Tag Archives: testimonials

Spring Scavenger Hunt for Business

By Jeff Bowman

Spring brings renewal, and with it I like to take the opportunity to renew some business practices, renew business relationships and the energy and vigour required for a successful business to thrive.  The Spring Scavenger Hunt is an excellent way to accomplish some of these objectives, as it provides you with some realistic goals to achieve in a way that is creative and fun, and doesn’t seem so much like “work”.  Give it a shot!

My scavenger hunt list is simple, commonly found and recognizable items to search out for your business.  What makes it unique, is that you set your own numbers and timetable for completion.  For small businesses, you are competing against yourself.  For larger business, you can create teams in the office, sales teams or management teams to compete against each other. Like all scavenger hunts, there should be a reward for a job well done -a dinner out on the company, a round of golf or, perhaps, a shopping voucher from a local store. Put a little fun and excitement into the office to mark the turning of the season!

Here is the Spring Scavenger Hunt for Business list. (You can fill in your own numbers – set a time limit)

____    New Clients

____    New qualified Prospects (can’t be the same as #3)

____    Referrals from existing clients

____    Testimonials about your product or service

____    New uses/users for your product or service

____    Recognizable ways to expand your local community involvement

____    Things you didn’t know about your competitors

____    Ways to make the office environment more fun to work in.

That’s it.  8 items that, if found will generate more revenue for your business.  This isn’t just a fun game, make sure that once the list is complete you utilize everything you have found.  New clients and prospects speak for themselves in terms of business growth. The ability to generate referrals is an indicator of how well you have developed current client relationships. Testimonials can be used (with permission) on websites, literature, and new prospect presentations. Every company can find new users or uses for your product or service if you think hard enough. Check out http://www.wd40.com/files/pdf/wd-40_2042538679.pdf to see what I mean! New uses translates to more volume sold, as does new users. Community involvement builds social capital for your business.  Knowing more about your competitors allows you to capitalize on any weakness you might uncover.  Finally, making the office more fun to work in reduces stress, increases creativity and productivity.  What business can’t use more of that!

Good luck with the hunt! I’d love some feedback on how it worked for your business!

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Filed under Communications, Jeff Bowman, Managing, Marketing, Media, Networking, Sales, social capital

Expert credentials, but who checks anyways?

By Jeff Bowman

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck well then it must be ….  Not always!  During my 25 years in training and development I have seen a great number of “elite” programs come and go.  I have seen “experts” in their field give absolutely terrible workshops, and time and time again I have seen companies who want to pay the minimum to get the maximum in terms of knowledge transfer, retention and results. How many times have we bowed to expert opinion only to learn later that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to hang on their every word like lemmings?

The word expert has many different connotations to different people.  Experts, when I was young were elders who had life experience.  Then I grew to learn that experts possessed specialized knowledge on certain subjects such as teachers.  Now, I am a little confused as to what criteria is used to anoint experts, because there are so many of them out there. When faced with such a dilemma I head to the dictionary and Wikipedia, figuring the answer lies somewhere between. An expert can be anything from a reliable source, a person with extensive knowledge and training, may have credentials through education and practice, a sage thinker or someone who has more knowledge than an average person. The key attribute that runs through all definitions is they must be recognized by peers and have proven authority.

The last test is the truest in my opinion.  How would an expert prove that they are an expert Testimonials would be a good start.  Letters from clients, peers and other experts stating that there are valid reasons why this person should be given your ear. This goes back to my question about who checks anyways.  In training and development situations whether it be sales, leadership, teamwork or other forms of workshops and activities, the person responsible for sourcing the trainer needs to be diligent in finding a person with the knowledge, skills and experience to properly facilitate the training. This is accomplished through checking of credentials.  You wouldn’t hire an employee without a background check.

There are billions of people on the planet who are self-proclaimed experts at something (I can hang a spoon from my nose!) Each day I see more examples of people with expert credentials that may or may not fit the definition.  Who heard of hoarding even 5 years ago, yet there are experts at dealing with the problem.  Anyone who uses social media seems to be an expert, but I defy them to stand toe to toe with the likes of Chris Brogan.  Even website optimization has thousands of experts ready to make your site number one! (64,900,000 hits on Google) A quick check of the “expert’s” background, experience and testimonials will give you a good idea if they are experts or merely more knowledgeable than the average person.

I was once told that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.  Now that certainly isn’t always the case, as many experts may have very reasonable fees. In my experience with organizations, some are truly motivated to train and understand the cost benefit relationship, and others train for the sake of training at the lowest cost, then argue that the impact was negligible or unmeasurable, and don’t venture into the human capital development field for many years. It is relatively simple for those that want results.  Check credentials, meet with the facilitator to discuss desired outcomes and be reasonable in your cost/result expectations. It might look like fantastic training, sound like fantastic training, but if you don’t check you might be “ducked”

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Filed under Communications, Human Resources, Jeff Bowman, Managing, Sales, social media, Training and Development

Holler from the treetops

By Stephen Rhodes

“If he who has a thing to sell goes and whispers in a well, he won’t be so apt to make the dollars as he who climbs a tree and hollers!”
— Anonymous

hilltops Business people are a shy lot. Some are great self-promoters. Some just don’t believe there is much to say.

In our business life there are things that happen that others should know about. Maybe it’s exceptional customer service to a client. Maybe it’s industry recognition. Maybe it’s a new product line or service.

C.J. Hayden, a noted American author and marketing expert, provides this checklist of what’s newsworthy:

  • Winning an award or competition
  • Being elected or appointed to office in a professional or civic organization
  • Obtaining an important new client or contract
  • Giving noteworthy service to an existing client
  • Opening or relocating your office
  • Expanding to serve a new market
  • Offering a new product or service
  • Launching a new or redesigned web site
  • Publishing the first issue of a newsletter
  • Publishing a blog
  • Expressing a unique opinion on a topical subject
  • Being selected to speak at a major conference
  • Completing a survey or study
  • Having an article or book published
  • Getting a mention in the news
  • Landing an interview on radio or TV.

All of these events are newsworthy, some to clients and some to prospective clients and some to the public at large.

When you give great service to a client, ask for a testimonial letter and include it your newsletter, blog, marketing kit and online. Tweet it to the world.

Some of these developments are newsworthy enough for our local media. Write a one-page news release describing what has occurred. If you win an award, describe how it made you feel. If you are elected to office, outline your goals for the organization. Include in your release a brief paragraph about your background and your company’s history.

When you get coverage, capitalize on it. Reprint the articles for everyone on your mailing list. Include them in your marketing kit and in your newsletter. Use them as handouts. Frame them and hang them on the wall of your office. Post links or entire articles on your website.

In other words, holler from the treetops.

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Filed under Marketing, Media, Online marketing, Stephen Rhodes