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Paula Williams

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Aviation Video and The Expectation of Transparency

John won’t take any of our vehicles for repairs or maintenance to a place where he’s not allowed in the shop, to watch, ask questions and talk to the technicians.  This goes for our airplanes, cars and even (or especially)  his beloved Harley Davidson.  As busy as he is, he makes it a point to get to know the folks doing the work, and to understand what they’re doing and why.

He is not comfortable flying or driving (or watching me fly or drive) anything unless he’s intimately acquainted with the insides.

John’s curiosity and the camaraderie he builds with people who work on our stuff is not at all uncommon among the very best  (and most particular and loyal) consumers for aviation products and services.

John & Mike replacing the starter on 08C - the importance of aviation video

John & Mike replacing the starter on my favorite Skyhawk, Zero Eight Charlie.

How can you use this personality trait in your customers for a competitive advantage in your marketing efforts?

Many aviation decision makers are current or past pilots, mechanics, and military professionals. They have the following characteristics:

  • They like to work together, and consider everyone working on their equipment part of the “team.”
  • They have an insatiable need to understand the mechanics of whatever they’re working with.
  • They’re highly visual and tactile and absorb information easiest if they see it and touch it.
  • Many grew up in the Ronald Reagan era, when “trust but verify” was the order of the day.

That, along with unprecedented breaches of public trust that have deeply impacted the culture in the United States, has resulted in a higher-than-ever desire to do business with “transparent” organizations.

Many companies have committed to being more transparent in their operations and communications. Doing so is clearly in their best interest. It is one thing for a brand to tell someone what its position is; it is more convincing to use earned media tell the story on the brand’s behalf. But the most powerful impact is when a company is confident enough in its process or operations to bring viewers in to see exactly how things are done. It is the ultimate in show and tell.

Why transparency and authenticity wins in business and in marketing –
The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/17/why-transparency-and-authenticity-wins-in-business-and-in-marketing

Transparency can inconvenient

Transparency can inconvenient! But we’ve found that the more we involve our customers, the better results in the long run.

It can take more time and effort to involve customers in what you’re doing – it may be faster, simpler or more convenient to just do the work and hand your customer the finished product.

But in our experience, the more we involve our customers in projects, the better. It’s great when you can actually invite the customer to watch or participate. But you and they are busy, and may not even be in the same city.

Video is an easy way to make transparency possible AND more convenient. You can use these videos in marketing materials online or via CD, in new customer packages, or in email followups after a purchase.

Some ideas you can use to improve transparency and visibility, regardless of your type of business:

  • A “tour” of your facility
  • Interviews with key personnel – ask them about their philosophy or process for approaching a new project, their experience, stories of problems they’ve solved.
  • Demonstration of a process or product.
  • Tutorials showing a step by step process for using your product.
  • Interviews with happy customers or clients.
  • A custom video for each customer, showing key points of the process you followed.

If you are able to “show” customers what’s behind the product or service you sell, you build credibility.  You will find that customers (like John!)  are willing to pay more for your products or services and are less inclined to do business with your competitors if your company is the most transparent option.

Impending Google Algorithm Change – Be Mobile Friendly by April 21

Several times a year, Google changes the algorithm that it uses to determine which sites to display first in search engine results.

This means that if you “optimize” your pages to adapt to the new changes, chances are more likely that your site will be shown first to people interested in your product or service that use a search engine to look for it.

Google marketing

Google Algorithm will Favor Sites that are “Mobile Friendly”

In its latest announcement, Google indicated that the next change, scheduled for April 21, 2015, will favor sites that are “mobile friendly,” meaning that they are formatted to look good and function properly on a smart phone or tablet.

Of course, search engines aside, this can have a significant impact for many companies.  Twenty to 55% of the traffic to our clients’ websites come from mobile devices!

Is your site ready?

ABCI is offering a limited number of free SEO and site design consultations to help aviation companies prepare for this change.

We’ll research your site, and then spend 30 minutes with you. During that time, we’ll briefly cover:

  • Does Google see your site as “mobile ready?”
  • How does your website score for the keywords you’re most interested in?
  • How can you get more traffic to your website?
  • How can you “convert” your website visitors into actionable leads or prospects, and ultimately into loyal customers?

Complete the form below today – we’ll do consultations on a first-come, first-served, time available basis.

How to Serve Customers Better (And Make More Money) By Mastering Cross Sell Techniques

Another Phase Three activity that really helps boost revenue (and serve customers better) is to be prepared to cross sell, up sell or down sell. (And to be sure your team is prepared to do this, as well!)

cross sell, up sell, down sell

Do your salespeople have the flexibility to cross sell, up sell and down sell? Or are they stuck to a one-size-fits all solution and sell like robots?

The world is full of order-takers these days. Even aggressive salespeople seem to “stick to the script” and have very little flexibility to really solve problems for customers – they just want to sell the specific product they’re charged with selling.

A salesperson (we’ll call him “Steve’) called recently offering a new software package. I normally don’t waste time with inbound sales calls, but this person told me there had been some amazing breakthroughs in social media metrics and technology, so of course I wanted to find out what those were.

We had an extensive conversation, in which I learned a few things I didn’t know, but of course, the call kept coming down to: “Let’s sign a contract and get you started.”

Fine, as far as it goes, but I had questions that he couldn’t answer. The software he was selling made some very cool looking reports, but it appeared to be missing some other features that I am much more interested in. (At least Steve didn’t know about them.)

He talked around, under, over, and through my questions, but didn’t answer them. (My assumption? This is because the product doesn’t do what I would want it to.) I told him more than once that unless the software served the needs I had, it wasn’t worth the price he was asking.

In any case, I got a couple of follow-up emails and calls in which he also, very articulately, failed to answer my questions and reiterated the same offer. So, my short-lived relationship with Steve gradually petered out.

Could he have saved the sale, given his current offerings? I don’t know. But if he had tried a cross sell, up sell or down sell technique, he might have had better success.

Affluent, mass-affluent, and business to business (B2B) customers (all of which we have in aviation marketing) have much less patience for the “robotic order takers” than the public at large. Successful cross selling, up selling and down selling is really a matter of listening to your customer and creating as much of a custom solution as you can based on what he or she actually needs.

Cross Selling

The classic example of cross selling is the cashier at the fast food place asking – “Do you want fries with that?”

A good percentage of people will answer “sure, why not” adding to the cost (and calories!) of their meal, so the average transaction size increased, and revenue increased even if they had the same number of transactions.

How is this relevant to aviation marketing?

Here’s an example:

For an MRO organization – the owner of a KingAir calls to schedule an annual inspection and some minor repair work. You ask:

“Do you often fly in cold weather? Are there occasions when your plane has to sit outside the hangar for any length of time in a cold environment?”

If the answer is yes,

“We recommend a preheat system to reduce engine wear and improve safety. If you’ve considered getting one, it is less expensive if we add that to the inspection and other work we’re doing, since it’s already here and we already have the cowlings off. Is that something you’ve thought about doing?” . . .

Up Selling

Up selling basically means selling more products and services (or more expensive products and services) to your current customers. What we’re NOT talking about is “bait and switch” selling, where you misrepresent an offer in an advertisement for the purpose of selling someone a more expensive product or service.

This only works when it’s also in the best interest of the customer. As an example, you own a charter company. You have a charter customer (Frank) that flies with you regularly, and you know that he also flies with your competitors from time to time. You could mention in a conversation-

“You know, Frank, as much as you fly, it might save you some money to participate in our jet card or fractional program. Would you be interested in learning more about that?”

If Frank is interested, you’ve just acquired more of his business and given him a better deal.

Down Selling

Down selling is the opposite – selling a product that is LESS expensive than what he originally thought he wanted.

This doesn’t sound like a good idea, but because we have a limited number of real prospects in the aviation industry, it behooves us to treat them very well.

In our example, you are an aircraft broker, and you have a client, Pat, who has hired you to acquire an aircraft for her company, and she’s convinced she wants a Gulfstream VI. After your initial analysis, you discover that she has the funds to acquire the aircraft but it would be difficult to fund its maintenance and operation.

Do you sell her the GVI? Not without doing your level best to talk her out of it. You spend the time talking about alternatives and reasons “less airplane” would be a better fit for her current needs.

Factors to consider:

In each case, the key factors for cross selling, up selling or down selling are these:

  • What does the customer really want or need? Do your salespeople really listen or do they make assumptions and jump to conclusions?
  • What does your company offer (or can it get from trusted partners and suppliers) that serve their needs better than your standard product?
  • If your product (or some combination products and services you can offer) isn’t an ideal solution, do you have relationships so that you can make appropriate referrals?

When we do our Sales Orchestration mystery calls, we often provide an opening for a cross sell or up sell technique, to see if the salesperson sees the opportunity. Honestly, most do not; unless they’ve been working with us for awhile and have done some role-playing and are comfortable with the techniques.

They are worth the trouble of learning! Here’s why:

How you benefit:

  • More sales!
  • More revenue!
  • More happy customers!
  • Fewer inappropriate sales!
  • Fewer returns, chargebacks and customer service headaches!
  • Happy referral partners!
  • A better reputation in the industry!

 

Getting More Referrals – Summary of our Panel Discussion

Doug Evink, President & CEO of Tanis Aviation, and Doug Goldstrom, President of Sales for Special Services Corporation (SSC) shared their expertise on getting more referrals and testimonials in this month’s MasterClass session.

We quickly reprised Phase Three marketing activities, “the textbook version,” then we asked Doug and Doug about the real world.

They shared some excellent insights.

Third-Party Validation

Some customers who love your product still aren’t comfortable referring your company without the reassurance of a third-party validation of quality and consistency – like a five-star review on Zagat or Michelin for a restaurant.

  • Tanis Aircraft Products seeks (and is awarded) Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) from the FAA for their aircraft engine preheat products, even though the STC is not required in the U.S. (The preheat system is considered a minor modification.)
  • SSC has sought (and has been awarded) ARG/US Gold and Wyvern Registered Operator ratings, and has received the NBAA 50 Year Safety award.  These awards and ratings give them preferential positioning with charter brokers (a formalized referral system.)  Although individual customers might not be aware of ARG/US and Wyvern standards, they are reassured by the knowledge that their charter organzation has been evaluated by a respected third party.

Acquiring Testimonials

  • Yes, you do need to ask for them, but almost always get them from happy customers.
  • Customers concerned about publicity can use just a first name and location.
  • Sometimes it helps to have a third party (like your ABCI marketing consultant) call on your behalf regarding testimonials. We know the right questions to ask to get relevant ones, and it can be less awkward to tell your story to a third party.

Formal programs

  • Tanis uses a Bounty program that rewards A & P mechanics and MRO shops that “turn in” aircraft flying in the northern States and Canada without a preheat system. The referrer gets a coffee card, the referr-ee gets information about why preheat systems make flying safer and cut down on maintenance costs.
  • SSC uses Brokers, which are essentially a formalized referral system.  In either case, it helps to reward both parties (those giving the referral, as well as the subject of the referral.)

Why Do I Need A CRM?

“Why do I need a CRM? I don’t need another complicated and expensive piece of software. All of our customer data is in Quickbooks.”

I was having coffee with an aviation professional at an event, and the topic of Customer Relationship Systems (CRMs) came up.  His opinion was not a positive one.Among his questions and objections:

“Why should I use Infusionsoft Crm campaigns for aviation?  What good does it really do me? They’re so complicated and expensive. I already have my customer data in another system.”

Fine. But consider:

  • Do you feel a certain amount of distrust and “sales resistance” when you call a prospect or customer?
  • Can you”zone in” on the topics and features of your product that your prospect is the most interested in, without wasting his time on the parts he doesn’t care about?
  • Can you be sure that a prospect will be treated intelligently by everyone in your office, and will never be frustrated by having to “tell his story” more than once.

There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than having to tell his story more than once.

We really like doing business with American Express – partly because they have really smart customer service people who think resourcefully and creatively, and partly because they are using a Customer Relationship Management system that makes them seem even smarter.

“We appreciate your business, Mr. and Mrs. Williams.” Is not just lip service when the agent just resolved an unauthorized charge, express-mailed a new card AND recommended a good restaurant for a company event in Orlando based on an eerily detailed knowledge of our habits and preferences. And yet it’s NOT eerie because we’ve done business with them for so long and they are always so professional.

It’s one thing if you, as the salesperson or account manager or owner of the company are the only person that interacts with a particular client. But what happens when they call your office? Will everyone at your company be so informed and helpful?

The only way to maintain this seamless professionalism with a growing company is to use a good CRM.

Why Do I Need A CRM? Infusionsoft Crm campaigns for aviation

This screen shot from our CRM shows us which forms he has completed on our website, which emails this person has opened, and which links he has clicked.

 

Which CRM Should We Use?

The short answer is that the brand doesn’t matter as much as the discipline of actually using it- but here’s a list of the features we needed most:

  • Easy to use mobile app (so that salespeople will actually use it in the field)
  • Cloud-based, accessible from anywhere.
  • Customizable – can keep specific data like tail numbers, ratings and purchase history
  • Marketing automation – email templates, scheduling, etc.
  • Custom campaigns
  • Schedules, tasks and reminders

Why Do I Need A CRM? - Campaigns

This screen shot shows the visualization of a campaign, including forms, email sequences, and other activities.

 

For us and for most of our clients (unless they have a special situation like multiple levels of commissions) the answer is Infusionsoft.

Whatever you use, it is well worth the time make sure everyone who interacts with customers commits to using it for every phone call and email, and learns to use at least the the basic functions very well and quickly.

Five Ways to use your CRM to get more Referrals, Recaptures and Testimonials

While most companies agree that these five marketing tasks are important, this is the “real world” and things tend to fall through the cracks. Very few companies are doing all five as well or consistently as they could.

We need checks and balances and reminders, and as much automation as possible, which is why we wrote these five ways to use your CRM to get more referrals, recaptures, and testimonials

Your CRM (Customer Relationship Software) is great at handling routine tasks at pre-set intervals.  Humans are not great at this – we’re easily bored with routines, distracted by the latest new idea, or busy with customers.  Chances are, you’re paying good money for your CRM, so you might as well let it earn its keep!

1) Deliver Customer Satisfaction Surveys

use your CRM to send customer satisfaction surveys. Most companies feel that customer satisfaction surveys are important, but they do become an afterthought.  You’ve already delivered a great product or service, checked the delivery tasks off your list, and now you’re on to providing great service for your newest customers.

Your CRM can deliver your Customer Satisfaction Survey at regular intervals, and you can program it to continue to remind the customer a couple of times if they don’t complete it. (Hey, they get busy, too!)

2) Remind Your Staff to Do Follow Up Calls

use your CRM to alert your staff when they need to make a phone call. Some things can’t be done by a robot – making a follow up telephone call to new customer is one of those things that is best done by a person.

You can program your CRM to alert a member of your sales staff to make a phone call to follow up on a survey if the customer provides a particularly positive (or negative) responses. Or if they suddenly stop opening your emails. Or if they suddenly start visiting your website a lot.

These are the kinds of interactions that must be handled by humans, but an email from the CRM indicating that a customer may be truly unhappy, or may be willing to provide a testimonial or referral, is incredibly helpful.

3) Keep Your Brand  Top of Mind

use your crm to keep your brand top of mind so that people make referrals. Why don’t people refer business?

Many times it’s because they simply don’t remember when the opportunity arises, or they don’t have your contact information handy to pass along to a friend or colleague.

People tend not to pay much attention to things that are going well as they run around putting out fires and doing things that require their attention. Your customers may be happy to provide a referral, but they don’t work for you, and they don’t run around thinking about your product unless you ask them to refer you, and remind them on a regular basis.

If you’re using your CRM to send regular email and/or direct mail communications to your clients, (such as a tip of the week, an informative newsletter, or some other regular communication)
they can always find your contact information in their real or virtual inbox!

4) Give Them Something to Talk About

use your crm to deliver great stories that people will talk about. People in aviation love to talk.  Make sure they’re talking about you!  (In a good way, of course!)

  • Highlight customer success stories.
  • Show before and after case studies of special projects.
  • Tell stories about how your work impacts  your community.

Every company has lots of great stories.  Tell them!

5) Remind Them When It’s Time to Come Back

Use your CRM to remind customers when it's time to come in againIf you sell a consumable product or know that there is an expected life cycle for your product or repeat cycle for your service, do what automotive repair companies do, and send a reminder or postcard just before you expect a customer to need your product or service again.

If a customer typically gets their plane detailed every quarter, send a postcard  and a couple of emails starting around the 11th week after a service is completed.  This is easy to set up, and your CRM will remember, even if you don’t! (Most CRMs don’t do postcards directly, but they will remind you of the task, and some will even print the label for you.)

Long-term success in sales is not usually about brilliant performances in front of a fabulous slide show. (Although that can work in the short term!)

Long-term sales success, as part of our famous “long cycle marketing” process, really depends on how well your organization implements systems, creates habits and uses discipline to attend to those small interactions that build relationships.  Let your CRM help you by doing the tedious reporting and heavy lifting for you.

 

 

Referrals, Recaptures, Resales & Testimonials – Improving Phase Three

In this video, John and Paula talk about Phase Three marketing – the most profitable marketing stage  for aviation, business to business and large-ticket sales.

Most companies could benefit with better referrals, resales, recaptures & testimonials when they add one (or several!) of these Phase Three activities to their marketing program.

How to Plan a Customer Appreciation Event for Maximum Marketing Impact

Aviation Marketing - customer appreciation eventsIt’s important to know how to plan a customer appreciation event, since they can really improve customer satisfaction, retention, referrals, testimonials and even sales to new clients.

Done correctly, events have the following advantages:

  • Improve customer retention
  • Obtain testimonials
  • Get good PR and visibility
  • Make more sales!

So, what does “done correctly” mean for customer appreciation events?  How much should you spend on these things? (grumbles the accountant) and what activities should you plan?

Scheduling a Customer Appreciation Event

Many aviation companies schedule their customer appreciation events around a large convention where many of their customers will be in town.  Bell Helicopters held theirs in conjunction with the HAI Heli-Expo last week in Orlando.  Many of the FBO, MRO and fuel companies plan their events in conjunction with NBAA events.  The downside is it can be very difficult to compete with the larger companies, so these might need to be scheduled carefully. It’s easier to schedule breakfasts, dinners, or events the day before or after a convention starts or ends.

How Much to Spend

There are several factors to take into account – how many customers do you want or need to invite?  How much does each of them spend on your product per year? How long do they remain customers?  (There is a simple formula for customer lifetime value or CLV – transaction amount x average number of transactions over a customers’ “lifetime.”)

You may also have competitors to take into account. Ideally, you want to spend just a bit more than your competitors are spending on their events, if they have them.  You also want to take into account their demographics, expectations and sensitivities.  Customers for luxury products expect to be treated like VIPs, so keep the event small but high-end. Customers for more practical products may not be inclined to dress up for a fancy dinner and would be more comfortable at a barbecue.

A good rule is to “spend time rather than money.”   Take the time to ask some of your best customers for advice when planning your event to see how they feel about certain options.   Personalize the experience whenever you can.

Who to Invite

customer appreciation event - customers-prospects-ratio

Ideally, you’ll want to invite about 75% current customers, 25% prospects.

Since customers will be the overwhelming majority, prospects will be “surrounded” by people who can answer their questions and speak with experience about your product.

Consider inviting spouses, or even children.  Many businesspeople appreciate the opportunity to spend time with their families at a fun activity.

Make it clear on the invitation who is invited so that no one brings children to an event unless you have activities planned for them.

Activities to Plan

All of these activities have been done successfully by aviation, high tech, and/or business to business companies. Of course you can’t make everyone happy, but pick something the majority of your customers will enjoy.  Many of these activities can be combined into a single event.

  • Sit-down dinners at a restuarant
  • Fly-in cookouts, picnics, pancake breakfasts
  • Fishing trips
  • Golf outings
  • Other games (croquet, darts, karaoke, you name it!)
  • A day at an amusement park, water park or other attraction (many will allow you to “rent” the whole venue)
  • Box seats or a group of seats at a ball game, concert or other event
  • Private screenings of a film at a theater
  • An appearance, talk, or photo opportunity with a celebrity
  • A photo opportunity with an airplane, classic car, or other “cool” thing.
  • New product announcements (watch how Steve Jobs used to do this for Apple.)
  • Technical workshops, user groups or training opportunities
  • Interviews with customers. Allow them to “plug” their business while mentioning how they use your product.
  • Live music.

Couple of pointers:

  • For ideas, look at what large companies are doing and scale down.  (Cisco does a great job of advertising and organizing their customer appreciation events here: http://www.ciscolive.com/us/) Your events may be “smaller,” but use personalization to make yours more private, exclusive and special. Dinner for 12 can be even more enjoyable than a party for thousands.
  • Invite and encourage participants to take pictures and post them to social media. Take pictures yourself, have on-site, red-carpet “photo booths” or hire roving photographers.
  • Consider partnering with other companies who share the same customers and host a joint event.
  • Encourage networking.  Introduce customers that might benefit from doing business together.   Make connections.

 

Bell’s Customer Appreciation Event at HAI Heli-Expo included many great features – live music, great food, networking opportunities, and photo opportunities. You’d be surprised how many grown-up, professional people will stand in line for a picture with Mickey Mouse or Goofy. Note that the invitation gave very specific details and instructions.

By contrast, ABCI’s own customer appreciation event at HAI was a relatively simple, quiet dinner for nine at a nice restaurant near the convention, with lots of great food and great conversation.

Both were very enjoyable and successful events!

Need More Help? 

Aviation sales and marketing insider circleJoin our Aviation Sales and Marketing Insider Circle – it’s the most economical way to get access to aviation sales and marketing consultants who work on YOUR questions and problems – and you’ll be joining a group of the smartest people in aviation!  Learn more here.

Common Phase Three Marketing Problems

Phase Three Process OverviewWe all have marketing problems from time to time – the trick is to identify them quickly and solve them when they’re small, before they impact the bottom line!

Phase Three problems often reveal themselves like this:

  • I lost a customer to a competitor, but I don’t know why. (My product is better!)
  • I have to work hard for each sale, even with established customers.
  • My customers seem happy, but they just don’t go out of their way to give me testimonials.
  • I don’t get many referrals. 
(And I don’t like to ask for them!)

If any one of these is happening, you have a Phase Three marketing problem!

We’ve often said this is the most profitable (and underutilized) phase in most marketing systems in the aviation industry.  Aviation sales and marketing professionals seem to spend most of their time and money on Phase One – Advertising and Prospecting.  Which is important, of course.  But it’s MUCH easier, less expensive, more profitable and more fun to work with customers who already know, like and trust you.

Look at your current customer base and consider – what needs do they have that I could meet? (Or meet more completely?) How could I earn more of their business?

Phase Three Activities:

Phase Three Activities to Prevent Marketing Problems

An example of Phase Three marketing activities for a client.

 

Phase Three starts immediately after you make a sale to a new customer.  

It should go without saying that your product and customer service should be excellent, but those are not specifically marketing activities.   But marketing activities should NOT STOP when you make a sale.  Some (or all) of the activities listed could improve your chances of having a happy customer, and obtaining testimonials, referrals and repeat sales.

  • Customer Appreciation Events
  • A New Customer Welcome Package
  • Customer Satisfaction Survey
  • Follow Up Calls/Testimonial Requests
  • Thank You Gifts (when they do provide testimonials and/or referrals)
  • Referral incentive packages or programs
  • Regular emails (“Tip of the Week,” support information, etc.)
  • Printed Newsletters
  • Social media connections/conversations
  • Greeting cards (anniversary, birthday, etc.)
  • Direct mail promotions (promoting your OTHER products, or repurchases when the time is right for consumable items.)

We don’t advise all of our clients to do all of these activities, a lot depends on the size and frequency of transactions, the probability that a customer will need to make another purchase, our estimations of the customers’ circle of influence, and several other considerations.  But it’s fair to say that most companies could benefit from a much more thorough Phase Three program.

How do you find time for all these things?

  • Systematize everything.  Make the New Customer Welcome Package part of the product delivery process.  Use the hour you spend on Facebook Fridays to connect with new customers on social media, (particularly LinkedIn.  Unfortunately, LinkedIn Friday doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it works even better in the aviation industry for those networking connections.)
  • Use a good CRM.  (We use Infusionsoft.) You can automate emails and surveys, set up batch jobs for mailing labels, and set reminders for tasks like phone calls.  This also helps you delegate and check off tasks when they’re done so those critical phone calls and follow up tasks don’t fall through the cracks.
  • Use good partners.
    Create a good relationship with a company that can send gifts on your behalf.  Gift cards are easy, but we prefer cookies, pies, flowers, fruit baskets, coffee mugs, office items, and other physical things that make more of a “splash” when they arrive and/or tend to stick around, keeping your name in front of your customer.
    Our local printing company is also a great partner who  helps us keep a good supply of notepads, brochures, and other printed items on hand to keep these and other marketing systems going.  They keep our graphics files on hand, let us order small numbers, and have great suggestions for us.
    A great event venue, caterer or event company can give you fantastic ideas and help with those customer appreciation events. Let them help you look good!
  • Keep your assets on file.  Make sure your team can easily get to, use, and update letters, surveys, and other information.  They’re no good if they don’t get used;  people tend to “do their own thing” if you don’t have specific templates and instructions for each activity.

Implement one (or several) of these Phase Three activities and keep track of your customer retention, testimonials, and referrals over time.  You’ll probably be convinced to add even more activities to your Phase Three!

Infiltrating a Large Organization

Executive Brief - Phase Two Infiltrating Large Organizations.003As your company grows, you may find yourself courting large organizations and large companies as clients.

As in, MUCH bigger.

While this can be intimidating (in fact, large organizations are often DESIGNED to be impressive and even intimidating!) working with a large organization is not really any more challenging than working with smaller companies.

In fact, in some ways it can be easier.

There are a few key factors to keep in mind.

The larger the organization (and the larger the transaction) the longer every decision is probably going to take.

Executive Brief - Phase Two Infiltrating Large Organizations.005

The more seats around the table, the more time you’ll have to take to ensure that everyone understands your proposal, and what it means for him or her.

Executive Brief - Phase Two Infiltrating Large Organizations.006

In this example, the project manager is the first person to contact us.  He introduces us to his boss, then we find ourselves working with the Project Control Department, the Safety Department, the Engineering Department, the QA/QC Department, the Procurement Department and the General Manager.  Each of these folks is likely to have a different way of looking at thExecutive Brief - Phase Two Infiltrating Large Organizations.007ings, a different level of interest, and a different angle.

In any case, it’s important to maintain close ties (and a certain amount of loyalty) with the Project Manager who initially invited you to the party.

Although you may be working with people further up the organizational chart, it’s very important to stay in touch with this person’s goals and objectives; since this person has an inside view of the organizations politics and history.

If you make him the “hero” of the story, solving the problem for which he first contacted your company, you acquire a VERY helpful ally.

We also discussed specific methods of using LinkedIn to expand your network within the company and its close partners; as well as using Google Alerts to stay on top of company news and topics related to the project.  (We certainly should know of any developments before our clients have to explain it all to us!)

The full video is aviailable for our members here:

https://abci.customerhub.net/phase-two-buildng-credibility-closing

Not yet a member?   Join here:

http://www.AviationBusinessConsultants.com/Class

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