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2017

Carol Roth Headshot.pngTechnology – for better or for worse – has created the ability for you to connect with almost anyone, whether it’s a business professional you admire, a peer you desire to partner with or a potential future investor. In the movie “Wall Street,” Bud Fox had to regularly call Gordon Gekko’s assistant to try to get into the door. Nowadays, you can tweet, follow, “friend” and comment your way into a dialogue with just about anybody, including those people who can help you and your business.

 

However, when it comes to making those connections, far more people are bad at taking advantage of the opportunity than are good.

 

There is a protocol to getting noticed if you are looking to establish a relationship. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts that can help you meaningfully connect with influencers.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

Don’t lead with an ask: Do not ask for something in your first few interactions. Building a relationship takes time and if you truly need assistance, insight or even some swag, influencers will be much more inclined to do so if you have done something for them first or at least built up a relationship.

 

Do be helpful: Offering your help and advice for a cause or endeavor important to an influencer is a good way to earn brownie points. If you comment on their blog, share their tweets, buy their book and send them a note about it or find other ways to be helpful, it can be a great way to build up trust with the influencer. But do it authentically. It’s obvious when someone sends an email saying they love your blog but clear they aren’t an avid reader. That’s an immediate turn-off for influencers.

 

Do be genuine and engaging: It’s clear when you are being yourself and clear when you are being a phony, even in 140 characters. Authenticity goes a long way, as noted above. Being funny doesn’t hurt either, but only if you have a good handle on the other person’s sense of humor – not everything translates clearly in writing.

 

Do talk about the influencer’s favorite topic – them: Everyone is open to flattery, although I advise that you don’t go overboard or you will look like a kiss-ass and/or a moron. Share what you admire about the other person’s work to start the conversation.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: THE 4 C’S OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW BUSINESS (VIDEO)

 

Don’t be rude, offensive or defensive: Sometimes, people get their undies in a bunch if they don’t get the type of response they are hoping for when they reach out to an influencer. Building a relationship takes time, so be patient and influencers, almost by definition, are busy. If you act entitled, your targeted influencer will never engage with you. Being pushy isn’t a recommended method for making friends either.

 

Do be patient: As noted, influencers are busy, so it may take weeks or longer for them to respond. If you build a relationship and you have an “ask” that may take a long time to get completed, plan accordingly.

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Don’t make it difficult: If you want an influencer you connect with to do something for you, like be quoted in your article, invest in your business or write a foreword for your book, make it as easy as possible to say yes. This means don’t have them jump through hoops, click links or do something your way; do everything you can to make the process painless and seamless.

 

Do help them make money: If you have a referral for their business, that’s a great way to start or further a relationship. But make it legitimate, which means “getting in on the ground floor of your investment opportunity” does not count.

 

Do know the line between persistence and annoyance: There is a difference between being helpful and being a pest.  Always leave them wanting more. Also, remember that everyone needs to get some work done too, no matter how interesting you think you may be.

 

Don’t cross the line or be creepy, even as a joke: Seeking stimulating conversation is one thing. If you are looking for something else to be stimulated, look elsewhere. Remember trust isn’t implicit; it is earned. When the other person doesn’t know you from Adam (and yes, even if you are both on a social media platform, they don’t really know you), the creepy radar will be on high. Don’t make jokes that make you sound like a serial killer. You don’t want to end up on their list of people whose houses the police should check under if they go missing.

 


 

About Carol Roth

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness. 

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.pngOftentimes business owners put a large focus on winning new customers or new business – which of course is necessary for business success. However, this may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re strictly focusing on getting new customers, you could be putting your energies in the wrong place.

 

Here are four reasons why retaining loyal customers is vital to success.

 

1. They cost less.

Statistics on the cost of acquiring customers vs. retaining customers vary widely, but common sense tells us it’s more expensive to land a new customer than to keep one you already have. (You can estimate your own customer acquisition costs by dividing your marketing budget over a certain time period by the number of customers acquired during that period.)

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

It’s easy to lose a customer. Nearly half of consumers will switch brands in return for a coupon, while 47 percent will switch to a competitor within one day of a poor customer service experience.

 

But it’s also easy to keep customers if you simply make the effort. While 68 percent of consumers won’t go back to a company once they switch, 80 percent say the company could have done something to retain them.

 

2. They spend more.

All customers are not created equal when it comes to their value for your business. A report from Accenture shows 43 percent of consumers spend more money with companies they are loyal to. In other words, they’re high-value customers, especially when compared to new customers who may make one small purchase and never come back. Loyalty program software or customer relationship management software can help you track how much a specific customer spends, how often they interact with your business, and how much they cost you so you can focus on your highest-value customers.

 

Try this:

  • Create a loyalty program. According to a survey by Facebook, 77 percent of customers return to the same brands again and again—but only 37 percent say they are “loyal” to those brands. To turn repeat customers into loyal ones, use loyalty marketing software to create promotions that resonate with specific customers based on their prior behaviors. B2B businesses can create similar incentives, such as offering bulk discounts.
  • Upsell and cross-sell. Encourage salespeople to upsell and cross-sell whenever possible (without being pushy). From the retail salesperson who suggests a handbag to go with the dress a shopper is trying on, to the B2B salesperson suggesting a customer purchase an extended service plan, this approach can really boost your bottom line.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: TURN AN ANGRY CUSTOMER INTO A RAVING FAN – [RIEVA’S] TOP 10 TIPS

 

3. They refer new customers.

Existing customers not only spend more with your business, but they are also a valuable source of new customers. Some 55 percent of U.S. consumers who are loyal to a business or brand will recommend it to family and friends, Accenture reports.

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Try this:

  • Ask satisfied customers for referrals. Build this into your sales process so you automatically ask for referrals once you know a customer is happy.  You can even automate the process—for example, by sending emails requesting referrals to customers who post positive reviews.
  • Offer a reward, such as a discount on the next purchase, to incentivize referrals.

 

4. They boost your business’s profile online.

Customers who have an existing relationship with your business can easily be persuaded to engage with your business online by posting reviews. This raises awareness of your business and attracts new customers.

 

Try this:

  • Ask customers for reviews; then link to the reviews on social media and your website.
  • Encourage customers to share their experiences with your business on social media, such as posting a photo of the new hairstyle they just got at your salon. Service businesses or B2B companies can ask loyal customers to provide testimonials for use in marketing materials.

 

You can’t keep your current customers forever, of course. As time passes, their needs inevitably change, and you’ll need to replace these customers with new ones. But by devoting yourself to satisfying existing customers, it’s easier to generate a steady stream of new ones, as well.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com.  A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

                                                                                      

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Entrepreneur and pricing expert Ebong Eka explains why some small business owners forget the most important element of any successful business.

 


If you have questions for Ebong, please scroll down and ask in the comment below.  Ebong will do his best to respond.

 


 

About Ebong Eka

Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.

 

Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax and management consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.

 

Web: www.ebongeka.com or Twitter: @EbongEka.

You can read more articles from Ebong Eka by clicking here

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