Twitter Updates for 2008-02-29

  • A paradox, a paradox,
    A most ingenious paradox…. #
  • And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you’ll easily discover, #
  • That though you’ve lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays,
    you’re only five and a little bit over! #
  • That’s your Pirates of Penzance Reference Tweets of the day. #
  • rabbit rabbit #
  • You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year,
    on the twenty-ninth of February; #
  • @gregpc I’m in. #

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business development Entreprenurship marketing Sales

Psst, You’re also a Salesman…

My understanding of “Sales” has been much more clearly honed since I became a consultant. By definition you’re always selling yourself, as well as your services or products.  This is critical, and sometimes difficult to remember.
I was reminded of this today when coaching a client who is also a consultant. He has made an agreement to do introductions for a company who will then actually sell and implement the work. He’s responsible for the initial contact and for high-level maintenance on the accounts. (Some might even call this “business development.”) My client was uncomfortable, since he is going to start calling old work acquaintances to ask for 15 minutes of their time to start the process. When we explored his discomfort, he realized that he has some negative association with sales. He also wanted to make sure that he wasn’t compromising his own integrity by selling services to people who don’t need them.
He was having challenges in “opening” and also worries about “closing” the sales.
After talking it through, we concluded that :
A) The people he was calling are the right people to buy this service;
B) The service is better and more efficient than what they’re using now;
C) He will be bringing significant value to his old contacts by showing them what his new partners have, and finally:
D) He can generate even stronger and more positive relationships from making these people happy.
So, it’s worth opening the discussions. And, the way his deal is set up, his partners have to ‘close.’

Wow. My client is helping his old friends meet some new friends, who have a better product that will save the old friends time and even money. That’s a lot different than ‘selling them.’ There’s a clear benefit on both sides, and he’s not compromising his integrity.
Selling is often a tough part of any new business venture. Not everyone is comfortable with all steps of a sales process. But it is clearly part of every Entrepreneur’s skill requirement set. Even if a startup hires someone to sell, the ultimate responsibility to get money in the door is with the founder(s). So, maybe it is time to reconsider what “sales” means to you. If you’ve got something that will make people’s lives easier, or their work easier or faster or cheaper, maybe NOT selling it to them is wrong thing.


Twitter Updates for 2008-02-28

  • waiting for my new iphone to sync. #
  • @chrisheuer – I have some disposable attention left, I know it’s around here somewhe….hey, want to play Scrabulous? #
  • @jefftippett Thanks man. #

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Business Entreprenurship LinkedIn social media social networks

Use Live Connections to Leverage Virtual Connections, to Gain new, important Live connections

I’ve written previously about using Social Networks to make connections for business, and even predicted in my recent talk at TIMA� (slides are there) that in 2008, people will “use of Real Life Events to make Virtual Connections that help you make Real (and Valuable) Connections.” This idea came from a talk I had with Jeff Pulver.

After that talk in Raleigh, NC, I reconnected with Chuck Hester, Director of Corporate Communications for iContact, a company that allows businesses, non-profit organizations, and associations to easily create, publish, and track email newsletters, surveys, blogs, autoresponders, and RSS feeds according to their site. Chuck told me how he used Social Networking service to find his current job, promote his own brand and his companys, and to do some good in the world.

When Chuck moved to Raleigh in 2005 he had only a few connections on LinkedIn, and only one or two in Raleigh. As a new person in town, Chuck began to network and add his connections to his online tools. When he left his previous employer, he searched his network connections in Raleigh for Software, Advertising and Marketing people to assist with his search. Ryan Allis invited him in to talk, and Chuck landed the job at iContact.

Around this time, Chuck started paying more attention to his Social Networking tools, and noticed that LinkedIn had a designation of 500+. When you get to 500 connections, they stop reporting your number of connections, and your name shows with a 500+ logo. So Chuck set a goal of exceeding that mark.

Around February, 2007 he decided to connect with the really big connectors. He joined several Yahoo groups where you can send out connection requests to all the members. Every time he got new connections via these groups, he looked at these new connections friend of a friend links, and messaged the 5 most relevant links to connect.

By June, Chuck had over 700 Raleigh connections and was getting lots of calls, doing coffees, getting together to meet people in person. One of his friends who is also very active in Raleigh said “Why not get all our connections in one room and create a Raleigh Network?” In July 2007 they invited their online friends to LinkedIn Live and 50 people showed up. One connection was a bar manager who provided a back room, and another connection was an advertising person who invited a reporter for the News and Observer. Sheattended the event with a photographer, and LinkedIn Live showed up on the front page of the Sunday Business section. People started asking Chuck When’s the next event?  They now have their meetings every other month, and it’s grown from 75 people to 120, to 170 showing up. People in other cities are asking Chuck how to start their own LinkedIn Live events.

How has this benefited Chuck and iContact? Brand Recognition. Everyone knows who I am, and the company I work for. If they need email marketing services, they think of us first. And, we’ve taken our recognition to larger audiences, with mentions on the Fast Company blog, Wall St. Journal, and even via Michelle Rafter at Inc. Magazine (who was a networking connection.)

Chuck’s advice to entrepreneurs is to use the tools that are part of your Social Networking platform. Connect with connectors – people in your network that have lots of connections, and find their connections who can be of value to you. Then, politely ask for introductions. You also have to reciprocate, so be conscious that your connections also have value, and share them with people who have been shown to be trustworthy. Your connections and the way you treat other people’s connections reflect on you. Finally, be part of the conversation. LinkedIn has a feature called “Answers” which allows people to ask questions and get opinions from their contacts. Chuck says, “When people ask questions, answer them if you can, and soon you’ll be known as a resource in your area of expertise.” While respecting the “no advertising” convention of  Answers, crafting a factual  answer that refers to something you’ve written or a service you’ve given another client can drive traffic to your own Blog or company website.


Twitter Updates for 2008-02-26

  • Hey EWR. Good to see ya. Good to be almost home! #
  • @jeffreykeefer great seeing all your tweets. Have a good night! #

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