Small Business Owners Optimistic - American Express OPEN

Why are Small Business Owners So Optimistic?

Small Business Owners Optimistic - American Express OPEN

Small business owners are optimistic according to an American Express OPEN report. Click PLAY to the discussion about the findings on The BIGG Success Show podcast.

It’s Small Business Week here in the U.S. and we were thrilled to have one of the foremost authorities on small business with us on The BIGG Success Show.

Alice Bredin is the Founder and President of Bredin, a leading B2B marketing agency, an author, and she’s also the small business advisor to American Express OPEN.

We talked with Alice about the 2016 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, the leading barometer of how small business owners feel about the future.

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Bob Proctor The ABCs of Success - on BIGG Success

Bob Proctor on The ABCs of Success

Bob Proctor The ABCs of Success - on BIGG Success

Listen to Bob Proctor talk with George & Mary-Lynn about his new book – a culmination of the things he’s studied and learned over the past 55 years that have helped him succeed BIGG, and can help you do the same. Click PLAY.

You’ve seen him in The Secret. You watched him on Larry King Live, Ellen DeGeneres, ABC Nightline and more. We were honored to chat with Bob Proctor on The BIGG Success Show today.

Bob’s one of the pioneers of personal development, a leading authority on the Law of Attraction, and America’s Prosperity Teacher.

He joined us to talk about his wonderful new book, The ABCs of Success, where he goes from A to Z in talking about 67 success factors. Here’s what we talked about:

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Network Marketing

The Problem with Network Marketing on LinkedIn

Network Marketing

Network marketing on LinkedIn needs finesse – much like any networking or marketing done anywhere for that matter! Click PLAY to hear George & Mary-Lynn discuss this on The BIGG Success Show Podcast.

Network marketing on LinkedIn should be like peanut butter and jelly. However, many network marketeering practitioners make a critical mistake. Here’s an example:

[George] I recently received a LinkedIn connection request from a person who shall remain nameless. I accepted and sent a follow-up message thanking him for reaching out. He replied…

“Hey George, Great connecting with you as well… How can you help me with my biz opp…” The message went on to explain his network marketing opportunity.

Because of the nature of BIGG Success, I’m pretty open to connection requests. But this was my first correspondence with this particular person.

We hasten to add:

  • This recent example is by no means the only.
  • We’re not involved in network marketing.
  • We believe network marketing is a viable distribution channel.
  • We admire people who succeed in this field.

However, many network marketers don’t understand the culture of LinkedIn. That’s the problem. It leaves a bad taste which affects true network marketing professionals.

How can you rise above other practitioners? How can you capitalize on the power of LinkedIn to grow your business? Here are three suggestions to get better results faster:

Network marketing on LinkedIn requires the “you” view

Not you. Them. The person you’re having a conversation with.

This is a foundational concept in all sales communications. What’s in it for me?
When you reach out to someone on LinkedIn, that’s the question they’re asking.

Do you see the answer in the example above? No. Here’s what you see: “How can you help me with my biz opp…”

It’s the opposite of “you” view. It’s “me” view.

People don’t buy, join or sign up for you. They do so for themselves.

If you only present your reasons, they’ll find plenty of reasons NOT to do what you want.

Network marketing on LinkedIn starts with connecting, not connections

When you see someone you want to connect with, what do you actually see?

A real life flesh-and-bones person? A person you think might be interesting to know? A human being you’d like to learn more about?

Many people see dollar signs. They can be spotted a thousand miles away. They can’t help but show their true color – green. It’s all about money.

Of course, you should be excited about the products or services you sell. You should be enthusiastic about your opportunity.

But timing is everything. Your initial correspondence with a new connection shouldn’t be a pitch. Focus first on connecting on a human level. Money follows.

Network marketing on LinkedIn means helping, not hunting

Don’t pounce. Prospects aren’t prey.

How can you prescribe a solution when you haven’t diagnosed the problem?

Yeah, we know. You offer something everyone should be interested in.

Baloney. That mindset is a recipe for wasting time. You don’t see the qualified prospects through the mass of connections.

Don’t hunt. Help.

As you get to know the person, you’ll likely find ways to be of service. In many cases, it may be unrelated to what you do.

It may not even be about business. You may share an article or resource about a hobby or other interest of theirs. You relate to them on a human level.

The relationship grows. Trust builds. Then you’ll find plenty of opportunities to share your opportunity.

It’s about more than network marketing on LinkedIn

It turns out that these suggestions go beyond network marketing and LinkedIn. They apply to sales in general. They apply to all networking – not just social networking or networking on LinkedIn.

We must confess we’ve learned this from experience. Not on LinkedIn, but in other ways – we’ve been too exuberant at times about our own business. We learned the hard way. We’re sharing with you so you can avoid our mistakes.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professionals who want to find, connect, and engage with prospects and customers. Follow these tips for your BIGG success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:

[Entrepreneurs Beware] Smartphones Kill Customer Service

Entrepreneurs Beware-NY Restaurant Comparison Chart
Entrepreneurs find opportunity in change. We share some ideas in this BIGG Success Show Podcast. Click play to listen to George & Mary-Lynn

The entrepreneur behind a busy New York restaurant wondered why they kept getting bad reviews. So they hired an outside consultant who suggested they review surveillance video.

They found a tape from ten years ago and compared it to a similar recent day. The entrepreneur posted the results anonymously on Craigslist.

We created a table above to show their findings side-by-side:

Entrepreneurs beware! These results are staggering. Smartphones are killing customer service. Here are the details:

Notes for Entrepreneurs

1) Different seat
Customers are more demanding than ever. Ten years ago, only about 7% (3 of 45) of this entrepreneur’s customers requested a different seat. Today, 40% (18 of 45) do.

Meanwhile – customer service levels seem to be falling as many businesses try to make do with less people or fewer labor hours.

It spells o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y for entrepreneurs dedicated to the customer experience! We’ll talk about this more below.

2) Time to place order
Smartphones distract customers. Ten years ago – it took a customer just 8 minutes to order after they had been seated. Now it takes over twice as long, 18 minutes. Here’s why:

A server brought the customer a menu. 7 of the 45 say they are having trouble connecting to the restaurant’s WIFI. The server spent 5 minutes helping them.

How do you signal your server that you’re ready to order? A closed menu. In this case, it usually meant the customer hadn’t opened the menu yet. They were too busy with their phone. The customer asked for more time.

The server made three trips to the table before the customer orders. Their phone generally never leaves their hand.

3) Food returned
The server began delivering food in about 6 minutes. This is the same timeframe as 10 years ago. But now, of the 45 customers:

  • 26 spent 3 minutes taking photos of the food
  • 14 took pictures of each other with the food
  • 27 asked their server to take a group photo
  • 14 of these 27 weren’t happy with the photo and asked the server to retake it

In total, customers spent 4 minutes taking photos themselves. Servers spent 5 minutes taking photos instead of serving other customers.

Guess what happened in the meantime? Their food got cold! So 9 of the 45 sent it back. Only 2 did so 10 years ago.

4) Exit time
10 years ago – after paying their bill, a customer left in 5 minutes. Now, they play on the phone and don’t leave for 20 minutes.

Incidentally, they’re so busy looking at their phone – as they exited the restaurant, 8 of the 45 bumped into other customers or servers.

5) Total time
Little things make BIGG differences. Time has a nasty habit of ticking away. It takes almost twice as long for this restaurant to turn a table today, compared to 10 years ago (1:55 versus 1:05 respectively).

Entrepreneurs Need Smart Tactics

The entrepreneur concludes: “We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out there. But can you please be a bit more considerate?”

The two of us always remember the three rules of customer service:

Rule 1: The customer is always right.
Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, re-read Rule 1.
Rule 3: The customer is not always reasonable.

Perhaps we need to add “or considerate” to Rule 3. As we said earlier, customers are more demanding than ever. Apparently, they want to spend their dining experience with their smartphone.

You can ask them not to do it. But we doubt the request will be honored.

We wonder how they’ve stayed in business. With the time to turn a table at double what it was ten years ago, have they raised their prices?

So what can they do? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Hire a digital concierge

This is the “if you can’t beat them, join them” strategy. Bring on a staff member dedicated to digital.

They could check in with customers soon after they’re seated to make sure they’ve been able to access WIFI.

Once their food arrives, they could go to the table to take a group photo. Further, they could remind people to check in on Foursquare, solicit “likes” on Facebook, etc.

  • Limit the choice

Think of this as “an object in motion stays in motion” strategy. For example, you may offer a “daily deal” on a few appetizers. The customer can make a quick choice. You get the food coming their way quicker.

Instead, you may test a limited menu – customers could “pick one” from a short list in each category: appetizer, soup or salad, entrée, dessert.

  • Promote digital-free dining

Consider this the “take up a cause” strategy. You want to encourage experiences, instead of recordings of experiences. You want to be an oasis from the hyper-busyness.

Obviously, this won’t appeal to everyone. That’s the beauty of it – you’ll naturally attract like-minded customers. You may test it at certain times of the day to start.

Note the divergence between the first strategy and the last. They’re polar opposites! One encourages digital while the other denies it.

Entrepreneurs get to choose. Which works best for your customers?

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast: