Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Teach Others How to Talk About Your Business

I just got back from receiving the Anna Maria Arias Award in Philadelphia (read the behind the scenes story here)

On my personal blog (link above) I wrote about how my mom stole the show by being her awesome self. She's a natural people person and can find a way to connect to anyone. (If she can't find a connection she'll just start telling you about the grandkids, so either way there is a lively conversation going on).

While I was busy with awardee duties, Bunny (my mom) walked the turf with Nora of Las Comadres. Nora very graciously introduced Bunny as the mother of an awardee. Whoever they were talking to would ask what Bunny's daughter did, and then she rolled out a wonderful impromptu elevator speech about how I help Latinas achieve tangible success in business and in life. (Those weren't her exact words, hers had so much more drama and flair).

If someone were to approach your mother, spouse, child, sibling, best friend, client, et al, and asked what you do, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY?

Dare we coach our loved ones to be ambassadors of our businesses?

Coach, yes.
Coerce, no.

Rather than line up your kids and have them rattle off a rehearsed speech, give them a few words to explain what you do. Ask them first to describe what they think you do. If you don't ask, you won't find out until the situation presents itself.

So it's up to you if you'd rather have, "My mom talks on the phone all day and tells me not to bug her or else she'll ground me", or "My mom helps other moms make money from home."

You're actually doing people a favor by helping them articulate something you take for granted.

So here are your action steps:
1. Get your elevator speech down pat.
2. Ask others to describe what you do. (What they think you do, at least)
3. Correct, tweak as needed. Offer an alternative way of saying it.
4. Lather, rinse, repeat til everyone is on board.

Give it a try then give up worrying if someone will say the "wrong thing" next time you're the topic of conversation.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wanted: More Women Angel Investors

When it comes to launching a new business or expanding an exisiting one, you have many options. One of those is "angel investing", a truly comadre way of running things.

Angel investors are those wonderful people you know with deep pockets who are willing to float you the dinero you need for your business. Usually they get a share of ownership in exchange (run if they ask for your first born!)

A new study has come out citing the need for more mujeres ricas to become angel investors. Yes, another big study stating the obvious, but this one gives us wonderful numbers and rationale to support what we've known all along: for many of us women business owners, it's easier to talk to another woman.

You can read more about it in Hispanic Business, plus get links to the actual study.
Hispanic Business Article


Monday, September 18, 2006

Anna Maria Arias Award 2006

Great news to share with all you Savvy Comadre readers:
I am one of this year's awardees for the Anna Maria Arias Memorial Business Fund Award given by Wells Fargo Bank, Latina Style magazine, and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The late Anna Maria Arias (pictured above) was a trailblazer who started Latina Style magazine and led the way for Latina leaders and entrepreneurs. The award honors her memory by recognizing 10 Latinas who excel in business and innovation success.

I am so incredibly honored to receive this award and will be using the grant to further develop the Latinapreneur(TM) programs I have started. My main goal is to train others to do what I'm doing and this award will help make that happen.

I am very excited about this award, what it entails, and the opportunities it presents. Thanks to everyone for your ongoing love and support!

Here is the first news bit I read. It's from the Orange County Register:

Saturday, September 16, 2006
Anaheim woman wins national award

Nancy Marmolejo, founder of Comadre Coaching in Anaheim, is one of 10 national winners of the Anna Arias Memorial Business Fund Awards, which honor business innovation and community service by Latina business women.

The award, presented by Wells Fargo Bank, Latina Style magazine and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is named for the late founder of Latina Style magazine.

Marmolejo will receive the award and $5,000 at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's National Convention and Business Expo in Philadelphia on Thursday. She will use the grant to launch Latinapreneur Coaching and Training Institute to train Latina service professionals, coaches and consultants.



Thursday, September 07, 2006

Treat Me Right: Why I Love Great Customer Service

As Pat Benatar sang in the 80's, "Treat Me Right!" And today I say it again and again as I navigate through the world of hit and miss customer service.

Today I CELEBRATE some awesome people who recently have given me great customer service. Fast Company's most recent issue on customer service got the topic into my head, so here are my latest greatest customer service success stories.

Handmade Galleries, Sherman Oaks, CA
Andy Spyros (pictured with daughter Zoe) is not only a dynamic, creative, visionary business owner, but she is a Comadre Coaching client who takes her success seriously. Andy sees her business not only as a cool spot in LA where people can find the one of the kind, the quirky, and the occasional Hollywood celeb shopper, but also as a community hub.

Her staff knows regulars by name, people stop by just to see what's new (always something new!) and local artists get a chance to sell their wares in a top notch environment.

Recently Andy and staff organized a Customer Appreciation Party, complete with live music, snacks, and special discounts. There is not a stuffy, stuck up one among them and the entire store makes people feel as if they've come to a cool friend's house where they can relax and get inspired.

State Farm Insurance
My husband had the misfortune of driving behind a car with no brake lights that decided to stop in the middle of an intersection for no good reason. Crash, boom, bang. His fault. Ouch.

I've had State Farm Insurance since I had my first car, but this time we had to deal with people in corporate offices and special divisions, not the familiar agents we know. Well they have been awesome. Friendly, down to earth, helping us feel relaxed. The car was totaled and they did a great job of helping us get a rental, get it towed, everything. Smiles go miles.

Enterprise Rent a Car
When your car has been totaled and you're dealing with all that goes with it, you need to be treated w/ TLC. My wonderful insurance company called a nearby Enterprise rent a car, and helped arrange a car for us. The guy at Enterprise drove to my house and picked me up (no charge), took me to the office and when we started to do the transaction, I realized I left my drivers license on the fax machine at home. (I had to fax my license to get the car out of the tow truck place). I felt like such a goof, but Nick and Jennifer (my 2 fave Enterprise people) were totally cool about it and Nick gave me a ride back to get my license. He was so affable and unruffled about the whole thing. He reminded me of my brother- the type of person who could strike up a friendly conversation w/ anyone.

They hooked us up with a great little car, and I got to drive around in a couple of nice big cars. As Jennifer handed me the keys I thanked her for her great service and complimented Nick. She was surprised. "Wow", she said, "he's brand new!"
"He seemed like he'd been doing this forever", I replied.
She beamed. I think she felt good about hiring a good person, and hopeful in her new coworker.

We hear about bad customer service all the time. But when you're feeling the love, say something! That will tell others to keep doing what's working, keep being their friendly, awesome selves.

Comment below if you have a great customer service story.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fuchi Elevator Speeches Get You Nowhere

Is your elevator speech fuchi? (That's stinky if you don't know that one)

Fuchi elevator speeches can kill your business the way fuchi feet can kill a first date. Bottom line: it doesn't impress.

What's all this hoo-haw on elevator speeches? Here's a scenario:

Imagine you step onto an elevator and there is THE
MOST IMPORTANT PERSON WHO CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS standing in front of you. You smile. She smiles. You need small talk to break the ice.

"Nice purse", you stammer. "Prada?"
"Yes", she answers politely hoping you're not a well dressed mugger.
"I'm a big admirer of your work", you say sheepishly.
"Why thank you. AND WHAT DO YOU DO?"

And how do you answer?

  1. "Uh, uh, uh, uh, nothing really important". (then you KICK yourself for missing the opportunity)

  2. "Oh, I'm a realtor." (zzzzzzzzzzz)

  3. "I make home ownership a reality for teachers who want to live in the communities they work in."

And which response would most likely get the person to ask, "Really? Tell me more?" (Number 3!)

That, my comadres (and compadres) is the 30 second elevator speech. It's like opening the lid on steaming tamales- the aroma drives people crazy and makes them want a taste for more. You don't give them everything, you simply intrigue their curiosity and open the conversation.

The real expert on this subject is Laurelle Johnson of InnerWealth Communications. She'll be my guest Tuesday Sept 12th for "Is Your Elevator Speech Taking Your Business to the Top Floor?"

We'd love to have you along. You can get
all your info here
. If you haven't heard yet, members of my special inner circle get this and all expert calls for free.