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Clients’ Expectations: 5 Things I’ve Learned the Hardway

Honest truth. I never wanted to start my own business. I didn’t want to have to work my day job and then come home at night at work some more. But all that changed when I met my husband. Together, our business development firm can do amazing things. We can do SEO, public relations, online marketing, website design, social media, IT, network management – basically you name it, and we can do it. If not, we’ll find someone who can.

Another truth. I’m not young anymore. There I said it. And one day, I will be forced to retire but I’m not ready. So owning our own business, WinnComm, will keep me thinking, producing, telling stories, long into my future.

I’ve read several articles and most say it take three years for a business to be successful. The first year you lose money. The second you break even and the third, there is profit. I would say that is the track we are on. And although my patience wears thin, this is not the hardest part of owning a business. The hardest part is managing client expectations.

When a client isn’t satisfied, it frustrates me. I even go as far as feeling as though I’ve failed, even though we’ve done everything we can to meet client’s expectations. I’m a perfectionist and I go beyond the scope of work WinnComm has been hired to do so yes, it hurts a little when a client isn’t satisfied. I try to not take it personal but this is my time, my effort, my brainstorming ideas all for the win and to make client successful! You can get a client in the top spot of two high ranking search engines, BING and Yahoo! but it’s not Google. We got them to page four within one month and it was climbing but they lost their patience.WinnComm, LLC We told them upfront it would take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, especially with Google and especially since Google penalized them for doing blackhat tactics not long before they hired WinnComm. They needed to build credibility with Google, Our strategy was working but they lost their patience. We were disappointed that our client lost faith in the strategy. We had wins. We had Bing and Yahoo! Google was climbing. But it wasn’t the big player. They wanted out after only two months.

Another client. A start-up company tackling one of the hardest topics for businesses. Diversified team and how to make them successful. The firm hired WinnComm to get speaking opportunities. After researching local and national conferences, I’ve learned that most want speaking experience, video tapes of speaking gigs – none of which our client had. We felt we needed to step back some and try to establish reputation through media relations. I’ve spent countless
hours creating media lists, researching stories about diversity and discrimination, introducing the firm to local and national reporters. The firm had no news to share. No clients to use as an example for stories. No speaking engagements. But she had passion, 30 years of human resources experience and her own personal testimony. We’ve gotten her three interviews, one live spot on TV, another TV interview, and a blog interview. I’ve introduced her to over 125 reporters. We’re establishing credibility, building reputation. And yet, within 2.5 month, she gave notice – just as we were going to present her with the PR plan. There wasn’t even enough time to build, grow and get local speaking opportunities so that we could videotape her and submit her for larger opportunities. She was sure happy when we got her those interviews, but it didn’t lead to work, so she got deflated.

At this point, I’ve had it. I wanted to quit WinnComm. I take it too personal when I need to look at it as just business. I reached out to other PR professionals and dsc_0191_editthey agree that managing clients’ expectations are the hardest thing to do. One firm puts a clause in her agreement that PR is never guaranteed. It you want 100 percent guarantees, do advertising. She set expectations right up front.

And it’s not all bad either! We help a local veterinary animal hospital with their storytelling, client relations and social media. They love us. We’ve grown their online reputation, increase their engagement, give one-on-one communication with their clients so they are learning why their clients come to them with their beloved pets. When we get emails of praise, we are happy! Plus, we get to play with cute puppies, kitties and guinea pigs.

We helped a non-profit organization that helps veterans get a radio interview, a TV story and a story on a Veteran’s blog with only two days notice about an event. It was just a one-time thing but they were happy with the results we got them in such a short amount of time. (We also almost had a second TV interview but were called away on their way to our story location. Bummed but used to it by now).

But like I said, I’m a perfectionist and I want to make all of our clients happy. What the saying, … you can’t please everyone? So here’s what we’ve learned over the past year and half of starting WInnComm about client expectations. (Now, my husband has had many businesses so maybe this is what I’ve learned).

  1. Manage expectations upfront – your own as well as the clients.
  2. Discuss with the client that there are no guarantees and that it takes time. Don’t just put it in their contract. Verbalize it
  3. Small businesses with minimal funding have higher expectations. Realize this if you decide to hire them within their budget, which is typically way below your normal prices. Then communicate often, maybe even over communicate. Let them know you’re not sitting idle and you’re working hard on their behalf. It’s the truth.
  4. Develop goals and strategies upfront before doing any work. Create KPI and a timeline. This is will help manage expectations and they can decide upfront if they want to proceed with the contract.
  5. Don’t take it personal. If you know you’ve done everything you can, even beyond what the agreement called for, then know you’ve done your best. Maybe sit down with the client, let them know the scope of work you’ve completed and if they still want to give their 30-day notice, then it’s just business. (I keep telling myself this over and over… I hope it works one day but I’m new to this. I haven’t been able to sleep and it’s stressing me out big time. It’s just business. It’s just business).

Thanks,

Sharon

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“C” is for “Creative Catalogs”

A lot have changed in the market over the years – a tough economy, rising prices of goods and customer’s need for high quality products have imposed new demands on businesses. Evidently, the need for helpful, reliable information has never been greater. Catalogs have always been a great source of product information. When people need to buy a product they refer to catalogs to guide them in finding the right product at the right price. But increasing sales does not necessitate creating the perfect catalog. A relatively small improvement in your catalog can already result in a proportionate increase in sales and profits.

So before you print your catalog, make a careful analysis of your old catalog. Pick out the flaws in it and try to improve it. Gather all the letters that you received from your customers and look through their criticisms, suggestions and comments. These may be a big help in designing a better catalog. And as you are designing your catalog think of your customers and the reasons why they would want to buy your product. Think of what they want and what they need and use this in creating a catalog that accomplishes your customer’s desires.

Thus, to create a striking catalog use color combinations that are attractive and pleasing to the eyes. You can use full color in the cover and two colors in the inside. Keep in mind that people respond better and remember longer good-looking catalogs so make your color choices carefully. Likewise, to attract new customers you can add new products and information to the products featured in your catalog. For instance, you can feature bizarre items, include exciting products or include unusual facts about specific items. You can also include information on how to use the product, maintain them and operate them. This information will help your customers significantly and as a result they would keep your catalog for future references. In addition, this would increase customer confidence to your company thereby increasing their inclination to buy.

If there are products in the old catalog that are unprofitable then perhaps you can promote them more strongly in your new catalog. But if it doesn’t really sell, them you can get rid of them or replace them with new items. You need not place them again in the catalog as they can be a nuisance there.

When you are ready to print your new catalog, make sure that you get the services of an experienced and knowledgeable printer with a reputation for quality and reliability. Your local print shop may be able to do the print job for you but there are also printers online that can do it for low prices, easy ordering and instant price quotes. It is up to you to determine which printing service to avail.

So give your business a distinctive personality and create catalogs that can be a special marketer in the minds of your prospects and customers.

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Finding The Perfect Christmas Gift For Her. Yes your other half!

It’s that time of the year once again – there’s a chill in the air and a spring in your step. It’s Christmas once again! And while there is music, cheer, fun, and fervor everywhere you are probably pondering about finding that perfect Christmas gift for your special someone…

The wonderful cakes, trees bathed in bright lights, and Christmas carols and the Santa usher in a season of hope and joy, and it’s only right that you want to make sure that the special someone in your life loves her gift so much that she jumps with joy and gives you a huge hug as she peels off the wrapper from her present. Yes, there is nothing that quite beats the excitement of opening up presents that have been gifted with love and thought!

While most of us know what we want as a Christmas present, it’s never easy to find that perfect Christmas gift for our loved ones. Here on our website, we have several amazing gifts that will remind your beloved of you every time they see it. Here are some Christmas gift ideas for all you men who want to choose only the best gift for that special lady in your life – a gift that’s perfect for her!

A Bright Sparkle: Bijou
When Marlin Monroe sang “A diamond are a girl’s best friend” little would she have known that it would become a girl’s anthem! Every woman loves jewelry and if it’s given as a gift, the joy is doubled. If you can’t afford an expensive diamond jewelry piece don’t sweat it. You still have plenty of options from trinkets to baubles to silver jewelry and these won’t pinch your pocket either!

Scent of a woman: Perfume
Perfume… lilting fragrances that can add mystery, sensuality, or style to a woman’s personality. You really can’t go too wrong by gifting a perfume. Whether it’s a branded one or a French perfume, it’s bound to be a smash hit with your lady love.

Oh! But remember not to unwittingly pick up a perfume that smells more of an insect repellant than an enticing, pleasant fragrance. Seek advice of a lady friend to be safe!!!

Style for Her Feet: Shoes, shoes, shoes! 
Paris Hilton has a house full of them, and many other celebrities need a new one each day. Yes, we are talking about shoes. A woman can’t ever have enough shoes! Whether these are stilettos, platforms, wedge-heels, flats, slingbacks, boots, or heels, she’ll always want them all, and more.

So, if you want to gift your lady a gift she will remember forever, then shoes should be on the top of your gift options list. Buy her a pair of delicate, feminine shoes or just beautifully detailed; make sure they suit her personality.

A quick word of advice: buying shoes for someone other than yourself can be tricky, so make sure you buy a size that fits and check with the shop or online mall on their exchange policy and period.
It’s all in the Bag: Handy Handbags

A handbag doesn’t really go out of fashion. Women of all age groups and likes would gladly accept a fashionable and trendy handbag or clutch purse as a Christmas gift.

If your lady is young and individualistic then pick up a trendy, stylish clutch purse in leather or fabric. If the gift is for a teenager, a brightly colored tote or sequenced wallet may be a good bet. But if you’re shopping for a mature woman then you should buy a handbag in a larger size and a dark color (black, browns, and grays).

Trendy, Head Turning Eyewear
Branded or designer sunglasses rate high on the style quotient. There is a really wide range of eyewear to choose from. Sunglasses are both useful as well as fashionable and she’s bound to think of you every time she steps out into the sun!

You should try to find a shape that suits her face cut; oval frame for an angular face and squarish frame for a round shaped face. She’s bound to look like a fashionista when she wears them!

Time after Time: Watch
If your lady loves watches (like I do) then she’ll simply adore a stylish, sleek, watch. Not only does a watch make a great budget gift, it will also stay with her for longer and be useful. Just make sure you know what shape, color, and design she likes and freeze that moment in time when she kisses you for this fantastic gift!

Getting intimate: Sheer Lingerie
Big on attitude, comfort, and style sheer lingerie is the sexiest gift you can give her. Not only will she enjoy its feel against her body, but you can enjoy it as well. But sheer lingerie should only be gifted to your wife or partner, and not your crush!

Choose from slinky, ultra-feminine, cute, or just plain sexy…

Dressed as a Diva: Make-up

When picking up makeup or cosmetic item, remember to check the quality. Make-up makes a woman feel pretty, pampered, and prepared. Choose colors she usually wears, and pick assorted items such as kohl, eye shadow, lip gloss etc and have them wrapped in an attractive paper and tie it up with ribbons to make it more personal.

You can never, ever go wrong with…
Chocolates! Yes, it’s the thought that counts. So don’t sweat if you can afford the fancy jewelry items, perfume or clothes. Buy her a dozen of red roses, or a bunch of her favorite flower and pen down a romantic poem – your ode to her – and you can be sure this Christmas gift will stay etched in her memory for a lifetime.

Best of all…
You can Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime