to use, the product? Ask what three things can you do for them right now that will help restore their confidence in your company, or how can you help them to have a positive shopping experience with your business, or what will it take to get them to return…to send their friends and relatives?

LISTENING to customers’ answers. (Not token “hearing,” but deeply listening, and understanding, and processing the comments, and paraphrasing them to make sure your understanding is correct.) The customer should do 80% of the talking. You should do 80% of the listening. Oh, and take notes. Always take notes. Nod your head. Smile. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes (empathy). Avoid crossing your arms, legs or hands. Be engaging. Use eye contact (not staring) and avoid looking past or over the person in front of you. 

BENDING to customers’ requests.This means really and truly bending over backwards to accomodate what’s asked of you. This does NOT mean you should give away the store or the farm or your sister. Don’t roll over and play dead to every request (assertive refusals can be delivered very pleasantly), but offer SOMEthing. Most people are happy with being acknowledged and listened to. Those who want more are usually happy with some token of appreciation for their forthrightness. Remember your goal needs to be to deliver exceptional attention to each customer with no exceptions. Send each one off to sell your business to others.

     If you have a small operation, with a dozen or fewer people, and want to save money, do the training yourself…but do your homework first, ask everyone to contribute a segment, and remember to practice what you preach!

     The bottom line is the old “Golden Rule” of do unto others as you would have others do unto you! There is no better approach to customer service in ANY economy. And when business is slow, there is no better approach to speeding it up! Try it! You’ll like it!     

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Send your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar              # # # 

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