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  • May 30, 2018 3:12 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    The number 1 media tip you have to hear

    by Katharine Giovanni

    A few years ago, a reporter interviewed me for a story he was writing for the Associated Press. After the interview was over, we chatted for a few minutes and out of the blue he asked me the following question...

    "Mrs. Giovanni, I need your advice about something"

    Since reporters generally don't ask me that (combined with the fact that he had just told me he graduated from college the previous year and this was his first job) my radar was immediately up. So I answered "sure what's up?"

    He then told me a story...

    A few days before our interview, the young man interviewed a concierge and asked them what the strangest thing they have ever done for a client was. The concierge told them they owned a few limousines and could get their clients any recreational drug they wanted. They then told the reporter "of course that's off the record right?"

    "So I have a problem. Technically, if you want it off the record you have to say it before the sentence, not after. So I could use it if I wanted to. I already told my boss about the interview and he wants to run it. I really don't want to write it because it will hurt your industry. Plus, I really don't want to give that guy any free press because he doesn't deserve it. What should I do?"

    A reporter with ethics! I LOVED this kid!!!! He was warm, friendly and genuinely wanted to help. So we chatted for about 20 minutes and I advised him to go with his heart. Of course, I also agreed that it would seriously hurt our industry if he ran the story.

    For the next month I patiently waited for the story to come out. I went to their website and ran internet searches to see if his article had come out. 

    Nothing. I'm pleased to report that he stood his ground and never printed it.

    So the moral of the story? NOTHING is off the record! If you say it, there is a good chance they'll print it so be careful. I would also only provide services that are legal, moral and ethical.

    One more thing... many reporters will ask for your funniest story in the concierge industry. That's fine, just don't give your client's name. Just say "a celebrity client of mine once asked me to... " Confidentiality is the hallmark of the concierge industry and should never ever be broken.

    About the Author: Katharine Giovanni is one of the world’s leading corporate concierge, front desk and customer service trainers, and is considered by many to be one of the original founders of the independent concierge industry.


  • April 27, 2018 12:21 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    By ICLMNet Member Kelly Gerard

    When I tell someone that I'm a runner, they inevitably ask me if I've run a marathon. It seems that both runners and non-runners alike feel that the pinnacle of running is "The Marathon." The perception seems to be that you're not a real runner unless you've run some ridiculous distance, endured black toe nails, blisters, extensive chaffing and an injury. I am a runner. I love to run. I would run every day if I could. But I will not run a marathon and I can't figure out why that should be my greatest achievement as a runner.

    The iconic Boston Marathon has just wrapped up. For the past 3 months I watched growing numbers of runners on the side of the road trudging away in the ice, cold and snow. When the signed up they kissed their partners and kids goodbye for the grueling 18 week training. These are the runners that are out on the road with their headlamps and hydration belts at 5am in the pitch black. You'll see them in sleet, snow and rain. Nothing can stop them from getting in their long run. Their existence is a faint memory to friends and family. No thanks. Maybe I'm a fair weather runner but I don't want to start making running un-fun. Twenty miles in the sleet? No thanks. Value pack of Glide to contain the blisters? I'll pass. Losing a toenail when flip-flop season is right around the corner would be tragic. Give me a 5K any day. How about one every weekend? My goal is to crush it in these races. And guess what my recovery will be like? I'll be feeling back to my old self as soon as the barista at Starbucks finishes making my Grande Almond Latte.

    Let's not cut ourselves short for "only" running a 5K. The 5K rocks! We don't need to torture our bodies, neglect our families and make running un-fun just because there is a perception that you're only a “real runner” if you run marathons. You are a runner in my book if you run two miles around your neighborhood or if you run an ultra through Death Valley.

    Now is the time to find a local 5K and feel great about it! You don’t have to spend 18 weeks training. You just have to lace up your sneakers and get yourself to the start line. Usually your local 5K races support a great cause so you can feel great about completing a 5K and giving back to your community.

    I’d love to hear what your race goals! Please reach out and tell me your story.

    Find your race by downloading the free Kukimbe app available on the App Store and Google Play.

    www.kukimbe.com



  • March 27, 2018 3:37 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    A few years ago I was in Las Vegas on my way home from a speaking gig. When I got to the airport, I found out that my flight had been delayed which caused a bunch of us to miss our connecting flights. I tend to be calm about these sorts of things because there really is no use getting mad about it. In fact, I was cracking jokes to the woman in back of me to lighten the mood a bit.

    The gentleman in front of me, however, was so mad that I could almost see steam coming out of his ears. The yelling and screaming was so loud everyone in line was now staring at him. The woman at the desk was doing her best to calm him down, but nothing she said appeased him. He spent about 10 minutes banging the counter with his hand and yelling at her. Eventually he stormed off. As I watched him go, I wondered why on earth would you yell at the person who has the power to get you home?

    Click here to read more

  • March 16, 2018 1:16 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    Here are my top 10 favorite tips for exhibiting at a trade show ... good luck!


    1. Make your booth/table stand out. I would certainly have a nice tablecloth and skirt around the table. Personally, I like to put the table in back of me so that I can welcome people and talk to them. I always buy fresh flowers and some high-end candy that I'll put in a nice dish for people to take. Put an effort into your booth design, I promise you that it will make all the difference.

    2. Dress nicely and wear really comfortable shoes. Those 5 inch heels that look great on you? You’ll hate them after standing for 8 hours. If you are going to stand on concrete, bring a small rug. It will really help your legs!

    3. Make sure everyone has a name tag.

    4. Get plenty of sleep the night before, and don’t forget to eat before you get to the show. The number one rule I have at trade shows is that you never ever eat in your booth. I suggest you take turns taking breaks. Go get something to eat and drink and walk around the show and look at the other booths. Talk to people. Then go back to your booth refreshed.

    5. Be really friendly to absolutely everyone. Shake people’s hands and smile! Never sit down while you are at your booth. I know that’s hard, but when I do trade shows I stand the entire time, shake people’s hands and talk to as many people as I can. If you walk by a booth where they are sitting and looking bored, would YOU stop?

    6. Have a nice sign on your table that has your company name on it in a font that is large enough to read from several feet away. I would also have a large supply of flyers/brochures/business cards for people to take with them.

    7. People love winning something! Have a raffle and give away something great. Make sure your logo is on it (or your business card). Have a nice dish on the table and ask people to leave their business card (they do not have to be present to win).

    8. You might consider giving attendees an inexpensive item. Things that can be used long after the show is over are great. I have some great plastic luggage tags that I got at a conference years ago that I still use to this very day.

    9. Market via social media to let everyone know that you’ll be at the show!

    10. Don’t forget to follow up on all the leads you got at the show. Email everyone a nice thank you note thanking them for stopping by your booth.

    Good luck!

    Katharine

  • March 08, 2018 9:58 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Studies across the globe show that kindness impacts profits in a very positive way. A good front line impacts your bottom line. Watch Katharine's latest video where she talks about this very subject and offers three tips...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpiT8pDdTOo


  • January 27, 2018 6:38 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    I was sitting here thinking about what questions I get asked the most. Here are the most common…

    • How do I get more customers?
    • How do I reach more customers?
    • Do I use Social Media?
    • How about Facebook ads?
    • Should I get out in community and utilize network events or volunteer for events in community to get name out?
    • How about partnering up with other businesses to offer each other’s service and grow our businesses together?

    There are many different ways of reaching potential customers, but the most important thing to remember here is that you have to work at it every single day in some form or another.

    How do you know which one will work? You don’t. You have to test it and see which one is the best for your particular market. Most businesses don’t test, they just go out and hope what they are doing is working. Larger companies do test, so they know what works and what doesn’t.

    You also really need to know your clients. Do they go to Facebook or LinkedIn? Do they belong to the Chamber of Commerce? Where do they go on the internet? What functions do they attend in your town? Where THEY go YOU go.

    Marketing, networking and social media is not a one or two time shot. It’s an ongoing process. You really have to be in front of potential customers 5, 10, 15 times before they actually “see’ you. You have to keep at it because people are overwhelmed with marketing and ads, so they have to see you a few times before they notice you.

    Know your customers, know your market, and know what will fill the voids in your market. There is no easy way to get business, it comes from hard work that pushes you to be the best.

    Have a great day everyone!

    Ron


  • January 25, 2018 5:16 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Years ago my husband and I decided to update our dated backyard, so we interviewed a few landscapers. We found the first landscaper at a garden expo in Raleigh. We chatted with him for quite a while at the show and genuinely liked what he said to us. His brochure looked great so we thought he would do a great job. When he came to the house, however, he asked very few questions and wrote very little down.

    After a few weeks went by, he finally emailed his drawing, which a 10 year old could have done. He gave us absolutely no information on what plants he would plant or how much it would cost. Horrible. We never called him back.

    Click here to read the rest of the article

  • December 29, 2017 2:08 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    For anyone who follows me on Social Media, I like to post “good news” facts and articles to combat all the negativity I see on my feeds. So, to end the year on a positive note, here are 20 good things that happened in 2017…

    1. Honey bee populations have increased by 27%

    2. Scientists have found a way to rebreed sections of the great barrier reef.

    3. HIV/AIDS is no longer the leading cause of death in Africa.

    4. Global hunger has dropped by 27% since 2000.

    5. Scientists think they might be able to reverse Alzheimer's memory loss.

    Please click here to read the rest of the article

  • December 20, 2017 12:34 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    “Thanks for answering me back!”

    Sadly, I actually get this reply back a LOT as I am very quick to answer my emails. I am also lightening fast at answering texts. Even if I can’t answer right away (I might be in a meeting), I reply with a quick “I got it and will get back to you by __) as soon as I can. I send them something so they know I saw their message. They feel valued. Voice mails? I try and answer within one business day or sooner if I can.

    Why do I do this? First, it’s good customer service. Second, it makes me money as I have actually gotten speaking and consulting gigs because I respond so fast!

    Unfortunately, I seem to be abnormal in today’s world as most people don’t practice this.

    Click here to read more

  • September 06, 2017 10:22 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    What many of you don't know is that I have quietly been designing and maintaining our numerous websites for years now. I taught myself website design years ago because we didn't have enough money to hire someone to do it for us. Since there was so little information on it back then, believe it or not  my only resource to learn how to do a website was to read the Microsoft word "help" file. Took a few weeks, but our website finally went up around 1995. 

    Needless to say, I've learned a few things since those early days. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me over the years...

    Keep your website up-to-date.

    If visitors notice that your content isn’t up-to-date, then you lose credibility and quite possibly a valuable client! You should visit your website every week and add copy, articles, images and the like. I also suggest you remove any information that might be obsolete.  At the very least please make sure that your copyright date is in the current year and your blog has current articles in it.  

    Click here to read more

    What many of you don't know is that I have quietly been designing and maintaining our numerous websites for years now. I taught myself website design years ago because we didn't have enough money to hire someone to do it for us. Since there was so little information on it back then, believe it or not  my only resource to learn how to do a website was to read the Microsoft word "help" file. Took a few weeks, but our website finally went up around 1995. 

    Needless to say, I've learned a few things since those early days. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me over the years...

    Keep your website up-to-date.

    If visitors notice that your content isn’t up-to-date, then you lose credibility and quite possibly a valuable client! You should visit your website every week and add copy, articles, images and the like. I also suggest you remove any information that might be obsolete.  

    At the very least please make sure that your copyright date is in the current year and your blog has current articles in it.  

    Give people a reason to come back

    Don't just put up a website and then never edit it again. A website is a living and breathing thing that needs to change. This way they don't forget you.  

    • Perhaps add a calendar of special events around town
    • List shows/events you can get tickets to
    • Create a blog!
    • Add some articles or a resource directory with helpful links and information

    Use the new technologies that come along and give clients a reason to come back and again and again.

    Your ABOUT US page

    One of my biggest pet peeves is the "about us" page. I can't tell you how many sites I have visited that only have two or three general sentences telling me about their company. 

    When I hire someone, I always go to their site and read about them. I want to read about the business owners and find out how much experience they have. If there is a picture of the owner, even better!  If I see no information about the owner or the company, I often wonder what they are hiding and why.  Do I hire them? Not very often.

    Address your client’s objections within the copy of your website

    Some good ones include...
    • I don't have enough time.
    • I don't have enough money.
    • It won't work for me.
    • I don't believe you.
    • I don't need it.
    Write a short paragraph addressing these concerns and any others you come up with. 

    Tell me where you are located!

    I understand that you want privacy. Trust me I get it. However, I can't tell you how many websites I have visited that don't have their location on it!  All I get is the company name, telephone number, an email address or contact us box and that's it!  If I do a Google search on a company in Raleigh NC for example, and I type in "Raleigh Concierge" ... if you don't have the words "Raleigh, NC" somewhere on your website, the search engines will not pull it up. So you'll lose a LOT of local business. At the very least put your city/state/country somewhere on your site.

    Until next time!

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