• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • 10,908. That’s the number of eyeballs I’ve reached with the eight presentations I’ve uploaded to SlideShare. Can you imagine the fantastic reach you could earn for your content if you were using SlideShare with dedicated time and energy – backed by a specific, focused content strategy?

    10,908. That’s the number of eyeballs I’ve reached with the eight presentations I’ve uploaded to SlideShare.

    Not too shabby for a niche vertical and a couple of hours time, right? It really didn’t take me any time at all, because I uploaded presentations that I created for speaking gigs, webinars or other events. A few of them needed minor tweaks or changes to give context, but it was fairly minimal.

    HALF of that reach was from a single presentation. If I did a better job of creating content, it could be even better!

    One person business – not enough ours in the day – you know how that goes. I think I do pretty good with the resources I have, for an indie. A business with more support could do far, FAR better.

    Can you imagine the fantastic reach you could earn for your content if you were using SlideShare with dedicated time and energy – backed by a specific, focused content strategy? AMAZING things would happen, thanks to SlideShare’s large, built-in audience! It’s just waiting for you to tap into it.

    Here are a few examples of insanely successful decks. The first has 55,000 views and growing – a few of these have far less reach, but are still are highly successful because of their tight targeting within a specific industry or audience.

    Take a look…

    (54,963 views, as of 11/19/14)
     
     

    (2,576 views in two days, as of 11/19/14)
     
     
    (18,344 views in two weeks, as of 11/19/14)

    Pretty impressive, right?

    If you have a B2B client with PowerPoint resources just sitting around gathering dust, it’s definitely worth investing time to evaluate them.

    Since SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn, you can improve the reach of your uploads even further by connecting your SlideShare account to LinkedIn. It only connects to profiles, not pages, but it can be a great way to showcase employee expertise and grow credibility of your executive team.

    It’s a very intuitive, user-friendly website, so I’m not including details on how to upload something – but let me know if you have trouble. It also now has Haiku Deck design software on the SlideShare website, instead of separately only for iPad users, so it has a fantastic resource to CREATE a slide deck, if you don’t have any. It also isn’t just limited to slide decks; you can upload videos, infographics, images, and documents.

    easy content marketing / shutterstock

    Welcome to another Social Media Today webinar, part of the Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of How to Prepare Employee Advocates for Social Selling Success.

     

    This week I moderated another Social Media Today webinar as part of their Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of How to Prepare Employee Advocates for Social Selling Success. This webinar was sponsored by Everyone Social and featured Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley), Chief Evangelist and Founder of Social Selling, Kurt Shaver (@kurtshaver), Founder of the Sales Foundry and Chris Hecklinger (@cdhecklinger), Director of Client Success at Everyone Social. We discussed how to prepare your sales team to be brand advocates and use social selling techniques to break in to new accounts.

     

    Here are 3 key take-aways:

    1. Social Sales teams out perform non-social sales teams – Jill Rowley showed some great stats around social sales team – 64% of social sales teams had “total team attainment of quota” and 55% had higher renewal rates. (source: Aberdeen Group)
    2. Social Selling is not a “once and done” event - Kurt discussed how to get the sales team prepared to do social selling. He states “its at least a 60-120 day plan for them to learn a new habit” and “not the classic one hour breakout session at the national sales team meeting.”
    3. Follow the 411 Rule of Content – Social sharing should have a mix of content coming from various sources: 4 pieces of content coming from news and other relevant sources, 1 piece of content coming from your company and finally one piece of more personal content (cat photo etc).

    To get a copy of the slides or listen to the replay please click here. You can also scan the highlights of this webinar on Twitter by reading the following Storify:

    Our next webinar is on From Data to Direction: How to Convert Social Media Data Into Actionable Insights; be sure to sign up for it or view the schedule of other upcoming webinars.

    We can't all deliver the next Gettysburg Address, but there are lots of small things you can do prior to your presentation that will help calm your nerves and set you up for a better presentation. Here are my 20 best tips to improve your presentation skills.

    I've been doing a lot of presenting recently, and I have no problem admitting that it's tough. For those not born with natural eloquence, public speaking can be remarkably nerve-racking. But I’m getting a lot better! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last few years is that to be a great speaker, it’s key to develop a personal speaking style. Since I know I’m not the most eloquent speaker in the world, I make up for it by packing my presentations with enthusiasm, unique/proprietary data, and tons of useful content as well as plenty of dumb jokes. 

    We can't all deliver the next Gettysburg Address, but there are lots of small things you can do prior to your presentation that will help calm your nerves and set you up for a better presentation. Here are my 20 best tips to improve your presentation skills.

     

    1. Practice. Naturally, you'll want to rehearse your presentation multiple times. While it can be difficult for those with packed schedules to spare time to practice, it's essential if you want to deliver a rousing presentation. I’m famous around the office for staying up late the night before a big presentation, practicing over and over. If you really want to sound great, write out your speech rather than taking chances winging it – if you get nervous about speaking, a script is your best friend.

    Try to practice where you'll be delivering your talk. Some acting strategists suggest rehearsing lines in various positions – standing up, sitting down, with arms open wide, on one leg, while sitting on the toilet, etc. (OK, that last one may be optional.) The more you mix up your position and setting, the more comfortable you'll feel with your speech. Do a practice run for a friend or colleague, or try recording your presentation and playing it back to evaluate which areas need work. Listening to recordings of your past talks can clue you in to bad habits you may be unaware of, as well as inspiring the age-old question: "Is that what I really sound like?"

    2. Transform Nervous Energy Into Enthusiasm. It may sound strange, but I'll often down an energy drink and blast hip-hop music in my earphones before presenting. Why? It pumps me up and helps me turn jitters into focused enthusiasm. Studies have shown that an enthusiastic speech can win out over an eloquent one, and since I'm not exactly the Winston Churchill of presenters, I make sure that I'm as enthusiastic and energetic as possible before going on stage. Of course, individuals respond differently to caffeine overload, so know your own body before guzzling those monster energy drinks.

    presentation tips

    3. Attend Other Presentations. If you're giving a talk as part of a conference, try to attend some of the earlier talks by other presenters. This shows respect for your fellow presenters while also giving you a chance to feel out the audience. What's the mood of the crowd? Are folks in the mood to laugh or are they a bit more stiff? Are the presentations more strategic or tactical in nature? Another speaker may also say something that you can play off of later in your own presentation.

    4. Arrive Early. It's always best to allow yourself plenty of time to settle in before your talk. Extra time ensures you won't be late (even if Google Maps shuts down) and gives you plenty of time to get adapted to your presentation space.

    5. Adjust to Your Surroundings. The more adjusted to your environment you are, the more comfortable you'll feel. Make sure to spend some in the room where you will be delivering your presentation. If possible, practice with the microphone and lighting, make sure you understand the seating, and be aware of any distractions potentially posed by the venue (e.g., a noisy road outside).

    larry kim presentation tips

    5 minutes before my Inbound presentation … gulp

    6. Meet and Greet. Do your best to chat with people before your presentation. Talking with audiences makes you seem more likeable and approachable. Ask event attendees questions and take in their responses. They may even give you some inspiration to weave into your talk.

    7. Use Positive Visualization. Whether or not you’re a Zen master, know that plenty of studies have proven the effectiveness of positive visualization. When we imagine a positive outcome to a scenario in our mind, it's more likely to play out the way we envision.

    Instead of thinking "I'm going to be terrible out there" and visualizing yourself throwing up mid-presentation, imagine yourself getting tons of laughs while presenting with the enthusiasm of Jimmy Fallon and the poise of Audrey Hepburn (the charm of George Clooney wouldn't hurt either). Positive thoughts can be incredibly effective – give them a shot.

    presentation skills

    8. Remember That Most Audiences are Sympathetic. One of the hardest fears to shake when speaking in public is that the audience is secretly waiting to laugh at your missteps or mistakes. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in the vast majority of presentations.

    The audience wants to see you succeed. In fact, many people have a fear of public speaking, so even if the audience seems indifferent, the chances are pretty good that most people listening to your presentation can relate to how nerve-racking it can be. If you start to feel nervous, remind yourself that the audience gets it, and actually wants to see you nail it.

    9. Take Deep Breaths. The go-to advice for jitters has truth to it. When we're nervous, our muscles tighten--you may even catch yourself holding your breath. Instead, go ahead and take those deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body.

    10. Smile. Smiling increases endorphins, replacing anxiety with calm and making you feel good about your presentation. Smiling also exhibits confidence and enthusiasm to the crowd. And this tip works even if you're doing a webinar and people can't see you.

    Just don't overdo it – no one enjoys the maniacal clown look.

    creepy clown

    Don’t be like this guy.

    11. Exercise. Exercise earlier in the day prior to your presentation to boost endorphins, which will help alleviate anxiety. Better pre-register for that Zumba class!

    12. Work on Your Pauses. When you're nervous, it's easy to speed up your speech and end up talking too fast, which in turn causes you to run out of breath, get more nervous, and panic! Ahh!

    Don't be afraid to slow down and use pauses in your speech. Pausing can be used to emphasize certain points and to help your talk feel more conversational. If you feel yourself losing control of your pacing, just take a nice pause and keep cool.

    13. Don’t Try to Cover Too Much Material. Yes, your presentations should be full of useful, insightful, and actionable information, but that doesn’t mean you should try to condense a vast and complex topic into a 10-minute presentation.

     

    Knowing what to include, and what to leave out, is crucial to the success of a good presentation. I’m not suggesting you skimp when it comes to data or including useful slides (some of my webinars have featured 80+ slides), but I am advocating for a rigorous editing process. If it feels too off-topic, or is only marginally relevant to your main points, leave it out. You can always use the excess material in another presentation.

    14. Actively Engage the Audience. People love to talk and make their opinions heard, but the nature of presentations can often seem like a one-sided proposition. It doesn’t have to be, though.

    Asking the audience what they think, inviting questions, and other means of welcoming audience participation can boost engagement and make attendees feel like a part of a conversation. It also makes you, the presenter, seem much more relatable. Consider starting with a poll or survey. Don’t be put off by unexpected questions – instead, see them as an opportunity to give your audience what they want.

    how do I improve my presentation skills

    Hopefully this man has a question, and doesn’t just need to go to the bathroom.

    15. Be Entertaining. Even if your presentation is packed with useful information, if your delivery bombs, so will your session.

    I find that including some jokes and light-hearted slides is a great way to help the audience (and myself) feel more comfortable, especially when presenting them with a great deal of information. However, it’s important to maintain a balance – after all, you’re not performing a stand-up routine, and people didn’t come to your presentation with the sole intention of being entertained. That said, don’t be afraid to inject a little humor into your talk. If you’re not sure about whether a presentation is “too much,” run through it for a couple of friends and ask them to tell it to you straight.

    16. Admit You Don’t Have All the Answers. Very few presenters are willing to publicly concede that they don’t actually know everything because they feel it undermines their authority. However, since we all know that nobody can ever know everything about a given topic, admitting so in a presentation can actually improve your credibility.

    I don't know

    If someone asks a question that stumps you, it’s okay to admit it. This can also increase your credibility with the audience, as it demonstrates that, no matter how knowledgeable a person might be, we’re all learning, all the time. Nobody expects you to be an omniscient oracle of forbidden knowledge – they just want to learn from you.

    17. Use a Power Stance. Practicing confident body language is another way to boost your pre-presentation jitters. When your body is physically demonstrating confidence, your mind will follow suit. While you don't want to be jutting out your chest in an alpha gorilla pose all afternoon (somebody enjoyed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a bit too much), studies have shown that using power stances a few minutes before giving a talk (or heading to a big interview) creates a lasting sense of confidence and assurance. Whatever you do, don't sit--sitting is passive. Standing or walking a bit will help you harness those stomach bats (isn't that more appropriate than butterflies?). Before you go on stage, strike your best Power Ranger stance and hold your head high!

    presentation power stance

    18. Drink Water. Dry mouth is a common result of anxiety. Prevent cottonmouth blues by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water before your talk (just don't forget to hit the bathroom before starting). Keep a bottle of water at arm's reach while presenting in case you get dry mouth while chatting up a storm. It also provides a solid object to hurl at potential hecklers. (That'll show 'em.)

    19. Join Toastmasters. Toastmaster clubs are groups across the country (and the world) dedicated to helping members improve their public speaking skills. Groups get together during lunch or after work to take turns delivering short talks on a chosen topic. The more you present, the better you'll be, so consider joining a Toastmaster club to become a top-notch orator. Just don't forget, it's BYOB (Bring Your Own Bread).

    20. Don't Fight the Fear. Accept your fear rather than trying to fight it. Getting yourself worked up by wondering if people will notice your nervousness will only intensify your anxiety. Remember, those jitters aren't all bad – harness that nervous energy and transform it into positive enthusiasm and you'll be golden. We salute you, O Captain! My Captain!

    There have been some serious social media changes in the past couple months, some of which are exciting and a few of which – I’ll admit – are not so exciting. I’ve collected a list of the most crucial changes that businesses utilizing social media marketing should know about.

    There have been some serious social media changes in the past couple months, some of which are exciting and a few of which – I’ll admit – are not so exciting. I’ve collected a list of the most crucial changes that businesses utilizing social media marketing should know about.

    1. Facebook No Longer Sharing Promotional Organic Posts

    Shockwaves have been sent through the social media world as Facebook puts the final nail in the coffin for organic reach. After doing a “survey”, Facebook has entrusted its EdgeRank algorithm to decipher which organic page posts are promotional so they can further decimate the reach they already weren’t getting.

    Is this a major change affecting brands? Yes and no. Let’s be serious, it became crystal clear back in December 2013 that the game was changing to pay to play.

    My advice? Invest more in your owned channels (email, blog) and in paid advertising through Facebook for your best content. The upside is that Facebook still offers the most targeted advertising available so use it where you need to drive a result and measure it to ensure you’re getting an ROI.

    Read Facebook’s official article on reducing promotional page posts.

    2. LinkedIn Removes Ability To Easily Connect With Group Members

    LinkedIn has always been a unique social network in the way it requires you to say how you know someone when requesting to connect. Up until recently the best way to connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn was by sharing a similar group in common.

    You previously had the ability to select a shared group as an option when asked, “How Do You Know This Person” but that’s no longer available as of recently.Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 3.17.29 PM

    If you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn, you’ve always had to say how you know them in your connection request. If you’re trying to meet new people on LinkedIn, selecting a group you share in common was previously an option for saying how you know that person when connecting.

    That option has recently vanished but I have good news – there is a back door method to get around this that I mentioned in my recent article, 19 LinkedIn Ninja Tricks Experts Haven’t Taught You Yet. Check out tips 1 and 2 to find two different ways to get around it.

    3. Facebook Gives You More Control Over What You See In Your News Feed

    I know what you’re thinking…finally, right? You can more easily unfollow and re-follow specific people, pages and groups and control the amount of their content you see in your News Feed.

    See it in action in the video below and check out Facebook’s official blog on the update.

    4. Cover Photos Now Available To All LinkedIn Users

    When talking about the social media changes that were more recent back in May, Twitter rocked the world after shifting to a more Facebook-like appearance by adding a cover photo and now it appears that LinkedIn has followed suit. Premium members were originally the only members able to add a cover photo but now any LinkedIn member can do it, including free accounts.

    Here’s what mine looks like:

    Keep it clean, professional and incorporate a call-to-action that speaks to the needs of your ideal client.

    Want to add a cover photo to your LinkedIn profile?

    1. Login to LinkedIn
    2. Hover your mouse over “Profile” in the top menu
    3. Select “Edit Profile” from the drop down menu
    4. Look in the space where your cover photo would go for a prompt to add your own
    5. Upload your cover photo and make sure it is 1400 x 425 pixels and under 4MB in size

    5. Facebook Updates Their Terms & Policies

    This wouldn’t be worthy of mentioning if not for the fact that Facebook is actually legitimately making some effort here. They’ve implemented an interactive guide to help answer most of the commonly asked questions about how information is used and controlled on Facebook in 36 languages.

    Their policy updates better reflect how they collect and use location information, specific to each feature used. Overall their policy information is shorter, more concise and easier to read.

    It might not be a perfect system but it’s a step in the right direction. Learn more about Facebook’s update to their terms and policies on the official Facebook blog.

    social-media-changes

    6. You Can Now Edit Instagram Captions After Posting

    This was one the most frequently requested features from the Instagram community and it has finally been implemented. Whether you made a typo or didn’t like how you phrased a particular post, you can now access a new “Edit” option in the menu beneath your image.

    For more about the new “Edit” option, visit Instagram’s official blog.

    Untitled

    7. New App: Twitter Small Business Planner

    A new app is available in the App Store and Google Play from Twitter called Twitter Small Business Planner. It provides helpful tutorials to help you implement a more strategic approach to Twitter marketing.

    The app is highly interactive, here is a quote from Twitter on some of its features:

    • Browse a daily calendar themed around four main topics: Tweet suggestions, Twitter Ads strategies, information on Twitter tools, and exclusive events.
    • Add the most relevant topics to your own agenda, which syncs with your personal device calendar; now you can keep track of Twitter alongside all of your other marketing activities
    • Access additional resources such as research, success stories, blog articles and ebooks directly within the app
    • Be the first to know about new #SmallGoesBig initiatives

    Visit Twitter’s official blog for more info on the Twitter Small Business Planner app.

    (Source: Marketing Land)

    8. Instagram Ads Have Officially Arrived

    And they are video ads to top it off. The Instagram community is understandably irritated but I don’t think anybody is surprised. The only surprising thing is that it didn’t happen sooner.

    Here’s one of the first Instagram ads from Disney:

    Learn more about Instagram’s new video ads at this article from Ad Week.

    9. Study Analyzes Top 3,000 LinkedIn Publishing Posts

    An incredible study done by Search Wilderness and OKDork analyzed the 3,000 most popular articles shared on the LinkedIn Publishing platform and revealed some eye opening information.

    Learn exactly how the LinkedIn community likes to consume content found locally on the site. I was personally blown away by the data and made an infographic to showcase it.

    Go here to see the LinkedIn Publishing stats.

    10. Multiple LinkedIn Group Searches Now Limited To Highest Premium Membership

    In order to search more than one group in the advanced search, you now have to be the highest level of LinkedIn Premium, a feature previously open to all LinkedIn Premium members.

    11. The New LinkedIn Connected App

    This is new app LinkedIn was recently introduced and will show you what’s going on with the people in your network. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or a job change, it’s easier to interact with these moments on LinkedIn Connected if you’re on mobile.

    Here’s a slideshow breaking down the key features:

    Learn more about LinkedIn Connected at the official LinkedIn blog.

    12. Stay Accountable With The New LinkedIn Profile Views Page

    If you’re like me, you can sometimes get a bit addicted to tracking the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page. I’m really excited about a new change LinkedIn has made that gives you a metric worth following that influences profile views that shows how many actions you’ve taken to get there.

    Untitled

    Actions include connecting with new people, adding skills, editing positions and joining new groups. This encourages members to do what makes social media work: be social.

    Learn more about the new LinkedIn profile views page here.

    What Social Media Changes Have You Noticed?

    Did we miss anything? It seems like the past couple months have had a much higher than normal amount of social media changes. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below.

    Why is it that almost every time we hang up the phone with a customer service rep, we feel flat? Despite the profiling technologies, the predictive analytics technologies, the customer databases that companies have at their fingertips, it is still insanely hard for them to provide a breathtaking experience. Why? I think it is because a lot of times companies are missing a key ingredient to business success – human passion.

    Roger Staubach once said: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”

    It continues to amaze me that the sentiment still rings true in the consumer-empowered age.

    Why is it that almost every time we hang up the phone with a customer service rep, we feel flat? Despite the profiling technologies, the predictive analytics technologies, the customer databases that companies have at their fingertips, it is still insanely hard for them to provide a breathtaking experience. Why?

    I think it is because a lot of times companies are missing a key ingredient to business success – human passion.

    Sadly, it not only isn’t built into companies’ culture and business mentality, it isn’t built into companies’ incentives and business objectives.

    The only way your company will build lasting relationships with your customers is if you provide amazing experiences at every touchpoint with that customer. And the only way to ensure that is to employ people who are passionate about what they do and about serving their customers. Only passion will prompt them to go extra mile when the customer needs it most.

    In this column I have already discussed the importance of employees as brand ambassadors and why a company is only as extraordinary as its people. I talked about the fact that for most customers it is about little things, about a human touch. It also only takes a small act of caring to turn a negative opinion around and create a brand advocate for life. And advocates are the ones that bring additional business revenue through word-of-mouth. The Retail Consumer Report, for example, states that 85% of consumers are willing to pay 5-25% over the standard price for the products from companies that deliver superior customer experience.

    How do companies provide superior experiences? They give people an opportunity to engage with them. Sometimes it’s just as simple as asking a single question. One simple question can do amazing things for brand affinity.

    That was the case for my family and I last week when we visited Villa del Palmar resort in Loreto, Mexico.

    A high-end resort, it boasted a beautiful remote property and exceptional service. It was our first time in Loreto and we were looking forward to our week-long experience. Unfortunately, there were several things that were not making a great first impression. Aside from several rather minor mishaps that could have been managed better by the resort staff, what couldn’t be controlled was the weather. In the beginning of the week Loreto caught the effects of a tropical storm that brought strong winds and impacted the ability to go out into the ocean. I can’t say we weren’t enjoying the stay (we absolutely were), but several of these things had an effect on our perception. By the middle of the week we started comparing this resort with multiple other experiences we had in Mexico and surmised that, though we didn’t have much to complain about, this probably wasn’t our #1 Mexico experience overall. That is, until we met Mario Alberto Dominguez Torres, the property’s restaurant general manager.

    We were sitting by the pool one day when Mario Dominguez and Alejandro Flores, head waiter of the Market Restaurant, came up to us with a simple question: “How is your stay?” It wasn’t just a generic question, they honestly wanted to know all the good, bad, and the ugly. They engaged us in the conversation, which ended up in an open sharing of feedback, our memorable experiences, and ideas.

    Nothing new. A lot of businesses ask for feedback. Right? But this is when it went in a whole new direction. After a short, but great conversation I added half-jokingly that one thing I couldn’t understand is why they didn’t have a tres leches cake on their menu. Mind you, I didn’t say having it on the menu would make the whole stay memorable. I just joked about the lack of one. Mario and Alejandro looked at each other. “Really?” Mario was surprised. Apparently in Mexico tres leches cake isn’t anything special. To me, though, that makes the whole stay in Mexico magic. You can’t get a good tres leches cake in the US. Our last visit to Cancun was dampened a bit for me when I couldn’t find one on the dessert menu of any of the 3 restaurants our resort had. Yes, I know, I am strange in that I am very particular about my desserts. But remember, sometimes it’s the little things that matter.

    loreto cakeImagine my absolute delight when that night the dinner buffet displayed the cake up front and center. Not only that, by the end of our dinner, Mario and Alejandro surprised me with a beautifully decorated piece of my own. I was ecstatic. The whole restaurant staff watched in amazement as I grinned like a fool and hugged people, all for a little cake. Like I said, I am passionate about my dessert. But what delighted me the most is the extra effort that the team took to go out and find a cake, just to make one guest happy.

    Then I started noticing other things. Like the next day when my 5-year old daughter marched right to Alfonso Peregrina, executive chef, and asked for a chicken noodle soup. I was a bit mortified, but chef didn’t even blink, he just smiled at her and said “Si, senorita, don’t worry, I’ll make sure I bring it to your table.” And he did. Which sparked our conversation with Alfonso about food preparation, his favorite recipes, and other things. We made fast friends. I am proud to say that I am now an owner of chef’s tres leches cake recipe (among several other very delicious dishes) which chef emailed to me the next day.

    This wasn’t all. On our next to last day at the resort we came back to the room to the note from general manager, Sixto Navarro, wishing my husband a happy birthday. The bed was decorated with coral beads with the same wish, and a beautifully designed piece of cheesecake awaited my smiling other half on the table.

    loreto dinnerOn the last day Mario asked us to meet him for a special dinner surprise by the restaurant. He proceeded to take us to the beach where the table for three was set up by the candlelight. Chef Alfonso prepared a special meal for us, which we will not soon forget. It was amazing. Mario told us how much he appreciated our friendship, our willingness to provide direct feedback regarding our stay, and our direct style. He and his staff wanted to do something special for us before we left. Throughout our stay we made friends with many resort employees. Every single one of them had an interesting story; several of them had families with kids the same age as ours, and similar hobbies (such as fishing) which we discussed at length.

    Our minds were blown. As far as the restaurant service goes, it was the best we experienced so far in any of our global travels (which are many). During our Cancun stay last year no one even bothered to address my request for dessert. And here I was, in the small town of Loreto, at a resort where several people turned my neutral disposition into one of a raving fan and probably a life-long advocate.

    And it only took one question.

    The resort’s staff opened themselves up to the opportunity to engage, to improve, go from good to great as a business, and win the hearts and minds of current customers long-term before they potentially lost them forever. They not only graciously accepted constructive feedback, but went the extra mile for the opportunity to improve our perception of their brand. That, for us, was a game changer. Several employees’ customer-focused behaviors made the difference between a vacation and a memorable experience we want to share with others.

    Many companies are afraid to ask. Why? Because when you open yourself up to engage with your customer, you won’t always get positive feedback, and that isn’t pleasant. What’s worse though is companies asking for feedback, but not acting on it. There is no better time than present to turn a customer on the defensive into a fan, no more golden business opportunity to make a present experience remarkable, to convert a neutral customer into an advocate.

    When I asked Mario Dominguez why he and his staff did what they did for us, he looked surprised by the question and said simply: “We love what we do. We love our customers and want to make them happy.”

    Companies need more Marios, Alejandros, and Alfonsos on their staff, people who are passionate enough to go extra mile for their customers and build relationship capital for the business which will ultimately drive additional revenue.

    As for us, we are already discussing our next trip to Villa del Palmar.

    Originally published on Forbes