There are a lot of scanner apps. Input the info gathered and let it prompt a useful and valuable followup. Connect on LinkedIn, sure, but do more. For example, follow up a week later by following the person on Twitter, and send an email shortly after about something you talked about.
Business cards still hold a purpose, which is quickly exchanging information at events, conferences and other networking opportunities. However, for the initial connection, a business card is still the easiest and best way to exchange contact information. Are business cards as useful as they once were? It can also spark a memory of the time and place you met, separating you from others. Perhaps I'm an old-school, new-generation millennial, but I still love exchanging business cards. Are they absolutely necessary?
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No hello, LinkedIn. Do they still provide value? Like a physical paperback compared to an e-reader, there is something still meaningful and personal in giving and receiving cards when meeting people. Business cards can still make a powerful impression on prospective clients.
I don't believe email is too informal, but business cards are far more professional to bring to a face-to-face meeting. An email can be lost in a sea of spam and contact folders; a business card will remain in a client's wallet for years. Plus, if you're networking or giving an elevator pitch, it always helps to have the card. A business card is, in many cases, the first tangible impression of your business, and it's much more personal than an email or a LinkedIn invitation.
Beyond that, business cards that are creative and stand out aren't only sticky and memorable, but they get shared with more and more people, continuing to promote your business and brand. I am a tactile person, and the look and feel paper thickness! For someone in PR, I think they are critical to show your brand and elevate your look among competitors. I have my business cards handprinted on a letterpress and always get a comment whenever I hand one out.
When I receive a business card, I create an opinion about the company as soon as the card touches my hand. Is it thin and flimsy? Is it thick cardstock?
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Was it printed? Was it embossed? Is it a traditional business card size? To me, having a quality business card equates to having a successful business. Technology doesn't always mean leaving behind something traditional. We once tried integrating QR codes into business cards; no one used them and it was time-consuming. Cards give people a sense of importance and an easy way to connect.
It's not only a way to share information with a colleague, but it's a signature kind of tool for your employees to feel like part of your organization. Redundancy is how humans communicate. We use multiple physical "media" e.
When is LinkedIn going to offer instant transfer of contact information? Now I have their information and they have mine. But they still have a place in this world. So invest in staff training and education. See to it that your team members know your products inside and out. A good way to do this is to provide hands-on training. Elevator, a jewelry retailer in Toronto has a unique approach to product education. Whenever new merchandise arrives at the store, owner Niko Downie unboxes products with his staff.
They carefully examine each item and talk about its materials, story, and how to sell it to customers. Once your employees are familiar with your items, conduct role-playing sessions where you pretend to be a customer asking about the products. Bring up common questions and concerns, then evaluate how each team member addresses them.
Finally, as Will mentioned above, train your staff well, and train them some more neverenough. There are always new developments in product, sales, and customer service. Learn how to tap into that emotion, truly connect with your customer, and the rest will follow. A woman might choose to buy a dress because it makes her feel good about herself. Or, a family might decide to buy the most expensive car seat because it makes them feel more secure about the safety of their child.
These are just some examples of how feelings affect purchases. Most importantly, make them feel proud to be part of it. One example of a company with a great story is Hart Schaffner Marx, a brand that sells tailored suits for men.
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Aside from the superior quality of their products, Hart Schaffner Marx prides itself in selling products that are manufactured in the United States. Apply the same principle to your business. What does your brand stand for? What are your values? Use the answers to these questions to tell a powerful story that your customers can relate to. Get to know them one on one and connect. Ask them how they are. They will appreciate your help in situations, and this builds camaraderie and respect.
Group training sessions and team building are great, but employees could also benefit from one-on-one time with their supervisors. Aside from getting to know them better, you might be able to figure out how to get each individual to work or perform better. Test, ask customers, develop new ideas, adapt, ask again, and follow up the results.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming you know what the market wants. The only way to understand your target audience is to talk to them. A good approach is to test a product or concept using pop-up stores. An increasing number of retailers are taking this route.
Birchbox, for instance, launched pop-up events in select cities last year to figure out where they should set up their next brick-and-mortar store. The worst thing you can do is to feel cozy in your existing situation. Keep yourself abreast with the latest trends and innovations in your industry. Are there any emerging technologies you need to be aware of?
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Should you jump on a particular trend? The world is moving at an incredibly fast pace, and retailers have to pay attention to not get left behind. See to it that the customer remains a customer even when they leave your store. Some call this omnichannel, I call it common sense.
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Pay attention to the sales and communication channels that your customers are using, and then establish a presence in those channels. It goes without saying that consumers spend time online and on their mobile devices, but you need to dig deeper to determine the best way to use those channels.
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Where and how do they conduct product research? What apps, websites, or services do they use throughout their shopping journeys? Get answers to these questions and use them create your omnichannel strategy. Hiring the right employees starts by finding individuals with the best attitude for the job. Finding individuals who are genuine, hardworking, and naturally enthusiastic about your field is a big challenge. This is why you should hire for attitude before skills.