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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Comments on my article on Trust

Joan Stewart sent me an e-mail with the following comments:

"My comment was that in this era of distrust, there are lots of
things that Internet marketers or website owners can do to
invoke trust in visitors. They include:

--Joining the BBB and displaying that logo on your homepage.
--Including your phone number, shipping address and email
address on your homepage so people don't have to search for it.
--Include your photo on your homepage so people can see who
they are doing business with.
--Including logos of organizations you belong to, so people
know you are an expert." Joan Stewart,

My reply,

I agree completely. Establishing that trust is most important. Taking steps like that can help to establish and build that trust. One step alone (like joining the BBB---Better Business Bureau) would not be sufficient but the combination of things that Joan discusses would go a long way to building that trust.

Thank you, Joan. Great ideas!

If you have a comment, please let me know.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Bush, Blair, Trust and Your Business

By Terry L. Brock

Whew! It seems that a week doesn’t go by without seeing falling poll numbers for George W. Bush. The latest debacle was the unveiling about the NSA (National Security Agency) and how surveillance has been conducted on American phone calls.

No, this is not a political piece gravitating to either side on this debate. The “We need it to protect ourselves from the terrorists” vs. the “Privacy is being destroyed” debates are for another forum. However, I’m concerned about what the whole issue is doing to trust in general---and specifically with business and the ramifications for your own business.

Over on the other side of the pond, we see Tony Blair, the Prime Minister in the UK besieged due to a philandering Deputy Prime Minister, falling poll numbers and even members of his own party wondering about his departure.

Trust is at a low ebb in our world today. People are more skeptical than ever---even to the point of not trusting anyone. This lack of trust has serious considerations for business and for what you do in your own business. But there is a very bright side to all this (more on that below).

Trust is the key to building any kind of relationship. It starts slowly and builds over time with a steady, consistently reliable stream of experiences and exposures. Say you will do something at a given time and follow through and that helps to build trust slowly but surely. It is natural, and even wise to be careful before trusting someone completely. As you get to know someone you gain their confidence. Harvard Professor and author Rosabeth Kantor wrote in her work, Confidence, that it is one of the most critical skills for success. You have to have it in yourself and your abilities and others have to have it in you to trust you.

However, with the political problems in the US, the UK and other countries more and more people distrust not only political leaders but others. In the US recently we saw a 68- year-old Catholic priest, Father Gerald Robinson convicted of murdering a nun back in 1980. This won’t help a tarnished image from sex-scandals that emerged a while back and decreased trust in the Catholic Church among many.

But what does this mean for you and me in our businesses? How will that lack of trust going to effect your business?


The mood is that people--- read your customers--- are less trusting of others in general. They wonder about ulterior motives. They’ve been burnt many times before and like a child who has been burnt with a hand on a hot stove, they are very hesitant to not only put their hand on any stove (even a cool one) but to even go close to the kitchen!

But the good news trumps the dangers. We human beings are desperately looking for someone that we can believe. That is what keeps us coming back for more. It is what we really want. We want a company that genuinely, sincerely has our best interests at heart. We want a company that we can know will provide the goods and services as promised and will continue to be like a rock for the future.

Here Are 5 Key Principles That Can Work For You In Your Business:

1. Realize the global conditions that exist. Your customers are going to be more jaded and distrustful in general as they see political and larger-scope issues emerge questioning various people. This is particularly ominous when they have trusted a given politician or respected individual at one time and then were later let down. Having an awareness of what is in the environment is the first step to dealing with it.

2. Put systems in place so you minimize glitches. Often when glitches happen, it is not because someone means to hurt the other. It is often just something falling through the cracks. However, the perception on the part of the customer can be that your business is just like those nasty politicians with whom your customers are irritated. It’s been said many times before---“Proper prior planning prevents pretty poor performance.” Plan well in advance and be ready for a variety of problems before they occur.

3. Prepare for glitches---it works that way on this planet. In spite of your best plans and all the care, you are going to experience glitches. Take that extra effort to respond to customers and turn around a negative. Customer service professionals tell us that you can build an even stronger relationship with a customer when you proactively address their concern and let them know in a tangible, real, customer-oriented way that you are doing something positive to address the situation. Problems are inevitable. But you can plan for them and build “customer satisfaction invoking responses” into your systems to handle a lot of the glitches that can and do happen.

4. Consistently provide value and positive customer service. Train your people regularly how to deal with common problems and questions. On-going education of yourself and your people in both technical and human-relationship areas helps to set a general mood that goes beyond a robotic way of dealing with problems. Nothing is more annoying or frustrating than hearing a robotic “Our customers come first” voice mail system that repeats obnoxiously while a customer is on the line getting more and more frustrated.

5. Be proactive in customer service. This means providing value. An e-mail newsletter (Ezine) that contains customer-requested information rich with personal media (think audio and video) can communicate a warm, personal and information-rich series of value-oriented messages. Remember to keep it short (we’re all busy), relevant and very practical for the end user.

The politicians might be loosing ground in their poll numbers but you can be the source customers turn to again and again. Put your systems in place and focus on what customers what. Remember, it is not about the E-Commerce (the Electronics); It is about the R-Commerce (the Relationships) in business that matter.


Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Amanda Clarke-Tour of England

This is a special, almost-not-quite-business-related video where we see Amanda Clarke getting petrol (gasoline) in the UK. Notice the price in the UK for gas as of this shooting (April, 2006). Then see some scenes from William Shakespeare's home in Stratford-on-Avon.

The link you'll need is:

Go there and see the video for this segment. Remember that link is:


Monday, May 01, 2006

Think Creatively For Better Marketing

By Terry Brock
Dateline: Dublin, Ireland

Expand your mind and build your business. As a small business owner and independent business person (aren’t we all in today’s world?) you can grow enormously by looking around and seeing what successful companies are doing. I’m in Dublin, Ireland, as I type this finishing up a round-the-world trip to see some best practices in marketing and business procedures.

The other day I flew into Dublin from London’s Luton Airport. To get here I chose the most profitable carrier in Europe today---Ryanair. This incredible airline learned from Southwest Airlines in the United States how to run an airline business in today’s tough aviation industry. They are succeeding wildly with an approach that is very profitable but also has some good food for thought for you and me in our businesses.

I’m upset with Ryanair now (more on that later) but I still see some great opportunities to learn and grow. Ryanair (see for details on their low prices) flies jets around Europe at incredibly low prices. They have been known to fly as low as 1 Great Britain Pound (about US$1.80 in today’s exchange) each way. The taxes alone cost more than that. What Ryanair does is offer flights that are incredibly low and then they make their money in other creative ways.

This is the key for you and me. Think about what you’re offering and how you can add on other items. These are often called “back-end” products or an upsell. Ryanair makes their money from a variety of ways and they save costs a lot.

You and I can do similar marketing activities in our business to make money in alternative, creative ways that enhance and support our main revenue line. If the competition is charging cut rate prices, we can think creatively for better marketing by offering other options for people to be involved with us.

Listen to what Ryanair is doing. They offer insurance on their flights where they make money. They sell the beverages and snacks. They also sell advertising space for others. These tactics, and more, are employed by many other airlines in today’s world. Ryanair goes beyond this in their work.

They work with cities to offer service into an area where the city has been declining. If the city will make certain concessions and provide cash to Ryanair, the city not only gets the service but some special promotions. This boosts attendance at conventions and more.

Ryanair also has arrangements with hotels and transportation companies. By making these services available, Ryanair makes money from passengers after they leave the plane. This is thinking creatively for better marketing. Think about it for a moment: When you fly to a new city, often you’ll need transportation to the convention center, a hotel or more. Why wouldn’t an airline partner with a ground transportation company that can continue the service for passengers? And by the way, Ryanair refuses to call their passengers “Passengers.” They call them guests---just like a hotel.

Ryanair also partners with hotels to provide special rates for guests (both Ryanair guests and the hotel’s guests). These are just a few examples of what Ryanair is doing to go outside their main business to generate revenue. By attracting a large group of customers, they make that large group available to others for the betterment of both customers and their new partners.

Think about others with who you could partner that offer complimentary services to your core target market. You can benefit your customers more by aligning with select, carefully chosen partners. Your partners then can open up their customers to work with you. Everyone wins.

Ryanair does make money in another significant way that bothers me---a lot. They charge a lot for any weight you have in luggage over 10KG (about 22 pounds). I found that I had to pay approximately an additional $150 each way on a short trip because of my luggage with this round-the-world trip. Ugh! I would have been better off flying another airline. Yes, I knew there would be a charge but I don’t usually carry a scale with me to weigh my luggage! Next time, I’m flying another airline if I am going to be on an extended trip.

Yet, even with my own frustration at the extra cost, I have to admire Ryanair for their approach. The flight attendants have always been friendly and cheerful to me (I’ve flown them before on trips to Europe). They seem to have a better-than-average attitude towards making “guests” feel welcome once you’re on the plane.

All of us can learn in business to think beyond our core revenue. Partnering with complimentary businesses can yield great revenue for both parties and help the customers ease the flow.

Now, if I could just get Ryanair to reduce charges for luggage when I am flying---now that would really be customer service!


Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Business Journals to use in regular publications.