Thursday, April 28, 2016

Psychological Triggers That Win Sales and Influence Customers/Clients for Your Surrogacy or Egg Donation Business: Trigger 4 Authority


What is the definition of Authority? "The power to influence others, especially because if one's commanding manner or one's recognized knowledge about something" is the best definition to fit a business like a surrogacy or egg donation agency. But who runs that business? You do.

Surrounding yourself with professionals in the third party reproductive field is a must in any case. We need to work with Reproductive Attorneys, Reproductive Endocrinologists and clinical staff, Mental Health Professionals, Escrow Agents, Hospital Staff, Insurance Companies and sometimes even the Pharma companies. Their expertise and positions of Authority speak well of our own businesses and reputations. 
      
Your personal position of Authority comes from your experiences in your chosen field. You may be an Intended Parent and had a successful yet stressful surrogacy experience and now you want to not only share your knowledge but help other's through the surrogacy journey. Maybe you are a past egg donor (six times!) and feel that you know enough about the process to start your own agency. I know of quite a few Gestational Carriers, who feel that starting their own company and tweaking a few of the services to better appeal to others like themselves, are certain that it will lead them to a lifetime of fulfillment now that they no longer are carrying children for others.

All of these scenarios are about people with real life experiences. If they continue to learn and grow and watch other's in their chosen area, they could be considered an Authority or Expert in their field.    


Be sure to check out Triggers 1, Reciprocity, Trigger 2, Commitment and Consistency and Trigger 3, Liking!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Psychological Triggers That Win Sales and Influence Customers/Clients for Your Surrogacy or Egg Donation Business: Trigger 3 "Liking"



We all want to be LIKED, don't we? Which is why we put so much time and effort into our website and blogs. Needless to say these tools are sometimes the first impression our would-be clients encounter. We want the design to be comforting and supportive, we need the wording to say that they are welcomed and wanted. We want the photos to pluck a heart string or two. We want the overall design to say "we won't take advantage of you, we want to help you, we are experienced in this kind of thing"!

Blogging is another way to "talk" to potential clients. Sharing the hopes and dreams of other clients, listing services that you provide, telling people why you are better than all the rest, highlighting staff accomplishments and posting pictures of newborn babies with happy parents. The design of the blog itself needs to have that same sort of feeling...like coming home: comfortable and safe, where questions can be answered and comments can be posted freely, and your words hopefully shared on social media and "liked"!

Be sure to check out Triggers 1, Reciprocity, and Trigger 2, Commitment and Consistency! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Psychological Triggers That Win Sales and Influence Customers/Clients for Your Surrogacy or Egg Donation Business: Trigger 2 Commitment and Consistency


As we all know in the surrogacy and egg donation field, Intended Parents may be one time clients. However, egg donors and gestational carriers are the kind hearted women that most likely will come back and help another couple if they had a good experience the first time around.

Commitment and Consistency is all about making surrogates and donors feel committed to the agency and its"brand". For example, after the donation or birth journey is complete, these past surrogates and donors should continue to receive newsletters, birthday and anniversary cards, and personal messages from their agency. This helps them still feel like part of the process and feel important to your company (agency) even though they may not be matched at the time.

Word of mouth is a great marketing tool and even if the past donor or surrogate decides that she is done, she could still send your business a friend, family member, or co-worker who is interested in helping a couple complete a family by having YOUR BUSINESS represent them.

Remember that these tips go hand in hand with the daily running of your business and you must keep involved from start to finish in order to leave a great impression. 

Be sure to check out Trigger 1, Reciprocity!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Psychological Triggers That Win Sales and Influence Customers/Clients for Your Surrogacy or Egg Donation Business: Trigger 1 Reciprocity



There are six essential influencers and I am going to take on one per post. Some of these will inspire you to make changes and others you maybe already incorporating within your marketing strategy.

Today I am going to talk about Reciprocity.   Reciprocity is when someone feels compelled to give something back. For example, if you are handed a free sample at Costco or Sams Club you may feel you must buy the product if you like it. The same goes for free gifts with purchase or when you apply because a human connection is felt and the company is going above and beyond to please their customer i.e. you. 

In the realm of the services of say an egg donation or surrogacy agency this would work with the attraction and retention of donors and gestational carriers. If within the first week of contact, while the paper work is still being filled out, a book was sent, a gift card to Starbucks with $10.00 on it or a heartfelt card saying how excited you are to welcome them into your company, then these women have the immediate feel of being wanted and supported in their decision to sign on with your agency.

We all know that people skills are important and having your potential clients know that by giving a little something up front maybe the very thing you have over your competition. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Your Online Reputation: Your Surrogacy Agency's Calling Card

This is something that I feel every Surrogacy and Egg Donation business owner should keep in mind, especially if what is being "sold" is your own good name! Your reputation for being fair, honest, hard working and dependable is so important in the running of a surrogacy or donation agency. You are the front man for your company and so is your office staff. Never forget that!

Read on and tell me what you think!

Sharon
http://lamotheservices.com/

Your Online Reputation
Does integrity really matter in online business? The owners of PCS Productions in Texas would likely say, "Yes!"

This company began in 1995 and has worked to develop quality audio and video productions. Their services extend to web design and hosting, audio streaming and print media projects.
This company has worked diligently to establish integrity in each form of media they present. Many of those media specialties interact with other forms of media so they must make sure they can transfer branding ideas from one concept to another.

I think what may be most impressive about this company is they have an extraordinary track record. Client testimonials are glowing and well respected.

If you are known by the company that you keep then this company visibly has a sense of integrity. Their staff has been sent on assignment to virtually every continent in the world and their work is called upon repeatedly by existing clients while others also seek them out for their skills.

So is this a puff piece about PCS Productions? No. In fact I don't know anyone who works there, nor have I visited with anyone. So, I guess you could say I am not promoting a service, but pointing to some interesting parallels I often find in the best businesses.

This company has a good reputation and that's the point of this article.

As an online business you need to work to establish a reputation that is used as a calling card for potential customers.

The web already has enough scam artists and fly-by-night operations so when I find a point of positivity I cling to it and then point it out to others.

The establishment of a strong work ethic combined with consistently providing the best possible service can do wonders for your business in the long term.

Someone once told me, "You really should take the high road. There's a lot less traffic." At first I smiled, but it's true. We all know someone who is adept at cutting corners. Perhaps we have encountered a business that left us high and dry after they got our money. We like those 'high road' companies.

What we want as business owners are those glowing testimonials that profess the depth of our commitment to excellence. These are words that may well encourage others to buy our product or use our service. Those precious words will not come if the customer is just another dollar figure.

As a business owner you place your name and reputation on every order you ship out (or every service you provide). You stake the trust others would like to place in you on the way you handle issues that come up.


It's a whole lot easier to lose a reputation than it is to gain it back. Reputation is an investment in your future. It's an investment that can go away if you don't protect it wisely. What that means for a business owner is you have to put your customers first. Their concerns need to be a concern for you. Their issues require you be a problem solver. Deliver more than you have to and show absolute respect to your customers. After all, they are the ones you serve.
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About the Author: Scott Lindsay - Make A Website or Make Your Own Website Fast at HighPowerSites.com. Start a Home Business and Sell Ebooks at BooksWealth.com.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Starting Your Surrogacy Agency, Do You Need a Partner?

When starting any business the thought of a partnership may cross your mind, if even for a minute . Would it be a relief to have someone by your side to share the responsibilities or a burden to have to ask someone else what they think should be done?

When Surrogacy Consultants of Florida, LLC was first started I was leaving the employment of an attorney's office and was thinking that I could offer a better service than what I had previously experienced both in the workplace and as a past surrogate. Everywhere I turned people said that I should open a surrogacy agency. I had worked on the "inside" and had met Intended Parent's and surrogates who believed that I had what it took to walk someone through an entire surrogacy program. I was affiliated with professionals who said that they would support a surrogacy agency. As a matter of fact, SCF was the first agency in Florida that was not connected to an attorney's office. Purely independent of Clinics and Psychologists as well, meaning that we were open to working with all ART professionals nationwide. Any IP who had a favorite Clinic could come to us and be matched with a surrogate and return to their own Doctor for treatment.

I decided that operating a Surrogacy Agency the way I envisioned it should be run would take more then just one person and I asked one of my friends, a surrogate and strongest supporters, Sita, to be my partner. She said yes and we were off and running.

What YOU need to do is decide what your vision for your business is and what you are willing to devote to it. Are you basically wanting to control every aspect of the business including start-up finances, book keeping, marketing, advertising, recruiting, management, materials, media, invoicing, all phone calls, filing, Internet web sites, e-mailing, interfacing with professionals, attending conferences, printing, attending meetings and follow up, etc.? I sure didn't! Having someone else to share the burden can be invaluable. Do you want to work 24/7? You will if you are alone. What if a family member is sick and needs your undivided attention? What will happen to your clients then? Family vacations might be a thing of the past if you don't have someone to cover for you. I think you can see which side of the fence I sit on here. I know wonderful small agency's run by a single person but they have to outsource (hire an answering service, a book keeper etc.) and limit their services and the number of clients they can take on so that they can give quality time to their customers.

Before you think that you can start up on your own and then add someone I would think again...that is HARD. Adding a new partner after start up, one who didn't go through the growing pains with you and did not risk any financial investment, may not have the commitment to the company that you have.

This is your ultimate decision...GOOD LUCK!

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC
http://lamotheservices.com/

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Branding Your Surrogacy Agency

Once again I go to the Internet to say what I want to say to you without the writers cramp. My brother, Derrick, is in the branding and marketing business and he quotes this topic over and over to big and small businesses alike. I found this article on www.MoreBusiness.com. It's all true especially with a surrogacy agency. Please use the word 'services' wherever it says products...you will see that it reads the same way!

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC
http://lamotheservices.com/

How Can Branding Help Small Businesses?
An effective branding strategy creates a ‘pull’ for your products. (Services) This eventually is very rewarding financially since you save a lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent trying to ‘push’ your products.(Services) Read on to realize the effectiveness of branding for your small business.

Branding your products, your business - and even you - basically means that you are assuring people that whenever they buy any of your products and services, they are assured good quality and great service.

It means that they not only are buying your product (and Services), but also getting peace of mind for years to come.

Branding the Right Way

Proper branding will ensure that people want to be associated with your company. They will feel proud and happy after buying your products and will also want others to know that they have purchased your products. Simply printing your logo in every place possible does not ensure branding.

Following up with other marketing strategies and delivering quality products to match your branding strategy will ensure that your name is on customers’ minds when they set out to purchase a product.

Building up a brand name takes time, effort, and a great deal of patience. You must know what products your customers want and need. You must also be able to deliver them consistently. Your strategy will depend on the type of product you are manufacturing or marketing.

Once you start marketing your product and get some market feedback, then the next step is to analyze the information (negative or positive) that you have received. Conducting surveys is a great way to get the most unbiased information.

Surveys can also give you insight as to what your customers really want and expect. Once you have that information, don’t just sit on it – follow up with a concrete plan of action.



Be Aggressive – And Smart

Develop and promote your company logo and slogan aggressively. Price your products competitively and increase your market presence by advertising in any medium that fits in your budget. Some inexpensive forms of advertising are print media, such as flyers and brochures, and the Internet.

You should print your logos, slogans or any other punch line wherever possible including business cards, letterheads, invoices - and even on the emails you send out.

Along with great marketing, your sales should also increase. Increased sales are necessary if you want your brand name to become well known. Your customers must be happy with the quality of your products and services. If they are, they will slowly link your product with your logo. This is how you will know that your branding efforts are working.

Once your target audience is made aware that they are at an advantage when they buy your products rather than those of the competition, then they will prefer to purchase from you.

Be Consistent

Your branding efforts should be consistent - and once your brand name is embossed in the subconscious minds of your target audience, then you will have succeeded in branding your business. You will then be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Branding is not easy, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. However, persistence backed up by good quality, great customer service, effective advertising will yield results.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Running Your Surrogacy/Egg Donation Agency: Your Phone System

So you have your intake forms ready for people who find your number on your web site....and they call you....on what phone? Your home phone? Your cell phone with that catchy little hip hop beat? or are you installing a separate line or using an answering service? Let me start out by stating you had better NOT be using your home phone number! NO NO NO! Hard to get any more unprofessional then having your 5 year old run to the phone when it rings and yell MOOOOOOMMMMM all through the house to get your attention. Ahhh NO!

The cell? I personally like the business cell phone method. You can carry your 'office' phone in your pocket and won't have to miss a call. You may start to refer to it as your ball and chain but that is how things are when you start up your own company anyway! You are always tied to it! Back to the phone. IF you are going to use the cell....or a second line for that matter, I assume you will have voice mail. Do not have anything on that voice mail recording but YOUR pleasant and professional voice giving out directions on how to leave you a message so you can get back to them ASAP! Voice Mail is the perfect place to make a short and sweet plug for your business as well: "Thank you for calling ABC Surrogacy Services, A full service matching and relationship management company! We are sorry that we can't take your call right now but if you will please leave your name, message, number and a good time to return your call, we WILL get back with you as soon as possible." (here you can leave a notice if you have one) "Please note that we are closed this Monday for Memorial Day." (or whatever) Simple and effective. With unlimited plans out there, this is a very cost effective way to work.

Why not try a professional answering service. This service would be real people picking up your calls and then forwarding them onto you...they act like they work in your office for you and gives that big business feel. I am not sure that I would recommend the expense for a start up but if you have no partner this might be helpful.

Any of these ideas are a home office/Tax write off...which is something you need to take into consideration when you are setting up your business.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

ETHICS in Owning an Agency by Guest Blogger Brooke Kimbrough of 4 Sisters Surrogacy Agency

This past weekend I spent two days in sunny southern California with 150 of some of the most educated, respected and experienced professionals in the world of surrogacy.  The conference was put on by S.E.E.D.S (Society of Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy) and covered topics from legal practices to medical risks and everything in between.  Throughout the two day conference, a consistent theme was the ethics involved in surrogacy and egg donation and the responsibility of all players to uphold these ethics. 

With the media focused on the failures within our profession, often times these anomalies within the community overshadow the enormous amount of reputable agencies, attorneys, medical doctors and metal health professionals in the field.  With over 200 agencies within the U.S. alone, how would one not well versed within the community be able to determine the agency's ability to provide quality services?  How would an intended mother be able to insist on using an ART(assisted reproductive technology) mental health professional when she was unsure that such a thing existed? The answer came to me as I sat listening to a review of a sensationalized case currently prevalent in the media regarding a non-compliant surrogate and a now father of triplets. 

Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. (wikipedia.com). Within the surrogacy community, the idea of "right" and "wrong" often fall within a gray area open to interpretation and personal moral beliefs.  So how, as an agency owner for example, do I best practice ethics and serve my community in the most professional and morally positive way?  What are the moral guidelines I should follow when I enter into a gray area?  How do I lead by example for fellow agencies to follow with ethical decency? The answer lies within the name itself; E.T.H.I.C.S.

"E" is for Excellence.  ASRM guidelines exist as a baseline for the practices of surrogacy.  These are the bare minimum of standards that should exist within your agency.  These guidelines, while they hold no legal standing, are certainly an excellent jumping off point for standards that should upheld within your agency.  However, do you want your agency to do the bare minimum? The answer is "no". Your clients and colleagues expect that you are serving your community with excellence.  So, when there is a question of whether a surrogate is qualified or if an intended parent's criminal record should preclude them from using your agency, refer back to "excellence" as your standard practice.  Live above the basic guidelines of ASRM and serve your clients and community with excellence. 

"T" is for Transparency.  As an agency, transparency is key to providing excellent service to your clients.  Did your surrogate fail a MMPI test several years ago but has since made some life changes and passed her most current screening?  Do your intended parents have multiple surrogates? You need to be transparent about all information so that both your surrogates, as well as your intended parents can make informed decisions.  Being transparent allows for each party to be able to clearly see their path and to feel informed and supported throughout the process.

"H" is for honesty.  As a new agency owner, honesty is an essential part of my profession.  Be upfront and honest when you interview IPs and Surrogates.  Be clear about your surrogate availability, provide accurate timelines and be clear about fees and potential additional costs.  By leading by example, you can in return expect honesty from your clients as well. Let your clients know that dishonesty in any aspect of the process will be grounds for breech of contract and elimination from the agency.  Being honest as an agency owner makes for journeys that have clear and appropriate expectations and end with satisfied clients. 

"I" is for Instinct:  Instinct is a feeling that is often disregarded because it can lack physical evidence.  However, instinct is at the core of our ethical and moral compass and should not be overwritten.  If you have a "bad feeling" about a particular set of intended parents, there is no harm in explaining that the agency is unable to handle their case.  You can feel free to refer them to another agency who may be better equipped to handle their particular circumstance or personality.  In the end, this is a service based industry with long term clients.  You have to spend a lot of time and emotional energy on each case and it is completely acceptable to not utilize that energy on a case you do not feel 100% committed to.

"C" is for Connectivity:  Being a small canoe in a very large ocean can be lonely, overwhelming and frustrating.  Connecting to your clients and their needs is the first step in providing quality service.  However, it does not stop there.  Connecting to peers and professionals within your community helps protect you as well as your clients.  Understanding that while you may have vetted your surrogate, the mental health professionals that you work with are another qualified set of eyes who may be able to spot potential issues.  Your attorneys are there to provide quality contracts and to follow through with legal deadlines and requirements.  Connecting yourself with qualified colleagues can help your agency stay on course through the uncertain seas of surrogacy. 

"S" is for Stewardship:  Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care (Merriam-Websters).  Just as your surrogates are to act as stewards for their IPs unborn child, you as an agency owner, are equally responsible for carefully and ethically managing the complete surrogacy journey. Set up systems that keep detailed calendars and records.  Be organized and proactive in managing and overseeing the process and journey.  It is your job as an agency owner to keep everyone involved walking in the same direction, down the same path, towards a happy, healthy baby.  

In trying to manage an agency that is above board and morally sound,  E.T.H.I.C.S is a sure fire way to make sure you are always on the "right" side of any gray area.  By being ethical and moral leaders within our profession, we can be sure that our clients are receiving the best possible care. Additionally, we can ensure that our growing fellowship is being led by a group of honest and trustworthy professionals who can guarantee a more positive and ethical representation of our amazing community.


Brooke Kimbrough is the owner of 4 Sisters Surrogacy Agency in Roseville, CA.  They work with exclusively with California surrogates and domestic intended parents in personalized surrogacy journeys.  She can be reached at brooke@4sisterssurrogacy.com or on their website www.4sisterssurrogacy.com.