As marketers we sometimes feel like because we have someones information i.e., e-mail and/or a mobile number we feel like we can message them when "we" feel like it with whatever message we are pushing at that time. My inbox is important to me and I like most love receiving messages, however I don't like wasting my attention and/or time and somethings in your inbox can do both. What is an inbox? I can be:
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I had the fortune of growing up in the 1980s which was considered the "Crack Era" and we wanted stuff like gold chains, shoes, jeans, starter jackets or anything that made us look like we had some money. When I first got started I was a small time dealer who was getting joints to sell at school, basically enough to buy some Ice Cream and Big Macs (2 for $2.50). I just wanted to make a little change, however there were some key business lessons that I had taken away from my Drug Dealing experiences that can be applied to any business large or small.
Understand that it will take time to get Good
When you begin anything you will start off a novice, for example I started off selling joints at school at the age of 11, and it was not until I was in my mid 20's that I actually became a wholesaler. I had to come up through the rankings and learn. I lost money, got robbed, got scammed and even spent a few night in juvenile facilities. In business you will learn how your industry works and like Drug dealing you will experience loss, theft, scams and more. The key is to not give in or give up, had I stopped selling drugs when the first guy I gave credit to didn't pay me back I would not be able to give the lessons I am giving you today.
Have good relationships with multiple suppliers
When I was in the game suppliers could make or break your business, meaning that if the local plug (supplier) did not like you or was from another neighborhood you would likely pay a higher price or not get anything at all. The same holds true for business, your suppliers are everything to you, from the customer service to the turnaround time of delivering inventory. If your supplier is not responsive to your needs, it would be in your best interest to continue to look for another supplier. In drug dealing the smartest thing to do was to have options, if one supplier felt like they would lose your business to a rival you begin to gain a little more control over that relationship. They key is to stay on deck as we use to say, and if you have only one supplier you are at their mercy.
Credit Ruins Good Relationships
I remember when some of our customers were low on funds, usually in the middle of the week and towards the end of the month and they would ask for credit until they got paid. The challenge was that we didn't have a credit bureau to report to if and when they didn't pay and you risk going to jail for assault if you try to do them harm. What we also found was that like Lesson #2, we were not their only suppliers and if they did not feel like paying us back they could simply go to the dealers up the street. The lesson we learned was that even though we think we are helping the relationship by offering them credit, it ultimately makes us a less attractive option. The person could have very good intentions in the beginning, however some people are willing to risk the relationship over the debt.
I am by no means condoning Drug Dealing, however it is part of my past and I embrace the lessons I have learned and transferred those lessons into legitimate business advice. Please subscribe below.
Several small business owners do millions and millions of transactions with customers everyday with missed opportunities to get important feedback or more importantly they miss the opportunity for customers to rave about their business and/or service. In our business we ask thank customers with a hand written "Thank you" note in the bag, and at the end of thanking them we ask them if they would kindly leave us a review on Yelp about their experience pleasant or not. What we found is about 25% of the customers would leave a review and 90% of those were positive.
Well what about a negative review? Those can be great for authenticity purposes and give validity to the other reviews raving about your product and/or service. When you have all glowing reviews some customers begin to believe the reviews where somehow orchestrated or been incentivized. In terms of incentivizing your customers to leave a review, I would highly encourage you not to give something in return for the review as it is not authentic.
Should I respond if a customer is complaining? Sure. However I would advise that you try to take the conversation offline if you find yourself going back and forth and are not in agreement to what had taken place. If you are thank you customer in public please be sincere.
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Duane Cofield over 15 years selling Cocaine from the age of 11 in the gritty streets of South East San Diego. I know the "game" in and out and very few can show me something new..I am now a business owner and professor of business a a few Southern California Universities. I am available for consulting, speaking, coaching. Please subscribe to the Official Drug Dealers to Businessmen You Tube Channel Here