Consultant Marketing Into the Dark

The sneezing makes it hard to concentrate.

Two nights and two days without power with temperatures below freezing in a hundred-year ice storm will leave you cold.

Bone Cold

Even when I found a friend’s couch to surf on I was still cold. Even when she produced a stew that I’d write home about I was still chilly. After two days of hospitality I got a call that power was back on in the neighborhood.

I walked into a home that was already warming up.

The lights worked.

My computers came back to life.

 I muddled my way through 4 days of e-mail. Life had become normal again.

I had a hot meal. Left-overs, yeah, but I zapped ‘em in the microwave.

Slept in my own bed.

Murphy came to visit.

This morning I got up early to catch up with all the things that needed doing after 4 days in the dark.

What is that old line about he best laid plans going to Hell even as you put them to work?

My internet that had been working when I returned home was not. At first I thought it was somehow connected to the power outage. I rebooted two computers just to see.

Nope. So I turned to my phone to try to call the cable company. To use search on the phone I had to enter my Office 365 password. I tried that but it requires double security. I got through the first step using my phone as the security device. But because it is a two-step security system you need to use e-mail for the second step. Of course, I had none.

Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will.

Into the dark

So what do you do? I figured that there were a number of things I could do that didn’t require the internet.

  • Continue pulling together scripts (audio and video) for the next round of Newlsogs
  • Tackling all the filing I’d been putting off (one piece of administrivia I abhor)
  • Preparing some blogs in Word for a client to demonstrate how to do them in WordPress
  • Scripting sequences for orderly contacts of meeting professionals
  • Tuning to local radio to see what is going on in the world.

Long term.

Those things are fine for the moment. But what should anyone do to avoid the problems long term?

  1. Learn to use your phone. Unless towers go down it usually will be the last device lost.
  2. Be sure you have all the methods of accessing your phone written down and that you test them at least monthly.
  3. Be sure you have the emergency number of your internet service in your phone (with a written copy in reserve)
  4. Make sure you can use your phone to contact clients, associates and others that impact your business.
  5. Be proactive. Reach out to all those an outage can affect. Do it as soon as you know.

That is not a lot to do, but it would have saved me hours of trying to get hooked up when my problem was an outage for the area.

I can work on both my business and projects for clients because I keep files resident in my system and synced with cloud copies. Unfortunately, I don’t sync everything. That will change.

Too many assumptions

The designers of the security systems are just trying to make things as risk free as possible. BUT, sometimes security measures can get in the way of effectiveness. The only way I could get the emergency phone number for my cable/internet service was to call a friend who was still connected. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to put it on every device where it could be found easily?

Customer disservice.

When you turn the TV on you get a message that the cable/internet is not connected and instructions you can’t finish reading about what to check. Wouldn’t putting the number to check for outage problems be a good idea to put into that message?

The problem is that damn little brain sweat is spent on situations with less than perfect conditions. The assumption is that these kinds of situations occur so infrequently that a band aid is sufficient for a sucking chest wound. Phone software that assumes you will have internet capability is simply stupid because there are a lot of times that could happen that are not connected to power outages. The inability to get any information on an internet outage other than a non-committal “It will be fixed shortly” is a customer disservice. People want to know how long power will be out, when the internet will be available again. How about a little customer service that acknowledges the customer’s questions and concerns.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Trust Barometer

I’ll be keynoting on Trust in April.

Every time I’m asked to present on Trust I look for new information I might bring to the audience.

Online Resources

I always start with a review of the usual suspects. That means typing “Trust Research” into Google. This time it got me this selection of the most recently published items:

  1. An article from the Harvard Business Review on The Neuroscience of Trust (from 2017)
  2. The Journal of Trust Research (Volume 10, Published in 2020)
  3. The Psychology of Trust (A book published in 2018)
  4. Trust and Power (A book published in 2018)
  5. Individual Trust and the Internet (scholarly article published in 2018)

Notice the dates. Only one is as recent as 2020. That is the first problem. The second is wading through the linguistic torture of scholarly articles where communication is sacrificed on an altar of accuracy resulting in impenetrable obfuscation.

Trusted Resources

Thank the gods of business for the Edelman Trust Barometer. Each year since 2000, this worldwide Public Relations Agency with offices in major cities around the world publishes an annual survey of trust and credibility of the world’s four major institutions – Government, Business, Media and NGOs. It is one of the longest running studies on Trust.

What makes it more important is the ongoing comparison of results it affords the viewer and the efforts of the company to find and report on those points where the findings begin to diverge from previous norms.

Diverging Trust

In the 2004 study23% of the people interviewed said they would trust someone just like them. By 2016 that percentage had increased to 82%. People trusted folks like themselves more than Businesses, institutions, Governments, and  NGOs. People like me got higher ratings than any other occupations with the exception of folks with very high Academic degrees and some attorneys. It seems they didn’t like lawyers but did respect them.

Trust Today

So where are we today? What did Edelman turn up in their most recent survey?

  • Income inequality is the most significant factor in developed countries like the USA
  • 56% of the population worldwide believe that Capitalism does more harm than good in today’s world
  • 83% of employees fear losing their jobs
  • Government and media are perceived to be incompetent and unethical
  • Business is seen as the only competent institution

Business stakeholders now expect more from companies.

 “A stunning 92 percent of employees surveyed in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer say that they expect their employer’s CEO to speak up on one or more issues ranging from income inequality to diversity and training for jobs of the future. Seventy-three percent of employees expect a prospective employer to offer the opportunity to shape the future of society in a positive way.”

Richard Edelman

The Edelman 2019 “In Brands We Trust?” study reported that nearly two-thirds of consumers buy based on their beliefs, and 81 percent agree that “a brand I can trust” is one of their top reasons for purchase.

Trust Boiled Down

Customers and employees are now over five times more important to a company’s long-term success than shareholders.

Business is considered to be the best at getting things done. But is faulted on ethics. Research conducted in 2020 indicated that ethical attributes drive 76 percent of the trust capital of organizations, while competence drives 24 percent.

Trust in the light

CEOs, Presidents and Owners of companies have a chance to step up Here’s what is needed:

  • Take the lead in partnering with government and other institutions
  • Pay decent wages and retrain those replaced by technology
  • Speak up for what is right starting now

In my view, the stepping stones from start up to skyrocket now include a need to be outspoken in word and deed. Speak the truth even when it is uncomfortable. Act as if you were not campaigning for the next rung on the ladder. Solve the Trust paradox. Your employees and customers are counting on you.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.
See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Juggernaut

I was zooming today with the founder of an organization using Mighty Networks as the software they use to manage their expanding community.

One of the reasons he cited for that selection was the ability to provide a deep repository for content.

Lots of content

Here’s what he said he and his partner have as weekly goals for content production:

  • 2 blogs each
  • 2 podcasts each
  • 2 videos each of 3 to 5 minutes or longer
  • 2 articles each of 2000 to 8000 words
  • 2 pass alongs of materials of interest to the community from each of them
  • 2 subject driven webinars 90 minutes each
  • 2 open discussion round tables 90 minutes each
  • Social media directed to lead magnets derived from articles, blogs and an annual survey

If I wanted to make use of all that information it would take me about 4 hours minimum.

I don’t have that kind of time

I have a business to run. I’ve drunk from a similar fire hose before. When you add the inconvenience of the hours when the webinars occur (during the working day) and the fact that I’m involved with users of Mighty Networks in Hong Kong, London and Ottawa with similar scopes of operation and all with thriving communities I could literally spend my days wandering the earth and absorbing information linked virtually arm in arm with active communities.

Ya gotta be picky and other tricks.

Here’s how I stay connected and still manage to keep my business thriving:

  • I plan my weeks to assure blocks of time for clients.
  • Each client has a block of time assigned each week for regularly occurring required actions
  • Each client has a block of time each week for thinking about their strategy and where we can get more or better traction
  • Each client has a block of time set aside for analysis of current activities and consideration of modifications to strengthen them
  • Each week has a working day devoted to Content development
  • Speech scripting, revising, personalization by event
  • New lead magnets (booklets up to 96 pages, Infographics, Checklists, worksheets, etc.)
  • Blog and Newslog development to include recording and editing audio and video components and uploading them to Vimeo and YouTube
  • Books, for example one for entrepreneurs on how to use speaking to build a business
  • Speaking professionally requires a great deal of sales activity. The assistance of my VA is invaluable in this regard. Her ability to do the research necessary to find data on upcoming venues has freed up days of time for me. Now, all I must do is:
  • Review the options found. Verify their possibility and have them posted in my speaking CRM
  • Contact the Meeting professionals involved in a sequence of contacts using, in most cases, e-mail, Linked In, telephone and/or Zoom
  • Once a presentation is booked it is a matter of a follow up sequence to assure that we accomplish the organizations goals for the meeting.
  • I look for alternative views regardless of the delivery medium
  • Viciously defend your time by looking at the indicators of what the content really has. Is it a rehash? Skip it. Does it challenge what “everybody knows?” Look a little deeper. Does it straight out come at things from a Different Slant? If you find good ones, stick with them.
  • Podcasts can be listened to at 2x. Yes. If the subject is worth it but not during the day. Push it into the evening or on a daily walk. Don’t waste production time.
  • Video. Never watch in working hours. When you do tune in be sure it is a subject with a presenter that is going to give you something to think about. I prefer reviewed items like TED talks, personally.
  • Use what you’ve learned
  • Your prospect doesn’t have all day to be involved with your content. Be succinct. Do not “work up to the good stuff.” Prospects want the best you’ve got right out of the chute. A very, very, few will be able to run with what you tell them. Most will come back multiple times to “sit at your feet.”
  • In time, they will need to work directly with you either in a one to one or a one to many program in order to get the outcomes they envisioned. The fact is that they will never be able to see things from your unique perspective and find the solutions they are seeking.
  • Keep making the offer even after they have completed our course. Repeating a course can easily be sold especially if you allow them to bring a friend.

Meanwhile back at the ranch

Well, I’ve gobbled up all my content time for the day, so I’ll sign off with a final quote:

“Be sincere, Be brief, Be seated.”
― Franklin Delano Roosevelt

And so it goes

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com