Say It To My Screen: The Impact Testimonials Have On Small Businesses

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You’re sitting there, starving for something to eat but you definitely won’t be making it. You click open a new tab and start searching for delivery, clicking anything over four…ok, settle for three stars. You start skimming through reviews to see who actually has the most authentic street tacos and if there’s a photo; even better, you’re going there.


You’re driving down the long winding road you take to get home every day, singing every word to that song you just can’t stand and DA-DUNK you’ve hit a pothole and hear the dreaded rumbling of a flat tire that (of course) had to bend your frame and throw off the alignment.

Time to look for a trusted shop who will accept your insurance, replace the broken pieces without overcharging you and get it all done in a timely manner. Bonuses include filling your tank or washing up. How do you know what to expect?

By reading client reviews!


lyneda testimonial


If there’s anything we’ve learned by living in a mega-connected world it’s that every person has the ability to speak their mind. Some welcome; some not so welcome.

The first place a client is likely to go after being overcharged for their manicure, a shotty job on their plumbing or an expensive wedding earring that broke like a twig on the big day (…….) is to the vendor’s social media page. Here you can leave an in-depth review on your experience: the good, the bad, the ugly.

 

Why are businesses so eager to ask if your pet had a great time at their vet appointment if they know it could potentially lead to a nasty, exposing comment?

 

Because word-of-mouth is the number one referral. What you’ve turned out to subconsciously view before taking any considerable purchasing action is to hear from others like you.

People who also had the same combo skin and were looking for a great facewash.

People who also went to that movie theatre and found gum under their seat.

People who are on the same path to a similar fitness goal and worked with that trainer.

There is comfort in numbers and there is comfort in knowing what to expect.


rogge testimonial


So how do you, as a business owner, provide your customers with an experience they’ll want to rave about?

 

The more ‘stars’ and/or higher ratings you have will bump your business to the top of a potential customer’s Google search. The higher up you appear, the more click-throughs you receive, the more business you close, the more sales you make. The more attention others can draw to your business, the better.

  1. Provide an experience they’ll want to talk about. A meal, a service or a simple exchange is all about the experience. People are craving connection and experiencing something shareable. What stickers, backdrop or colors can you use that are photo-friendly? What fun hash tag can they include on that photo? What is a unique way to bring the check to the table? Can you provide a surprise to the service that you don’t advertise? (A car wash, a gas fill, an air freshener, items to hang the photo, a welcome home sign, a journal with a thank you note, etc.) If you need help brainstorming some creative ideas, let’s talk.
  2. Provide the social proof. Get legit! Every business is out for a certain purpose; usually to help, to entertain or to please in some way. Even if you have ONE review it’s proof that you’re in business and someone actually went there. Instant trust and often a deciding factor. Photos and videos you provide are meant to be aesthetically pleasing but coming from the smartphone of a client is the raw, real image of what to expect. ALWAYS respond and thank someone for leaving a review.
  3. The gift that keeps on giving. When asking someone how their experience was, thank them for coming and ask them to share their experience online. Some people offer a giveaway or another small gift as a way to say thank you. DO NOT BUY the review but incentivize. For example, if someone gives you a kind review, interact with them in public and automate a thank you email with a 10% off coupon for their next visit. They will keep spreading the word about you and you’ll reap the benefits of repeat and new business.
  4. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Similar to #3, people need to be told what to do. If you don’t ask for referrals, if you don’t ask for a review, if you don’t make it clear what you want then they’re probably indifferent to leaving a review, regardless of the great time they had. Every bit of feedback you receive, positive or negative, is feedback you can use to improve your business. Once you ask is it easy for them to find and use? I’ve started leaving great reviews for companies but they wanted me to keep going and going and copy/paste my review on multiple platforms…it’s too much. Have them review you on Facebook and you can copy/paste it to your website.
  5. Get the employees in on it. Like a bonus structure but without the pushy perfume lady. Make it easy for customers to see your employee’s name and be able to shout them out online. It brings a personal touch to your company, makes the client feel like they can come back to see a friend and praises the employee for a job well done which will add fuel to the fantastic customer service fire. Encourage employees to leave a review online. You can add a light-hearted competition, a day off or another perk for every milestone of reviews.

Do you know how to respond to negative reviews? Not many people do.

Ask me how.


Donze testimonial


How, can we as customers, leave a constructive review?

Whether good or bad you might still want to talk about it. Unless there was a glaring issue, I usually avoid leaving a poor review. In many cases that is someone’s job or how they’re paying for their daughter’s dance lessons. There’s no reason for me to ruin their dream because it wasn’t the best food I have ever had.

How can we help these businesses out?

  1. Leave a review. Sounds simple but even just sliding the stars to the right without copy is better than nothing at all!
  2. Be specific. Can you include a name of someone who helped you? Did they have ‘good beer’ or did they have ‘the best IPA I’ve ever had! Try the Piggyback Peach when you visit this brewery.’ These keywords help the business’s SEO by pulling up the most relevant keywords. The more matches of closely related search and content pairs up to provide the best result. If someone is looking for the “Best restaurant for girls night out” and you wrote a review saying “Best spot in town for a girls night out” it’s like the internet angels are singing.
  3. It’s a visual world. Include photos and videos of what makes this place unique or what you most like to look at. If you order drinks based on their cool-factor, post a photo with the type of drink you’re enjoying. A beautifully plated meal. A well-lit back patio with live music. The menu. The ambience or the outside of the building. Help patrons get an idea of what to expect and what to look for.

Is your business taking advantage of this branding opportunity? Do you know what your highest performing SEO keywords are? I can help.


ashleylayton testimonial.PNG


Having said that, if you’re still leaving a ‘negative’ review make sure it’s filled with constructive criticism. Businesses then have a chance to respond, apologize or compensate. Pay attention to how they respond.

  1. Did you talk to the business? Things happen. People have off days. If possible, talk to the business before you go public. The service experience doesn’t end once the transaction goes through. If you’ve given them a fair chance to reply and correct the problem then give credit for their attention to fixing the problem.
  2. Keep to the facts. What happened, not what you interpreted. Did you just not like the shade of white she painted your walls or did she do it ‘because she was lazy’? Is she really bad at haircuts or just botched yours because ‘she thought you wouldn’t tip’?
  3. Keep the emotion out of it. If they were providing a personal service such as a lawyer, doctor, masseuse, wedding planner, etc. and acted in a blatantly unprofessional manner then this is important to report. Say what you need to say while realizing slander and libel are very real things.
  4. They’ve lost my business. So? If they lose the $20 you’d spend on the next visit would they really go in the red? If a stranger is reading your review and has no clue who you are is that helpful to them or is it just dramatic? A simple “I won’t be returning” or “I might go back here in the future but only as a last resort” is more helpful for patron’s to decide how they stack up against competition.

 

If you want some help on receiving or publishing reviews, remember a phone call is always free.

 

Cheers!

Marin

Don’t forget to share and take advantage of the October Promotion!

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Expires October 31, 2018

Argue like you’re right. Listen like you’re wrong.

“Argue like you’re right. Listen like you’re wrong.”

Made you stop, didn’t it?

YES. It’s powerful.

 

I heard this while I was listening to the “Originals” by Adam Grant (mentioned in my latest book club post) and I’ve been thinking of the way he phrased this ever since.

When you’re speaking to a child or trying to explain something you repeat yourself probably 12,804 times…at least.

If you keep doing the same thing, you get the same results.

If you keep saying the same thing, you keep repeating the same message.

If you keep talking then you don’t learn anything knew; you’re only repeating what you already know.

 

So how do you make sure a lesson sinks in? What’s more powerful:

“Don’t touch the stove.” OR “Don’t touch the stove because it will burn you and you’ll get hurt.”

I think Grant’s point in describing “Argue like you’re right. Listen like you’re wrong.” was to help clients understand the difference between what is ‘worth’ fighting for and when you’re talking, what to say.

 

 

Argue Like You’re Right

Maybe argue isn’t the best choice of words here. What if it was replaced with  Stand Up, Defend, Speak or Reason?

I don’t want to assume that because I was a female or a novice employee or young were any of the reasons that I was brushed aside when it came time to share my opinion but they’ve played factors. I have shared ideas or played devil’s advocate with my concerns only to be forgotten and dismissed…until it was time to use an idea or make a profit then the credit was transferred in the blink of an eye.

I was raised in a household where the loudest voice or biggest action ended the fight so guess how quickly and often things escalated?

What have I learned from all of this?

First, I had to find a better way to communicate. I had to list out and be prepared with my thoughts. I had to check my reasoning and decide between ‘tattling or telling’ you decipher as a child. I had to stand firm and stop interruptions when they attempted to cut me short. Then I had to…

 

 

Listen Like You’re Wrong

Ego meet Ego Check. Tongue tied, lips shut, eyes and ears open wide. Be accepting and take notes if you can. Before reacting as quickly as possible, say you’re unsure. Listen with the confidence that you presented your thoughts as best as possible but be humble enough to listen for points of view that you may have missed.

When you stand up firmly, not aggressively, for what you’re trying to communicate, people are much more likely to listen and agree with you. (If not agree, at least understand where you’re coming from.)

There is always room to mutually value the opinions of yourself and those you’re working with. What you have to say, what you think and what you are doing are valuable and you deserve to be heard.  Don’t be shot down or apologize every time someone disagrees or tries to silence you. Tell them to hold on a second and argue like you’re right….then listen like you’re wrong.

 

Cheers!

Marin

PS: Do you want to communicate your business or personal brand more effectively? Reach out.

Why Smart People (Actually) Listen

I get why a lot of people struggle to connect to others especially in an age where it’s easier than ever to share their opinions or attack others from behind a screen. It’s scary to put ourselves out there where we’re vulnerable to things we don’t want to hear.

We want to relate, teach, celebrate or be prepared to respond but we’re nervous to hear what they really think unless it’s something good.

 

Like any skill or talent it takes time and practice to grow and develop. As we get older, we change and we are required to adapt; like it or not.

How many times have you had to hear something before you started doing it?

When you hear about accidents that could have been prevented by buckling your seatbelt or putting the damn phone down?

When you hear you should eat better and workout more to avoid complications or failures but you continue to follow your same routine?

When you’re presented with ways to help you work smarter, not harder, but choose to ignore those solutions….whyyyy?!

Where is the line between “You aren’t listening” and complete silence?

Sounds like a pretty lonely world where no one is talking anymore, huh?

Seems like a naive move to stop listening, huh?

 

It’s more beneficial to post content that provides value to your audience than it is to post for the sake of ‘frequency rules.’ The purpose of communicating is providing something of value. Are you handing out teaching opportunities or invitations to a pity party?

You can be extremely influential without being polarizing. Our goal should be to communicate our message in the most clear, concise and helpful way to those listening to us. It is our job to portray ourselves, our companies and the message we want to send out. It is our job to listen to (constructive) feedback from those we’re interacting with and take it to heart.

 

The way you communicate is how you let people know what and why something is important to you and why it should be important to them.

 

There is a difference between listening and waiting your turn to speak. One is the way of arrogance and one is the way of the successful. I’ll leave you with this…

 

Cheers!

Marin

PS: If you’re wanting to improve the way you communicate with others, start with everything besides your voice. Nearly 90% of consumers purchase something based solely on how it looks. If they can’t tell what you’re about in the first five seconds of looking at your brand, they won’t move forward. Let’s talk about it.

 

Relax. You’re Not An Imposter.

IMG_6983

Even as you’re reading this I know there will be at least five people who will speak poorly of this. How do I come up with five?

Because four of them told me so (All men boys. All on social media.) I’m throwing the fifth in for good measure.

Starting a business is nerve wracking and exciting. Wondering if people will support it is intimidating. None of this is debilitating.

 

But who cares? This is something I love doing for me and if someone believes not ‘liking’ a post will hinder the improvement they are too afraid to branch out and work for themselves….then who cares? They say they don’t like it or don’t support it but they’re still taking the time out of their day to pay attention. They’re still watching.

 

They’re learning from you. They’re watching for your success or failure to gain some knowledge. You are playing the game they want a part in. If you win, they will celebrate. If you lose, they’ll say of course. Keep entertaining them, keep teaching them, keep giving them something they’re finding value in. You’re leading the way. You’re getting things started. You are encouraging and inspiring them. (You is kind, you is important.)

 

If you’re thinking of going for something but you’re worried about what others will think (We’re human. This is inevitable.) Relax. They are too worried about themselves to pay attention to you.

If you’re going back to the gym, relax. They’re (really) not watching you, they’re focused on their own improvement.

If you’re writing something that makes you vulnerable, relax. They’re not nearly as worried about what you’re saying as they are in themselves.

 

The fear of being thought of as a fraud is known as Impostor Syndrome. “A concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”

 

The sentence that begins with “Who am I to…Do This. Become This. Say This. Pursue This.”

Who am I to give people advice on their marketing and branding and earn money for it? Well. I’m an outside perspective. Your business is your entire life and you’re engulfed in it. You might not be able to see the challenges or changes that are even possible to be made. I spend hours researching, preparing, creating, writing and working for these clients and my time focused on them is valuable enough to be compensated for. If I weren’t providing something I believed was valuable or helpful enough I wouldn’t do this for a living.

Who am I to write a book? I don’t have an interesting story.

Who am I to write a blog? There are millions out there who have blogs.

Who am I to coach someone? I’m not enough of an expert. You will never will be.

If you think you’re incapable, you are. If you think you’re boring, you are. If you think you’re doing something wrong, you are.

If you think you’re charging too much, you’re demeaning your value. If I have a new $20 bill, how much is that worth? If I take that bill and crumple it, spit on it, step on it, how much is it worth now? It’s still a $20 bill.

 

You can lower your value or you can believe you’re worth it, no matter how much others try to lower your value. Don’t you dare let people who are too afraid of you succeeding stop you from being courageous.

 

Relax. Stay on your path and they will continue on theirs.

 

Cheers!

Marin

 

PS: Have we worked together?

“I read your reviews and I want to work with you.”  I value all the feedback I can get and I’m going to do everything I can to earn your five-star review.

If we were co-workers, I provided you a service or something I wrote on the blog made you really happy please leave a review here. Thank you for paying it forward to those looking for the best fit for their business goals.

 

Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud

Jacket: Nike. Crop & Leggings: BuffBunny Collection

 

Yesterday was my 25th birthday! (Live for a quarter of a century…check.)

Trust me when I tell you I absolutely do not take that for granted. I have lost friends at a much younger age and with what you see in the news daily there are many stories that are cut short before they can experience many of life’s milestones. This can, and probably will, be a future topic but I came across something that really made me think on that so let’s sit down and share.

Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud.

I read that on a sign as I was browsing for something to spend my birthday gift card on.

Woah. Yes.

It doesn’t say “Don’t Stop Until You’re Skinny” or “Don’t Stop Until You’re A Millionaire.”

Not until others are proud or satisfied. Not until you get made fun of or turned down. Not until you’re bored or unmotivated; but proud.

 

Being proud of yourself can be taken poorly if you’re arrogant and unwilling to humble yourself; true. Being proud of yourself is understanding that you respect yourself enough to feel good and worthy even in the face of something that makes you feel bad and less than. Every time we lost, we had to hear or see why. Understand it. Accept it. Go on.

I’m proud that even though you pissed off your sister or were a jerk to your spouse that you took a breather and came back saying ‘I’m sorry, I love you, I’m on your team.’

Don’t just go until I’m proud though; don’t stop until you’re proud.

 

Cheers,

Marin

 

PS: Thank you to every person who has reached out and to every business who has come my way! If you know someone I can help please let me know.

PPS: My sister is currently studying for her Masters at K-State. She is hosting counseling sessions at no cost for children and adults on a variety of topics including self-respect and leadership. If you would like to schedule a session with her, here is her information:

Makaela Willis, MS pending

makaelawillis@yahoo.com

 

“I am not afraid. I was made for this.” -Joan of Arc

Why Are We Doing This?

Interested in working together? I’m celebrating my one-year-launch with Free Discovery Consultations + 50% your Branding+Positioning Strategy now through March 31st. Let’s talk!

morning

People, we are currently on Day Three of Daylight Saving Time (yes, take that ‘s’ out of there!) I have been confused by what time it really is, I have read numerous friend’s posts on the funny things they have done and I have asked myself the question many of us do around this time “Why are we doing this?”

For my friends in Hawaii, Arizona and other non-clock-turners let me catch you up…

Daylight Saving Time’s main purpose is to make the most of the daylight hours. While this isn’t fun to lose an hour of sleep when we spring forward, it does make a lot of people happy because now we can do more in the daylight at a later time. If you want more numbers and details like how it conserves energy, survey results and how this correlates with car crashes, read up here.

I asked my husband “Why are we doing this?” and he answered “It all started for people like you.”

 

UH, WHAT?

 

Allow me to translate his humor. Drew was referring to the fact that I come from a family of farmers. While this was kind of funny (What do you mean YOU PEOPLE?!) this isn’t the sole reason for DLS and many agricultural professions actually opposed DLS because they preferred more daylight in the morning. Still, it got me thinking…

So many people are fatigued and tired. It’s argued that DLS actually hurts work productivity. It has people asking “Why are we doing this?” come Sunday (and Monday …and Tuesday) morning. It can impact your productivity and, as with any change, provides an opportunity to adjust. Here are three ways I answer ‘Why are we doing this?’ and ‘What am I doing this for?’ every day.

  1. Get Up. Just do it. You know this change is coming up so if you’re able to go to bed earlier and sleep in that weekend, do it. Take the time to adjust.
    • If you haven’t already placed your alarm clock far away where you have to walk to turn it off, do it.
    • Every night I make sure my alarm is set, turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and charge my phone on the bathroom counter. It’s not fun when that early morning alarm goes off but once I’m out of bed, I might as well get dressed in those clothes I laid out.
    • Just keep moving no matter how unmotivated you are. You will be more upset come 3 p.m. and you have tons to do than you would be if you’ve been getting it done since 6 a.m.
  2. There’s always a bright side. This should be your mindset every moment of every day but take this literally. It is all about your mindset.
    • Sunsets are pretty but I prefer sunrises. It is so much nicer to wake up to sun than it is to a dark, cold morning.
    • Each morning I walk my dog before working out and even when it’s cold, it wakes me up. If you were coming home from work in the dark, now you’re coming home in the sunshine.
    • I heard the kids next door playing basketball outside yesterday and if you’re familiar with the PNW, that’s a miracle in itself. Go do something fun with your time.
  3. Prioritize. I am a Type A personality which means I make lists about lists I should make. I hold firm to getting things done ahead or on time, I must be rigidly organized and I have this underlying competitiveness about weird things (EX: When a commercial comes on TV I see how much I can get done before the show comes back on. Like putting away dishes, folding laundry, etc….just try it.) Yes, this has caused some problems with the impatience it brings on but it has also been a consistent strength for my work ethic and achievements. This can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. Maybe you’ve got it figured out or maybe you don’t even know where to start.

Looking for accountability? Let’s Talk

Here are some ways I hold myself accountable and stay on track every day:

  • I use a planner and pen because it makes sense for me. You might prefer your phone. I write out everything I have for that day and carry over anything that didn’t get done yesterday. When a box is full, I look at the rest of the week and put remaining tasks in an emptier box. Here is what I have for Tuesday, March 13.
    • Go through dog closet and cleaning closet for donations (truck comes by tomorrow so this is important today but not the end of the world.)
    • Walk, 15 min HIIT and upper body workout
    • Shower
    • Blog post (I will be posting every Tuesday!)
    • Finish portfolio & get prices lined up
    • Discovery call with potential client
    • Do nails after supper
  • Now I prioritize those tasks by writing a number and circling it to the left. I will go in that order for the rest of the day, inserting time if I can and when I am done I scribble it out of existence. Ahhhhh.
  • I stay flexible for life to happen. For example, the call with a potential client didn’t come up until 9 a.m. I scheduled time with her at 11 a.m. and factored this in to a top priority. So now my list looks like this:
    1. Walk
    2. Blog post
    3. Discovery call with potential client
    4. Finish portfolio & get prices lined up
    5. 15 min HIIT and upper body workout
    6. Shower
    7. Go through dog closet and cleaning closet for donations.
    8. Cook supper (in my mind’s timeline, I don’t write it)
    9. Do nails
  • When they day is done I put a large X through it. If there is anything left undone I will move it to the next day.

Do I realize this won’t be for everyone? OF COURSE. There are people with office jobs, people with kids and their schedules, people who get stressed by an ordered timeline and prefer to just deal with whatever comes up…I get it.

This is something that works for me and if you’re feeling a change coming on like I often do, I hope you will at least give one of these a try. It takes 21 days to form a habit. If you saw at least one new idea I challenge you to commit yourself to trying that out for 7 days. No excuses. After that you can toss it, you can adjust it or you can expand on it. When in doubt, ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” The answer will either drive you or it will check your priorities.

Please tell me which of these new tips you’re going to try out and share any ideas on how you stay productive. I love reading your comments.

Cheers!
Marin

 

Interested in working together? I’m celebrating my one-year-launch with Free Discovery Consultations + 50% your Branding+Positioning Strategy now through March 31st. Let’s talk!

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