Recent Posts by Learning Entrepreneurship

Customer Service is Marketing?

Simply deliver what you promised 

customerserviceA recent Linkedin article argued that Customer Service is the new method of Marketing – do it right and traditional marketing is unnecessary.

I would argue that it’s an essential element of a three part process – Marketing, Sales and then Customer Service – to deliver the objective of attracting, satisfying and keeping loyal, long-term profitable customers.

The three elements must be complementary and consistent to be effective. Promote what you can actually deliver. Do not under-sell it, but do not promise and hope that it can be delivered. Or that the customer will not notice the deficiencies. That never ends well.

The sales effort has to be part of the process after marketing has introduced the customers. Continue to qualify and confirm that you can meet their needs and desires while avoiding the easy sale by telling them whatever they want to hear. The truth is better, even if it’s a disappointment.

Then customer service makes sure that the promises are met with competence, helpful support and a friendly smile that says, “Y’all come back now.” And they will.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Exceeding expectations

Even if you’re not working for tips 

bartenderGood waiters and bartenders get it.

Prepare a good product and meet the minimum expectations for delivery, quality and price, then add the personal friendly touch, demonstrate your expertise and dispense your worldly wise advice to create a more knowledgeable buyer, who appreciates it all.

It’s good for tips. Even better if you’re not working for tips. You’ll win loyal customers and raving fans.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Lead by example

Show the way and how to behave getting there

Leading the chargeLeadership means more than showing the way to achieve your goals and improve group performance. It requires demonstrating your guiding principles on dealing with challenges and working with colleagues, associates, suppliers and customers.

People follow your example more than they will be persuaded by powerful rhetoric. Leadership by command and control may still work, but not as well.

Leading by example means more than “Look at me, I’m rich and famous. You can be too.” Yes, bullying and self-promotion may get you there, even get you elected to President of the most powerful and influential country in the world. But you will not remain in charge for long. People will resist. You will never receive the respect and have the influence that you seek.

Better to demonstrate higher principles of respect for others, good character and high moral standards, compassion and consideration for those who struggle to obtain what you already enjoy.

Leadership that sets those examples will generate loyal, long-term followers that we can all be proud of.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

The Power of No

Be willing to walk away

Saying-noIt’s not a tactic and it’s not a bluff. It’s a change in attitude that changes the relationship for both sides.

Now you are only here because you both want to be. And you’re working toward the same objective. Confronted with a firm no, both parties will find a better way to get to the win-win.

Or agree to walk away to other options and stop wasting each other’s time.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Pricing to please

Not everybody, but your target customers

“Can you do better?”

10-min-Guide-233ABack in the day, when I was selling computer hardware to resellers in Boston, that was usually their response, whenever I quoted a price. Actually, in Boston it was more like, “Can yuh do bettah?”

In any case, my smart-ass reply was often, “Better for you or for me?” Isn’t that the real question?

But that makes it a win-lose game, instead of a mutual benefit transaction. What price will satisfy both the buyer and the seller? Buyers want a price that compares favourably to their alternatives and delivers value to their business. Sellers want a price that exceeds their cost and delivers sufficient volume to be profitable to their business.

An acceptable price is defined by the market, the prior experience of your target customers with your competition. But the right price is a key strategic decision and must be consistent with your own prior choices for product quality, features, benefits and associated services. Price is an important strategic element in your market positioning.

Do you want the price to be the primary attraction to your business? Or is your product more unique and your customer more discriminating than that. If you win on price, you can also easily lose on price. Long-term loyal relationships are built on a consistent customer experience that confirms your integrity, expertise and business values. Price and availability are only the initial entry criteria.

You cannot please everybody, so use pricing to help select the customers you really want to do business with.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

It’s another New Year. So what.

It’s still a good time to reflect and plan

(Sorry for playing the old hits with a repeat of my message from January 2016, but it’s still appropriate and applicable to 2018.)

In the ditchYou have already looked at too many year-end reviews and predictions for the New Year. The consensus seems to be that last year was bad everywhere and this year will be worse: more terrorist events and political stupidity, extreme weather and natural disasters, investments at risk of a bursting bubble and volatile economic conditions that will challenge every industry.

So if you cannot control the environment, what can you do differently this year? Aside from trying to stay out of the ditch.

A good general rule is to keep it simple. Focus on just two memorable accomplishments for the year – one personal, one professional. Richard Branson suggests that you refrain from making another to-do list, but work instead on your to-be list.  It is more important who you are than what you do.

Work on making memories.

If you look back on last year, how would you characterize your achievements? Personally and professionally, what were the outstanding memories? Did they just happen or were they your intent? It may not have been something that changed the world, but were they significant memories for you and the important people around you?

So what will your memories be for this year? Will it be the year for a major turning point in your career, or your business direction or your personal development?

Of course a more detailed plan is required, but I recommend to start with some simple objectives that are easy to remember without getting distracted by external events. Work on the issues that you can control and the actions that will make a difference. Be prepared for surprises and disappointments that are out of your control and develop the resilience and strength to get past them.

Have a good year. Make it memorable.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

‘Tis the Season

For reflection and relationships

Family of Feet warming at a fireplaceForget the shopping and the frenzy of holiday season obligations and year-end deadlines. Take time for reflection and relationships. The Holiday Season should be dedicated to finding quality time for quiet reflection on life and the world around us and for the relationships that are most important to us.

First, with compliments to my wise wife, Penny and the Advent Conspiracy Video, re-direct some of your time and money to sharing with those in need of both connection and support to improve their lives.

Take time out to work on family relationships and be a better parent, grandparent, sibling, son or daughter.

Set aside for a while the pressing issues and challenges of your business and build better personal relationships with associates and colleagues who are more than cash-flow generating employees, customers and suppliers.  Wake up and learn like Scrooge did that there is more to life. Remember the part about having fun and making a difference.

Wishing you all the joys of the season and a very healthy and Happy New Year.

Your Uncle Ralph,

Del Chatterson

 

 

Good salesmanship still works

And you can’t fake sincerity

car_salesmanAmbushed at the service counter. But it was such a smooth, subtle switch to the sales pitch that I was persuaded to sit down and listen.

Before I got out of the car at the dealership service bay, I noticed the well-dressed young man coming to greet me who did not look like a service technician. He said, “Good morning, Mr. Chatterson, let me check you in to get your winter tires installed”, as he handed me the service ticket, “but you’re on a short list of customers this morning that I wanted to talk to about trading in your car today. It has low mileage and good trade-in value and we have some exceptional deals right now that would make it easy for you to trade up to a new one.”

How’s that for a well delivered up-sell? Much more appealing than “Would you like fries with that?”

He handed me a cup of freshly brewed coffee and led me to his desk. How could I resist. I’m an entrepreneur and business consultant and I was appreciating the demonstration of The Four P’s of Salesmanship: Polite, Patient, Persistent, & Persuasive. He almost had me into a new convertible on a cold windy winter day in Montreal. The deal was very good this time of year!

But then they fell back on the objectionable old auto sales routine of “Let me introduce you to the Sales Manager, maybe he can do even better.” Older guy, more expensive suit, big hearty handshake, high energy, fast talker and “Very pleased to meet you, Mr. Chatterson.” A forced fake friendliness that sent me back to the service department for another coffee.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Retail is dead

Hah! They said that about the horse & buggy industry.

shoppersWe’ve been saying it about retail for over fifteen years.  E-commerce is coming, catch the wave or be drowned by it. Soon there will be nobody left but Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.

Maybe this Christmas shopping season will be the final slide into oblivion for traditional real-world retailers. Or maybe not?

They’re not all losing to online. This week’s shopping excursion did expose the disturbing site of Sear’s liquidation sales at one end of the mall, but BestBuy and the Hudson’s Bay seemed busy and full of real shoppers.

Survival of the fittest still applies. The laggards at the back of the pack will get picked off by the predators. You can’t hide, but you don’t have to roll over and die, either. Evolution and survival requires adaptation.

Pay attention. Learn from new competitors and their business models, online or otherwise. Copy what seems to be working and can be used to attract and retain your customers too.

The latest versions of the new economy may include robots and artificial intelligence, drones and resource-sharing, but some old rules still apply:

  • Do your homework before trying to implement new technology.
  • Focus on your business objectives, not on what’s cool, or hot, or trendy.
  • Do not stubbornly fail to fix what is clearly broken.
  • Flip the old WWW on its head and remember MMM – Manage, Monitor and Measure.
  • Too many new initiatives are driven by fear or greed. Be smarter than that.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.  

Breakfast Strategies

More than 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, toast & jam.

bacon & eggs (2)I have been working to establish a new family tradition of big boys’ breakfast on Sundays for grandpa, sons and grandsons. The variety of breakfast spots has been a useful lesson in strategic positioning.

The specialty breakfast restaurant is a well-established concept, especially in Montréal, starting with Chez Cora, and is now a very competitive market with lots of attractive choices. How do they all survive?

Here’s what we’ve learned, so far.

First: Accept the business model where it’s clearly working. Breakfast and lunch only, located in a high traffic area for large volume and fast turnover in a few working hours. Appeal to the most likely prospects, business people and professionals, retirees, dining alone or using the spot for business, meetings and social groups.

Second: Be distinctive. Make choices on the menu, pricing, quality and quantity, design and décor, staffing, uniforms, style and personality. Be consistent in all of those choices to reinforce the strategic positioning.

Choose from the MacDonald’s and Tim Horton’s style of limited low-budget choices, fast and cheap. Or consider more variety, larger selections, larger portions, more creative menu items, gourmand versus gourmet, extravagant versus exotic, home-style versus chic. Ensure high quality food and friendly, efficient service.

It’s seems to be a simple formula for success: make good strategic choices and be consistent in execution of the strategy. It works for more than restaurants.

The research continues.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

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