Looking for a freelance copywriter to grow your business? Kate Mayer is your lady. Act now, because she only has 10 hours a week available….

Copywriter, marketer extraordinaire

Copywriter, marketer extraordinaire

This is the first, and probably only time I’ll ever use this blog to recommend a person for a job.  Through cosmic karma, Kate Mayer came into my life over two years ago.  I was looking for copywriting and marketing help, she was looking to get back into the work force after raising kids.  I posted an ad on Craigslist.  She answered.  It was like an amazing first date.  And, two years later, the love affair is still going strong.  As Kate’s second child heads off to college and my copywriting/marketing needs have declined a bit, she finds herself with a few extra hours available.  And, if you are one of the first to respond (kathrynmayer1@gmail.com ) you may be lucky enough to be able to have her work for you too.  Honestly, if you are interested, reach out to her now.  No marketing scarcity junk to push you here, just the hard cold facts.  Her available will be gone by the end of the month.  She’s that good.  She is smart as a whip, creative and efficient.  She has references galore and tons of work product for you to look at.

Here is my formal recommendation of Kate:

Kate is the perfect go-to writer for any marketing project. Hired to build our social media presence and build targeted content, she quickly shared bigger and better ideas with the skill to execute them successfully. Her conscientious approach to branding, project management, direct mail campaigns and social media is incomparable, and her ability to write effectively and connect with the customer is innate. By effectively partnering with community organizations, Kate is instrumental in growing our business while supporting local non-profits and giving back.  She adds a creative edge and attention to detail to every project she tackles, and frankly, her enthusiasm is infectious.

Additional small business/automotive specific:

Kate was the copywriter, creative director and production liaison for Key Hyundai’s successful customer appreciation campaign: a thank you gift and series of 5 follow-up direct mail letters to encourage satisfaction and communication post-sale.

The Key Cash Customer Loyalty Program was written and produced by Kate as she exclusively managed all elements of the project from idea to fulfillment: letters, explanation, Key Cash, fulfillment, communication. She created not one, but two successful customer referral programs: MORE Money and Key Cash, both proven successful.

Kate successfully manages customer complaints, media inquires, and legal concerns with advocacy and patience, quickly informing owners and identifying and diffusing volatile situations easily and effectively so satisfaction and relationships are preserved.

Kate successfully wrote and managed a multi-faceted customer direct mail campaign designed to keep customers informed, involved, and encouraged to shop, service and visit during a massive 9-month re-construction of our dealership.

Kate was the copywriter and creative director for the Key Hyundai Mission & Vision Handbook. She successfully took my rough-cut ideas and composed a direct, fun-to-read, persuasive mission and vision guide for employees, customers, vendors, community leaders, and small businesses to emulate.

Kate effectively increased Hyundai exposure and the Jill Merriam Key Hyundai brand by negotiating and securing prime retail space at our largest area mall to create leverage over competing car dealerships with our desired demographic.

Kate directed sponsorship partnerships with maximum exposure and minimum expense, and created special events that brought the brick & mortar business on the road to the community: Connecticut Beardsley Zoo; Save-a-Suit; Milford Oyster Fest; Milford Public Schools Pays-for-As; Vernon Bookmobile; CT MORE READING book drive; etc.

Kate increased our Facebook presence from 575 fans (April 2011) to 981 active, local, engaged – no SPAMBOTS – real live customer fans (August 2013) by creating locally relevant, customer related content and not pushing product.

Kate created a unified brand, voice and tone to relaunch the Drive Worry Free program consisting of a customer brochure, insert, window decals and windshield banner with consistent message to support staff, engage customers, while meeting all legal and corporate recommendations.

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Key Hyundai of Milford’s Own Larry Plunkett

Employee Spotlight time!  Introducing….Larry Plunkett!

Larry, a 9 1/2 year employee of Key Hyundai of Milford

Larry, a 9 1/2 year employee of Key Hyundai of Milford

Larry provides solutions as a Service Advisor at Key Hyundai of Milford.  Larry has been in the automotive business for 27 years!  It’s hard to believe because he looks so young.  Larry stays fit by running and working out.  He ran the Hartford Marathon in 2009 and he’s currently training for a 1/2 marathon in New Haven on Labor Day.

Larry was an employee of the Milford dealership when Jeff and I bought it from our father in 2009.  He’s worked for Key Hyundai for 9 years. We are grateful that he has stayed on with us.  He loves his job because of all the customer and employee contact he has.

Larry spent 9 ½ years in the Navy and has traveled many places, including France, China, Amsterdam and Italy.  Larry would love to have the opportunity to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese someday.  When asked if he could be anything in the world, he commented, “a college graduate.”  I say, go for it!  It’s never too late.  He would also love to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on a safari.  He loves active vacations in strange lands.

Larry’s true pride and joy are his family.  His daughter is 20 and a senior at St. Lawrence University in New York.  She is a Political Science major.  His son, is 17, and just started his freshman year at the University of Notre Dame.  He is an Engineering major and just got chosen to be part of the marching band.  Sports are huge at Notre Dame so that is a big deal!  Larry has been married to his wife for 22 years.  When you talk to Larry about his family, you can see the pride and love that he has for them.  It’s very refreshing nowadays!

Larry is truly a great guy!  If you get a chance, stop into the Milford service department and say hello.

Kindly,

Jill Merriam, Dealer For the People R 

PS:  Thank you for continuing to live our mission statement, “we are solution providers and not product pushers and we believe everyone wants to drive a nicer, newer car. And, we want to keep you car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.”

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Weekly Musings: A Customer Wrote a Poem about Key Hyundai – Wow!

August 8, 2013

Dear Solution Providers.

I am thrilled to show you this poem that a customer wrote about Key Hyundai of Manchester.  That’s right, a poem!  This is a first for all of us.  Congratulations to Erin, Angela, the two Chris’ in service, John Gardner, Mohammad, and Jon Buttero for living our mission and vision.

“We are solution providers and not product pushers.  We believe everyone deserves to drive a nicer, newer car.  At Key Hyundai, we want to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.”

Wow!  A poem about Key Hyundai of Manchester!

Wow! A poem about Key Hyundai of Manchester!

I don’t know about you, but it is very rare when I send a positive customer service message to someone, let alone a poem!  Can you imagine the earth-shattering experience this customer must have had to take the time to create this poem?   I hope you find this as amazing as I do.

And, almost as good, Joe Mirow, General Sales Manager wrote back:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
That poem rocked and so did you!

Folks, this is one for the record book.  Thank you for living true to our values, mission and vision every single day.

Kindly,

Jill Merriam

Dealer For the People ®

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Weekly Musings: Selling is Not Hard. Listen WAY More than you Talk.

Art of selling is all about listening.  Listen and ask probing questions.  Selling is all about providing a solution to the customer at a price that works for them.

Art of selling is all about listening. Listen and ask probing questions. Selling is all about providing a solution to the customer at a price that works for them.

I’ve had to interact with a lot of sales people recently.  We’re investing in a sales training system for the Key Hyundai sales force so I’ve talked to a lot of automotive vendors.   Let me tell you, selling is definitely a lost art.  Everyone I’ve encountered made the exact same mistake.  They haven’t taken even five minutes to get to know me and what I’m looking for.  They have just forced information down my throat and then gone in to try to close the sale on price.  Do I really care about how great their product is if it doesn’t work for me?  If I’m turned off on how they sell me, why would I want to invest in their sales training?

We’ve all had it happen to us.  We walk into a furniture store, for example, and start looking around.  The salesperson comes up and says, “Can I help you?”  You say, “We are looking for a tan couch”.  They start talking and talking, selling you the benefits of a certain couch and you can’t get a word in edgewise.  Finally, you spit out, “it has to be a sleeper sofa.”  Now, they’ve ticked you off, wasted your time and haven’t gotten a sale.  What if instead, when you said you are looking for a tan couch, they followed it up with additional probing questions, like:  where are you going to use it, does it need to be a sleeper sofa, does it need to be a certain size, do you prefer leather or clothe, what’s your budget, what kind of wear will it get, are you looking for formal or informal, etc.

Selling is so simple.

Seek to understand the customer before you seek to be understood.  In other words, ask questions, listen and don’t talk.

No one is doing it.

If you do it, you will succeed.

Have a great weekend!

Kindly,

Jill Merriam

Dealer For the People R

PS:  Thanks, as always for living our mission statement, “we are solution providers and not product pushers.  We believe everyone deserves to drive at nicer, newer car.  Key Hyundai wants to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.”

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Weekly Musings: We all have the same 168 hours in a week. Spend yours wisely.

Time Management = Successful Life

Time Management = Successful Life

I was reading an article in Fortune magazine about Jim Haslam, the guy that started the Pilot Truck Stops (there’s one right in Milford).  He started post Korean War and now has 496 outlets around the country and they produce $30 billion in sales.

He explains how he got started and says, “A station became available in Gate City, Va and we bought it for $6,000.  It did well from the start, so we were lucky.”  It’s interesting to me that he credits luck for his success.  In fact, a lot of successful people do that.  In my opinion, it’s never luck.  In Mr. Haslam’s case, he goes on to explain how they pick a location, how they run their business and what they focus on.  These are the reasons for his success, not luck.

So, if it’s not luck, what is it?  I argue that it starts with a desire to want to improve your life.  We all have 168 hours in the week.  Time is the great equalizer.  President Obama, Madonna and Michael Jordan all have the same 168 hours a week that you have.   Successful people (however you define success) have made a decision to use their 168 hours more effectively and efficiently than others.  The Department of Labor Statistics conducts a study called the American Time Use Survey, where people keep a diary of what they do in six minute intervals.  You know what they found out?  American’s lie!  We are not as busy as we say, we don’t work as hard as we say, and we waste an incredible amount of time on television, Facebook, Youtube, etc.  Successful people only spend time on things that move their life’s goals forward.

So, I ask you, how do you spend your time?  If you really want to know, get a notebook and track what you do every six minutes for a week.  Be as specific as possible.  Don’t just write down “work” from 8-5pm.  Write down what you are doing at work.  If one of your life’s goals is to improve your career, then you need to pull the wasted time out of your day at work too.  Once you’re done, categorize how you’ve spent your time and see how much of your time is spent doing meaningful things that fit your life goals and how much time you just waste.  I guarantee it will be eye opening.  I guarantee that you can remove some “junk activities” and find time to learn to play guitar, volunteer, get in shape or even start a college degree.

As Laura Vanderkam in the book, “168 Hours” says, “The fact that we can make such choices [on how to use our time] makes us incredibly blessed.  This is not true in parts of the world where people spend 6 hours a day fetching water.  Chances are you live in an abundant, educated, free society.  The truth is, in such a society, there is already plenty of time for raising kids while running a business, for working, teaching and training for a triathlon, or for whatever brings joy and meaning to your life.”

I am currently tracking my time in six minute intervals.  I feel like time management is one of my strong suits, but I could be even better at it.  If you are interested in seeing what I’m doing, just ask.  I’d love to share it with you and I encourage you to do the same thing!

If nothing else, just try to catch yourself when you say, “I don’t have enough time to do x,y,x.”  In a free society, you do have enough time, you are just choosing to spend your time elsewhere, and most likely on things that don’t fulfill you (like Facebook, the internet, email, etc).

Thanks!  Have a great, meaningful day!  Kindly,  Jill Merriam

PS:  Thanks, as always for living our mission statement, “we are solution providers and not product pushers.  We believe everyone deserves to drive at nicer, newer car.  Key Hyundai wants to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.”

 

 

 

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Weekly Musings: Positive Coaching Alliance and the Work at Key Hyundai

 

Improve skills & winning follows

Improve skills & winning follows

My husband, Rob, reinforced an important lesson for me last week.  He is a baseball fanatic.  He’s coaching my son, Brady’s AAA Little League team this year.  The West Hartford Little League subscribes to something called Positive Coaching Alliance. Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

I went to Rob’s parent’s meeting on Saturday.  He told all the parents, “Our goal is to improve our baseball skills and further our love for the game of baseball.  Our goal isn’t to win.  If we focus on improving our skills and having fun, the winning will happen.”   I was so proud for him and it made me feel so good to know that he’s having such a positive influence on Brady and his team.

It’s really the same message that we preach at Key Hyundai.  Follow our mission and have fun and results will follow.

So, I ask you two questions.  One, what are you doing each day to better your skills in your job?  Two, are you having fun?  If you can answer yes to both those questions, the results will surely follow.

Jeff and I are taking our kids on a Disney cruise this coming week.  This is the first time we’ve ever been able to get away together for a full week like this.  We are super excited!  Thanks for everything you do to support Key Hyundai.  Have a great week, thanks for holding down the fort, and I’m sure I’ll have lots of great Disney customer service stories to share when I get back!

Kindly, Jill Merriam

Dealer For the People R

 

PS:  Thanks for believing in our mission, “we are solution providers and not product pushers.   We believe everyone deserves to drive a nicer, newer car.  Key Hyundai wants to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.”

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Weekly Musings: I Recommend Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”

Simon Sinek is brilliant!

Simon Sinek is brilliant!

Hyundai recently mailed me three leadership books that they think are worth reading.  One of them caught my eye.  It’s called “Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek.  I saw a video on Youtube by Simon Sinek a few months ago and it was really interesting (you should Google it – well worth watching).  His goal is to build a world where people are inspired by the work they do.Here is a section from the book called “The Price You Pay for the Money You Make.”  This section reminded me of the work we’re doing and the mission we are spreading at Key Hyundai. In it, he talks about sales tactics that are manipulative; the opposite of what we preach at Key Hyundai.  Our industry is unfortunately known for deceptive sales tactics.  That’s why I’m even prouder of the work we’re doing!

“I cannot dispute that manipulations work.  Every one of them can indeed influence behavior and every one of them can help a company become quite successful.  But there are trade-offs.  Not a single one of them breeds loyalty.  Over the course of time, they cost more and more.  The gains are short-term.  And they increase the level of stress for both the buyer and the seller. 

Leadership requires people to stick with you through thick and thin.  Leadership is the ability to rally people not for a single event, but for years.  In business, leadership means that customers will continue to support your company even when you slip up.  If manipulation is the only strategy, what happens the next time a purchase decision is required? 

There is a big difference between repeat business and loyalty.  Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times.  Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you.  Loyal customers don’t even bother to research the competition or entertain other options.  Loyalty is not easily won. “ – Simon Sinek, “Start with Why”

So, here’s to each of us being leaders and creating loyalty through our mission:

We are solution providers and not product pushers.  We believe everyone deserves to drive a nicer, newer car.  We want to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.

Have a great weekend, Happy Easter and Happy Passover.  Here’s to some warm weather just over the horizon!

Kindly,

Jill Merriam

Dealer For the People R

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