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Sports Marketing – The One that Got Away…

Recently my daughter tried out for the regional ODP(PDP) soccer team in our state. It was a last minute decision to make the five hour tirp to the field with her having to stay overnight with another family.

Needless to say upon arrival at the fields I was surprised to find that the check in was not very professional and somewhat disjointed.

The coach of this new team gave us parents about two minutes of his time to basically “ask questions now” because this is the only time you have.

This is the same coach that her current team coach highly recommended and maybe he is great on the field and with the kids, but his approach to us was less than charitable and somewhat brash.

It has been my experience dealing with the youth soccer world that certain coaches have this attitude and this coach was no different. Now maybe he is a really nice fellow underneath the standoffish exterior. But for an estimated $2000 to $2300 over 7 to 8 months it seemed like he could have given us a little more time, or at least an FAQ handout?

After all we parents do pay the bills, invest our time, drive the miles and so I feel a little common courtesy would have gone a long way. At least with me that is. 

In five plus years of dealing with youth soccer I have never seen a more unorganized tryout. It was like the people running it had no personal relations skills whatsoever and the organization behind them only scored a 2 (out of 10 – with 10 being highest) in my marketing and PR book.

You see, as a marketer that is actively developing and growing businesses, I am attuned not only attuned to ads, slogans, headlines, colors, sayings and results, but more so the entire package. And in this case the entire package was weak and left much to be desired.

So what this organization did was ‘not build up my confidence’ and for this next year they lost a great player.

Yep, I’ll toot the horn for her. She really is a great soccer player and everywhere we go, parents approach her and us about her abilities and skills. She works very hard and soccer is her only sport at this stage in her life.

For us first timers(at this regional level) this was an experience that I hope not to come across again in the future. 

And now this leads us back to your business…

Most youth sports organizations need PR and marketing people who specialize in sports marketing. These people should be up front telling the story, sharing the facts, and paving the way for the programs and leagues that are to come. It’s that simple.

This is also the case for most small businesses and this is where soft selling comes into the picture..

DO NOT ASSUME that your prospects know all about your offer, your business, and how great you are.

1. You need to tell the story.

2. You need to provide the facts and testimonials(if you have them).

3. You need to be proactive and follow up with your prospects.

4. You need to provide customer service and this starts before the sale!

And if you are running any kind of youth sports organization that relies on parental funding to keep the paychecks, fields and operations running…

Then I suggest you Over Communicate and Build Repore.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier

The Secret to Increasing Sales in Your Restaurant Business

Due to the amount of travel that I do on an annual basis, certain restaurants and food service establishments are frequented more than others. During one of my recent trips I encountered what I would have considered a fluke, but this particular restaurant business I had been to before and experienced marginal service.

It all started out when I called the restaurant on the property where I was staying for a carry out order. It took five phone calls and I was unable to get anyone on the phone that could take my order. This lead to a walk up to the restaurant, only then to order and wait.

Fortunately the food was good, satisfying ye ole’ stomach and thus the frustration seemed to settle and lead to a relaxing evening. But morning came and the prior nights episode led me to contact the director of food & beverage who had an open ear and apologized more than three times. Although this individual was very pleasant, he missed the key to retaining my future business and could have avoided this call had he surveyed his patrons.

So in today’s article I want to share two steps on how you can take a dissatisfied customer and turn him or her into an advocate and possibly a raving fan.

           How to Create Raving Fans that Return and Bring their Friends to your Restaurant Business…

1. If you have a Dissatisfied Customer – Find out what you can do to make it right.  It might only take a complimentary drink or appetizer to appease and please. And what’s that worth to you, the proprietor or manager? It should not be about cost. It should be about retention and keeping that customer, so when he or she comes back around, your establishment is at the top of the list. This is a mindset and one that you will need to instill in yourself and your staff.

Note: In this economy you need all the happy, satisfied customers you can bring through the door. In most cases it is expensive to bring a new customers in, so why not do everything possible to keep the customers instead of letting them fume and never return.

By doing so you may well turn an upset, angry, dissatisfied customer into a positive, happy, referral-generating advocate.

2. Train your Managers and Service staff to be Customer Friendly and Oriented. This takes time and finding the right people, plus it’s not easy to do, but it is possible. The secret here is to hire the best people who will treat and care for your customers like they are their friends. If you don’t know how to do this – find someone who does or can offer assistance.

Remember – food is only part of the equation. You have to serve good to great food in order for people to continually return to your business and be comfortable referring others. Service is the other part of the equation that in my opinion gets left out more often than I can say here today.

If you are going to retain customers, you need people to do the work. So find people you can train, trust and allow you to build repeat/referral business for your restaurant business. This way you can sleep better at night and your reputation could even blossom.

Are you involved in a restaurant, food service company or coffee bar and want to learn how to increase sales and retain customers? If so, then contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and see how you can Retain Customers & Increase Sales in your Food & Beverage establishment.

Dave Krygier




Customer Satisfaction – 3 Simple Retention Tips

The longer I’m in and around small business it amazes me how customer satisfaction seems to becoming a thing of the past. A matter a fact it seems to vary like the wind, depending on which business you’re dealing with.

As much as I travel and since one of my love languages is acts of service, I’m more sensitive to this, combined with the simple fact that I have always worked to provide good to great service with my prospects, customers and clients.

Thus I believe that it all starts at the beginning and the customer service that you provide should not fluctuate like the price of oil. Because customer satisfaction leads to repeat and referral business, if you and the people who work you understand how to connect and build relationships.

Continually creating new business without a plan to retain customers is like having a revolving door where a customer comes in through your marketing efforts and then never or rarely comes back.

If you are going to invest in the barrel of advertising, marketing, and promotion, then shouldn’t you have a simple working plan to retain customers, clients and subscribers?

It should all start with the initial prospect connection. Yes you heard me right on this comment – the initial connection, wherever that may be.

The connection may be live and in person or it may be through a phone call, live chat, email, article or even social media.

Let me give you an example: This past week I initiated a call to a local water sports company to inquire about watercraft. Upon taking my call the receptionist passed me onto a sales person who answered all my questions, but didn’t ask my name, where I was located or anything about my needs. He was simply uninterested in connecting, satisfying me or making the sale.

All he did was answer questions and then hang up the phone. Thus a potential satisfied customer just kept on searching and didn’t purchase from him or the business he worked at.

Customer satisfaction starts with the first connection and this business didn’t do anything to satisfy me and due to the size of the purchase, I just kept shopping.

Want to retain more customers and create satisfied happy people that will refer you to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances? Then look no further than the first connection and use these three simple Customer Retention tips:

1. Create and Implement a Simple Plan to keep those that you bring into your world in your world. The first thing to do is to put reminders or cues on an index card or piece of paper. This reminder should be used during interaction with new prospects or existing customers. It’s a way to keep you on track during phone, email and e-chat conversations, plus can also be utilized in live scenarios, if used discreetly.

2. Ask Questions, Survey and Track as many conversations as possible. This way you can see progress and what you need to work on to increase customer satisfaction and retention. The survey questions should be asked during the conversation or interaction, but only when appropriate. Tracking is key so you can tell what kind of questions are being asked the most and how people are responding to you and the people you work with.

3. Make sure to Test, Add and Adjust your reminders to ensure that you are doing everything possible to stay on top of customer service and satisfaction. In some cases you may need to add something into the mix in order to increase responses. In other situations you may have to adjust the way questions are asked and even phrased.

The bottom line is that if you serve your customer (like we did at The TIny Store), then his or her satisfaction could show up in a testimonial, comment, feedback, referral or repeat business in the near or distant future.

So serve your customer (or client), even though you won’t be able to please all the customers all the time. It will be worth it and their satisfaction will benefit your business in the short and long-term.

Dave Krygier

Youth Soccer Coaching – Lessons Learned

Today’s youth sports marketplace is flooded with all kinds of opportunities and in most cases if your kids want to play competitive sports – it’s gonna cost ya. At least that’s been our experience in the last five years.

In our case we’ve expended thousands and thousands of dollars to have our children play youth sports and have had mixed experiences with both club and youth sports organizations.

In our most recent series of episodes (that almost read like a tv soap opera), the spring season has wound down and the SS Minnow (the other club) has been beached and is awaiting for Gilligan and the Skipper (our club) to save the day.

Now I know this reference to the old TV sitcom may or may not make sense, but basically the Minnow has been run up on the beach of a deserted island and the people on the island need to figure out how to save themselves.

So the final season has wound down and our daughter has been picked up by another youth soccer club. This came after much discussion, debate as we made the move, went with our gut and fortunately it turned out to be the right decision.

The funny thing was that after we had made the decision we finally heard from our daughter’s coach. This call came as quite the surprise since we had never spoken with him on the phone and he chose not to interact much with us parents during the entire time that he coached our kids. He had been interacting with our daughter for 10 months but had never personally contacted or connected with us once. The problem was that his decision to connect with us came after the door was closed and locked.

The club director did realize there was an issue and even brought it to our attention, but he never addressed it by communicating or holding a parent meeting. He just didn’t understand the key to building bridges and I believe this eventually hurt the club since they decided to merge with a competing organization.

Our experience has been with youth soccer coaching is that the club soccer coaches who coach the ‘b teams’ are just not as committed, because the majority of the kids just aren’t that serious. This has been the case with five different coaches so I’m not giving a one-sided view. We tested four organizations over a three year period and the results were always the same.

My point here is that if the coach had more interaction with the parents, even an occasional hello, it would have made a difference. Instead he chose to call after the door was closed and locked. He never connected.

The director, associate director and club trainer were fantastic and that’s what kept us around. These three individuals connected with us thus making the overall experience a good one, even though the coach was in the background.

The coach can be a promoter and help move the club forward or be an introvert that collects a check. The coach can be a communicator who builds bridges with players and parents or simply chooses to stand alone not allowing anyone in his or her space.

It has been our experience that parents like communication and don’t like to be left out of the loop or on the side of the road.

What does all this youth sports and soccer talk have to do with your small business?

Here it is:

If you are going to retain customers then you best have a program or process in place that  gets the job done. Otherwise you might find a revolving door with customers(or players) coming and going on a continual basis.

This means that you need to cultivate, connect and continue to communicate with your customers(players) and subscribers (if you are marketing via email or direct mail) before, during and after each and every transaction.

Build bridges, make connections and constantly communicate with each and every customer (player and parent). It’s easier than you think and simple to manage, especially if you use an email auto responder and social media to do the heavy lifting.

So if you find your business needs a little help to better communicate, connect and develop long term relationships with clients, customers and subscribers – get in touch with the SmallBiz Mechanic. He May be able to help you build bridges and better connections.

Dave Krygier

Customer Satisfaction – Your Ticket to Ongoing Revenue

Customer satisfaction and retention should be one of the most important areas in any small business, yet the tide seems to be turning in the wrong direction.

In all the years that I’ve been around small business I’ve never seen customer service slipping so much. It almost feels like you have to pull teeth to have someone treat you like a human being – let alone speak with a human being or even connect with one.

More and more I see companies letting their customer service slip which ultimately kills customer retention. And then you have those businesses that implement what they call customer relationship management policies and practices that makes you wonder if anyone really understands the customer?

There’s a disconnect and I believe that until the owner or CEO takes a stand and determines that retaining customers is a top priority, then nothing will change. Because customer service shouldn’t be like the price oil and fluctuate all the time.

In order to have customer satisfaction you need satisfied customers and in order to have satisfied customers you need to have whoever is handling the sale understand what your objectives are. And implement the objectives the way you want them, not the way your workers see it.

Time and time again I experience customer service that speaks of people who don’t care.

Is your business like this? Do your staff or outsourced workers understand what customer satisfaction is? Have you defined what customer satisfaction is in your small business and built your business around satisfying your customers?  Or is your model a revolving door with ‘one sale sam’ written all over it?

I mean you can be an online business owner with a small enterprise that is up and coming and the great thing is that you can provide better customer service than larger competitors. But you needs to satisfy dose customers. (I know my grammar and spelling are sometimes quirky on purpose) – dot, dot, dot. :0)

So get on the right right track and create a simple plan for your staff to follow and make sure to create an outline for both online and offline. More on this in a future post.

In the book “The Five Love Languages”, acts of service is one of the five areas that the author writes about. This is a secret that you may be able to use in your customer retention strategy.

What you do is during the survey process (and yes you should have one) – ask your new customer what is most important to him or her. Ask specifically and dig deep. Why – because this is how you find out what it is that your customer really wants, needs and desires. Call it survey to success and watch what happens after you do this for a few weeks to a month.

It really works – and customers will respond if you ask genuine questions and offer solutions.

So the ticket to ongoing revenue is to satisfy and retain your customers. Be real, add value and be available.

Stay tuned and glued to this channel and dial in to Secrets of the TIny Store to find out how a little know business from the Puget Sound region of Washington State – rocked the search engines for 6 years straight. And provided good to great customer service for 18 years…

Dave Krygier





List Building – How to Connect with Subscribers-Part III

In part one and part two of this ‘How to Connect’ series I covered my first two rules when it comes to connecting and building relationships with subscribers and clients.

This article is about Rule #3 – Be available.

Be willing and open to connect with those people that opt-in and subscribe to your email list.

What this really means to be available is that when a subscriber sends you an email, you respond to them. And do so sooner than later.

This is one of the first tests that I do when I subscribe to a marketers list.

I send an email to inquire about something. If the message comes back as undeliverable, no response, with an automated reply, or with a support ticket system, then I know this marketer is not available. Or he or she has chosen to outsource email inquiries.

What this tells me is that the marketer is not really interested in connecting with subscribers and clients.

I did this just recently and the individual never replied. But then the next day his new message showed up to pitch me another product. The funny thing is that the product didn’t have a thing to do with why I subscribed in the first place.

The no reply and then follow up sales message didn’t do much to get me to buy his product. In fact it did the exact opposite and turned me the other direction.

When a subscriber contacts you, it’s usually because the individual is searching for more information or has a question about something pertaining to your product or service.

What you should do is make the personal connection and start the cultivation process. Because after all you are building relationships and if the relationship is strong, the better chance you have of selling your products and services.

Of course there’s the easy way out and you can simply say that … Shortcuts are the way to go. And then you look for ways to automate the replies or setup support ticket software.

I say – take the high road. Be available and Connect with your subscribers and clients until the day comes that you have so much business and are overwhelmed with emails that you have to search, hire and personally train someone to help you. More on this topic in another article.

To summarize our three part series: Be real, add value and be available to the people on your list –online or offline.

And if you still haven’t picked up the List Building Guide, go now and get yourself a copy.

To your continued success,

Dave Krygier

List Building – How to Connect with Subscribers – Part II

In part one of this three part series I shared my first rule when it comes to my business and working with subscribers and clients. As an online marketer who specializes in list building, connecting with your list is critical.

So in his article I will touch on my second rule… Rule #2 – Add Value.

Deliver value in all that you do. Value added.

Value that says …This is worth it and I have put the time and money into it for you, my subscriber.

Value that speaks quality – whether it is free or purchased products or services.

Valuable content that your subscribers can use and implement in their lives.

Not rehashed, overused, repurposed and regurgitated content that has been used so many times that it looks like an old shop rag.

And it is not about adding bonuses to the sales letter page so your subscriber jumps for his or her bankcard.

It’s about value that raises the bar and sends a message that you deliver quality.

Because when you look at your business, yes I am back to that again – your business;

you need to realize that the people on the other end of the connection are looking for value.

They want and desire value and if you offer it to them in more than one way then you will find subscribers turning into clients

I believe it is very important that you as a business owner make every effort to create value in all that you do.

Whether it is list building, email marketing, an offline enterprise or maybe some other kind of online venture.

The value you add will make the difference.

Stay tuned for Part III in this series about how to connect with subscribers.

Dave Krygier

PS- Need some help with developing your list – check out The List Building Guide.

List Building – How to Connect with Subscribers – Part I

When it comes to list building you need to connect with your subscribers and clients.

This three part series is about the three rules that I employ in my business. The reason I have these rules is to keep myself accountable to you my subscriber and client.

My rules are simple and the first one is to Be Real.

Yes, Rule # 1 is to Be Real.

This is not the normal run of the mill series about attracting new subscribers, or how to convert and increase sales. This series is about how develop, cultivate and connect with the people on your list.

So let’s begin…

Some marketers I’ve run across in the last five years seem to think that connecting with the people on the other side of the computer screen is just a pain in the you know what. They hide behind their websites and avoid any kind of contact with their subscriber and client.

Recently as I was doing research for a project I came across some very well written content but the writer (marketer) chose to hide his or her identity on the article page, and even on the associated blog site.

The funny thing is that this individual seemed to be working on developing a list of subscribers, so why would he or she hide and avoid contact?

This strategy might work for certain web based businesses, say if you are in content or CPA marketing, but when it comes to building a list of subscribers, why would you make it difficult for your ‘customer’ to connect with you?

This immediately brought up a red flag and put up a barrier that lead me to be very cautious.  So this marketer lost a potential subscriber and who knows maybe I would have become a client if the products offered met one of my needs.

This brings me back to the point about my rules…

Even though we are marketing our businesses through a web-based model, it is still important to create the connection and be real. We humans have a built in desire to connect with other human beings.  So hiding behind web pages and avoiding contact is breaking my rule about being real.

It’s one thing to squeeze the searcher at your squeeze page. It is very obvious and the searcher has options. They can opt-in, save the page or hit the back key.

It’s entirely another to hide and avoid contact – especially if you are in the business of building a subscriber and client list.

Rule #1 – Be real. Being real helps you to better connect with the people on your list because list building is really about the relationship. The connection.

I’ll dig more into rules #2 and #3 in parts two and three of this series.

Stay Tuned,

Dave Krygier


PS- If you are thinking about building a list of subscribers or are already in the process of doing so and haven’t picked up a copy of my List Building Guide, go get yourself a copy here.


How to Increase Customer Retention

During one of my frequent trips throughout the Northwest, I revisited a little airport diner that I had tested a few months earlier. This simple airport diner is one of the most unique dining establishments I’ve frequented in the last 10 years. Not only was the food really good but reasonably priced and came with great service to boot! As I got up to pay my bill, I noticed that the server had left me a...

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