marketing Archives - Sandi Krakowski, Building Brand Equity For Small Businesses

The Skill Of Listening For Huge Company Growth

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The Skill Of Listening For Huge Company Growth

By: Sandi Krakowski

Company owners do keyword research, brand analysis, review historical data and all the other big methods they can come up with to validate whether or not their product will sink or swim. Few ever practice the age-old art of listening.

Your prospective customers are talking all day long. They're showing up on Facebook talking about their dreams, their worries and their fears.  Forums are filled with prospective buyers who are looking for someone who will give them a listening ear.

Gone are the days of "Big CEO and Company" going into the marketplace with an announcement that draws millions. Telling the market what they need doesn't work. The question might really be, did it ever?

Your present and future clients are savvy and they are smart. They won't fall for the old "Squawk Box" Charlie Brown's teacher messages any longer. They aren't listening and they don't care. 

But they do want you to hear!

Will you hear their pain? Feel their needs and pay attention to what wakes them up in the middle of the night? 

Listen to what your customers are asking for. Listen to what your competitor's customers are saying. Lean in…. pay very close attention, listen to the "chatter" and take copious notes. There's no reason to go without this information that is steadily flowing. The key to big profits in today's market is a good listening ear.

What Do They Need?

Your clients are very aware of what they need. But when you enter the marketplace a bigger issue must be faced. Are YOU aware of what they need?  This is the real issue when it comes to selling products or services. 

What is it they really need?  Every person needs value, love, recognition and security. They'll pay a fortune to get it, as sales reports online reveal. Even during what was viewed as a 'down season' last year more than $41.2 BILLION dollars were spent on Black Friday alone! And we thought people were struggling?

This was considered a lower than average Black Friday! More people spent less and billions were spent

The reality of being successful in sales is summed up in this principle: People are looking to have their needs met. Period. You can bring joy, security, satisfaction to them as you serve them what they want and as they come to know you even better, you can serve them again and again. This is brand loyalty and long term business in the making. Giving your customers what they want. 

It might sound crazy, but to the successful business owner, it's "Business 101." 

What Are They Complaining About?

If you pay attention online through forums, chat groups, social media and other places people hang out, you'll quickly learn what they need. It's right there for anyone to discover. But it takes time to pay attention and sadly, far too many companies aren't listening.

Amidst all the headlines of dropping profits, increased layoffs and lost investments something has remained the same that only a select few are paying attention to. People are still buying what they love, dreaming about what they want and making it plainly obvious what they don't like!

Solve a problem with a unique solution and you'll make a huge profit. If people really love your solution, get great satisfaction and you treat them better than anyone else, you will never lack as a company. And if you pay very careful attention to your client's growing needs, you could easily create a long term business. Pretty simple, isn't it? 

Are People Disillusioned And Unaware?

Another great key to long term profits is in becoming a resource that people can turn to and trust. Revealing hidden information, making difficult things simple and serving as an expert is a great way to grow a company. 

It is my belief that we are at a critical time in history when people really do want the right information, they desire change and truly do want to know the truth. This is also a vulnerable time where less than commendable or reliable 'so-called' experts are teaching things they know nothing about.

Colleges fill our heads with notions of 'security and long term dreams' when the sad reality is this- if you don't market a product that is highly in demand– you'll have an extremely hard time making a profit. Pay very close attention to what people are asking for. What are your customers struggling with? What do they want? What are they seeking?

If you can give it to them, with value and excellence, you're on the verge of huge success!

The marketplace pays for value. Your value is directly related to how much you can bring to the people you serve. If you help those who are unaware, confused or even disillusioned you could be personally responsible for helping others change their lives. This is one of the funnest ways to build a business. Bring value and change to your customers and they will love you forever!

Give It With Excellence And Honor

Excellent customer services seems to have left the face of the earth. Business owners are watching their bottom line more than the satisfaction of the customers they serve. This has not helped our economy one bit and needs a serious change. Talk about needing a revival in the marketplace! Where are the happy service representatives, CEO's who can't wait to serve and product developers who dream of inventions at all hours of the night!?

If you serve people with excellence and honor you will be remembered forever. Because it's so rare, you could quite frankly triple your profits if you do it long term. While it might not be easy, it surely isn't popular and it isn't something you even hear about much any longer in business school, it is always and has always been right. 

Good will and honor will pay you much more than any stock investment could and it will leave you with a good night sleep each night when you lay your head down on the pillow. 

But what defines good will? Is it being available to your customers 24/7 through Social Media for every question or notion they might have? No. Not at all. But it does mean that when you are open,  you give with all of your heart and with all that you have. Serve with excellence and honor and you'll rise to the top!

Rise To The Top!

The KEY to rising to the top is to serve better, work harder and go farther than the rest. This doesn't mean you work longer hours, you spend your entire life on Facebook or you never sleep-rather, it means every hour you work, ever minute you spend building your company, every decision you make is to the furthering of your company and your customer's service.

The investment you make is the investment you'll receive. It never ceases to amaze me when people write me on Facebook and say, "Hey could you just give me some input?" and they continue with over 10 paragraphs of details on what they need "input" on. 

Before you think I'm being hard on anyone, let me tell you the truth- you aren't going to ever reach your goals in business by begging people for help on Facebook or by asking a big company owner to just give their 'quick input' anytime you need something. This is poverty in the mind. It's a cheap way of doing things and it makes the person 'seeking' look desperate. Desperation is what you'll receive. And you'll NEVER serve with honor and excellence with this method!  Invest into your future and your future will reward you handsomely. Take the time and money to get some one on one mentoring from someone who is doing what you want to do! Don't expect free handouts, fast 'quick input' answers to change your future. Do the time and do the work. 

Rise to the top! Do what others will not! While other's waste time and worry about what tomorrow will bring, go create more products that customers are begging for and give it to them with the best spirit possible! 

Turn Your Ear Into The "Chatter" For Bigger Results!

Listen, they are talking. Listen carefully to what they need. Pay attention to your keyword research, do your due diligence when it comes to PPC and media buys. But when push comes to shove, listen. Listen carefully and your prospective customers will tell you exactly what they need! Then it's your job to give it to them and give them all you've got!

If a budding business owner says, "What if I don't know what I want to do" or "I don't know what I want to sell" they are still thinking like a lazy employee, waiting for someone to tell them what to do. CEO's don't think this way. Stellar employees don't even think this way, either! Even a valuable employee is proactive, making decisions, looking for ways to serve and go the extra mile

They KNOW what they want to do. It DRIVES them, it STEERS them, sometimes it POSSESSES them… and the war becomes, HOW TO GET IT DONE.. not a miry abyss of wondering what to do next!

Listen more, serve with all you have, give with excellence and work with honor….. and YOU my With friends will see your dreams come true!

With love,

Sandi Krakowski 

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The Social Media Engagement Snowball

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The Social Media Engagement Snowball

by Jeremy Krakowski

Why is engagement more important than the amount of followers you have on Social Media?

It’s a snowball effect that a lot of advertisers and social media marketers ignore at the core level, but is the very foundation of how social media works.

It’s about human interaction.

If no one is interested in what you are talking about, those 500,000 followers on your page don’t mean anything, and your impact is that of a page with 5,000 followers.

But what does this matter to business? How does this convert to any impact in sales or revenue?

Would you rather have a page of 500,000 people and only 50 of them purchasing from you, or 50,000 of them purchasing from you? I would say 50,000 is a lot better than 50… 😉

The way social media works is, when someones profile starts liking or commenting on a post of yours (no matter what it is, doesn’t matter – it could be a cat video) – the social media platform shows that more more of what that page has to offer – because that person gave feedback that “hey, I like this page, and this person, and I’m interested in what they post”.

If your posting a billboard message to buy your product on social media, but no one is liking, commenting or sharing, they won’t see much of anything else you post because:

1.) They aren’t interested in what you post (can’t change that – because you can’t change people)
2.) They like comment and share the things they care about.

Now a lot of people don’t take these as positive clues. Many would look at this as negative. This actually tells us how to fix the problem:

1.) We need to post more of what they are interested in for them to see the other things that you post
2.) Maybe we need to target a different set of followers who are interested in what you have to offer (for example, stay at home moms and CEOs are not interested in the same things all the time).

You are getting clues by your engagement of how to tweak your posts for your follower.

Let’s say you have a post that got shared 5000 times. Theres another clue. Post more stuff like that! People like it! Your demographic just told you what they want.

This creates a snowball effect, when they engage with you on social media (like, comment, or share), they will see more of what you post, and in turn, when it comes to you offering something for sale, if it’s along the lines of that target audience, they will actually see it and a percentage of them will come back to buy.

You can’t shove your product down peoples throats and spam their newsfeed with what you think they need to hear and expect a result. Instead you need to give people what they actually want, not what you THINK they want ,over 90% of the time on social media to get engagement. Then the other 10% will have the profitable “sales” or other impact that you are looking for.

By focusing on actually posting content people engage with instead of just “what makes me the most money and sales” your sales numbers actually go up in a weird balancing act that goes opposite of what you would think actually works.

Posting more about what you want to sell and get your message out there actually causes less people to engage and look at what you are selling.

Jeremy Krakowski, Media Director at ARC

Follow me on Twitter @jeremykrak



What Is Sandi Reading? “The Art Of The Start 2.0” by Guy Kawasaki

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What Is Sandi Reading This Week?

The Art Of The Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki 

When I first interviewed Guy in 2011, not only did I know we'd probably be friends for a long time, I also knew I wanted to read every book he's ever written. I did just that. In my office is every book he's ever written (or at least the ones I could find on Amazon!) and they are some of my favorite reference books on the topic of business, writing, working with people and more.

Guy is an amazing man, the real deal. He's genuine, kind and let me say this here and now, EXTREMELY generous. He selfishly gives of his time and his expertise as often as he can. As a matter of fact he's coming to Kansas City in October and we're trying to figure out how I can lock him up in our corporate offices for a few hours to do some videos together! Be sure to let me know if you'd like to see that happen by commenting on this post!

Guy's latest book, The Art Of The Start 2.0  should be in EVERY small business owner's library. I'm on my second time around reading it straight through. My copy is written in, highlighted and post it noted nearly to death! 

 The Art Of The Start 2.0 is written in such a way that you'll feel like you're having coffee with Guy and he's standing in front of a whiteboard, casually but powerfully teaching you all that you need to know to really get your business off to a strong start. 

The book has sections in it where 'common questions small business owners might ask' are referenced and he gives his best answer. For example:

Q: I admit it: I'm scared. I can't afford to quit my current job. Is this a sign that I don't have what it takes to succeed?

A: It doesn't mean anything. You should be scared. If you aren't scared, something is wrong with you, and your fears are not a sign that you don't have the right stuff. In the beginning, every entrepreneur is scared. It's just that some deceive themselves about it, and others don't.

You can overcome these fears in two ways. First, the kami-kaze method is to dive into the business and try to make a little progress every day. One day you'll wake up and you won't be afraid anymore- or at least you'll have a whole new set of fears.

Second, you could start by working on your product at night or on weekends and during vacations. Make as much progress as you can, try to get some proof of your concept, and then take the leap. Ask yourself what's the worst thing that could happen. It's probably not too bad.

Page 26-  The Art Of The Start 2.0

The Art Of The Start 2.0 will guide you through marketing your product, leading others, such as employees or volunteers, how to make the tough decisions every business owner must make and understanding your audience. In the chapter entitled: "The Art Of Bootstrapping" Guy will teach you how to get going quickly. 

Building a team, fund raising, pitching your product or service, socializing on social media and at local events are covered in depth, with some practical tools you can use today to get off to a strong start. 

The thing I like the most about  The Art Of The Start 2.0 is that it's written in such a way that I can pick it up anytime I want, get the information I need on a particular topic, and be on my way. While I do recommend you read it cover to cover, I also recommend you refer to it often as an reference book.

You can grab the  The Art Of The Start 2.0 on Amazon, in hardcover, Kindle, paperback and the audio book. I have the hardcover, Kindle and audio book. I love to listen to the audio book while I'm driving, cleaning or doing something else that doesn't require me to sit at my desk. 

Get the book and set a goal to read it in less than two weeks. Then head over to my Facebook page and let me know what you learned that helped the most!  The Art Of The Start 2.0  is a book every small business owner should add to their library today!








Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online, graphics-design service, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, and executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is the author ofThe Art of the Start 2.0The Art of Social MediaEnchantment, and ten other books. Guy has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

With love,

Sandi Krakowski

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