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Customer Experience is Brand Experience

The customer experience when interacting with your brand serves to form the customer’s perception and opinion of a brand. Focus upon delivering a brand experience that builds a positive consumer response by delivering the brand’s solutions to the customer. How customers are left after interacting with your team, is your brand in the marketplace. The mindsets of team members and what their role really is the real challenge. And this is for all businesses. Are your teams focused on the task of the role? Are they focusing on the results and creating a positive customer experience, one customers will remember?

In This Episode, Cheryl and Patti Discuss:

  • The inherent value of a thoughtfully designed and delivered customer experience.
  • How Patti works with business owners and their teams to shift mindset and create solutions for their target audience.
  • Customer service as brand differentiator.
  • The four steps of Patti’s “absolutions recipe” to create a great customer experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • The entrepreneur/business owner sets the tone for the organization’s culture.
  • Shift from sales to solutions and from transactions to relationships.
  • Clearly communicate your client’s ROI as part of your brand message.
  • Give customers reason to become raving fans.

The experience you’re creating, how customers interact with you, how they’re left after interacting with your team, that is your brand in the marketplace.Patti Mara

Connect with Patti Mara

Book: Up Solutions
Free Resource:
LinkedIn: pattimara

Cheryl Hodgson [0:26]

Hi everyone, this is Cheryl Hodgson, the host of the Brandaide Podcast. I'd like to welcome my special guest today, Patti Mara of MaraNet. Patti is an author with a new book which we're going to share more about and talk about today, and Patti has a phenomenal wealth of expertise and knowledge to share with you in building your business. Patti has delivered breakthrough content to a variety of industries, and in various settings, including the financial services field, home services, Women's Congress, entrepreneurs' Organization, and restaurant owners. She has over 25 years experience in designing and delivering customer experiences and making the connection between customer experience and retention with the profit results and growth of a company. Patti's new book is called UpSolutions: Turning your Customers, Your Team into Sales Heroes...

Patti Mara [1:32]

Turning your Team into Heroes and Your Customers into Raving Fans.

Cheryl Hodgson [1:37]

Awesome. Welcome to the show. Patti. I'm so happy to see you, and so happy to have you join us.

Patti Mara [1:14]

What an absolute pleasure, Cheryl. Thank you for inviting me to your podcast. And I'm excited because I love your topic, the whole idea of evolving brands and the importance of brands, I think that's core, one of the central components of businesses positioning themselves for success.

Cheryl Hodgson [1:58]

One of the things that I love about what you're doing is the customer experience because, and I'd be happy to have you just dive right in on some of this, you and I had a chat when we first met in Phoenix a few months ago, that, to me, much of what a brand really is, is the experience we as consumers or clients have, once we engage with that brand. Whether it's when we buy their product or service, or we sign up for their training program, or hire an attorney, whatever it might be. There is the issue of the experience we have. And if that experience is not thoughtfully engineered and delivered, it's not going to work real well for a lasting relationship.

Patti Mara [2:47]

Absolutely. Your brand, yes, it's important to put the thought into, "what do you want to be known as, what is your brand?" The millions and millions of Nike put into the solution, Just Do It, which of course they keep changing. But sure, that's important. A business needs to know what it is how they create results, the value they provide. I like to talk about the solutions that they provide. And, regardless of what you put out in the marketplace, the experience you're creating. How customers interact with you, how they're left after interacting with your team, is your brand in the marketplace.

Cheryl Hodgson [3:22]

Yes. And it does begin with the team. Because, just in my own experience, the industry I like to pick on unfortunately, is the airline industry, I think they're getting better but probably the worst customer experiences I've ever had have been with airline employees. Because most like to be unhappy.

Patti Mara [3:43]

There's a saying that I've heard, I didn't create this, but I've heard this, that "in the airline industry, we're not happy until you're not happy."

Cheryl Hodgson [3:49]

I'm sorry, American, United and a couple of others, but...

Patti Mara [3:57]

Well, I'm not. Now interestingly enough, Delta at one time was one of the airlines that I would not fly. I'd had too many experiences of being left at an airport with no support trying to get home, and late. And I think about a year and a half ago, they hired John Maxwell to come in and do some high end work with leadership and just all the way down of repositioning the mindsets. The mindsets of the team members and what their role really is. Because that's the challenge. And this is for all businesses. Are your teams focused on the task of the role? Are they focusing on the results and experience they're creating? And so I did notice a difference. Summer last year, on one of my trips last year, I had to fly Delta. And I was blown away at the difference.

Cheryl Hodgson [4:48]

It does make a difference. And I remember I spoke with and interviewed a wonderful branding expert a few years ago, Alan Adamson and one of the things he pointed out which is really true, changing the culture of an organization with 20-40,000. employees is a much bigger task than someone who is a startup. So I like to point that out to people because some of our audience may be people who go, "I can't afford branding. I'm not into branding at this point in my career." Whereas actually, if you at least have the mindset, you actually already use the word mindset, the right mindset to be thoughtful in the way you launch your business, it's much easier to create it when you're starting out than it is to try to turn around a sinking ship or wherever the challenge people have become entrenched in their thought process in the way they relate to their customers.

Patti Mara [5:48]

Absolutely. And the reality is whether you think you can afford to invest in branding or not, you're creating a brand. The question is, are you creating a brand that enhances the vision of your business and positions you have the way you want to be positioned in your marketplace or not? But you are creating a brand.

Cheryl Hodgson [6:09]

Absolutely. And is it going to be a brand that's memorable for good or a brand that's memorable for "I don't want to talk to you anymore"? So how do you work with teams to make that? How does the team's factor into that customer experience?

Patti Mara [6:26]

Okay, great. Well, so a couple things. Diving into teams, I start first with the owner, so interesting. I only work with entrepreneurial owned and operated businesses. And part of that is that everyone in an entrepreneur organization is, whether they're directly on the front stage or not, everyone's connected to the results of the business. So what everyone does and an entrepreneurial business matters. So I always start with the entrepreneur because the entrepreneur sets the culture. And so when you're talking about the entrepreneur has to have the mindset, and has to be committed to and passionate about, they own the business, so they're passionate about their businesses. But they also have to be passionate about the role of their team, the impact in their industry, connected with their customers. So everyone follows the entrepreneur's lead. And so that we start first with the entrepreneur. And I'd say there's some really important, we talked a little bit about mindsets, Cheryl, so why don't we talk to a couple of mindset shifts first, and then bring in how to get the team? Because in most businesses, if you're beyond the initial entrepreneur starting a business, you've got any team members at all, generally speaking, the team members have more day to day contact than the entrepreneur does. With the customers. So if the team aren't aware of what the business really is, and the team aren't aware of what they do, how they impact the experience. And creating solutions versus transactions, then you're not going to shift gears. So I'd say, the first mindset for me, there's many mindsets, but the three key mindsets that I think about positioning yourself for leaning in almost to what the opportunity is. The first is really paying attention to the opportunity and change. And one of the challenges that all businesses are dealing with right now is changes everywhere and, read any paper, read any book, they'll talk about how things are different now than five years ago or 10 years ago, and that the speed of change is accelerating. And there are whole industries that are being turned on a dime. Remember when travel agents, they used to get paid back in commission from the airline companies, and it was 10 to 15 years ago, in that range, that the backend commissions went to zero. The moment you had online booking, that whole industry completely shifted gears. And it's not that there are no travel agents, but now a travel agent has to position, "Why choose them? Why pay them?" So a travel agent isn't, I came across one, an elderly couple, just the most wonderful, warm, friendly people. And they were travel agents and they created a whole business around creating cruise experiences for seniors. Because they loved it.

Cheryl Hodgson [9:26]

And they wanted to go on more cruises.

Patti Mara [9:28]

They were doing it. They were putting it together. They started with their friends and they were the go-to people. There's a guy in Toronto, that his travel agency is for scuba divers. And he's a passionate diver. So if you want to go on a scuba trip, he's going to book a better trip, better time...

Cheryl Hodgson [9:45]

I need to talk to him!

Patti Mara [9:47]

There you go. And often, when you are that focused and clear on who your market is, then you can really position yourself as a solution for them. And part of that is you can often offer some things, for example, the travel agent specializing in scuba trips, he can often put together a package that there's no way you could match what he could offer at the price he can offer because of his context and knowledge.

Cheryl Hodgson [10:16]

Absolutely. I'd like to go back to the thing you just talked about beginning with the entrepreneur. One of the great things I read about that and I love the concept is that the brands who break through today, they embrace the concept of the brand CEO. Now that can be a literal position, but it also can be a metaphorical term for just what you're talking about. The mindset of either the entrepreneur founder or someone within the organization who is charged with exactly developing, creating, maintaining, and championing exactly what we're discussing.

Patti Mara [11:00]

Yeah, absolutely. And you could say that the internal brand has to match the external brand. That internal culture needs to be a fit because I think it was Zig Ziglar who said that "everything is top down." So how the CEO or owner treats the upper level management is how the upper level management treats the management, which is how the management treats the frontline, which is how the frontline treats your customers.

Cheryl Hodgson [11:25]

I think that goes back to the airline industry because so many of those companies years ago, not to pick on them. They went through big mergers and financial issues where they'd lost their pensions, they took pay cuts, they went through some really challenging times. So, that all impacted how they felt they were being treated.

Patti Mara [11:49]

Absolutely. And it's a good example of an industry that's heavily commoditized. Forced to compete on price. So, absolutely.

Cheryl Hodgson [12:01]

So after you've worked with the entrepreneur, then what is your next step once that mindset...

Patti Mara [12:05]

The next step is making sure that the company knows who their customers are. So the mindset shift is that you're really being clear on target audience customers, who's your best-fit customers, who are the customers that you enjoy working with? They value what you do for them and they're willing to pay you for it. And when you know that, then what's important for them? What do they want? What do they need? Where can you be a solution for their needs? I think the internet, the idea that we have a global marketplace, you used to just shop locally. Not that long ago, if you wanted something you went out in your car, you walked in, you shopped locally. And now, you look on Amazon, or you check the marketplace, or you go on eBay, or whatever the latest is. And so the local mom and pop, the brick and mortar stores are competing with global stores. Now again, there's an opportunity in that. How can the mom and pop stores access the global market? But right now for a lot of companies, they're being squeezed. So the first thing is actually to really be clear on your customers. And one of the key pieces is the awareness that your customers don't even know the questions to ask to make an effective buying decision.

Cheryl Hodgson [13:24]

Wow, that's powerful.

Patti Mara [13:26]

Mm hmm. And that's the third mindset. The third mindset that's critical is understanding that there is wisdom and experience and knowledge in your team in the company. So if the customers don't even know how to make an effective buying decision, a team member, certainly the owner, but a team member that's worked within a company for three months or more, is actually an expert compared to the customers because they've been handling product knowledge day in and day out. So when a customer comes in a team member helping a customer make an effective buying decision is a huge amount of value. And it gets stepped over, taken for granted, or ignored.

Cheryl Hodgson [14:09]

That's an interesting observation because particularly it opens up possibilities for differentiation like you're talking about in the travel industry, because I have a recent example. I just purchased some technical products for being more effective in my podcast. These are products that are fairly new on the market, one of which is a light for a screen and a green screen, and trying to buy it online and then not having access to any customer service, it's been a challenge.

Patti Mara [14:44]


Cheryl Hodgson [14:45]

To find out what the specs were on the product, and then also how to get it set up and use it.

Patti Mara [14:53]

And there's the time and energy it takes to that and the confidence that you've made a good decision. How many times have you purchased something, and at the end of the day, you didn't make the right decision, and you're either stuck with it, you have to take it back, you have to exchange it. It's actually really costly to not have someone guiding you in how to make a decision that's right for you. Even something as simple as buying a TV these days.

Cheryl Hodgson [15:23]

Yes and also the policies of the company deal with and their attitude towards, "if it doesn't work for you, can I bring it back and exchange it?" There are things you buy that just end up being not the right fit, whether it's a piece of clothing or something and, there tend to be a lot of smaller boutiques that I gave up patronizing years ago because most of them have a policy that the minute you walk out the door, they don't take it back no matter what. And then there's the larger department stores that you can return it if you've not worn it.

Patti Mara [16:01]

Saying that though, I have come across boutiques that, and there's a reason why in a small shop, they don't take things back, or they might do an exchange, but they won't do a refund. There are a lot of different reasons for a small shop and some of it's in inventory turns because they have to be unique and different and keep current. But they can overcome that if they do a really good job of helping people walk out feeling like they look like a million bucks. So whoever their target audience is, if you know that, if you're going out to an event, if you go into this store, you know you're going to show up to the event looking unique and fabulous and feeling like a million bucks you will go and shop in that boutique.

Cheryl Hodgson [16:45]


Patti Mara [16:47]

There's some mindset shifts for people. The other thing is, I find a lot of times, a lot of companies that I work with initially are not playing what I call "the right game of business". So they're trying to compete with the big boys, the chains, the national, the international, the online stores, they're trying to compete. And so, often that means being squeezed on price. And I think there are some really significant shifts in the business rules today. And two fundamental ones are that we're shifting from sales to solutions. So if your business is focusing on sales, it's all going to be about price. If you focus on the solutions, like the boutique that you feel like you're a million bucks and you're unique at an event. That's the solution. And the other is from transactions to relationships.

Cheryl Hodgson [17:39]

That's key.

Patti Mara [17:41]

Absolutely. And the third one for me, it kind of builds on that your customers don't even have the questions to ask to make an effective buying decision, is if a company doesn't clearly communicate, why choose them? And this is branding. If a company doesn't clearly communicate, why choose them? Then people to the lowest perceived price, and you are commoditized. Because if they don't know how to make a decision, the only decision they can make is based on price.

Cheryl Hodgson [18:09]

Wow, that's really interesting because that has been, just to share a little bit for me, my own personal thing. I've gone through this for 10 or 15 years since the internet launched. In the area of trademark and brand protection, because all of these kinds of discount filing services started about 10 or 15 years ago. Many of whom, it's all about a race to the bottom on price. And there's no service whatsoever in terms of counseling, advice, strategy, or the meaningful things that determine a successful outcome. So, learning how to speak to someone who is motivated by price becomes a challenge. And then the flip side of that is, and I love what you said, which is, "relationship driven", and that's been a mantra of mine, which my little way of saying it has been, "I'm not a pit stop, I'm a resort destination." Which is my way of saying I want to be in a relationship with my clients. It doesn't mean how much money they spend. It's not about that. It is about that I am able to become a trusted advisor and support their evolution and their growth in their business. And it may be to provide services in my field, but it also may be something as simple as helping them have access to other experts they may need that I don't specifically do. And and yes, getting paid is an important aspect, but also my own fulfillment, in terms of my contribution, and what I'm able to provide is at stake as well.

Patti Mara [19:55]

That's great Cheryl. So, there was a book I read a number of years ago, and they've actually updated it was called Blue Ocean Strategy. And I think it's now Blue Ocean Strategy Revisited or Revised. And one of the takeaways from Blue Ocean Strategy was that it's our job as business owners, as team members as anyone in an entrepreneurial business. It's our job to communicate how we're going to create more value than you're going to pay us. We have to communicate that ROI. So kind of what you were just saying. Why would people pay you, if you're the resort, but it's not just the transaction that's happening. It's the fact that they have peace of mind. They have confidence, they're saving time, everything's connected. It's like you create this encompassing solution that allows them to focus and build their business.

Cheryl Hodgson [20:47]

Hopefully, yes, that's it. And then there's got to be the matchup so that if someone is shopping for price, whether it's my services or someone else's services in another field, there is the person that that's their motivation. And then that's not a match for me.

Patti Mara [21:05]

And they self select away thank you very much.

Cheryl Hodgson [21:07]

Yes, exactly. You said something, and I don't want to take things out of order, but I don't want to let it go by either. Because I think it's so important, where you said, part of what a team really needs to be embraces the notion that they're here to create a solution. What was the phrasing you use for that?

Patti Mara [21:30]

They're focused on the solution, not the task. They're working on the task in the role. And, team members, your team are your brand ambassadors. Your team are your brand ambassadors, and here's the thing, Daniel Pink in his book, Drive talked about, "In today's marketplace, what are the three primary motivators for team members?" And it's not money. They have to be paid enough that it's relevant to what they're contributing in their lifestyle, but it's not money, that's not the driver. And so the three key things are Purpose, that people feel like they're part of something, they make a difference, they contribute. Development that they can grow, develop, learn, expand, and increase autonomy. So as they grow and develop, they can make a bigger contribution, they can have more impact and more autonomy in their role. So, it really is this idea of your team as your brand ambassadors, and really positioning your business for the solutions you provide in your marketplace to your target audience. That's a really pivotal positioning. And then the key with that is the team understands, yes, they are responsible for tasks in the role and that fits into the results of the business. But as they're doing their task, it's what experience are they creating with their task? The simple example is if you go into a grocery store and you come across somebody who is stocking shelves. Often a teenager, and the teenager may or may not have been trained, they think their job is to stock shelves. But if you're in the front stage of the business, your job is to take care of customers that you see while you're stocking shelves. So, unless you stock shelves after hours, you're front stage. So having them understand that their job is not just to make sure the products are on the shelf and out of the box. Their job is also to make sure that the customers in the store find what they're looking for, leave with a great experience, don't feel frustrated, whatever that is.

Cheryl Hodgson [23:41]

Yeah, I think that's actually very powerful. And I think a lot of grocery stores actually do that now. And here's the distinction is, I've noticed that in certain chains of grocery stores, that if I walk up to someone and say, "could you show me where something is?" they will stop and say, "oh here, let me take you to that place." As opposed to saying, "Look on aisle 12 somewhere." They actually stop what they're doing and walk you over there. And that's a great example I think of what you're discussing. So what do you advise for someone who needs to create that? How do you go about that methodology and experientially with the work you do?

Patti Mara [24:29]

Well, in the book, I call it the "Upsolutions Recipe". And absolutely this is a simple four step recipe you can train your team on. And the recipe is simply, step one is Observation. But it's experienced observation. It's applied wisdom. When somebody walks in, let's say, you work in a pharmacy, you're the technician in a pharmacy, and somebody walks through the door and hands you their prescription, both the technician and the pharmacist probably know more that's going on with that patient than the patient does. Because they understand the prescription. They understand the medication, what it's doing and why you're doing it. So if you pay attention to that, you know questions to ask based on what somebody is coming in and looking for. So applying observation. Step two is Probing Questions. And there's no magic to Probing Questions. Probing Questions are literally just based on what you've observed, helping people, almost guiding people through the decision making process by asking questions, so they get clear. For example, if you want to buy TV and this happened to me, this was a great experience. You want to buy a TV? Well, it's like, "what do you like to watch on TV? And then how big is your room?" There were questions to ask to find out what was really important for me. And so the step one is Applied Observation. Step two is Probing Questions and literally those questions are how someone helps someone ask the questions to make a decision. Step three is Offering an Upsolution. And an Upsolution is literally, that you're finding what that person needs. It may not even be what they came in to buy. But by asking the questions you're solving a need and creating an Upsolution. And then the fourth one is Ongoing Relationship, because it doesn't stop at one time. What are you doing in your business that when you've created a solution that people are happy, that you're able to have an ongoing, you become the solution hub if you will, for that particular customer, based on what you have to provide. Again, they don't know how else you can help them, but you can provide that.

Cheryl Hodgson [26:40]

Wow, that's fabulous.

Patti Mara [26:41]

I had a great, great example about that. This actually was a story shared to me with a friend of mine, that he had decided to put up a floating shelf. Just a shelf on the wall in his office. And so he went into one of those big storage places, and he's in the shelving aisle. A young clerk came up to him and he said, "can I help you?" And this friend of mine Dan said, "No, thanks. I'm good." But he's in the shelving aisle. So again, the young clerk applied observation. He asked a probing question, "what type of wall do you want to put a shelf up on?” Aha! So now immediately, Dan's engaged with this young man, and he said "well it's drywall", "and what do you want to put on the shelf?" "Well, some books and knickknacks" and said "okay, what you want to put on this type of wall, this is the recommendation." His Upsolution, and it turns out that the shelf that Dan walked out of the store purchasing was $85 and the shelf he thought he was going to get, the one he was looking at, was $25. But he left happy with the purchase, thinking that he got exactly what he wanted and he didn't even know the questions to ask to make a decision. But happy with this purchase, happy with the store, happy with the interaction, because he told me about it, he's sharing this, he didn't just say it with me. And then the flip of that is, had that young clerk not been there, had Dan bought the $25 shelf, then chances are it would have fallen off the wall within a short period of time. And then his opinion of the store would be, "oh, they sell cheap stuff, I'm not going back there." He just would have purchased the wrong thing because he didn't know how to make a decision.

Cheryl Hodgson [28:28]

You just said something that's really valuable and critical in the world of branding, which is the game of Telephone. Dan spoke to you and shared the experience. There's something about that interaction that made him want to share it. It's the same feeling that "oh, I went to a great movie," and you want to tell someone "you should go see this movie!" Have you ever said that to a friend? Or if you're talking to someone, you say, "What movie do you want to see?" And they say, "Well, I already saw that and it's not so good." It's that word of mouth in the game of Telephone is that concept of "how do you create raving fans and customers who spread the word for you?"

Patti Mara [29:19]

Yes, because you've created such a solution and they feel so connected. The underlying of any relationship is trust. So they feel like you're in their corner.

Cheryl Hodgson [29:29]

You said to create that connection. I alluded to this a little bit earlier that one of the dilemmas for me when I first started bridging out of the, I felt like I operated in one silo of branding. And to me, that's one of the challenges and my inspiration in my podcasts and some of the trainings I'm offering, which is that the world of branding tends to exist in silos. And that's not a bad thing. It's just that there are so many different types of services and areas of expertise that can contribute to the evolution and the growth of a company in different stages of their development and growth. But they don't necessarily interact with each other or even know about each other to communicate. But it really comes down to creating a Connection, and possibly Community, and then making a Contribution and then that evolves into your Currency. And when I say Currency, that's metaphorically for money for a cash transaction, but also currency and what we're just talking about, reputation. And that word of mouth, you're building that Currency, with loyal customers.

Patti Mara [30:45]

Absolutely, Cheryl. For me that is spot on. And I like the word Currency. It's what you're known for. It's what people talk about. And you have to give them something to talk about. It's back to for me, step one is make sure you're clear about what your business is. And then how can your team deliver it? How can your team be those set up to win, be brand ambassadors, and really be positioned to be heroes for your customers? Those are kind of the stepping stones that your customers know how to talk about you, are excited about the experience that they just had, which is unique, and they feel like it was for them, and made a difference for them and then they'll talk about it. Absolutely.

Cheryl Hodgson [31:27]

When you work with a company, do you meet with the team members? Is that something you do to help transform their thinking?

Patti Mara [31:34]

As we were talking about earlier, it always starts first with the entrepreneur. So the entrepreneur has to be really clear on what their business is. Doesn't mean we have to have it all sorted out before bringing a team in, but the structure, the framework has to be in place with the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur on board, and then absolutely has to be with the team. And for me, it's fun to watch team members light up when they get to see the difference they make. And it happens in spots here and there. But when you create the structure within a company, that team members know that they're showing up to make a difference every day, that the difference with your team member retention, having good team members, which impacts your customer experience. And 11, 12 years ago I ran a program called The Profit Generator and and the whole gear behind The Profit Generator was I think, for most businesses, the profit in your business is your repeat business. And so, that's positioning why people should choose you and giving them a reason for how you can be, again, Cheryl, I'm gonna to go back to you, you're the kind of the resort, the Brandaide is not just a one off piece. It's like, "this is going to make a difference for all the different components of your business." You have to give people a reason for what else can you do? Again, they don't know the questions to ask. It's not obvious for them.

Cheryl Hodgson [33:08]

There are many people, not just me, there's thousands of people and I've met quite a few just in the last several years in my own evolution. Getting into information marketing and developing courses and trainings and now the podcast. Writing a book. And there are so many professionals, and you need services. But then the question becomes, when you go to engage someone to help you in a specific area, whether it's building a website, social media, all the different aspects that now go into marketing and promoting ourselves, it's like, oftentimes, I don't know the questions to ask. And one of my missions is to be able to help entrepreneurs and businesses at least create the teams they need, if not, when they engage with outside services and vendors for lack of a better word, that those people that we refer them to or that we can help them find to accomplish the tasks They need are people who have that result oriented, solution oriented and that they actually do what they say they're going to do and deliver what they say they're going to deliver.

Patti Mara [34:28]

Actually Cheryl, that's a really key point. I can have a one off project, I created the podcast One Sheet, right? Well, that's easy for me, I can go to Upwork, and I can outsource it to the market. And that's a task. And I have to manage a little bit more or I can find a company that will take care of all of that for me, and I don't have to manage it, and I will pay more for that. But if they're going to do that they need to understand that they can't interact with me as if they're a freelancer on Upwork because I'm not going to pay bare minimum dollar for that. So it has to be that if you're going to provide solutions into the marketplace, if you're going to provide services in the marketplace, and your team need to understand that your job is to make your customers' job easy. Whatever it is you offer, you have to make it easy for them. Don't make the customer do the heavy lifting for finding this, and looking at that in this folder, make it easy for the customer or else, again, if you're not creating that value, we're going to go to the lowest price.

Cheryl Hodgson [35:42]

Well, that's an interesting comment, because there have been moments where I feel like I'm micromanaging every single aspect. In some cases, it's not the best use of my time. But the job has to get done. But I think that's a challenge for many, many entrepreneurs, especially as they step out of a corporate role or out of where they've had a support team and a support staff, and then whether they build their own law practice, or they're launching their own podcast or they're writing a book. It's an interesting process. I want to thank you so much, there's so much more we could talk about. And I would love to have you back again to delve into some of this a little more deeply. But before we say goodbye, I there's a couple of things I'd love to ask you. Is there something about you as a person personally that someone might not normally know?

Patti Mara [36:46]

Probably what I'm known for in my personal circles is I am a passionate horse woman. So I have a beautiful German Warmblood and I spend as much time at the barn and out in nature as I possibly can. So that's my fun fact.

Cheryl Hodgson [37:07]

Does that get cold in the winter in Toronto?

Patti Mara [37:11]

Oh yes. I also own a lot of down.

Cheryl Hodgson [37:15]

Awesome. Well, that's a pretty special thing. And then my final question for you is, what is on your bucket list of something either personally or professionally, that you haven't quite gotten to yet but you know there's a calling for it?

Patti Mara [37:33]

I'd say personally, is continuing to travel. I've started traveling the last couple years and I just love going to a place and staying long enough to experience the culture, get to know people and experience a culture. I really am enjoying that. Businesswise, I have some loose background plans to create a VR company, a virtual reality company. So I've got some interesting things, I think we're a couple years out before that actually is something that will be viable. But I'm really paying attention to VR training. I think experiential training. A lot of what I do is experiential. People have to experience the shift to have the mindset turn. And so I've been just working on that, undercover.

Cheryl Hodgson [38:27]

That is fabulous. I can't wait to hear more about that. Because that's a fascinating area to me as well. So before we go, I would like to know, if someone's interested in learning more about what you do, how would they reach out and connect with you? And do you have a gift you'd like to share with our audience?

Patti Mara [38:46]

The first thing is, I'm so passionate about independent businesses, and I really want to leave with the message of, "there is opportunity." Every time we run into a constraint. There's something new that's changing. I like following Peter Diamandis and his abundance because his whole thing is every time we're constrained, there's a new opportunity opening up, so just keep whatever it is that you feel stuck in your business what is being communicated? What's the opportunity?

Cheryl Hodgson [39:18]

That's fabulous.

Patti Mara [37:19]

Passionate about that. And if people want to find out more about you know and my new book, just go to my website, which is

Cheryl Hodgson [39:35]

We'll make sure that's in the show notes for everyone.

Patti Mara [39:37]

Absolutely, absolutely. And I think we'll create a special link, Cheryl, for your audience, so if you go to, I've got some really, really great tools I've talked about in the book, and we'll make them free for your audience. I think I'll create a training and you can download the tools. And it's their touchpoint scorecard, which makes it a really wonderful tool to do a quick analysis and involve your team. And it really helps them to see things from your customers perspective, do that shift in thinking.

Cheryl Hodgson [40:12]

Wow, that's pretty awesome. Everyone who's listening, I hope you'll take advantage of that opportunity because Patti is brilliant at what she does. And we've just barely scratched the surface with her today. So I am so thankful and grateful to you for being a guest on my podcast. And I do look forward to having the opportunity to speak with you again very soon.

Patti Mara [40:33]

This is an absolute pleasure. Cheryl, thank you so much.

Cheryl Hodgson [40:36]

You're welcome. And we'll see you soon.

Patti Mara is the owner of MaraNet and founder of The Profit Generator, a program for business owners in retail and service-based industries to position their business for success and develop a loyal customer base. Patti shows brand owners how to see their company from their customers' perspective and use the insights they gain to consistently deliver on-brand customer experience, dramatically increasing customer retention, revenue, and profit. Patti has over 25 years experience in designing and delivering customer experiences and making the connection between customer experience and retention with the profit results and growth of a company.

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