UnMarketing, Relationships, People, Interaction, Engagement, Social Selling

UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging

UnMarketing, Relationships, People, Interaction, Engagement, Social Selling

Relationships, People, Interaction, Engagement, Social Selling

The latest ‘trending’ word in business is ‘Social Selling’. As per Wikipedia, social selling is known to be ‘the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process’.1  Social selling is essentially the same thing as developing a relationship….but on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. UnMarketing is all about ‘social selling’ or building a relationship.

A friend recently lent me the book “UnMarketing” by Scott Stratten (Twitter: @unmarketing) which is all about engaging and building relationships on social media and in the real world. Social selling is important because it develops a strong relationship has trust between the members.

I had a great experience with social selling a few years ago. On my Twitter account (@L6SBC), I had a follower ask their network a few times for help on being connected with people with a certain skill set. Each time I saw these tweets, I would respond by tagging people within my network that could fulfil the request.  One day, I received a direct message from this person. She ask me if I could help her with a business plan. I said sure, I would love to help since I have done a 1,000 or so plans.

Upon our first meeting, I asked why she sent me a direct message about helping her with her business plan. She responded by saying that as a result of the great leads I have give her, she knew she could trust me. I built up a relationship of giving value to her rather than taking from her. I filled her trust bucket, therefore, she was willing to use it with me.  Relationship built online..taken offline equals success.

UnMarketing is great business book for anyone at any level. Wondering why? Well, here it is.

Social Media & Marketing

UnMarketing takes you back to basics to teach you the  ‘simple’things. Do you know why someone buys from you? Is there a gap between your marketing and target market? What is the difference between Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn anyways? The platforms are each different, therefore, the audiences are different.

Tool Kit

Different tools are introduced, from Hootsuite to HARO, to help build up your platform or community.  These tools can be used to help manage and grow your community on social media, and even extend into the traditional media world.

The Power of…

UnMarketing takes you into real world examples of  the power of social media. The cafeterias at Tufts University uses Twitter to help increase their level of customer service and gain relevant and timely feedback. Another example is given of a coffee shop and how not to interact with your paying customers.  Various other examples are given in regards to how relationships and trust can help make or break a current or future transaction. I am sure that you are aware, but customers engage with people that offer an experience.

Authenticity

When online, don’t take on another personality. Don’t be who you think your prospective customer pictures you to be. Be yourself. Be authentic and transparent. I consistently speak with someone on my personal Twitter account (@k_macd11) who is great to engage with. We had lunch and it was a world of difference. Due to the results of that lunch, I will admit, I never want to see that person in real life again…I am happy to keep them on Twitter.

Remember, at one time or another, you will want to meet that person in real life. If that is the case, you should be yourself right from the start.

Being yourself can be extended to how you interact with your community. I know a few people that are comfortable to cameras therefore they respond to tweets using video. It fits their personality and they are comfortable with who they are on camera.

Channels

Different channels for meeting new people and growing your business are also covered in UnMarketing. Have you ever thought about doing seminars? What about tele-seminars or trade shows? You have enough information to get start on each, as the time is right for you.

I highly recommend that every entrepreneur picks up UnMarketing, writes in it, and take notes. Relationships are the foundation of any business, whether you know it or not. As we become a more technology drive world, precious human relationships will become the point of differentiation for many businesses. Think of the brands that you enjoy the most. How do they treat you? How do they make you feel?

Have you read UnMarketing? What was your biggest takeaway? What are other business books that you would recommend?

Have a great week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

 

 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_selling

ERP – Who needs it anyway?

Below, please find a blog posting from a referral partner of L6S Business Consulting, Josh Szakal of Black River Technologies.

You might remember the days when you first started your company. It was an exciting time for you as a new business owner as you were about to embark on a journey full of new opportunities. You probably even remember issuing your first invoice, which was likely generated from an accounting system (like QuickBooks or Simply Accounting) you purchased from your local office supply store. That system has served you well over the years, as it was inexpensive to buy, easy to use, and offered the basic functionality that was able to get your business off the ground.

Now that your business has matured, you might be noticing some of the limitations of QuickBooks (or whatever entry level software you are using), such as inflexible processes, data accessibility issues, inadequate security, and primitive reporting. You might even be trying to offset some of those limitations by utilizing spreadsheets to handle some of your advanced transaction processing, and then circling back to your accounting package to input a summarized entry.

As reported by TechValidate, a marketing content automation tool which uses satisfied customers’ data to create content, the following are the Top 5 Limitations of QuickBooks:

  1. Over-Reliance on Spreadsheets to Support Financial Processes and Reporting
  2. Excess Manual Data Entry and Re-Entry
  3. Limited Access to Reports and Information to Drive Decision-Making
  4. Difficulty in Adapting to New Business Requirements
  5. Inadequate Controls Around Financial Processes

If you are experiencing even one of the above limitations, it’s probably time for you to start thinking about upgrading to an ERP system.

So what is an ERP system?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, and is generally a business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to administer the business and automate back office functions.
The early editions of ERP software made their appearance in the early 80’s, and were for the most part, due to cost, only appealing to larger companies. But as ERP packages started to evolve through the 90’s, it made increasingly more sense for organizations in the mid-market, and even companies at the top end of the small business market, to implement a solution that allowed them to streamline their business operations. Today, there are an abundance of ERP systems on the market with varying costs and functionality. To identify which system is right for you requires a lot of due diligence, and many organizations opt to outsource this work as it can be a fairly time consuming task.

How do I know I need ERP software?

The first step in undertaking an ERP software search is to make sure you can see the signs that it’s time to make the move. In addition to identifying that you are experiencing one of the top 5 limitations listed above, you may also find that it’s taking longer for you to provide a certain level of service to your customers, you are noticing the need to be able to access your data outside of the office, and collaboration amongst your team is becoming increasingly more difficult and/or time consuming.

These are the tell-tale signs that it’s time for your organization to invest in a software package that is going to help foster your growth, not hinder it. You may not realize it now, but your entry level software may actually be costing you money. To help you understand the consequences of ‘standing pat’, we’ve put together a whitepaper called ‘Life After QuickBooks.’ It discusses many of the topics outlined above, as well as how to understand the new wave of financial management software. Interested in reading more? Click here to download the whitepaper.

Book review for Co-Active Coaching which help you with your listening and mentoring skills.

Book Review: Co-Active Coaching

Book review for Co-Active Coaching which help you with your listening and mentoring skills.

Book cover for Co-Active Coaching

Coaching, as defined by Wikipedia, ‘is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training, advice and guidance.’[1]

In my business, my one and only aim is to help my relationships attain the specific goal that they are looking to meet. By the above definition, I could be considered a coach.

In speaking with many coaches, they have a set agenda which they want to steer their clients through. Personally, I am not a strong supporter of this methodology. In many cases,  it doesn’t solve many of the client’s issues.  When my friend gave me this book, I expected to learn about another system which is the ‘silver bullet’ to solve all problems that anyone is having.

Happily, ‘Co-active Coaching’ is much more about developing your listening skills and a mentorship relationship. In a strong mentoring relationship, the client or the person looking for help drives the agenda of the meetings, not the coach. This is much more in line to how I help my clients. The main focus of the book is to develop your listening skills to get to the root cause of items and gain a better understanding of a situation.

The book overall is just over 300 pages but ½ of that is activities and examples of questions to ask in order to help improve your listening skills. There is a CD attached to the book with further activities to help you. In fact, at the end of each chapter, there are also activities which you can try with friends to help improve your new found skills.

If you are a leader within your organization, mentoring is a part of your responsibilities. In fact, if you work with other people (we all do), I highly recommend that you get your copy of ‘Co-Active Coaching’. The principles taught within the book will only help to foster better relationship.

What is the latest book you have read to help with your self-development?

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coaching

Book Review: The Remedy

IMG_20170214_0916078

The Remedy

There are few business concepts which are applicable across any company in any industry. From solopreneurs to multi-national conglomerates, the principles of Lean Management are a tool to improve the culture of a company.

I recently got the chance to read “The Remedy” by Pascal Dennis, which is a real life story about how lean was applied across a large car manufacturer.

Lean is predominantly known to be a process to decrease waste within manufacturing processes. Through the travels of Tom and his sensei Andy, stories are told on how Lean Management is applied within non-manufacturing settings.  The reader is taken through a journey where common obstacles of dealing with a company that is heavily placed into silos, non-communitive, and insular culture are dealt with. You get the opportunity to see how Lean Management can be applied in the non-manufacturing departments of Human Resources, Marketing, Product Development, and Accounting.

The reader is introduced to many of the basic concepts and terminology of Lean Management (for example the 8 types of waste) in the style where Tom, the plant manager of the shining star of Taylor Motors, is taken from his current role to lead the development and launch of a new car, originally known as the Defiant.

If you want to learn more about Lean Management, this would be an ‘average’ book to pick up. The Japanese terminology is used throughout the book which can make things confusing at time. There are great animations throughout the book, but at times, too many. It gave the feeling that you were reading a Pictionary book at times.

I personally don’t see this book as being a good starting point if you are a novice to Lean Management. Lean is best learnt within a manufacturing setting since the subject matter can be visibly seen. The author previously wrote “Andy & Me” which details the journey of transforming a manufacturing plant towards being Lean. This book would be a good starting point.

Do you have any books about Lean and Lean Management that you recommend?

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

How Are You Competing – Customer Relations

Customer service 06This is part 4 of 4 blogs which will cover the different customer value propositions that a company can use to compete in the market place.

Warren Buffet, when looking at companies to invest in, requires a ‘competitive moat’ around that business. That moat makes it hard for competition to take shots at the castle. In the world of strategy, that moat could be considered a blue ocean strategy where your company is in the middle of the ocean and no company can touch you. Some people may consider this to be “the promise land” or the “Meca” of business. In many cases, this moat is developed by offering great customer relations. Of the 4 ways to compete, strong customer relations is the hardest to defeat.

If you make a mistake, your relationship with your customer can be your saving grace. Many people appreciate good customer service and are willing to pay a premium to receive that service. In following this type of competition, you are able to set up your brand to be a main point of contact when your consumer has a question. It is a relationship that constantly needs to be nourished and improved up. One major false step or a sense of betrayal, consumers may take a ‘break’ from the company.

Apple is a company that has the reputation of having strong customer relations. Even though the latest iPhones, in the minds of some experts, are just catching up to Samsung, there are people that line that up for days to get the new iPhone. Apple is able to make people understand that they make technology easy to use for the average person. That is their connection to their consumer.

When you think about excellent customer service on a consistent basis, who do you think about? Is there a company you always find yourself buying from?

Have a productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

 

United, Airlines, Airports, Viral

Volunteering at United

The newest corporate public relations blunder now belongs to United Continental Airlines (United). I am sure that Pepsi is very happy to pass the hat onto another corporate citizen.

What Happened

It is ‘commonly known’, in some circles, that airlines will oversell their flights to ensure that they are full at time of departure. United follows the same practice. This practice came to a head for a flight from Chicago to Louisville on April 10th. United staff asked for 4 people to voluntarily give up their seats to accommodate the airline. 3 people volunteered while the 4th person was violently removed from their seat. From a memo off the desk of the CEO of United, Oscar Munoz, the person was ‘re-accommodated’.

Airlines commonly overbook their flights, for multiple reasons. According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2016, less than 1 in 10,000 were involuntarily bumped from the major US airlines. In 2016, this happened to United passengers at a rate of 0.43 per 10,000. It happened on American Airlines at a rate of 0.64 and at Southwest Airlines to 0.99 persons per 10,000.

Why Did It Happen

Overbooking happens for a number of reasons. None, however, can explain the events that occurred.

Resource Allocation: A flight leaving from Louisville had 4 members of its flight crew in Chicago. This is a reason why 4 seats were required. Did United not have any flight crews in Louisville that they could have used? Are their flight crews centrally located in certain locations or based off flight schedule and needs? Overall, did the schedule of the flight crews have then in the correct place?

Leadership: The CEO of United, Oscar Munoz, sent out a memo to staff after the event blaming the passenger for actions which is not seen in any of the footage that was captured. The CEO mention in the memo that the passenger was violent and belligerent. A properly written memo could have helped the situation but instead, gas was poured on the fire. If an employee of mine treats a customer that way, I would take ownership of the situation right away. It can be assumed that staff were not properly trained. That is a responsibility of the CEO. I understand that it was Chicago Airport Police that removed the person but United staff should have been trained on various methods to help get passengers to volunterily give up their seat. I have seen it happen effectively.

KPIs: United is a publicly traded company. Shareholders are constantly looking at the numbers to see how their investment is performing. Revenue per Available Seat and Passenger Miles Flown are key indicators on the health of an airline. Why does this create overbooking? If there is no passenger in the seat, the miles flown per passenger are negatively affected. When travelling, I have waited more than once for a fellow passenger to board the place. By overbooking, airlines are ensuring that there is a person in every seat.

Sensitivity: Consumers are rarely loyal to a certain airline. They will change airlines to save $5. If you don’t have any loyalty to an airline or are constantly purchasing the cheapest flight possible, you are increasing your chance of getting bumped out of your seat.

Legality: Airlines are allowed to overbook their flights and they are also ALLOWED to remove someone from a plane. In the purchasing contracts of Canadian airlines, however, it does not state how a person could be removed from the plane. Based on this assumption, the acts which happened on United are allowed and legal.

Internet Reaction

As you can imagine, the reaction from the Internet, specifically Twitter, was very fast. Videos of the event were online hours after the event occurred. It is possible that videos were posted even before the plane departed Chicago.

Social Media, Reaction, United, Overbooked

Some reaction from Twitter in regards to the United flight.

Stock Market Reaction

Shareholders of United firstly saw the event in a positive light by bidding up the price of the stock. When reading the headlines, the focus was most probably on the fact that United was overbooking their flights. A great problem for business is to have too many customers. As I am writing this the day after the event, United’s stock price has already decreased by 4%.

Overbooking, United

United’s Stock increase after word of event spread

Operating in the airline industry is not an easy task. There is a high capital investment along with the fact that one of your largest costs, jet fuel and airport fees, are largely controlled by third parties. Overbooking of flights is not something that will stop in the near future. Airlines have lost their sensitivity to consumer demands and views…mostly because consumers have trained them to be that way.  Even after dragging a bleeding and paying customer off one of their planes, United is still flying today and will for some time.

Did you know that airlines commonly overbook their flights? If you were a CEO of airlines, would you look at stopping the overbooking of flights? How would you do it so your financials are not compromised?

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting (www.l6sbc.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Assocation, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

How Are You Competing – Product Quality

qualityiconThis is part 3 of 4 blogs which will cover the different customer value propositions that a company can use to compete in the market place.

Some people consider this a must-have. There are some sectors and definitely some companies that don’t see it as priority. Those companies don’t see it as a mechanism to make themselves different from other companies. In some cases, consumers are not sensitive to it. It might be an after though during the buying decision process. What are we talking about?

QUALITY!

You either have it or you don’t but it is a matter of perspective. It is also a matter of what level your competition is at.

The quality of your product can be something that consumers identify with your company, good or bad. Many high end brands, like Porsche or Coach, are known for their quality. Jaguar was known for their quality but that reputation took a hit when Ford bought it. Ford started to use their parts within Jaguar vehicles which irritated Jaguar’s consumers. They expect high quality, handmade workmanship going into every vehicle. Putting in mass produced part was not consistent with that picture.

In following a quality model, it comes with extra costs to ensure that the end product always meets the needs of the consumer. Lean and Lean Six Sigma is commonly used to help increase the quality of the end product while staying economical. Consumers, however, are willing to pay a higher price for that increased product. The higher quality may decrease headaches that consumers have. It can help the company set itself up as a brand of quality.

What companies can you identify that compete based off the quality of their product? Which companies have fallen off that pedestal, in your opinion?

Have a productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

How Are You Competing – Innovative Product

forget-your-customers-develop-innovative-business-models

This is part 2 of 4 blogs which will cover the different customer value propositions that a company can use to compete in the market place.

Competition is something natural for people. We all have a competitive streak. Some of those streaks run deeper than others, but it is still there.

When companies are competing against each other, competition can take on different forms. We have already looked at operational excellence, where companies want to be known as the cheapest in their industry. Is there a way to compete where you could be the most expensive in the market but yet consumer are accepting of it?

What if you consistently brought on new technologies, usages, or ideas to market? Would your consumer pay a premium to buy the latest and greatest item? Many do and some companies compete on that basis.

Many innovations in the car industry get their roots from Toyota Motors. They were able to find ways to bring new technologies and usages for cars that other automakers hadn’t implemented. Products made by Toyota are generally higher, in terms of price point, than their competitors.

Being an innovative company does come with pitfalls. What do you do with your corporate strategy when another company leap frogs your cutting edge product? Do you add extra resources try to leap frog them so you are back in front? Possible, but research and development into products is not a cheap venture. Do you have the financial and human capital to orchestrate that leap? You could be spending a fair amount of resources try to get back in front but never get there.

What company do you consider to be a consistent innovative leader in their industry? Any companies you felt were in that position but haven’t been able to keep up to change lately?

Have a productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

 

How Are You Competing – Operational Excellence

excellenceThis is part 1 of 4 blogs which will cover the different customer value propositions that a company can use to compete in the market place.

Every company competes, in one way or another. Either they are competing to get attention with a gorilla marketing strategy or to simply get new customers. Competition is a fundamental part of any marketplace. Unless there is a monopoly or duopoly in place, market forces are moving resources between companies.

The weakest of all modes for competition in business is operational excellence. In the eyes of the consumer, you offer the cheapest product of all solution providers within your space. Your business model is based on maximizing your capacity and selling as much of your product as possible.

There is one Fortune 500 sized company that comes top of mind when you think about a company that is operationally excellent….Walmart. Walmart, in the eyes of the consumer, is the cheap place to go, in general, when you need to buy something. They are not very innovative in their offering. Customer service, well, you have to be able to find someone on their store floor to consider customer service. Lastly, quality products is not something that rings with Walmart.

When you create your company with a business model of being operational excellent, you are more than likely to attract a large portion of consumers. Who doesn’t want to save money?

But in following this model, it becomes hard for your company to raise prices. You have to ensure that you stay top of mind for your consumer when it comes to buying something cheap. But what happens when someone else decreases their prices below yours? Well, if you are tried and true to your strategy, you will decrease your price too. This will only start a race to the bottom. In reflection, you have just commoditized your offering and your consumer will always go to the cheapest name, no matter who it is.

There are some circumstances where being the cheapest in the market is the best position. You may be focused upon an economically sensitive target group which is under served. Perhaps you are entering a new market with a new product and you want to help accelerate adaptation of your offering.

Does your company want to be the cheapest in its industry? What companies do you see fitting that bill?

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

Marketing In a Weak Economy

This article was originally published on the BusinessLink’s website.

Small Business Week (Oct 16-22) is an exciting time for entrepreneurs with great events across Canada offering small business owners multiple opportunities to learn and connect. One of the many events that I attended was organized by Business Link named “Ignite Small Business Week YEG: Marketing in this Economy!?”

The highlight of the event was to hear Randy Brososky from the Group of Rogues speak about how companies should market themselves during a period of weaker economic growth. I have heard Randy speak before and I knew that he would bring great knowledge to business owners to help them grow their business.

SOLVE A PROBLEM

When you are looking to market your company and its offering, remember: “To a fish, the universe is water.” In terms of your company, you truthfully have to look at yourself from the viewpoint of your customer. What problem(s) are you solving? Are you making the purchasing process logical or emotional? Are you tying these items together to make it easier for your customer to choose you?

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

Rolls-Royce is well known for selling cars but they also make jet engines. They understand from the view point of their end customer- the more time that a jet can be in the air, the more money airlines make. With that in mind, Rolls-Royce does not ‘sell’ a jet engine; they sell time in the air. They repair their engines for free. The only time that Rolls-Royce charge for their engines is when that engine is flying in the air.

FIVE TIPS FOR MARKETING IN A SLOW ECONOMY

Here’s what marketing guru Randy Brososky shared at the event:

1. CUSTOMER CONNECTION: Stay in touch with your customer but don’t sell to them. By keeping that connection open, when the economy starts to swing upwards, your customer will remember you and go to you first.

2. SHIFT HAPPENS: People shift their spending habits as times change, but are you shifting along with them? 10 years ago, Tim Horton’s coffee could only be bought within their locations. With the shift to home brewing and Keurig cups, Tim Horton’s coffee can now be purchased in grocery stores (or in their locations) in grounded bean format or within Keurig cups.

3. SMART DISCOUNTS: Offer 2 for 1 deals but the deal is only activated after you have involved your customer. For your customer to get a 2 for 1 deal, have them bring a friend. You can also have your customers become brand ambassadors. Offer them discounts when they speak to their community about you.

4. BEAT THE FEAR: Ask your customer what is holding them back from purchasing from you. Hyundai accepted vehicle returns if their customers lost their job during the recession of 2008. They gained market share and saw positive sales growth while other car manufacturers were going bankrupt.

5 NEW VALUE OFFERING: Look at how you can make your customer feel like the centre of the universe. Can you offer a lower cost item to your customer but still solve their problem and fulfill the same emotional desire? Can you sell what you are offering in a different fashion?

Even with a slower economy, companies still do want to increase their top line. At the very least, you can set yourself up for success during the upcoming growth phase by staying in touch with your customer, talking about the value you create, and tapping into your customers’ emotion.

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, and Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC