Listen: If You Aren't Picking Up Cues You Lose

Listen. This is the key to great service. Listen. Seems easy right?

This is the secret to capturing and keeping clients. Right now I'm sure everyone is saying, "Duh, I listen all the time." But you don't.

Perfect way to alienate someone seeking your services is to not listen to what they are telling you. There is a reason why people say email me, don't call me. Call me don't email me. Text me, DM me, write it on my facebook wall. Send me a proposal, don't send me a proposal, send me a quick summary, what can you do for me in 10 words or less.

There are certain modes of communication some people monitor, while others don't. There is a certain threshold of time people have to listen to your pitch before they need to move on to the next item on their long "todo" list.

If you aren't picking up their cues you lose.

Remember that line, if you aren't picking up their cues they'll find the person who offers the same services who is listening to what they are saying.

I'm old school. Send me an email. I'd rather get an email about services I've put in an inquiry about. Recently I was inquiring about an online chat service. I want to put together a comparison sheet of services and prices for a client. I need to do my research and I want the information readily available. It's great that they have their live chat in action so I can check it out, but their site is void of any pricing and service information. Even after I provide them with all my contact information.


So after "live Chatting" essentially texting back and forth with a representative I put in a request to be emailed a price sheet and list of services. One of the reasons I'm interested in this service is because many people don't like to pick up the phone and call for information but wouldn't mind chatting.

The following email (A whole 24 hours later) came to me.

Thank you for your recent interest in XYZ online chat solutions. My name is "Betty Smith", and I am your Product Consultant at XYZ. I see from your chat with "Herbert" that you are interested to use XYZ with BlueGypsy Inc. Will chat be a Service or a Sales tool? Leah, it would be my pleasure to schedule a time for us to speak, during which we can discuss your online business needs and objectives. Will you be available this morning for a quick call? I look forward to speaking with you.

UMMMMMMM HUGE fail!!!! Fist off I requested information almost 24 hours ago. Second off in my discussion with "Herbert" I told him it was not for my company directly but for a client and that I needed pricing and service information emailed to me. I duplicated the request when I put in a "request" I even said no phone calls just email. Now I'm getting absolutely not what I'm looking for.

I wanted a quick turnaround on this information because I have a client I told I'd have information to by the end of the week...

Who's not listening here?

This is the easiest way to lose business. So listen.

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Who The Bad Owl? A How To Guide - Help Me Find My Wooden Spoon

Okay so part two. While everyone else seemed thrilled to see HTML5 yesterday, I wasn't like most waking up to a very different owl.

I didn't have the time, I had 20 things on my plate and I was, as usual, trying to figure out how to cram 30 hours of work into about 17 waking hours.

I was in no mood for one of the major tools I use for work to be changed. As it is, when you are doing a targeted twitter campaign *right* for a client you need to do your research. It's not just about pushing out a message. "Hey buy our crap" "Hey buy our crap" "Hey buy our crap" and it's certainly not about clumping 10 twitter updates together in two minutes. (If you do this, it's annoying to all those who's streams you are peeing in)

I actually search topics and people talking about certain things and try to engage them in a conversation on twitter. Making their messages and ideas just as important (if not more important) than what I'm trying to sell.

So as I woke up ready to schedule a few retweets for the day that were actual interactions, not messages about my client's product. I was looking for great things I could retweet that would be of interest to both my followers and engage those who are tweeting. To my utter stress levels hitting above the roof before 7 am, Hootsuite had removed the ability to:
  1. Hit retweet
  2. See it all pretty in the window
  3. Make my cute little comment
  4. Schedule it

Instead they wanted to do exactly what does which was just send it out into the world! Ummmmmm last time I checked that's why I don't use

I didn't have time to figure it out, but throughout the day I received other indicators that I wasn't the only "moron" who thought this was a stupid idea.

By the time the whirl wind of activity died down for the day and I could sit and concentrate on a tool that was on autopilot for me, like breathing, before, I started to unravel the mystery by googling. (Thank god for google....but still really 15 or so minutes in my day to re-figure something out that I already didn't have to think about is not a great addition to my stress levels)

I read people saying go into settings....well great I didn't see where settings were anymore on my damn hootsuite. Weren't they always at the bottom??? Google 5 more minutes....THE DAMN OWL! Sure it's very intuitive when you have used a tool for a while one way, for you to just KNOW that you should click on the owl to find settings? Come on...was there a memo about this that I just missed when I opened my work station at 5:30am?

Okay so if you were like me and wanted to change back to "Classic" i.e. more user friendly, version of retweeting on Hootsuite you need to:
  1. Click the owl
  2. Go to settings
  3. Go to preferences
  4. Uncheck the box Use Twitter Web Retweets
  5. Hit Save Preferences
I know, I know I'm making a big deal out of this but I am of the mindset that if it ain't broke don't fix it. When I worked as a galley cook on a boat in the Cayman Islands the kitchen didn't make sense to me I wanted to rearrange it. But there were 6 other crew members on the boat that knew exactly where everything lived. On a boat you quickly learn that everything goes back to the same place it came out of whether it's a critical piece of equipment or a wooden spoon.

Stop rearranging things on social media if it isn't necessary...Hootsuite, facebook, you know who you are.

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Hootsuite: Whooo I mean Boooo

Hootsuite say it ain't so! I signed in this morning to get some work done and you've changed. And not for the better in my opinion.

I don't have the time this morning to explore your changes, but I do have to say as someone who uses you as a tool you have made yourself less user friendly. I am a busy girl and besides just working for builders trying to make them sales, planning Blue Gypsy Bluesfest to benefit Habitat for Humanity and Natchel' Blues Network, I also manage the social media for a large national brand. I like things to be as stream lined as possible in my day. I don't have time to get on every hour and retweet things. When I have the chance I site down skim through my various streams and schedule retweets and make comments on those retweets....but now? Do I really have to copy and paste someone's tweet to be able to do that?

Before on Hootsuite I could hit retweet, make my comment (Shorten their long comment if need be) and schedule it to go out. But this morning. Something changed. Now RT's just give me the option to Retweet yes? And if you hit no, there is no other option. You can't modify, add your comment be thoughtful and you can't schedule them throughout the day. Bad owl.

One of the reasons I went to Hootsuite was for this ease of use. Now you are taking it away from me and I really don't have time to research if there is a work around. When I have 25 things to do in the span of a morning, I really don't want my tools changing on me like that. There should be options to use classic version or some such thing.

I don't need a stream of my RT's I can see that. I don't need a stream of other people's RT's they show up when I'm monitoring my brand anyway. When I already have 10 tabs with 10 columns each on different topics I'm monitoring for work this is not a helpful change. I don't want to add more columns to see what is happening in RT land.

Get it together Hootsuite. Or explain to me easily in 140 characters or less how to get back my ease of use when retweeting.

Okay that's my rant, off to get some work done. But if you are reading this and you know the solutions to my dilemma please let me know!

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Is Lead Management The Same as Gardening

The other day I attended my first networking luncheon in Northern Virginia. I just moved recently and now that I'm starting out from scratch, it's an interesting process.

Sometimes networking is a little bit like traveling around the world. There are set questions that people ask as soon as you meet them. With travel it was the where have have you been, where are you going how long are you traveling variety of question.

But in networking many people ask right off the bat, "What do you do..."

For several years down in Virginia Beach about 1000 Realtors got emails from me about the builder, our home availability, and other information a couple of times a month. Usually when I finally met someone in person they would say, "Oh you're Leah! I get your emails all the time!" They quickly understood what I did for the builder and they also understood how I was able to help them as well.

Maybe it's just different with people who work in Real Estate but I've never really had people look so puzzled before when I said, "I do lead management for builders." Perhaps people get stuck on the word management or maybe they just don't know what a lead is....but if you have any kind of business this is an important concept to get the hang of.

In fact most people who are in sales, such as car dealers, mortgage lenders....well anyone that acknowledges that they are selling something, gets the concept pretty quickly.

Many proceed to ask if I can help them. While I don't mind doing some consulting for them to help improve their system, I don't want to move outside of my niche, builders.

But really anyone who has a business of any kind whether it's a service, a tangible item, or a concept like coaching is "selling" something. And the people that you encounter on a daily basis who express interest in your business whether it be through word of mouth referral, email marketing, Google searching or any other means, is a "lead."

Saying hi in an email or a phone call once and then dropping them because they didn't respond is...well...stupid. You need to put together a system that allows you to keep in touch with people and let them know that you are there to help, to provide information etc. They key is having a follow up system and knowing what is going on in your database of leads.

This, on a very simple level, is lead management. But add into the equation someone who is managing your leads with the purpose to sell your service, item, or concept then you have a powerful presence in your organization. The place where many people go wrong is they say yep we have someone answering the phone. Or yep we answer emails. Or sure we have an automatic system that sends out emails based on a touch system.

All of these are only as good as the person who is answering the phone, sending the emails, or operating the drip campaigns.

If you don't know how to ask the right questions and guide the lead toward the solution that will best work for them within what you offer, than you are paying a lot of money and wasting a lot of time generating leads that die.

And believe me some of them die a horrible death of dissatisfaction from lack of information or attention. It's like forgetting to water a plant for weeks on end. A lead manager nurtures and grows a lead until it is ready to turn into a sale.

A lead manager is patient and understands that no one wants to be "sold" but by providing an individual with timely information and a genuine concern for what one is looking for, eventually the lead manager will make the sale.

If you are still unsure what lead management is, feel free to contact me I'll be glad to help you figure out what you are doing now with your lead management system and where you need to go with it. But remember ultimately you need to have the patience of a gardener.

A good lead manager takes their thyme.

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Miracles of Modern Social Media

I experienced a social media triumph the other day. It just goes to show Social Media can really get the job done. Especially if a big business is doing its job and monitoring its online reputation. In that case you might even get positive results.

I did last week!

A couple of weeks ago I walked into my bank to open another business account, in the course of my transaction with the banker who was helping me, she asked me if I wanted to open a business charge card. Since this had been one of the many items on my list of things to do, I said, "Sure, why not." She explained to me with the tightening of banking rules I wouldn't get an approval on the spot.

That's fine. I wasn't concerned, between my excellent credit rating and my long history with the bank I didn't think it would be a problem.

Two days later all hell broke loose. I got a call from my bank. The same bank I've been using for 22 years and have had savings, checking, credit cards and business accounts with. They informed me that if I wanted a business credit line, they would take $5000 from my personal credit and, oh by the way, "you have far more credit than we think you should have right now so we are going to cut your credit down in less than half."


In 22 years, I've never had a late payment, in 22 years they are the ones who had given me nearly credit line increase upon increase for being such a secure risk. I barely carry a balance and I have a credit score near the 800's. So now, now when I've just started my own business and may actually need to use some of that credit, sparingly of course, you want to decrease my credit? (It was the principle of the matter that made me angry.)

Here the bank was, making a blanket call instead of looking at each case individually. This same bank almost single-handedly put many builders out of business by pulling their credit lines because of a blanket determination that it was all too risky to be involved in the building industry. They did this, of course, after contract were written. By denying the builds, the sales didn't happen. In essence the bank created a self full filling prophecy.

I said, "Thank you very much, I don't 'need' the business credit card, you can just leave my credit line right where it is."

"Oh no," the voice on the other end of the line said, "I'm sorry that's not possible, it's now policy to reduce down your credit line." At this point I turned from the polite person I usually am on the phone to....well....lets just say I wasn't green but you wouldn't like me very much when I'm angry. I tersely asked for a supervisor and of course there was none to be had. I was informed the supervisor would get back to me with in 48 hours.

48 hours??? Are you kidding me? What terrible customer service!

So of course, I broadcast my frustration over facebook first. I expressed how pissed off I was at this particular bank, and then elaborated that I was ready to pull all 6 of my accounts. In a matter of minutes I received 20 comments agreeing with me that they are the worst bank out there.

I then tweeted the same thing. Then went one step further and tweeted: (bank) if you do any social media monitoring and care what a customer of 22 years has to say, then step up.

In less than an hour I got a tweet from their "help" department. I DM'd them my displeasure. When they asked for more personal details like phone, zip etc. I said all I want is for the supervisor to call me back, all that information should be in my account.

Less than an hour later I got a call from someone in the "Office of the CEO" at first I was thinking yeah right, anyone could look up my phone number with a little detective work and claim that. But he picked up the comments in my file and knew exactly what was going on. He proceeded to say that, "You of all people, working in the industry that you do, should understand what banks have been going through." That was it, that set off the powder keg and I told him what I really though about their banking policies toward builders.

I tried to hold my temper as I told him how his bank was responsible for practically putting my former employer out of business, that while we could sell a home like nobody's business, we couldn't build the damn things because they pulled the credit lines.

I proceeded to chide them for lumping all building companies in with a host of other issues that on close consideration could have been sorted out by anyone with half a brain to see the bank was making a poor decision. On my soap box I told him, "But no one wants to think any more, no one wants to make decisions. It's easier to just say 'No.' And that's what you are doing without consideration for each individual."

I was surprised. He immediately backed down and gave me what I wanted. I received a business credit line as well as had his assurance that they would not touch my personal credit line.

I was actually quite amazed. I achieved a minor victory through the power of Social Media. A regular "Supervisor" never would have had the authority this VP in the "Office of the CEO" had. And without my tweet I never would have reached that level.

Thanks twitter! Another triumph for Social Media.

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Tickets are Onsale Now For Blue Gypsy Bluesfest!

This month only, take advantage of the early bird special and save up to $20 on your tickets for the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest. We are putting on an amazing third party fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and Natchel' Blues Network. Two great local charities in Hampton Roads. Make sure you come to the event of the season on September 25th at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach. And enjoy local blues music provided by Bobby "BlackHat" Walters, The Michael Clark Band, and Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers. And Enjoy BBQ from Micks BBQ and Mojo Bones (And hopefully more if we can get our Battle of the BBQ idea to become a reality!)

For more information on the event please visit Blue Gypsy Bluesfest

I can't make this a reality on my own. We have sponsorship possibilities from $100-$5000 depending on the level of advertising and involvement you are looking for. Please check out our sponsorship packages and download a copy.

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