December 13th, 2012
Imagery is what provides us a view of the finish line right before we reach out to touch it. We know what may lie ahead of us but the imagine is so vivid, it blurs all the hurdles that may exist along the way helping us to reach our goals.
Have you ever experienced something so wonderful that you actually paused for a minute to freeze frame and save it to memory because you know you will want to replay it over and over agan for the rest of your life? Your first kiss, your wedding day or the birth of your child. At work, when you sold your heart out and won that cruise you had so much fun on with your kids. How about when something came over you and you bought a homeless man groceries or did something nice for senior who was lonely?
If we sharpen are imagery tools we can almost imagine the feel and taste of what drive us. Start small and think of an apple. As you imagine the apple you have already decided what type of apple it is and just how big it is. You begin to eat the apple feeling the skin separating a bit as you chew it, the apple juice is slightly sweet with every bit right before you swallow. The apple is crunchy and loaded with juice, you can actually sense that the center of the apple seems to get softer with every bit. It has been a while since you have had one yet can imagine the difference between a Granny Smith and Gala Apple. It is truly amazing that if we stop, sit quietly, we can perceive with imagery.
Your employees and donors need help visualizing because we all get accustomed to our surroundings and it can dim the opportunity to see beyond what actually lies in front of us. Employees and donors need vivid pictures of their goals that are fresh and obtainable. Goals that have a reward and incentive inspiring them want to achieve. If you are rolling out the same contest over and over, with they same hype and not touching their senses, you are not helping them to truly visualize by providing the right tools to do so.
How do you stimulate your employees and donors senses? You must first learn about what part of their job keeps them interested at a personal level. You might say it is money but there usually is more to it than that. Could it be that what helps them visuallize is meeting blood donor recipients and feeling that they were a part of life saving gifts that was received? How about providing a visual timelline with updates from the organic garden that grew from money raised on the telephone thanks for your Call Center?
As with most of us that have the ability to see life in pictures, we probably had parents that pointed things out to us as we played in the park or went to the beach. Things that we might not have noticed at a young age. When I was a child, my dad would point out clouds that looked like animals and people as my sister and I laid on the grass studying the sky with amazement. My dad would also point small insects out or budding seeds from our garden making us stop and take note of little changes. Along with teaching his daughters about the wonders of nature, he was helping his two daughters sharpen their imagery skills.
By pointing out progress pepper in incentives to peak interest creating a basis from which imagery begins to take shape. Everyone should participate in your donor drives and sales contests because each individual contributes in one way or another. They should be included in conversations during development, marking and the life of the contest. All should feel part of the bigger picture and not just feel like a cog in the wheel. We all want to feel like we are part of the solution and know that we are helping others.
We often limit ourselves with thoughts of “I never win contests” or “I wish but there is no way I can do that” and cannot look beyond a limited circle. We limit ourselves by our thoughts, beliefs and fail to visualize us holding the trophy or driving that new Mercedes. The more open-minded we can be, and the bigger, the more positive the outcome and success. Limitations are within our minds, and it is up to us to rise above them. We need to reward ourselves and those we work with providing them an incentives to look beyond. It is up to us, to help our employees and donor visualize once we learn how to do so so that we can all succeed.
October 17th, 2012
Wow a free vacation condo in a resort, really? You are kidding, all I have to do is quickly blast out an email back to you with a date when I want go within the next two weeks? How can this be, there has got to be a catch. Who gives a resort vacation away for free without a catch? Who? What is their incentive for doing this? Well, after day dreaming about my vacation at this resort I figured out the “why”. The why is because this company is going to literally receive hundreds of immediate responses to their offer which enables them to learn who is still in business, who is reading their emails, what the recipient’s most current address and phone number is and which are interested in receiving contact from their company? This exercise is an interesting way of putting together their Christmas Solicitation List. Very cleaver guys!
Have you begun your Christmas Solicitation List yet? You can still make it and follow these tips to make the most of your efforts.
1) Look at 2012 trends, what are people talking and tweeting about.
2) make sure your inventory is in check, nothing worse than having orders and no products.
3) Decide what your eye catching theme will be.
4) If necessary, staff up for the holidays and train, train, trains.
5) Line up incentives for bundled services or products to make them more attractive.
6) Create special incentives and services for purchases before Black Friday.
7) Offer free services such as gift tags, gift wrap or pairing ideas.
Partner with other business that is complimentary to your business and workout an incentive plan for them to participate.
9) Are you ready to send SMS Text messages to iphones and tablets? More shoppers are using the latest technology and you will want to reach every one of them.
10) Establish a Pinterest holiday marketing campaign with lots of fun incentives.
11) E-gift card or retainable coupon codes that act as a certificate.
12) Create incentives for referrals and increase sales!
The important thing to remember if you get started early, you can keep selling all season long as people begin to find value you in your product and service buying for many others.
Here is too a great 2012 Christmas season!
July 18th, 2012
Ah the new relationship. You meet and overcome that awkward first conversation then find that you are really meeting someone who will matter. You exchange emails, text messages that then lead to coffee, lunch and dinner. Every conversation will of course not lead to a lifelong friend or million dollar business deal but each has a possibility of enriching your life and just may provide you the incentive of a fruitful referral.
After time passes, it becomes important to not let your new and existing relationships fade. We lead busy lives in the U.S. and need to stop to adopt the values of socializing that our European friends have. Europeans take things slower connecting with friends and family over long lunches and dinners enjoying each other’s company and a nice bottle or two of wine. Sitting at a cafe taking in the fresh air and spending time talking about one another’s families with a sprinkling of business here and there are the incentive glue to building business.
Valuable relationships require an investment of time. Emailing and texting at holidays will only leave your relationships to become a brief thought during holidays without a real incentive to reach out to you and your business. Connecting during Thanksgiving and Christmas alone and will feel insincere and may be seen as only an attempt to reconnect to do business during the holidays when you have not spoken all year long.
Business connections, employees and donors have one thing in common; they have great intentions just like you do. They intended to do business, increase sales and donate blood but the reality is their view of your relationship with them can also fade. Just like a plant, you must feed, water and let things breath but don’t wait too long because it will be time to water and feed again! Don’t see this as a chore, each action is an opportunity to get in front of business connections to do business and meet others.
So, how do you become a bit of a European and socialize?
1) Take a breath and take time to enjoy the day. Walk and greet others on the street while enjoying the vistas of life in the neighborhood.
2) Plan to meet others two weeks in advanced to be sure you make the date for coffee or lunch. Look for places that energetic with an incentive of promoting lots of conversation.
3) Bring a conversation piece such as an interesting article or have one in mind to spark conversation.
4) Share vacation photos and talk about what you found to be funny or interesting.
5) Bring a small gift for their kids or their desk that shows you have been thinking of them.
Keep things casual and relaxed. Do not look at your watch or gobble your food. Think about the true incentive, a time to spend away from work while getting to know someone else in this world. Feel honored that the individual chose you to spend an hour or two of their time with you, a real compliment.
It is not a complicated formula. While you get more sleep, eat well, exercise and socialize thing will magically come together. You will meet more people, meet their people and do more business.
December 8th, 2011
It is Christmas time and everyone is wondering how to buy gifts on a super tight budget. We would all like to give gifts to all those that make our lives a little bit easier, provide good service or teach our children but the reality is we have must carefully pick and choose who will receive.
There is no better time than the holidays to buy gift cards and other incentives than now. Many restaurants, grocery stores and retailers are going out of their way to provide you with an incentive to buy more gift cards. Most restaurants are offering 1 $10.00 gift card when you purchase a $20.00. Although some think that gift cards do not provide the “ah” factor as a beautifully wrapped present with a gift inside, it does have longer lasting effect. A few days or even months later when your friends and relatives go to use their clothes, food or cocktails it is always reminds them of you or your business once again. You see a gift card is not just a gift providing the recipient with their choice of gift or incentive to do business with you, it is a long lasting incentive that often includes sharing who presented them with the gift card over dinning. If you are a business owner you realize the importance of word of mouth advertising, the best type of advertising in the world!
One thing to note, if you are mailing gift cards be sure to place it in a box so that it can not be felt in a Christmas Card and stolen. Also, select a retailer or restaurant who insures the card in case of theft or lost.
Other Ways to Maximize Your Gift Card Purchases:
1) Combine purchases with friends for a bigger incentive.
2) Look for coupons online or swap coupons you need with friends.
3) The incentive to buying online is saving money on taxes and get free shipping.
5) Purchase at smaller retailer who are willing to bargain for your business.
6) Ask friends on Social Nets works where the deals are on gift cards and other cool things.
Even if you are finished with your Christmas shopping, take advantage of gift card incentives on groceries and other items saving you even more money. Hurry deals end when the Christmas season is over.
September 9th, 2011
Do you walk into your office asking yourself what happened to the energy of your once vibrant sales staff? There is hope, you just have to give everyone their red balloon back. No matter what the age of the individual on your team, everyone still has a kid inside. A child lives inside of all of us whether rich or poor, educated or not, young or old. We all yearn for wonder, excitement and fulfillment, our red balloon.
When I was a little girl my grade school teacher announced that we were all going to sit Indian style on the floor and watch a French movie. We all thought, “Wow, a movie all the way from France at our school just for us!” What could it be about? As the teacher began to set things up for our movie, we were all so excited. It took her several minutes to get us situated and sitting quietly on the floor. She then told us the movie’s title ”The Red Balloon”. We all laughed with excitement because after all, what kid does not love a balloon? What a fun title I thought! It seemed so perfect to me that I quickly sat quietly with anticipation of this French movie. When the projector went on, I remember hearing the movie reel go around and around as it began to show the movie on the pull down screen in front of the chalk board. Thinking back to moment, it was really amazing how a 1/2 hour story about a red balloon befriending only one little boy could ignite a fever of excitement and motivation amongst 20 children that lasted the rest of the week.
“What is in it for me”, the question heard throughout every organization at literally every level. Whether those that do business with you are your employees, clients or donors, they all want to know the answer. Give them their choice of incentive. Either provide them year long discounts to theme parks, dinning or their choice of vacation.
Those that manage sales teams have opportunities to give their teams red balloons providing them with incentives that bring out their energetic inner child. Whether their inner child responds to incentives they can share with their families, experience with their buddies or fun from a new electronic toy, their “red balloon” is one that will not soon be forgotten. Like most kids we all share fun stories about experiences or prizes we have won. An incentive is usually shared imediately with others via email, text or photographs providing you with added advertising and sales. The best advertising of all is of course, the word of mouth.
Our red balloon provides us with an incentive to reach and stretch for our goals. It may seem that it is out of reach at first but as we continue to keep the incentive in our minds eye, we find ways to make that final jump grapping the string tightly holding it with pride and joy. We have reached success and have the red balloon for all to see.
July 14th, 2011
Everything that any of us do during the day has a purpose, of course; otherwise most of us would probably be couch potatoes watching Netflix all day. Luckily, everyone has something they need to do, whether it is grocery shopping, doing homework, or going to work. People, and the motivations behind their actions, are what make our world go round; Incentives.
Our motivations responsible for our actions are visible from the very beginning. Even from the first few times that we began to converse with our parents, every action we did had an incentive behind it. Take the average 3 years old. As a parent it is an unspoken law that we must make our children eat vegetables. “If you eat your yams, you can have ice cream for dessert!” Sound familiar? Incentives are responsible for everything we do; they are unavoidable. Take parties for example. If you don’t invite people at least one month before the actual party, hopefully your five finger friends can save the party and round up some last minute invitees. People don’t respond to R.S.V.P.’s for a reason; they are simply waiting to see if a better offer will come up in the time being, one with a greater incentive. Let’s say your party has “party people”, you live in a higher middle class home, and your social status is on the higher side. You will probably have more guests than your friend, who lives in the average sized home and is a little lower on the social totem pole. People will go to your party instead because your guests are assumed to have better business and social connections. Not saying that your friend’s guests don’t have the same qualities to offer, but having to choose between the two is night and day. People are magnetized towards money and social butterflies because the opportunities that are at your party offer a greater incentive than your friend’s party. Incentives transfer over to every business, everywhere. Our salary is what drives each and every one of us at work to perform better, be on time to that 7:00 am meeting, and even stay that extra 10 minutes late to impress our bosses. Most of us would only perform the minimum each day at work if there wasn’t an incentive keeping us hooked on the line. Would you go on that business trip to China for two weeks if there wasn’t something in it for you? Without incentives many people would be left unmotivated and would never continue to climb the ladder at their companies, because there wouldn’t be anything to strive for. Incentives motivate everyone, whether it is an aspiring chef hoping to open a restaurant, your average college student longing to be the editor for a newspaper, or the ten year old down the street hoping to have a paper route in order to buy that new video game. So, we ask why we do the things we do. The answer: incentives
May 6th, 2011
Donors are coming out of a long dry spell carefully looking for organizations to donate to in 2011. Attract the one time, annual and generational donors with an incentive that will answer their “What’s in it for me” question.
Taxes deductions and t-shirts are terrific but what about a reward that gives back to them over and over again? Incentives geared toward levels of commitment and motivating one level to move to a higher level. To find the perfect incentive program require some homework regardng the culture of your organization and type of donor. Annual surveys help to determine the reward that your donors are looking for and the use of an Incentives Broker. An effective survey is one that includes the following:
- How many potential donors are in the household?
- What is their reason for giving?
- What other charities are of interest to them?
- What types of physical activities does the family enjoy on the weekends?
- What is their favorite entertainment venue?
- Favorite food?
- Would they donate more often if they could select their own incentive?
- Are they interested in providing a testimonial?
- Would they be interested in donating their time calling others to donate?
One California Incentive Broker believes that their choice, is their motivation when it comes to incentive programs. When donors hear that they can select their incentive that includes their family, they are immediately driven to donate more reguarly and usually tell a friend.
Once you begin to design your donor incentive program, don’t forget your Blood Donor Schedulers, Call Center Representatives and Marketing Staff who create donor drives. Employees can select from over 70 Total Benefits & Incentives to Choose From to Create Your Own Customized Discounts. Health Provider Discounts include Aetna Dental, Lab & Imaging, Vision, Fitness, Tele-Doc, Medical Equipment and more. Their family will love the discounts to nationwide restaurants, golf courses, hotels, legal services and theme parks, plus additional services and fun!
We do what we do every day because we are motivated forone reason or another to do so. We go to work to pay for our homes and go on vacations. We brush are teeth to keep them healthy for life. If we find answer to their “What’s in it for me” question, our donors will help us motivate others sharing their incentive experience increasing the number of those who give.
May 2nd, 2011
Having an effective reward program in place can help solve many of your HR issues.
Every compnay needs a strategic reward system for employees that addresses these four areas: compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation. The problem with reward systems in many businesses today is twofold: They’re missing one or more of these elements (usually recognition and/or appreciation), and the elements that are addressed aren’t properly aligned with the company’s other corporate strategies.
A winning system should recognize and reward two types of employee activity-performance and behavior. Performance is the easiest to address because of the direct link between the initial goals you set for your employees and the final outcomes that result. For example, you could implement an incentive plan or recognize your top salespeople for attaining periodic goals.
Rewarding specific behaviors that made a difference to your company is more challenging than rewarding performance, but you can overcome that obstacle by asking, “What am I compensating my employees for?” and “What are the behaviors I want to reward?” For example, are you compensating employees for coming in as early as possible and staying late, or for coming up with new ideas on how to complete their work more efficiently and effectively? In other words, are you compensating someone for innovation or for the amount of time they’re sitting at a desk? There’s obviously a big difference between the two.
The first step, of course, is to identify the behaviors that are important to your company. Those activities might include enhancing customer relationships, fine-tuning critical processes or helping employees expand their managerial skills.
When business owners think of reward systems, they typically put compensation at the top of the list. There’s nothing wrong with that, since few people are willing or able to work for free. But the right strategy should also include an incentive compensation plan that’s directly linked to the goals of your company for that period. You might want to include some type of longer-term rewards for key individuals in your organization. Historically, this has often included some form of equity ownership.
Benefits are another type of reward in a strategic reward system, and your employees are definitely going to notice the types of benefits you provide. Companies that don’t match or exceed the benefit levels of their competitors will have difficulty attracting and retaining top workers. This is one reason an increasing number of businesses are turning to professional employer organizations like Administaff to gain access to a broader array of company benefits.
However, you can’t diminish the importance of recognition and appreciation as integral components of a winning strategic reward system. These two elements rarely receive the attention they deserve from business owners, which is amazing because they’re the low-cost/high-return ingredients. Employees like to know whether they’re doing good, bad or average, so it’s important that you tell them.
Recognition means acknowledging someone before their peers for specific accomplishments achieved, actions taken or attitudes exemplified through their behavior. Appreciation, meanwhile, centers on expressing gratitude to someone for his or her actions. Showing appreciation to your employees by acknowledging excellent performance and the kind of behavior you want to encourage is best done through simple expressions and statements. For example, you might send a personal note or stop by the employee’s desk to convey your appreciation. Another approach is to combine recognition and appreciation in the form of a public statement of thanks in front of the employee’s co-workers or team, citing specific examples of what they’ve done that has positively impacted the organization.
Now that you know what it should include, it’s time to review your strategic reward system. Does it address compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation? Is it aligned with your remaining business strategies? Is it driving the right behaviors for your company, as well as your performance goals? If it needs fixing, don’t wait. It can mean the difference between your business’ success and failure.
April 13th, 2011
Our donors and customers usually think about us when we think about them. We touch base with phone calls, Christmas Cards and emails but if we did not do any of those things how often would they think about us? Do they think of us every time they need a product or service? When they receive a call from your competition? When a new store opens in the area or they come across a website?
How can we move our companies to the forefront of our donors and customer’s mind and get them become our biggest fans, increasing our referral business:
- Provide an added benefit educating the customer with each contact, be their Subject Matter Expert distingushing us from the competition.
- Demonstrate appreciation each and every time when in contact with a donor or customer. They are investing their time and most importantly, their money. After living through this tough economy we will all become better shoppers looking for an incentive before we spend our money.
- Send coupons but not too frequently to get customers to buy. We us one major retailer as an example, they seems to have sales every other day which unfortunately creates no urgency and incentive. Coupons that are sent too often also may create a thought that perhaps pricing on products may be too high to begin with causing buyers to react negatively. Constant sales may also reduce respect for companies.
- Announce surprise sales as if it were the Fourth of July on emails and on your website that last for only 2 to 3 hours to build excitement. Add an incentives for those that buy the first hour and share the sale with others.
- Remember the Nordstrom promise customer service, customer service, CUSTOMER SERVICE! If something goes wrong or your customers have a concern do not view the situation negatively, this is one of the best opportunities to build loyalty.
- Survey your customers. Know how your customers think, are they Logical, pictorial, visceral thinkers? Tailor your marketing to each type of customer separately customizing sales to each type.
- Energetically launch a point reward program building momentum with each purchase and referral.
- Use benefits and incentives that will provide dental, vision, roadside assistance, discounts to theme parks and restaurants all in one incentive!
The Value of Vacation Incentives, Do Your Customers Think About You this Often?
1) When they receive their vacation incentive passport.
2) When they are selecting their destination with their family.
3) When they receive their vacation confirmation.
4) When their toes hit the sand.
5) Each time they share pictures and adventures with friends and family.
It really is all about their choice, their motivation. Get them thinking about your more often.
April 1st, 2011
With signs of the recovery popping up here and there it is now time for an emotional recovery. Time to let those who are important to your business know that you have appreciated their stick- to- ofness and their loyalty. You may not be able to order that expensive new software program for your company yet but it is time for you to demonstrate appreciation to your customers and employees who have helped you retain business over the past two years.
Start the next quarter with all eyes ahead stimulating energy, creativity and growth. Act now to help you speed ahead of your competition and gain more market share. Those all around you will welcome the breath of fresh air and excitement. Treat your campaign as if it were a grand opening. Recruit your liveliest employees and customers to help you launch you incentive
program for best results.
Here are Some Ideas to Help You Charge the Atmosphere:
- Bring out the kid in your employees at every level
- Host meetings in the beautiful spring weather as everyone sips lemonade
- Create Friday Fun Days with contests for production pushes or Craziest T-Shirt Day
- Another idea with a wonderfully positive response is the “Un-Meeting”. Invite all to a meeting surprising all with candy, music and fun welcoming the weekend
- Customer Appreciation Day with rewards and incentives following the theme of your campaign
- SMS Text coupon codes sent to customers and employees giving them free movie tickets
- Scratch off tickets for prizes
- Extend Monday lunch hour
- Enhance your benefits with Pharmacy, theme park, dinning and other discounts all in one terrific incentive
Focus on the future separating the negativity of the past making way for all the posibilities of tomorrow.