How to Reply to a Freelance Writing Gig Ad

If you search online every day, you will find hundreds of ads seeking a freelance writer. Along with these hundreds of ads, come many people wanting the gig. There could be hundreds of applicants that want to work the gig, but the person looking only needs one person. This is why it’s important to stand out when you reply to an ad.

When you reply to an ad, make sure you give the person exactly what he is looking for. If the ad says it wants your resume, samples, and a cover letter, make sure you send all three of them. If you don’t follow the directions, you have a pretty good chance of not getting the gig.

When sending your resume, make sure most people won’t have trouble opening it. Send it as a Word document or in text form. You don’t need it to be fancy. You need it to give information about your knowledge and skills.

The samples you provide should be some of your best work. It should also be relevant to the topic you’ll be writing on for the gig. People want to know how well you can write for them, and the only way to show them that is to give them a sample of that writing.

The cover letter is probably the hardest part. You should never copy and paste your cover letter. It should always be unique to the gig you’re applying to. You should start with something intriguing about yourself. You can then go into the reasons you are perfect for this gig. Don’t make it too long because people won’t read it all. You need to state what’s important and end it with a polite conclusion, which is usually information about how you can be contacted.

Always Be Professional

Don’t take shortcuts because the only person you’ll be hurting is yourself. The first impression you give people looking for a freelance writer is through an email. It could be your only shot at getting the gig, so put your best forward first.

When you receive a reply, don’t get lazy. Respond with the same professionalism as you did with the first email. People can turn you away at any time, so don’t risk it by not responding to their emails with the information they need to make a final decision.

Now that you have this information, go out there and start to apply to freelance writing gigs. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of work coming in to bring in a decent income.

C.A.R.E. To Improve Your Real Estate Business

Do you need more business? Want more money? Want more market share? It’s simple: give more. If you remember anything from this article, let it be those two words – give more. Why? Because it works.

I read recently about research by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who studied 30,000 American families. Brooks discovered a family giving $100 more to charity earns about $375 more income than a non-giving family that is similar in every other factor. For every dollar they give, they earn nearly $4 more. Who would have thought it? In giving, we receive.

But Realtors shouldn’t be giving just because they get something in return. You should give because you earn your living from your community.

But Bob, what should I do? There are so many causes out there.

Let me share some examples. A few months ago NAR highlighted several Realtors making heart-felt differences in their communities:

Bernice and Troy Helman, of Coldwell Banker REALTORS® in Terre Haute, Ind., joined two dozen other business leaders who pledged to live on $4.57 a day for one week (thousands of Hoosiers live on that amount of money every day). It generated tons of local media coverage on the prevalence of hunger. She also launched the “Grillin’ and Chillin'” picnic for local real estate pros that raises $10,000 to $15,000 annually for the poor. And as the 2011 fundraising chair for the local United Way, the Helmans led the charity to a record year of donations — more than $1.8 million.

When Tina McDonough of RE/MAX Select in Renton, Wash., lost her friend, Michelle Brown, to breast cancer in 2008, it touched her deeply. “I watched her 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart,” McDonough says. “I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory.” Today, it’s the top fundraising team for the Susan G. Komen organization in the country — it has raised $1.4 million. McDonough also includes the Komen logo on all of her real estate signs.

Joel Pratt of J.L. Pratt, REALTORS in Canton, Mass., raises money and awareness for MatchingDonors, a nonprofit that has saved more than 500 lives by matching kidney donors with recipients. Pratt says every life saved keeps the memory of Lynda, his beloved wife of nearly 25 years, alive. She died in 1998 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

Kristina Rhodes with F.C. Tucker Emge, REALTORS in Newburgh, Ind., has helped make more than 80 children’s dreams come true with her support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Rhodes learned of Emily Jones, an 11-year-old fighting an aggressive form of cancer, and her dream of taking a Caribbean cruise, she acted. Sadly, Emily’s health never reached a level to allow for the trip. So Rhodes brought the cruise to Emily by arranging a pontoon ride on the Ohio River. “Emily taught me about what’s really important in life and helped me keep things in perspective,” Rhodes said.

So what’s the next step for you? Follow the acronym C.A.R.E. to get started today as a real estate agent who, well, cares:

C – Commit yourself to a cause. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The day you truly commit, your whole world changes.

A – Act on your commitment. The only way anything gets done is through action.

R – Reward yourself. Humans do things because there’s something in it for them. After you act, do something nice for yourself.

E – Enjoy the rewards. I promise, once you start giving back to a cause you care deeply about, you will enjoy your life (and your increased business) more.

Let me hear from you. Are you involved philanthropically in your community? If not, why not? Do you believe if you were to give back to your community your business would grow?

Mentoring That Leaves an Indelible Imprint on Your Soul

Learning from books feeds our brains. Experience builds skills and expertise. Effective coaching shapes and drives the way we work and see the world. And then there is that wonderful, elusive sort of mentoring that leaves an indelible imprint on the soul. Here are the stories of two people who have provided me with the sort of coaching that leaves an indelible imprint on the soul, and a powerful impact on my life.

Maggie
Maggie was a tiny fireball, a real force of nature. She started a national movement after she retired from the Presbyterian Church, which she called forced termination from employment due to age. A number of us lived in shared housing with her in Philadelphia, and often worked with her on different projects. A savvy optimist with no rose-colored glasses, she would often say: “When you’re working on something important, you never let roadblocks deter you from your goal. If there’s a rock in the road, move it, go around it, or over it. And, if nothing else works, then tunnel under it.” And she did. In her old age, she was elected to the National Giraffe Heroes Project for sticking neck out, a commendation which was always a badge of honor for her.

Maggie led by example, demonstrating a model of passion, persistence and power. Whenever she would meet people after speaking engagements or workshops, she would ask them about what they were doing, show them why their work was important, and encourage them. People would walk away from those conversations excited and empowered, because Maggie had validated them, and told them their work had impact and value. She was very supportive to people working to make a positive difference in the world – and a well-researched, dramatic critic of those she found to be creating harm. When she died, a major national newspaper wrote that Maggie had no children. The newspaper was corrected by her friend and foundation executive who said “Maggie had thousands of children she nurtured over the years, spread across the country and the world.”

Michael
Michael is a retired publishing executive who has built many large publishing businesses over the years. An extremely successful businessman, he is surprisingly humble and self-deprecating about his many achievements. Even when he has been quite busy, Michael has always found the time to focus on his friends and colleagues with undivided attention. In talking with him, you feel like he has all the time in the world for you. He listens in such a way that, when he responds to you, it is with a very deep level of understanding.

Gentle with his suggestions and advice, Michael would share about strategies he had used that were successful without saying “you should do it this way.” He lets you figure out the connection between the strategies he used to successfully surmount challenges, and your own situation. When he suggests something, it is with grace and tact. Michael often says, “well, I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, and I was thinking… ” He would go on to describe an idea or solution that you hadn’t considered at all.

Michael has also been tireless in his giving to those in need, serving on many boards, and becoming involved in supporting and funding a wide range of community economic development projects. Some of our most well-known social enterprise and economic development nonprofits have grown under his tutelage. Almost always, he leverages both his volunteering and his philanthropy by involving others, and he’s engaged an untold number over the years. By doing so, he has shown many people new and exciting ways to make a difference in the world while building his base of support for those causes most dear to his heart.

Why This is Coaching That Leaves an Indelible Imprint on the Soul
Over the years, these two coaches became dear friends, and part of my “family of choice,” as Maggie so aptly termed it. Michael and I still talk on a regular basis, now more as peers who share about our lives, our work, our spiritual practice and those causes that are our passions. And though she is long gone, Maggie’s legacy can still be seen everywhere, and I often consider what she might say about an issue I find challenging. Modelling skills and strategies helpful to my professional development, they served as powerful coaches and examples. They have demonstrated purposeful and value-driven lives. Lives that make a difference in the world. And they have left an indelible imprint on my soul.

Importance Of PR (Public Relations) For Small And Medium Level Companies

It’s not only large companies that can make use of public relations (PR) firms; small and medium businesses can also benefit from these professional firms.

If you have a small or a medium sized company and you are wondering how a PR firm can be of importance to you, here are some of the benefits that come with Public relations:

Create a positive Image

A PR firm not only promotes your business, but also puts your business in the limelight. This plays a major role in creating a positive image about your company.

One of the ways in which a PR creates a positive image is by getting you, your products, or your business featured in newspaper or magazine stories. By doing this, many people read your story and form a positive image about your business.

Increase profits

Other than helping you to create a positive image about your business, a good PR firm will also help you to increase your profits. A good PR firm will do this by identifying your target market and help you to advertise your business in an area where you will make more sales.

For example, the firm will help you get an opportunity to talk about a product on television or radio and this will increase your exposure. When many people know about your business the more they will buy from you and as a result the more you increase your profits.

Reduce costs

Although, it can be expensive to hire a PR firm, it tends to be cheap over the long run.

For example, you may be required to part with thousands of dollars to hire a good PR firm, but the firm will help you or your representatives to be booked for interviews on television shows and newscasts which will give you a lot of exposure which would have cost you millions of dollars.

Offer intelligent advertising

Newspapers, magazines and online platforms may not be interested in promoting your business, but they may be interested in giving information to their readers.

If the information is related to your company, the PR will help you in drafting an intelligent press release that won’t sound like an advertisement. The release will not only give information to the readers, but it will also give your business the much needed exposure.

These are some of the benefits of hiring a public relations firm if you have a small or medium sized business. To ensure that you hire the right firm, you need to do a lot of research.

How to Know What Your Clients Want

For your business to be successful, it has to include an ongoing dialog between you and your clients.

Unless your business, your offerings, and your processes are informed by what your clients want, you end up, eventually, with no business at all.

More often than not, this is a matter of following the breadcrumbs. What you offer is snapped up by multiple clients right away = what they want. What you offer just lies there like an empty glove = not what they want.

If it’s the latter, then you either change what you offer, or you find new people to offer it to.

There is much to be learned too in casual conversations with clients. You get to be a detective, listening closely, and seeking out clues for what they are looking for. You probe and question to find out more.

Sometimes it’s an experiment. If you’re offering something really new and innovative, finding out whether it’s something your clients want is a matter of running a pilot, getting feedback, modifying, and offering it again.

One avenue for finding out what clients want is seriously underutilized. This method seems to be mysterious for many business owners. They sometimes don’t even think of it. Or they think of it, and dismiss it.

The mysterious method? Ask!

Directly approaching your clients to ask for what they want is a valuable adjunct to all the breadcrumb following, clue hunting, and incidental conversations that can bring you necessary information.

This is where social media can come in really handy. If you have a tribe that follows you, you can put it out there on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a quick way to get lots of feedback in a short time.

Got an email list? Send out a request for feedback on a specific question.

If you want direct feedback on an ongoing basis, conduct surveys. In my consulting business, I sent out a short survey after every project. That way, I could tweak my approach and offerings before they got too far off track.

Surveys are best approached the same way you approach marketing: from the client’s point of view. Ask about the client’s experience of both what you delivered and how. If anything was less than outstanding, what was it and how could it have been better?

Surveys are also a chance to explore what else the client might need. What else could be offered?

Were they happy enough to refer you to someone else? If so, take names: find out who they would recommend you too, and contact the referral, if you have their permission.

It’s important that clients know that you’re doing something with all this information they’re providing. You can respond directly to the client and tell them how you’re addressing their concerns.

Some entrepreneurs are afraid to ask outright. They prefer to take the behind-the-scenes approach. It’s almost as if by asking up front, they are afraid they are admitting that something is wrong.

That kind of fear does not serve you, or your clients. You need to know what your clients are thinking and feeling about your business.

On large projects, ask at the midpoint how things are going. With what you learn, you can adjust and carry on.

This kind of connection can be very affirming for your relationship with your client. They’ll know that you really want to hear from them. It encourages them to say more.

No one is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. If you take that approach, improvement on an ongoing basis, you’ll always get better. You’ll always have more to offer. And your clients will thank you for it.

This mantra helps: progress, not perfection.

One important thing to remember: you always have the final say in whether or not you act on the feedback. It’s part of the dialog. You ask, you get feedback, you discern what’s right for you and your business, and you take action. Then the conversation starts again.

Ask what you need to know. It’s a good idea.

Tips For Sorting Out Office Problems

Working in an office is very good. Office jobs are usually jobs that you can leave at the door when you are going home and you don’t have to worry about them.

A lot of people get fed up with their current situation will turn to an office job because they know that they might not experience as much stress. However, office jobs are not without problems and if the job has deadlines, you could still experience a high level of stress.

If you work in an office, or you are the supervisor, you will know that things can go wrong between the members of staff. Read on for more information about office related problems and how to resolve the issues.

Staff Members Arguing

One of the most prevalent issues among staff members is when they aren’t getting along. Arguments will flare up over the littlest thing and it causes an atmosphere within the office.

Atmospheres are not conducive to a good working environment, so you need to put a stop to these arguments once and for all. The first step will be getting the two members of staff to sit down and work it out.

You could find the root of the problem and they might even end up being friends. If that does not work then you have to move them away from each other. Seat them at different ends of the office so that they are not close enough to argue.

If they are still arguing, then you have to consider moving one of them to a different office, or you will have to take disciplinary action against them. You can’t let arguments simmer and you can’t have the opinion that it will all blow over. If you do this, then the argument could turn into a physical fight and you might end up having to fire both members of staff.

Stealing Office Supplies

You should not get surprised if members of staff end up stealing from the office. They won’t steal massive things, it will just be bits of stationary here and there and you might even thing that confronting them is not worth the trouble.

However, if they then come to you and say that you need to buy stationary, then it can become a big issue, especially if you have to buy new stationary over and over.

The best course of action here is to face the culprit, but to do it discreetly. Don’t do it in front of everyone. Then you should put a sign up saying that stationary and office furniture is the property of the company, and you should see a change in the behavior.

Car Parking Issues

A lot of offices have restricted parking, so you should have allocated everyone with a parking space of their own. However, if you notice that people are coming in earlier and earlier and they are arguing a lot, then there could be an issue with the parking spaces.

If the wrong people are using the spaces, then you will either have to number the spaces or put names on the spaces. Have a sign that says people for towed if they park in the wrong space.

If this still does not work, then you have no choice but to issue locks for the spaces. Parking locks are made so that they get installed in the middle of the space and there is a raised barrier so that the space gets block. The barrier will only lower when the correct car drives into the space.

Are We Losing The Art Of Conversation?

It struck me today when I was at lunch just how quiet the kitchen was. There were 5 of us all huddled together, a variety of different sandwiches and salads adorning the table, and guess what, we were all looking at our phone screens, flicking and tapping randomly, furiously and laughing all in our own little bubbles.

Tonight I changed a habit. While having my dinner instead of reading the journal. ie or checking out what was happening on Facebook, I turned the phone off, left the tablet in the bag and watched and listened as my two kids laughed and sang along to the film Frozen. My little girl in particular loves this movie and wants to be Elsa, so as soon as the song “Let it go” came on she started to sing without been prompted. She saw me looking at her in pure daddy awe and smiling that proud, that’s my little girl smile, and she gave me a little wave as if to say “thanks for listening to me daddy”

It touched me deeply because had I been engrossed on my phone I would have missed that moment of innate connection between us, where no words were spoken, but my face and body language expressed 100’s of words, emotions, love and pride.

Don’t get me wrong I think the strides we have made in technology are incredible.

I love social media marketing so much that I went back to college by night to get my diploma in Digital Marketing and Facebook and Twitter have both allowed me to stay in contact with great friends who are now in the four corners of the globe.

But I think we need to just now and then take a check that we are controlling our technology not the other way around.

I first started in Marketing when I was 16 in 1987 (oh god I feel old) working in Arnotts department store as a sales assistant.

Social Media was not part of our lives and a phone was something you dialed on the desk by the cash register. At 16 I was thrust into the world of face to face conversation and having to talk to people I did not know.

I had strangers come up and look me in the eye and ask me to help them find the right shirt, jeans or suit. After all I had the white shirt and tie on, so I was the expert in their eyes, although the mother who asked me to measure her little boy for trousers, who I then proceeded to advise that he had a fifty inch waste, would probably beg to differ. I never did get the hang of the measuring tape!!

However, the point I want to make is that when each of these customers came into the shop in person looking for my help I could not text, email, tweet or Facebook them the answer. I had to stand there in person and communicate to them both verbally and with my body language to find out what they needed, solve their problem and ultimately create rapport.

As business has evolved and the technology has increased we seem to be spending less time talking to each other in person and instead we use technology to do the engagement for us.

Just think about how many face to face meetings you now have for reviews or general catch up with a client in person. It probably is very different to what is was 3 to 5 years ago as we now communicate via non face to face methods. I myself have clients who I have spoken to numerous times on the phone or via email but who I have never met in person even though I have tried to get that face to face meeting. Everyone is just too busy it would seem.

This train of thought was further highlighted when I was recently at a networking event and I found it strange just how many people there were conducting online conversations and staring at their phones rather than talking face to face with the other people in the room.

I recently came across a great article entitled, Saving The Lost Art Of Conversation by Megan of the Atlantic, and in this piece she starts to review these very points that I am touching on.

In her article she recounts her interview with Sherry, a hugely respected psychologist and a professor at MIT. Sherry was working on a new book called “Reclaiming Conversation” and from her research she came to the conclusion that we’re talking all the time, in person as well as in texts, in e-mails, over the phone, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Obviously I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite or that the art of conversation is doomed. I know I am using the power of technology to share this post with you, and don’t get me wrong, I do love all the advances and the ideas of what is coming down the line in the future, such as wearable technology, apple I watch, near field communication etc, but let’s not forget that we are social and tactile creatures, and I hope that human interaction and face to face conversation will not die.

I think back to when I was a teenager and all the excitement followed by utter or was it mortification, and then the elation, when after an hours of eye contact and finally plucking up the courage to go over to that girl I fancied in the disco and asking her to dance and she says yes. Oh the joy and then the fear as I realized I can’t dance!!!

That whole scenario obviously would have been completely different and nowhere as emotionally charged or exciting if done by text or tweet.

So I challenge you, as I will be challenging myself each day, to put the phone and tablet down a little more than you do right now and let your other senses do the conversing.

Things To Know About The Decision Making Process

Meetings are a crucial part of any business to make sure that all business operations are running smoothly. The decision-making process matters most when it comes to discussing issues that surrounds your venture. It is true that groups are oftentimes being dominated by an individual in order to agree on a certain course of action. By using a structured process of discussing issues, meetings can become more efficient and the group’s performance can be enhanced.

Some Basic Processes That A Chairperson Or Members Can Facilitate

Brainstorming – This process will generate a lot of spontaneous and diverse ideas within a short time frame. Some of the rules that you must adhere to when using this process will include no criticism on any point, everyone must participate, and the ideas must be recorded until they are exhausted. All the ideas are recorded on a board so that everyone can see it. After the brainstorming, the list will be screened and points would be clarified. All the members will then choose their 5 priority items and decide on a course of action.

Prioritizing Technique – Every participant will think of ideas or perhaps solutions that are written on a chart or board. It is from these ideas that the group will develop different options or solutions. In order to arrive at the option which the majority supports, participants may be asked to rank the options by using a scale of 1-5, where 5 points represents their 1st choice, 4 the 2nd, and so on. The desired option is the one which accumulates the highest total score. Apart from giving points or ranking the options, another way of determining which option does the majority supports is by giving every individual 5 sticky dots and have them place the dots beside the option they want. They can actually select 5 individual options or perhaps place multiple dots on the option they really prefer. The course of action will be determined by the option having the greatest number of dots.

SWOT Analysis – This process will determine the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats of a certain situation. This analysis will greatly help the group in determining the right direction.

Force Field Analysis – This process is a great way of graphically showing the forces which drive for changes or perhaps forces that restrain changes in relation to a certain situation.

These are the different decision-making processes that businesses use in order to come up with the best option when dealing with a certain issue. Apart from knowing these processes, another important thing to consider in order to ensure a successful meeting is to set-up a work-efficient meeting or virtual room.

The Strategies to Empower Your Call Center Business

Running an operationally efficient call center that delivers a high-quality customer experience can be a difficult objective to achieve. Consumers are becoming increasingly know-how and their expectations for quality customer service and support is steadily growing. Most corporations may see a contact center as an added expense but as you weigh things down, you find that a call center is a necessity for your business to thrive. It is quite a task to systematically deliver excellent customer service while cutting down additional costs. This may seem intimidating, but it is definitely possible to transform your contact center into a profit-producing asset. But it is difficult to handle a call center with the upper level of customers’ satisfaction.

Here, I am going to represent some ideas of specific strategies to empower your call center business to get the high level of customer satisfaction which will affect your sales graph positively.

Support social media:

While the phone remains at the heart of customer contact centers. There is an increasing need to effectively manage data from multiple channels thanks to the exponential rise in social networks like Twitter and Facebook. This requires solutions that have both the intelligence and flexibility to adapt changing market and consumer needs.

Social media has empowered consumers to become broadcasters or journalists, so speedy and flexible customer service is critical. A complaint sent via Twitter that is left unanswered could spread internationally overnight.

Empower your employee:

Employees are the main factor of a call center who have to communicate with customers directly. We can say that the employees are the heart of a company. So, enable your employees to make their own recommendations on improvements, after all, they are much closer to the working procedure than senior management.

A focused call center can help a brand realize its goal whether that be higher levels of customer satisfaction, more revenue per customer or driving increases in sales. Establishing the right policies and working practices can empower call center employees to support the brand and the business.

Refining Your Customer Service Strategy:

Your customer care center will work in tandem with your call center software to create synergies in your customer service department. One of the biggest advantages of this software is its ability to collaborate with your customer history. For instance, say you get calls from a long time customer on a monthly basis. Call center software can be set to display “screen pops,” which allow the agent instant information as soon as the call is answered, reducing call times and customer satisfaction. Screen pops can be customized but most commonly will include customer purchase and return data on every inbound call.

It doesn’t matter if you are making inbound or outbound phone calls providing customers and prospective clients with the right answers, faster can really streamline your sales efforts.

Know your customer:

Understanding the demographics of your customers is a key first step toward determining which tools and approaches will best help you achieve your business objectives. For example, tech-savvy customers will likely expect to connect with you through more technical channels, such as online forms, chat sessions, or social media drove community-based solutions. Less tech-savvy customers, on the other hand, may require more traditional, higher-touch solutions, such as phone, fax, or email.

Big-League Customer Advises Bush-League Vendor

Sudden growth is rarely a smooth ride, especially for a boot-strapped venture. Well past their fifth year in business, one small custom manufacturer serendipitous developed a product that met a real need in a niche market populated by industry giants. The vendor’s new customers were used to buying from large, well-managed firms. As a custom manufacturer, this company had the freedom to focus on one customer per product. It wasn’t yet clear to them that they had entered into a phase of development where the signs of professional management would be taken for granted by customers. In this case study, a frustrated customer advises the vendor to learn how to manage their resources to simultaneously (and seamlessly) complete commitments made to past customers and start projects for new customers.

This is one in a series of case studies highlighting “Key Questions and Course-correcting Quotes” taken from 20 years of B2B customer insight projects. All names are fictitious, but the situations are real. Case studies paint a picture of how important it is to learn what your B2B customers think–but aren’t saying. These are real-world examples of how soliciting and acting on customer feedback has helped companies hold onto customers longer, grow relationships bigger and pick up new business faster.

Case study: Your Bootstraps Are Showing

Key Question (asked of a VP–the vendor’s chief contact in a 6-figure relationship):

VP: “This vendor’s president was badly criticized by customers who attended last year’s trade show. He changed how his company prioritizes customer issues. Do they now seem to be on the right track, or are they overlooking a blind spot that’s obvious to you?”

Course-correcting Quote:

“Their president has to get his organizational structure in place and build a senior management team. He has a bandwidth problem. On the one hand, he hasn’t delivered on all his outstanding obligations to his existing customers. On the other, he needs to make enough sales to keep his company afloat. They need to learn not to make contractual commitments for products that take resources away from their existing obligations. Reality for a small company like that is, you have to make the big sale. It takes a lot of discipline to not over-commit. They need to get a better handle on their existing staff’s capacity.”

My Client’s Quandary:

This $7 million vendor had a product that Fortune 50 companies were interested in, but the company was having growing pains. Their founder knew how to design and develop new products, but he didn’t have a lot of management training or experience. His senior managers were two of his buddies with the same technical background and lack of management experience. His company was at risk of being marginalized by a stronger competitor as soon as someone else developed a decent competing product.

More immediately, the president would be facing his customers at an upcoming trade show. He had been badly pilloried a year earlier. Before risking that again, he wanted a customer relationship consultant to conduct deep-dive interviews with his customers and expose the themes and patterns that would clarify which decisions he needed to make.

Conclusion:

Several of his customers gave similar feedback. My recommendation: Acquire experienced outside talent to manage operational and customer-facing functions. He hired the experienced talent he needed, held onto his customers, attracted funding, grew the company to serve additional niche markets, and eventually found a strategic buyer. Honest feedback from his customers helped him find his way and achieve his vision.

I categorize projects as assessments, investigations, treasure hunts or rescue missions. This project was an investigation. The client’s question was “Why are our customers still angry with us?”