Tag Archives: someone

Transparency as a Marketing Tool

by Loren Fogelman

Transparency. It has become the norm with social networking and online marketing. We each have our own barometer between too much information and not enough revealed.

Wikipedia states: “transparency in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a “transparent” object is one that can be seen through.”

Weaving transparency is important for an effective marketing message and branding. How much though is too much? This has been one of the most challenging areas I have wrestled with in social networking.

My training as a therapist has always reinforced the necessity to “remain a blank wall,” allowing the client to create her own picture about me. I always prided myself on sharing as little personal information as possible with my clients unless it benefitted them in some way. My clients knew I deeply cared about them; they just never knew much about me or my personal life.

So here comes social networking. Transparency is the “name of the game.” Well, I was immediately out of my comfort zone because it went against everything I had been doing in my counseling practice. My beliefs were getting in the way of progress.

Professional tenets, began to be questioned. Slowly I experimented with sharing parts of my life. At first I wasn’t sure what to say. That unease was probably reflected in my message.

I continue to explore how much to share about me and my life. My coach continues to encourage me to reveal more. There were suggestions I resisted, but after letting them simmer for awhile I always gave it a shot. I trust her and know she wants the best for me.

Revealing parts about my life was uncomfortable. I felt very vulnerable. I had always been a private person. Connecting to others through social networking was more important to me than firmly holding onto my beliefs. Now was the time to step out of my comfort zone.

Okay, I was ready to do what was necessary. Of course, I made mistakes along the way. Sometimes I can be very opinionated. Other times I was resistant. Using video was one of the biggest hurdles to get past.

There are some people who I feel are way over the top. They share TMI (too much information). This was actually helpful for figuring out what I felt was inappropriate. At an event where Mari Smith spoke she helped me determine the difference between personal and private. Basically if I was not comfortable with something being a headline on the New York Times, then it was private. Okay. I could work with that.

Social networking and your marketing campaign is designed to build relationships. There is value to allowing people to catch a glimpse behind the curtain. Transparency helps to foster the relationship.

People buy from someone they know, like and trust. If I don’t know someone providing a service I need, then I will ask my friends and associates if they know of someone. That feels much more comfortable than picking someone out of a phone book or Google.

In order to reach your ideal client, you must take that first step in creating a relationship. As they know, like and trust you they will begin to see you as a resource and the person to help solve their problem. Isn’t that what you wanted all along?

Activity: So think about where you might be holding yourself back. Do you know why? Is it because it is uncomfortable for you? You feel vulnerable? There is always the possibility someone might disagree with you. I know you will be judged by others. That is just a matter of fact.

About the Author

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From Loren Fogelman, the success expert, founder of Mindset for Marketing Success.

The 3 Types of Business Referrals and When You Should Use Them (OR NOT!)

by Stephen Labuda

I LOVE REFERRALS! If you like making easy money, then you should too! Referrals are a business person’s dream because most of the work has been taken out of the process and all you have to do is follow up properly on the referral and the business is likely yours. The fact is, though, some referrals are better than others. Knowing the difference between the kinds of referrals that exist in the world of business and how to give and get them more effectively can be the key to your closing more business and making more money.Below is a list of the 3 types of business referrals and when you should use them (OR NOT!)

1. The USE MY NAME referral-You know this one. It is the kind we as business professionals give and get all the time. Someone you know tells you to call someone they know and they say, “Just USE MY NAME.” The person giving this kind of referral may have the best of intentions, but the fact is, these kinds of referrals are really not all that valuable. unless the referral is properly warmed up, it is not likely to turn into real business. You should only use this kind of referral when it is impossible to warm the referral up or time is of the essence.

2. The VITRUAL INTRO referral-Virtual intros are great. These have come about since the advent of the internet. It is simply a way of introducing someone to someone else via email. It is a great way to give and get referrals because all parties are attached to the email. It also gives you the opportunity to explain in detail why you think the two parties should get together and do business. It also offers an easy way to follow up on the referral using the initial email text. Use the Virtual Intro email whenever you can…it is second only to…

3. The FACE TO FACE INTRODUCTION referral-Obviously, there is no better way to give and get referrals than through a face to face introduction. Introducing business professionals face to face is a perfect way to start and build business relationships. It allows the parties to chat and get to know each other a bit. Face to Face introductions are certainly the most valuable type, but it can often be difficult to get all parties in the same place at the same time. Therefore, a 3-way call works great as a second choice here. Now that technology allows us to do 3-way calls from just about any phone that exists, this can be a great way to help refer business.

There you have it, 3 types of referrals and the times to use each. Practice turning USE MY NAME referrals into Virtual Intros or Face to Face Introduction referrals and you will quickly become the star of your personal network!

There is an added bonus, by giving great referrals you can help shape the referrals you receive too!

About the Author

Stephen Labuda is an entrepreneur who built his business by networking with other professionals. You can connect with him through his Boston web design website or through the Boston Networking Group.

Information is the Present; Connection is the Future

“What consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships.”
— Harry Beckwith, Selling the Invisible

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Photo by Mzelle Biscotte
How many times already today has someone tried to sell you something? The ads come in by email, snail mail, fax, radio, magazines, newspapers, TV, and your web browser; the salespeople write you, call you, and approach you in the store or showroom. Are you even listening any more? How often do you actually buy something because someone you didn’t know tried to sell it to you?

Your clients — consumers and businesses alike — are just like you. They are not only fed up with hype, most of the time they don’t even see it. Overwhelmed with communications, they tune out the vast majority of the marketing messages they are presented with just in order to get through their day. After attending a race plastered with Coca-Cola logos, a survey revealed that only a third of the attendees could remember who was the sponsor.

“A weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in 17th century England.”
— R.S. Wurman, Information Anxiety

Making information available to your clients is still important, so don’t throw out your brochures or take down your web site. But with so many communications arriving all the time, your clients want control over how and when they receive your information. More than ever before people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

With a service business, what you are really marketing is you, not the service. When you are the product, your customers need to know who you are. They want to feel a connection with you and know that they can trust you before they will consider doing business with you.

“Beleaguered by e-mail spam and intrusive pop-up ads on the Internet, consumers are using the “delete” button with increasing frequency and losing confidence in other traditional forms of advertising as well… Consumers rank word-of-mouth recommendations from others as the most trusted form of advertising.”
— PlanetFeedback.com

According to psychologists, a primary motivational factor for human behavior is affiliation, defined as “the desire to establish and maintain warm and friendly relations with others.” We are naturally drawn toward experiences where affiliation is possible, and avoid situations where it is not.

When we receive a recommendation from someone we are already affiliated with, we believe that following that recommendation will continue the positive experience. If we think developing an affiliation is possible with someone new because they have approached us in a warm and friendly way, we are encouraged to establish a new relationship, whether it is personal or business.

“With the amount of information presented increasing, mass marketing campaigns become less effective… One-to-one marketing will not just be a possibility, it will be a necessity.”
Easton Consultants, Information Overload

Establishing a one-to-one connection with your prospective customers can begin with projecting the warm and friendly image that encourages affiliation. Make yourself available for contact and conversation that isn’t necessarily leading directly to a sale. Encourage word of mouth by developing and keeping in touch with a network of current and former clients, colleagues, competitors, referral partners, and influential people.

Focus on providing information to clients in objective, rather than promotional ways. A recent study found that a commercial web site scored 27% higher in “usability” by visitors when written in an objective style (sharing information) instead of a promotional style (singing the company’s praises). You can carry this principle off line by writing helpful articles and giving talks in preference to sending brochures and making cold calls.

Participate in your client community as a peer by attending conferences, seminars, fundraisers, and other educational and social events. On the web, frequent discussion lists, forums, and other online communities. When you read articles and posts, take a moment to post your comments to the author where other visitors can see them.

Prospective buyers name newsletters, weblogs, and other forms of opt-in, reader-friendly communications as one of their most trusted sources of information about products and services. As well as publishing one yourself, it pays to be mentioned in someone else’s.

“Get to know the influentials…invite them in and engage them in a conversation…Most are local community leaders, or have real involvement in their communities, and as such are the nodes of wide personal networks. They are the people … to whom others look for advice or counsel.”
— Edward Keller & Jonathan Berry, The Influentials

When you engage in a community, people begin to know you from the words of others instead of from your words alone. You can even create your own community by starting an affinity group or business network, launching a discussion list, hosting an online forum or live conference, adding commenting features to your web site, posting reader responses in your newsletter, and much more.

The real key is to begin connecting in person with the population you want to reach, instead of relying on promotion and selling to bring them to you and make them want to buy.

Copyright © 2009, C.J. Hayden

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!™ Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. Get a free copy of “Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You’ll Ever Need” at www.getclientsnow.com.