Guerilla Marketing

Thoughts on Networking

Posted on August 25, 2013. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales, Social Networking | Tags: , , , |

Last week I attended two networking events.  Now the purpose of networking events is to meet new people, establish new connections, and hopefully obtain referrals for more business.  You would think that such opportunities would be treasured and explored.

Between the two events I collected about 60 business cards and had brief to virtually no conversation with most of the attendees, and talked in depth with about fifteen.  I followed up the next day by inviting each individual to connect with me on LinkedIn, and for those not on LinkedIn I sent a traditional e-mail.  Each individual received a personalized message commenting on what we had discussed, or an apology for not having but a brief interaction.  Some, those who had the potential of mutually beneficial referrals, I suggested we meet for more discussion.

Of those 60 e-mails about 24 replied or accepted my invitation to connect; two initiated the suggestion that we get together to learn more about each others business.  Not a single individual initiated an e-mail to me or a request to connect to them.

Only 40% of the networkers did anything.  And then only after I initiated the dialog.

How is that networking?  About 60% of the people ignored an opportunity.  Now I’m certainly not the best referral opportunity for some of those individuals, but you never know when I, or someone I know, might need a plumber, or painter, or Avon representative, or car, or whatever.

Networking is about staying in touch, but to stay in touch you have to acknowledge a person when they reach out to you.  You have to be willing to interact when someone approaches you.  Most that I met unfortunately didn’t bother.

When networking the name of the “game” is meet as many potential referral opportunities as possible, especially those in fields that would naturally feed into you.  But you keep in touch with everyone because you never know where that next big opportunity might come from.

Not one member even reached out to me and said “Thanks for coming, hope you liked the group and come back.”  Oh I got a packet of info at the end, and two lovely ladies talking up the group, and they did say “come back”, but they were part of the membership committee; none of the regular members said two words to me.

It just really saddened me to attend professional networking groups that aren’t interested in truly reaching out to prospective members or sources of referrals.  And quite honestly member interest and reaching out are qualities I look for in a networking group.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Thoughts on Networking

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I attended a networking event today that overall was quite enjoyable.  We met at a local Italian restaurant, had a bit of open networking then sat down to eat. 

After eating came a period networking that was “speed dating” style.  Half of us remained seated and the other half rotated from person/position to person/position every five minutes.  Got to meet a great many very nice individuals.  Some were competitors, but they were still nice people.

But I was struck by the number of individuals, (about four), that would hand me a business card with scratched out information and corrected information hand written on the card.

For one individual it was, in my mind anyway, excusable — she had only recently started with the company and they hadn’t gotten her business cards yet.

One individual had so much hand written on the card, and so much scratched out that it almost looked like he had simply picked up someone’s business card and scribbled his info on it.

Is that the kind of image you want to give as a business professional?  Computer generated business cards, while not top-of-the-line in image, would have been better than a card all scribbled on.

That business card is how people will remember you, and this gentleman will certainly be remembered . . . but not in a good way.  Oh, his profession?  Marketing Consultant.  What kind of marketing message does a scribbled business card send? 

To add to the image problem he wore jeans, while the rest of us were in business attire; and his body language screamed “I don’t care”.

It’s not unusual to form strategic alliances with competitors on occasion, but I saw no reason to want to form any alliance with this gentleman.  He certainly seemed like a nice individual, but his attitude, attire, and business card all said “unprofessional”.

In marketing you should be presenting a unified image.  All your marketing materials, letter head, staff, and everything else needs to be sending the same message about you and your company.  When they don’t match it sends an unconsious signal to your prospect that something isn’t right; and they become reluctant to do business with you.

Make sure you are sending the right message every time you step out the door.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Student Interns: A Moral Question

Posted on September 19, 2009. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Labor, Life, Marketing, Personnel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The question I pose here is quite simple.

Should student interns be paid or not?

I have always been of the opinion that they should be paid, but there are respected consultants who strongly advise their clients NOT to pay student interns.

His thinking is that their “pay” is the work experience you are providing and that should be enough.  Monetary compensation is not required.

It is true that you are not required to pay student interns, so you can have a potentially unlimited supply of “free” labor to perform menial tasks.

However, (you knew that was coming didn’t you), after a good deal of thought I disagree with those who encourage the use of non-paid student interns.

Yes, they are presumably learning valuable work and social skills under your tutelage. 

And while unpaid student interns may be legal, is it ethical?  Is it morally right?

No, I don’t think it is.

My belief is that if an individual is helping you with your business—even in a small way—that person should receive some sort of financial compensation.

It just isn’t right to have someone provide you with their time and all they get is some work experience they can put on a resume.

To a lot of students that might be enough, but as a business owner it is your duty to lead by example.  And the example you are showing student interns when you don’t pay them is that you can use people.

Is that really the example you want to show them?

Do you want their weeks with you to include the fact that it’s OK to take from someone without giving fair and equal compensation?

Presumably they have rendered good service to you through their duties of filing, answering the phone, running errands, and whatever else you have asked them to do.

Doesn’t that deserve some sort of consideration?

I would suggest that the only real difference between an employee and a student intern is the length of employment, and little (if anything) else.

Would you even dream of telling a traditional job applicant that you will allow them to work for you, but you aren’t going to pay them?

No.  And the applicant would look at you like you’re a loon if you did.

But the desperate student looking for some sort of experience will jump at the chance to be so rudely abused.  And taking advantage of their willingness is wrong.  It is unethical, unprofessional, immoral, and teaches the wrong lesson to future business owners.

Pay your student interns.  It doesn’t have to be a lot, but they are providing you with loyal, honest service and are entitled to fair compensation for that service.

They are being fair and honest in their work with you and they are entitled to equally fair treatment.

UPDATE:  I was reminded by a friend that college interns are paying tuition for that time they are with you.   One more reason they should be paid.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Learn to Fail

Posted on September 18, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Failing is a fundamental part of sales, you simply will not close every sale.  It isn’t humanly possible.  So don’t let it get you down.

 You’ve given a wonderful presentation, but the prospect said “No”.  That isn’t saying you’re a lousy human being, it is simply saying that, as presented, they aren’t interested in your product or service.

 Don’t walk out dejected, (yes, I know that’s hard not to do), but review every inch of your presentation.  What did the prospect seem to react favorably to, and what did they react unfavorably to?  What questions did they ask?  Was there any one point where you seemed to lose them?  Did you ask the right qualifying questions?  Did you establish a need for your products or services?  Did you find out who they are currently utilizing and what they liked and didn’t like about them?  Did you research the company and their industry sufficiently to really understand what their problems and needs are?

 Identify every instance where you could have done something different and ask yourself what could I have done?  How might they have reacted if I had said this over that?

 Put yourself in the prospects shoes and try to see your questions from their perspective.  The better you can understand why people react the way they do, the better you will be in sales.

 “No” doesn’t always mean no, sometimes it means you didn’t do your job properly, and you didn’t solve the real issues perceived by the prospect.

 And sometimes, it simply means no.

 The critical element is that you review each sales presentation, both successful and unsuccessful, to identify what you did right and what you might have done wrong.

The important thing is that when you fail, you should learn from the experience.  You now have one more way not to do it.

Thats my 2 cents.

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Why Should I?

Posted on September 7, 2009. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Networking, Newsletters, Public Relations, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Why should I visit your web site?  Why should anyone visit your web site?  And once they have visited, why should any of us return?

So they come once and that’s it.

But you want people to come back multiple times; you want to keep your name and your products and services at the forefront of their mind.  To do that you must be doing things that entice people to return.

What’s so new, so hot, or so great that would entice anyone to return time and again to visit your web site?

Probably nothing.  In which case you need to fix it.

Jeffrey Gitomer has published five small books, (about $20 each), and throughout his books you are directed to his web site for an additional “Gitbit” of information.

The same for his weekly newsletter, there is always some morsel that directs you to his web site for further learning.

If you publish a newsletter or a blog it is an excellent way of driving customers and prospects to your site, and remind them of your expertise.  You are absolutely correct, I have been missing out on that very important marketing technique.

That’s going to change!

Starting immediately each monthly edition of my monthly Business & Marketing Newsletter will direct you to my web site for additional marketing, business, or motivational insights and information. 

It may be to finish an article, or it may an entire new article, but it will be a link to a special page on my web site. 

While this is just for subscribers of my newsletter, I’m letting you get a taste of what my bonus page offers.  Just click on the word “Bonus” below and you’ll see what kind of additional information I include.  And if you like what you see, then click on the banner and sign up for my FREE newsletters.

Bonus

 That’s my 2 cents.

 

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Posture

Posted on August 15, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , |

We all know that body language gives clues to the prospects attitude towards our sales presentation, but remember that we give off clues as well.

As a child I was often reminded by my Mother to “sit up straight”, and “don’t slouch”; in the military it was “chin up”, “shoulders back”, and “pull that stomach in”.  All of it was excellent advice.  Our posture tells the world a lot about how we are feeling, our attitude, and outlook on life.

When you don’t have good posture you look beaten down, discouraged, without hope, and alone.  People will give you more space because you look worn out and would rather take a nap than be where ever you are.  When selling with poor posture the sale is much more difficult because you simply aren’t selling yourself, and if you can’t sell yourself, you can’t sell the product.

Walk into a prospects office with your shoulders back and level, and your head up and you convey a positive image.  One of confidence and self-assurance; but enter with your shoulders forward and you immediately signal that you are unsure and wary.

When in a clients office or even out in public stand tall and erect, don’t slouch, and keep your head up so you can make eye contact with those around you.  Having a positive posture at all times invites people to make contact, and possibly become customers, or offer great referrals.

Good posture will cause you to walk more confidently and give off the aura of success, and everyone wants to associate with a successful individual . . . even customers.

That’s my 2 cents

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Adversity

Posted on August 14, 2009. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Sales, Self Promotion, self-help, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , |

Recently I was reading when I came across an interesting way of viewing trouble.

The author said that when faced with adverse winds, use your imagination to make them work for you, rather than against you. 

“Even a kite rises against the wind.”

What a great way of looking at adversity.  Don’t fight it, turn it to your advantage.

Airplanes take off and land into the wind.

Sailboats, with proper adjustment of their sails, can sail into the wind.

Alexander Bell, (you remember him, he invented the telephone), had a sister who was deaf.  He wanted to overcome her adversity and find a way for her to hear, and in that process created the telephone.

How many successful businesses were started because the founder got fired or laid off?  No job.  Little or no money.  Yet they took the adversity of being terminated as the opportunity to start their own business.

In the middle of the Great Depression in 1930, (unemployment reached a high of 25% during the depression), Harland Sanders opens his first restaurant.

Up to 25% unemployment so people weren’t eating out much; businesses failing all around him; and he opens a restaurant … in a small town, in the front of a gas station no less.

That’s going up against some tough adversity, but from those early beginnings came the KFC we know and love today.

Adversity, (though it may not seem like it at the time), is an opportunity to grow, and learn, and succeed.

By facing adversity head on and accepting the challenge of dealing with it, we grow stronger and more self confident.

Every situation has more than one possible solution.  Some of those possibilities may be awkward, some may be easy, some may be unique, and others may be horrific.  But there is always more than one option, you just may not like all of the options available to you.

Over the years I have counseled many individuals who were faced with difficulties to which they saw only one solution.  In every instance I was able to provide one or more alternate solutions for them.

Sometimes my alternate solutions weren’t palatable, but it helped the individual to see their situation in a different light, and allowed them to come up with even more possibilities.

Sometimes a solution has short-term negative consequences, but long-term positive benefits.  Be sure you think every possible solution through to the end.

Use your imagination and try to think of every possible way of dealing with the situation.  Be creative.  There is no telling what you might come up with.

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Extra Measure

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

When dealing with a customer do you give exactly what they expect, or do you give more? Do you give that extra measure of service that isn’t required or expected? People often talk about the value of “word of mouth” advertising, but always leave out the part about how you get people talking about you in the first place.

One way to get people talking is to give that extra measure of service to every customer every time. Yes, it takes some extra effort and time on your part, but people will show their appreciation for your extra measure by talking about it to friends and family. Sometimes they will even praise you to your boss. Like all good things, giving that extra measure is a habit that you have to learn, but once you have it ingrained in your psyche you will find yourself giving more in all situations, not just when with a client. And that’s a good thing. It reinforces your personal and professional image as someone worthy of dealing with in any situation.

My insurance agent is like that. Oh, we get the obligatory Birthday Cards, but I know that when he reviews our insurance needs he will include coverage on things that I didn’t think of. He doesn’t just sell me insurance, he takes care of my insurance by seeing to it that I have exactly what I need; and that’s a big difference.

Take a critical look at every aspect of your relationship with your clients and see where you can do a little more for them. Your one small act can make a big difference to the customer, and ultimately to you.

The concept of giving an extra measure goes beyond business, and extends into all daily activities.  Do that little extra when helping your children and spouse, give more help at church, at any volunteer activities.  Everything you do deserves that extra measure mentality.  The rewards you will receive in return can’t be measured in dollars and cents, but it will come back to you many times over.

And that’s my 2 cents.

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Poor Marketing

Posted on June 5, 2009. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Internet, Marketing, On-line Marketing | Tags: , , , , , |

Recently I received an e-mail from a web designer telling me that they had created a draft re-design of my web site.  She invited me to go to her web site to view this wonderfully improved version she had created for me.

As far as I was concerned what she was telling me was:  “Your web site sucks”.

Is that really the opening impression you want to give to a prospect?  To start your presentation with an insult?  She had no idea how much or little I paid for that design, and here she is telling me that whatever I paid was a waste of money.  How insulting.

I got past the insults and decided to actually look at what she had created; who knows, maybe she actually did do a spectacular job.  In her message she said that all I needed to do was go to her web site, enter my name and my business name, and I would be directed to the sample web page she had so diligently created for me.

But once at her web site she wants more than just my name and company name, she required my complete mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, and website URL.

Not only has she insulted me by telling me that my website is horrific, but now she has lied to me.  She doesn’t want just my name and company name, she wants all my contact information.

Why would I want to do business with anyone who first insults me, and then lies to me?

I wouldn’t.

Since I am in marketing I thought the least I could do is send her an e-mail and point out the error of her ways.  And I did.

While my message was polite I also made it clear everything she had done to turn me against her.  I even offered suggestions on how to change her presentation so it would be less offensive.

Now the proper thing to do any time you get a letter or an e-mail from a disgruntled customer or prospect is to immediately respond.

You don’t have to agree with what the individual is saying, but you should at least acknowledge that you got their message and that you appreciate the fact that they took the time to comment.

Any time you are faced with an unhappy customer or prospect, it is an opportunity to turn that individual into a fan.  So always at least thank the writer for taking the time to write.

Her response:  Nothing.

Nope, never heard another word from her.  Have no idea if she ever read the message or not.   By not responding she has told me that she doesn’t care about me or my business.  Had she responded she might have (with time) overcome my objections and actually gotten some business from me.

Apparently, she would simply send out a mass mailing and hope to land a very small percentage as actual clients.  However, with some small and simple changes she could probably land a larger percentage of customers.

What would have been more impressive to me is to see some before and after pages.  What the client’s web site looked like before she re-worked it, and what it looked like after she re-worked it.  A side-by-side comparison.  This type of comparison would allow me to actually see what visual improvements she had made.  Also, a brief description of some of the key elements that she had changed and why.  This would allow me to better understand her thought processes, and would demonstrate her understanding of the customer’s needs.

I would have been much more impressed by this type of approach over the one she was utilizing. 

How she got any business by redesigning a web site without the owners permission, (plus the insults to my existing site, plus the lie), is beyond me.   You do not gain customers by being rude, insulting, or presumptive.  You gain customers by being honest, helpful, courteous, and polite.  Whenever possible you show the customer how you, or your product, or your service can help the customer.

While her style of in-your-face marketing can be effective if done correctly, it can also do more harm than good when simple mistakes are made.  Always test and evaluate your marketing; and when a prospect or customer tries to tell you something … listen. 

After all, that is your bread and butter talking, so pay attention.

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Body Language

Posted on March 30, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Sales, Selling | Tags: , , , |

 

One week recently I was at a networking event where I was introduced to a gentleman who could possibly utilize my services.

We seemed to have an agreeable conversation and set an appointment for the following week to discuss the possibility of doing business together.

Near the beginning of our second meeting he asked me a question that I’ve never had put to me before.

“What are your ethics?”

My first thought was “That is the oddest question I have ever been asked.”

I thought for a couple of seconds and then gave my reply.  The gist being that I’m honest and don’t lie.

But wouldn’t anyone say that?  Would an unethical individual actually say they aren’t ethical?  Wouldn’t they lie to that type of question?

So, my curiosity getting the better of me, I asked him “Wouldn’t anyone say they are ethical?”

His answer was revealing.  “Yes … sort of.”

He went on to explain that his brother was a police officer and that they had frequent discussions about the subtle clues of body language.

He told me that he knew from my body language that I was either a very honest individual, or a consummate liar.

There are certain body clues he explained that people do when they are attempting to be deceitful. 

Eye contact is one.  While I did look away to gather my thoughts, when I answered I looked him straight in the eye.

I didn’t fidget as I responded.

There was no excessive eye blinking.

My position relative to him didn’t change, I continued to stand square in front of him.

I didn’t stutter or falter when I gave my response.

Based on that, (and I assume there were probably other clues he picked up on as well), he felt comfortable dealing with me.

Now think about the times you have gone before an important prospect to sell your wares. 

Did you fidget during the presentation?

Did you maintain solid eye contact?

Did you hem and haw when asked a question?

Did you turn away-even so slightly-because you weren’t confident of your response?

Did your posture change?

If these things happened, did you get the account?

Probably not.

While he was specifically looking for these subtle cues, I think it can be safely said that all of us unconsciously pick up on these traits even if we aren’t looking for them.

So those prospects you are calling on, where things seem to be going fairly smoothly, but they end up not buying are probably consciously or unconsciously feeling like they can’t trust you.

I have written about eye contact and body language before, and this event really drove home the importance of eye contact and body posture when with prospects.

Let’s be candid here, a lot of those clues can also be the result of insecurity.  Think about the young guy asking a cute girl for a date for the first time, Not a lot of eye contact; lots of fidgeting; possibly some stammering; and the list goes on.

Is he being dishonest?  No.  He’s terrified out of his mind that he will be rejected.

So too, the salesperson dealing with a prospect whose business they dearly want. 

However, that prospect who unconsciously sees and “feels” those subtle body clues may get the feeling that the salesperson is not completely honest.  But in fact the salesperson is  just terrified.

So the next time you are going to be going before an important prospect or client be straight forward and open. 

Try to put your fears aside.  (Yes, I know that is easier said than done.)  Maintain eye contact and speak in a confident and positive tone.

Don’t ever try to BS the prospect, they will pick up on it in a heartbeat, and you will lose credibility as well as the sale.

That’s my 2 cents.

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