November 2017
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials
Welcome to our NEW Emagazine
The Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials will be coming to your inbox at the beginning of each month. We hope you enjoy and find the information to be of interest and great value. We will continue to send our Chamber E-Newsletter out mid-monthly. Please keep sending us your business info to share.


Creating an Economic Development Strategy for Ladysmith

Five leading organizations with a vested interest in economic development in the Ladysmith area have received funding from the Island Coastal Economic Trust to create a single, comprehensive economic development strategy.

Joining your Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce in this endeavor are: Economic Development Cowichan, Town of Ladysmith, Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, and the Stz’uminus First Nation.  These groups have come together in a working partnership to create a Ladysmith Economic Development Strategy.  

“Our organizations have established working relationships and we have many common areas of interest,” said Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Leslie.  “This project will bring us all together under one banner, creating a common economic development vision and action plan, which we will then all help to implement with effective resource allocation.”

The project is receiving 50% of its funding from ICET, through the Strategic Planning stream of the Economic Development Readiness program. 

“The challenge that this project overcomes is not uncommon in communities around our region,” said ICET Chair Phil Kent. “The Ladysmith region stakeholders have been collaborating for years, but this project will enable them to take those partnerships to the operational level, sharing resources and joint responsibility for implementation of the various pieces of the roadmap.”

“This is an exciting step in the collaborative efforts of the Town, CVRD, Stz’uminus, Chamber and the Downtown Business Association,” said Mayor Aaron Stone. “The funding from ICET, combined with that of the partners, will help focus our efforts to drive economic growth, job creation and tax diversity.”

Next steps for the project is to create a steering committee who will oversee the assessment of existing plans, priorities, and documents. The group will then engage community stakeholders in a consultation process, which will lead to the creation of the comprehensive implementation strategy.

The process gets underway in November with completion anticipated in late spring 2018.

For more information about the Economic Development Readiness program call the Chamber office at 250-245-2112.

15 Ways to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service (Part 1)


15 Ways to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service (Part 1)

It's impossible to find too many ways to deliver exceptional customer service. So, whenever you get the opportunity to learn a few more - take advantage of them. They may not be relevant to you right now, but you never know what creative ways you might be able to use six months, or a year from now. Make an "exceptional customer service ideas" file, and drop any customer service ideas you find into it. When you're looking for a way to WOW your customers, you'll have a file full of great ideas. Here are seven ideas to get you started - watch for the second part of this article next month!

Make all your customers boomerang customers

There's nothing like having customers that just keep coming back! They are worth their weight in gold, and it's easy. All you have to do is give them exactly what they want. The secret is to know what they want and how they want to receive it.

Remember, the customer is always right

It is often hard to let an awkward customer be right, but at the end of the day wherever possible you have to somehow let them at least believe they are right. The only answer a customer wants to hear is YES! There are always exceptions to this rule, but they should be just that, exceptions.

Never get into an argument - you will always lose

Once you start to argue with a customer you are going to lose business - not just theirs, but anyone they talk to later. The fact is, when they tell the story to their friends and neighbours later it will have morphed into something quite different, in their rendering of the facts you couldn't possibly have been fair or reasonable. You will have taken on the role of an ogre, and you have no chance to defend yourself! Remember, a dissatisfied customer communicates to 16 other potential customers, whereas a highly satisfied customer only tells eight potential customers. In the end, winning the argument still loses you the business.

Always, always, be polite, friendly and helpful

Respect is not, and never will be, out of fashion! Remember, not everyone likes to have their first name used by a clerk, or server who has seen it on a debit or credit card. This is especially so of a twenty-something employee saying to an 80-year old man, " Have a nice day Percy!"

They may be saying it with all good intentions, trying to be friendly and polite, but they are not Percy's friend and he might well prefer a little respect.

If you are dealing with a business customer for the first time, it is unlikely you would use their first name until invited to do so. In the retail world however, this behaviour seems endemic.

Don't lose track of your customers

Remember it costs a whole lot more to get a new customer than it does to encourage an old one back. Too often, people get a sale and then forget the customer. This is especially so when a high-priced item is involved and it won't need replacing for quite some time.

If you buy a car and keep it for four years and then decide to trade it in for a new vehicle, how likely is it that you will remember the person's name who sold it to you all those years ago? And, are you likely to seek them out specifically to buy your next car? Probably not. But, if over that four years, the sales person has sent you regular postcards saying that he or she hopes you are still enjoying your vehicle, and inviting you to the occasional launch party for a new vehicle, you are far more likely to visit them when the time comes for that new car smell.

The most successful car sales people are those who have been selling to the same customers for the last twenty years or more- and of course to the rest of their family and friends too.

Always under-promise and over deliver

Too often businesses make promises they can't live up to. Always set the bar at a height you know you can not only reach, but clear with ease. It is far better to say to a customer that something will be ready for them in ten-days and deliver it in eight than to say you will deliver it in six and get it to them in eight. In both cases the customer gets what they want in the same amount of time, but in the first example they have had a pleasant surprise and in the second they experienced a frustrating two days. It sounds simple, but few businesses seem to be able to actually operate like this.

Never oversell

It's tempting to get as much out of a live prospect as you can. After all, they seem keen, they have money to spend, why not take advantage? The problem is, many people get carried away when confronted by a salesperson they like, and a product they want.

Here's a true story. Sadie sat down with an young acquaintance of hers (John) who'd just landed a job selling kitchen knives. Fresh out of sales school, he'd asked whether he could practice selling to people he knew. Since he knew relationships were important in selling, and Sadie was a friend, he felt he was off to a good start. Sadie wanted John to do well, so she was very open, but she made it clear to John that she had no intention of buying knives that day.

During the presentation however, Sadie became very impressed with the enthusiastic presentation and the product itself, and ended up ordering $400 worth of knives. Later that day however, she began to suffer from buyer's remorse. She couldn't really afford the knives. To his credit, John had recognized that his new customer might have been put in a difficult situation, so he called her back to make sure she still wanted to proceed with the order. This enabled Sadie to reduce the order to what she could afford to pay. She was so impressed with John that she arranged for him to make presentations to many of her friends. The result was thousands of dollars of sales for John, rather than one unhappy $400 sale. It was exceptional customer service, not great salesmanship that won that day.

Consider these customer service principles and tuck them away for future reference. Next month we'll have eight more tips in part two of this article!

15 Ways to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service (Part 1)


Appropriate Workplace Humour

Who doesn't love to laugh at a good joke, or watch a great comedy?

Humour can be a wonderful way to break down barriers or reduce tensions in certain situations. Have you ever been arguing with someone when they crack a joke and the tension is broken? Or an employee has made a mistake and is upset and you make a joke of it to make them feel better?

Workplace humour can be a stress reliever, something that brings people together, even a motivator. It can also be a conflict-breaker if used carefully. However, humour is also extremely subjective, what one person finds funny, may be offensive to another.

Appropriate humour can make the workplace fun and inviting, but inappropriate use of humour can turn people off and at worst, offend. Here's a humorous look at appropriate and inappropriate workplace humour.

Appropriate: a well-selected comic strip that demonstrates a funny aspect of the workplace (why do you think Dilbert is so popular?) placed in a company newsletter.

Inappropriate: anonymously leaving comic strips on the desks of your co-workers relevant to specific behaviours in them that you don't like.

Appropriate: jokes that poke fun at a general or "anyone" type of person - "did you hear the one about the guy who..."

Inappropriate: jokes that poke fun at any specific race, religion, occupation (yes - that means no more lawyer jokes!), or gender.

Appropriate: practical jokes played on people you KNOW will enjoy the joke and not be embarrassed or offended by it.

Inappropriate: practical jokes on people you don't know well enough to determine how they might react.

Appropriate: Tactful, good-natured teasing (as long as it's someone you know will not be embarrassed).

Inappropriate: Teasing someone about a personal matter, or drawing attention to a mistake they made in front of others.

Appropriate: Fun, staff or training games that push people beyond their comfort zone but that involve everyone.

Inappropriate: Games that single out one person to perform a fun (but possibly embarrassing) task, or require one person to disclose personal information in front of the group.

Appropriate: Sharing a funny comic or article with a co-worker.

Inappropriate: Sharing a funny comic or article with a co-worker and discussing how it applies to another co-worker.

Appropriate: Sharing a joke or funny story with the group at a meeting or informally at coffee time.

Inappropriate: Sharing a joke or funny story in a group setting with just a select group of people and using the "private joke" excuse.

Appropriate: Laughing at a funny situation or circumstance.

Inappropriate: Laughing at a person.

Humour that falls under any of the following categories is likely to cause offense to someone, so has no place in the workplace.

  • Off-colour or sexual
  • Religious
  • Racial or ethnic
  • Gender or LGBTQ
  • Political
  • Sarcasm
  • Belittling
  • Embarrassing
  • Teasing
  • Manipulative

This may not leave a lot to focus on but use as a guideline, "could I tell this to my child?"

Here's a few harmless jokes that shouldn't offend anyone, but will probably make you groan.

  • What did one fish say to the other when they bumped into a wall? Dam!
  • What do you call a no-eye fish? Fshh.
  • If the cops arrest a mime, do they tell him that he has the right to remain silent?
  • Two aerials meet on a roof and get married. The ceremony wasn't up to much, but the reception was brilliant!

You get the idea - humour in the workplace can be a great asset, when it's appropriate, tactful, and not at the expense of someone else. Make your workplace fun, while protecting the dignity of the people who work there.

15 Ways to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service (Part 1)


The 3 Absolute Secrets of Selling

A lot of nonsense has been written about selling. You've probably heard them all - the tricks and techniques, the strategies, the ways to corner people into giving you an order, the hundred ways to close a deal. But when it gets right down to it, selling is really very simple. You only need to consider three things:

  • Sell only to people who want to buy
  • Use the power of knowledge
  • Know the answer to every objection

Let's take a closer look at each of these three points.

Sell only to people who want to buy

The first is a basic rule, but often overlooked. You know the feeling - you get a hot prospect and you don't want to let them get away, so you spend more and more time with them. As long as they're not saying no they might just say yes, right? Wrong! Remember, if you are going to lose, lose early!

Why even get into this position in the first place? Do your homework and only sell to people who need and desire what you are selling, have the power to make the purchase, and can afford it.

If you only sold to people like this, how much better would your closing rate be?

Use the power of knowledge

Professional sales people who know the most, sell the most. People respect and trust knowledgeable people. Be useful to your prospect. Be an expert on your industry, market, product, service, company, customer, competition and if they are a hockey fan - who won last night's game!

Know the answer to every objection

Finally, there's often one thing standing between you and the sale, and that's an objection. Think about it. If a buyer has no objection to purchasing what you are selling they will buy - every time. In the real world of course, there are always objections and many are genuine. But if you list every possible objection, and find a way to overcome it, you will increase your closing rate dramatically. If you encounter an objection that you can't overcome, then you need to take a long, hard look at your offering, or to whom you are selling, and perhaps make some adjustments.

Keeping it simple works. Spend more of your valuable sales time on planning and less on trying to convince a reluctant prospect to buy what they don't have the authority to purchase, don't need, or can't afford. Add enthusiasm to the mix and you have the secret to selling success.


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112