Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are Your Customers Fans?

As many of you know I play in the New England based Jamband Jabooda.

While the atmosphere, culture and people surrounding the band is about as far from the corporate/business realm as one could possibly get, the parallels in customer service, marketing and sales is astoundingly similar as is the work ethic involved. The band truly is, a second job.

In the band we place heavy responsibilities on our shoulders in regards to treating our fans (customers) like gold. While we do sell products to our fans we also give many of our live recordings and merchandise away for free as a thank you for their dedication and support. We put hundreds of hours into rehearsals in hopes to make sure that our fans get their moneys worth and we treat each of our fans as both human beings and friends.

In my role as a sales and marketing professional at Expert Laser Services I try to manifest the same dedication in my customers by catalyzing a similar energy to that which I have on stage. The hope is that my customers will truly become fans.

While I don't give away free cds or t-shirts to prospects I have at times given them a toner cartridge for free because I believe in the products my company produces and sells and I know that in certain cases, giving something away will turn a profit and act as a conduit for a positive relationship with that person who in the end, will truly become a fan of our products and services.

In the same way that a soaring guitar solo is at times pushed to its peak even as the muscles in the guitarists hands seem that they will give out from pain, such a sacrifice will almost certainly draw an intense return on investment in the form of ecstatic emotion derived from the crowd. I truly believe that offering unconventional services such as help desk calls after hours, last minute emergency parts delivery or repair calls and so on and so forth (which can be an intense personal burden on myself or other employees at my company depending on the situation) this kind of self sacrifice provides a similar feeling of gratitude to that of the aforementioned guitarist. Sometimes truly great customer service requires that we take added stress and burdens upon ourselves in order to provide the absolute best for our customers.

I can honestly the say that the labor of love as mentioned above is the key to success for both my company and my band. Expert Laser Services emphasis on advanced and caring customer service is what separates us from our competitors both large and small.

In the end, it is not hype or a robust marketing scheme that makes you a literal and or metaphorical rock star. It is the lengths that you are willing to go for your people. It is the actions that you are willing to make in order for your customers to truly become a die hard, dedicated and loving fanbase.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Relational Sales Via Twitter

On Thursday of last week I had the pleasure of consulting a long time twitter follower about laser printer repair directly through twitter. The consultation which was in and of itself a rewarding experience ended in a sale. Yep, that's right...

A sale directly through twitter!

Long time twitter follower and independent B2B Marketing Queen Dianna Huff, tweeted her frustrations about her HP 2015. In dealing with the issues of these machines as of recent, I quickly responded to her asking about the problems she was having in regards to said machine.

Bellow I have posted both Dianna's tweets as well as my own.

After going back and forth for a while I suggested two service providers in Nashua, NH where Dianna could look into service and sales however, she asked me to call her because she would prefer to purchase a machine from me.

Struck by the opportunity for a sale through twitter I suggested shipping the machine to her as to how I am located on the Massachusetts/Connecticut border and she on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.

However in the true spirit of the tweetup we decided to meet half way as to how it worked for Dianna's schedrule to be in Massachusetts. We were able to meet in person, discuss our careers within the world of B2B social media marketing and the challenges and joys associated with said work, while also completing one of the first ever direct through twitter sales (at least that I know of).

In retrospect, the cash ROI was trivial at best in comparison to the truly rewarding experience of connecting with another wonderful and talented human being who shared a passion for the same industry that I do.

Is this a glimpse of a possible paradigm shift in the world of marketing and sales?

I suppose time will tell.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DYPC To Be Featured In Visual Marketing!

I am
uber pleased to announce that Expert Laser Service's Destroy Your Printer Contest will be featured as a case study in David Langton and Anita Campbells new book Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design.

Book Description: Whether it's on the web, in a book, or live in-person, the most effective solutions are those that unexpectedly grab our attention. David Langton and Anita Campbell identify eye-catching and thought-provoking marketing and PR tips, ideas, and stunts. In this compendium of winning ideas will inspire small business leaders, creative professionals, and students. Award-winning visual communication designer David Langton has worked for a range of businesses from Fortune 500 leaders to mom and pops. Anita Campbell, an internationally known small business expert, reaches over 1 million small business owners and stakeholders annually.

Through case studies, photos, and illustrations, Visual Marketing displays creative marketing campaigns that brought attention to small businesses in unique, compelling, and unexpected ways.

I can only guess at what other awesome examples and case studies will be presented in this book. There is no doubt that Visual Marketing will become a most useful tool in regards to inspiring both small and large businesses marketing endeavors with these tasty bits of creative marketing success.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Leveraging Creativity In MPS

As I sat down at my desk this morning the first thought to enter my mind was how fortunate my sales team is to have a boss who let's each of us use our own creative abilities in our respective positions as sales professionals.

In my own sales endeavors I utilize social media as much as possible. One of the other salesmen is a local politician and has been able to leverage his many connections from said position as a tool in his own work while another has a very focused approach to several niche markets.

Each of us has a very different style and thankfully we are not micro-managed to death by management. Instead we are able to experiment with what works for us as long as the ROI follows and it does, mainly due to the fact that we have the freedom to be ourselves.

Often times I find that there is a sterile rigidity in many corporate atmospheres and such places often times suggest thinking outside of the box as long as a persons actions do not follow suit.

I would imagine that this is due to the inherent risk of allowing individuals to carve their own path (although I would argue that if you have good, trustworthy people on your team there is little to no risk involved).

There is however a downfall to following the old beaten path regardless of its success rate. That danger is ignoring the potential within individual creativity and freedom. While possessing a certain element of risk, a far greater potential for success is born when the sales team and all employees for that matter, have the opportunity to use their own minds and creativity in moving a company forward.