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Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep By Mike Maddock

MOST OF US KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO READ, LISTEN AND ASSOCIATE. AFTER READING MIKE MADDOCK’S ARTICLE ON FORBES.COM EARLIER THIS WEEK, I RESOLVE TO FOLLOW MIKE’S SUGGESTIONS IN 2014.  IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO FOCUS ON MIKE’S TOP FAVORITE RESOLUTIONS THAN TAKING TIME TO CREATE MY OWN LIST. AGREE?

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS.   YOU CAN BE THE JUDGE on HOW EFFECTIVE THEY ARE.

LORY

Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep

Well, it’s that time again—time to start rolling out the New Year’s resolutions. Some of us will vow to eat less, exercise more, live in the moment, be more grateful. You may even decide to bury the hatchet with the family member who makes you so crazy.

But what about your New Year’s business resolutions?

This time of year is a great time to start making—and keeping—business resolutions, too. But sadly, like our personal goals, we often make them (year after year) with sincere intent only to see them quickly fall by the wayside, as we revert to (bad) habits that we have vowed to break.

But what about the most successful people and their resolutions?

Have you noticed how the most accomplished people just seem to identify important things and consistently get them done? Study successful people long enough and you start to pick up on the resolutions they seem to consistently make.

Here are Mike’s top favorites:

#1 – Spend more time on the not-to-do list.

Strategy is the art of sacrifice. That’s why you may consider creating a larger clearing for what really matters by first identifying, and then avoiding, what matters the least. Your time is a treasure to be invested. Creating a list of things that you are not going to do, allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most.

#2 – Essential first, email second.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many of us, it is looking at email. We wake up with a renewed mind and spirit, ready to take on the world, and then we immediately allow ourselves to be distracted by an insignificant email. Instead, wake up, take on the most important task of the day, and then (and only then) hit the email.

#3-  Resolve to think about “Who” instead of “What.”

Do you work for a “What” business or for a “Who” business? Successful companies run the risk of focusing too much on their current products and distributors thus—the “What”—losing sight of the constant and dramatically changing needs of their customer base.

(The “Who.”) Insurance, pharmacy, health care, higher education often listen too much to their agents, doctors and professors. The real innovation starts with the end consumer.

#4 Resolve to find your purpose.

As my friend Simon Sinek will tell you: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Starting a career, a company or any kind of journey that is based firmly on your purpose is foundational to success and happiness. If you don’t know your company’s purpose or even your own, finding one is the worthiest of resolutions.

#5 – Resolve to support a cause.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of the rare people who know how to start things. Fortunately, there are people like you who have already started causes that make the world better—they feed the hungry; they save the rain forest; they fight cancer; they do good things. There is virtually a cause for everyone, and contributing will make your year happier. Promise.

#6 – Resolve to invent more choices.

Here’s a secret that happy people know that I learned from my friend Dr. Dan Baker: You can’t feel grateful and fearful at the same time. And one certain way to become afraid is to feel trapped by any situation. The remedy is choice. The more choices you feel you have, the less trapped—and happier—you will feel. So this year, resolve to do a bit of brainstorming every time you feel unhappy.

#7 – Resolve to find a Yin for your Yang.

Walt Disney had Roy Disney, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Orville Wright had Wilbur Wright. Wherever there is great innovation, there is a Dreamer and an Operator; an Idea Monkey and a (Ring) leader. First, determine where your passions lie, then go find an equally passionate partner, then go change the world.

#8 – Resolve to get outside your jar.

You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar. The sad irony of being an expert is that it keeps you from seeing possibility. After all, you know what works, what doesn’t, what you can afford, what’s been tried in the past. Instead of relying only on your expertise, learn how to find other experts solving similar challenges to the ones you are facing. Go ask them what you may be missing.

#9 –Resolve to be the creator.

What is the outcome you want? What stands in your way? How do you overcome these obstacles? These three simple questions will keep you from being victimized by any situation. Creators change the world. Victims just bitch about stuff.

#10 – Plan vacations. (now)

You have probably heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you are not paying attention.” Unfortunately for many of us, we let this become true. Do yourself a favor and plan your vacations for the next year today. I promise you that the days around your vacation will fill in nicely. I also promise you that you’ll have something to look forward to and the life that happens during your vacations will be precious.

Hugs and Peace out to  Mike Maddock

Learn more about Mike @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemaddock/

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The Eight Rules of Success to Think About Every Morning by James Caan

Think about reading James Caan’s personal rules listed below every morning for a month. James delivers short, quick and easy to follow rules that make sense.

A few new rules I added to my daily ritual:

Work on a project for at least 30 minutes every morning before opening your email.  Email messages can disturb your focus and weigh you down with urgent, but not necessarily important tasks. Emails can also crush creative juices to those addicted to checking their Inbox. Starting your day off being productive can build a momentum that lasts throughout the day.

Complete! Complete! Complete!  Always finish what you start. It’s easy to get off track with email & phone interruptions.   Never start a new task or project until you finish the one you started.  Checking off your to-do-list is another way to create momentum.

The Eight Rules of Success to Think About Every Morning

I have said in the past that there is no magic formula when it comes to being successful in business but there are certain guiding principles that I have followed throughout the course of my career. Not everyone gets what they want in life but if you work hard and keep trying then some measure of success is bound to come your way. Here are a few of the personal rules I have stuck with throughout my career in business and still follow to this day.

1. Application

No matter what people say true success does not come easily. Like everything in life, if you really want something you are going to have to work for it and put in the time and effort. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of hard work and everyone who has gone into business for themselves will tell you it is one of the toughest things they have ever done in life.

2. Believe in yourself

There is no point in going into business for yourself if you do not have any confidence or self-belief. When you set up your own company the only person you have to answer to is yourself – which means confidence is vital. If you do not believe in yourself and your product or service, then how can you get others to put their faith in you?

3. Be creative

If you want to be truly successful then you have to be prepared to stand out from the crowd. Although I have always believed that an idea doesn’t have to be brand new, the best businesses will still have a strong USP that sets them apart from competitors. Creativity is one of the most valuable qualities any person in the business world can have.

4. Be there first

It is a competitive world out there those who are not out of the traps quickly are the ones who are going to get left behind. I have always believed in striking first. Once you have established what the best course of action is, there is no point in being cautious because it will give your competitors the chance to get in there before you and win that vital piece of work or contract.

 5. Build a brand

When I set up my first firm, the first thing I did was to go out and rent an office in the best part of London, as an address in Mayfair is great to put on a business card. The actual room itself was tiny and windowless, but nobody knew this as I arranged for meetings to take place away from the office. When it comes to doing business, building a brand and a good reputation is vital. Once you have done this, you will find things a lot easier, as most of us prefer to deal with people or companies that are recognized and trusted.

6. Seek advice

It is impossible to be an expert in every field and there is nothing wrong with seeking advice when you are struggling. When you are starting out in business it can be great to speak to someone who has years of experience behind them. If you ask for help you will usually find that people are more than happy to give their time and their expertise.
7. Get organized

Running a successful business can be very stressful and demanding and one of the most important resources you will have is your time. If you want to get the most out of your working day then you need to be properly organized and you also need to make sure you are not wasting precious time on tasks that can always be delegated to someone else.

8. Don’t run before you can walk

When you first start in business there is a tendency to grab every piece of work which comes your way, which can be a potentially fatal mistake. First of all you need to make sure that when you negotiate a contract there is a decent margin. Although you want to make your mark, there is no point in taking on work that does not yield a worthwhile profit. More importantly don’t take on more work than you can manage. It is one of the most common mistakes in business and can prove to be very costly.

Shout out to James Caan | Serial Entrepreneur & Investor in People with Passion

How To Build Better Business Relationships: Make It Personal by Darrin Dahl

Whether you realize or not, relationships are the fuel that feeds the success of your business.

Here’s how to make ones that last.

Whether you recognize it or not, all successful small businesses–regardless of what they do or sell–have one thing in common: their owners know how to build and maintain relationships. The truth is that entrepreneurs too often get caught up in the details of the kinds of products or services they are selling to notice how critical it is to build relationships not just with your customers, but also with your vendors, employees and–gasp–even your competitors. “Without strong relationships, it is impossible to have success as a business owner,” says Michael Denisoff, who is the founder and CEO of Denisoff Consulting Group in Redondo Beach, California.

You need to have long-term customers and good vendor relationships that will carry you through challenging times or tight deadlines, as well as relationships with other business owners to share struggles, resources and best practices that can really give you an edge. The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive.”

That’s a lesson Denisoff admits he had to relearn the hard way when, a while ago, he fell into the trap of neglecting some of his business relationships. But it wasn’t that he didn’t care about those relationships. It’s just that he got so busy that he didn’t realize how much time had gone by where he had not checked in with several of his contacts–an easy mistake for most small business owners who feel like every day is shorter than the last. What Denisoff found was that, in two cases in particular, his failure to put enough effort into nurturing his relationships caused them to wither away.

The first instance was when he called up a supplier to ask for a favor–not realizing how much time had gone by from the last time he had touched base. Denisoff says his supplier seemed distant and not very willing to help him out, which was surprising. After asking him if anything was wrong, Denisoff’s supplier answered that since Denisoff hadn’t been around in a while, he felt like he was being taken advantage of. In another instance, he called up a customer who he could tell was not pleased with him because, in truth, he only called her when she had a project ready to go. She felt like Denisoff did not truly value her and was using her only for her business. It’s like having a friend that only comes to see you when they want to borrow money or need help moving,” he says. “In time, you cut them off.”

The two eye-opening experiences caused Denisoff to take two major actions in response. First, he created a contact database where he not only stored information on his clients, but also with vendors and business peers. He now uses the database to document the details of the conversations–both personal and professional–that he has with each of his contacts. “This helps with continuity and helps me to remember key facts and information about each contact,” he says. “It felt mechanical at first but it proved to be an efficient method to ensure that no one fell through the cracks.” Secondly, Denisoff changed around his daily routine so that he now dedicates a portion of his day to doing nothing but reaching out and maintaining his professional and personal relationships. “Thankfully, I have strong long-term customers to keep the pipeline full and a good group of vendors and business peers dedicated to helping each other succeed,” he says.

The actions taken by Denisoff are great tips for any business owner to adopt as their own. Here are some additional tips from Denisoff and other business owners on how to build stronger business relationships that will last.

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Encourage Honest Feedback

An open, honest relationship demands clear communications of how each party is performing,” says Patrick Scullin of Ames Scullin O’Haire, an Atlanta-based marketing services company. “Encourage constructive criticism and be brave enough to suggest ways clients can help your firm perform better,” he says. “If you know where you stand, you can stand stronger.”

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Listen More Than You Talk

We all want to extol our strengths, our virtues in hopes of impressing others and, ultimately, getting more business,” says Alisa Cohn, an executive coach. “It’s counter-intuitive, but being a good listener highlights your virtues much better than being a big talker. I coach a financial planner and we did a little market research on what his clients value the most in him. Yes, they value his advice and his skills in handling the money, but a lot of financial planners have that. What sets him apart is that he takes the time to listen to them and really understand where his clients are coming from. They said most often that they value his role as a sounding board, and a few even called him better than a shrink! That’s the kind of behavior that leads to referrals and long-term business success.”

Dig Deeper: Listening With More Than Two Ears

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Make A Routine

Devise a system to ensure that not too much time passes before you connect with your contacts, such as the formal database Denisoff created. And with the proliferation of social media tools these days such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s never been easier to keep in touch.  {SENDOUTCARDS.COM/LORYFABIAN has a system you can upload almost any database in, emails you birthday and anniversary reminders, and keep all of your notes on each customer in one place.}

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Be Honest

As a small business owner, it’s important that people see me as expert in my field,” says Amy Harcourt of Definitive Marketing. “But, when asked questions I don’t know how to answer, I always say so. I remember an initial meeting with what became one of my best clients. I was meeting with the executive team and was asked about my experience in their industry (of which I had none). I could have tried to spin my response to sound like I knew their industry. Instead, I told them that I had no experience and why that might work to their advantage. I was surprised to see stern, questioning faces turn to friendly nods and smiles. They really appreciated my honesty. And that laid the foundation for a great relationship.”

Dig Deeper: Can the Truth Set Your Profits Free?
How to Build Better Business Relationships: Take Notes

Keep detailed notes on everyone you meet, says Mike Scanlin, CEO of Born To Sell, a software company that makes investing tools. “When you get back to the office, enter those notes into your address book or contact system. Later, you will want to be able to enter keywords like ‘sailing’ or ‘wireless’ or ‘French’ and find all the people you know who match that keyword. Doing keyword mining on your own contacts will pay dividends for years.” Sendoutcards.com/loryfabian

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Give More than You Receive

Be sure to contact people when you are NOT in need of something. Take time to learn about their business since it’s as important to them as your business to you. “Take a minute to understand your client’s dreams and provide opportunities for them to fulfill this whenever possible,” says Rohan Hall of rSiteZ.com, a company which builds social networking sites. “Whenever I have a client on the phone I try to understand what they’re trying to achieve with their business. From time to time there will be an opportunity that I will actually refer them to someone that I think could help their business especially where I gain nothing from this. Clients really appreciate it when they realize that you’re looking out for them.”

Dig Deeper: How to Incorporate Philanthropy Into Your Business

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Be Proactive

Using your journal and knowledge of your relationships, forward articles, links and other information that might be of interest to your contacts. “When I see interesting news stories I forward them to people who I think would find them relevant,” says Scanlin of Born to Sell. “I’ve had many recipients come up to me later and say things like, ‘I can’t believe you remembered that I wanted to go to Thailand.’ It takes less than 30 minutes each morning to send out a handful of these. Do it every day and the care and feeding of your network will be alive and well.”

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Be Real

“Do not be afraid to be vulnerable,” says Amy Ludwigson of Pure Citizen, an organic clothing retailer. “Let people see who you are. It builds trust and respect. Being too professional is a bore and well you are not going to enjoy yourself.”

Dig Deeper: When Do You Lie? Strategies For More Authentic, Respectful Communication

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Turn Blunders into Opportunities

Admitting mistakes and correcting missteps will take you far when it comes to building relationships, says William Gregory O, who is the co-founder of Lex Scripta, a law firm in Illinois. “Often times, people just want to know that you are sorry and that you have a plan for getting back on track,” he says. When one of our service providers made a mistake, which resulted in our service being delayed for a week, the service provider responded immediately with an apology and a proposal for fixing the problem. Instead of looking for another service provider, we decided to work with this provider because we know that the provider is honest and diligent. When a mistake is more than a minor setback, do something to make it right or otherwise provide value to the wronged party.”

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Make it Personal

Sometimes it is good to send an actual physical letter or card of appreciation as opposed to an e-mail. “Say ‘Thank you,” a lot,” says Amy Blum, owner and president of Eagle Marketing. “I send notes to new clients thanking them for their business. I send e-mails of appreciation often, for no reason at all. And, I send great toffee during the holidays. Never forget who got you where you are. And never, ever think you can say thank you enough to clients, customers, colleagues and even vendors too.”

*************PLEASE NOTE*******

GO TO: www.SENDOUTCARDS.COM/loryfabian and start sending CARDS today.  Need help?

You could send 5 or 500 cards in 5 minutes, in your own handwriting, and even upload a picture or logo into the card.  For about $5 per year per customer you can make your customers feel special and appreciated, and they will never forget you.   If you would like a free gift account to try our card system, please visit my website at http://www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian.

How to Build Better Business Relationships: Meet Face-to-Face

Invite your contacts to an event (sporting, music, etc.) that you would both enjoy. You will naturally deepen the relationship and get to know each other better. You could also make plans to catch up at or join someone at a networking event. {Lory writes: “For me, BNI’S GIVER GAIN’S PHILOSOPHY IS A FAST & QUICK WAY TO JUMP START YOUR BUSINESS. BNI & SendOutCards.com are alliance partners.  They both build stronger relationships with members, customers, clients and friends.}

For some people, networking events are challenges and having at least one friendly face there can give them the confidence to network better. Plus, you will strengthen the relationship.

Hugs & Peace to Darrin Dahl! | http://www.inc.com/guides/201101/how-to-build-better-business-relationships.html

12 Lessons To Learn From Highly Successful People Shared by Purpose Fairy

“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.” Marianne Williamson

Success can mean different things to different people, and I noticed that many of us have some kind of resistance to the word success, even though deep down inside, that is exactly what we all want, to live a successful and meaningful life.

Observing the world and from reading the stories of the many great men and women that lived and still live on this planet, I noticed that many of the highly successful people are in a way or another living by the same set of “golden rules.”

Today I will share with you a few of the lessons we can all learn from these people, as I am sure many of us will find them very empowering, helping us live a more inspiring, balanced, happier and successful life. Ready? Let’s start:

 1. No Dream Is Too Big

You should not limit yourself to aspire on achieving only those things that seem realistic or possible, because many of the things that today exist and are possible are so because of those “crazy” people who dared to dream big and make the impossible possible. So why not be one of them yourself?

“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.” Woodrow Wilson

2. Listen to Your Heart and Intuition

We come to this world with our work already in our heart and by listening to our heart and intuition, we will find bliss and we will live a successful life.

The person who said it best is no other than Steve Jobs: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

3. Seek Balance

“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” Zig Ziglar

4. Pay Little or No Attention to The Naysayers

Another great lesson that you can learn from these people is the importance of self belief and self trust, for there will be so many people who will try to stop you from walking your path, and if you personally don’t believe in yourself and the power of your dreams, chances are that you will give up and you will become one of the many people out there who complain about how hard life is and how nothing seems to work for you.

“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a YOU that you choose to be.” Joy Page

5. Take The Path Less Travelled

Dare to take the road less traveled, for only this way you will achieve great success in all areas of life, dare to leave the tribe.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. Gratitude Attracts More of The Things You Want In Life

No matter how far you go in life, always remember to express your gratitude and appreciation for what you have and where you are, for all the amazing people that are present in your life, for all the lives you transformed and empowered just by doing the things you deeply believed in, and for staying true to yourself.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

7. Success is a State of Mind

It all starts in the mind and if you want to be successful, you have to feel it and act like it already happened. A good way to understand this is to think of those poor people who win the lottery and who, because of their scarcity mindset end up losing most of those money in a very short period of time. Why is that? Well, they do have the money but not the mindset…

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.” Dr. Joyce Brothers

8.You Don’t Have to Know Everything

No matter how much you learn, no matter how much you grow and no matter how successful you will become, there will always be things that you won’t know, and that’s perfectly fine, it’s normal. You don’t have to know everything. With all your money, you can now surround yourself with all kind of great minds that will know what you don’t know, helping you to fuel your dreams and visions and to have things happening the way you want them to.

“All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance.” T. S. Eliot

9.  Be Present In All That You Do

Live in the present moment, enjoy life, stay focused and engaged, appreciate what you have while at the same time keeping an image in your heart and your mind of where you want to go. Love yourself and love your life.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Buddha

10. You Already Have Enough

We need to understand that constantly chasing after the next big thing, chasing after more and more, will make us feel like we are lacking. This is poverty thinking. Wanting more and more comes from a feeling of not having. Start showing your appreciation for all that you are, for all that you have, because in this moment, you do have enough.

“When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.” Wayne Dyer

11. Giving is Receiving

This is available not only for us as individuals, but also for us as communities, big corporations, nations, etc. If you have read “From Good to Great” by Jim Collins you already understand what I am talking about, and if you haven’t you might want to read this book as you will probably get a lot of insights out of it. The more we give, the more we will receive. Where great value is provided, success will always follow.

With an open heart, share everything you know with others. Give the best of yourself to the world, let your own light shine and know that: In today’s environment, hoarding knowledge ultimately erodes your power. If you know something very important, the way to get power is by actually sharing it.” Joseph Badaracco

12. Humility

As you will walk your path making all of your dreams come true and achieving really beautiful things in life, humility will definitely be a lesson you will master and people will love that about you. There is nothing more gracious and noble than seeing somebody who is really successful as being humble and modest.

“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.” Saint Augustine

* If you feel like any of your family members, close friends or people you love can benefit from reading this list, feel free to share it. Wisdom never decreases by being shared.

Hugs and Peace to http://www.purposefairy.com

Do you agree that business is still driven by people and relationships? by Lory Fabian

Little things make big things happen. ~John Wooden

Ed Wallace, author of Business Relationships That Last, shares ny passionate belief that creating business relationships that last is the secret to success.  Ed Wallace explains that even in the midst of technological advances, the one remarkable simple constant: business is still driven by people and relationships.

One story in Ed’s book, he writes about how the little extras can turn customers into friends.  He talks about mastering the art of taking so-called simple business from a merely transactional level to the level of high-value personal relationships, to creating a memorable experience between human beings.

Ed writes that too many of us lose sight of the fact that we are dealing and selling to real people.  A real person is on the other end of a call or an email.  We may miss an opportunity to enrich business endeavors and life with the growth and learning that comes from true interaction with others. I totally agree, do you?

Ed Wallace’s The Principle of Worthy Intent is the inherent promise you make to keep the other person’s best interests at the core of your business relationship.  At BNI, we call Ed’s principle, a Giver’s Gain philosophy.

Ed Wallace’s Relational Capital which he defines as “the distinctive value created by people in a business relationship” or simply put “the little extras.”  Keeping the client’s best interest as your focus is the gold rule for client-facing professionals. This realization stood the test of time as Ed advanced through his career from inside sales rep to an executive and now a business owner.  The little extras transform transactional activities into the relational attributes. 

I highly recommend reading Ed Wallace’s book, Business Relationships That Last to help understand  the most undervalued, least understood, most ignored, yet most important asset in your company.

If you do, however, recognize the value of Relational Capital, think about signing up for a proven low cost system that will help you start building personal relationships immediately with your customers. SendOutCards.com is an online marketing tool that will give you an added edge above your competition.

SendOutCards.com/loryfabian has both IPHONE and ANDOID apps available  that allow you to send a note of thanks before you leave the parking lot of one appointment to head out to your next meeting.

Imagine sending out a “Nice to Meet You” card before leaving a trade show and include a photo of yourself?  Do you think the person you send a personalized note to will take your call?  I do.

Check out my website at www.SendOutCards.com/biz/128092 and start building your own Relational Capitol today.

Peace and Hugs to Ed Wallace

Ways to Stand Out with your Contacts by Kim Althage

Generally speaking, most people tend to talk more than they listen and they like to talk about themselves. If you’re listening and then you ask good follow-up questions based on the information you just heard, you are already more likely to stand out in the other person’s mind.

 

Focused Attention is important, as well as asking the “right” questions. Focusing on them, as opposed to yourself or your awesome product (as most salespeople do) makes you memorable in the most positive way. Again, GIVING IS IMPORTANT, for by providing valuable information they might not have had before is the biggest factor when creating a solid business contact.

 

In other words, if you leave a networking event with a clear plan of how you can help others and you did not discuss your products or services…you have done well!

 

But there is another important element that can separate you from all others…THE LOST ART OF FOLLOWING UP.  Most people drop the ball here, but this is the most crucial step. How you respond sets the tone for who you are and how others remember you. Send each person an individual message, be it a phone call, email or note card.

 

Best methods for following up:

 

  • Handwritten  Notes – Ideal and certainly states your  desire to invest the time in fostering a relationship.  Should always be your first choice for  your highest priority contacts.  Utilize email and phone as viable secondary options.

 

  • Voicemail  – When you need to communicate your energy and attitude. Smile and be in a good mood, as your voice will  reflect your state of mind.

 

  • Email  – Good for a quick note or when time is of the essence. Craft a clear and attention getting subject line to get thru the clutter. Email works well  in conjunction with a voicemail or handwritten note to let someone know you will contact them.

What success stories can you attribute to your ability to follow up with contacts or clients?

Hugs and Peace to Kim Althage, St. Louis Professional Network Team

 

Need a system to stay in contact with your contacts and customers?  Go to www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian.  You can create one card as a campaign and re-use THE SAME CARD over and over again for every new person you meet, to thank a customer or to show appreciation.  Each card can be personalized or used as a standard company correspondence response card.  Questions? Email me at loryfabian@sbcglobal.net

The Anatomy Of A Social Marketing Campaign: 5 Steps To Success By Scott Lake

With so many social media platforms, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Keep a clear head by following these five steps.

A social marketing campaign is a pretty simple concept:

Use social media to promote an offer and encourage people to perform a certain action. Yet while simple in concept, it’s easy for marketers to get mired in the details and lose track of what matters as they jump from Pinterest to Facebook to SlideShare and Twitter.

At its core, any social marketing campaign boils down to five key elements. Follow these steps to tackle your next social marketing campaign with more confidence and success.

1. Set your goals

Any successful campaign begins with a goal. Before you even think about diving in, focus on what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to increase sales, generate sales leads, or get feedback on a new product? Understanding the goals for your campaign will help you make the right offers, capture useful metrics, and determine how your campaign performed.

It helps a lot if the goal has a quantifiable business objective that you can track. Number of generated qualified leads is a great metric because they can later be tied to sales.

 

2. Develop a valuable offer

Most people don’t like to give up their email addresses or “Like” a brand of Facebook without good reason. That means for any campaign to be successful, you’ll need to provide real incentive. Your offer doesn’t always have to be free, but it does need to useful, valuable, engaging, and/or entertaining. Some common offers include:

•Information about something your audience is interested in

•Sneak peak at a new product or product video

•Exclusive discounts

•Social media contest

 

A key to developing worthwhile offers is having a tieback to your product or service, either directly or indirectly. You might get a lot of social love for providing a link to a free movie pass, but if it’s not related to the software product you sell then what’s the point? In and of itself, the movie pass does nothing for brand loyalty or generating targeted sales leads.

 

Make the offer valuable to people who would also be interested in your products or services. For example, if you sell social marketing software, consider offering a downloadable guide to social marketing. The people who will convert will be much higher qualified leads.

 

3. Create a landing page

A landing page, where people arrive after clicking on a campaign link, is arguably one of the most important, and frequently neglected, parts of a social marketing campaign. A landing page is where you encourage people to sign up, register, download, or make a purchase. The landing page lets you capture a visitor’s information, while the visitor downloads your campaign offer (downloads coupon, free trial, etc.). A social marketing campaign can drive traffic to your landing page, but it’s up to the landing page to convert those visitors into qualified leads for your business.

There are two common options for creating a landing page: Make it yourself on the web or use Facebook. Creating a web-based landing page offers more control over the page and its analytics–making it easier to test page variations and optimize the content.

Whatever method you choose, your landing page needs to have a clear call to action, a form to collect information to qualify a lead, and an explanation about what someone will receive after submitting their information. Before launching a landing page, you may want to create at least two versions with different headlines, graphics, or text. This lets you run A/B or multivariate tests to determine which one converts the best.

You may also want to create specific landing pages for each of the social communities that you are marketing. For example, a landing page that converts well for Twitter may not be optimal for your Facebook or blog audiences. The point is that you should always be sure to optimize the landing page for the highest number of conversions.

 

4. Launch the campaign

With a nice looking landing page (or two) created and an offer tied to your campaign goals, your social marketing campaign is ready to be launched. Decide how the campaign will be promoted. Just because it’s designed for social media, doesn’t mean it can’t be promoted using other channels such as email lists or offline. Work the hype machine.

Often, social marketing campaigns will be spread across several networks. In most cases, it’ll be Facebook and Twitter, but there are dozens of other social networks that can be embraced. For example, use Foursquare for location-based offers (i.e., coupon for a restaurant chain), or LinkedIn to promote an enterprise white paper.

If you run your campaign on multiple networks, repackage the message for each network to avoid being annoying or repetitive. Mix it up, and test out different posting styles and times. By creating more variations, you can get insight into what worked and what didn’t.

Don’t forget to use your email lists to promote your social media marketing campaigns. Many companies have nice email lists but only want to use them to put out a boring newsletter. Try to remember that email is one of the most useful social networks you’ll ever use. Don’t believe me? Put a shortened link to your website in your signature and see how much traffic it drives. You’ll be surprised.

5. Use shortened links

Since links are what send visitors to your campaign landing page, they can give you essential information on how various elements of your campaign are performing. Shortened links should be able to tell you what campaign the person interacted with, and which social property was used to promote the link. This info is usually hidden in the form of a browser cookie, which is activated when the link is clicked on. Once the cookie is in place, tracking code on the landing page will tell you if someone took advantage of your offer.

Use generated shortened links that let you track activity in real time and make changes on the fly. For example:

•Scheduling posts: Which post times drove the most conversions?

•Message creation: What combination of words and graphics attracted the most attention?

•The Medium: Which social networks are converting? Is anyone coming to the campaign from your non-social promotions?

Shortened links also solve the problem of “first touch” versus “last touch” attribution. Since social marketing offers often get cross-posted onto different social properties, the cookie generated in the shortened link will always be able to tell you what the true origin of your leads are and from which campaign and on which social properties they have responded to.

Next steps

After your social marketing campaign is a success, the obvious question is: What do all these signups really mean? Now that you’ve brought leads to the door, you have to offer more value, in addition to what attracted prospects in the first place. Don’t just carpet-bomb them with information. These leads are the most valuable data your brand will encounter: You need to treat them with the utmost respect and strategically lead them through your sales cycle.

To get more savvy about social media, sign up for Fast Company’s daily newsletters.

Peace and Love to Scott Lake.

He is the founder and CEO of Source Metrics, a social marketing optimization platform focused on ROI. He is the cofounder and former CEO of Shopify. You can find him on Twitter.

7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid by Todd Pillars

This is an updated post from 2009 which started me on a path of discovery that took my business from a 1-trick pony to the national stage in 2 short years!

Funny how it’s STILL all about relationships – and it ALWAYS will be.

Read on…

Today’s business is all about relationships. Social Media is here to stay; you have to be seen on Facebook, you must tweet and retweet on Twitter, your LinkedIn profile has to be top-notch, and now we have Google+, however the more we connect in the virtual world to more we have to tend our roots on Terra Firma. Routinely overlooked, the original social networking – face-to-face, is a crucial high-touch strategy to build critical local business relationships that are crucial to your success.

In my observations coaching business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals, and attending numerous networking events over the years, I have recognized consistent networking mistakes that can kill anyone’s chances of developing any new business contacts. Avoid these seven deadly mistakes and you should quickly build your referral business in any economic conditions.

Mistake #1 – No plan, no goals… no results

Without a networking plan, you waste valuable resources; time, energy and money. You should know, before you enter an event, what you want to accomplish. Practice Bob Burg’s 10 Feel-Good Questions and The One “Key” Question That Will Set You Apart From Everyone Else so you are prepared to chose three or four to engage others that you meet at the event. These questions will show your new contact that you truly care about them. Do set time limits on what you discuss – don’t go through all 10 – or you may appear nosy. Just as you would role-play and practice these questions, picture positive results in your mind even as you enter the room.

The BIGGEST edit: Mistake #2 – Bad (or worse, no) elevator pitch

The first seven words that you speak when meeting a potential client, a.k.a. a prospect, may be the only chance you have with that person. An elevator pitch or 30-second commercial is meant to cause the prospect to say “tell me more”. Many networking novices try to cram as much company information as possible into their pitch. Keep it simple and you’ll strike more interest.

Mistake #2 – Ditch the (elevator) pitch

This is more of do than a don’t but it’s vitally important that you leave the commercial in the car. You see, elevator pitches gained popularity during the Internet Boom of the late 90′s – early 2000′s as a way to “pitch”, or spark the interest of, venture capital investors in the time it took for them to ride up on an elevator to the gilded top floor office. (Makes for a compelling visual reason to do it, doesn’t it?) Well, if the first seven words that you speak when meeting a potential client, a.k.a. a prospect, are only about what you want you’ll probably get the door slammed in your face during what may be the only chance you have with that person. There is a time and place for a 30-second commercial – and it’s not during a networking event.

Try something like the anti-mercial; You know how (whatever pain your prospects may have)? Well, what I do is (how you solve that challenge for your clients). Simple, concise, and easy on the ears. The goal here is get your new contact to say “How do you do that?”. If they do the door is now open for a deeper conversation about your solution, preferably at a later time. Don’t be afraid to set an appointment then and there.

Mistake #3 – TMI or Too busy telling

As an old mentor said “If you’re too busy telling, you ain’t selling.” The primary goal of the networking event is to make a connection – start a conversation – not to make a sale. Ask questions (see #1 above) and don’t “throw up” all over the place, regardless of how wonderful your product or service is. If it really is that good it will keep until you can sit down one-to-one. If you make a friend you can present your solution later, however, if you get the deer in the headlight look then you’ve lost the chance.

Mistake #4 – Talking to “Knowns”

Probably the most common mistake. Networking events present an opportunity to meet new people in a relatively receptive environment. Generally new sales people and business owners are challenged by meeting new people, they tend to end up talking to “known” friends instead of seeking “unknowns”. Make it a point to limit polite conversation with current referral partners to less than a minute. Better yet, adopt this new do; become an unofficial greeter. Scan the room for the people that look lost and ask them if you can help them find someone and see what happens.

Mistake #5 – Poor etiquette

Understanding how or when to join a group of individuals talking with each other is very important. Probably the biggest networking faux pas is barging in on a conversation. An introduction from a well respected business person is always the surest way. Sans that, look for groups of three or more that are standing in semi-circle – never a closed circle – and approach them in an up-beat manner and making eye contact. Always shake hands firmly, speak confidently when you introduce yourself, and practice your table manners when seated for lunch or dinner. If you are polite, respectful, and ask engaging questions – and then intently listening to the answers – you’ll be one of the most remembered people from the event.

Mistake #6 – Not being present

Be interested instead of trying to be interesting. I’ve been guilty of this more than once myself. Most times networking attendees believe the goal, at best, is to get your message into the ears of as many people as possible. At worst, to hand out as many business cards as possible. In their haste to meet that next prospect, they are not present with their current contact. Instead of thinking of what witty or sage thing you’re going to say next, listen for the subtle meanings in the answers to question you just asked. The timing of your next question will always come from listening to the full answer and being engaged and you will look like a pro.

Mistake #7 – Lack of (correct) follow-up

Attending networking event after event without correctly following up with your new contacts is literally worthless. And follow up, just like networking, is not a one-time event. The point of following up is to stand out in the prospect’s memory forever. Again, it’s not a moment of selling but of reminding them that you’re interested in them and care about their success. If you want to stand head and shoulders above your competition don’t resort to the ubiquitous email. Cement your place in your new found business contact by sending them a sincere handwritten “Nice to meet you” or “Thank you” greeting card telling them how much you appreciate them for taking the time to talk about their business. Then keep in regular personal touch with them by sending them cards on a consistent basis. Turn the most missed opportunity in networking into a way to differentiate you from your competition.

Conspicuously absent is the iconic Business Card. My opinion is that the only reason to have your Business Card is to have something to exchange for their Business Card. If your main purpose is to attend Networking Events with the intention of passing out cards and saying “Call me and I’ll give you a great deal” then you need more of an intervention than this blog post can provide.

Put others interests first, practice appreciation, and avoid these seven deadly business networking mistakes like the plague.

Peace and Love to Todd |Excellent Advice!

I recommend trying www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian and start today cementing your business relationships today!

 

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process by Ellie Mirman

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process

by Ellie Mirman.

In an effort to break through the clutter and get the attention of more potential customers, are marketers going too far? A recent article from Forbes reported that decision simplicity was the number one driver of likelihood to buy, and the impact of simplifying purchase decisions for consumers is 4x stronger than the favored marketing strategy of engagement.

In fact, research company Corporate Executive Board (CEB) also found that a 20% increase in decision simplicity results in a:

96% increase in customer loyalty;

86% increase in likelihood to purchase and;

115% increase in likelihood to recommend.

CEB is not the first organization to tout simplicity as a key driver in increasing conversions and sales. MarketingExperiments also advocates for limiting “unsupervised thinking” among your prospects in order to effectively guide more people to conversion. As it relates to landing pages, many marketers have adopted a lot of best practices based on this principle — removing navigation and distracting calls-to-action, keeping forms short, and clearly advertising the value of the offer. But this principle is applicable to all areas of our marketing — by simplifying our marketing, we can illuminate the path to conversion to drive better results.

**Below are 16 ways you can simplify your marketing to make your prospects’ decision-making process easier.*

16 Ways to Simplify Your Prospects’ Decision-Making Process

1) Add Calls-to-Action

The first place to start is to add a call-to-action (CTA) to your website. On any given web page, you should be able to answer, “What do I want people to do here?” Then, make it clear to your visitor that exact path. Do you want them to call you? Download an ebook and become a lead? Follow you in social media? Tell people exactly what you want, and it’s more likely they’ll end up doing it. Effective calls-to-action use actionable language (e.g. “Download Now”), numbers, a sense of urgency, and stand out among the rest of the page.

2) Limit Distracting Calls-to-Action

On the flip side, you don’t want to overwhelm your prospects with too many calls-to-action. From the visitors’ perspective, suddenly they’re in Times Square with ads all around, and they don’t know where to look or what to do. Rather, you want to create a one-way street — not a 10-way intersection that paralyzes your prospects or helps them tune out your calls-to-action. If you do have multiple CTAs on a page or in a piece of content, make one primary by featuring it more prominently, and when your prospect clicks through to its actual landing page, remove any additional navigation links or CTAs on that page to focus their attention on completing the conversion you want them to.

3) Deliver What’s Advertised

Some sneaky marketers used to do a bait and switch — advertise a raffle for a free iPad, but when someone clicked through, they’d display an ad to buy a car. Any time you deliver on something different from what’s advertised, you not only confuse your leads, but you also generate unqualified leads. If someone’s signing up because they’re interested in iPads, it’s very possible they’re not going to be interested in whatever you deliver that is not an iPad.

4) Tell People What They’re Getting

Any time you’re offering something to your prospects, be clear about exactly what it is. The point of the offer is to give your prospects a reason to engage with you — if they don’t know what it is, why would they bother? Is it an ebook, a webinar, a slide deck? What is the topic covered in your offer?

5) Tell People WIIFM?

Not only do you need to tell people what they’re getting, but you also need to explain why they should care — the value of your offer. In other words, ‘What’s In It For Me?’ (WIIFM?). Any transaction should be an equal (or better) exchange between you and your prospect; for example, they give you their email address in exchange for a free ebook.

6) Don’t Hide Your Pricing Information

Any time I come across a website with no pricing information, I start to think that something is fishy. Either they customize their pricing for every deal individually (in which case, I worry I’m going to get tricked into a worse deal), or the price will be so high it’s out of my range. Either way, I’m not interested in engaging with your company. Don’t withhold your pricing information. Instead, make it easy to navigate to within the products section of your website.

7) Provide Product Guides (About Your Product and Your Industry)

I (as a prospect) have a decision to make: whether or not to buy your product, or possibly opt for another competing product. I’ll take any information you or anyone else can provide to help me with that decision. Providing product guides — either about your own product or an analysis of the industry and the competing products available — is a great help in supporting your prospects’ evaluation process.

8) Share Recommendations/Testimonials From Customers and Experts

While it’s great to provide your own take on your product and the industry, you are of course biased, so providing any third-party recommendations — from users or experts — is a great way to ease a prospects’ decision to go with your company. At HubSpot, for example, we curate social media threads, blog articles, and case studies from customers and experts and feature them on our website — even on our homepage.

9) Let People Know How They Can Get in Touch

How can prospects get in touch with you? By phone, through email, via online chat? Make it clear on your website how people can get in touch with you, so those hottest prospects can reach out when they most want to talk with you. At HubSpot, this was a big piece of feedback we heard from our prospects — a lot of people wanted to talk with someone and didn’t know how. As a result, we added our phone number and a way to contact sales in the footer of every web page on our site.

10) Align Navigation With What Your Buyers Are Looking For

As marketers, we can sometimes get lost in our own work and how we discuss things internally, and if this translates into our marketing, it can cause a lot of confusion for your website visitors and prospects. For the content on your website, think about how your buyers speak, think, and what they might be looking for — and align your content and navigation around those revelations.

11) Surface Top-Searched or Top-Visited Content

Aside from surfacing the key sections of your website that your prospects want to navigate to, take a look at the most popular content on your site, and surface that as well. By looking at your most popular content (top-searched, top-visited, etc.) you can understand more about what your prospects are looking for and make it even easier for new prospects to find it. Two great ways to do this is to feature your top-performing offer on your homepage, and list the most popular articles on the homepage of your blog.

12) Don’t Ignore Questions or Feedback

Sometimes we marketers get tough questions and critical feedback — especially considering prospects’ ease of commenting on blog articles or speaking up in social media. Oftentimes, ignoring these comments can worsen the situation, leaving a prospect unhappy or inciting them to post even more critical comments. Every time a prospect asks a question or provides feedback, you’re given a great opportunity to engage with them and address any questions or issues they have. Be sure to monitor and respond to any blog or social media comments to catch these opportunities to lead more prospects to conversion. There are plenty of free and paid tools available to help you monitor conversations in social media. And if you’re both a HootSuite and HubSpot customer, you can use our closed-loop social integration to directly monitor your leads on Twitter!

13) Categorize Your Content by Skill Level, Role, Etc.

It’s very likely that you’re already targeting different types of potential customers — various roles, backgrounds, and needs among your buyer personas. Help these personas to self-identify what content and which products are best suited for their particular needs by categorizing and labeling your content. At HubSpot, they label their content by skill level (introductory, intermediate, and advanced — just check out the top of this very article!) and by industry and role (small business vs. marketing teams, non-profit vs. ecommerce, etc.). This helps your prospects find the best content for them more quickly, rather than giving up, getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content we provide, or getting lost on your website.

14) Assign a DRI/Owner for Each Channel/Asset

A DRI is a Directly Responsible Person — an owner for a particular asset. Having an owner for each marketing channel or asset allows you to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. You’ll be more able to evaluate the potential conversion paths, respond to questions from prospects stuck at different stages of the conversion path, and make sure you’re getting the best results from each channel and asset. Here are a few more ideas for structuring an effective marketing team.

15) Pick a Campaign, and Focus All Channels on It

It can be overwhelming to juggle a lot of different offers, channels, and campaigns all at once — both for you as a marketer, and for your prospect as someone following your company. Look for opportunities to combine marketing efforts and focus multiple channels on a single campaign. Not only will you rest a little easier, but you’ll also get better (compounding) results and help focus your prospects on your top campaign.

16) Focus on the 1-3 Metrics That Are Most Important to Your Business

Not only do you want to simplify your prospects’ experience with your company, but you also want to simplify your marketing efforts. This helps you focus your efforts for better results. A key part of that is focusing on a few metrics that are most important to your business, as this will influence your strategy and where you focus your time, your calls-to-action, and other efforts mentioned above. To determine which metrics should drive your strategy, spend some time determining your marketing team’s specific goals, and then identify the top metrics that will indicate success or failure to achieve those goals.

Shout out to HubSpot