How A Little Customer Appreciation Can Go A Long Way

Franchise Success through Customer Appreciation

When running a business, or operating a franchise, customer appreciation is generally not a subject at the front of a business owner’s mind. Few people realize how big of an impact the simple act of giving thanks can make on their bottom line. It’s important for any franchisee to remember that clients are the life-line of your business – and in order to be successful as a company, one must win over the hearts of their customers.

Ensuring your customers are happy and satisfied starts with interacting with each customer in a meaningful and impactful way. Every positive interaction with a customer is a step in the right direction, and will make customers think of your business before visiting your competition the next time they need your product or service. If you think back – when is the last time you felt truly valued as a customer, or were sincerely thanked for your patronage? If you are able to remember this, how did that make you feel about the business? It isn’t often that companies pay attention to this small but important element of business, and implementing a customer recognition plan is an obvious priority if you want to stand ahead of your competition.

Customer Appreciation Franchise Success Coaching

Showing customer appreciation is a powerfully effective strategy for retaining customers and increasing each individual customer’s life-time value. Like any marketing strategy, this should be a tactical plan you can implement into your current process.

Customer appreciation should begin with a good foundation, such as developing an authentic company culture which will also help your staff feel more empowered to go the extra mile and help solve customer’s issues. Your company culture should emphasize the importance of acknowledging, thanking and recognizing customers for their loyalty.

Ideas for a customer appreciation program include:

  • Training your staff in the importance of customer recognition. Reward your employees when they have satisfied a customer.
  • Consider personalized messages to your important customers. This can include hand-written notes, or exclusive gifts.
  • Consider loyalty cards – these will reward customers for repeatedly patronizing your business. Make these valuable enough to stand out from the rest. The average U.S. household is enrolled in more than 18 loyalty programs, but is only active in 8.4.
  • Free gifts with purchase are another effective mechanism for rewarding customers.
  • Holding events – the International Franchise Association has some great tips on event marketing to grow relationships with your customers.

You can also get input from your employees on what they would want as a customer. Including your employees in this process will help cement this strategy, and make them feel like they are a part of the company and the decision, which will help them perform better.

In the end, a little appreciation can go a long way in today’s world, where everyone is constantly connected to the internet, social media and technology. Small acts of appreciation and kindness can help set your business apart – but remember to be sincere and genuine! If customers get the idea that this strategy was only implemented to increase profits, well they will quickly turn their attention elsewhere. Figure out what is important to your customers band implement something for your specific customer base – you, or your customers will be thankful.

Thom helps business owners and franchise operators achieve success.

As the managing director of Sunrise Business Advisors, I have owned and operated a multitude of different businesses as well as holding senior management positions with a fortune 500 company. In addition to being a Certified Business & Executive Coach, I am also a Certified Franchise Coach, as well as Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and Trainer. Our philosophy is to provide coaching, mentoring, and advisory services to help business owners achieve the businesses, the teams and the lives that they’ve always dreamed of having. We accomplish this through a tried and proven process of learning and understanding your needs and we’ve always achieved high marks with our valued clients. Let us help you become a Franchise Success story.

Additionally Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

Prevent a Summer Sales Slump

Business managers and sales prospects alike are typically operating in summer mode, creating a summer sales slump

seizing the limited seasonal opportunities for warm weather activities with family and friends and vacation travel. But, of course, you still want your business to enjoy a profitable sales season. Often, suggestions offered for avoiding a summer sales slump are actually fundamental year-round business requirements. However, there are time-proven sales-boosting initiatives for businesses that typically experience reduced sales production during summer months.

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Summer Sales Slump

Create a summer surge

Mine your archives of unclosed sales prospects, and re-engage with these valuable leads.

So much of the sales work is already done. Follow up with these prospects offering an opportunity to wrap up their decision-making before they embark on personal summer plans.

Fourth quarter pre-selling

Summer is the naturally ideal period for setting up fourth quarter sales.

Use the opportunity to cold call, or otherwise create new leads, or work to nurture existing leads. Cultivating leads for closing by year-end is the smart way to avoid a summer sales slump. In utilizing slower summer months to build toward a larger yearly sales total, strong closers can often effectively inspire prospects to make the buying decision during the summer as a convenience. Prospective customers may prefer completing their business transactions with your company in third quarter if a hectic fourth quarter push toward their year-end deadlines is predictable.

Business socializing

Embrace the mood of summer culture by mixing business with seasonal pleasures.

Organize activities to entertain clients and develop mutually beneficial business relationships. These are ideal venues to promote repeat sales. Such strong business connections also generate referral business, which perpetually breeds referral business as each new client referred, in turn, provides referrals.

Manage distractions

Staying on track during vacation season is challenging.

Especially for business professionals with children at home from school for months, personal responsibilities might be much increased during this time of year. With so much going on, burn-out is a heightened risk. The most consistently well-performing business managers and sales professionals are characteristically those who understand the wisdom of relaxing to recharge the mind and body. So, take a vacation at some point during the year. If you don’t vacation during the summer, do take some time outdoors during these months to enjoy the nice weather.  It is prudent for you and your staff not to dismiss this important step. Decompressing periodically sharpens mental focus, contributes to physical health, and helps sustain motivation. These are essentials for maintaining high-intensity sales efforts over a long-term.

Internal contests

Shake up the routine with some outdoor meetings, if practical. Consider creating friendly competition for reaching seasonally applicable performance benchmarks in obtaining new leads, new sales, repeat sales, up-sells, referral leads, etc.

External messaging

Adjust the language of your marketing and sales messages to relate to the seasonal interests of your prospects. A presentation modified to make it refreshingly summerish will represent a new idea to your prospects and impress them with an image that seems energetic, imaginative, and forward-moving.

Use this tool: 10-Things-for-Your-Best-Summer-Ever

Thom Torode is a NJ based Executive & Business Coach.

He has owned over 5 different businesses and is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors. Thom’s expertise includes working with those business owners who have getting them unstuck and back in growth mode. Additionally Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

Celebrating Small Business Week

national-small-business-weekWelcome to National Small Business Week May 12-16.

SBW was created in 1963 in an effort to honor and show appreciation to small business owners throughout the United States. The first National Small Business Week began when John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation, which ushered in a tradition that still stands to this day. Every year since Kennedy’s 1963 signature, each U.S. president has signed a proclamation to continue observance of the holiday.

Small-business-week-final-logoSmall Business Week provides the government and citizens an opportunity to thank small business owners for their contributions to the United States economy.

It’s estimated that 27.2 million small businesses operating within the U.S. are responsible for 60-80% of all new jobs created each year. Because small businesses, and owners, are so important to stimulating the economy as well as job growth, this special week and rewards system honors the contributions these businesses make to society.

During Small Business Week top entrepreneurs are awarded with a variety of honors by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Awards are not only given to entrepreneurs, but also companies and institutions which help make running a small business possible. This includes awards such as Lender of the Year, honoring financial institutions which offer small business loans. Other awards honor contractors, business development centers, Female business owner groups and more.

The ability for anyone to start and run a small business allows residents of the U.S. to live the “American Dream” where anything is possible with a good work ethic. To 971374_10151612647979847_1306073853_ncontinue supporting the creation of small businesses, it’s important we continue to provide support and assistance to existing and potential small business owners. These small business owners rely heavily on loans from financial institutions as well as the assistance of various business groups. Small business centered groups help to educate individuals regarding the pitfalls of business ownership, and help ensure they become successful.

As a website and business which supports small business owners, and the growth of their business, we are interested in hearing your perspective. Please share with us what, if any, additional support mechanisms the government and/or financial institutions can do to help the small business owner, Can you think of ways we, as a nation, can assist the common individual with fulfilling their dreams of owning and running a small business?

Some ideas presented for helping small business owners in the past include:

  • Easier access to appropriate educational materials
  • Better education on the risks of starting a small business and how to avoid common pitfalls.
  • Credit leniency with loan requirements.
  • More streamlined loan approval processes.
  • Education centered around applying for, and being approved for, a loan.
  • Shop Local – Buy Local Programs

Small Business WeekaPlease include any additional ideas you have in the poll or comments section below!

We would love to hear from our audience and begin a helpful discussion about this topic. Also feel free to share how you will be celebrating Small Business Week.


What Does Business Networking Mean?

Do you need help figuring out the Business Networking Puzzle?iStock_000025312112Small


When running or marketing your business, you will often hear how critical the aspect of networking is to the process of growing your business and achieving your goals.  Through reaching out to a network of personal and business connections, you can leverage these contacts to provide a steady supply of business.  Business networking is one of the most effective low-cost marketing methods available to you.  Often times, networking is absolutely free – the only thing it costs you is a small amount of time.  When there is a cost involved in networking, this cost is generally for attending conventions and other industry events.

The individuals you connect with on a regular basis are often the people who understand your business the best, and who have their own network of prospects they can turn into referrals for your business.  Through networking properly, you can drastically increase your business through word of mouth marketing alone.

Consumers trust recommendations from individuals in their network, and are more likely to become a customer if referred to by someone they know or work with.  For example, a recent study by Nielson shows that 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising.

When beginning the process of networking, it is easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed.  It’s important to approach networking for business growth in a strategic and focused manner.  Reach out to individuals who you think you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with.  Remember to be proactive; you should always keep networking top of mind when you are meeting new people. When forming new relationships, consider how you may be able to leverage the relationship or partnership, and also what you can do for them.  The key to networking is reciprocation, you have to give as much as you get – but with a strong network, this will be easy to accomplish.

There are many groups available for the business owner.  These networking groups are full of individuals, like yourself, seeking to reach out and meet other professionals.  Because there is an expectation of networking in these groups, it is often the easiest place to begin.iStock_000012461219Small

In the end remember the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Learning and mastering the skills to build strong relationships will create a competitive advantage that any savvy business professional can utilize to create endless business opportunities.

If you’d like to learn more about Networking and how it can help your business, lets talk.  I can help you learn about groups in your area and help you to evaluate why one group may be a better fit over another.BNI

Thom Torode is a NJ based Executive & Business Coach. He has owned over 5 different businesses and is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors.  Additionally Thom is a Director Consultant in the middle NJ region of BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

Inspiring Greatness…Developing Success!

Think Like a Marketing Pro

How to Think Like a Marketer

      “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well                the product or service fits him and sells itself.” ‑- Peter F. Drucker
       “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.Milan Kundera
 Marketing and strategy

Many people say that they hate marketing. That’s usually because they think marketing is all about advertising and sales.

Marketing is a process, not an event. It involves research, promotion and distribution as well as advertising and sales. But perhaps the most important, and most overlooked, aspect of marketing is having the right marketing attitude or “marketing mindset.”

When you have a marketing mindset, no matter what role you perform in the organization, you ask how you can build awareness among customers and clients about your products and services.

Having a marketing mindset also means that you strive to become a profit center. For instance, if you cost the company “x” amount in terms of salary and benefits, then your work output would be contributing money to cover that and more.

“The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it.” ‑- Sergio Zyman

The Marketing Mindset in Action

As you develop a marketing mindset, ideas of how to meet marketing goals on a daily basis will come easily, but here are a few ways to get started:

Know your product or service inside out. This may sound obvious but think about how many times we, as customers, have walked away from a purchase because the person helping us couldn’t answer a few basic questions about their product or service.

Find ways to leverage the competition’s mistakes. It’s easy to see what the competition is doing well and to try to replicate their success. But just as much (and sometimes more) can be learned by observing what the competition is doing poorly. Think of the competition’s weak spot as the place where a client’s needs are not being met. What can you do to step in and meet those needs?

Point your clients and customers in your direction. If you’re in customer service, try to solve all customer problems by pointing them to something your company sells.

The “bottom line” isn’t just about money coming in. Looking for ways to save is just as important as finding new revenue streams. If you’re in accounting, for example, instead of just recording where the money is going, watch for places to save. When looking at those numbers is there a way that sales can be made more efficiently?

Every customer or client meeting is a networking opportunity. The term “networking” makes some people uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be about “schmoozing” or closing a sale. It’s simply having a conversation in an effort to build new relationships or strengthen current ones.

Marketing is an exchange. The marketer asks the consumer to perform an action (say, buying a soda), and in exchange, the marketer gives the consumer a benefit (in this case, sweet taste and a cool image). An exchange like this is true commercial marketing, where the objective is to get people to buy something.

So, what does it mean to think like a marketer? In part, it means recognizing your side of the exchange—the fact that you need to offer something. Understanding your prospects needs are critical.

  • What does my audience want?
  • What do they care about?
  • What do they dislike?

In business, everything is marketing, and marketing is everything.  All of it affects or contributes to the profitability of the company.

Thom Torode is a Morris County based Executive & Business Coach. He owned over 5 different businesses before founding Sunrise Business Advisors, LLC.  To reach Thom give him a call for more information.

When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

Sunrise Business Advisors can be reached at 862-219-6890 or