The Lost Art of the Follow-Up


In my experience at Sharn Enterprises, Inc., I have encountered different situations that deal with client building, customer relationships, and overall account management.  The most important I have come to realize is the art of the follow-up.

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What sparked my in-depth thought about the follow-up was an email I received from a potential customer.  It read,

“I will stay in touch.  I am sure we can do some things together and I appreciate your efforts and follow-up.  It’s a refreshing change!!”

This note not only made my day, but also got my wheels turning.   If I can provide a “refreshing change” for a customer who is not used to follow-ups and attempts to make an effort, then Sharn Enterprises gains an opportunity to earn new business. Thus, when you’re not reaching out to a potential or even a current client, you may miss a potential opportunity and that client may take their business elsewhere.  GoTo Market Strategies (2014) supports this and states, “only 50% of marketing leads have received a follow-up from sales or channel partners, making it the top reason a product wasn’t purchased.”

The definition of a follow-up is when you check-in with a customer or client to give them a heads up, update, or even a general hello.  The follow-up can also take on different hats, including being a marketing boost.  For example, a once booming client may have lost touch with your organization for no specific reason, just plain evolution.  Reaching out could remind a client of your services and help them realize you are just the right person to help with an upcoming project.

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You see, the follow-up is sometimes unexpected, unwarranted, and ignored.  In other instances, the follow-up is welcomed, unexpected (in a good way), and appreciated.  And the latter version is where your company (and Sharn Enterprises, Inc.) maximizes its results.

As a marketing and sales professional, I want to be known as the person that makes the extra effort.  I want to my client to know that I care and I am willing to go the extra mile.  I do not want to be apart of the other 50% and lose potential business.

As I get off my soapbox, here are some ways that you and your sales team can increase productivity by going back to the basics, by bringing back the lost art of the follow-up:

1. Send an email– Do not just cut and paste.  Write a thoughtful note that doesn’t seem like Siri was the author.

2. Write a letter– Once again, no copying and pasting.  Key word here is “write.”  A hand-written note shows consideration and time was taken in order to really delve deep into thought.  A letter is personal, warm, and is an extremely thoughtful follow-up approach.

3. Pick up the phone- If emailing or writing a note seems too trivial for your specific customer, give them a ring.  A phone call allows for the inflection of your voice to be expressed.  If you’re excited about an upcoming project you are working on for that client, it will be heard in your voice.  Most importantly, be yourself.

4. Send follow-up information right after a meeting– During your meeting, write down notes for yourself.  For example, when I meet with a new client, I write down notes as well as detailed data so I am able to mock-up a custom display idea right after the meeting.  You are human; you can’t remember every detail, so writing notes down can help recall all key points discussed.

5. Keep an eye out for the small things– During your initial meeting, keep an eye out for body language, words, or expressions that piqued your customer’s interest and got them excited to work with you.  Refer back to these in your follow-up approach.

6. Agree– If you agree with a point made by your customer, let them know!  This builds trust and lets the client know you are listening and on the same page.

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At Sharn Enterprises, Inc. we have seen the follow-up truly work.  Like my dad always says,

“If you try and don’t succeed, it’s better than not trying at all.”

For more information on Sharn Enterprises, Inc.’s custom POP displays and store fixtures, please visit http://www.sharndisplays.com or call 815-464-9715.

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Father’s Day 2015: 8 Gift Ideas for Dad


Back on July 10th, 1910, the governor of Washington decided to proclaim the first ever “Father’s Day.”  However, it was not until Mother’s Day became a nationally recognized holiday that Father’s Day became official 58 years later.  Every third Sunday in June, families celebrate that special guy in their life and show their appreciation through actions as well as gifts.  Most fathers claim that they are easy to please, but on the inside, they would love a thoughtful present.  That’s why we here at Sharn Enterprises have come up with a list of possible gift ideas for dad that will make his day special, while showing you some of our exceptional POP custom displays.

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1. Golf Gear

Do you have a dad that loves to relax on the weekends by heading to the green?  Any dad who loves golf would appreciate a specialty club, some new golf balls, gloves, golf shirt, or even a golf towel.  These gifts would be a great idea for any dad who is active and has been itching to take a weekend getaway to the nearest golf course.

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2. Leather Goods

Do you have a dad that double as a businessman?  Does he like the finer things in life?  Then maybe your pops will like a new leather wallet or belt.  More practical than flashy, a fresh, new accessory will allow your dad to practice the saying, “out with the old, in with the new.”

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3. Power Tools

A good gift for the handyman in your life would be a brand new power tool or even tool chest, which would make any father feel useful as well as appreciated.  This gift will hit all the bases, but just make sure your dad knows how to use them safely!

10.7 Power Tool Display

4. Watches

Does your dad have trouble remembering schedules and being on time?  A new watch might be a good idea for a dad like likes to be on trend, but also might need extra help in the time department (Mom will thank you for this one!)

4-Piece Watch Display

5. Fishing Gear 

Does your dad love the outdoors?  Then a simple, go-to gift maybe some fishing and hunting gear.  Head to the nearest Bass Pro Shops (or another outdoorsy store like Cabela’s) and incorporate your dad’s personal style into your picks.  He will appreciate the thought as well as rock the coolest fishing pole of the bunch on his next big trip.

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6. Music Gear

Does your dad like to sing or have jam sessions?  A dad with an ear for music might enjoy a new guitar, picks for his current guitar, speakers, or new headphones.  Not only will you bring out his creative side, you can enjoy the tunes together!

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7. Electronics

Is your dad always on top of the electronics game?  Splurge on a HD big screen for his man cave, a new remote control, or even a speaker system.  Any of these options will definitely gain you the title of “favorite.”

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8.  Spirits 

Is your dad a connoisseur of fine wine and spirits?  Purchasing dad a nice bottle of his favorite alcoholic beverage might be a nice idea for the father who likes to take a load off and enjoy a drink on a night off.

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No matter what category your dad fits into, (sporty, classic, rugged, professional or musical) there is always a perfect gift out there for your father or grandfather.  We encourage you to spend time with your family, especially your dad.  The jack-of-all-trades in your life deserves something that will make him smile and feel appreciated on that third Sunday in June.  Father’s Day 2015 is officially June 21st, so start planning!

We hope you enjoyed seeing a few samples of our custom displays and hope we can serve you in the future.

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For more information on our products and services be sure to check out our website at www.sharndisplays.com

Or click on the link below to check out our latest video:

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“A Proud American Manufacturer”

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An Ode To Mom! Mother’s Day 2015


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This upcoming Sunday, May 10th, is a special day to women all over the world… Any guesses what it could be?

It’s Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is a celebration in which we honor mothers, motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society.

Although, this day is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, here in the United States, we know it to be celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Mother’s Day began in the United States in the early 20th century.  The holiday was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia.  She then began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States, which became successful in 1914. Anna Jarvis’ holiday was adopted by other countries and its now celebrated all over the world.

So, this Mother’s Day, be sure to tell your mother, grandmother, or maternal figure just how special they are to you.  From picking up our clothes off the floor, to being the shoulder we can lean on, Moms are the real deal (and make it look so easy!)

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us here at Sharn Enterprises.

Looking for a special gift? Check out our friends at Mavi Bandz for a unique headband that is functional, yet stylish!

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Website: http://www.mavibandz.com

For more information about our products and services be sure to check out our website at
http://www.sharndisplays.com.

Or click on the link below to check out our latest video
http://vimeo.com/71471550

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Presidents’ Day 2015


Presidents Day

With Presidents’ Day today, Monday, February 16th, we need to all take a step back and think what Presidents’ Day is all about.  Yes, most of us view it as a day off school or off work, but what is the real meaning behind Presidents’ Day?

Presidents’ Day was established back in 1885.  Surprisingly enough, it was not always known as “Presidents’ Day”.  This day was originally created to honor George Washington’s birthday and was celebrated on his exact birthday, February 22nd.  This became the first holiday to celebrate the life of an individual American that is classified as a national federal bank holiday.  The date did not become known as ‘Presidents’ Day until after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was an attempt to create more three-day weekend’s for the nation’s workers.  Although the third Monday in February is still listed as “Washington’s birthday” on official calendars, Presidents’ Day is now known as a day to celebrate all United States Presidents, past and present.  Presidents’ Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments, and other such events.

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Many states require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents’ Day teaching their students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with the focus on the lives of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who happen to be the most recognized leaders.  Abraham Lincoln is often named the number one most influential president due to his actions leading to the abolition of slavery.  Lincoln is then followed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with his recognition in leadership throughout World War II and his hard work to end the Great Depression.  The third most influential president known is, George Washington for becoming the first president of the United States, setting the precedents that would be later followed by other presidents.

So, from here at Sharn Enterprises, Inc, we encourage everyone to remember and celebrate the past and present presidents of the United States this Presidents’ Day.

After all, we are a proud American manufacturer!

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For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com

or our latest video at: http://vimeo.com/7147155

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From Beginning to End: How We Create Your Custom Display


Creating a custom display from start to finish is an exciting, yet difficult task for a designer and a manufacturer.  Unlike a stock display store, Sharn Enterprises, Inc. builds custom displays out of various American materials and is a one-stop shop, with everything made in-house and on-site.

That is where our American made promise comes in.  Everything manufactured in our plant is Made-in-America, which helps support the local economy and provide jobs here on U.S. soil rather than overseas.  Many people also feel that American made products are of the highest quality.

That’s why we here at Sharn wanted to give you a little bit more insight on how we handle a custom display project.

Although every experience with a new or current client is different, these are the usual steps taken in order to complete a custom point-of-purchase display made just for you and your products.

Consult

A customer might have a design in mind for their custom display, or have no idea at all!  And that’s quite alright, because our designers have the experience to come up with a design idea that reflects your brand. After an initial call, we usually schedule a meeting with you to get a better idea about what you are looking for.

Shaking Hands

Conceptualize

After a meeting (either in person, Skype, or on the phone), a designer will come up with a few different display concepts according to the client’s specifications. We know you have a budget, and the designer will keep that in mind when choosing types of material and the kinds of customization required.  We use the latest AutoCAD software to create your display and render it out to make it look like it will in-store.

CADD Drawing

Estimate

After a client decides which custom display they like for their brand, we will estimate the cost of the display based on the quantities he/she may be looking to order. More often than not, the more displays ordered, the more the price per display will go down.  Below is an example of a quote we will send for your approval.

 

Three tier adjustable travel display Estimate

Prototype

Now this is the fun part.  You actually get to see your display come to life!  We manufacture your prototype in-house and then ship it to you so you can see it in person.  Does it reflect your brand?  Does it catch your eye?  Is it everything you hoped for and dreamed of? If we don’t get it right the first time, we will revise.

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Re-Engineer & Build

Sometimes your prototype is exactly what you are looking for. Other times, it needs a few revisions.  And that’s okay.  We want your display to be perfect!   If you are looking for a nip there and a tuck there, we will redesign and re-prototype until both parties reach a mutual agreement.

As you can see here, three different designs were prototyped until an agreement was met.

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Make Decisions

You decide on the display concept and prototype and place your order with us.  You choose what quantity are you looking for and when the you need the project needs to be completed by.  Our manufacturing plant starts producing your parts and puzzle is almost finished.

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Ship

When we say we are a one-stop shop, we mean it!   We fabricate a custom box for your display along with an instruction sheet for whoever is putting together the display in-store.  Once you let us know your date, the display will be ready to be filled with your product.

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So what’s stopping you from your own custom display?  Contact Sharn today to get started.  We can’t wait to work with you!

For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com.  Also, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 Sharn Enterprises, Inc.

“A Proud American Manufacturer”

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5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Stale in Business


What comes to mind when you think of the word “stale”? Probably old, moldy, gross, not fit for eating, the opposite of fresh, dry, etc.

No one likes a stale piece of bread, especially if you are craving a hearty, jam-packed, fresh sandwich. The same is true in business. Boring, tiresome, and stale ideas often lead to uninteresting results.

In both B2C and B2B business, keeping ideas new and fresh will keep the customers and businesses you handle coming back for more. This is why keeping up with trends, your competitors, keeping an open mind, and bringing in new employees with different backgrounds and experiences is important.

Stale is boring. Fresh is the way to go.

Here are 5 ways to avoid becoming stale in business:

Change What’s Not Working

The example that comes to mind is our automotive industry. For many years, cars were being “built in obsolescence,” meaning they seemed to last for 5-6 years and then things would go south. Around the 1970s, companies like Toyota and other foreign car manufacturers started to be imported into the USA on a more massive scale. Those cars were deemed more reliable, fuel efficient, and longer-lasting. Thus, the automotive industry began changing. Because they did not change fast enough with the growing imports, American automakers lost significant market share.

Don’t Change Your Core Values

If your company has a mission statement and core values that were established at the time of incorporation or that have been developed over the years, stay consistent with those values. Bring these positive values to the forefront and deliver your products, services, etc., with them in mind. Your values cannot become stale unless you no longer believe in them.

Recess

Children are given recess, which allows them to get away from a subject, refresh themselves, and come back ready to learn. This philosophy should be true when it comes to a business. You cannot expect your employees to thrive unless they have a time to disconnect from their desk or workplace. Kimberly Elsbach, Management Professor at UC-Davis, says, “Never taking a break from very careful thought actually reduces your ability to be creative. It sort of exhausts your cognitive capacity and you’re not able to make the creative connections you can if your brain is more rested.”

Explore

Let’s take a look at retail and shopping. Most retail purchases are done by impulse. This means you need to get your products noticed on the shelf. How are you going to get your products noticed? By exploring, that’s how! No matter what kind of business you are in, taking the time to research, observe, and study what your competitors and related businesses are doing will give you that competitive edge. If you are a company who is in the active wear business and you want to try to get people to buy your products, you are going to try to out-do Nike, Adidas, and other similar brands on the market. Being different and refreshing catches a customer’s eye and enhances your chances of getting noticed.

Hire People Who Are Different From You

Stability in the workplace is very important, but so is change. If no one ever changes, bad habits may continue. Age and diversity of employees is just as important. Taking it back to retail, the population you sell to is diversified with varying ethnic groups, male vs. female, and tastes. If you are the leader of an organization and don’t actively get out of your comfort zone and hire people that that are different from you, you’re destined to only make decisions that appeal to you, not other people.

Do you have any additional ideas on how to stay fresh in the business world?

Send Sharn Enterprises, Inc a tweet or comment on Facebook and Twitter!

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Sources:

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14 Facts About Halloween


Halloween has snuck upon us once again.  In my case, I have wonderful ideas in February about “what I want to be” but once it hits mid-October, I have no costume in place.  I end up going to a Halloween party dressed in a football jersey and going as a “football player.”  How original, am I right?

Dressing up for Halloween and participating in fun fall activities had me thinking.  Why do we dress up as someone (or something) else, go to haunted houses to be scared on purpose, and ask our neighbors for candy?

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Well, the answers can be found right here, along with some other interesting facts on the second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.

Here are a few facts about one of the best holidays, Halloween!

1. Its origins stem 2,000 years ago from the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain which was the celebration of the end of harvest season in Gaelic culture. It was the time used by the ancient Pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. #WinterIsComing

  Winter is coming

2. The Gaelics believed that on October 31st, the boundaries between the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life.  This would cause mayhem such as sickness and damaged crops.

3. To ward off the evil spirits, they decided to dress up in animal heads, skins, costumes, and masks.

4. Fast forward to 609 A.D. when Pope Boniface created All Martyrs Day which evolved into All Saints’ Day, which is celebrated on Nov. 1. Catholics fused elements of Samhain, which lead to All-Hallows Eve, then to what we know it as today, Halloween.

5. Bobbing for apples originated with the Romans around 43 A.D.

bobbing for apples

6. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the traditional holiday in the 1800s to America, but it wasn’t until after 1947, did the holiday really take off.

7. Americans spend $6 billion each year on Halloween.

8. Combined, $4 billion is spent on costumes, decorations and parties. The other $2 billion is on candy.

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9. The original jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips, beets, and potatoes.

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10. A Halloween full moon is rarer than a white Christmas (We will have to wait until 2020 for the next one.)

11. Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

12. In 2010, 72.2% of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation will hand out candy, 46.3% will carve a pumpkin, 20.8% will visit a haunted house, and 11.5% will dress up their pets.

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13. There’s a $1,000 fine for using or selling Silly String in Hollywood on Halloween.

14. The most popular Halloween costumes of all time are a witch, a vampire, a ghost, Frankenstein’s monster, and a cat!

From everyone here at Sharn Enterprises, Inc, we hope every has a safe and spook-tacular Halloween!

For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com, follow us on Twitter, and “Like” us on Facebook!

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