Monday, June 30, 2014

Who Is Your Best Source of Income?



Follow up is critical when it comes to your current customers, or those who have bought from you in the past.  Why?  They are your best source of repeat business.  And they are the most frequently ignored.

When you get a new customer, what system do you have in place to thank them for their business?   Do you train them how to use your product or service, if training is warranted?  If there are challenges you know about that a lot of folks may have, are you letting your new customers know about them?

For example, if you market nutritional supplements, many customers may have indigestion or may even take them at the wrong time.  Do you let your customers know that ahead of time, and give them advice that could make side effects less of a problem?  I used to prescribe a lot of Niacin for patients with elevated cholesterol, and always let them know the side effects they might experience ahead of time.  I also had tips that might make the vitamin less problematic for them.  Because I addressed this issue ahead of time, I had fewer patients stop the vitamin on their own.

Are you contacting new customers them within a week to see if they have questions?  Do you send them a thank you card letting them know they are special?  Do you send them a follow up email to make sure they know you are available if they have questions?  

When customers continue to order from you (they have a subscription for your service or product) how often do you tell them you are grateful for their business?  I have been a distributor for several network marketing companies in the past, and my upline pretty much ignored me once I had made my initial payment to become part of their downline.  The same is true when I became a customer. It isn’t pleasant to feel like you are just a paycheck.

How can you do better?  Make a checklist for each customer of when you follow up, what you did to follow up, and how you told them thank you for their business.  Take care of your customers.  They are your best source of referrals and repeat business. 


Dr. Kaaren
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Monday, June 23, 2014

New Follow Up Tip: Track What You Do






Hi. This is Dr. Kaaren Douglas, the Follow Up Doctor. You can find me at drkaaren@thefollowupdoctor and that's drkaaren@thefolowupdoctor.com.
My tip for today is you need to track what you do. This may seem completely obvious to you if you're already doing it, but I find that the majority of people don't understand that the sales that they're looking for are likely to happen between the 7th and the 12th contact. That means contact of any kind.

                           They either may not contact at all and hope that the other person is going to contact them or they may quit after two or three times. You don't want to be one of those people, so you need to track how many times you're actually contacting somebody you consider to be a good prospect for you.  Now, there are variety of ways that you could do this and I'm sure you will appreciate this.
  1. I have a client who's a photographer and she actually contacts people using an Excel spreadsheet. Every time she has some kind of contact with them, then she notes it on the Excel spreadsheet. If you're really computer savvy and that's comfortable for you, that maybe  the way that you want to go.
  2. Other people like to have a sheet of paper that they're using with columns so that you can actually put the name and then the phone number and then a column for the different times that you're contacting the person. Either do a check mark or some kind of notation for yourself.  Again, the contacts can be social media, e-mail, whatever ... phone calls, whatever and they don't have to be you're contacting them. If you have an assistant, you can have your assistant keeping track also.
  3. A third way that you may want to think about doing contacts is a system that I've been using because I'm so visual and I need to be actually able to see what I'm doing and to remind myself.  I put the business the card right onto a 5x7 card and then I have plenty of time or plenty of space to write the date that I contact the person and any kind of notes on that contact, so that's the system that I'm using. Whatever system that you use, you need to be using something.
                           The tip for today is to track the number of times that you contact somebody that you consider to be a good prospect. This is Dr. Kaaren Douglas, the follow up doctor. Trust me, I'm a doctor, the Follow Up Doctor and you can reach me at drkaaren@thefollowupdoctor.com.  Aloha


If you'd like to see how someone else suggests follow up, see AndreaSittigRolf   who has a different take on a follow up system.

Dr. Kaaren
The Follow Up Doctor
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Do You Ever Graduate From Networking?

Yesterday I was meeting with a young man who is new to networking.  He is a writer and editor, the Writer Junkie.  He asked, "Do you ever graduate from networking?"  It made me think about what our goals are when we go to networking meetings, like the one we had just attended, Contacts N Coffee.  It is about building relationships that go on, even when you don't attend.  It's about knowing how you can help others as well as acquiring clients and customers.  It is about socializing with people you have met before.  And it is about filling your marketing funnel.

A big challenge when you are  networking is to decide to follow up with some of the people you meet, and that can be more involved than it sounds.  You may collect a bunch of cards at each event, especially if you haven't decided before hand to look for specific types of folks to talk to.  Now what?

Let's say you use your smart phone and immediately send them an email requesting a coffee date.  If you have met and followed up with just five people, and they all respond, you will need to integrate five new follow-up meetings within the next week or so.  And it doesn't stop there.  If you decide that one of them is someone you really want to keep in touch with for the long term, then you will put your plan for follow-up into high gear so you don't allow them to get lost in your busy schedule.  As you can see, if you are attending several networking events each month, you could have overlapping meetings for each new group of people you meet.

Since you are building relationships, not selling products or services, then the follow-up just flows.  It has a natural rhythm all its own.  But if you decide you are overwhelmed, like I was today, just so far behind, I needed to stay in the office and pay bills, or work on projects only I can do, then it is time to pull back.

But the truth of the matter is that as long as you are in business, and you want to stay front of mind in the memories of your contacts, customers, and friends, you will need to continue to network.  I know he was asking about face-to-face networking, because it is so time consuming, and can be expensive.  Thank goodness there are other ways to network that you can do from your home, car, or office.  Thank goodness for social media as another networking tool.

Don't worry about graduating from networking.  You will always need new contacts, and new friends, so keep getting out and sharing yourself in your neighborhood.  Remember those folks you are meeting have many of the same challenges you do, and you may just find some unexpected allies.

For some tips on how to classify your networking contacts, check out my free report.

If you have some awesome networking stories, please share with us.

Dr. Kaaren
The Follow Up Doctor
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Friday, June 13, 2014

Follow Up Tip for Today




Hi. This is Dr. Kaaren Douglas, The Follow-Up Doctor and I'm recording this actually as I start a new journey, with my exercise program.
 I don't know about you but every few months, I step back and I go "Okay, what can I do differently that's going to make a difference?"
Today I'm at the park and I started running again and I'm going to continue doing this in a way that doesn't cause me to have injuries.
 I hope that you’re having a great day and I just wanted to make sure that I gave you a quick little tip on follow-up.                      
 I have a new tool called ScanBiz cards and I have used it very successfully in a variety of meetings that I have gone to.
One of them I just came back from is AuthorU, at the May extravaganza. One of the things that I learned is when I use this app, ScanBiz cards which is on my smart phone, I get immediate responses from almost everyone. It makes follow-ups so much easier.
                        
 If you want more tips like this, please contact me. This is Dr. Kaaren Douglas, the Follow-Up Doctor. You can reach me at kaarendouglas@gmail.com. That's kaarendouglas@gmail.com and I look forward to hearing from you. Tell me about a tip that you've got that you're using for follow-up. Aloha.
 Dr. Kaaren
kaarendouglas.biz
805 273 1561

Monday, June 9, 2014

Time to Activate: Get Writing

I am embarrassed, because I haven't even looked at my blog for so long, and here it stands idle, because I have been "busy."  Really ????

Ok, no more excuses.

Have been working on a new book, and I need some help with the title.  The one I am going with is:  The Follow Up Doctor's Prescription for Networking and Follow Up.  Any thoughts?

When you put together a manuscript, if you are lucky enough to find Dan Poynter's Writing Nonfiction:  Turning Thoughts into Books you know how important it is to have a title that tells the tale, and hopefully along with great cover art, encourages people to explore it.

After the title, Dan encourages you to write the back cover first, so you really get a handle on who you are writing it for, and what topics you want to discuss.  Then you get a notebook.  Yes, a 3-ring notebook and put the dividers in it for each chapter, or section.  I have done all that, and now am going through the notes to write the individual chapters.

To be thorough in my covering the topic, I'd really like to hear from you about your networking and follow up challenges.  With your permission, they will be included in the book.  I have my own stories, but a writers' group I was in told me I need stories from you.  Help me out here, ok?

As I complete each section, I'll be posting what I think are the bullet points that will help you be a better networker, and improve your approach to follow up, which I believe is the critical element, and one that gets buried, and forgotten about.  So don't leave money on the table.  Make sure you follow up with your best contacts, until as my mentor Eric Lofholm says, they buy or die.  Not to be too graphic, but only if you can persist will you be successful.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

All the best until next time, Trust me I'm a Doctor, The Follow Up Doctor
Dr. Kaaren

Monday, July 30, 2012

Create Your Optimal Office

 HOME OFFICE SETUP

When you go into business, take steps that will help you maximize your efficiency. 

First set up your office and keep it organized.  If you are like me, this is more challenging than it sounds.  It means making sure the desk is cleared off at the end of the day, and that you file things periodically, and have a way of dealing with loads of paper.  If you take some time to set up the office so it suits your work style, that will go a long way to creating a comfortable work space.

Essentials to consider for an efficient office include:
1.       Location of Work Space
2.       Desk Organization
3.       Paper Flow
4.       Reading Materials:  Books, CD’s, DVD’s, Trade Journals
5.       Filing Systems
6.       Database
7.       Traveling Office:  purse and/or briefcase, portable file, car desk,  and self-improvement CD’s

Location of Work Space

How will you work in your office?  Will you see clients or customers there?  Will you do mostly paperwork or phone calls?  Can you set it up the way you want it, and at the end of the day, close the door on it?  

Do you have the space to reserve a room for your office?  If not, designate a section of a room that you can separate somehow from the rest of the room.  Can you use a pretty screen or some type of doors to hide it when you are not at work?   I just went on Pinterest and found multiple different options I might not have thought of before.  Explore what might work in your home, and be creative.
 
Whatever space you are using, calculate the square footage.  You can use your home office, and all accompanying expenses as a tax deduction.[i]  For example, if your square footage were 10% of your total home square footage, you could count 10% of your utilities as a business expense.  Are there other expenses incurred by you that could be part of your business expenses?  Do you have a security system?  Do you pay for house cleaning/office cleaning?  Have you painted the room, or bought new office furniture?  Be sure to check with your accountant, but they may all make your home office more valuable as a tax write off., provided that space is only used for your business.

Where ever in your home you designate as office space, make it an area that you can “go to” as if you were going to an outside office.  Establish your office hours, and stay there and work.  A friend had an office on a closed-in porch.  At 8:00am she grabbed a thermos of coffee, went into the office, closed the French door, and started working.  She allowed herself short breaks during her office time, and she left the office to eat lunch.  In the afternoon, she would either go back into her office, or go out to meetings. 

The big challenge with a home-based business is that it can be approached too casually.  You wander in and wander out, distracted by the dirty floor that needs cleaning, or the laundry that needs doing.  And by the same token, you may find yourself working way too many hours, because you don’t know how to separate out your work from your non-work day.  Having a separate location in the house, may help you resolve this problem.  Post your work hours in your calendar, go to your work space, and when you have completed the day, “close the door” and go home.


Space Design
Do you want to create the best energy in your home office?  Do you want to create a space you WANT to spend your day working in?  In a corporate office, you may not have many choices, but in your home office, have fun.  Make it an extension of your personality.  I found some funky storage bins at Target, and they inhabit my shelves adding color to a dark space.  I added a Scentsy candle holder, and a colorful bench for guests, that also holds extra stock business cards, and paper.  My iPod is on the desktop, and I added good lighting. 



Feng Shui is a popular tool to determine where and how to set up your in-home office:  there are tons of books on the topic if you want to use the principles to help decide how to set up your office.[ii]  One thing comes through loud and clear in all of the books on Feng Shui:  keep your space as clutter free as possible.[iii]  As Karen Kingston mentions, the more clutter you have, the more your energy is tied up….[iv]  You can learn more at Karen Kingston's blog.

In the next segment we will discuss Desk Organization and Paper Flow.  If you are like me, you struggle with both.  But I have some solutions that may help.  Remember I appreciate your comments and suggestions for solutions you have found to these issues.

Trust Me, I'm a Doctor.

Dr. Kaaren Douglas
www.kaarendouglas.biz


[i] Interview with Sandy Oluwek, #3 at Dial - (605) 477-3000  Enter Access Code - 515586#
[ii] Hale, G, 2002:  The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui.  Hermes House, 88-89 Blackfriars Rd, London. Pp 256
[iii] Kingston, K, 1999.  Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.  Random House, 1540 Broadway, NY, NY 10036, pp179
[iv] Kingston, K, 1997:  Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui.  Bantam Doubleday Dell Publ Group, Inc, 1540 Broadway NY, NY 10036, p 64