Local Business Against Texting While Driving

Lisa Russell, Co-owner of Five Star Collision Center, is taking a personal interest in the campaign against texting and driving.  As a busy mother of four with a new teenage driver, she realizes the many challenges faced by parents as they put their children behind the wheels of a car. She also realizes that the “techno savvy” society we live in today adds additional challenges not faced by older generations.  Most recently, after viewing an episode of “The Extreme Makeover Edition,” one challenge became very clear:  TEXTING AND DRIVING ARE A DANGEROUS MIX.

It is a fact that distracted driving is dangerous and life-threatening. Being part of the collision industry, Lisa sees first hand the crashes that occur from not paying attention while driving.  As a result, Five Star Collision Center is encouraging a commitment from parents and young drivers to sign a pledge to NOT TEXT while driving.  Five Star now has these pledge forms available, in addition to the “thumb bands” which are a visual reminder of the pledge.  Call 513-821-7827 to make your pledge!

Let’s all take a STAND and a PLEDGE against texting while driving and help to make our roadways safe for everyone!

Five Star Collision Center is located at 7710 Anthony Wayne Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45216.  We may also be contacted through our website: www.fivestarcollisioncincy.com.

Backup over the Internet – HANDS-FREE

Allen Miller Computer Consulting
Allen Miller Computer Consulting

A couple of points about backing up your data.

1. Counting on humans to perform tedious tasks is not reliable

2. If you only have 1 backup you are not protected

3. If your data backup resides at the same location as your data source you are not protected

There are many situations where you might need to restore data from your backup. If you accidentally delete a file or make a change you wish to undo you should be able to retrieve a previous version from your backup. If the last time you updated your backup was a month ago – you may be out of luck. External backup hard drives (or even worse – tapes) can fail and you might not know it until you attempt to retreive data from it. If you suffer a physical disaster in the location that your computer is – the fire or water that ruins your computer might also ruin your backup.

There is certainly a valid use for having local backup. However, you should combine a practice of maintaining local backup PLUS Internet Backup.

A good Internet Backup will be able to backup continuously (or multiple times) throughout the day so your backup will always be current. Higher end Internet Backup services will enable you to save multiple versions of files that get updated. If your spreadsheet became corrupted 2 days ago and you just found out – your backup from last night will not help where a backup from 3 days ago could save you. If your backup is stored offsite (as an Internet Backup is) you will be protected from fire, water damage, theft and other physical disasters.

Carbonite.  It’s not a question of IF you will have a hard drive failure – rather – it’s a question of WHEN you will have a drive failure.  You NEED this Protection. 14 Day Free Trial!   $55/per year for UNLIMITED storage – Documents, Photos, Music, whatever.  AMCC recommends Carbonite for stand-alone computers.

Allen Miller
Allen Miller Computer Consulting

Are You Special?

Micheal Davis - Speaking CPR
Micheal Davis - Speaking CPR

Why is it that most speakers never make a deep connection with their audiences?  Even those that are polished presenters, terrific story tellers, or humorous speakers? Unfortunately, they fail to touch their audiences because they’re too busy building themselves up.

When most speakers tell their stories, what do they tend to talk about?  Their successes.  Business success!  Financial success!  Personal success!  Unfortunately, in building themselves up, they are also building a wall between themselves and their audience.

Why?  Because when you tell them how ‘great you are’, they may think “That’s nice for you, but that couldn’t work for me“, or “Well, you’re just special“.  Are you coming across as ‘special’ to your audiences?

Why do most presenters share their victories first? Because they don’t understand that telling others about your failures, your fears, and your frustrations is a way to make audience members feel like you.  When you share those negative experiences, the audience may think, “Wow, I’m not the only one that’s happened to“, or “Glad that didn’t happen to me!”  They’ll realize that you’re just as human as they are.

Am I saying not to tell about your success?  No.  Once you’ve shared your difficulties, the audience is ready to hear about your success.  They want to know the strategies or techniques you used to overcome your challenges.  When you share this information, you offer them a valuable gift… Hope.  In addition to changing the way people Think, Feel or Act, the greatest benefit you can offer is hope.

Although it is natural to think that you will connect with people by telling them about how you’ve succeeded, the fact is that people will gravitate more quickly to you when you tell them about your struggles.  You’ll help them understand they are not alone, or that there IS hope.  Your best chance of connecting with the people sitting in front of you is to bare your soul, and resist the temptation to be special.

Micheal Davis is the President and Founder of Speaking CPR.  If you are looking for an excellent motivational speaker or you’d like help becoming a better presenter contact Michael at (513) 315-6825

Are you SERIOUS…The customer is always RIGHT!

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

For 10+ years in retail I was forced to constantly make changes in how we treated our customers.  That meant hours of soul searching and looking in the mirror.  My least favorite part was firing people that just did not have the ability to do the job.   It’s tough because the bigger you get, it becomes harder to have that consistentcy.   My favorite part though was knowing that we had customers, friends and family that cared enough about us to let us know when we were making mistakes.  I actually started giving out $100 gift certificates whenever someone would give me negative feedback.  Not to make them happy due to a bad experience, but to show them how open we were to making their visit with our store PERFECT.  Just when I thought companies where turning the corner and making strides in customer service it happened to ME and by MY CUSTOMER!  In retail there is 1 rule to live by, “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!”  With the exception of crazy customers, vulgar language and abuse, the customer is ALWAYS right.  It’s not that hard, your job is to over deliver and make your customers happy.

Here’s the story.  We had a client in the restaurant business that we were helping with their marketing.  My family had been a long time customer.  In the past year the service had progressively gotten worse.  In the past 3 months I had many conversations with the owner to let him know how much we loved their food and the atmosphere but that he really needed to address the staff’s customer service.  I don’t claim to be an expert at many things, but with 10+ years of retail experience and the fact that I eat out 10-15 times per week (for over 15 years), I think I’m pretty well equipped to judge a restaurant.  You name it and I had experienced it here and I let the owner know privately and professionally.  I want nothing but them to succeed.  He always had an open ear and seemed to listen, but not many changes were ever made, only excuses.  In retail there are WAY too many choices, so if you don’t take great care of people they will simply go somewhere else.

So in the past month we had a few really bad experiences, the basics of customer service were being completely ignored.  Typically my customers and their employees treat us great and usually (though not necessary) go overboard.  They not only realize we are a customer, but that we also have the ear of the owner and we’re watching to make sure they’re at their best.  I’ve been to this restaurant many times in the past year and everything that had happened to us was happening to many customers.  It was a common occurrence from my observations.  I finally had enough. I prepared a well thought out email and sent it to the owner basically saying that we loved him, the company and the products but he really needed to address these issues or we were going to stop working with them.   I did not like what was happening and I simply could not put our reputation on the line.  What did I get in return???  Finger pointing, excuses and a really negative tone. So with that, we are onto the next of 100 restaurants within a few miles of our home.

Recently I was at a business seminar where the speaker hit the nail on the head with his presentation.  He was talking about advertising and customer service.  He mentioned a few examples of how companies had great advertising, but when you went into their stores the experience did not reflect what the company had portrayed in their commercials.  Simply put their sales staffs were terrible.  Service was sub-par and he went somewhere else. His point was that many companies need to focus on what they are doing everyday in front of the customer, instead of creating fancy ads.

I had to write this because I am passionate about small businesses.  I love locally owned companies.  They can act swift to make changes.  They have their ear to the ground and are always tweaking their processes to make the experience better.  So this really hit home and I am really at a loss for words.  I hope this company sees the light and makes some changes.  They have great products and a great brand, but that may not last.  The bad part about retail, you don’t get 2nd chances to earn a customer’s trust.

Matt Plapp is a the President of Driven Media Solutions, a Full Service Marketing Firm in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerrilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at matt@mattplapp.wpengine.com.


Doug Smith - Cincinnati Radio Marketing Consultant
Doug Smith - Cincinnati Radio Marketing Consultant

All of these companies are category dominant, they all are well known, and they all offer excellent products.   However, if I put you in a room with 99 other people there is a good chance that your opinion of these companies will differ from the vast majority of others.  Maybe you formed your opinion about the above companies through personal experience, but whether you’ve used a product or not….chances are you have an opinion.

Now, if I put 100 people into a room and I asked them to tell me what they thought of your business…..what do you think they would say?

If they’ve done business with you, their opinion is based on their personal experience.  But how do the people who have NOT done business with you formulate their opinion?

Word of Mouth is huge, but advertising is still king when it comes to creating a perception of your business with potential customers.  Radio, TV, Social Media, Direct Mail….they all give you a platform to create a perception.  So the million dollar question is……What does your advertising say about you?

Does your advertising position you as an expert in your field?  Does your advertising establish value?  Does your advertising clearly state the benefits of doing business with you?

Take time to find out what people think of your business.  Ask current customers, ask your employees, or ask your friends….but if you want to hit the business lottery, find someone who bought from your competition and ask them what they think of your business.  You may be surprised at what you hear.

Doug Smith is a Senior Account Executive for WREW Rewind 94.9 and www.cincysavers.com in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky.  You can contact Doug at  (513) 535-9123 or dosmith@hubbardinteractive.com

Are you building the RIGHT relationships?

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

For years I always heard about this mysterious thing called a “referral”.  It was a mystery for me in the  B-2-B sales world.   Even from a retail standpoint it was always a mystery where my next referral was coming from.  We always relied on our advertising.  In 2009 I joined BNI, Business Network International, and began attending weekly meetings with a group of professionals.  It took me a few months and some training to realize how to make this “Referral Thing” work.  FLASH FORWARD to today and I can count 23 closed deals for $231,000 in income for me and my business from referrals in under 2 years.  IT HAPPENED, but it took me taking a serious look in the mirror and making a commitment to do what’s right for everyone else.  I have made 1 cold call in 2+ years since I made this decision.  In one of my previous blogs “This one is for Sales People and Sales Managers…, I talked about how many companies are teaching their staffs a sales practice that is dated and only focused on today.

It wasn’t easy, for 6-8 months I resisted the temptation to do what I always had done, cold call and do what was right for me.  Instead I started doing what was right for everyone else. I focused on how I could help 5-6 friends of mine.  I helped close deals for them, I promoted them, I volunteered, etc.  I did whatever it took to help them and stay visible to them and I did not focus on my needs.  For the first time in my life I was not concerned with Matt Plapp, I was concerned with everyone else.  IT WORKED.  The results above speak for themselves, now I don’t even think about cold calling. I do more calling for my referral partners than I do for myself and every week we pass high pre-qualified referrals to each other.

This exact method is not hard to duplicate on a business’s marketing plan.  Recently I was sitting down with a client and I asked what they were willing to do to help their customers?  We needed to reach more women and kids and I suggested that we need to create 2 year plan to help these customers for FREE!  This is a hard pill for a business owner to swallow.  The tendency is to look at only what’s going to move product NOW.  I’m a big proponent of not only looking at now, but looking at THEN.  What can we do the next 2 years to build a relationship with new and existing customers by only helping them?  I challenge you as you are planning for 2011 and building your personal and business marketing plan, step outside of your comfort zone and create a plan that benefits everyone else and you last.  You’ll be amazed with the results.

I’d like to thank The Referral Institute Cincinnati, Brennan Scanlon, Geof Scanlon and Duane Plapp for helping me realize how to do it right.

Matt Plapp is a the President of Driven Media Solutions, a Full Service Marketing Firm in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at matt@mattplapp.wpengine.com.

Swinging into social media, Golf Exchange sees success

Check out this great article from the December 31st edition of the Cincinnati Business Courier on The Golf Exchange, one of Driven Media Solutions clients.

Social media is a way to stay in touch with friends or watch funny videos of people getting hurt or kittens wearing mittens.

But for many retailers, sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become key components of advertising and marketing plans. And at the Golf Exchange in Florence, co-owners Jason Fryia and Mark Krahe say social media has helped boost sales by as much as 20 percent during what is typically the slowest time of the year.

“Social media is a way for us, for free, to get our message out there,” Fryia said. “We’re not even scratching the surface yet.” MORE…

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Top 10 Dumb Mistakes Inside Sales Reps Make

By Geoffrey James | September 17, 2010

Inside sales means selling over the telephone, and that’s difficult if you keep making the same dumb mistakes.

There are, in fact, exactly 10 mistakes that keep cropping up in these environments. Most of them are connected with cold-calling, but they show up when inside sales reps handle inbound calls as well.

This post contains 10 recordings of telephone calls ( courtesy of the sales training firm Telemasters) illustrating the 10 most common errors that inside sales reps make.

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