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May 20, 2019

“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less” Chapters 2 & 3


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“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less”
Chapters 2 & 3

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 4 in your next email from BOSS.

Table of Contents (for previous chapters)

Chapter 2 – Following Up on Referral Commitments

Commitments for referrals from clients are rarely actually contractual; they’re just something your client will agree to in a verbal fashion.

It’s great when they agree to refer you to four or five contacts.

It’s even better if they go off and get in touch with those contacts for you so that they’ll know you’re coming and have a whetted appetite.

It’s not so great when your current client agrees to give you referrals and then promptly forgets all about it.

Some clients will just feel as shy as you do when it comes to referrals. Others will just genuinely forget about your agreement.

The problem is that you lose control of the situation once you no longer have your client working to the agenda that you have set. So how do you get some control of the situation back into your hands (and give your client a gentle reminder about the referrals)?

It doesn’t have to be long or abrasive in any way. All this letter has to say is that you’d like to pick up where you left off in regards to referrals. In order to get the client back on your side state in the letter that you would rather spend your money on making your services better rather than on marketing so that’s why referrals are so important to you and your business.

Remember to state the original incentives you offered them and their contacts.

Chapter 3 – Set Referral Goals

How will you know if this new referral system is working or if you need to tweak it? Set goals.

Write on a calendar how many new clients or customers you want one year from now. Figure out how many you’ll have to win per month.

You’re not going to be able to convert all of your referrals, so you should expect to have to attempt to gather at least 50% more referrals than the actual number of clients you want to gain per month. You’ll be able to adjust this number depending on your own success rate.

Make sure to share these goals with your team. When you succeed, celebrate. Make it a big deal so your employees want to do it again, or even better themselves. Make asking for referrals a part of your ongoing business culture.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
Suite 2, 345 Pacific Highway,
LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved

March 17, 2019

“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less” Chapter 1


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“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less”
Chapter 1

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 2 in your next email from BOSS.

Table of Contents (for previous chapters)

Section 1 – Client Referrals

Chapter 1 – Make Asking for Referrals a Part of Your Process

Asking for referrals comes easily for some people, while others can get more than a little uncomfortable. So first things first – let’s make asking for referrals part of your work’s everyday process.

A starter’s tip – When you get referrals make sure you ask permission to use your current client or customer’s name. That way when you get in touch with the new referral you’ll have a mutual friend or business associate that trusts you both. You can mention them instead of trying to start up a conversation out of the blue.

1. Give your clients or customers a reason to give you a referral.

In other words, do great work. Deliver great service. Produce the very best widgets you can provide. Find out all the things that your competition is doing better than you and find ways to top them.

It’s going to be so much easier for you to request referrals if you are proud of the product or service that you provide.

Having a great product and/or service will make it easier for your customers or clients when they’re trying to explain to their friends why they should try you over your competition. On the flip-side, you’re going to be so much more squeamish if you know you’re trying to get people to ask their friends to try out your business when you know you’re presenting subpar products.

Know what the benefits of your business are to customers, know how to articulate this to your referrers and thus make sure they are clear how to present you to other people.

Having a great Unique Selling Point will help you articulate your benefits to prospects too.

2. Are you asking everybody you could be asking?

Existing (and happy) clients are an obvious source of referrals, but are they the only ones you could be asking?

How about the people who supply your business with equipment? Can you perhaps set up a mutually beneficial trade off where they recommend your services (for example, you’re a personal health trainer) and you recommend their gear (they sell sports clothing)?

Can you get your friends on the bandwagon? Ask them who they know that fits your ideal client. Most of them will have social media: ask them to Like your Facebook page or provide a recommendation on LinkedIn etc.

Create a list of everybody who can be offering referrals on your behalf. This can include:

  • Current clients.
  • Friends and family.
  • Clients you didn’t convert but you are still on friendly terms with.
  • Your employees.
  • Your vendors and suppliers.
  • Your current prospects that you’re in the process of converting.
  • Members of associations or groups that you belong to.
  • Prospect connections – other businesses that your prospects trust and admire.
  • “Big voices” (a.k.a. Leaders). These might be celebrities, people of standing within certain industries or influencers within a group.
  • Magazine or newsletter authors or editors.
  • Special interest groups. For example, if you sell athletic wear you might try tennis associations or bowling leagues.
  • Companies that are already dealing with the type of clients that you desire for your own business.
  • Your competition. (We’ll explain this one in a chapter below.)

3. Make sure you’re asking the right people.

This is the other side of the coin of point #2.

You may have an ideal type of client.

Jot down ideas about what makes for your ideal A-list type of client. Now identify any of your current customers or clients who make that grade. Chances are you’ll have a higher percentage of A-list referrals from current clients who are already in that category, so approach them first.

The reverse of course is that people who are on your D-list, your nightmare customers or clients, are more likely to bring more D-listers to the table, so don’t ask for referrals from them.

1. Identify your A-list clients. They can be categorised any number of ways: age, gender, race, income, hobbies, geographic location, membership in a specific organisation, people belonging to a certain industry or business, position or title within a business, types of vacations they take, magazines they subscribe to, people about to go through or have just gone through a major event (wedding, birth of a child, graduation, retirement), someone who has just made a major investment, and so on.

2. What type of person can refer you to your A-list clients? Your suppliers, your clients, members of an organisation, other members of your business chain, celebrities, employees of a particular type of business, magazines, special interest groups, blogs, etc.

3. Help your current clients identify potential referrals. Your clients might get stuck coming up with enough referrals, so help them out by identifying where they might find them (from your list in Point #1). So for instance if you are a Physiotherapist and you are talking with a client that plays rugby, you can ask who they know that plays rugby that could benefit from a physio.

4. Have a system for asking for referrals.

To gain confidence asking for referrals, make asking for referrals part of your process of doing business. Document the referral-asking so it becomes a concrete part of your customer relations.

You need to have a few systems to ask for referrals at different times to maximise the opportunities you have e.g. at a meeting, after every job that has been completed, after the first two months of having a client engage you. Where possible your system should verify that the client is happy before you ask for the referral.

Happy clients lead to more referrals but you need to ask for referrals to get as many as you can! The easiest way to ask for referrals is when you find someone happy with your service – that is the time to ask for referrals.

But how do you know if your clients are truly happy with what you provide for them?

Different people can respond in different ways so you need lots of different ways of getting feedback. Methods can include surveying on the phone, asking at a face-to-face meeting, sending out a detailed feedback form annually, asking for quick feedback after each job or sale. If you restrict the number of ways you ask for feedback, you limit opportunities to ask for referrals and thus restrict your business growth. It is worth thinking hard of ways to get feedback, then implementing a system.

Example 1 – Post-Job Letters

One method of getting feedback is to send out a follow-up letter. Start out by letting the customer or client know how much you appreciated being able to do business with them. Now, because you value them as your customer, you’d like to get their input on how to improve your business for their benefit.

On a second page (that can be mailed back to you) include a rating system. Make the rating system as simple to use as possible. This system might be boxes to be ticked or rating numbers to be circled that might include such categories as timeliness, courtesy, satisfaction with service, and so on.

The easier it is for your client to fill out, the less reason they’ll have to put it off or to neglect it entirely.

(Along those lines, make sure you pre-pay the postage for the letter or form to be sent to you, or alternatively use email communication.)

Next, make sure there’s space for them to tell you what it is that they didn’t like about your service.

Follow this with a brief note saying that because you enjoyed working with them so much you’d like to extend the benefits that your business has to offer to their contacts, friends and family. Then offer an incentive. Therefore, an example of what you can write is:

“As you know we are totally committed to the success of your business so if you have experienced that commitment in the form of good service I’d like to ask you to return the compliment.

Who else do you know who would benefit from the sort of business advice and support that you’ve enjoyed? I ask you that question because we enjoy working with you so much so if they’re your friend, colleague or contacts I know we’ll enjoy working with them too.

So if you write their details on the questionnaire we’ll offer them as a gift from you, a 10% discount on the first purchase they make.”

This gift turns your current clients into heroes who are connected enough to be able to hand out discounts.

You can also offer an incentive for your current client. If they do offer up a certain number of referrals you’ll give them a free mini consulting session or sample of other wares you sell. So now, your current client has a further incentive to recommend you to others, plus you give them a chance to experience some of your offerings that they might not have experienced before, which may lead to more sales.

Example 2 – End-of-Job Interactions

Let’s say that you provide a service that’s generally a one-stop affair like an on-call plumber. You get called in, you do your job, you fix the drip or prevent the flood, and the job is done.

Ask the client if they were happy with the service and if so ask them who they know who fits your ideal client criteria. If the client isn’t available when you finish the job, leave behind a survey card that asks to give your service a rating based on a number that they can mail in (pre-pay the postage).

Again, make the card as simple as possible for them to fill out – boxes to be checked off or numbers to be circled, or perhaps the words “Poor” “Fine” “Good” and “Excellent” that can be circled.

Leave room where they can write in anything that they feel could help you improve your business. Phrase it that way – that they’re helping you to become better and that your goal is to provide the best possible service that you can.

At the end ask for the names and phone numbers of 3 people who could use your service. When you actually call the referrals, mention the name of the person who referred you and why they think you could benefit the prospect. Have an incentive on the card such as the referrer will be put into a monthly prize draw to win an iPad or the prospect will receive 10% off all parts.

Example 3 – One-on-One Meetings

If you’re the type of business that has a sit down one-on-one meeting with your clients make part of your process writing up a one-or-two page agenda that outlines the steps you take in such meetings.

This will do two things. First, it will put you in control of the meeting. You’re the one calling the shots of what gets discussed at which point. (It looks really professional and they’ll get to see all the work you do in preparing for such meetings, work that is usually invisible to the customer.)

Second, you put asking for the referral somewhere in the agenda. This way it’s there in black and white, the client knows it’s coming, and you can’t avoid it.

As you know now, to lead in to the referral process you first get feedback. Ask the same “Are you happy?

You can also at this point ask them what your business could be doing to make them happier which, in and of itself, will make them happier. Everyone likes to be listened to.

So once you’ve hit this earlier point and deliberately reminded your client or customer that they’re happy with your business, you’ll now find it easier to ask them to refer some of their friends.

You don’t have to bluntly phrase it as a plea for referrals. If you prefer, try some language along the lines of, “Who else do you know that might benefit from [whatever benefit that you provide]?”

This way it’s phrased not like the client is doing you a favour, but that the client is doing a favour for their friends by recommending your top-notch business.

Make this a specific number of referrals – try for five. You’re likely to get less referrals than the number you’ve actually asked for, so if you ask for three then you may only get one. If you ask for too many, you’ll seem pushy or greedy. Five is a number that should result in two or three good referrals.

Another added bonus – now that you’ve documented the asking-for-referrals process it will become part of your business’ culture, meaning all of your employees will be able to do the same.

Example 4 – Ask for Referrals at the Very Start of Your Relationship

A lot of people see success when they ask for referrals right when they sign on with a new client.

This works especially well if the client is a referral himself, but that’s not absolutely necessary.

It may sound like an awkward way to start a relationship with a new client, but there are a couple of factors that work in your favour.

First, since they’re new to you, that means they’re an ex-customer or client of some of your competition. They didn’t just leave – they left for a reason.

Your business is the antidote to the pain they were feeling having to deal with your competition. You represent relief. Relief engenders gratitude, which is a fine feeling to have present in someone when you ask them for referrals.

Second, you haven’t yet had the chance to make any mistakes. You’re still in the honeymoon period.

If you feel squeamish, a document (like the meeting agenda) can come to the rescue. In the document lay out what it is that you’re going to do for your client. And then lay out what you’re hoping for from the client – to be paid on time, that the client will be honest and upfront with any concerns so that you can solve them right away, and that if they’re happy they’ll mention you to three to five friends.

When you get to the point about discussing referrals tell your new client that you prefer to base your business off of referrals because it makes your business obliged to focus on maintaining excellent customer service.

5. Do more than just say “Thank you”.

In the examples shown you can see it is important to reward your customers who come through with referrals. They don’t have to do it, it’s not their job to bring you more business (even if it is in a meeting agenda).

By rewarding the referrals with some token (a little gift, or perhaps a small discount off your services) you encourage your clients to bring in more referrals.

You may wish to reward someone for just giving you the referrals, or just the ones that become paying customers. Offering tokens of gratitude has an added bonus effect – it really makes your business stand out. It makes you look like someone who values their customers, and gives you a leg up on your competition that might be doing nothing at all. Don’t underestimate the power of the gift – few businesses offer this “thank you”.

If you really want to keep 100% of their attention at your meeting add a final task at the bottom of your agenda that says “$1000 of marketing for free.

As you know now, start the referral process by getting feedback from the client. Talk to your client directly going through the same type of explanation and questions in Example 1 before.

At the end of the meeting give suitable incentives. Your client may be offered a credit of $200 off the next bill for every person referred by them that becomes a client of yours. In addition, hand them 10 $100 exclusive gift certificates redeemable at your business that they are to give out to people that they think will benefit from your product or service.

This way your client will look good in the eyes of their customers and the prospects have even more reason to contact you. Plus, your client is likely to give the certificates out to their A-lister clients, which means you’ll be getting 10 pre-screened A-listers showing up at your door.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
Suite 2, 345 Pacific Highway,
LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved

March 2, 2019

“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less” Chapters 4


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“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less” Chapter 4

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 5 in your next email from BOSS.

Section 2 – Building Powerful Referral Alliances

Chapter 4 – Tap Into More Markets with Less Marketing Money (Forge Business Referral Alliances)

There are businesses out there right now who are in contact with your ideal prospect. Companies that have spent a lot of marketing dollars building up that relationship. You can leverage their contacts by developing an alliance with them which we call a host-beneficiary relationship.

The Business Chain

The first step is to figure out what other businesses are in your “business chain”.

Let’s say your business is a fitness centre. Think of your health club as one link in a chain. Now what other links might there be – what other products or services (that you don’t offer) would your clientele be interested in?

Your clients may very well want athletic wear and proper shoes. Doctors might have patients that they recommend get into better shape. Those are links that come before they get to your club. They may want to head for a relaxing massage, a spa, or maybe a health-conscious restaurant after they visit you – these links come after you in your business chain.

You as the Beneficiary

When you’re getting in touch with the other links in the chain you’re going to want to show them that you’re worth partnering up with. In the health club example you can offer potential partners a free pass for a month, with a discounted pass for the rest of the year if an alliance is formed.

Your approach is this – tell the CEO or owner of that potential company that you want to do a deal that will offer the chance to make an extra $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 a year (whatever amount you think is applicable) and they won’t have to risk any sort of investment at all. Business owners are going to have a hard time saying no to at least listening to your proposal.

Once you have their attention, hit them up with the following points:

  • Your product or service doesn’t compete with their product or service (it may even complement their offerings).
  • They don’t really have to do anything. If they do care to become more active in the promotion, all the better.
  • This proposal will in no way risk their current profits. It only stands the chance of adding to their profits.
  • You will create and pay for all the marketing materials (you can offer to let them have approval on the materials). If they want to help pay for the costs then you can offer them a bigger slice of the profits.
  • You’ll indemnify their company and they will be held harmless (if there’s ever any problem with your product or service you’re promising that you’ll fix things and that their company won’t be held responsible). You’ll also guarantee every item or service that you sell.
  • The host company can have all of the orders routed through them for verification.

All of these points take away reasons for the other company to say “no” and show how much confidence you have in the venture.

If possible, make projections. Tell the host that if your projections are correct (“if my projections are correct” is a good phrase to use) then you can expect to be handing them a check for $20,000 six months from that point.

If this is going to become an ongoing situation, get them thinking about what they can do with that extra $40,000 a year. This makes the money more concrete, makes it part of their business plans, and now they’ll have a harder time imagining their business without the money that will come from your deal.

Discuss all the things they could do – hire on a new person, get updated equipment or expand their location, or run more ads on television – make the possibilities concrete.

Also try to build in some kind of automatic deal renewal that triggers when your partner receives X amount of money. That way your partner won’t be able to shake you off to set up a similar deal of their own or go to one of your competitors for a similar style of deal. If you’re the benefactor of the referrals then you want the relationship with the host company to be exclusive.

Example

Below is an email campaign an insurance broker sent to accounting firms.

You as the Host

You can also reverse the situation – you act as a host company promoting other people’s businesses in exchange for a percentage of the profits.

In this case you want to try to get a bigger slice of the residual pie. Offer to pay a quarter or half of upfront costs in exchange for a similar split of residual profits.

This is still a tremendous deal for the company you’ll be promoting because they get a boost in their clientele with A-list targeted clients (who are much more likely to convert) for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.

Now, with every new client you bring in you not only have the traditional fees you would have made, you also have additional revenue streams coming from the same client. It’s like gaining two (or more) clients for every one actual client that you land. The more benefit deals you have in place, the more revenue streams.

Your clients are now worth more to you. You can now afford more marketing to bring in more of these new beefed-up clients.

If you are the referring company (the host) you’ll want to avoid exclusivity contract stipulations. You’ll have more bargaining power if you’re able to end the deal and go to the beneficiary’s competition or if you’re not locked into a perpetually renewing contract.

Make it worthwhile for your customers and clients
None of these revenue streams are going to work however if the special promoted deals aren’t all that special.

Your customers have to feel like you really negotiated one heck of a deal for them.

How to Split the Profits
Make sure that the profit split is in writing.

There is no hard-and-fast rule in how to split the profits; it will depend on the costs of the marketing and on the particular businesses involved.

If you’re handling all of the marketing costs then make sure that these costs come off of the top.

It’s possible that you may be in a situation where you offer all of the profits to the host company because you intend to make your own money off of further residual sales from the new returning customers that the deal will provide for you.

The percentages can be based on overall sales, or perhaps you pay the host a certain amount for every referral that makes contact with you. (In this case you’re rewarding the referrals and not actual conversions into paying customers – just like with your clients’ referrals it’s up to you to convert, not the other business.)

It could be a fixed fee for doing the promotion.

Whatever the split remember that you’re paying a very small fee for access to a database of prospects and clients that the host company has dedicated substantial time and money building up.

Countering the Two Main Objections
Worry #1 – The company you contact is worried you’re not going to honour your part of the deal.

One solution is to let them handle all of the money, so that they pay you your cut.
Another is to set up a joint account at a bank that acts as escrow. The account can be set to automatically transfer the proper percentage of every earned dollar to that company’s own account.

Worry #2 – You’ll sell their client list to outside parties.

Observing the Australian Privacy Act the promotion should be via their marketing system and you shouldn’t be expecting to get a list of their contact information to import into your marketing database.

Validation Makes It Easier to Create More Deals
The first of these deals you make, whether you’re the beneficiary or the referral company, is a test run. Make sure you document everything you can – the profits, the costs, how much each company benefitted, and so on.

This way you have documented validation of the idea so that when you approach the next company with such a deal you’ll be able to point at your documentation and prove that such a relationship benefits everybody.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
Suite 2, 345 Pacific Highway,
LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved

February 28, 2019

“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less” Introduction


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“Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less”
Introduction

This is the Introduction to an eBook “Referral Power – Reach Further. Spend Less.”. You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 1 in your next email from BOSS.

Introduction

A salesperson gives you the perfect pitch – it hits all your pain points, it makes you excited for their product, it even makes you emotional, and at the end of it you say, “Well… maybe.”

On the other hand your friend mentions in an off-handed way that there’s a t.v. show that you might like… so you watch it. They say there’s a restaurant new in town that you’ll love, so you go. Activities, events, past-times, doctors, lawyers… the list of things we’ll try based on the slightest nod from our friends goes on and on.

Why do we trust our friends’ opinions? Because we’ve organically tested them over time. We’ve encountered enough situations so that we now know that our friend Mike has the same taste in movies as we do, but we don’t share Christina’s taste in art.

Nielsen.com (a consumer study group) did a poll that discovered that 84% of people across 58 countries held word-of-mouth recommendations as being the most trustworthy form of all advertising.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are far more likely to get us to try out a service or product than regular advertising. While advertising might add a sense of legitimacy (they can afford ad space on a popular television show, so they must be doing something right), we know it’s advertising so of course it’s going to tell us that we want or need something. That doesn’t make it true.

We trust referrals from our friends and acquaintances as being far more likely to connect us with a service or product that can truly benefit our lives. That makes referrals an extremely powerful form of marketing, and they are at the heart of what this book is about.

Why are referrals so powerful?

Aside from the power of the trusted source as mentioned above, there are two other big factors that make pursuing referrals so worthwhile.

The first is that this form of marketing is aimed at exactly the right kinds of people. The marketing message is targeted instead of the shotgun approach that is taken by most paid forms of advertising.

Someone writes on their Facebook wall that they’re looking for a good carpenter. One of your ongoing clients puts your name up in response and gives you a great big thumbs up. That’s advertising directed at someone extremely likely to convert into a paying customer, instead of expensive advertising that spreads itself thin trying to appeal to everybody.

The second additional factor is that referrals can reach just about everybody online. Paid advertising in traditional forms (television, radio, magazines, newspapers) have a limited range.

Referrals on the other hand can reach everybody who is friends of your customer or client on social media, and then those friends can pass your name on to their friends, and so on.

Not only is the reach of clients or customers wide, it’s also extremely fast, extolling your virtues to friends and acquaintances at digital-age speeds.

Referrals are exponential, while the reach of traditional paid advertising is limited at best.

How to harness the power of referrals.

This book is going to look at two main ways that your business can earn and use referrals to boost your bottom line.

The first is by having your customers and clients do your marketing for you.

The second is by cooperating with other businesses to combine your customer/client base to your mutual benefit.

Let’s get started.

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  • And More!

BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
Suite 2, 345 Pacific Highway,
LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved

September 11, 2018

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 9/9


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“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 9/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

If you’d like to catch up on any or all of the previous chapters, click here for the whole ebook (including this final chapter 9)

9. Now Do It Again

Traditional book publishing houses should have seen it coming. Actually, they probably did see that there was the smell of change in the digital-scented air… but they did nothing about it. They thought their old way was good enough and they flapped a collective dismissive hand at the thought of online ordering and e-books.

Amazon now owns about 65% of all ebook sales. Apple owns a significant chunk of the remaining balance. Now the traditional publishers spend most of their time trying to demonise Amazon instead of whipping up their own (preferably superior) delivery systems.

“Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.”

 – Mark Sanborn, Leadership Author

You’ve transformed yourself from a boss into a leader by building a culture within your company that has your employees rarin’ to go. They take pride in their work, and they’re deliriously happy to be a member of your business family.

Now how do you translate that into results that grow your business?

First, you need to recognise that a good start is just that – it’s a start. The work that you put into making your employees feel like rock stars is never going to end – it’s only going to change. You need to be constantly on the look-out for ways in which you can make your employees’ working lives better.

At least some members of your esteemed competition will certainly be constantly evolving their relationship with their team, and if at some point that relationship looks sexier than the one you’ve established with your people there goes your high retention rate.

Second, you need to focus that good will. We’ve already discussed how – by setting up a calendar with your goals and subgoals.

Checking off items on a to-do list can be a tremendous source of morale for your team. It also makes it much easier to see your business’ growth.

Make your goals as simple and as easy to understand as possible. Monitor your progress – if progress is slow turn to the people working on that particular problem and ask them the big question – “What can I do to help?” There may be barriers in their way that the big boss can help eliminate.

Monitor your competition. See what they’re doing right. And instead of complaining about it, set out to not only do the same, but do it better (unlike the traditional book publishing companies).

Get those customer surveys rolled out and make a rating of “Excellent” your goal in all categories.

How quickly do you ship orders or deliver a service? Can you do it faster?

Do you have enough inventory to cover orders or are you always back-ordering?

Do you have enough people to deliver services or are you always keeping customers/clients waiting?

How fast does your company answer the phone?

What percentage of your business is made up of return customers?

All of these questions (and more) are measurable. They all represent goals that you can use to excite and unify your people if you’re a leader instead of a boss.

Recognise the hard work of your employees. Reward them. Help them remove barriers to their (and your company’s) success.

And then do it again. And again.

A leader is always just getting started.

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September 5, 2018

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 8/9


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“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 8/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 9 in your next email from BOSS.

8. The Integration of Celebration

Speaking of celebrations – why do it? After all, you’re already paying people to do their jobs, isn’t that celebration enough?

First, you can celebrate accomplishments (or just the fact that you’re all working together) because you genuinely want to make your people happy. That’s a pretty good reason in and of itself.

Second, it pays off.

While it will pay off for any size of company, making an employee feel like a rockstar can really pay off for start-ups and smaller companies that face big-company competition. The competition will always come sniffing around for your employees, especially the ones who are shining especially bright.

You can’t necessarily out-pay the competition, and/or you can’t offer bigger benefits.

The only arrow in your quiver might be that you’re able to make your employees feel like they’re more than just employees – they’re part of a family.

Even better, they’re part of a family that loves having them around. They may get more money at the other company, but if they’re just a small cog in a big machine or they end up in a sea of bland or even antagonistic co-workers they’re going to regret ever leaving you and want to come back.

Your people work for money, but they live for positive recognition.

Your customers will come back for the awesome service that results from interacting with employees that love their company.

Richard Branson, that Virgin guy, relates how his empire began with the one low-income record shop in a post to Entrepreneur.com:

“After the launch, the business’s finances were pretty tight — at the end of each week, we’d have to figure out if we had earned enough money to pay the rent and the staff – but this didn’t bother us. We were having such a great time that we kept going, mostly because we just liked hanging out together.”

“Since we were happy, we treated our Virgin Records customers like they were part of the family. And since our customers loved their experience, they kept coming back for more. Before we knew it, we had opened more shops and we were selling more records.”

“As Virgin grew, our ‘serious fun’ approach became a driving force for our enterprise.”

If you crave some numbers the 2015 Employee Recognition Report by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce surveyed 823 HR pros to see how employee recognition affected their companies:

  • 68% say recognition made a positive impact on employee retention rates.
  • 84% said that employee relationships were improved.
  • 86% said that the employees’ happiness was increased.
  • 90% said that it positively impacted employee engagement.

There Ain’t No Party Like a [Your Company Here] Party

So now you want to integrate these celebrations as part of your business’ culture – but what should you do?

Southwest Airlines, famous for their friendly staff, has a wall of memorabilia donated by staff. It’s completely composed of items that signify special moments for the employees – sort of a Planet Hollywood kind of display created by happy employees.

You can reward milestones. Groupon awards employees a track jacket after their first full year, and adds star patches for each additional year.

Influence & Co. (a content marketing agency) reward employees who make significant contributions with “The Belt” – a wrestling-championship style belt.

Zappos has reinvented the old performance bonus routine – they let employees reward other employees with a $50 bonus once a month. How motivating is that?

If you don’t have a lot of money you can get a little weird – Red Velvet Events (an event-planning company) has a little troll doll that the current doll-holder passes off to another employee during their weekly meeting, recapping the recipients’ good deeds that previous week.

Also, don’t think you have to reward only the big successes. Reward the risk-takers, even if they fail. Those risk-takers are going to be the ones who make some amazing break-through eventually that will put your business ahead of your competition.

You can even make an effort to make the people you reject feel good about themselves. If someone interviews for a job with you but doesn’t get it, you can still make them feel decent about their efforts by sending them a customised thank-you letter, and maybe a voucher for one of your products (hopefully they won’t take that as you rubbing it in).

Not only is it classy, but you’re going to be making a huge impression on that person that most of your competitors will not equal – if this is how you treat people you say “no” to, how awesome must it be to actually work for you?

Help out an employee who has fallen on hard times.

Be generous with parental leave.

Get a little personal with your employees. Can you imagine how fantastic it would be for a Virgin employee to turn around to find the Richard Branson there, come to shake his or her hand and to say thanks for making the company look good? They’re going to talk about that moment forever.

Every single little bit of recognition you dish out grants an exponential return from your business’ most important asset – your people.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
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LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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September 4, 2018

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 7/9


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“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 7/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 8 in your next email from BOSS.

7. Your Business, 15 Seconds at a Time

How long on average does a customer interact with a representative of your business? Is it an 8-hour phone call or a 15-second interaction across a bar or counter?

However long it takes, during that time your employee is your entire business to that customer.

That means you need to empower each of your employees to make the exchange as amazing as possible. If they have the ability to do something that will make the customer feel like they’re having an awesome experience, the customer will come back (and recommend you to others).

But if your employee is hamstrung in decision-making or their ability to adjust things to the customer’s benefit then the experience obviously diminishes, and it may become a time-suck as the employee has to kick the customer’s request up the interoffice food chain in order to get anything done.

Here’s a simple psychological truth – if someone has an experience that feels good they’ll seek to repeat it. If the experience is bad they’ll do their best to avoid having to endure it again.

Empowering Your Employees
There are basically 3 categories of obstacles that can get in the way of steering your business to this level of customer service:

  1. Work processes that no longer work.
  2. Infrastructure (e.g. computer programs) that doesn’t do what you need it to.
  3. People who won’t get with the program.

(All of this assumes that your service or product itself is top-notch and is not the problem. The what you sell of your business is fine, it’s the how you sell it that needs a polish.)

Your first step is to identify the problem(s). To do this head right to the experts – your employees. Find out what struggles they’re having, what’s getting in the way of their delivering gold star service.

You can also go to the customers, asking them to fill out little survey cards if it’s not too much of a bother. Or even, as the CEO or big boss, talk to some of the customers yourself (remember Dave Neeleman of JetBlue in Chapter 1?).

Added bonus – you can even make these efforts work as marketing. Make it noticeable that you’re putting some serious effort into crafting a better experience

Maybe you have one gigantic problem. Or maybe it’s a thousand-and-one little problems. Either way, you now have new goals and subgoals to add to your calendar.

The big question you always need to be asking is, “How are we making our customers feel?” Those feelings are what they’re going to base their purchases on and whether or not they give you their repeat business.

That feeling is your brand.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

There’s a somewhat infamous story of how the fine people at Ritz-Carlton thought they’d win over extra customer loyalty by spiffing up their bathrooms. They spent truckloads of money on designs and materials including green marble that they imported from Italy.

There was only one big problem – the customers didn’t like it. A survey done after the new installations showed that visitors wanted the bathrooms to be pure white so that they could see the cleanliness of the room.

Whoops.

All they had to do was ask. The same goes for you.

You’re not going to know what your customers want. Not everything, at least. It’s impossible. So do what the Ritz-Carlton people did after the bathroom debacle – put customer satisfaction at the top of your to-do list.

Work to get customer surveys into the “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” categories. If they’re not, then work to find out what you can do to bump them up.

Every time an error in customer service is made, even a tiny little one-time thing, mark it down and see what you can do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Chart successful problem-solving techniques so that all of your employees have a guideline they can follow when a similar problem arises (leaving them wriggle-room for slight differences).

And when one of your employees goes out of their way to really help a customer out celebrate it. That celebration makes everyone feel good and acts as a learning experience for every other employee.

To sum up, the most important words that will ever come out of your mouth as your business’ leader are, “What can I do to help you?” Aimed at either employees or customers, it’s going to make a world of difference.

Ask the question tomorrow. And again next week. And next month and next year. There’s always something you can be doing to make your business experience better.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
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LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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September 4, 2018

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 6/9


Reduce Costs and Eliminate Staffing Headaches

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“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 6/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 7 in your next email from BOSS.

6. Turn “Settling In” Into a Celebration

Imagine arriving at a new job. Someone points out your cubicle, says, “Sit there”, and then you’re left on your own.

Not much of a welcome, right?

Now imagine if you arrive on your first day at the job and everyone in your department is up on their feet to shake your hand and introduce themselves. Maybe there are flowers on your desk or a gift certificate for the local eatery where everyone grabs their lunch.

A bigger help is to have someone mentor that new employee. It will help them feel less anxiety about trying to do things right when they first get on the job, plus they won’t feel alone in a group pf people who otherwise all know each other.

Even bigger still – what if every new hire gets the chance to meet you in their first day or two? That can be a huge deal for a new recruit, and it doesn’t cost you anything (unless of course you would have to travel, in which case the biggest gun at that location takes your place for the moment).

The greetings don’t have to stop at the business’ door – if you send a little something to their home chances are you’re going to make a good first impression with the employee’s significant other or someone important in their life.

Greet Street, a multimedia greeting card company, greets new employees by having them unwrap a large box that contains their desk and chair. Also, there are no formal titles, so the employees get to make up anything they want. The two co-founders’ titles are “Creator of Chaos” and “Creator of Substance.”

Persistence Software sets up a basket of breakfast food near the desk of a new hire and sends out an email to all their employees inviting them to stop by for some food and an introduction.

MetaSolv Software has a keg party every Friday during happy hour and new recruits are asked to work the kegs.

These little bits of extra goodness can pack a heck of a punch when it comes to making a lasting first impression with either employees (or customers). Think about when you first started buying from… well, anywhere. How many businesses did something as simple as slip in a little bit of cardstock with a welcoming “Thank you” note?

Probably not many, right? This means that if you do it, it’s really going to stand out.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
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LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved

September 4, 2018

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 5/9


Reduce Costs and Eliminate Staffing Headaches

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“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 5/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 6 in your next email from BOSS.

5. Good or Bad, Everyone Will Know

In the internet age every single action your business takes has the chance to make ripples, or even go viral. Obviously you want your good deeds to be the ones that spread, not your mistakes.

However, you are human, your employees are human (unless you’re reading this later than the year 2113, in which case Greetings Robot Overlords!), and you’re going to make mistakes.

Mistakes are fine. What is not fine is acting like it’s not your fault, trying to push the blame onto your customer, or trying to act like nothing’s wrong at all. That’s how negative notice starts to spread from one dissatisfied customer posting on their Facebook, the bad word spreading to their friends, and then their friends’ friends, and so on.

In fact, mistakes can be an opportunity. For one thing, they help you identify where something could use some tweaking in your business. Maybe you could be more efficient in your delivery system. Or perhaps you’ll learn, if the same complaint comes up multiple times, that it’s not marketing or customer service at fault, but your product itself that needs to be fixed up.

Second, you can turn that negative comment on Facebook or Twitter into a much bigger positive. If you respond quickly to the complaint, apologise, and then hustle like crazy to make things right for that particular customer (or reward their patience by offering more than what they paid for) you’ll show that customer (and all the people following the exchange on social media) that you’re a customer service oriented company.

What to Do if You Receive a Complaint:

  1. Take a breath. Even if the customer is completely harsh you’re not going to win more customers through this exchange if you go into attack mode. Criticisms can hurt, but remember, potential customers are waiting for you on the far side of this problem.
  2. Look at it from their point of view. The only way you’re really going to make yourself happy in this situation is by making the customer happy. So be sure you’re clear on why they’re upset before you get in touch with them. If it’s not clear then go over their points with them.
  3. Say that you’re sorry. Even if it turns out that the complaint is all smoke and mirrors opening with an apology diffuses some of the anger and tension.
  4. Make things clear to the customer. If there have been mistakes on either your part or on the customer’s explain what was meant to happen and how things went wrong. Clarity is a further way to diffuse tension, plus it explains to onlookers what’s going on.
  5. Steer the customer (and onlookers) towards a happy outcome. If you’re to blame, or partly to blame, don’t just rectify the situation, throw in a bonus to soothe the wronged party. You’re looking for a reaction from the customer (and onlookers) that is something along the lines of “WOW! This company really cares!” instead of, “Well, yeah, I guess it’s alright then.”
  6. Fix the problem.
  7. Follow through. You want to remind your customer (and the exchange onlookers) that you really made an effort to make things better. So shoot the offended party a follow-through email or letter thanking them for showing you where your business had a hiccup and how because of them you’re now a better company that is now able to serve its customers in an even better manner.

Aside from dealing with complaints, what are some other ways you can add some pop to your customers’ or clients’ exchanges with you?

Is there a freebie you can throw in for first-time customers alongside a little “Thank-you” card?

Can you show someone how to do some light maintenance on your equipment even though you might make more money if you were called in to service it? (You’ll make more money in the long run by having return customers and by having existing customers recommend you to others.)

Can you serve beverages or tasty little snacks if you’re the kind of business that has a waiting room?

These little touches have an exponential effect on your clients remembering you. They come expecting good service, they’ll return because you offer that little something more.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
Suite 2, 345 Pacific Highway,
LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved

September 4, 2018

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 4/9


Reduce Costs and Eliminate Staffing Headaches

Call 1800 889 232

“The Player Who ‘Serves’ Well Seldom Loses – in Business it’s NO Different” – Chapter 4/9

Evolving from a Boss into a Leader

You’ll be receiving each chapter via email over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for Chapter 5 in your next email from BOSS.

4. Make Who You Are (Not What You Sell) Your Brand

Have you heard of Zappos.com? They’re an online clothing and shoe retailer. It was started by one man, Nick Swinmurn, in 1999 who grew frustrated when he found there wasn’t a major online retailer that specialises in shoes.

Ten short years later Zappos had exploded to a gross revenue of $1 billion. Demand was so great that in order to keep orders heading out on time they had to restructure into 10 separate companies all under the Zappos umbrella.

Here is their vision as stated on their website:

    • One day, 30% of all retail transactions in the US will be online.
    • People will buy from the company with the best service and the best selection.
    • com will be that online store.

 

That’s a vision that’s easy to understand and easy to share.

If you go to the “Jobs” section of their website you see the attitude they want to instill in their employees summed up in 10 points:

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service.
  2. Embrace and Drive Change.
  3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness.
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-minded.
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning.
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication.
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.
  8. Do More With Less.
  9. Be Passionate and Determined.
  10. Be Humble.

The trick is to make sure that words like the above 10 points don’t just appear on some poster somewhere but are actually embodied in the company’s culture.

Zappos does that right at the beginning, in the hiring phase. They conduct a “cultural fit interview” which accounts for half the consideration of whether or not the candidate is hired.

If someone is hired but after a week it seems like the job isn’t a good fit then they’re offered $2000 to quit. Only 2 or 3% have ever taken it – and those that stay are even happier and more committed – they realise they’ve found a job where they aren’t in it just for the money.

Raises are earned by passing tests and having a record that indicates ability – no office politics are involved.

All of this culture is directly passed on to the customers.

“Our number one priority is company culture. Our whole belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.”

“Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.”

 – Tony Hsieh – Zappos CEO

Some of Zappos customer service stories have gone viral over the years. There was an incident where a customer’s mother died so the company sent the customer flowers. Another involves talking with a customer for over 8 hours.

It pays off – 75% of Zappos’ customers are repeat customers. They’re consistently on “Best Companies To Work For” lists including those of Fortune and Entrepreneur.com (which means they’re going to have the best people applying to work for them.)

In a talk he gave at Stanford Hsieh emphasises that he doesn’t think about creating a “work-life separation” or a “work-life balance” like other companies do; instead he says that work is life. Not in the sense that it is all-consuming and leaves room for nothing else, but rather that it takes up a significant portion of people’s lives.

He gets the most out of his people by working hard to make his employees’ work/lives enjoyable. He makes sure people are working with other people that they enjoy being around.

As your business expands there’s going to come a point where you can’t hire everyone yourself, it will simply take too much time. So you want to make sure your business’ culture is something you get to work on as early as possible so that the people who eventually do your hiring for you are still hiring the kinds of people you want to be around.

Just so we’re clear – you don’t have to use Zappos’ particular values. Figure out what values affect you the most and gear your own business to live and breathe them.  Your customers and clients will notice – and come back for more.

It’s not what you sell. Lots of people are going to be selling what you’re selling. It’s how you sell it that truly matters. Be a customer service company that just happens to sell _____________.

Added bonus – Good word of mouth will save you a ton of money in marketing.

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BOSS, BACK OFFICE SHARED SERVICES PTY LTD.
Suite 2, 345 Pacific Highway,
LINDFIELD, NSW 2070
1800 889 232
www.boz.com.au
@2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Liability Limited By a Scheme Approved