How to Grow Your MLM Tribe with Relationship Marketing | Coffee, Cards and Conversations Season 2 Episode 1

Coffee, Cards and Conversations, Season 2

Welcome to Season 2 of Coffee, Cards and Conversations!

Season 1 ended in April of 2014 due to a breast cancer diagnosis.  After a short 3.5 year break from filming we are back with seven all new interviews with business professionals sharing how they use greeting cards in their relationship marketing strategy.

A huge thank you to Abegail Navalta with Are U Kidding Me Productions for filming and producing this season of business interviews.

So let’s get on with episode one!

Grow Your MLM Tribe with Relationship Marketing

Jane Summa is a network marketer out of Spring, Texas.  Jane brilliantly uses relationship marketing to create a tribe of friends and business associates around the country.

“I joined my network marketing opportunity at the age of 40 when I realized my husband and I aren’t getting any younger and why was I working a J.O.B. the way I was, and only the owner was benefiting,” explains Jane.

Jane and I had a blast discussing relationship marketing best practices for network marketing, multi-level marketing and direct sales.  You will learn a lot from her wisdom in this interview:

Connect with Jane Summa

To learn more about the greeting card and gifting service mentioned in this interview, get back to the person who invited you to watch this video.

Matthew McConaughey Got It Right | How to Get More Testimonials and Happy Clients

If you are a long time follower of this blog, you know that my husband and I own a custom furniture business called ShaKa Studios.

We launched our website in 1998 and sell high-end niche furniture.

We do NOT have a SHOWROOM. NOR can our clients EVEN SEE the furniture before they buy!

You are probably asking yourself how that is possible.

The answer is simple. I ask for testimonials.

A Simple Way to Get More Testimonials

I use SendOutCards to send every client a thank you card and in it I simply write, “we’d love to see a photo of your new furniture in your home.”  I attach sea salt caramels and click send.  About 40% of our clients will email or text photos to us after they receive their card and caramels.

sea-salt-caramels

Sea Salt Caramels from SendOutCards

At this point you are probably wondering what Matthew McConaughey has to do with customer testimonials?  I’ll get to that in a minute.

This past summer,  I received a series of photos of a white cannonball bed in a home on Long Island, Bahamas with a note that simply said:

“And thank you for the awesome caramels…they’re gone now!!!!”

Here is one of the bed photos:

1830 Cannonball Bed by ShaKa Studios

1830 Cannonball Bed by ShaKa Studios

The caramels cost about $10 with shipping and now I have gorgeous photos of one of our handmade beds in a beach house on Long Island Bahamas. I can use these photos on our website, blog, and print advertisement. I’d say my return on investment is AWESOME!

The Magic is in the Cookies

I send a thank you card and gift using SendOutCards to each of our Shaka Studios clients. I do it because we truly appreciate our clients and want them to know so.

2 Dozen Cookies from SendOutCards

2 Dozen Cookies from SendOutCards

Received a note the other morning from a world-renowned interior design firm in Boston.  They ordered two custom red cannonball beds, so I sent them 2 dozen cookies:

Hi Shane and Kandas,

Thank you so much for the cookies and the sweet thank you card. It was a very nice surprise this morning. Hope you had a wonderful 4th and your summer is magical.
Thanks again,
Sarah and the W&S team

Sea Salt Caramel Tweet

Not only did Jamie Deaton leave a rave review about her custom bed, she also tweeted about her card and gift:

Speaking of Etsy

Here is an Etsy message from Mark, who ordered a custom TV console.  Notice his PS.

mark-90-inch-girtz-etsy-conv

Brownie Points

SendOutCards works for all sorts of businesses. I showed Bryan, a member of my Tuesday networking group, how to send cards and gifts to his insurance clients. He posted this to my Facebook wall:

bryan-testimonial

Gratitude Reciprocates

I promised I’d get to it…  In his Oscar acceptance speech, Matthew McConaughey said it best:

"It's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates." - Matthew McConaughey

“It’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” – Matthew McConaughey

Appreciate your customers and they will appreciate you back with more testimonials, repeat business and referrals.

How to Write a Thank You Card

In 2014 Mark Zuckerberg made a resolution to write a thank you card to one new person, outside of Facebook, each day.  That’s 365 thank you cards.

If the idea of writing 365 thank you cards has you tongue-tied, you are not alone!  Many people struggle with how to write a thank you card.

It doesn’t have to be hard.  A thank you note isn’t a novel.  It’s short, simple and to the point.  Four or five sentences are all you need!  Be genuine.  That’s it.

What to Write in a Thank You Card

Need more help?

The folks over at Your Dictionary have created a list of go to phrases to use in thank you cards from a simple note of appreciation to gratitude for a wedding gift.

Sample sentiments include:

  • I will always remember how you helped me to get this wonderful opportunity.
  • Thanks so much for taking the time out of your schedule to come over.
  • Thank you again for inviting us into your lovely home.
  • We love our beautiful new gift and we cannot thank you enough for your thoughtfulness.

See the complete list of thank you card examples at Your Dictionary.

Tips on how to write a thank you card. Click To Tweet
Words to the Rescue

Words to the Rescue by Steve Fadie

Words to the Rescue

If you are still tongue-tied after perusing the tips over at Your Dictionary, or you just want more ideas, then Words to the Rescue by Steve Fadie is worth checking out. It contains over 1000 sentiments to write in greeting cards. The book is available to send with a card through my online greeting card and gift shop.

SPECIAL OFFER for new clients:  Send Words to the Rescue to yourself, or anyone, for less than half-price when you contact me for a free relationship marketing consultation.  Offer good through January 31, 2015.

A side-note on how small this world really is…  One of my clients once called me to tell me that she saw this book in the gift shop and that Steve Fadie is an old friend of hers.

Relationship Marketing Tip of the Day

Not to beat a dead horse, but if someone does something nice for you, send them a thank you card.  Seriously.  Mary Kay Ash was right when she said that people walk around with an invisible sign around their necks that says “make me feel appreciated.”  When you make people feel appreciated, they appreciate you.  You bet your bottom dollar that the next time that person to whom you sent the card needs what you have,  they will call you first.  And that, ladies and gentleman, is how relationships grow your business.

More from Gratitude Geek

Fun Friday Photo | Hang Out With Groovy People

I am typing this on Thursday night. I love being able to “schedule” my blog posts in advance.  Friday mornings I like to hang out with groovy people.  More on that in a bit.

I recently installed WordPress Editorial Plugin to ALL THREE of my blogs because it makes scheduling posts so easy.  Since I am currently doing a 31 day blogging challenge, scheduling is a necessity.  Today is day 9.  So far, so good!

Curious about what else I do?  I do still own and operate a successful custom furniture business, and last month I launched Handmade in Texas, a directory of artists and artisans.  Really, Handmade in Texas is just another platform that allows me to hang out with groovy people.

Fun Friday Photo

My daughter just walked into my office to ask me a question with half of her hair flat-ironed. She looks like Cruella Deville only more beautiful.

flat-irons-are-great

Yes, she KNOWS I posted this photo.  🙂  She’s a good sport.  Aren’t flat-irons great?

Relationship Marketing Tip of the Day

Friday mornings I host Cards and Coffee at Conroe Coffee. A group of us, and the group is different each week, get together and brainstorm relationship marketing ideas. We bring our laptops and create and send greeting cards.

Today’s tip is to find a group of people you enjoy being around and hang out with them!  I’m serious, your business will grow if you hang out with groovy people.

Surround yourself with talented, motivated, positive, groovy people.

If you don’t know any talented, motivated, positive, groovy people, join a club where these types of people congregate – like Toastmasters, or Lions, or Rotary.

I joined Toastmasters in 2006 because I wanted to hang out with groovy people.  My life is much different than it was before Toastmasters.  Groovy people change everything.

Surround yourself with talented, motivated, positive, groovy people. #blogboost Click To Tweet

More from Gratitude Geek

3 Relationship Marketing Rules

We received a great Christmas gift via Twitter from a client over at ShaKa Studios. Through all the hustle and bustle, the small things we do consistently over time, to create great relationships with our clients, continue to yield positive results.

Today, I am sharing my 3 Relationship Marketing rules.

Relationship Marketing Means More Loyal Clients

Relationship marketing is about creating relationships with your clients.  When you have a relationship, your client is more likely to do business with you again, and even refer business your way. If you are really lucky, they might just talk about you on social media.

When you have a relationship, your client is more likely to do business with you again, and even refer… Click To Tweet

So, how do you create these relationships?

I built my entire 27 year sales career around relationships.  It started at my very first job, as an assistant store manager in a clothing boutique, and continues today.  You just need to remember three rules to create great relationships with your clients:

  1. Be genuine. It helps if you are genuinely nice.
  2. Be transparent. Share a bit of your personal life. Just a bit.
  3. Say “Thank You” often and with enthusiasm.

I send a thank you card and small gift, usually yummy Sea Salt Caramel from SendOutCards, to each of our custom furniture clients over at ShaKa Studios.  Here is a tweet from one client on Christmas eve:

I’d say that was a pretty groovy Christmas gift our client gave us, eh?

Your turn. How do YOU build relationships with your clients?

Treat every client like you are working with a celebrity.

3 Tips for Working with Celebrities

Working with Celebrities

This is not a post about marketing or advertising to celebrities.  Quite frankly, my husband and I have worked with all sorts of film, television, design and music superstars but we are not quite sure HOW they found our niche custom furniture website.

Google changes their algorithms so often, it is hard to keep up with the latest search engine optimization protocols.  At times, it feels like we are just throwing keywords at the internet and hoping one of them sticks.

This post is about what to do once you have that celebrity on the phone or in your store.  Here are my top three tips after working with celebrities for 15 years:

1.  Act Naturally

Be yourself.  Do not put on airs and pretenses.  Just relax and act naturally.  Answer questions honestly and above all, be polite.

Not long after we launched our online custom furniture business (in 1999), I answered a call from a potential client who had a few questions about bookcases.   We had a very friendly conversation, I answered each of her questions, and she decided to order paint finish samples so she could coordinate with her color palette.  It was a very typical call, much like every other potential sales call,  except this potential client was Adrienne Barbeau.

A few weeks later, Ms. Barbeau called back to order her custom bookcase, apologizing for taking so long to get back to me.  She had been “on location”.

The key to working with celebrities?  Treat every client like a star!

The key to working with celebrities? Treat every client like a star!

2.  Respect Their Privacy

I asked Ms. Barbeau for permission to use her name on our website, which she granted.  Many celebrities want their privacy respected, and so I will not name drop just to impress you.   And if you are lucky enough to do business with a celebrity, I highly recommend asking permission before you send out any press releases.

I have fielded sales calls from celebrities across the board, including the dynamic design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka, whose Kentucky home was featured in Elle Decor magazine shortly after the custom bed we made for them was delivered.  The bed is the featured image in the online version of the article.  Elle Decor called to ask us for specific product and company information before the article was published.  If the celebrity mentions you by name, it’s okay to mention them, too.

Some celebrities guard their privacy closely.  One client in particular had her assistant set up telephone appointments with me in advance of calling.  I was told by the assistant in no uncertain terms that her privacy was paramount.

Always ask permission to publicize a celebrity’s name in your marketing.

We asked Tate Taylor, director of “The Help” and “Get on Up”, for permission to use his name, and he sent us a raving testimonial plus photos of the bed we made for him in his home!

3.  Send a Thank You Card

A few years later, Mr. Taylor contacted us because he was moving and needed some minor repairs done to his bed.  Upon return of the repaired bed, he sent us a lovely handwritten note of appreciation.

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am a champion of the thank you card habit.  After every sale, a thank you card should be sent to the client, celebrity or not.

It’s classy and memorable.

Remember the star who needed her privacy protected?  I sent her a thank you card and gift.   A few weeks later she called to rave about my husband’s work and ordered more custom furniture.

Every Client is a Star

It is phenomenal doing business with celebrities.  Loads of fun.  But guess what?  Every client who walks through your doors needs to be treated like a super star.   Tips 1, 2 and 3 apply to all of your clients, celebrity or not.

Leave a comment or question below.  I’d love your feedback.

Spring Gifts Have Arrived!

SpringGifts-Collage-copy

 

gift-guide

Want to get a sneak peek at more upcoming new gifts? Check out Spring Gift Guide now. View the digital version HERE or head over to the SendOutCards Gift Shop to get physical copy for yourself! Happy sending!

Send a Greeting Card and Change a Life Today!

Kimberly DeVos Explains What You Need to Know Before Signing a Commercial Lease | Coffee & Cards Conversation #34

Kimberly Devos, Commercial Real Estate Broker with Cypressbrook Company in The Woodlands, Texas, explains what every new business owner needs to know before signing their first commercial lease.

 

 

Kim DeVos

Kim DeVos

Location, Location, Location

In his book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki asserts the importance of location but recounting his poor Dad’s foray into entrepreuneurism.  Poor Dad opened an ice cream parlor in Hawaii.  Seems like a good idea, but he set up shop away from the tourist areas and quickly failed.  Location, location, location.

Safety Dance

Kim and I rocking out to Safety Dance did not make the final cut.  Too bad, so sad.  If you are aching to hear the iconic song by Men Without Hats, I recommend downloading the Safety Dance Club Mix.

Greeting Cards & Gifts

livelovelaughjournalingcards

Live, Laugh, Love Journal and Journaling Cards from SendOutCards

Kim is also an independent Marketing Distributor with SendOutCards.   You can visit her greeting card and gift website to check out the amazing selection of gifts including flowers, chocolate covered strawberries and the “Live, Laugh, Love Journal and Journaling Cards” we featured in the video.

Connect with Kimberly DeVos

 

Coffee & Croissants

Be sure to tune in every Wednesday to the Gratitude Geek Podcast.

Coffee & Cards Conversations are filmed on location at Conroe Coffee and produced by Shane Rodarte.  Music by Brock Rodarte.