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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Honest Abe, A Cherry Tree, and Running a Successful Business



Quick! 
Name two of the most popular historic U.S. presidents. 

The first names that come to mind for most people are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. These two presidents are well known for their leadership during tumultuous times in American history. But they're also known for their place in American folklore. 

Specifically, they have both gained reputations for being exceptionally honest.

1. George Washington and the Cherry Tree
According to the popular story, young George Washington was playing with his new hatchet when he killed his father's favorite cherry tree. When his father confronted the household about who had hurt the tree, young George quickly confessed, telling his father that he could not tell a lie. His father forgave him, reinforcing the importance of his son's honesty. George Washington carried this lesson about the importance of telling the truth with him the rest of his life.


2. Honest Abe
Before Abraham Lincoln became involved in politics, he was involved in a number of businesses. He bought a small store, was a lawyer, and served in Congress. In each of these positions, he became known as 'Honest Abe.' Stories abound about young Abe returning a few cents of change or tracking down customers to complete their orders if their requests were mis-measured. He carried this reputation as a reputable businessman with him to the White House. 


Let's bring it back to the 21st Century.... What can these two men teach us today?
Many people couldn't tell you the date the American Civil War ended, when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, or when George Washington died. Despite these gaps of knowledge, most people would be able to tell you that these men were known for their honesty. Why is that? Because people value honesty in their leaders. They want to be able to trust the people they elect. 

This also applies to their business leaders. When customers are looking for companies they want to work with or buy products from, they need to be able to trust that the company will provide them with the quality service they're expecting. They want to trust that the advertising they see is accurate and that if they have any kind of problem, they'll be able to get the situation addressed by a quality customer service team.


How you can show your honesty to potential customers

1. Quality Customer Service: Since we all know customers are looking for honest businesses, it's important to display this characteristic in all our dealings with customers, especially online. Social media and websites make customer service and customer opinions very public, for all potential customers to see. This makes honesty and quality customer service even more critical. 

2. Monitor and Respond: As a business leader, it's important to monitor the web for discussions about your company to see what people are saying. If customers have legitimate complaints about the quality of service they received, make sure you do everything you can to make it right. This may include issuing refunds, providing coupons, and addressing other concerns.

3. Spread Some Love: Similarly, when you come across positive reviews, it's a good idea to send notes of appreciation or coupons to encourage repeat business and as a sign of thanks. Above all, you should strive to be above reproach when it comes to honesty.

People like knowing they can trust their leaders, whether presidents or business owners. Stories abound in the collective consciousness about the honesty of some presidents in particular. When you (and your company) gain the same reputation for honesty, you can also live in the public consciousness as someone worth following; and that's how customers are gained.

Happy Wednesday!

Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Keeping in Touch with Your Customers -- Without Annoying Them


In this age of email marketing it's way too easy to go too far in keeping in touch.

When you're trying to build your business, it's easy to get caught up in the thrill of the hunt -- for new clients, that is. However, as studies from the Harvard Business School show, focusing attention on existing customers and increasing retention rates by just 5% will increase your profits by 25% to 95%.

Of course, savvy business owners know there's a fine line between keeping in touch and being a bit... well... annoying.

Put yourself in your clients' shoes:

  • How many emails do you want to receive every day? 
  • How many phone calls do you want to take? 
Sure, persistence is important in cultivating your client base, but overdoing it can prove counterproductive by annoying the very clients you're trying to reach. Here's how to find the right balance.

Make it Personal

1. Who doesn't like to receive a personalized card or handwritten note in the mail? There's a world of difference between sending out an impersonal flyer or form letter and a customized note printed on attractive card stock. Which would you be more likely to open and read?

2. Talk to them personally. If you take the time to address their special interest, or share an article or idea that is targeted right at their interest, that has a much better reception by the clients.

Make Contacts Worth Their While

Whether it's in an email, through a printed newsletter, or on a sales call, providing customers with information they can use adds value to your communications and eliminates the annoyance factor. Offering industry news, community updates, or other data that's relevant and useful to your customers goes a long way toward transforming the way they perceive your marketing efforts. A professionally written and well-designed direct mail piece sent a few times a year that's packed with info they can use is always welcome.

If you keep your communications relevant, concise, respectful, useful, and personalized, you'll never have to worry about being too persistent. And that's a great feeling!

Until next time,

Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.