Stephanie O’Brien - Duct Tape Marketing

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2 How to Recover From Mistakes and Appease Unhappy Clients

How to Recover From Mistakes and Appease Unhappy Clients - Duct Tape Marketing

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Few things are as stressful for a business owner or customer support representative as an angry client. A bad review can harm your business’ reputation and drive off future customers, and an irate person on the phone can make it challenging to keep your emotions calm and the conversation constructive.

The way in which you handle these moments is critical to your business’ reputation, to the satisfaction of your individual clients, and to your integrity as a business owner.

Here are five strategies that will help you to navigate this challenging terrain, so you can protect your business’ image, improve your relationships with your current clients, and make yourself more attractive to potential clients:

 1. Don’t get angry and defensive.

When you’re being accused of something, and you feel like you’re under attack, it’s natural to want to protect yourself and to prove your accuser wrong.

But if you want to reconcile with your displeased client, and protect your business’ reputation, then it’s important not to treat your client as the enemy or to prioritize your pride over their needs.

Stay calm and polite, and remember that your goal is to satisfy your client, not to silence them.

2. Take responsibility for your part in creating the problem.

If there was a misunderstanding, tell them, “I can see how what I said could have come across that way. That wasn’t what I meant, and I’m sorry for the mix-up. What I was trying to say was…” and then explain your point of view. 

That allows you to explain yourself, without turning it into an argument over what you did and did not say.

Or, if you made a mistake in your product, service or scheduling, tell them, “I’m sorry for (the mistake you made). It’s very important to me that you get what you need from my service, and I want to make it up to you.”

3. Ask questions and seek understanding.

This may seem counterintuitive because when someone is saying bad things about you, it’s natural not to want to hear more. But the first step toward reconciling with another person is to understand the source of their upset and to demonstrate that their problem matters to you.

So instead of trying to silence the angry client, ask them questions, and do your best to get a complete understanding of the problem. Also, ask if there are any other problems they’ve been having with you or your product.

This shows that you’re truly committed to making sure they have a good experience with you, and it gives you a chance to expose and deal with any hidden sources of resentment that might otherwise poison your relationship and their opinion of your company.

It also gives you a chance to learn and fine-tune your practices, so you can give better service to your future clients.

4. Pay attention to what your clients say.

One mistake that I’ve seen even large companies make, over and over again, is to make it obvious that they didn’t truly listen to their clients’ questions and concerns.

Sending the same information repeatedly, giving the client a link to the exact same help page on which they were requesting clarification, and sending links to forums that address the general topic of their problem, but that don’t actually offer a workable solution, are examples of mistakes I’ve personally seen.

When you or your customer support team have a lot of incoming mail, phone calls, reviews or support tickets to respond to, it can be tempting to cut corners and just skim over the messages instead of paying attention to each one.

But that approach creates the risk of telling your clients that you don’t care about them, and of destroying their faith in your willingness and ability to provide quality service.

It can also cause you to spend MORE time on each support call or ticket than you otherwise would have, because of all the time that was spent sending incorrect or partial solutions rather than finding the right one.

In the wise words of John Wooden, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

5. Offer a concrete solution.

If you missed a call because of a misunderstanding regarding time zones, set up a system for making sure that you’re both talking about the same time zone next time.

If your product had a defect, either tell them how to fix it or send them a replacement.

If something you said offended them, suggest a way in which you can handle discussing the offending topic more courteously in the future, and ask if that would work for them. Also, ask if there are any other topics on which you need to tread lightly or any other things you said that bothered them.

Whatever the nature of the mistake or misunderstanding, by proposing a concrete, specific solution, you show that you take the problem seriously and that you’re committed to giving your clients the best experience and service possible.

Stephanie O’BrienStephanie O’Brien is a copywriter and business expert. She specializes in helping coaches to create high-selling group programs and fill them with clients, so they can help more people, make more money, and have more free time.
To learn more about her, and to discover how to attract more clients and change more lives, visit www.coachclientconnection.com.

4 Why Athletes Get Paid More Than You And How to Steal Their Strategies

Paid Like a Pro Athlete

photo credit: MorgueFile

Do you ever wonder why professional athletes get paid so much more than people in most other professions, even when those professions are vital to society’s basic functions?

There’s a common myth that the difference in pay is a result of the skewed priorities of our culture as a whole. But the truth is, the difference in income has nothing to do with society’s priorities and everything to do with the way pro athletes run their business.

In this article, I’ll reveal how athletes do business in a way that’s completely different from doctors, teachers and other high-importance professionals, and how you, too, can get paid like an athlete.

Strategy #1: Serve More Clients at Once

The trouble with being a schoolteacher or a surgeon is you can only serve so many people at once. Athletes, on the other hand, serve millions of people through stadium tickets and TV programs with every game they play, so the cost of their salary is divided among many people instead of just a few.

As long as your income is limited by the number of people you serve, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be paid as much as a pro athlete.

But when you create a course, product, program or event that can serve thousands of people and give them great value, your income is limited only by your ability to market yourself.

Strategy #2: Use Affiliate Marketing

Another reason for pro athletes’ high income levels is their effective use of affiliate marketing.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, affiliate marketing means promoting another person’s product in exchange for money. Athletes do this very well – some of them actually make more money by endorsing products than they do by playing sports.

If you want to gain exposure to a wider audience or to make money by selling other peoples’ products, here are three steps you can take to get started:

  1. Find some people whose products and services complement, but do not compete with, your own. For example, if you specialize in marriage advice, you could approach people who focus on dating but not on marriage.
  1. Start with service. Offer to promote them to your email list, social following, and any other community in which they have influence.
  1. Once you’ve established a relationship, ask if they’d be willing to promote you.

Strategy #3: Get Support and Focus on What You’re Good At

Professional athletes don’t make the stadium snacks. They don’t hold the cameras, tend the grass, or manufacture the equipment. If they did, they wouldn’t have enough time and energy to practice and stay on top of their game.

So instead, they play their position on the team and focus on doing the things that only they can do.

In your business, focus on the things you’re good at and enjoy, and that only you can do. Too many entrepreneurs wait too long to hire help, thinking it will save them money, only to find that it actually costs them money by preventing them from spending enough time on the activities that create revenue.

If you’ve been spending a lot of time on unpaid tasks or things you aren’t good at, rather than marketing and serving clients, it’s time to take a look at your schedule and see what needs to go.

Are there unskilled or low-skilled tasks you can delegate to your family or outsource on sites like Fiverr?

Are there highly-skilled tasks, such as copywriting, that could make you a lot of money if you hired a professional to do them better than you could?

See what’s taking up the most time and make it a priority to remove it from your schedule.

Getting paid like a pro athlete doesn’t happen overnight. But these three actions will put you on the road to success.

Are you running your business like a pro athlete? If not, what steps do you plan to take in order to change that?

I look forward to reading your comments.

 

Pic of me for DuctTapeStephanie O’Brien is a copywriter, marketing coach, entrepreneur, novelist, and self-growth addict. She specializes in helping people to connect with their clients in an authentic way that builds trust and inspires clients to take action. To learn more about her, and to discover how to attract more clients with ease and confidence, visit www.captivatingcopywriter.com.

 

4 Stop Undervaluing Yourself and Get Paid What You're Worth

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Stephanie O’Brien – Enjoy! 

As your skills as a marketer or businessperson grow, one of the best ways to increase your revenue is to raise your rates.

Because you’re getting better at what you do, you can give more value for the same amount of time and effort, and your pay should rise accordingly.

But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Not because your clients won’t pay what you’re worth, but because YOU won’t ask for it.

You’re used to valuing yourself at a certain level, and when you think about asking for more, uncertainty floods in. “What if they say no? What if I can’t give them enough value to be worth that? What if they’re disappointed, or they take their business elsewhere?”

All too often, people will allow those fears to make them underquote, so even though they’re attracting clients, they’re still losing a lot of potential revenue because they’re being underpaid.

In this blog post, I’ll help you to make a shift that will allow you to not only make the income you deserve, but also to serve your clients more effectively, so they WILL be happy to pay you what you’re worth.

It’s all about the questions you ask.

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself two questions when you set your prices. They are,

“What are my clients willing to pay?” and “What is my competition charging?”

While it’s true that these questions may come into play when your client is considering your offer, you can’t rely on them when you’re setting your rates. If you do, they will limit your income, and keep you from seeing and showing your own true value.

It also places imaginary limitations on your clients’ buying power, when in reality those limitations might well exist only in your mind.

What can you ask instead, that will give you more income and your clients better service?

The next time you’re about to set a rate, start by asking yourself, “How much money would make this job worth my time?”

This can be uncomfortable, especially if you feel it would be unfair to your clients, or are afraid of scaring them off. But it has to be done – in fact, I’d like you to do it right now, before you continue reading.

Once you’ve done that exercise, if you feel like this figure is too high, DON’T lower it.

Instead, ask yourself: “How much value am I giving?”

How much time will you save your clients? How much money will you MAKE for them?

How much will their health, mindset, lifestyle or relationships improve?

How much happier will they be after they work with you?

Remember, it isn’t just about the effort you put into the job. It’s about the benefit that your work gives to your clients.

What if the value you’re offering seems like less than the price you want to charge?

Once again, do NOT drop your rates. Instead, raise your value.

For example, I was recently hired to help one of my clients rewrite her ‘about’ page. I wanted the page to reflect her real story and the source of her passion, instead of reading like an encyclopedia.

To do this, we needed to have a conversation via Skype, and I wanted to be paid $75 for the time we were going to spend on that. But simply getting her to tell her story didn’t feel like it was enough; I wanted to give her real value for the money I was charging.

So I made her an offer: while I was getting the story for her page, I would also teach her how to tell her story in a way that drew her clients in, so she’d be able to use that skill any time she needed to.

She agreed, and was happy to pay me $75 for the call.

Are you charging as much as you want to be?

If not, when are you going to raise your prices?

If you don’t feel like your services warrant a price increase, how will you raise their value so they WILL be worth it?

I look forward to reading your opinions, insights and commitments in the comments.

Pic of me for DuctTapeStephanie O’Brien is a copywriter, marketing coach, entrepreneur, novelist, and self-growth addict. She uses her twelve years of fiction-writing experience to make her copywriting fun and inspirational as well as effective, and her lifelong exploration of the human mind helps her to get inside her clients’ heads, pick out the words they’re trying to find, and put them onto paper.

To learn more about Stephanie, and to get more tips to help you connect with your readers in a unique and authentic way, visit her website at www.captivatingcopywriter.com.