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Turn Same-O-Lame-O Holiday Cards into Personal, Powerful Client Thank Yous

Mary Foley Rev Up Your Business

It’s the last quarter of 2018! I know, I can’t believe it either. How about your revenue goals for the year?

Want a simple, powerful way to create high-value, revenue rich conversations as you go into the holiday season? Send out thank you cards, but not in a same-o-lame-o way. Otherwise, the whole thing could back fire. Here’s what I mean.

First, a reminder from marketing 101: It’s Easier to Increase Revenue with Existing Clients than Find New Ones

It’s easy, cheaper and, frankly far more satisfying, to repeat business with existing clients than to get a new one. Problem is, most entrepreneurs and business owners forget that and spend most of their marketing dollars and mindset on newbies. Hey, we all love new clients, but let’s not forget about the existing ones. Remember, YOU are an existing client to someone. Doesn’t feel to be ignored or easy tossed aside, does it?

What every client wants (and you do, too) is to be thanked and recognized. Most people are so under appreciated that even a small, authentic gesture of gratefulness goes a long, LONG way. So much so that they think about doing business with you again or referring you to someone who would be “perfect for you.”

Now enter holiday season and marketing 201: Leverage Your Thankfulness – Just Don’t be Same-O-Lame-O

Send all of your 2018 clients (more if you want), a card thanking them for trusting you to help them this year solve a problem, take care of something important, or simply being of service. Just don’t do it the same-o-lame-o way.

Ever received a generic looking holiday card from some you’ve done business that has a pre-printed message, pre-printed names and pre-addressed mailing label? Touching, isn’t it?

These cards live for about 15 seconds in my life, just about enough time for me to open them up and walk over to the trash can as I throw it away in disappoint and disgust. Rather than feeling appreciated, I’m pissed off for not truly being recognized. I spent money with you and that’s all you got? Makes me wonder if I should go back to them again. And they paid money for me to feel that good! Would have been better if they didn’t bother.

Let others do it the same-o-lame-o way so you can stand out by being personal and having some pizzazz. Here’s how:

  1. Make a list of your 2018 clients. The ones who love you and you would like to clone. If you don’t have their postal address, look it up online or send them an email, text or online message asking for it. For example, “Quick question! What’s a good postal address for you? I have something special I want to send.”
  2. Search online for a card with a graphic design (like Vistaprint, Shutterfly, Zazzle, even Staples) that truly matches your vibe and brand AND you can personalize with your photo. Make sure you’re smiling as if to say “Hey there!” Having your photo on the front or inside is a way of connecting person to person. If you have a team, do a group photo.
  3. Include a heartfelt message about being thankful for THEM. “Thanks for being my client” is still all about you. Try something like “As I think about 2018, I just wanted to thank YOU for trusting me to help you this year!” Yes, this is pre-printed, but it’s not all you will say so make sure your wording fits for everyone.
  4. Add your business contact info on the BACK side (or insert your business card when sending), but leave the rest blank!
  5. Once printed, take less than a minute to add an additional sentence about working with THEM this past year. Then add “I’m here for you when you need!”, sign and hand write the postal address on the envelope. This last part ensures your card will be opened with interest and anticipation!
  6. Mail your cards BEFORE Thanksgiving for maximum visibility and time for convos by year’s end.

Let’s say you have 80 clients on your list. This process will take you about 2 – 3 hours total and about $200. You could easily get 8 – 16 (10- 20%) response thanking you in return, which is an opportunity to reconnect and have a conversation about their current needs. And there’s revenue in them convos! That’s a small investment with a high potential reward.

 

 

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5 Questions to Up Your Brand Power

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

As an entrepreneur, do you want a powerful brand and think it’s mainly about amazing images on your website, social, and print materials? Think again. One thing I definitely learned being part of a small, unknown computer called Quantum Computer Services transform itself into arguably the first company to bring the online experience to the masses – AOL – is that brand is way more than a a recognize logo.

Proof is in results. During my 10 year career there, Quantum Computer Services became the brand AOL, a $7 billon dollar company with 23 million members and a wide lead in the top spot.

When I jumped the Corporate America ship and became an entrepreneur, I took everything I learned about branding and applied it to my new business. Here are five key lessons and questions about creating a powerful brand for your own business:

1. Every company has a brand. The question is, “Is it working for you?”

Creating a brand isn’t just for the big companies; it’s for companies of all sizes. We’re all fighting for attention from our target customers. If you don’t create a brand, then you risk not being remembered and not being emotionally attractive. Both are a prerequisite for sales.

Ask Yourself: What is my brand? Is it working for me? Am I willing to make changes if needed?

2. Your brand must evoke a strong emotion.

Neurologist Donald Calne said, “The essential difference between emotions and reason is that EMOTION leads to ACTION while reason leads to conclusions.” Customers buy from emotion and back it up with their head.

Ask Yourself: What emotion does my brand evokes? Do I know how others experience my brand? (Psst! Ask at least 10 people.) Is that the emotion I want my brand to evoke?

3. Your brand isn’t a logo. It’s everything you offer, say, and do.

A brand is an experience with many facets. There are a ton of ways a person can interact with you and your company, for example, marketing materials, business card, website, personal appearance, quality of your product or service, how someone answers the phone, voice mail message, e-mail, and customer support.

Ask Yourself: What are all the ways a person can interact with my company or brand? (Psst! Make a list.) Is each interaction supporting or derailing the emotional experience I want my brand to create?

4. As a one woman show, YOU are your brand!

87% of all women owned businesses have one employee – the woman herself. Who you are and what you do affects everything about your business.

Ask Yourself: What about my brand is “just like me”? Do I support my brand experience in how I dress, speak, and interact with others?

5. Your brand needs constant tweaking.

You have to start somewhere. So, you launch your company and brand, see what works, and you keep adjusting. What ultimately matters is what the customer thinks and feels.

Ask Yourself: Have I given much thought lately about the brand experience I’m creating for my customers? What’s one thing I’ve heard again and again from customers that I need to change about my business?

 

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What’s Missing in Male Business Advice that Women Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Mary Foley Uncategorized

Much of the business advice from male business experts doesn’t fully cut it for women entrepreneurs. These experts haven’t quite figured out how their advice is different for women. Plus, they’ve left out some parts all together!

Don’t get me wrong. The male perspective has some merit, but, it’s not the whole picture. So, I’ve created a list of 7 critical things that’s missing in advice from male business experts that women entrepreneurs needs to know.

1. Most business guru’s miss how women experience life differently than men.

Because of our brain wiring, women experience life in a much more intuitive, emotional, and integrated way. Men, on the other hand, pretty much think about one thing at a time and usually do little to relate one thing to another.

2. Most women define success differently than men.

Success for most women is heavily tied to emotional and intrinsic fulfillment that comes from multiple areas of life. Women aren’t satisfied with sacrificing family or loved ones to have business success. We want it all and they want experts to help us get it all. Most men define success in terms of money, status, and power.

3. Most business gurus don’t address the stress women experience.

Because of all the roles most women play, being able to manage stress effectively is key to having a successful business and life. Men typically juggle fewer roles and don’t stress over someone’s needs not being met.

4. Most business gurus don’t address the impact of significant relationships in a woman’s life.

A woman’s significant relationships directly affect her business success and how to keep them in good health.

Because women experience life in a more integrated way, when a significant relationship is out of kilter, everything else is affected, including her business.

5. Most business gurus don’t say that taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of a client.

Most women struggle with doing good things for themselves and their business suffers as a result.

6. Most business gurus don’t delve into a woman’s natural strengths.

For example, like relationship skills – as a huge competitive advantage for growing their business.

7. Most business gurus don’t address the “good girl” tendencies most women have.

A great example of this is how women hold themselves back from proactively selling themselves or their product or service.

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5 Red Cape Ways to Rev Up Your Business

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

You have the passion and a plan for your business. You work hard, put in long hours, and yet you feel like you’re hardly making real progress or getting results. You wonder what you’re doing wrong because it seems everyone else on Facebook is having fun, making money, and living the high-life.

Chances are you’re doing a lot of the things right. A few strategic shifts is likely what you need to generate the revenue you really want.

Time to throw on your red cape and be your own super hero! Here are five ways to rev up your business starting now!

 

1. Focus on a short list of your biggest revenue producers

Too often we have too many ideas, good ideas, about how to grow our business.  We try to pursue them all and we do not get enough traction or progress in any of them.

Imagine you have a cleared off your desk of all piles, folders, and clutter. Now put back only those few items that matter the most right now. Feel the “ahhhh…”?

Do the same to rev up your business. Pick 3 to 4 of your products or services with the best revenue potential and put all your energies there. That will mean saying “no” or “not now” to other good, decent, well-meaning products or services. That will likely mean putting your pet projects on hold. Don’t worry, you can always come back to them later.

2. Pick high impact Revenue Generative Activities (RGAs)

Now that you have your short list of your best revenue producing products and services, decided on the specific Revenue Generative Activities (RGAs) for each that have the most impact.

Everyone’s RGAs list is different, but they all are about reaching out, offering, and interacting with your perfect prospect. Examples of RGAs include:

  • Attending a high-impact networking event
  • Sending follow-up emails from people you meet at a networking event
  • Meeting with a prospect
  • Writing a proposal and sending it
  • Reaching out to past or existing clients to ask about their current challenges or needs
  • Sending a client appreciation gift and asking for a referral
  • Sending your e-newsletter or promotional emails
  • Giving a problem-solving presentation (see Red Cape Way #4 below)

3. Do 3 or more RGAs every single day

Consistently doing high impact RGAs is your business growth super power!

To rev up your business now, start doing at least 3 or more RGAs at least 5 days a week. Even with client work and other activities. They may take 30 minutes or 3 hours, but what is more important for growing your business? Nothing, absolutely nothing. So make them non-negotiable and arrange your other activities around them.

4. Prospect with presentations

What if you could speed up how many prospects you meet at a time? You can by giving presentations in person or online. Suddenly one-on-one is now one-on-some.

Think about the problems your prospect faces that are solved by your product or service short list (Red Cape Way #1 above). Then create one or more presentation topics addressing these problems by sharing your knowledge and expertise.

Of course, in a 45 or 60 minute presentation you can only start to show how to solve these problems. So, it’s essential to power up your presentations with engagement and easy way for those who want more to take the next step with you. Now your one-on-one conversations are far more qualified and worth your time!

5. Speak prospect

We’ve all heard people buy for those they know, like, and trust, right? When someone decides to work with or buy from YOU over others, in part it’s because they believe you truly understand their situation. Unfortunately, too many business people just dive in and start telling the person what their problem is and how to start solving it.

A simple, but powerful way for prospects to believe you truly you “get” what they are going through is to first ask good questions and listen carefully to the words and phrases others use to describe their problems, challenges, and aspirations. Then incorporate these same words into your response.

Want support to implement these 5 revenue generators in your business? My REV UP Program can help! Go here for details.

 

 

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[P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast – episode 18] Millennial Social Media Smarts

Mary Foley P.O.W.E.R. PLUG Podcast

EVB POWER Plug: Millennial Social Media SmartsWhen it comes to upping your social media smarts, wouldn’t you love to talk with a millennial who grew up on it?

And since they are so familiar with communicating this way, how can you be smart about setting expectations with millennial and all employees regarding social media during work hours and beyond?

In this episode, I spoke with Lauren Portlock, Marketing Coordinator for EVB, who breaks the common stereotype of a slacker millennial. For the last 2 plus years she’s been the right hand gal for EVB’s Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Hastings Simon. In addition to offering her millennial perspective on the company’s social media strategy, she makes sure this podcast is up and that you know it’s available.

Click to listen and learn:

  • Whether Millennial or Boomer, professional or business owner, how important is it to have a digital footprint?
  • Are millennials so used to social media that they don’t think it applies to them?
  • If you find a less than flattering image of yourself on social media or a website, how can you get rid of it?
  • What should you do if a friend posts a photo you don’t want to become public?
  • Is it okay to have a social media account where you can say whatever you want?
  • Are there any topics or subjects you recommend to avoid on social media?
  • As a business owner with employees, what do I need to consider for creating a social media policy?

Plus, get even more social media smart tips by downloading specific how-to PDFs provided by Lauren!

 

 

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[P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast – episode 17] Capturing Your Authenticity for a Powerful Personal Brand

Mary Foley P.O.W.E.R. PLUG Podcast
Host Mary Foley talks with Kim Brundage on capturing your authenticity for a powerful personal brand
Photo by Kim Brundage Photography

Authenticity is critical for creating a powerful personal brand. But, how can you truly capture and communicate your authenticity, especially online? What’s the real impact of one-of-a-kind images on your business – as well as your confidence? Get ready for some answers!

In this episode, I spoke with Kim Brundage, a photographer in Richmond, VA who specializes in personal branding sessions for women entrepreneurs and professionals. Her unique approach is designed to remove the awkwardness of a photo session so you can capture what your best customers and clients really want – the real, authentic you.

Click to listen and learn:

  • Why creating a powerful personal brand is critical for every business owner and professional
  • Why authenticity is a big deal in today’s market place
  • How to have personal branding consistency without being boring
  • Kim’s unique personal branding process for capturing your essence and authenticity
  • The impact of unique personal branding images on your business and your confidence

 

 

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[P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast – episode 16] Demystify Commercial Lending

Mary Foley P.O.W.E.R. PLUG Podcast

Chris Layne Demystifies Commercial LendingWhether it’s changing regulations or new funding options, obtaining a loan for your business can feel like a mystery. It’s time to pull back the curtain and demystify commercial lending.

In this episode, I chatted with Chris Layne, Senior Vice-President and Director of Commercial Banking at EVB. For over 10 years Chris has been helping local small business owners get the funds they need to operate, expand, and grow their business. He’s also made an impact on his hometown of Huntington, WV as a co-founder of TeamKRL, a non-profit organization that provides life skills to middle school and high-school students.

Click to listen and learn:

  • The most common reasons business owners need a loan
  • What’s the difference between a business loan and a line of credit
  • The most important aspect to getting a loan that most business owners overlook
  • Why you should be wary of unsolicited commercial loans from unfamiliar institutions
  • What steps to expect in the commercial loan process
  • Who ultimately decides if your business loan gets approved
  • How you can benefit even if your loan isn’t approved

 

 

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[P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast – episode 15] Pro Tips to Negotiate a Commercial Lease

Mary Foley P.O.W.E.R. PLUG Podcast

EVB POWER Plug: Katherine Watson Reveals Her Pro Tips to Negotiate a Commercial Lease Your business is growing, you need more room, and you’ve found the perfect space! In all your excitement (and relief), don’t sign on the dotted line until you fully understand the leasing agreement and negotiate what you want. Today’s guest reveals her pro tips to negotiate a commercial leasing agreement so you avoid common pitfalls and get the best terms.

In this episode, I spoke with Katherine Watson, President of Manakins Farms, a real estate and development company, and Co-Founder of Office Alternatives, a co-working space, both in Richmond, VA. A big part of her day is spent leasing space to tenants. So, we tapped into Katherine’s expertise about what to do and what to avoid to set yourself up for the best commercial leasing agreement possible.

Click here to listen and learn:

  • The biggest mistake most make when entering into a commercial leasing agreement
  • Exactly when you should hire an attorney to review your lease
  • What should be included in a Letter of Intent (LOI)
  • The savvy question that will reveal hidden Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees
  • How to turn landlord funds for Tenant Improvements (TI) into your rent abatement
  • How to avoid being stuck with HVAC repairs that can blow your budget
  • A big mistake tenants assume regarding water, sewer and utility costs

 

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3 Magical Productivity Ideas to Give Your Wand Some New Mojo

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

Is your personal productivity in the tank from the daily deluge of email and requests? Tempted to leave everything unanswered and start over somewhere else? You’ll be good for a week, maybe.

A savvy gal Amy shared with me that she was about to start the new position. But she had a big dilemma:

“My new position involves managing and tracking a LOT more activities. My email inbox has grown beyond my comfort and I want to implement some good strategies to start my new position positively, to being organized and to go full speed ahead.

Any advice, like going to my local office supply store to see if they have some type of magical notebook?”

Oh, if only there were a magical notebook! Whoever creates that product will save the world by increasing every hard working professional woman’s productivity, efficiency, and, most importantly, her sanity.

Until then, here are 3 ideas I shared with Amy to create her own magic. Not very glam, but they work. They can give your wand some new mojo, too!

(more…)

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[P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast – episode 14] Why LinkedIn is Changing and How to Use it to Grow Your Business

Mary Foley P.O.W.E.R. PLUG Podcast
Photo by Kim Brundage Photography

LinkedIn is one of the largest social media platforms in the world – and it’s changing. How will the new platform design affect you? How can you use LinkedIn to actively grow your business?

In this episode, I talked with Cheryl Matt, owner of CBM Business Consulting in Richmond, VA. Cheryl implements practical tools and strategies for business owners and professionals to get more done in less time. With four proven strategies, her clients save 2 to 10 hours or more per week – and become more profitable.

Click to listen and learn:

  • How LinkedIn has changed and what to expect from the new platform
  • The number one reason why every business owner should be on LinkedIn
  • Savvy ways to use LinkedIn to identify new prospects
  • Three essentials every business owner must have for a powerful Personal Profile
  • What is a Company Page and how to leverage it to showcase your business
  • Practical ways to make LinkedIn part of your daily routine

 

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