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Choosing a new vendor? Three Tips to Consider

Selecting a Vendor

Selecting a vendor for your business can be time consuming and stressful. You are making an important choice that will not just impact you, but an entire department or business. The goal should be to create a partnership with your vendor. Price is important, but it should not be the only thing to consider. Here are three tips that are worth noting.

Communication

Communication is my number one tip. How they respond during the sales process is important. Do you feel as though they are interviewing you? While it is perfectly understandable for a sales exec to pre-qualify a lead, it is also important to treat the person with respect. The tone of a person’s voice, their demeanor, level of patience when answering questions are all important. This sets the tone for how the relationship plays out over time.

Ask yourself, “Will I want to turn to this person with a problem or issue down the road?” How well they communicate & how quickly they respond will tell you a lot. Pay close attention to their genuine willingness to solve your problem or provide a solution that will benefit your business. How well do they listen?

Social Media

One area I always look at when considering a new vendor is their social media marketing. When I check it, I am looking for several things:

  • The date of their last post. I see so many businesses start social media, run it for a few years, and then drop it. How current is the last post? If it is over a year ago, it may be a red flag.
  • What do they post? Do they post relative information that provides their readers with useful tips and news within their industry? Sharing is caring in social media. Pay close attention to what they have to say.
  • Number of followers play a role as well. Too small of an amount may mean that not enough effort was put forth. Too many unevenly distributed between following/followers may suggest a bot was used. Many companies use bots, and while I don’t feel it is a negative, it is worth noting.  
  • How do they respond to customer service issues within their profiles? This is a very important area to take a look at. Unhappy customers many times will go to social media when they can’t get the right answers from normal customer service channels.

Flexibility

How flexible are they to change? As much as we all try, there are times when we need something handled and we need it yesterday! I remember a payroll vendor of ours once telling me that she was going to discount something for me because over the years, we never requested customer service. By looking over our account and determining we had been a good, quiet customer, she rewarded us. Kudos to the company for empowering her to make that call.

Be sure to ask about their customer service turnaround times. Is it within 24 hours of placing a call or inquiry via the web? Be sure to understand this before a problem comes up.

Proper vetting can save you a lot of time in money down the road. The added effort is well worth it.

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Predictable Vs. Experience. The Retail & Hospitality Shift.

Hospitality

There are over 74,000 clothing boutique businesses in the United States. Included in that high number are online boutiques, who have brought a unique frenzy to the retail industry. Trendy, stylish, and exclusive. There’s been shift from “you’re a predictable brand I trust” to “I am loving this exclusive boutique experience.” With more and more online boutiques popping up, shoppers are provided an unshared, chic, shopping experiences that doesn’t feel like the Gap store down the street.  

Interesting enough, there is a similar pivot within the hospitality industry. Large hotel franchises and chains are changing their hotel concepts to reflect a more unique appeal that correlates to the city or town of their hotel location. These changes then compete with smaller, independently owned hotels who are gaining in popularity. The one-of-a kind charm is alluring travelers across the globe. Guests are constantly looking for what is postable, or the “social return,” according to a recent article by Kristen Morales. With more and more people waking up and looking at their Instagram accounts, posting incredible places they’ve been, the increase in social media influences, and Gen Z gearing up to lead the way, hotels are following suit and adjusting strategy.  

Social Media’s Role

Social media has turned the hotel stay into much more than good service and a clean room. According to a new study by University of Georgia researches, it’s all about the ‘experience’.

Guests are taking to social media to post and show their followers and friends the brand-new experience they had. It’s all about the post and what that individual will get in return from sharing that post.

Bynum Boley, an associate professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, says it best, “When you have all these choices out there, you’re going with the one that’s least risky. But service quality is so standardized now-there’s all these reviews online, and service quality is almost a given,” Boley said. “But there’s also a rising influence of people who want a unique experience and also want to be able to broadcast their travel experiences through social media.”

Showing Instagram or Facebook followers the different experiences you are able to have sets you apart. It’s easy nowadays to pull up reviews on a hotel to see how they rank with cleanliness and quality. Going above and beyond for a guest is providing them with an exclusive experience that only comes from them staying at your hotel.

Adjusting Your Focus

So what are major hotels doing to compete with the independent boutique hotel? They are securing their place in the hotel race with new glamorous and attractive accommodations.  The Ranch at Rock Creek offers a Father’s Day getaway that is inspired by iconic film characters. Yes, dads can finally really feel like Jason Bourne or Indiana Jones. Or Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, provides kids with an enchanting education journey through the land of Ubud. Everything from yoga, rock painting, to dance fit, and shadow puppet making is provided.  

Social Media Transparency  

From retail to the hotel boutique experience, both industries have one thing in common, their need to be tech savvy in an ever evolving, competitive market. Transparency is vital as you build your online brand and community. Listening and responding to what is being said about your hotel franchise or independent hotel is a great step forward. For most consumers, the customer journey begins with online reviews. Whether they are seeking to find a new hotel experience or checking out a new shopping boutique. This drives behavior and decisions. Monitoring this activity helps you manage and promote your brand.

About Us:

We monitor social media, and every public review site on the web using unique and multiple software platforms. Let us provide you with a comprehensive report of your online reputation and help increase your sales. The face is, 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations.

How are you going to stand out?

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How to Upsell and Cross-Sell

customer feedback, customer service,

Upselling and cross-selling are both beneficial for any industry for one simple reason: more revenue.

But you must be strategic in how you approach your customers or they will see right through the “You may also like …” sales pitch. To really see success with your product suggestions, you must strive for the ultimate goal: customer delight. When you can convince your customer that your suggestions are for their benefit, then you can master the art of upselling and cross-selling.

Keep reading to learn how to use upselling and cross-selling to your advantage.

Upselling vs Cross-Selling

Upselling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make the primary purchase more expensive. Cross-selling is encouraging the purchase of anything in conjunction with the primary product. For example, it would be upselling to offer the purchase of batteries with a camera, but it would be cross-selling to offer the purchase of a scanner with a printer.

Helen Campbell‏, founder of business coaching and training company Jazz Cat, advises her clients to tailor their offering to the client’s specific needs. “By upselling or cross-selling your services appropriately you can help your client achieve their goal, for example, more time, peace of mind, or a solution to a problem,” she says. It is all about adding value, and the difference between ‘selling’ something to someone and adding value is huge. “The key skill is to listen, hear your client’s needs and offer innovative and practical options,” says Campbell.

It’s worth keeping in mind that upselling can be 20 times more effective than cross selling, probably because once they have a specific purchase in mind customers don’t want to be distracted by something else. However, something that makes their first purchase better has far more chance of encouraging them to buy.

One of the golden rules of upselling is to ensure that it is highly relevant or complementary to the current purchase. “It’s the jewelry, the cardigan, the shoes to go with the dress. It’s the better gadget with more features,” says Marie Brown, founder of Beyond the Kitchen Table, which works with small businesses to help them grow. “It might be ‘we also have this gadget that can also do X, therefore saving you time or the purchase of another gadget’,” adds Brown. “I recently bought a more expensive printer on the basis that the ink would cost me a lot less over three years.”

And upselling and cross-selling is not just for retail. It can trickle into other businesses…for example, travel agencies. Pam Smith, leisure manager at Frosch Mann Travels in Huntersville, North Carolina, notes that “Travelers have a tendency to default to the product they’ve done before. If they’ve cruised before, for example, and enjoyed it, they might assume a cruise is best for their next trip. But that’s not always the case—we need to have those conversations about what they want to see and do to figure out the best option.” This is the heart and soul of travel professionals—using your expertise to point travelers in the right direction towards their best possible vacation.

Just like any retail business, Smith pays careful attention to her clients’ feedback on previous trips to see where there might be an open window to sell a more premium travel experience. She says, “My favorite is ‘We loved the trip, but the hotel could have been a little nicer or the transfers better.’ Then I know there’s an opportunity to go for something more upscale.”

She also listens carefully to the origin and background of a vacation idea to see what add-ons might be appropriate. For example, she recalls working with an older couple who was going to go on a river cruise in Europe. “They told me they didn’t anticipate ever being able to go back to Europe after this,” says Smith. “To make the most of their time there, I also suggested a guided vacation for after the river cruise. They loved the idea of seeing more while they were there.”

Opportunities for upselling and cross-selling exist in every realm of business; you just have to be aware and ready when they arise. By using your knowledge and expertise to identify the right experience for each client, you will create a loyal client base and continually grow your business.

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