Welcome to this issue of The Corporate Muse! This month
we focus on customer service, defining a target market and your writing voice. We trust you'll get plenty of insight from
these articles. As always, we welcome suggestions and/or questions.
The One That Gets Away
do you handle the customer who doesn’t buy from you?
Let’s set up the
scenario here (purely fictional, of course). You’ve sent out a direct mail package to 500 potential customers. Included in the
offer is an open house to view your facilities and get to know you and your colleagues.
On the night of the
event, instead of the ten you anticipated (2% response), twenty-five people show up. You’re delighted, thinking perhaps as
many as five might sign on.
The visitors appear
visibly impressed. They gratefully consume the beverages and canapés you set out. Many comment on your state-of-the-art
offices. Two make appointments because of the great discount you presented in the package. Several others seek you out to
discuss the details of your invitation.
By then end of the
night, you’ve gained four new clients and feel your investment was well worth the time and money. But two individuals, who
seemed initially interested, left without making a commitment. You wonder about them.
Now here’s where it gets
How did you treat
them as they walked out the door? Were you as pleasant as when you greeted them? Did you give them a chilly goodbye? Did you
thank them and shake their hands? Did you turn your back and ignore them? How about the other nineteen?
Why is this
important? After all, they came to the party and enjoyed the refreshments. They snatched you away from buying guests and gave
you the impression they had “intent to purchase.” In other words, they wasted your time. Why should you be
Here it is. You
ready? Sometime in the future they may be in the market for your product or services. At some point, they will probably buy.
Maybe they came for the free food. But honestly, how many people in today’s busy world have that kind of time? More than
likely, they came to see if you were a good match for their needs. And…
…How you respond when they exit
the door can leave a lasting impression
This comes on the
heels of a bad experience with a car dealership. We got a flyer in the mail advertising a huge sale – gigantic savings – and a
significant coupon. Our car has some problems and we’ve been considering trading it in for a new one and thought this might be
the right opportunity to do just that.
We tested a few
vehicles, but when it came time to sign on the dotted line, things didn’t go quite like we’d hoped. We decided not to take the
deal. When the sales manager realized that was the case, he became downright rude. He even left the table without shaking my
husband’s outstretched hand.
So why did I just tell that
I tend to be a very
loyal customer when I find a product or service provider I like. If on the other hand, you offend me by a foul attitude –
watch out! It incites my redheaded dander, and believe me, it’s not a pretty sight. Not only will I not return, I’ll
make sure my friends know about the poor treatment I received.
The car dealer lost
a sale, a potential sale, and possibly referrals. While your product or service might not be right for me, it might be
perfect for someone I know. If I came to your affair and had a good time, I’ll happily tell my friends all about it. But, if I
turn up at your wing-ding and as soon as you recognize I’m not all that interested in the immediate proposal, you start acting
like I have the plague, don’t expect good things back. In fact, when your name is mentioned later, I’ll report my unpleasant
encounter and recommend they go some place else. But then…
…Most of us are like
Wouldn’t you agree?
We like to shop or do business where we feel comfortable. And one bad experience can sour a place for a lifetime.
That’s why it’s so important to make everyone feel welcome in your establishment … even if they did just show up for
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What is your Target Market? Do you know? Does
Many people jump
into business without thinking about where they will get their customers. Certain companies –restaurants and movie theaters,
for example – have wide demographics. At some point, everyone will eat out or see a movie. But most of the rest of us need to
determine which segment of the population can best benefit from our services.
If you’re just
starting out, you may not have a clear picture of your Target Market. You just want business – any business. But if you
specialize – find your niche, as they say – you’re more apt to develop a marketing strategy able to reach your ideal client
and bring him to your door.
But who is
Think of it like
putting an advertisement in the personals. You’re seeking your perfect match – the one you look forward to growing old with.
For days, you wrestle with just the right words to describe yourself and the one you hope to meet. Finally, you have it just
the way you want it. You send it off to the paper and days later you’re inundated with calls.
Finding your ideal
client works much the same way. Before you ever sat down to write your profile, you deliberated. You catalogued your qualities
and those you sough in a mate. When defining your Target Market you should adopt a similar proces.
So what are the
Here’s a list of
ways to identify your Target Market from, “Get Clients Now!” by C.J. Hayden (we highly recommend this book):
o Who needs your service the most?
o Who is able to pay what you need to charge?
o Who is likely to give you large orders or repeat
o Whose problems and goals do you care about?
o Who would be the most fun and satisfying to work
o Where do you already have contacts?
o Who would be the easiest clients to get?
Once you have an
idea of whom you want to pursue, many of the other pieces will fall into place. Knowing your Target Market (or ideal client)
will help you produce the kind of promotional materials that will always hit their intended target.
In every book,
article, etc. I’ve ever read about writing, it recommends you find your “writing voice.” Sounds easy – or maybe it doesn’t.
But what exactly does it mean?
Maybe the best way
to illustrate is to compare different authors. Two of my favorites are Jane Austen and Adriana Trigiani. Though a best selling
novelist, many of you may not be familiar with the latter. Her books include Big Stone Gap, Lucia, Lucia and
most recently, Rococo.
Both of these
writers appeal to women. Both intersperse humor, romance and quirky characters into their stories. So what makes them sets
Basically, it’s how
they say what they say. Obviously because they wrote in different centuries and countries, the use of speech is quite
dissimilar. But it’s more than that.
Jane’s voice is more
formal; you feel a love of language, yet there’s an underlying sense of playfulness that keeps you entertained until the
employ a very conversational style. She takes you inside the head and heart of her protagonist. Sometimes you even find
yourself nodding because you understand exactly what she’s going through.
The use of voice,
for both authors, is what separates them from the pack. An authenticity, if you will – the very thing you want to capitalize
on whenever you put anything in writing and stamp it with your name.
Read a couple of
your own favorite writers and see what differentiates them. Then next time you compose a letter or memo, concentrate on your
choice of words and how you put them together.
Do they sound like you or your seventh grade English teacher? Remember: the closer you write to the way you talk, the better the
response. You may even generate your own fan club!
Thanks for reading. See you next month! If we can be of service before then, don't hesitate to contact
Andy & Shawn Catsimanes
"Helping savvy businesses turn words into tools that convert prospects into profits."
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