31 Jan

Powerful Methods Of Procuring Referrals

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 31.01.13 by John Meloche

One of the greatest benefits of handing our promotional gifts to your customers is that they help to garner referrals. Referrals, as we’ve been discussing in this week’s blogs, are among the most important and effective ways to promote your business. And it should be noted that referrals are actually different than simple word-of-mouth promotion. Yes, they are quite similar, but the differences lie in the intent.

Word-of-mouth promotion mainly refers to people who discuss your business in favourable ways because of their positive interactions with it. These discussions may or may not be literal recommendations. Instead, they are often just good reviews. Referrals are when people actively seek out others who would be interested in your business and purposely encourage them to do business with you.

On PassivePanda.com, James Clear highlights both the effectiveness and differences between word-of-mouth and referrals when he writes that “if you can get people talking about your products, services, and ideas — and, more importantly, referring potential customers to you — then you can grow your bottom line at an alarming rate.” So how do we get our businesses referrals? Clear insists that there are some proven and powerful methods .

Partners Matter. According to Clear, you can gain more referrals by having the right business partners. This isn’t always easy to pull off as many people feel that it’s difficult to find others who share equal senses of passion and dedication to their companies. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. You can generate more referrals by networking and creating equally beneficial relationships.

Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. We’ve all heard that phrase. It simply means that you don’t have to find a new business partner. Just find another business owner who is willing to spread the word about your company just as you would about his or hers. This won’t cost you a thing other than a bit of time, some effort and a display of your good-natured charm. It’ll all be more than worth it in the end.

Pay For Customers, Not Referrals. “The classic referral strategy is simply to ask for someone to send you a lead,” writes Clear. He insists that companies should focus not on leads (who may or may not buy from you) but on increasing the “Customer Lifetime Value” of your typical customer. This simply entails focusing on the needs of your current customers so that they provide you with greater value in the long-run.

In other words, your lifetime customers are going to end up providing you the worth of what new customers would be providing you over the course of time. Clear feels that the “Customer Lifetime Value” strategy is the best way to grow your referral business. A lifetime customer is almost like an employee. They spend their lives dedicated to your brand, and therefore tell everyone else about it!

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30 Jan

Follow The Rules To Getting Referrals

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 30.01.13 by John Meloche

The staff, here at Synergy Marketing, knows a thing or two about the importance of getting referrals. At the centre of every conversation with our clients about promotional gifts is the concept of utilizing our great advertising tools to garner referrals from current customers. Current customers, it should be said, are the most important people in your business. Keeping them happy should be priority number one.

The very act of doing so, of course, helps to encourage them to bring more customers into your store. Thus, the growth of your client base is achieved. Perhaps, it cannot be put any more plainly than they way it was put by Inc.com: “Customer referrals are one of the most powerful selling and marketing tools available.” Just ask any business owner. There’s nothing better than word-of-mouth.

As the site continues to point out, Forrester Research found that 71 per cent of online shoppers read reviews before buying. What does that mean? People take the opinions of other customers very seriously when considering where to spend their money. It should go without saying that getting referrals is an extremely important way to advertise your business. So how does one do it right?

Rule #1: Make Your Customers Happy. Provide a great product or service. This will always come first. If your customer isn’t happy with what they came to you for in the first place, there’s no way he or she will be an ideal candidate for giving your business a referral. Be sure to give them something that they love so that they’ll love you in return. This has everything to do with making a memorable customer experience.

Rule #2: Listen To Your Customers. Don’t make a habit of telling your customers what you think they need from you. Listen to what they say they are looking for and do everything you can to meet their needs. Consider them your bosses – people with the power to determine if you will continue to function in your role as business owner. Ask questions as well as answer the ones given to you. Let your customers know they matter.

Rule #3: Give Customers Competent Guidance. It’s important to assert yourself as an expert in your field. Consider that every one of your customers has a “problem” and it’s your job to fix it. Display your expertise by providing, not just products and services, but the type of advice that will have long lasting impacts. A belief in your competence will keep clients coming back, and make them feel comfortable recommending you to others.

Rule #4: Make Your Customers Comfortable. Do your clients believe that your products and services will meet their requirements? Do they feel at ease approaching you with feedback? Making your customers feel at home whether they are on the phone with you or in your store will go a long way in having them tell others to do business with you as well.

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29 Jan

Spread Your Referral Network Like Wildfire

Posted in Promotional Products on 29.01.13 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we revisited the topic of promotional gifts and their ability to help business owners garner referrals. This is one of the best reasons to hand them out to your customers. For decades, promo gifts have proven to increase customer bases without costing entrepreneurs very much in the way of their advertising budgets.

Start An Incentive Program. The usefulness of a promo gift ensures that it rarely gets tossed away as someone would a flyer or business card. On AllReferral.com, it is also suggested that promo gifts be used as part of a referral incentive program. One example given is to provide a promotional gift to customers who refer others to your business.

In some cases, the very gift itself is the reason that customers tell others about companies they like. So it’s up to you how you decide to use promo gifts to your advantage. One thing is for sure though – they work! Just ask any of the business owners who have been utilizing promotional gifts as part of their advertising campaigns over the past several decades.

Make Great First Impressions. “The customers that I’ve given gifts to definitely come in more frequently, I noticed,” reported one of our clients recently, “And sometimes they bring friends! That’s the best part. Naturally, I’ll make sure that my new customers go home with free gifts. Making that great first impression has always helped me to grow my customer base. I swear by promo gifts.”

AllReferral.com concurs with this approach: “Free promotional gifts always attract people. When you offer good quality and trendy promotional items as promotional products, you will find a horde of people who would refer prospective clients to you. Thus, promotional products offered as referral incentives help in spreading your brand name and the services or products you offer.”

Wide Variety Available. Of course, there are tons of different promo gifts to choose from. The key to securing a larger client base is choosing the gift or gifts that work best for your company and its clientele. For business owners in the automotive industry, for example, we have gifts such as our Translucent Ice Scrapers which are great for clearing that annoying ice build up off of windshields during the winter time.

We also have Aluminum Tire Pressure Gauges that are excellent for driving safety. None of our clients are limited to the types of gifts that they can provide, of course. We highly recommend a chat with one of our experienced sales reps to help you pick out the best promo gift for your business. Simply call 1-877-748-9884 and we’ll get you the gift that will get you more clients.

As AllReferral.com points out, “If those who receive the promotional gifts are happy with it, you can expect your referral network to spread like wildfire, bringing more and more revenue to your business.” Allow Synergy Marketing to help you build that wildfire with the best promotional products the industry has to offer!

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28 Jan

Great Gifts Garner Glorious Referrals

Posted in Promotional Products on 28.01.13 by John Meloche

At Synergy Marketing, we proudly provide our clients with the best promotional products in the business. And we stand behind each and every one of our products. Not only do we provide high-quality items that dazzle their recipients, but we offer useful and practical advertising tools that go long ways in building customer bases and garnering referrals.

In many cases, the acquisition of referrals is at the top of the list of reasons why business owners use promo gifts to advertise their companies. “I find that my promo gifts get people talking,” mentioned one of our clients last week, “Every time I hand one out, I can tell that my customer is pleased. Asking for a referral is easy when you know that you’ve made your customer happy.”

Making Happy Customers. And at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about isn’t it? Making your customers happy is what makes them want to tell their friends and family members about your business. It is the experience over all things that keep customers coming back. Sure, people look for great products and services. But why choose your company?

Add Value To The Experience. Expressing to your customers that you value you them goes a long way. People feel attachments to places where they feel like it’s “home”. Promo gifts are great ways to say “thank you for your business”. And time after time, they have proven to work as effective referral incentives. One of the main reasons for this is that the gifts are beneficial for both parties.

Show Your Appreciation. As AllReferral.com points out, “The person who refers is enthralled at receiving promotional items as gifts and for the company that offers it, there’s hardly any financial burden, although the results are palpable and quick.” The website points out the value of showing appreciation to customers, but notes that this fact is only one benefit to promo gifts.

Cost-Effective Advertising Solutions. Promotional gifts just so happen to be among the most cost-effective ways to promote a business that there is. Consider how much it costs to run an ad on the radio or on television. Think about the cost for beginning a marketing campaign that incorporates the need for flyers or print ads. But more importantly, think about their effectiveness.

Long-Lasting Promo Power. “People throw flyers away,” our client informed us, “I once went on an all-day flyering mission visiting homes and putting flyers in mailboxes. I also left some on windshields of cars in neighbouring parking lots. The next day, I noticed a good lot of them left behind on the ground. It was a waste of both my time and money.”

Promo gifts, on the other hand, are very useful. Think about the impact it has when a customer can use a pen, mug, water bottle, key chain or other practical device with your company name and logo on it. Your inexpensive commercial can literally last a life time in some cases. Get your company name and logo on a great gift today! Call us up at 1-877-748-9884.

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25 Jan

Winning Is The Word Of The Week

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 25.01.13 by John Meloche

It’s all about winning. At least it is when it comes to this week’s Synergy Marketing Blog entries. It bears repeating that winning feels good. And at the end of the day, no business person starts up a company without the concept of winning on his or her mind. This week, we closely studied a blog by Harvard professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

In the Harvard Business Review Blog, she clearly outlines the differences between winners and losers. Some of these differences are represented by the traits that people exhibit. Others have to do with what is the result of winning. Her points make clear whether or not one is showcasing signs of being successful. Let’s wrap up our look at her list of traits to ensure that you exhibit winning ways well into the future.

Invitations to the best parties. “Really,” assures Kanter, reminding readers that world champion teams get invited to the White House. And while your office may not necessarily get an invite from United States President, Barack Obama – or Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, for that matter – winning will gain you important access to new networks and relationships.

With that said, it’s important to make yourself available to such opportunities. Attend conferences and exhibitions. Share your success stories. Work at building new relationships. Hand out those promo gifts! Build a momentum for your brand that people will take notice of. This will get you more invitations – read: business opportunities.

Self-determination. “Winners have more control over their own destiny,” says Kanter. You want positive attention. You also want positive reinforcements. Being able to spend more time practicing and less time in meetings will get your entire team used to their winning ways. In other words, give your team members the freedom to display their own senses of self-motivation.

How well are they able to put their positive attitudes into practice? Seek out those who are self-reliant and motivated to do the best jobs they can without having to be constantly encouraged. One’s performance becomes improved while he or she is working, not while he or she is being told how to do the job better.

Continuity. It’s better to work with your current staff than it is to try to build a new one from scratch. Many teams attempt to improve by firing coaches and trading players. This can help in some cases. But can your company afford to employ this technique? It costs a lot more to hire and train new people than it does to develop the team members you already have.

Yes, some people can be lost causes. It’s just the truth sometimes. Even those who get over-confident and arrogant because of their “winning streaks” can end up being losers in the long run, says Kanter. “But leaders can build on the advantages of winners to encourage a positive spirit, disciplined focus, mutual respect, lots of practice on the details, and lasting support systems that can make successes and comebacks more likely.”

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24 Jan

Having High Hopes For Your Winning Team

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 24.01.13 by John Meloche

This week, it’s all about winning. With NHL hockey in full swing, this sentiment is being felt all across Canada. But for business owners, the need to win is present all year round. As Rosabeth Moss Kanter writes in the Harvard Business Review Blog, winners are determined by specific character traits. This is true whether they are present on the ice, the court, the field or the general workplace.

Have you built a winner at your business? Perhaps you’re well on your way to securing yet another championship in your marketplace. And then again, maybe could use some of the advice that is being so generously provided in this week’s blogs. No matter what, it can’t hurt to continue reading up on some of these fascinating ideas about what it takes to win.

Positive culture of mutual respect. Obviously, many athletes are required to play on a team. This makes it imperative to respect and listen to one another. Without this mutual respect, it becomes extremely difficult for a team to function, let alone win. The same goes for the team in your office. When you work together in a respectful environment, chances are that you will win together.

Winners act generously towards each other and make each member of the team a better player. Losers are more likely to blame others using finger-pointing and infighting tactics as their methods to correct problems. For obvious reasons, this rarely works. You can’t have dissension in the ranks if you expect your team to come out on top.

Solid support system. “Behind every high performance athlete or team is a cadre of coaches, friends, and fans that fuel motivation,” writes Kanter. Winners have backers while losing erodes support. This is pretty obvious in the world of sports. Perhaps with the Toronto Maple Leafs being clear cut exceptions, losing teams lose fans.

Sorry, but it had to be said! It doesn’t matter what the Leafs’ win-loss record is, the Air Canada Centre is packed for every game. But for most sports teams, people come to watch when the team is winning. Winners have supporters. Do you want your business to be supported? Of course you do. Longevity is found in a winning attitude.

Better press. Getting good press after a win is easy. Maintaining a strong buzz well into the future is what separates winners from losers. This is one of the main reasons that we’ve found that promotional gifts work so well. Business cards get thrown away. Useful products like water bottles and flashlights get used time and time again. They can’t help but keep your company’s name on the minds of the recipients.

According to Kanter, “Winning provides a halo that makes everything seem to glow. Losing causes observers and analysts to probe for reasons in a rewritten version of the past that makes continuing losses seem inevitable.” We’ll conclude our extensive look at this concept in tomorrow’s blog. Be sure to read each one this week!

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23 Jan

Feeling Good About Your Winning Ways

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 23.01.13 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we began taking a look at the differences between winners and losers. To put it a bit more clearly, we explored the concept of what makes a winner a winner through studies conducted by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who is a professor at Harvard Business School. In her Harvard Business Review Blog, she revealed that true winners possess certain traits.

All business owners want to win in their respective marketplaces. And why wouldn’t they? There would be no reason to run a business at all if one didn’t want to be successful. This is why employing the advertising strategy of handing out promotional gifts has been so popular. At Synergy Marketing, we know that even the smallest promo gifts, such as pens or key chains, give entrepreneurs competitive advantages by making personal connections with clients.

But what else is needed in order to win? Kanter writes that infectious good moods and attractive situations are part of what makes people successful over and over again. In today’s blog, we’d like to continue our look at her list of advantages that winners have over losers. We’re hoping that it will help both business owners and Toronto sports teams alike to find more winning ways!

Learning. “Losers get defensive and don’t want to hear about their many failings,” writes Kanter, “so they avoid feedback.” Winners, however, accept negative feedback because they are willing to learn from their mistakes. This, of course, takes a positive attitude to begin with but also requires that an individual is willing to practice new routines that may set them on the right course after a failure.

In fact, to winners there is no such thing as failure. Through trial and error, one learns how to find new ways to win. Naturally, practice makes perfect. This is true for any athlete. But at your company, the staff must feel comfortable knowing that there is always space for learning. Those who only get frustrated instead of learning from their mistakes will not help you in the long run.

Freedom to focus. You’ve got to keep your eye on the ball, reminds Kanter. While athletes can take this piece of advice literally, those of us in the business world must remember to keep focused. What is the end goal? What must be done to get there? Know that figurative bumps in the road is just a part of the process. It’s important not get derailed.

“Losers often punish themselves in their heads,” says Kanter. So try not to forget what your end goal is and be focused on achieving it. It’s easy to get frustrated at work. And it’s also easy to take your frustrations out on others around you – especially if you feel that they were partly or wholly responsible for the problem. Be mindful that a winner will overcome such problems and find success no matter what.

With NHL hockey having finally gotten underway this past weekend, sports fans from all over Canada are excitedly watching with high hopes for each of their respective teams. The teams with the aforementioned traits firmly in place are the ones that are most likely to succeed. And for business owners, the same thing goes. We’ll be sure to cover more of these important traits in tomorrow’s blog.

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22 Jan

Producing Winners In Your Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 22.01.13 by John Meloche

Winning feels good. Just ask any Toronto sports fan about last weekend and they’ll tell you that. Especially considering that the city has gone so long without a major professional sports championship (Toronto Argonauts not included – we haven’t forgotten you guys!), the city is thirsting for the chance to celebrate on the streets once again.

It doesn’t even take a winner for the people of Toronto to get excited. Yesterday, at Nathan Philips Square, fans came out in droves for the opportunity to win tickets to last night’s game pitting the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Buffalo Sabres. Apparently, just the prospect of winning is enough to get excited about. But let’s get down to business. Is the prospect of winning good enough for your business?

Or do you want to celebrate victories at your company time and time again? Of course, most business owners (is it fair to assume all of them?) want their businesses to come out on top. But it takes a particular attitude and drive to ensure that a company is constantly winning. So what makes up a winning attitude? What does it really take to be a champion?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at Harvard Business School. On the Harvard Business Review Blog, she writes about the differences between “perpetual winners” and “long-term losers” in both the professional and amateur sports worlds. She then matches them to findings of business case studies. Kanter concludes that winners – be they in sports or in business – are determined by ten important advantages.

Good mood. As mentioned off the top of today’s blog, winning feels good. But feeling good must actually come before the win, says Kanter. In order to succeed, one needs a positive mental attitude. This confidence can help produce a physical energy that will help for one to be resilient and persistent in the face of setbacks.

A “never say die” attitude is needed to succeed. A winner is not deterred by failure. Losers, on the other hand, will use any excuse to stop, according to Kanter. Fostering positive attitudes all throughout your office is a surefire way to build a group of winners in your company. Psychologists have found that moods are contagious, reports Kanter. Use positive reinforcements to your advantage.

Attractive situation. Losers go home while winners stick around, writes Kanter. When a company is successful, there is less absenteeism. In addition, there is more solidarity. People tend to spend more time with each other when they feel good about what they are accomplishing together. This also allows for more opportunities for information-sharing and mentoring.

Be sure to share your company’s successes with your employees. Let them in on all of the wonderful things that you are achieving. And be sure to let them know about the importance of the roles that they each have played in making your company a success. Winning is about longevity, not just short-term successes. Keep your winners around by making them feel good about your company’s winning ways.

We’ll continue to explore this concept in tomorrow’s blog.

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21 Jan

Great Weekend Of Sports In Toronto

Posted in News on 21.01.13 by John Meloche

If you’re a Toronto-area sports fan, this past weekend was certainly one you would have enjoyed. Firstly, NHL Hockey made it’s long awaited return. And on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs started off their 2013 campaign with a win over their arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. The 2-1 victory will hopefully be their first of many. At least, this is the sentiment being felt around the Synergy Marketing offices.

“It feels great to start of the year with a win,” said one of our Synergy reps, “We’ve been waiting so long for hockey to start, we needed this bright spot. And who knows? Maybe with the season being as short as it is (48 games instead of the usual 82), the Leafs have a chance of making the playoffs. Crazier things have happened!

The Toronto Star‘s Damien Cox warns, however, that Toronto hockey fans shouldn’t get too excited too soon. “Seriously, other than suggesting that the Brooklyn-bound Islanders will almost certainly stink again, don’t read much if anything into the first day and night of NHL hockey,” he wrote this past Saturday.

Well, for now, Leafs fans can revel in the fact that the team is – so far – undefeated. But there is another reason that Toronto sports fans are smiling this morning. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers came to town yesterday to take on the hometown Raptors. On paper, the game looked like a surefire loss for the Raps. But games are played on the court. Not on paper.

The 108-103 Raptors victory had some Synergy staff members who went to the game buzzing last night. “It was a great game,” one team member reported, “Especially because I have so many friends who are Lakers fans, it was great watching their team lose. The Raptors actually lead the whole game, it was awesome. I can’t understand people who cheer against their home team!”

The Toronto Star‘s Doug Smith would likely agree. Yesterday, he reported that Toronto Raptors starting point guard Jose Calderon, “shredded Bryant (while) the Los Angeles Lakers defence, turned Landry Fields into a scoring machine and propelled the Raptors to one of their more significant victories of the season.”

Those are not words read by Toronto sports fans very often. Never, in fact. “I was shocked,” exclaimed our rep, “Fields never scores like that. And it was awesome seeing Calderon outplay Bryant. It was like watching a movie or something. You couldn’t have written up a better game for us.”

It just goes to show you that when teams truly work hard and function as a cohesive unit, they can pull off just about anything they put their minds to. So with that said, “Go Leafs Go!” and “Let’s Go Raptors!”. “If only our teams could make us feel this good every weekend,” our rep concluded, “Can’t wait for the Blue Jays to get in on this action too!”

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18 Jan

Securing Happiness Through Solving Conflicts

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 18.01.13 by John Meloche

All week long, we have focused our blogs on the concept of resolving issues in the work place. All throughout Canada, hockey fans are excited about the fact that the biggest issue over the past several months has finally been resolved. That, of course, would be the NHL lockout. It officially becomes a thing of the past when teams take to the ice to start the season tomorrow.

Conflicts are bound to happen. Hopefully, they don’t occur in your business as much as they do in the National Hockey League, but nevertheless, they will happen. Although we’re well equipped on how to deal with conflict – given our blogs this week – perhaps the best person to help us with conflict resolution is Alexander Kjerulf. He happens to also be known as “The Chief Happiness Officer”.

He admits that dodging conflicts on the job is just about impossible, but Kjerulf’s ability to find happiness in any situation has helped him to be somewhat of an expert in the field of settling problems. On PositiveSharing.com, he writes about five essential steps to resolving conflict at work.

Realize that conflicts are inevitable at work. Conflicts are the result of employees that care, insists Kjerulf. If disagreements didn’t occur at your business, it would be sign of an unmotivated staff. This doesn’t make a conflict a good thing – although it’s a good sign. It means that you have employed staff members who care enough to disagree. Would you prefer an “I don’t care” attitude when it comes to your company? We didn’t think so.

Handle conflict sooner rather than later. According to Kjerulf, “this is the single most important tip to successfully resolve conflicts”. Taking care of problems early is an important step in conflict resolution. Don’t let them fester and grow. Pretending that things are fine when they aren’t will only breed more conflict. Often, it is what isn’t said that leads to the biggest problems.

Ask! Says Kjerulf, “if somebody has done something that made you angry, if you don’t understand somebody’s viewpoint, if you don’t understand their actions – ask!” Not knowing is usually a cause for not understanding – which is often a cause for not agreeing. Be sure to ask nicely, he reminds us. Don’t assume you know the answer until you receive it. Sometimes, there’s a perfectly good reason, and knowing it will help to quell the dispute.

Giraffe language. Perhaps, we will dedicate another blog to better explain this concept as it has many steps: Invitation, Observation, Apologize, Appreciate, Consequences, Objective and Request. The end result of utilizing this method of addressing a conflict is gettting a better understanding of your opponent so that you can find a common ground where you have developed a mutual respect for each other.

Get meditation. Find a way to get the individuals involved in the conflict to find the good in each other. An interesting way to do this is to ask each person what they most appreciate about the other person. It may help to find the reason that it’s so important that they argue with each other in an attempt to get one to see the other’s side. The end results of such “meditation” may surprise you.

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