Podcasts as a marketing tool
Podcasts have grown in popularity and businesses can capitalise on this.
Podcasts are an audio series that is available online. The concept is similar to a radio show. Listeners can subscribe to specific podcasts, download episodes as they become available and listen to them whenever they like. Tuning into a podcast requires an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Given podcasts’ ability to attract and keep an audience, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking to capitalise on this medium as a marketing tool. You can use your podcast to position your firm as an authority on a particular topic. You can use this to help build your brand and influence the purchasing decisions of your target market.
The great news is that podcasts are an inexpensive marketing tool. You can create them using freely available software and beyond that all you need is a computer, a microphone and a topic.
Choosing your topic is absolutely key. To attract an audience you need to focus on a particular niche.
The difficult part is choosing a topic that people will be interested in that also relates to your business and the products or services that you sell. For example, if your firm offers IT services then your podcast could focus on the latest tech solutions for small and medium sized businesses.
Once you have chosen your topic, you need to choose a format. Are you going to run a solo talk-show or are you perhaps going to interview a different business-person every week? If you’re interviewing guests, it’s best to stick to one host as having too many people speaking at once can be ineffective as people are likely to talk over one another.
Once you have created your podcast, you will need to upload it to an audio streaming service provider such as iTunes or Spotify (there are many other options available). Once your podcast is up and running, you can promote it on your website and social media channels. To get the most out of your podcast, think of ways to repurpose your content so that you can raise awareness among your clients and contacts.
Learning to disagree can be a good thing.
Disagreements in business are inevitable. When managed well, they can have lots of positive outcomes.
People naturally try to avoid disagreements in the workplace. We all tend to avoid provoking conflict due to the fear of damaging our professional reputation and our relationships with colleagues. However, if you know how to disagree effectively, the outcome can be positive.
When you and your colleagues push each other to find a better solution, the creative friction can often lead to new ideas. If you and your colleagues are arguing about which option is best, you’ll be forced to explore the pros and cons of each approach and will likely agree on a better way forward.
The key to disagreeing effectively is to maintain professionalism at all times. When you disagree with someone, start by acknowledging their view and respecting their opinion. Start with the points that you and your colleague agree on then build your case for the differences between your areas of disagreement. Remember – they will feel passionate about their approach so avoid turning the situation into a contest.
Think carefully about the outcome that you want from the situation. After all, you will still have to work with this colleague every day. Sometimes it’s best to meet in the middle and reach a compromise.
Sometimes you need to concede a few points to someone else. In this case you should be prepared to “agree to disagree”. After all, a point comes when the business needs to move forward, even with an imperfect solution.
Once you agree on a solution, the key is to encourage the whole team to move past their need to disagree and move to support the final decision. By working through disagreements together, people often build a better understanding of one another and can build improved working relationships as a result. Disagreements are a learning experience for everyone involved and over time, people learn to let things go and move on.
Building an effective sales culture in your firm
Sales are the lifeblood of any business.
In the current, ultra-competitive business environment, building your sales capability has never been more important. Creating an effective sales culture involves a lot more than giving people aggressive sales targets and rolling out a new bonus scheme.
Culture is the foundation of every good business. It reflects what you stand for, what you value and what the whole firm aspires to achieve. Creating an environment that keeps teams motivated and engaged is key to building an effective sales team.
Building an effective sales culture starts with hiring the right people. You need to recruit capable, passionate and effective people who motivate others and boost morale. It can often take longer to find the right people but investing more time in the recruitment process will be worth it in the long run.
Once you have the right people, you need to invest in quality sales training. Good people are always looking for ways to improve and are keen to learn. By providing quality training, you will motivate your team and they are more likely to stay with the firm as they will feel they are developing their skills.
In order to drive an effective sales culture, your management team will need to develop well-defined objectives for each member of the sales team. Giving clear, structured objectives helps drive the right behaviours and encourages team members to focus on the right areas in order to succeed. Objectives should be challenging enough to keep the team engaged, but they should also be achievable, to keep everyone motivated.
To create a sales-focused culture, good data is essential. Ensure you have the systems and processes to track performance metrics and communicate the relevant processes to the sales team so that everyone is clear on what data must be captured for each sales opportunity, etc.
Once the data capture and reporting processes have been set up, you can use regular reporting to recognise and reward the achievements of high performing team members on a monthly or quarterly basis. This will help to reinforce the sales culture across the firm and help to motivate team members.
How to respond effectively to customer complaints
In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s never been easier for customers to complain.
No matter how good your business is, there will always be a small number of people who aren’t happy with what you do. Put simply, you can’t please everyone.
Good customer service is a key factor in the success of any business so it’s important to deal with customer complaints in an effective manner.
If a customer takes the time to complain, you should view it as an opportunity to take some feedback and learn how to improve certain aspects of your business.
As with anything in business, it’s best to be proactive. Make it easy for your customers to find email addresses and phone numbers so that they can reach you if they have a complaint. You can also prompt your customers for feedback by sending them a post purchase feedback survey.
When responding to a customer complaint, you should try to respond quickly and efficiently. This sends the message that you care and are taking their complaint seriously.
Many customer complaints cannot be solved immediately, but they can be acknowledged. If you receive a complaint, try to respond on the same day confirming that you have received their complaint and that you are looking into the situation. This will help your customer feel that their voice is being heard.
Regardless of the nature of the complaint, focus on listening to the customer and try to understand the situation from their perspective. Then apologise. You may not be sorry that they didn’t like your product or service, but you can apologise that their expectations were not met or that they had a disappointing experience.
The customer doesn’t always have to be right but they should always be heard. The simple act of listening and apologising can often be enough to resolve the situation.
You can then shift the conversation towards a solution. Avoid making any false promises but agree to take feedback from the customer and share it with others in the business so that you can consider how to improve elements of your product or service offering. This shows the customer that you value their feedback.
Customer complaints can be stressful and difficult to deal with. However, they are also a source of feedback and should be viewed as an opportunity to learn more about the customer experience and to find ways to improve.