Ask Biz Show Episode 2

Here is week two of the Ask Biz Show!

Please submit questions for future episodes here:

Book Review: Customers for Life

This is the best book I have read on customer service.

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One of the things I stress with my client is the importance of customer service in their organization. I have repeatedly blogged about it, here and here. Great customer service allows you to increase the lifetime value of a customer to your organization. So when I was in Texas and had a great customer service experience, I found that the founder of that organization had written a book. Customers for Life by Carl Sewell is a great book about customer service and how to use it to build a business.

This book cuts out all of the fluff and gets right to the message. Short chapters with pithy points and checklists to help you implement it make this a quick and informative read.

A few of the points worth nothing:

  1. Ten Commandments of Customer Service: Lists make things easier to remember. With items like: Systems not smiles, and Fire your inspectors and consumer relations department, Carl turns typical thoughts about customer service on their head. The idea that people want a smile and that makes everything better is false. People want a good product(with a smiling face, but that is a secondary desire). Build systems to improve their customer experience and then incentivise and empower all of your employees to take care of the customers.
  2. Treat your employees better than the customers. Sewell makes several points about treating your employees well. This is something lost of many companies, but happy employees will treat customers better. It also allows you to attract top talent. Top talent pays off in a variety of ways from retention, to innovation, and of course, sales!
  3. Amazing Customer service is the right thing to do, but it is also profitable. Carl Sewell points out that the ultimate motivation about working this hard for the customers is that it grows the business. No one would go out to unlock a car for free in the middle of the night for free, but if you take care of your customers well, they will buy from you again. The bigger picture of each great customer interaction is a growth in business.

I am also a fan of Dave Ramsey who advocates for incentivising employees. Carl Sewell advocates for that as well. Each employee is measured on different performance areas and are incentivized to do well. This puts your money where your mouth is!

This book is now up there with Entreleadership in my, most important books to read for business, category. You can get Customers for Life by Carl Sewell on Amazon. 



Ask Biz Show Ep1

Here is the video from episode one of the Ask Biz Show:



If you want to submit a question for the next show, you can do so here:

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Free Marketing Idea: Gender Reveal Partnership

I have another Free Marketing Idea for you! And if your businesses are not in these areas, maybe it will spark some ideas for your next marketing partnership. This idea came up recently while speaking with a friend who works at a flower shop.

Gender reveal parties or announcements have almost become as big as the baby announcement itself. There are lots of videos on youtube about gender reveal parties and funny reactions to kids who are disappointed with their new siblings gender. As this trend grows, I think it provides an opportunity for some local businesses across the country.

My friend who worked at the flower shop was telling us about preparing some balloons for a gender reveal party. This along with cakes, or confetti, or other surprise tools to tell the world what your baby’s gender will be are suppose to help create suspense and allow for a surprise when revealed.

My current understanding of the process is that once the gender is determined by the doctor, it is written on a slip of paper and handed over to the lucky couple to plan. That couple hands it over to a relative or close friend who then has the surprise ruined and is responsible for keeping the secret and planning the party.

Well humans are prone to error. What if the couple slips up and looks (or not by accident decides to look becuase they can’t contain themselves) or the relative/friend missteps with their words and reveals it accidently?


How can a service be provided to ensure the surprise and make the party wonderful? Enter in the bakery or the flower or gift shop. Instead of handing over the sensitive information to the family, they could send it to a local shop they have a relationship with. Then the family could purchase specific services from that shop and then the surprise is a surprise to everyone at the party!

This benefits the clinic by helping make a special event even more special for a family. This could lead to more business. The shop gets a referral and is able to make a few extra sales and could develop a reputation for making the best gender reveal surprises in town. Sounds like a win-win marketing partnership to me!




Marketing Partnerships

Marketing Partnerships are like high fives for your business!
Marketing Partnerships are like high fives for your business!

One of the most valuable forms or marketing is partnerships with other businesses. Mutually beneficial partnerships can lead to lots of leads and new business for almost no cost. We see this in different industries.

Sometimes bodyshops establish informal relationships with insurance agencies. The benefit for the bodyshop is clear, they receive referrals after people have wrecks. The benefit for the insurance agency is a little less clear becuase it would not be a referral check, that could look unseemly or unethical. The insurance agency’s primary benefit would be knowing that their customers would be well taken care of, which is very valuable to the insurance agent. Additionally there could be some stationary or snacks that the body shop brings by.

For a successful marketing partnership, formal or informal, there are a few prerequisites:

  1. A Relationship- Relationships are important in business. Maybe not as important as they use to be, but they are still important. Forming a relationship with businesses that you could work with is a critical step in the business to business world. People will not do a marketing partnership with people they do not know. They may do business with people they don’t know but to refer someone they are putting their reputation on the line with yours. To do this most people must have a personal relationship.
  2. Mutual Benefit- For a marketing partnership to work, there must be a mutual benefit. Maybe that is a cash transaction, maybe that is cookies brought by, peace of mind for their customers, or  free press. When approaching someone about a partnership make sure that you clearly layout these benefits. You are selling the person on the deal because ultimately this is business.
  3. Consistent Quality Work- As mentioned above, one business is putting their reputation on the line with yours when they refer someone to you. If you do not produce quality results then you are endangering your partnership and the benefit to your business. Before you approach someone about a partnership, make sure that you are performing your service well and so are they. This will help headaches in the long run.
  4. Similar Customer Type- The type of customer that someone attracts is important to the success of a business partnership. If you are a low end restaurant partnering with a 5 star hotel, that might not workout so well. If you are a old established law firm, partnering with a local radio station targeting younger demographics might not be the best partnership. This may sound like a subsection under the mutual benefit category but it is different. You may still make money off the transactions from a partnership with different customer types but they might not be the kind of client you are able to retain for the long term or make as high of a profit margin off of. Additionally they might be the kind of client who expects too much from their businesses and your business might not be able to meet these needy clients where they are.

I hope this article helps you think of some creative marketing partnerships to help grow your business to the next level! If you want help coming up with some, send me an email and we can work on that!