Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I'm in the process of moving my blog. I will no longer be posting to AwakenJC.blogspot.com
Look for my future posts at www.JCRiey.com
Right now it may seem kind of barren, but, after a couple of slow blogging months, moving my old posts to there and posting new thoughts for you to read are a priority.
I'm in the process of moving my blog. I will no longer be posting to AwakenJC.blogspot.com
Look for my future posts at www.JCRiey.com
Right now it may seem kind of barren, but, after a couple of slow blogging months, moving my old posts to there and posting new thoughts for you to read are a priority.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Grand Central is now open as Google Voice. This free service has great features. They are currently only letting former Grand Central users get numbers, but you may sign up to receive notification when it's opened to everyone.
I played with my new number yesterday and love the ability to place "call me" widgets on websites, so that visitors can contact you without getting your number. It also rings my office phone and cell phone simulaneously allowing me to answer in my car or at my desk. The best thing is that it transcribes the voice messages to texts and sends me an SMS message as well as an email so I may listen or read it.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I saw a video on YouTube a few days ago that featured some toddlers rockin' roller skates to a hip hop beat. It was a plug for Evian to show how drinking water (in particular Evian water) would make you feel young and energetic.
Great job Evian. They have grabbed the attention of millions. I noticed it being a feature on news broadcasts this morning and do to the viral nature of the video, it's been riding in the top 10 on the Google Trends charts nearly all day. Cleaning up on views. By creating a funny video that people can relate to and making it easily circulated on the web, they've gained a great viral advertising campaign. I doubt the need to air the video in the US will even arise. By the time it hits the air waves, most will have already seen it due to the viral - if I like it, I'll spread it - nature of the web.
Below is the video that is creating a realm of new Evian (naive in reverse) water drinkers.
Friday, May 8, 2009
If you've seen my business card or read my FaceBook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profiles, you may have noticed the title listed - "Marketing Genius". There's a really simple story behind that.
When my brother and I began All For HIM Marketing Solutions Inc., we were asked our titles by our accountant while filling out legal documents. We looked back and forth and considered it a funny situation because we've always joked about the 1-5 person businesses where someone calls themselves the CEO, President or some other ivory tower sounding name just to give their ego a boost. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for us. If we had the invitation to create our own title, and could boost our ego with it all we wanted... why not be geniuses? Done. My official title with AFH Marketing Solutions is: JC Riley - Marketing Genius.
Until lately, I've never caught any flack about it and most considered it light hearted and humorous. That is until last week. Someone saw my title as Marketing Genius on my LinkedIn profile and decided to post a FaceBook comment on the matter that generated some responses.
Here's the deal. It's great to hand my card to someone who notices the title and asks about it. I get to smile and laugh about it with them. Then the normally say something like... "I'll remember that". To which my reply is... "That's the idea behind it. What else would you expect from a Marketing Genius?" :)
Consider the Merriam-Webster definition of the term genius.
"a person who influences another for good or bad"
This is what I do. I help people consider all of their marketing options, decipher the best plan of action for them, and help them move in that direction. My job is to influence people. I choose to influence for what I believe is best for them and stay in the good. Not my fault that someone decided to question my use of a word before first finding its meaning. You can tell by my punctuation and spelling that I'm no English major. That's why I turned to Merriam-Webster.
Last but not least. Thanks to this person for commenting about it on line and drawing responses. It made you talk, which made others talk. Kind of viral, huh. That's what marketing guru Seth Godin might call remarkable. Seems like it worked even with those questioning the move.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I was talking with a friend yesterday when the subject came up of how people measure time. I'm not talking about how long a second or minute is. What I mean is how perception correlates with certain incremental time values. We came to the conclusion that 15 minutes is a major time value. What is it about 15 Minutes?
- Waiting in the doctor's exam room. - A 5 or 10 minute wait is fine but once 15 minutes is reached, your temperature boils and you feel devalued and mistreated as a patient.
- Showing up for a doctor's appointment. - Less than 15 minutes late and nobody cares. Once you've surpassed the 15 minute mark, you must reschedule your appointment.
- Business Meeting. - Show up 10 minutes late and your counterpart will likely say something like "I just arrived too". Let the minute hand strike 15 and you'll receive a phone call wondering where you're at.
- Meeting a Client - Show up 5 minutes early and the person you're meeting with will begin to prepare for your appointment. Show up 15 min early and your client will feel rushed and as if you're pressuring. They'll also likely stall you until after your scheduled meeting time.
Just an observation here. I also believe this time buffer is shrinking due to the instant real time world that the net has given us.
My general rule of thumb is to never be late to a meeting and to never arrive more than five minutes early. This generally means arriving in plenty of time to allow for any unexpected slow downs. But then sitting in the parking lot until the 5 minutes prior mark is reached.
Your thoughts on the subject?
Monday, April 27, 2009
What do Jesus and the Internet have in common?
Let me explain this way... My mother always told me that Jesus could see everything you did. Now she could say that Jesus and the Internet see everything you do. You can find just about anything in a person's history on the web. There are eyes and ears attached to fingers clicking away on keyboards everywhere. They provide a great commentary about your every decision that you or your organization make. Chances are that someone somewhere will record your moves. Unfortunately, they're much more likely to record the mistakes you'd rather get past than the successes you'd like to define you.
I recently received a resume from a local college student that will be graduating soon and is ready to enter the world of marketing. After reviewing his resume, what was my next step? Google. I decided to see what I could find on this guy from the web. Hey, if web search is what we do, I need to be sure my team doesn't embarrass AFH Marketing on the web.
So, what did I find on the young job seeker? Well we got quite a laugh out of a pretty silly mishap he had with the police and a college party a few years ago but he's since been quiet as far as police scanners go and has been working on more promising press for himself.
My goal is that when someone searches for JC Riley or AFH Marketing, they find plenty of things that would assure them of how our organization is able to aide them in their growth venture. I'd rather not spend my energy explaining the crazy story of what happened with the cops.
How do you and your organization stack up? Search yourself before someone else does.
Friday, April 24, 2009
I'll take today to refer you to some words from Seth Godin about what companies should do in the tough economic times. It may seem safe to do nothing in slow economic times but the organizations that grow will try something new and triumph over those who do nothing. Making their seemingly safe stall cause them to lose in the end.
Do something. Anything. But don't just try to wait it out and do nothing!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Have you ever wondered why pre paying for gas slows the pump? Not the entire time but it seems to take just as long to pump the last 25 cents as the rest of the pre paid amount because the pump slows as it nears the end of my purchase.
- I wonder how many people say forget it and leave with 10 cents of paid for gas left on the meter.
- I also wonder how much extra revenue this brings to a gas station over the course of a year (10 cents at a time).
- More importantly I wonder how many customers are frustrated with the process like I am.
- Businesses should give their customers the same great service at the end of a transaction as they do at the beginning.
- Too many businesses are ran like gas pumps.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Many businesses struggle with this. Does yours?
Wal Mart and 7-11 know they provide terrible customer experiences. Picture yourself standing in the endless line at Wally World while the under trained employee struggles to scan and bag the basket full of goods 5 people in front of you. Meanwhile you notice that only six of the fifty available registers are manned. Or, you swing in to buy gas and need to wait in a huge line at the 7-11 to pre-pay for your gas, all the while knowing you'll need to wait in that same line again to receive your change when done filling up. Does it bother you to see the 3 or 4 employees roaming the "convenience" store while only one is serving customers? I can't name one person that loves these experiences.
So why do you and I continue to use these venues? They know their role in the market place. They have convenient locations and generally low prices. The clientele they're after are willing to trade some customer service for better prices.
Now, shop at the Buckle. You will have an employee dedicated to helping you find what you need and rarely wait to be served. However, you'll pay around $75 for an entry level pair of jeans and $30 for a t-shirt. Their customers are willing to pay a premium price for the experience they gain by shopping there.
Do you know your role? What trade are you asking your clients to make? If you require a premium price, you should provide a premium experience for your customers. If your customers will receive anything less than a premium experience, they will expect to be compensated for that in form of a lower than competitive price. Most industries have a hard time providing both the best experience and the lowest prices around. If you can't you should pick one and exploit your choice.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I've had a ton of people contacting me about last weeks post, Down Goes Starbucks. So, I thought I'd expand a bit on some of the conversation I've been having with people about it.
Starbucks has lost site of what they are selling. People do not show up to buy a $5 cup of coffee. They became loyal to a $1.50 cup of coffee in a value pack with a $20 experience for the low price of $5. When they buy the pack, they just associate it with the cup of coffee. The coffee is great but not the real reason the company took off so fast. There are other places that make great coffee. Starbucks thought people loved the coffee so found a more efficient way to focus on getting more coffee into more hands when in the very process they eliminated the reason people bought it. This is a mistake that's easy to make in any organization.
For instance take many of the large churches that have sprung up in around the country in the last 15 years or so. They coupled an awesome, eye and attention grabbing worship service with a great spoken message and a plethora of activities members could get involved in. They grow and ad other locations or worship times. Next thing you know, they have members that are extremely diversified and the only thing they absolutely have in common is the spoken message they hear. So, that becomes the only common ground it's members are sure to share. The speaker is the coffee. Great but not the only great speaker out there. Next thing you know, though, the organization is finding a more efficient way to get that speaker into the hands of as many people as possible. This means cutting some of the intangible things that created the community that really drew the people in the first place.
The organization begins to plateau as the arrival of newcomers slows and only the nostalgic remain to fantasize about the days past. They are lucky enough to have made relationships when community was a huge focus. Whereas those newcomers rarely stick due to lack of programs and activities to help them plug in.
What are your customers really buying? Is it your product, service, relationship, atmosphere, memories created, or some other intangible. Focus on that, even if it's not what they talk about, it may be that which can't be measured that's truly bringing them in.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Why do so many people choose to work so many hours rather than head home to be with the ones they love? Even if someones answer has something to do with how much they love their job or how honorable their profession is, it began with an insecurity one day. The insecurity that I am talking about is the one created when an employee is loaded consistently with more than can be completed without robbing precious time from their family.
I lived in that world once. I was working for a great organization with a chance to directly impact lives every day with the work I was doing. I believe there is a scene in the movie that describes how I felt about that job. It's the one in the movie Major League where the big dumb catcher stops his team mates in the middle of an argument and complaining about the team and says something to the effect of how lucky they are to get to play a game for a living. They were getting payed to play ball and that should be a dream come true. Well, that's how I felt. I was getting paid to play ball and it was a dream come true. That dream soon became a nightmare due to one thing... TIME.
I was consistently required to be at events in the evenings and was unable to make up the time during the day due to other work responsibilities needing to be done. I found myself working a full week and rarely able to take Friday (my day off) solely as family time. I put in every Saturday afternoon and evening as well as Sunday morning thru mid afternoon. Don't forget Wednesday nights and those were just the every week things. Ad in the "special occasions" that seemed to come up every week, and I was spending way too much time at work. Leadership with the organization would say things like "go home, make sure you spend time with your family". However, what was communicated or heard by employees was - go home and work late when your family is in bed so you'll be exhausted tomorrow because if you don't hit that deadline, it's not OK even though it's impossible to hit that deadline without robbing your family of that time. Oh and, for the record... I did say it was OK to go home and not worry about it. Weather I meant it or not.
This is where it is my goal to be different. I believe it is my job, as an employer, to make sure my team knows it's not only OK to go home and finish work later, but it's an order. Just let me know if you can't keep caught up in the agreed upon work time and we're good. This will never be a problem if you're here working hard when you're supposed to be at work. If you're working when supposed to be at home... you might hear me say. Go home - that's an order.
I believe that this will allow my team to have stronger relationships with friends and family and thus increasing their joy, loyalty, and productivity at work. It IS the responsibility of the employer. Regardless of what's said verbally, if your team feels pressure to steal time from their family to work... their leader is communicating the wrong thing some how.
Does your team feel that pressure? Or do they feel it's OK to let something at work wait until tomorrow? Really. Be honest with yourself.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I've got a friend who is a very successful real estate agent in the Edmond OK area. His name is Ryan Hukill and he sends a statement to everyone who calls on him. If you were to call Ryan and he was unable to answer your call on one of the first couple of rings, you would hear what seems to be a very standard voicemail message with his voice. However, finishing off his message he mentions out of respect for his family, any calls after 7pm will not be returned until the following day.
Ryan is a great guy and very humble. I'm sure he would tell you he's not perfect and has his struggles with balancing his family with his professional responsibilities. Ryan making a bold statement to everyone around him most importantly his wife and kids. When Ryan's phone rings, there's no doubt in their mind where they stand in relation to dad's work. He spends time working for them rather than spending time with instead of them.
Sure there may be hurried client that is inconvenienced by his decision, but Ryan has decided that is much better than cheating more time out of his wife and children that loan him to his clients enough as it is.
Ryan, you are an inspiration and I applaud your making this statement. I'm sure your family appreciates it too.
BTW... I'm changing my voicemail message today. Will you?
Monday, April 13, 2009
I'm smack dab in the middle of a great book. Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley. This book is really making me look at the way I spend my time. You see, the book is based on the principle that all of us cheat. We have to. There are not enough hours in the day or enough energy drinks in the world to allow us to give all that our work needs, as well as all that our families need. So, we cheat. We cheat one out of that time and focus to complete the other. Most of us end up cheating our families to give more to our employers. I know I have.
Many times I've come home physically exhausted or mentally drained and give a sighing "not today" to my girls when they come and excitedly ask me to bounce them high on the trampoline, to do a puzzle with them, or their favorite - to have fight night where we wrestle and my girls rain down elbows, Thai kicks, and elbows to my sore body. My wife has also shared her heart in a spirit of love, not complaining, about wishing I could "turn off" my work when the day is done. She worries about my stressing over things left undone or sleepless nights spent improving job related strategies for a client.
I think the first step changing this scenario is this. Think of your kids getting ready for school this morning. What things were done or said that got their day off on the right foot? Did you make memories with them this morning? Now, think of your spouse and the conversation you had before going your separate ways today. What things are they doing today? Do they know without a doubt that you value them more than the accolades or rewards you will receive from your work today?
Now for step two. If the first step struck you, it's time to make a decision today. Right now you need to decide if tomorrow will resemble this morning. Will your spouse feel that he/she is taking a back seat to the "attaboys" or promotion possibilities? If not, I need you to take the rest of today and notice the times your family is made to feel inferior. See the wind fall out of your daughter's sails when you tell her you don't have time to do a puzzle with her. Let it make you mad. Absolutely become furious and vow to do something about it.
Coming up this week, I'd like to share about someone I've found who is doing it right and some things for employers to remember and where they fall into this scenario.
What are the ways you've seen yourself cheating your family for your career? What have you done about it?
Friday, April 10, 2009
I met a friend at a nearby Starbucks yesterday and found some interesting things. Here are the reasons I believe they are struggling still struggling right now as a company. I know they've made moves to save the brand but it seems to be backfiring due to making the wrong moves. This is my take and I'd love to hear yours.
- Locations Closing - I know this was to shrink overhead, but seems to have created a list of other probems.
- Crowding - It was a slightly chilly morning in Oklahoma City and we were forced to sit outside due to absolutely zero free seats in the place. When there was a neighborhood location on every corner, this wasn't a problem. Once many of the city-wide locations closed, overcrowding occurred. The locations left should have had a remodeling project to take in more clients. Individual places crowded but companywide locations slowing.
- Atmosphere - Let's face it. People didn't fall in love with SB because they couldn't get their product elsewhere. It was because they provided an experience of a laid back, upscale environment for $5. That has turned into a loud bustling crowded chaos cooker.
- Convenience - Having a neighborhood SB was convenient but now many people must pass several SB competitors to find a SB.
- wifi - Why ask clients to pay for this? It's too cheap and I can get it anyplace else in town for free. I consistently meet clients at other locations who fall in love with their locally owned jewels.
- Local Coffee Cafe's - Individually owned local brands are popping up in the neighborhoods vacated by SB that are offering all of the things SB no longer does.
Where do you get your brew?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
So, yesterday we learned that God has plans for us to have a great future. Today, I'd like to make sure we're all reminded in our role while waiting on this future to play out. Sometimes, it's tempting to just hang out and wait, saying things like "God will work it out" or "I'm just waiting to see what God's plan for me is". Bad choice. We should always be looking and listening for God and His direction. Ready to leap at His call, even if it's leading us toward a different future than we'd imagine. But, that's not a license to be lazy.
Take these words from the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 6:6-11 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. -NLT
Wow! These words don't hold anything back. If we just sit around waiting on God to deliver us from our troubles, we are the lazybones this passage speaks of. What can you do to help while you anticipate the plans for a hope and a future we talked about yesterday in Jeremiah 29:11? Did you post a resume and leave it? Do you contact job openings in the Sunday paper? Or, are you calling businesses and walking in their doors to let them know you are available and willing to do what it takes? Meanwhile, how about flipping burgers, or mowing a lawn or two (it's not just for 14yr old boys but for adults responsible enough to do what it takes).
Things I'm doing while (keyword while as in at the same time as) I wait for my business to grow to goal size include substitute teaching, working part time doing kids programs for Mad Science of OKC, tile installation (pulling from an old trade of mine). And any other thing someone needs help with that will aide my family in paying the bills.
What are you doing to make it through the tough economic stretch? Got any ideas?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
With the economic situation seeming to loom over us like a huge dark cloud, it's understandable how so many people can wonder what God could possibly have in store for them. I know if you're someone who has lost his/her job, or who's business is struggling to hang on, you may feel like giving up. You May feel like things will not get better and you were left out of whatever "plan" everyone is telling you that God has.
Take comfort in this. God's very own words.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord. "I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes"... -NLT
I made a move to begin my own business as a marketing coach and web marketing specialist at the beginning of this year. I was previously making a good income working as a New Media Specialist for a large yellow page publisher. I know some may say it was a crazy move, however, I'm confident that God can and will honor my faith in Him as well as my business practices. I won't say that I don't get nervous (I'm human), and I can tell you that some days seem brighter than others. However, I know that once the curve that is and always has been our economic culture turns back up, it will be good to be moving and surviving already rather than trying to get in the game. I have a great future ahead of me. God says so.
So, now that we know that God loves us and has a plan for us. We also know we're not alone, we are all impacted by our economic climate in some way or another. So, do we just sit patiently and let His plan play out? Not a chance! God gives us specific instruction not to just sit waiting for Him to bail us out of our financial situation. What should you do? I'll give you a hint. Proverbs chapter 6. We'll discuss that in depth tomorrow.
What are you dealing with?
Monday, April 6, 2009
Speed is how fast or how much momentum you and your team or organization can gain in a certain direction or project. The higher your top speed, the harder it is for your competition to get in your way and slow you down.
Quickness is the ability of you or your organization to change direction and get to top speed of a different angle or on a project.
Too many times will I meet people who've confused the two as being the same thing. Many people and their organizations will focus on the speed of where they are heading and can't change direction when the market or their environment calls for it. Or, the person may be so over focused on being able to change things and react quickly, that they have great quickness but their top speed is so weak that they can't stay ahead of the curve for long.
The key is to have both. Give both things equal attention. You need both specialties on your team. You should have certain team members who have a top speed that is unrivaled and others who can help change direction with quickness that makes those changes in a heart beat. When you're team has both, you'll be able to gain and hold the lead in your field, no matter what changes your market throws at you.
Do you have both?
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
- Charge a Fee : When people have some "skin in the game" they will take the group and it's purpose more seriously.
- Have Structure : Having clear leadership structure as well as a clear structure for your periodic meetings will ensure your meetings maintain their purpose. You can have coffee with friends any time but networking groups are for passing referrals and making money.
- Don't Let Everyone In : Being selective of who may join your group will allow it's members to have more confidence in referring to other members as well as present somewhat of a "premier" image to the public of the group and it's members.
- Market To The Public : Marketing to the public will get the word out to potential members but more importantly, will help the group as a whole become more of a recognized name and find clients outside the group who are loyal users of your network and it's members.
- Reward Both Giving And Receiving : Rewarding the giving of referrals recognizes those who send their contacts to others in the group. Rewarding the receiving of referrals recognizes those doing the work to become trusted providers within the group. Those receiving the most referrals are often the people who are doing what it takes to know other group members and who are actively networking.
What would you ad to this list?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Last week I heard this story about Charlie Villanueva catching grief over sending a Twitter message to fans during halftime of a basketball game. One report mentioned Villanueva not seeing the difference in tweeting at halftime vs. giving a locker room interview at halftime.
It seems really simple to me. Media organizations spend big money with the NBA and it's franchises to have access to players at such times. If info will be given out freely, why would those organizations bow at the feet of NBA execs for that access? My guess is that the problem was not in his lack of focus (though that was the reasoning given in public), but rather the leapfrog effect it took over his superiors to provide the info during high demand times. Villanueva took bargaining power from his execs by providing his comments free of charge.
Maybe he should be traded to the Mavericks where owner Mark Cuban sees the advantages of using social media to improve his marketing position.
I'm a user and fan of Twitter but would suggest anyone who uses it to not let it take away from their time they are being payed to work or from the leverage their employer has on their market. If those two things are followed... tweet away.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I filled in as a substitute teacher last Friday at a high school near my home. The coach who I was filling in for, left nothing but a sheet of riddles for the students to ponder to kill the time (yes, the teacher was a coach... stereotype accomplished). Having dealt with teens before, I knew that I had to make the riddles worth their time. Teens are no different from any other person you'll come in contact with. If they feel like you are being disrespectful of them, they're more likely to treat you with disrespect. And wasting anyone's time (even a teenager's) with "busy work" that wouldn't have any impact on them or the reason why they are there, is disrespectful.
The class was supposed to be a teen leadership class, so, I decided to explain why the riddles were important in leadership. We did the riddles together as a class. Then discussed how many of the riddles had different possible answers. The great thing was that some of the students had answers but couldn't explain why or how their answers were correct. One student even looked up the answers on his iPhone but still couldn't explain why the answer he had written down was correct. Therefore other students were doubtful and reluctant to follow his lead in writing down his answers. It was clear to see, however, that some other students had a reason for answering a certain way, were passionate about it, and could communicate that reasoning and therefore were able to lead the rest of the group to their way of thinking and even to changing their answer.
The key to this: Understanding and being able to clearly communicate why you believe a certain way or believe in taking certain action is more important in building a following than whether or not you know the expected "correct" answer. Many times people are willing to take a chance and follow you if they know why. Life is not an elementary school flash card. People don't care who's first in shouting a flippant solution. Knowing why your solution is best, and being able to communicate that with passion to you followers is key.
Are there things you're sure of but you're not sure why you're sure?
Friday, March 27, 2009
I often hear people talk about wondering what to do with their lives. I've even wondered myself. Now, I'm not talking about whether to spend my Saturday watching college basketball or roaming "children's expo" to show my kids all sorts of cool toys they'll never own. I'm talking about people wondering every day what they can do to make a difference. How can I leave a legacy. Everyone wants to have that feeling that once they take the long nap, their work will live on, either through their children or through the people who's lives have been touched by their work.
The answer to this question is quite simple. Everyone should align their life toward their holy discontent. What is holy discontent? Oh, well that's pretty simple actually. Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv is who I first heard speak of this. I've since heard people describe it in many ways and noticed that Bill Hybels has even written a book about it (e-version). I'll describe it like this. - Holy discontent is different in every person. It's a certain situation, injustice, illness, etc. that, when you witness it, makes you so angry or upset you could cry. Then when you happen to be witness to something being done about it, you are so touched and happy you get chills and cry. There, that's a simple meaning of holy discontent.
All of us have some form of holy discontent. Put there intentionally by God, to pull at us and urge us toward a life of using the unique passions and talents that He has instilled in each of us individually. It is up to us to align our lives to leave a mark on the world in our area of holy discontent in the name of Christ. For some, it may mean changing careers to become a full time mommy, or work for a non-profit organization. For others, your full time job may seem to have nothing to with your holy discontent, but is a means of funding or allowing time to do the things needed to leave your mark.
See, that was easy. Now you know what to do with your life. Well, once you figure out what your holy discontent is.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Neighborhood pools will be opening soon here in Oklahoma. Parents will take their kids to the pool and discuss with themselves whether or not to take a swim. For those deciding to get wet, there are two ways they can go about their first swim of the season.
Some test the water with their toe, then slowly walk down the steps of the pool for that first late spring swim. Unfortunately, when someone takes that approach, they're sure to get to that "certain point" that is very sensitive to the temperature change. Then a decision has to be made - do I keep going? or do I turn back and dry in the warm sun? This is a critical point and this opportunity to cancel the swim rarely make for a good, enjoyable swim.
The other group will walk to the edge of the pool. Stand at about the halfway point between the shallow and deep ends... and jump! Up they will bob for their first gasp of air and shout "dang that was cold". But they will often think... I'm already wet, might as well swim. Minutes later they will have acclimated to their new environment, and enjoy their first swim of the season and post memories of playing in the pool to their kid's mind.
So, what's that have to do our everyday life? I'll use this explanation to explain.
I recently hired a new sales rep. I will be riding with him today as we meet some new businesses. I will tell him that story and ask him to make a choice. He can dip his toe into this new adventure. If he does, he's sure to get to that uncomfortable spot, where his time and efforts are colder than the warmth of his commissions. He'll at that point have to decide whether or not to keep going in hopes of a secure future with high commissions in or to run to the refuge of a comfortable salary job. Or, he can jump in with reckless abandon. No turning back. Come up for air in a couple of weeks and say "dang that was cold" but, I'm already in and might as well swim. Next thing you know, the discomfort will be over and he'll have nice commissions to aide him in making memories with his family.
This is true not just in beginning a new job, but in any change you're considering.
What will you do? - test the water? or JUMP?
Monday, March 23, 2009
This past weekend, I took a visit to the Tulsa, OK area to visit one of my brothers. It was a great trip, and we were able to play some card games and visit while my daughters spent some time with cousins they rarely see even though we live less than two hours apart. After piling on sofas for our Saturday night slumber, we did what most Christian families do on Sunday mornings - argue with our kids about doing what needs to get done so we can get to church on time. Oh, don't look so shocked. It happens at your house too. Anyway, one of the nice things about being a partner/member of LifeChurch.tv, is the ability to attend our "home" church in many cities around the country (or world using their Internet campus). We decided yesterday to visit the mid-town Tulsa Campus located on 41st street. Since we've only once visited a LC campus other than the Oklahoma City Campus that we call home.
Being a marketing minded guy, my mind always takes mental notes of my experience when walking into any business or organization that invites people in. That is, after all, a key determining factor that determines whether or not people will enjoy their visit and do business/visit your organization again. Following is a run down on my experience yesterday at the LifeChurch.tv, Tulsa OK Campus.
- The drive up: My wife and I are not familiar with the Tulsa area but found the campus easy to locate and, even better, the building appeared to be one of the best kept in the area. The signage and even colors of the building were uniform with what we recognized in a different city. These things made us feel good about pulling in.
- Parking: The parking lot was sort of cramped but I realized later that there was more parking available at the rear of the building. Not a turn off or a turn on for me. Getting out was simple and that was more important to me.
- Kids area: I really liked the layout of the kids area. I'm sure that if we'd gotten assistance to check our kids in, we'd have been directed as to where to take them, however, we used our existing LifeKIDS check in number and assumed we'd easily find where to go. Toon Town (the 6yr old thru 4th grade experience) was easy to find since it was near the check in area, but we initially weren't sure where to take our 4 yr old. We saw there were some rooms upstairs so assumed we'd head that way. Once rounding the corner to the second lift on the flight of stairs we saw a sign telling us to take a left to find our destination. I didn't notice a sign at the bottom of the stairs telling us to go there to begin with. If it was there, it wasn't as obvious as the sign at the top of the stairs. Problem was that we couldn't see the one at the top of the stairs until we already committed to that direction anyway.
- Main Lobby: We headed to the main lobby which had a great buzz to it. Unlike the Oklahoma City lobby where people seem to rush in and rush out, many not arriving until the worship music had begun or seeming annoyed by bumping into someone else on their way out as fast as possible, this place was full of people grouping in circles and sharing their week's experience. It made one feel like you could make a friend and be in a "circle of friends" by next week. It had a great feel and you could even get a smile rather than a glare if you made eye contact with someone you didn't know.
- Into The Experience Room: Upon walking into the main experience room, you got the feeling that something big was about to happen. The lights were down. Spot lights were slowly scanning the room through a hazy fog. It was great. Here I was, a long time LifeChurch member who knew the basis if the week's pre-recorded message (more on that later) and I still could feel my pulse increasing and myself getting anxious as the 10 minute countdown began and the crowd began to flow in to get their seat. This was real nice because I was anticipating a worship experience where people were already in the room rather than being distracted by seat shuffling as people finally came in all though the worship experience. I'm the kind of guy who is prone to close my eyes and focus on God during this time, but often get distracted by the late arrivers (I know that's a pretty selfish comment, but hey, that time is to focus on God, right?). I just appreciated the anticipation that drew the crowd in early. I was much less distracted even though the place was much more crowded.
- Worship: This is something I was really looking forward to. I am a huge fan of Derrick Henslee (the worship pastor there). Behind my friend Stephen Cole, he may be my favorite guy to lead me in worship. These two seem to not try so hard to "lead worship" as much as they are the "lead worshipers". That passion really softens me up. I was terribly disappointed in this part of my visit. Derrick "seemed" to do great, however, I could barely make out a word that he sang. I'm a huge fan of pumping up the volume of the music. I'm a horrible singer so I only want God himself to hear me singing along. I don't even care to hear myself. But, the level of volume I experienced yesterday made me miserable. All of the instruments seemed to blend together as one big noise. It was so loud that I thought my ears might bleed. Unfortunately, after looking forward to worshiping with Mr. Henslee, I was praying for this segment of the experience to end as soon as possible.
- Pastor's Welcome: After the musical torture experience, we were welcomed from the stage by Dave Branham. This was good. He made me feel welcome and didn't come across as if he was racing through some over-rehearsed stage time influencing opportunity. There were even times that he seemed to search for his next words. It was nice, normal, human, welcoming.
- Message: This was the second week of a three week teaching by guest Dave Ramsey. I won't say much about it other than that it was AWESOME. If you didn't experience this message, I'd suggest you click HERE and watch the last two weeks on line. Then make plans to watch next weekend's message in person or on line if there's not a LifeChurch campus near you.
- The Final Moments: The close and exit of the experience all went smooth. Back in the lobby, people were mingling and enjoying each other's company rather than rushing home.
Overall, if this campus was closer to home, I'd definitely visit again. However, I would hope that my ears were not assaulted again.
Let me know your thoughts and tell me about some places you've visited. How was your experience and how will it effect future visits.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Many sales gurus will speak of two major truths that will entice people to buy - fear of loss and hope of gain. These talking heads will encourage sales people to speak highly of the gains and benefits of their product or service to promote the hopeful gain of doing business with them. Or, they will reverse that effect by telling horror stories or making up worse case scenarios to create a fear of loss by not buying what they have to offer.
Sales Reps - please hear this... That doesn't work! We've all had too many of you vomiting that crap at us for too many years! Nobody believes your rehearsed success stories and nobody is buying your outrageous fear tactics. I don't care if your lawn spray kills the most poisonous spiders in South America. I live in Oklahoma, I don't believe that story you told me about the shipment of bananas being spilled on a neighborhood street Germany releasing spiders from their crates and killing all the people and pets within a 10mile radius. I don't believe it happened and doubt it will happen in my neighborhood. You tell me that story and I'm likely to not even buy your basic lawn treatment.
That is just one silly made-up example but organizations and entire industries use tactics like this to increase the movement of their products.
However, I've met one individual who is doing it right. Her name is Sherri Booth and she sells EcoQuest air purifiers (you can visit her website here). She simply tells you about the machine, how it works, and what it's supposed to do. Next, she allows you to place a machine in your home for 10 days. If you feel it works. Your allergies are relieved, you can't smell your pets when you walk in the door and such like that, then you can buy the machine after the 10 day trial. If you don't think it does, she picks up her machine and no money changes hands. That's right. She doesn't ask you to pay and say you can return it in 10 days. Instead, she lets you try it first. If you experience the gain from the use of her product you know it (not from some story she made up) and if you feel you'll loose the benefits you've gained, you've created your own fear of loss (because you must return the machine at the end of 10 days).
I'd like to see more companies taking this approach. Let me decide what my gain is from your product and let me decide what my loss would be if I decide not to keep your product or service. How's this working for Sherri? Her customers purchase about 70% of the machines that she places. Much better than most closing rates for sales.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I took my daughters, who are now ages 9 and 4, to my mother's house yesterday. They will spend two nights there durring spring break. This is the first time my 4yr old, Ruthie, has stayed overnight like this. We pulled up the drive and my girls ran right up and through the door of Nana's house.
My wife and I went in to visit for a while before leaving. The whole time there my mind kept wandering to think about our youngest daughter spending her first nights away from home. I was stalling. Finally, Ruthie came back into the living room (she had found the Disney Channel on a TV in Nana's room), she grabbed me by the arm and pulled to try and yank me out of my seat. "I'm ready for you to go" she said. My heart sank. Yet, at the same time, I was so proud of her bravery. I honored her request and figured that was the best time to get out without a scene.
During the drive home I was thinking about what Ruthie had said to me. "I'm ready for you to go." But, I wasn't ready. I think deep down I wanted my little girl to cry and ask to come home with me when it was time for me to leave. Ruthie was ready to step up to another level of maturity and, as her daddy, I wasn't ready for that. I should be happy. After all, isn't my job as a parent supposed to be preparing them for that next step in maturity. I guess I should have immediately began to search for that next level to teach her, prepare her for, or challenge her with. So why is it that my eyes fill with tears as I write this?
I think we all do this in some ways. For some of us, it's not wanting our kids to take that next step in maturity or independence. For some people it's for different reasons. Maybe it's a feeling of codependency and needing to be needed. For others, it's a realization that growth and that next level of maturity means you need to let go of some control. And we like to be in control.
This can be evident in many areas of our lives. From the business owner that seems to "hamstring" his business by slowing growth because he knows deep down inside that he'll need to let go of some of the control over details he has with a small operation. Or the growing Christ follower who needs to take that next step in her relationship with Christ, but knows that it means turning over her worries and letting them go to HIM. She wants to worry, even though that won't fix her problems.
Our greatest role as leaders is to help those around us grow. That means that many times, great leaders don't gain more control over the situation around them, instead, they prepare those around them to take control. It's hard at times to let someone else have control over something we're responsible for, but, if we've don a good job as a leader and handed that control over to the right person, it will ultimately help your business, organization, or family, step up to the next level of maturity.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
HR departments are notorious for trying their hardest to hire the cheapest person for the position available. I recently saw a Craigslist.org post that was put up by a large publishing company (mainly newspaper) in the OKC area. It simply said they were looking for Social Media Specialist and was accompanied by a long list of requirements that an applicant must posses. Hmm... maybe a good freelance opportunity, I thought.
I sent a simple email stating that I would be interested in discussing the position along with links to my FaceBook page, LinkedIn profile, and my blog. The next day I received an email from the company's marketing department expressing their interest in me and requesting my salary requirements. Whoa there! Talk about putting the cart before the horse. We hadn't even talked about the details like the expectations and needs of the company and they wanted me to commit to a price I would be willing to fill those needs for?
Eventually, I got them to divulge the salary range for the position but still have no idea what their expectations are. As I would understand by the position title (Social Media Specialist) the chosen candidate might do some of the following things in that role.
- Update and maintain social media sites that represent the said company.
- Maintain, write (maybe co-write, or schedule writers) of a company blog.
- Constantly search for other blogs and posts for information that might be of interest or use of the said company.
Funny thing is, if this does happen to be what the company I communicated with had in mind, I don't think it would require full time commitment and could be done for about half of what they are offering. However, they are asking for a 40 hour commitment. Most people who are skilled in and experienced in social media and social networking, will require about 15% - 20% more than what they are offering to commit full time. This is because most people in this line of work do some freelance and personal marketing to provide income and that would be hindered by one 40 hour commitment.
Chances are the above company will end up with a semi-experienced, semi-committed employee who is content in accepting 40 hours of pay for a job that should take 20-30 hours to complete. This person will likely spend the other 10-20 hours of their week (for which they are getting paid) chatting by the water cooler, checking personal email or tasks, being monitored, causing stress for their supervisor, and so on.
If the decision makers in the hiring process are flexible, will discuss their needs openly and candidly, and not try to land the cheapest 40 hour employee... they could get the same job done, in half the time, by a more experienced individual, who'll show more care, attention to detail, creativity, and passion for the task... at half the price.
The cheapest person for the job will often end up being your most expensive option and will rarely be the best person for the job.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I arrived at a great Asian restaurant last night in anticipation of an event hosted by the local chamber of commerce. As I stood in the lobby with 8 or 9 other confused chamber members, it was evident that we were in the wrong place. Quickly, everyone fired up their iPhones and PDAs to recheck the chamber website. Yep. According to the events calendar on the site, we were in the right place. I then sent a couple of text messages and had the correct location at hand. However, by this time, we were 30 minutes into a 2 hour event and the correct location was about 20 min away, so we all decided that dinner and social networking for 10 would do just fine for tonight.
Whether a business, church, charity organization, or any other organization, having the correct information available is important. It's time to find yourself awakened to the fact that in 2009 most people will look for your information on the web. Some may only look on the web. It's too easy to get the word out about your event or changes in an event, for anyone in your possible circle of influence to go un-notified.
One thing that happened in this example that I see in many business websites is that the information on the site was incorrect. Once again, editing the location of an event or changing a few words is too simple to let it go undone. If the information on your site is incorrect, it is likely not neutral but rather hurting your cause. In the case of last night, 10 people would have sought the location of that event if they hadn't been under the impression that they already knew where it was. Heck I trusted the people that put it on. Or at least I trusted their site.
Look at the information you're putting out in your emails, calendars, and on your site. Is it up to date? Do yourself and your cause a favor and fix it now.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I was driving through a strip mall parking lot the other day and saw an old friend walking out of a store. I quickly pulled up to him and rolled down the window. After a few quick "hellos and how ya doings" he said... "I guess I'd better go. My wife's in the truck and we're on the way to the hospital." What's going on, I asked. To which he replied, "she's in labor and we're on the way to have the baby".
WOW! Stopping in at the store was a real gutsy decision. My wife would've killed me. I'm sure when his bruises heal and everything plays out they'll have a good story to tell.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I took my daughter Halee to Target on Friday, hoping to relieve her of that burning sensation that her birthday money has been causing on her hip for the last few weeks. I kid like that but she was really diligent in deciding what to spend it on. She decided it would be fun for she and her sister to play with walkie-talkies, so, that's where we headed. She told me on the way in, she wanted a movie if she had enough money too.
Once inside she found the "perfect" communication devices for only $14.98. Then off to the movie section to find Beverly Hills Chiwawah. We found it with a glistening sign that said "$5.00 gift card with purchase of Beverly Hills Chiwahwah" Great! the movie was $18.99, but with the $5.00 gift card, she might have enough with the $30 she already had plus the gift card. So... off to the register we go. That was too easy. At the register, she paid for the movie first so she might use the gift card for the walkie-talkies. No gift card. What?
The young man at the register explained that you must need a second purchase of some sort to validate the purchase. "This happens all the time" he said. He called the manager over who explained that you must buy that movie AND Air Bud Special Edition to receive the gift card. A second look at the display revealed a second sign in a different location on the display with fine print outlining the details. "What an idiot" I thought of myself. Exactly the tone the manager took as he explained how an informed shopper would read all the signage on the display. Then it hit me. The guy at the register said it happens all the time. Including earlier that day with a Kellogg's promotion with a similar offer. $5.00 gift card with purchase of 2 of a certain type of cereal (must buy a total of 5 Kellogg's products to validate the offer).
Why not be more clear on the offer? Why make your customers feel stupid at the register with people waiting in line behind them? Why try to embarrass your customers into a purchase?
We didn't by the second movie. Mom and Dad covered the balance of Halee's purchase. Target duped us. But, they also won't see me in their store again. If I'd been the only one making this mistake, I'd feel differently but I believe this was a dishonest marketing tactic. Remember, the register guy said "it happens All The Time".
Duped me once. My daughter and I were embarrassed and treated like idiots by management in your store. Won't give you the chance to dupe me again.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Referral groups are a great way to grow your business. Google the term "business referral groups" + your city and you'll get a great list of places to start checking out. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when choosing which group to devote the majority of your time with.
1. Make sure the group focuses on referrals and not leads. The difference is this.
- LEAD: Hey, I just met with a guy who could really use some help getting traffic to his web site. I know he mentioned needing help with that. You should call him. Here's his contact info.
- REFERRAL: Hey, I just met with a guy who could really use some help getting traffic to his web site. He even mentioned needing help with it. I told him JC Riley is the guy who can get that done. I sent him to AFHmarketing.com and gave him your number. I also told him I'd let you know and have you give him a call.
2. This is not one of those times when you simply buzz around handing out your business card. Though it's nice to get the chance to do business with the people in your group. However, your purpose should be to do business with the circle of influence that the people in the group know. The ultimate target shouldn't be the group themselves.
3. Build relationships. Nobody should or will use their personal equity that they work hard to build to put their name on the line for people they don't know. Just being in a group with someone doesn't entitle you to their circle of influence. Get to know the others in the group. Maybe do some sample work for them so they can see your quality and grow to trust you with their word.
4. Be a giver. Not just a receiver. You'll need to begin looking for opportunities to give good quality referrals long before you expect to receive them. Let the others in the group feel obligated to send business your way to catch up with the money you're making for them. Don't get behind and let them wonder if you'll ever send them a referral even though they've sent you several.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Networking events. Make it to all of them you can. Chamber events. Wine tastings. After hours mixers. All of them.
I'll be at one tonight. Practical Marketing Solutions is a "grass roots" marketing company located in Edmond Ok. They specialize in all types of guerrilla marketing techniques. From canvasing, to trade shows, ribbon cuttings, press releases, they handle all of those things. They even hold periodic networking events for all of their clients to meet at the location of a different chosen client each time. This brings people in their doors as well as providing a chance for people to learn each others business.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Many sales managers will tell their sales reps that they can make a great living and hit bonus numbers by swinging 25 doors per day? That is sooooooo... 2008.
Ten years ago, companies began to flood their markets with feet on the street. Outside sales reps with assigned geographic territories was the preferred method of acquiring and maintaining a customer base. Problem is, EV-ER-Y BOD-Y did it. Soon companies had large sales forces raking in six figure salaries while maintaining current customer bases.
Then 3-5 years ago, those same companies decided to get their money's worth out of their sales reps. So, they upped the pressure and shrunk their sales force. Along with it came a new focus on new customer acquisition. This forced the outside sales rep to play "bump and run" coverage with their clients and ignore those proven retention based practices they were so good at just a few years earlier.
With this new shift in management, sales tactics, and salesmanship styles... customers began to feel slighted. They haven't been able to get their calls answered. After repetitively being treated like a cash cow rather than being made to feel valued for their commitment and loyalty, customers have begun to strike back. Each day, the trust level between potential customers and sales reps is being depleted. That 25 doors per day mark is now 35 doors that a sales rep needs to swing before finding an interested prospect. Sales reps that were once welcomed with open arms carrying in baskets of bagels, are now ushered out with the same disregard and disgust of a mother receiving a call from their favorite telemarketer as she tiredly sits down with her family for a home cooked meal. Ad in the current economic pressures and past experiences of those potential customers, the field of play will continue to get tougher.
I'll share some ideas on how outside sales reps should dial into this new perception in 2009 as we go through the week. Or, maybe I should say, in the spring of 2009. Because we all know, it could change by fall.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Do you have a client that costs you money. Most of us have had one at some time or another. It's the guy who needs constant attention, doesn't trust your expertise, or just plain takes too much of your time. It may look like this...
- The homeowner that lingers over the service contractor questioning the hows and whys of every step of his process and material used.
- The restaurant patron who complains about everything from the temperature of the room, to the softness of the green beans.
- In my world, the netWORX marketing client that needs to know every detail of how you manage the account.
Most of the time, these customers are not the best paying ones. Maybe there service has some sentimental value that has kept you at their beckon call all this time. (One of few constant repeat customers, your first customer, business is slow and they are A customer). But, chances are, you'd be better off without them. Figure the time you spend making them happy or answering their questions. How much does it slow you down? Take your profit from having them as a customer and subtract dollars lost in time and stress of pleasing them. How long would it take you to find a replacement customer to make up the difference in their value.
It is more important during a slow economy than ever before, to chose your customers wisely. You can't afford to run in circles for little or no profit. Seek the
Chances are, not long. It is more important during a slow economy than ever before, to chose your customers and how you spend your time wisely. You can't afford to run in circles pleasing one difficult customer (and every business has one) for little or no profit.
Which customers do you need to fire today?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Yesterday I ate the best PB&J sandwich ever. It's really easy. Here you go.
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1/4 cup of blueberries
- Crush the blueberries with a fork or put them in one of those little dicing things. Like a Magic Bullet but I use some sort of other brand that works awesome too.
- Spread the peanut butter on once slice of the bread
- Spread the crushed/diced blueberries on the other slice
- Mash 'em together.
- Make another
- Make a 3rd
If you follow steps 1-5 only... congratulations, you've just made the healthiest peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever known to mankind. If you followed steps 1-9, you found a way to screw that healthy thing up.
The thing is, it's not only health, but I think it was the best tasting one I've ever had as well.
Monday, February 23, 2009
My wife and I had an interesting conversation a few days ago. You see, she was playing the Bubble Breaker game on my phone (a popular favorite around the Riley home), when she saw I had a reminder scheduled on my calendar to pray with my wife.
Does the fact that I had to schedule that prayer time still make it sincere?
Absolutely. Whether you're reminder is to pray with your spouse, praise your kids, or praise your employees, the fact that you schedule it means that it's important to you. If you didn't care, you might just "hope you remember". Because spending focused time in prayer with and for my wife and the things that may be on her mind is important to me, I want to make sure it doesn't slip my mind. Same goes with my kids. If the reminder to praise my daughter shows up and I've not intentionally looked for something positive to praise her about, I find something right then to remind her how she pleases me.
Be careful though not to make that time just be a check mark on you "things to do" list. If it appears to be just a check mark, it will not be genuine or well received. Only do this if it is really truly important to you. But, please do remind yourself if it's important to you. Don't let it slip you mind.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I was surfing the net this morning and came across what I thought was an entertaining blog entry. It is a compilation of similes, metaphors, and analogies written by English students across the country. The lack of my own knowledge of proper writing kept me from poking fun at or even realizing those mistakes in their entries, however, some are pretty creative and humorous.
It made me think of sitting with some friends watching a ball game one time and when one of my friends was teasing another, the second simply looked and said... "I'm about to go Bobby Knight on you." We all nearly peed our pants at the thought of our friend choking the other with his hands or throwing chairs across the room like the infamous coach throwing a fit during a game of hoops.
I remember once when my wife was pregnant someone made a comment about her being so skinny with just a round belly sticking out in front. Saying... "It's like a marble taped to a pencil." I think it was meant as a compliment too. My dad used to get mad and say he was about to "be on me like stink on sh*#t." I have a friend that will say he's "busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest."
What are some of the favorites you've heard?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What if sales based organizations focused on customer retention as much as they focus on customer acquisition? I know that most companies say that's a focus for them but their action plan states something different.
How does your commission plan or bonus plan for your sales team encourage retention rather than simply acquisition? Too many times sales reps are rewarded for playing "bump-and-run" coverage with your customers. Companies do this by shuffling accounts among reps, paying high sign bonuses on sales, or by paying inflated early commissions that deflate over time. Techniques like this are meant to force ones sales force to continue to seek new clients rather than settling in a comfort zone thus slowing focus. These practices all are counter productive to your bottom line and your companies reputation. They encourage your team to make the fast money and forget their client in order to move on to the next paycheck.
Chances are that you can afford to pay in month 3, month 6, month 16, and month 36 what you paid in month one. Why not pay a good, fair, commission that recurs as a client continues business with your company.
My hope is that my sales reps will all one day hit a comfort level with the amount of recurring accounts they maintain repetitive business with and can spend their time drinking coffee with and maintaining a good relationship with those accounts for the long term. When that happens, I'll simply hire a new rep to sell those new accounts and keep them coming in.
I believe that this will avoid the pinwheel of sales reps cycling through my office that so many companies have. Rather than feeling like their running on a treadmill, they can actually reach the goal of this race.
Monday, February 16, 2009
An effective website is a 3-Headed monster.
- Content - Surely you have something to say to people visiting your site. Maybe yours is for entertainment, information, sales, networking or any combination of purposes. Without content that matches it's purpose, it won't do it's job.
- Design - No matter how great your content is, you must have good design to keep people there. Your site must be easy on the eye and visually appealing as well as easy to navigate and map through.
- Visibility - This is th most often missed absolute of having an effective website. Let's say you have a wonderfully designed, easy to navigate, beautiful website that's packed full of interesting content. Who cares if nobody sees it. There was a day (about fefteen years ago) when you could throw your site on the World-Wide-Web and anyone looking for your type of content would end up there. Those days are over my friend. It's time to start thinking about how you will get people to visit your site.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I am a huge fan of the YMCA and all it does for the communities where their locations are. Currently the YMCA Association in the Oklahoma City metro area (including the Edmond OK Y's) is running their Strong Kids Campaign.
This is a campaign to raise money that is used to provide invaluable services to the community. A single mom might receive assistance through childcare so that her kids have a safe place to go after school. Young kids receive swim and water safety lessons. Each year thousands of area kids enjoy day camps provided by the YMCA. These are the same kids that otherwise would be left home alone and experimenting with who knows what.
I encourage each of you to give to the local YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. You can contact the Edmond Oklahoma Area Y's by calling (405) 348-9622. You can call and make your commitment. Payment can be deferred until October if needed.
Just call up and say that you read about it on my blog.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I often see vehicles driving around town with a company logo on them. Unfortunately, most of them are a waste of space. The reason is that most of them have the name of a product or company that doesn't include what the product is or what the company does.
For instance, if you saw a billboard or logo on a vehicle that simply read "netWORX 405.761.0266", it probably would read nothing. Even if you could benefit from this service, you'd never know because you don't even know what netWORX is.
Replay. What if that same billboard or vehicle said "netWORX helping your site be found on the web 405.761.0266"? Now, that says something totally different. If I've been wondering how to get traffic to my site, you just told me you can help.
Advertising your brand is great, however, you must have a strong brand or also state what that brand does.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I just turnded 30 last week and, though I'm not devestated like a prom queen with a zit, it is like someone has flipped a switch in my head. I have this feeling like all of the sudden, I'm supposed to be something different. I'm kind of a high energy guy who can have fun in the most boring of meetings. However, it's as if that was fine last week (when I was in my 20's), but is unacceptable now. What is it about 30 that makes me feel like I have to stop all the fun and become a stiff?
I don't care to fight the aging. I welcome the gray hair, wrinkles, and wisdom I gain each year. However, I refuse to grow up. A wise man once said... "We don't stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing."
Monday, February 2, 2009
Many small businesses are made up of partnerships on some level. Make sure you have tough conversations up front so you can preserve your relationships later. You both should have a say in major decisions, but should decide up front which tasks, departments, employee groups, or projects that each of you will have primary responsibility for.
This will help streamline you business making you more agile in your changing economic environment, as well as prevent the ocassional hurt feelings over not being included or, more importantly, prevent your business from missing an opportunity due to someone not knowing if they had authority to make certain decisions. Missing an opportunity due to inaction can be tragic. So, instead, set up checks and balances as to what decisions need consulting and which ones are futile. For this reason though it is important that you place yourselves in the roles you are best in, not the ones you like best.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Maybe this one's not much of a marketing technique, but, it can be fun and most importantly, helps others. If your business operates on a "professional" dress code, chances are that the folks in your office would like to have "casual dress" Fridays. Try this approach.
- Survey your staff to find out what charitable organization your team might be most passionate about overall.
- Offer up "casual dress" Friday... with a catch.
- To participate in the casual dress code to end each week, they must put up $5.00 that will be donated to the charity each quarter. The charity can even rotate quarter to quarter.
This will make Fridays fun and bring your team together for a common cause. Best of all, it's a win/win for all involved. Employees get their casual Friday. Charitable organizations around your community are aided financially. And, if you play the cards right, your company gets some much appreciated pub.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
If your company sells high commitment items this works great for you. By high commitment items, I mean any product or service that, for the most part, requires some thought or consideration by the buyer. For instance, a new pair of jeans at the mall = low commitment. A new car = high commitment. Are we on the same page? Good.
Here's what we plan to do here at All For HIM Marketing Solutions. During the month of February 2009, we will be working to raise contributions for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. Each time a client signs up for our netWORX search engine marketing service or purchases a custom built website from us, we will donate $25 to the Strong Kids Campaign. Pretty good contribution per sale but hey, it's a high commitment sale, we're willing to sacrifice $25 for a good cause that helps many many families.
- The idea behind this is that this mission might raise some questions and awareness of how the YMCA contributes to their local community (I'll post on this next week). Other benefits from this effort will hopefully be abundant be three of the things we're hoping for are...
- Bringing some of those fence straddlers over to our side. Most organizations have potential clients who are perfect fits for their product or service, know they need to sign up, but just beat all around the bush when it comes to inking paper and writing a check. You know they'll sign up some time, question is, will it be before you retire or long after your grand children take over the family business. Hopefully this will give those procrastinators a reason to commit now rather than later.
- Letting people know that some businesses care about their community and those organizations that help them and their families. There's something to be said for giving money to an organization that effects you or someone you know. For instance, aren't you more likely to buy that overpriced wrapping paper and canned popcorn from the local elementary students, if it's your niece selling it, rather than just some random kid from another city who's going door to door in your neighborhood? Same principle.
- Raising lots of dough for an awesome organization. The biggest part of this mission is that we will hopefully be writing a huge check for the YMCA and the community it supports. The bigger the check... the more money we made, the more help the YMCA receives, and the more support the YMCA can give to the community.
Once again, this is a win/win for all involved. By the way, if you need a website or need help getting people to visit your site, we can help. You can contact All For HIM Marketing Solutions at (405) 761-0266. Do business now to help the YMCA.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Find an organization and donate some THING they need. Chances are, that you may be able to brand it with your logo. Here's just one idea. Take it and run with it.
- Find a non-profit who uses bottled water and offer to donate a couple of pallets with your logo. Depending on the organization, you might split the label with half your company info and half the organization's info.
- Go to www.BeOnWater.com and order your water with your custom label and have it delivered to the organization.
- Next thing you know, the organization is passing out your business advertisement all over.
It might look something like this. The local soccer league or concession stand that raises money for your local school's PTO. You donate the water, they sell it and the money goes to the organization. They are passing out your info on the label to every thirsty person at the concession stand. All those people see a community oriented business that has donated to their local school or soccer club their kids are in. That's called common ground.
Once again, It's a win/win for the organization, people getting the water, and your business. Everybody gets what they need.
There's the idea... Make it yours.