Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Often Do You Remind Your Network that New Business is Desired

When you attend a networking event are you asking for help?

This is how networking at a business event works:
  • Go to event and talk with people you know and do not know
  • In every conversation, as needed, tell the other person what you do
  • Always ask what you might do to help them if the connection seems appropriate
  • End every conversation (when appropriate) by telling the person you are talking to what kind of clients you are looking for and asking that he/she keeps you in mind
Note: "When appropriate" is meeting someone that you feel a business chemistry with, is dealing with people and companies that match your target client and feels to be solid a professional.

I have been to too many events, just like the one I attended this evening, where I listen to a lot of people engaged in conversation and very few actually working the event and attempting to make real, productive, business development connections.

It just seems like such a waste of time if we're taking this time away from our family, friends, and lifestyle if we're not going to actually work an event toward a productive ending . . . .

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Marketing Defined and Writing to be Understood

A reader asked me to expand on my comments about reader comprehension by providing an example. O.K.

I ran across a couple of interesting definitions of "marketing"
"Marketing: find out what your customers want and then give it to them."
Tim Cohn, Marketing Consultant and Author

"Marketing and innovation are the two chief functions of business. You get paid for creating a customer, which is marketing. And you get paid for creating a new dimension of performance, which is innovation. Everything else is a cost center."
Peter Drucker

"Marketing is the art of getting one or more people to sit up, pay attention, and take action."
Bruce Allen

A general definition of marketing:
The act or process of buying and selling in a market.

Another marketing definition:
The commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer.
The definitions are real -- take them for what they mean to you.

The writing styles are real too. Take a look at the definitions again and think about how you comprehended each statement. I imagine that just like me, you had to re-read a few of them just to get on top of what the writer is saying.

Do your readers a favor and write with simple and friendly words. Don't make your audience work to comprehend your message!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Create from Scratch or Build from Example

The great crutch of mediocre marketers is the habit of looking at what other people have created and building something "better" on top of what they produced. It is easy to do but almost never produces good results. It is a bad crutch.

The way I prefer to work is from scratch -- no looking at what other firms have done -- just create what feels right and appropriate. No doubt this path is the tougher of two but it is the most rewarding of both.

I am working with a firm that hired a web development firm to create their website. The developer's website is almost identical to the law firm I represent.... Can you imagine that both firms have an audience that needs to see and feel the same thing? One offers web development and the other legal services.

It has been my experience that the easy way is never the best path to extraordinary. If YOUR firm is truly different then I encourage you to step back, take a deep breath, and dive into creating your marketing from scratch.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Two Things to Create More Compelling Collateral

There are hundreds of tips and ideas for creating compelling printed and electronic collateral, but today I had an interesting set of experiences that reminded me of two things that really matter -- the feel of the piece, and reader comprehension level.

The Feel of the Piece: I was working on a referral sheet (see my previous post) today that was just not coming together for me. It had all the right words, but it just didn't feel right -- after frustrating a bit I put it aside to let it simmer. Later, I was in a meeting with several people and one the executives, commenting about someone she had met recently stated, "He looked nothing like I expected him to look like."

EUREKA! As soon as I got back to my computer and pulled up the one-sheet, I knew immediately what was wrong. The "look" of the sheet didn't match the "feel" of the person I'd created it for.

My solution was to replace all of the text with Lorum epsum and look at the page only as a graphic expression. It worked!

Reader Comprehension: Studies have shown that the average comprehension level for all readers, no matter the level of education, is equivalent to that of a sixth grader.

After arriving at the "right feel" for the one-sheet I was creating, I pasted the text into a new document on Google Docs and then selected "Word Count" from the "Tools" menu. The pop-up window offers lots of great data about your document including the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level ranking -- and I kept rewriting until I got a 6.o (grade) rating.

The thing to remember in this little exercise is that too often we write to sound like experts (lots of big words) and forget that we just need to be understood (lots of little words).

So add these two tips to your list of things to consider when creating collateral (printed or electronic). Your audience will appreciate your thoughtfullness.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Your Client's Service Providors Can Be a Rich Referral Resource

I was in a meeting today with a group of sharp attorneys as they discussed different business relationships they needed to develop more referral resources -- a great conversation for any firm to enable. As the conversation waned I asked, "Have you been to lunch with the service providers that are already serving your existing clients?" From the look on several faces my question cracked open a new idea for many.

For all of my clients I strive to find out whom they use for banking, accounting, insurance, etc. I figure that as a referral resource they are definitely involved with similar clients that fall into my wheelhouse. And, over time I am finding that there is a TON of relationship crossover between clients I serve and the service providers I count on.

So do this thing: Find out who is servicing your clients, take them to lunch and start sharing relationships.

Graphic Artists are Crazy

I might know. I am one. But, not like, "Wooo Hooooo, la la la la la, put me in a rubber room!!" Go online and look at any portfo...