31 Jan

Oh Snow!

Posted in News on 31.01.11 by John Meloche

Readers of the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog are likely well aware that your faithful blogger is no fan of the winter. The impending major snowstorm in southern Ontario is a major reason for that. News broke today that our city of Toronto is preparing to be hit with up to 30 centimeters of snow thanks to a storm due to strike tomorrow night.

Needless to say, this will make the morning commute to work a less than convenient one. Drivers are cautioned to not only give themselves ample extra time to get to work but to drive with extreme caution. The snow, of course, always makes driving a challenging task. Arriving safe is of the highest importance, so do your part in making sure that’s the case!

Don Peat of The Toronto Sun reports today, that the City of Toronto will be doing its part to assist drivers and pedestrians alike to “tackle” the upcoming storm. He notes that the city has “600 snow plows, 300 sidewalk plows and 200 salt trucks” that are set to clear the roads and walk ways all throughout the city over the next couple of days.

Skiiers and snowboarders are likely rejoicing. For many, this is a strange thing to celebrate considering that Toronto isn’t exactly winter sports central. However, we’re sure that many others will be traveling to neighboring towns that are the homes to some incredible hills primed for hosting these seasonal activities.

Back in the city, however, salt trucks will be hitting the main roads once the snow starts. The local roads will be salted next. Once five centimeters of snow is on the ground, the city will deploy the plows. Peat reports that the expressways and main roads will be plowed throughout the duration of the storm.

The local roads will see the plows when the snow stops, and if eight centimeters of snow falls. It is estimated that once the storm ends, it will take between 14 and 16 hours for the local road plowing to be completed. Peat also mentions that sidewalks are essentially the last priority, receiving attention where “mechanically possible” if at least five centimeters of snow falls.

Your blogger here at Synergy has a personal message for the snow. We understand that this is the season for you to make your appearance. But honestly, we get it. Please do us all a favour and melt away quickly. And if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, please take off until next winter. We’re in no rush to see again anytime soon!

Comments Off on Oh Snow!

28 Jan

Operation: Domination 2

Posted in Uncategorized on 28.01.11 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we focused on the various ways in which business owners can stand out from their competition. The idea, of course, is to be dominant in your particular industry. With help from John Jantsch in a piece from BusinessKnowHow.com, we listed some key points that entrepreneurs are recommended to consider in order to become industry leaders.

In addition to those points, Jantsch also encourages business owners to consider providing a “message of value”. It is important to communicate the things that may come with the product you are selling. Revealing how the product can benefit the customer is, perhaps, more important than the product itself.

Deliver your statement, he insists. “I know an office furniture dealer that has adopted the message,” he uses as an example, “We Make Your Business More Valuable – to communicate all the things they bring to the party. Now, everything they do is focused on delivering on that statement. Everyone else in the industry sells furniture.”

Does your company provide any unique habits? Perhaps doing something completely outside the box will ensure you have customers coming to you and only you for the product or service that you do offer. Jantsch mentions that he knows a financial planner who gets his clients’ cars detailed each time they come to visit! Now, that’s innovative!

The “guarantee” is also a big part of what helps companies set themselves apart from their competitors. Can you offer one that no one else in your industry can? Standing firmly behind your product or service means that you are bold enough to announce that you guarantee results.

Customer service is often at the top of the list of reasons why customers either like or dislike a particular business. When it’s good, it goes a long way. When it’s outstanding, that way gets even longer! Going “over the top”, according to Jantsch, may involve giving your clients a gift or a related service for free. Now, where have we heard that before?

Now, there’s no need to be nasty. But sometimes business can be tough. Picking apart your competition can be necessary to show your dominance. Badmouthing a company is never a good idea. However, pointing out “holes in the offerings of your competitors” is one way to show that you are a leader in your industry. Be sure to know how to fill those holes though! Solving your customers’ problems when others cannot is the name of the game.

Comments Off on Operation: Domination 2

27 Jan

Operation: Domination

Posted in Uncategorized on 27.01.11 by John Meloche

One of the main reasons that we encourage business owners to invest in promotional gifts is to help set their businesses apart from their competition. Standing out and representing something that is unique and special is an important trait to have if you want to be successful.

Sometimes entrepreneurs simply focus on how to generate business instead of thinking of how to generate the type of buzz and customer loyalty that will keep them in business for years so come. On BusinessKnowHow.com, John Jantsch, lists a number of ways that business owners can stand out.

You must first take a look at your product, mentions Jantsch. How unique or trendy is the product that you are offering? Think about the uses of your product and come up with ways to promote how valuable it can be to your customers. Making your product more useful than that of your competition’s is one way to stand out.

Consider the service you offer as well, reminds Jantsch. If your company offers a service, consider ways to “package” it. He writes of an example: “Consulting is often delivered on an hourly basis. Packaging a consulting engagement based on an outcome, with defined deliverables and fixed package price is a very effective way to differentiate a service offering. Don’t forget to give the service a powerful name!”

Who is part of your market niche? Jantsch challenges business owners to determine what part of the industry they want to dominate. Becoming the “most dominant player” in your field includes researching your client base to determine the best ways to meet their needs. He mentions that when you master this concept, you’ll be able to charge more for what you offer.

Speaking of what you offer, can you think of ways that you can create a positive reputation for yourself by making your offers unique? Do you offer a guarantee? Do you provide refunds? Do you offer special discounts to loyal customers? Perhaps, your offer is what will set you apart from your competitors.

“Solve a problem,” writes Jantsch, “Is there something that prospects in your market fear or seem to believe is universal for what you do? If so, focus on communicating how you have the answer. Painless dentistry for example.” If you can do something that you know no one else can, you definitely have a leg up on the competition. Be sure to highlight that!

Comments Off on Operation: Domination

26 Jan

Stand Behind Your Products

Posted in Uncategorized on 26.01.11 by John Meloche

If it’s one thing that we do here at Synergy Marketing Consultants, it’s stand behind our products. We believe strongly about the quality of our promotional gifts, and we make it clear to everyone we speak to. It’s important to be confident in what you offer. If not, no one you are selling to will be confident about buying from you.

On Entrepreneur.com, Diana Ransom explains that there are some crucial steps that business owners must take in order to ensure that their products stand out. Naturally, to be confident in what you offer, you’ll need to make sure that it truly is of top-notch quality, right?

The first thing you should consider, says Ransom, is your target audience. “Before you even have a product,” she writes, “get a feel for your prospective target user group’s likes and dislikes.” Knowing what your target market likes and dislikes will help you to make sure that your products suit their needs and solve their problems.

Get yourself some cheap design help, recommends Ransom. After discovering who your target audience is, you will want to make sure that you hire some talented graphic designers, marketers and other contract-based professionals. Of course, this is an important step in how you plan on presenting your brand to the public.

As we’ve mentioned in numerous blogs of past, a fully functional and user-friendly website is a key component to keeping yourself ahead of the pack in your industry. Save cash by offering these professionals the ability to advertise for free on your site once they have designed it.

“Test your product in the real world,” says Ransom. You should observe how consumers interact with your product once you’ve built a prototype. Do they require instructions? Are they using it in a way you did not intend? Maybe they have some ideas on how to improve it. Consider these observations when marketing the product going forward.

Finally, it’s important to find a good manufacturer. Ransom notes that this important step should revolve around who specializes in the materials needed to construct your product. For example, some manufacturers specialize in fabrics while others are experts with plastic. Don’t forget to consider your budget when looking for a manufacturer, as well.

The key to being confident in your product is to have a great product to begin with. That way, it’s easy! Be sure to let your target audience know the benefits of using your product. Present it in an energetic and enthusiastic way and allow for consumers to get easy access to you online. Test it and manufacture it well and you’re on your way to standing out in your industry.

Comments Off on Stand Behind Your Products

25 Jan

Find Success In Sales Over The Phone

Posted in Uncategorized on 25.01.11 by John Meloche

Do you do business over the phone? If so, you’re probably well aware that whatever product you are selling is not the main feature of the phone call. The star of each call, of course, is you! If you believe in your product, you will be able to sell it. That is the first step to becoming a successful salesperson over the phone.

Around the Synergy offices, we often say that “it’s not what you say, but it’s how you say it”. Many of our clients feel the same way. In fact, when describing the nature of their businesses to us, we notice that these owners display an added element of energy in their voices. They are proud of what they do, and as well they should.

Remember that when your are speaking to someone on the phone, all the other person has to go on is your voice. Can they hear your excitement? Or are you simply going through the motions? Keep in mind that with each call you make, you have to acknowledge that the person you are speaking to is hearing you for the first time.

Therefore, if it’s the one hundredth call you’ve made in your work day, you have to be sure that it doesn’t sound like it. All of your clients are important. You should never give the impression that you are not enthusiastic about working with them. If you don’t sound interesting, why would they be interested in what you have to say?

Always consider the concern of the client you are speaking to. Selling your product isn’t usually achieved on the first try. Overcoming objections is a major part of the job for anyone who works in sales over the phone. Cater your product to the needs of your client. Be sure to let your customer know that you are listening by commenting on whatever the objection is.

If you can help your client see a need for your product or service, you will be able to overcome objections better. Perhaps, even more importantly, if you make the person on the phone feel comfortable with you, he or she will more likely to listen to what you have to say about what you are offering.

Unfortunately, telemarketers are often painted with the “scam artist” brush. This doesn’t make it so easy to introduce your business to someone over the phone. Your demeanor needs to be professional but affable as well. Build rapport with those you speak to and you will find that you will make your customers happy, while making yourself a successful salesperson.

Comments Off on Find Success In Sales Over The Phone

24 Jan

Stay Free From Facebook Firings

Posted in News on 24.01.11 by John Meloche

In past blogs, we have made clear that we are big supporters of using social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter to promote your business. With these sites being all the rage these days, it makes perfect sense to have a profile set up to help bring greater awareness to the public about your company. We invite you to visit Synergy and become our friend on Facebook HERE.

It also makes perfect sense to present your business in a favorable light in order to encourage as many people as possible to become your “friend”. Perhaps, then they will look further into your company and potentially become a new customer. That being said, one way to paint a positive picture is to post uplifting comments as part of your status.

This past Saturday, Alan Shanoff of The Toronto Sun wrote of one of the chief mistakes that employees make on their Facebook pages. He discusses the fact that people can have their jobs terminated based on what they write on their profiles. Citing an incident in British Columbia where a worker trashed his manager in his posts, such actions have already lost employees their positions.

It is important to understand, clarifies Shanoff, that what you post on your Facebook profile is not private. Anyone who is your “friend” can see it and report it to just about anyone he or she likes. Even when someone is not your “friend”, he or she may still have access to others who know what you are up to.

If you have a Facebook profile – and nearly everyone seems to have one these days – be sure to learn about the privacy settings. As well, be very diligent in what comments and photos you decide to share with the rest of the world. Many employers, in fact, will research a job candidate online before hiring that person.

This way, if inappropriate or indecent photos of that person are found on Facebook, the employer may not be so quick to offer the position to the candidate. Sadly, as Shanoff points out, some people simply don’t use the common sense that it takes to know not to make derogatory comments about one’s job, employer or the business he or she works for.

Shanoff also points out another scary scenario that saying the wrong thing on Facebook can create. He writes: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see insurance company adjusters and investigators trying to become a claimant’s ‘friend’ to obtain inner circle access. Instead of a private investigator hiding in a van on your street or behind a bush, he might very well be tracking your movements in cyberspace.”

Comments Off on Stay Free From Facebook Firings

21 Jan

Finding Enjoyment At Work

Posted in Uncategorized on 21.01.11 by John Meloche

It’s Friday, and you’d be hard pressed to find an employee who isn’t happy about it. Commonly referred to as “the best day of the week” for those who work throughout the week, Friday is a day that many can’t wait for. Or perhaps, more specifically, can’t wait to be over!

If you’re one of those people, perhaps you’re not enjoying work as much as you could be. For the most part, people separate their work and social life into two categories: One that is hectic and stressful and another that is relaxing and fun. Is there anyway to bridge the gap between the two feelings?

As you may know from previous blogs, we do our best here at Synergy to create an enjoyable work environment. There are, of course, a number of things that can be done to ensure that your work week doesn’t have to be a hectic and stressful one. On eHow.com, there are a number of helpful hints on how to better enjoy work that we’d like to share with you.

The first tip is to “be grateful”. The website reminds us that, in this economy, many people are losing their jobs and finding it difficult to locate new ones. If you focus on the fact that you actually have a job, and not the work itself, it will help you to develop a better perspective about your situation.

“Win the small battles,” suggests the website. “If you are feeling stifled at work, put up a few of your favorite art prints in your cubicle if it’s allowed. If you have a dress code wear a colorful ring that you can see as you type.” In addition, “keep your eyes on the prize”.

It is important to be focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Whether it is working your way up in a company or saving up for a major purchase, you want to make sure to keep yourself motivated. Remember that the job is not what you are, but what you do. Keep your attention on your overall goals and take the necessary steps to get to where you want to be.

Here’s an important one. “Stay out of office politics,” says eHow.com. There seems to be gossip in just about every working environment. You will do yourself a big favour if you avoid office drama. Do your best to not allow for these issues to consume your thoughts or life outside of the office.

Keep in mind that it is all just business. Says eHow.com: “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. They probably aren’t thinking that you are trying to make your rent money. They are just annoyed that they don’t have their food on time, or they had to answer a telemarketing phone call. It’s not that they don’t like you or that you aren’t a good person.”

Comments Off on Finding Enjoyment At Work

20 Jan

Make Your Business Meetings Fun

Posted in Uncategorized on 20.01.11 by John Meloche

In the past, the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog has included a number of posts that describe how much fun we like to have with our staff. Whether it’s barbeques or holiday parties, we’re always thinking of ways to keep our employees happy. That being said, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to get your staff in a good mood.

We do our best to encourage and motivate our staff on a regular basis through our morning meetings. Every day, we get the members of our team organized for a short meeting. The meeting doesn’t always start off with talk of business. In fact, it nearly never does!

Often, a story is told or jokes are relayed so that smiles can be put on the faces of the important individuals who will be spending the day helping to make our business a successful one. There are many ways to bring joy to your staff during business meetings. You just need to be creative.

On EzineArticles.com, Mark S. Myers writes about a number of different ways that you can make your business meetings more entertaining. He believes that the more fun the meeting is, the more productive your team of employees will eventually be. “It is in our nature to work better when we are happy,” says Myers.

He believes that the atmosphere of your business meetings should change if they are not “fun” for your staff. Instead of making your meetings formal affairs, try to change that trend to make the participants of the meeting more relaxed and less nervous. One way to do this, says Myers, is to begin your meeting with a team building exercise.

Create a type of game that encourages everyone to work together to either perform a task or solve a problem. It doesn’t even have to be related to work at all. In fact, it makes it even better when the task is not work related. This will encourage team unity, cooperation and inspire a friendly, competitive atmosphere.

Next, according to Myers, is to change the location of your meetings. Often, they are held in conference rooms. Perhaps, you can vary the locations of your meetings by holding some of them outside – depending on the weather, of course. Anything that helps to break up the monotony and energize your staff members will be a helpful start to a productive day.

Finally, of key importance are the feelings of the participants of your meetings. Keeping “a good sense of humor and a sporting attitude goes a long way in making even the most uninteresting of meetings into an enjoyable affair,” writes Myers, “No matter how much you concentrate on themes and special locations for your meetings, if the participants are not willing, it will remain as boring an affair as it always was.”

Comments Off on Make Your Business Meetings Fun

19 Jan

Smartphones And Tablets Toppling Computers

Posted in Uncategorized on 19.01.11 by John Meloche

Perhaps, the worst kept secret in the world of technology is the fact that smartphones and tablets (like the iPad) are becoming the most popular technological devices in the world. These days, it appears as if nearly everyone has traded in their cell phones for smartphones so that they may do just about everything a computer can do in the one hand-held device.

Earlier today, The Canadian Press released a report revealing that smartphones and tablets have essentially become more popular than the standard personal computer. Based on Deloitte Canada’s annual report, these smaller gadgets are taking over the world in terms of popularity!

Deloitte Canada’s director, Duncan Stewart remarked that people are buying the new age computer devices more than they are PCs. This is a trend that is expected to continue and grow even more popular in the coming year. In fact, the Deloitte report predicts that 425 million smartphones and tablets will be sold this year compared to 400 million personal computers.

Stewart insists, however, that the personal computer isn’t “dead”. The same can be said for traditional televisions, which contrary to predictions that it would begin to fall off in the marketplace, is still very popular. In fact, Stewart mentions that TV will continue its status as the “super media” in 2011.

The Canadian Press report notes that Deloitte’s predictions have viewers across the world watching 140 billion more hours of TV this year than they did last year. As a result, television advertising is set to increase by $10 billion. The global TV audience is also expected to grow by 40 million to 3.7 billion viewers.

The Deloitte report cites examples such as TV shows being one of the most common conversation topics on Twitter tweets throughout the past year. Said Stewart: “Overwhelmingly, when people sit down on the sofa, they turn their brains off and let it all wash over them.”

The use of social media networks is likely among the top reasons why smartphones and tablets have become such massive successes. Stewart reveals that these social networking sites are likely to gain over a billion new members in 2011, while selling more than two trillion advertisements.

Comments Off on Smartphones And Tablets Toppling Computers

18 Jan

The Power Of Producing Pleased Customers

Posted in Uncategorized on 18.01.11 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we revisited the ever-important concept of making your customers happy. A happy customer base is essential to the success of any business. When you go over and above the call of duty to make sure that your customers are pleased or even “wowed” as opposed to just serviced, you will be ensuring the growth and longevity of your company.

Adrian Adams of ArticlesSnatch.com agrees that pleasing your customers is the key to business success. He writes about a few simple tips that can help any business owner assure him or herself of pleasing customers. His first tip is to simply treat customers the way you would like to be treated.

Sounds simple enough, right? But many business owners tend to forget what it is like to be a customer in his or her own store. Think of the way you expect to be treated when visiting your own favourite place to shop. Adams mentions that one of the biggest benefits of treating your customers as equals is the number of recommendations that usually come as a result.

Happy customers often tell their friends about their experiences. By the way, angry customers do the same thing even more frequently. Naturally, you will want the word that is being spread about your business to be a favorable one. Adams advises that, in order to do so, you will want to hire employees who are “people friendly”.

Make courtesy part of your policy, he says. It is important to have your staff trained so that they are able to adequately resolve customer issues. You can’t always give things away for free, but you don’t want to make sure that you are listening to your customers and working towards making them satisfied about any problem’s resolution.

Adams reiterates that having a well trained staff is very important. Each employee should have a great grasp on your products, being able to explain how they can be of use to your customers. The ability of your employees to answer questions will go a long way. Knowing the needs of your customers and properly addressing them is a great way to please all those who walk into your establishment.

”Ensure you have an ample supply of merchandise on hand or ship your goods very quickly,” writes Adams, “When customers are ready to buy, you want to be able to fill their order. Merchandise or the service you are selling should be top quality. This will bring in repeat customers and help your business grow.”

Finally, always respect your customer’s time, says Adams. Making sure that your store is properly staffed with cashiers and sales reps ensures that your customer’s time will not be wasted. One of the biggest complaints consumers have involves wait time. Give your customers great experiences each time they walk into your store and they will keep coming back.

Comments Off on The Power Of Producing Pleased Customers