Monday, March 23, 2015

Best Kept Secret for Customer Retention

There's one document that every product has, but not every customer reads. This source can actually be a way to help retain your customers. And when I say "retain", I don't mean that you try selling more. In this instance, the company has an opportunity to connect with every single customer on a personal level. What is this magical page?

The instructions.

Laugh or mock all you want, but I don't know of any customer who isn't delightfully surprised when company's relate to customer's as humans ... not just customers.

For example:

A hair coloring kit, which was bought at Whole Foods, has instructions for its product's use. The 8th direction states that you wait 30 minutes and that this would be the time to make some tea or check Facebook. This is one example of many, but the gist is to write your directions in a conversational style.

Customer's will actually read the rest of your directions just to see if there are any other funny comments.

So, what makes this so appealing?

If you're inundated with constant legal jargon or bland, "this is how you do it..." type of wording from all products ... wouldn't it be a nice breath of fresh air to have a company that sees you as a human?

When companies talk to customers like their humans with other interests, hobbies or busy schedules, it breaks down the "BIG COMPANY/little tiny customer" mentality. Customers find a connection with the company, which forms lasting positive thoughts. From there, you may or may not have a repeated customer, but you DO have positive PR coming back every time the customer talks about your business.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Elements of a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Non-fiction book proposals are really about selling your non-fiction idea to agents/editors. This is often written before you write the actual book. It's a type of contractual agreement. You need to convince the editor that you're the best one to write the piece.

Before writing the proposal, remember these questions:

* So what? What's the unique selling point? Why does this book need to be in existence?
* Who cares? What's your readership? Why should they care?
* Who are you? Why are you the best person to write this?

Elements to a non-fiction proposal:

1. Cover page/table of contents

If your proposal is very long, I would include a table of contents. The cover page should include your name, address, phone number. These should be centered in the middle of the page.

2. Overview

A two-page summary of your proposal.

3. Target market

Who will buy the book?
Why will it sell? Where's the need?

Do not add generic statements about your target market, such as "US Health reports that there are 20 million people with diabetes." If you say that, based on the competitive analysis, your blog/website has boomed with visitors when you began addressing raw diets and diabetic weight loss, then you'd have something worth saying. 

4. Competitive analysis

A comprehensive (usually takes the longest to create, in my opinion) list of all the competitive titles. What books, like the one you want to write, have been created? How well are they selling? Does the competition show that there's a need for more material like yours?

5. Author bio and platform

Explain why you're the person to write this book.

6. Marketing and promotion plan

The biggest part of this is showing the connections you currently have. It's fine to mention all you're willing to do, but agents/editors want to see concrete steps towards the book's success -- and that can only be done through your current connections and readership.

Only discuss what you can and will do to market your book. Writing what you hope to do will be ignored.

7. Chapter outline

Briefly describe each chapter.

8. Sample chapters

Don't submit the first chapter merely because it's the first chapter. Submit the strongest chapter you have.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How to build success while you're unemployed

With the American economy in a recession, many citizens are out of work. Unless you plan to move to the city, careers are difficult to find. With everyone scrambling for work, hiring managers are receiving hundreds of applications for one job. Even part-time jobs.

If you fall into this category, as so many are, there is a way to keep your resume current and ready for employers you interview with.


Unfortunately, this very well mean "free"-lance. Offer your services to non-profits (animal shelters, churches, elderly care, etc.) and, in exchange for your services, ask that they allow you to list them as clients.

By providing services, even free ones, you: keep your skills sharp for when work does come around, keep your resume current, build business contacts (who might also have leads to vacancies), build your portfolio, and build your references.

All of these aspects could boost your resume to the top of the applicants list.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From negativity to positivity ... and success. Success is always on the other end of happiness.

It's hard to be rejected from ... anything, really. The hardest part is picking oneself up by ones own bootstraps and moving along. That's very hard, sometimes. It takes a lot of courage and awesomeness to not give up or give in to negativity.

Life is a series of business transactions. Or just transactions, in general. Your actions will have an equal reaction on someone else.

My favorite motto is "kill'em with kindness."

 It can be tempting to want to help karma find it's ... next bad-karma victim, but don't. You never know what the other person is going through, why their behavior is the way it is, why they didn't give you the job you were perfect for, why, why, why, why. It's not fair to judge other people when you don't know what's happening to them.

 Think of it this way: it's entirely possible that guy who's speeding in and out of traffic, who rudely cut you off, is driving like a maniac... maybe got a call that someone in his family was in a serious accident. Or may be dying.

You just. Don't. Know. Give the world a break.

It's time for people to start paying it forward =>.

De-cluttering your mind of negativity, is a big step towards happiness. Happiness equals productivity in all aspects of life. Happiness equals success. Productivity equals success.

It's entirely possible that some people don't know how to stop being negative. Yes, it can be an actual addiction. The first step is to admit, at least to yourself, that you have a problem. Funny how this is the first step in relieving ... all fixable ailments/problems/bad habits.

Even if it's not an addiction, it's still good to know how to pull yourself out of a negative tailspin. 

The next step is to write down three positive things each day. I don't care if it's that your air-conditioning is working.

After 21 days, it's time to start monitoring your negativity. When thinking something bad, think of how it could be worse.

Think of this: Out of all the billions of people on the planet -- there is someone having a worse day than you. In fact, I'd like to know the poor soul whose having, literally, the worst day on the planet. There has to be someone, right? Out of the billions of people, who has it the absolute worst? Guess what --? You're not it.

For another 21 days, look at yourself in the mirror, deep into your own eyes, and say, "I accept myself, unconditionally, right now."* Then wait. Wait for the bad voices in your head to start berating yourself, "You're such a fat ass," etc. It's OK that that happens because it will eventually start to taper off because you're building a muscle to love yourself. Not hippie love. A love that means you'll actually take it easy on yourself when you've been through a lot, won't berate yourself for eating something you feel you shouldn't, to take care of yourself and treat your own body with respect.

How can you spread positivity if you do nothing but silently berate yourself? What is inside, will show on the outside. Even your own negative thoughts. Shows through stress, bad food choices, etc.

Moving along ...

Being taking "you" statements out of your vocabulary. "You were to blame," or "I think you should have ..." No more. Change it to "I feel that ..."

If you find yourself stating the bad outcomes, aim for stating at least one good. Find at least one positive thing to say about every situation.

Just keep building this to larger and larger quantities, until the point comes where the good outweighs the bad.

Positivity is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. Either way -- it's a choice.

Don't litter negativity. You don't want to live in that kind of trash.

* This 21-day statement prescription came from an amazing video called "Hungry for Change." I highly, highly, highly, highly, highly recommend watching this video. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hey -- it's looking different around here ....

Welcome to the newly re-vamped blog! It's still the same blog -- nothing has been taken away. A lot has been added, though, as many of you can see. Feel free to let me know what you think of the new look and feel.

I've added multiple new pages. These are also in the midst of revision and addition, so please have patience, and check back often.

The "Contact" section has been incorrect for the last 24-48 hours, so if you have emailed me -- please check the new email address:

My turnaround is same day, but please note that I can't respond at night ... because I'm sleeping. So, if you send something after 9 pm Pacific Time, I will respond the very next day.