Sunday, December 19, 2010

Do you take responsibility for the service your company provides?

We’ve all had it happen; your airline seat has changed from the original you booked without any logical reason, so you question the people behind the counter. Their response is that they can’t do anything and you’ll have to check at the gate, unfortunately their hands are tied. You proceed to the gate and now those people are saying they can’t make a change because it is “beyond their control.” Every now and then you’ll get an employee that says “Sure I can take care of that, there is no reason that should have happened to you”.

The funny thing is you’re so happy someone is finally helping you that you forgot how poor the service was with the other two reps, this occurrence is called contrast. Initially, the customer service was so bad that when you finally received decent service (that you should have received from the beginning) it seemed superior. But it really wasn’t…

How is the service at your company? Is it just average or is it something you would like to receive and feel comfortable paying money for? Have you ever made an excuse for the service your company provided? If so, nobody wants to hear it, just like you don’t want to hear it when you get poor service.
Step up and provide service through your company that you would want to receive, not settle for. Service separates the successful company’s and the excuse makers. Excuse makers that offer poor service eventually go out of business.

We all know companies that give great service that we continue to support, and refer to our personal contacts, because of this, these companies will experience continued success. Be one of those companies and strive for excellent service. Make it happen!

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Friday, November 19, 2010

What should I look out for when turning in a leased vehicle?

Fees for Termination, Wear and Tear, and Mileage are the biggest things to look for. There are many horror stories of people turning in leased vehicles and the leasing companies, banks or dealerships charging them thousands of dollars for these fees. It seems the definition of “Wear and Tear” is typically not defined until you turn in the vehicle. When you lease a vehicle, you need to have all fees CLEARLY laid out for you IN WRITING before you sign the lease.

Here are some examples of fees to watch out for:

Lease termination fee - This is a fee the leasing company is charging you to “turn in” your vehicle to them. This can range from $250 - $500.

Wear and Tear fee - This is a fee the leasing company can charge for something that is typically not defined when you lease the car. When you prepare to turn it in they will come up with charges for excessive paint chips, dings, scratches, tire tread depth, gouges, worn carpeting, wear in seats and the list goes on! This can get really high, from $500 to over $1,000.

Investigation fees – These are fees they try to charge you to further investigate things like engine components, pulleys, belts, drive train, etc. Often the leasing company will try to charge you a flat fee to “check” these items and waive any additional fees if they find things. This fee is usually $250 - $500. Or they may try to “investigate further” to find other things. Refer to what you signed in your lease contract.

Mileage fees - These fees are assessed when you exceed the mileage you have contracted for. If you have an allowance of 12,000 miles per year and you have a 3-year lease, you have 36,000 miles. If you turn the vehicle in with 50,000 miles, you will be charged typically between .10 and .25 cents per additional mile. If you went over by 14,000 miles, this fee would be from $1,400 - $3,500 depending on the per mile charge.

Gap fees – This is the gap (the difference) between what your insurance company will pay if your vehicle gets stolen or totaled in an accident and what you still owe on the lease at the time of the loss. For example: If your vehicle is stolen half way through your lease and the insurance company will only pay $18,000.00 and your lease payoff amount in your contract is $22,500.00, you would have to pay the difference between what the insurance company will pay and what you pay the leasing company. This is the Gap fee.

How can you minimize these charges?

1) Clean up the vehicle before you turn it in.
2) Typically the leasing company will call you for a vehicle inspection before you turn it in. Get everything in writing.
3) Pull out the paperwork you signed when you took out the lease. Were you told any of this before you signed the papers? Did they give you examples of what the charges might be and did they go into this level of detail when you signed the paperwork? If not, why are they doing it now, after the fact? You will need to ask them to justify, from your contract, whatever items they are trying to get you to pay for now.

Be careful when leasing cars. Contracts are changing and leasing companies are looking for opportunities to charge fees on the back end of your contract. What seemed like lower payments during your lease term can end up haunting you when you turn the vehicle in, so be careful! If possible and if it makes fiscal sense (especially given all the fees above), purchasing your next vehicle might be the better way to go.

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Friday, October 15, 2010

Should I join a networking group?

Networking is a vital activity for all businesses. Becoming a member in a networking group is a great way to expose your company to the public and other business advocates. The organizations available have standards and procedures in place that will assist you in becoming successful. With that said, each organization is tailored in its direction and not all may be great fits for you. But how do you know which ones are best to join? You’ll have to get proactive.

The only way to get an accurate sense is to attend different networking groups and base your decision off of these ‘trial meetings’. While you are there, talk to the members. It doesn’t cost anything to ask questions so start up conversations with multiple individuals. Try to get business cards from people you didn’t get a chance to speak with and give them a call later on that week.

Before you call, create an outline of questions that are important to you because like you, these individuals are busy and you don’t want to waste too much of their time. Here are some good sample questions to start off with:

  • What do you like best about the meetings?
  • What do you like least?
  • What kind of advice would you give a new person like me that is joining the group?
  • What’s the biggest benefit of being a member of the group from your perspective?
  • Are there other groups you think might be a good idea for me in my business?
  • How would I go about exchanging referrals with someone like you in the group?

After speaking with other members it will easier to decide if that group is good fit and positive use of your time. Talk to at least 5 people from the group before you decide to participate. If you decide to join one, participate fully. Step up or step aside. Make it happen!

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Monday, September 13, 2010

Should I accept credit cards at my business?

It’s always a good idea to provide prospective and existing customers with as many ways to pay you as possible. Accepting credit cards is a good way to accomplish this. There are many instances where it would be more convenient for a customer to pay you by credit card rather than sending a check, meaning you get paid faster. Before you run off and start accepting credit cards you’ll need to make sure you have a couple percent of your revenue to pay for this convenience.

Credit card companies usually charge between 2 – 4 percent of the total amount charged on the card as a service fee to process the transaction and deposit the money into your account. It is not unusual to also have a per-transaction fee as well. In addition many processing companies have minimum fees if your calculated fees do not exceed a certain amount each month. There may also be equipment rental costs if you need a machine to swipe credit cards at your business location. Be sure all of fees and charges are laid out in writing before you sign on the dotted line with a credit card processing company.

Lastly, since people can dispute and potentially decline credit card charges, it is a good idea to make sure your credit card terms and conditions are clear and are available to your customers. Giving customers several ways to pay is a good idea for most businesses but that’s the great thing about having your own business…You get to decide!

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pick up the phone every now and then!

Email is just too easy sometimes. It’s good to pick up the phone every now and then and have a real conversation with people. Not just friends but customers too. We get too good at email and text communication. If they’re in town, set up a lunch and get face to face. If they’re out of town then spend a few extra minutes and have a phone call with them.

Take a minute or two before you get on the call and jot down a few things to talk to them about. Ask how they are doing, the family and then after a little small talk you can transition to some business. You may find some other business you can do with them or a project for someone you know. Each time you give out a referral you should expect at least one back.

I know you’ll be on the phone longer with a real call than you will with a text or email but sometimes you just need to “put a voice” with the text....

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do people really call from vehicle signage?

If they can find you! I was driving the other day and I saw a truck that said "Reliable Painting" and it had a phone number on it. By the time I realized what they did, they were too far away from me in traffic and I couldn’t see their phone number. I saw the area code and it was local so when I got home I Googled them but nothing came up by that name. I called them because their truck was clean and the ladders, lettering and everything I saw led me to believe they “looked credible.”

The sad thing was I couldn’t find them when I looked them up online. Nothing about their business came up and they did not have a website, at least not one I could find.

The moral of the story? Make sure your business is findable online. Make it happen!

For more information on why your business may or may not be findable online, read this article too.

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What percentage of influence do my words have on people?

There are many factors that influence our interaction with other people. Here are the three primary drivers:

1) Words
2) Voice tone, quality and pacing
3) Facial expressions and body language

We interact with people all day long every day in business. So which one of these is more important than the other? It’s a great question with some answers that might surprise you.

Let’s say you tell someone they’re doing a good job….now that’s a pretty good one to make someone feel good. How much influence do you think you have on them with those words? 90%, 60, 50?

How about if you tell them they’re doing a good job and your voice emphasizes the “good job” part, what percent do you think that will affect them? 50%, 75, 100?

Now how about if you smile, shake their hand and tell them they’re doing a good job, what percent do you think that will affect them? 100%, 90, 10%?

There have been all kinds of studies about this kind of thing and here is how our ability to influence people breaks down in the three primary areas:

1) Words 7%
2) Voice tone & Quality 38%
3) Facial expressions and Body Language 55%

Words don’t mean as much as we think without a good tone in our voice and some good facial expressions to go along with it! Keep in mind your facial expressions and body language should still be in “full force” and working even when you’re on the phone.

Make it happen!

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is changing your website Killing you?

We get lots of calls from people who are absolutely frustrated with the company they bought their website from. They purchase a website from a website building company and then they pull out their hair trying to make changes to the site. That’s because most website builders are not business people or content creators...they are website builders. They don’t know what a small business person goes through and how frustrating it can be trying to make changes to a website or get customer service on a website you bought.

That’s why we make all of our websites at eMarketing 4 Business with the small business owner in mind. We know they will want to make changes to their website every now and then and we have an easy to use interface and tool so they can make changes. But if the small business owner needs our help we will make the changes for them.

We are here for the small business owner, we answer our phones and best of all, we get you results!

Call us to find out how we can get you your own website or how we can help you with your current website. Please call Vince at: 262.513.5220 for a free consultation.

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Monday, January 18, 2010

How come getting new business isn’t as clear to me as getting a new car?

When you decide to get a new car your emotions get involved. We start focusing on the car we want and we can see the shiny paint color, smell the leather, and hear the roar of the engine. Basically, we see ourselves driving it and emotionally we begin to crave this product. Very quickly, our minds become trained to notice these cars more often and soon we begin to see the same car everywhere!

Funny thing is, there aren’t any more of these cars on the road now then when they first peaked your interest. Your brain has just started to “pay more attention” now. This is human nature; the more thought and emotion you put behind something, the more your brain figures you want it, so it starts picking out and noticing those kinds of things.

Think about your business, do you put this much energy and emotion into getting new customers? If not, that may be why you’re not getting as many as you would like. Start projecting out all the benefits and enjoyment you will have by adding new customers to your business. Think about how happy those new customers will be enjoying your products or services and the positive experience they will receive working with you or someone else on your team. Do you find it hard to get emotional about this? If so, you’ve found your answer: lack of passion.

Time to re-invigorate and remind yourself about all the reasons you went into business for yourself in the first place! All those same emotions and passion need to resurface so your brain can once again get excited about it. Remember, you get what you focus on, so focus on the right things! Make it happen!

© 2010 eMarketing 4 Business LLC