Consultant Marketing Visual Cues

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Little things can mean a lot.

Start at the top, with hair or the lack of it. That works whether you are male or female. Unruly hair that looks like a frightened rooster just won’t get it. On the other hand being expertly coifed and looking like a model may be a bit much. The key is to fit in to the comfort zone of the audience and be just one notch above it.

You want to get to trust. Trusted advisors get the contracts.

One notch better

If there is a single piece of advice in this regard, that is it. Recently, at a conference attended by top independent consultants from across the country one topic that ran through the lunch room was that clients were asking that the men not wear ties. The consensus was that was a good idea until key players in a meeting showed up in cravats!

I’ve not worn a tie since 1990 when I opened my practice. But I wear special shirts when I do a keynote that have a hidden placket and a collar that buttons tight to the neck. I have them in both black and white. My notch down is a turtle neck worn with a sport coat.

The women at the lunch table simple laughed and said the one notch above was a good idea but the way to do it was not power suits. Their advice was to have great high value accessories—scarves, purses, and most important, shoes. One noted that women knew expensive shoes the way guys know cars.

A signature item

A few of my clients have considered trying to stand out by linking themselves with key items of equipment. One was forever trading up his laptop to the smallest, lightest and most advanced until one of his clients asked how much time he spent after each upgrade learning to use it.

For awhile one client was over the moon about his expensive fountain pen until a CEO told him that he never bought a pen in his life and had no intention of doing so.

Cars, watches, airplanes, etc. Those don’t matter to most of the folks that sign the checks. They are, at best, borrowed marks of excellence. Only something that relates uniquely to you will generate the memorability you are after.

One of my clients uses a tangled skein of purple wool to visualize the money knots in all our minds when she’s speaking. The color is the same that is used in her “Untangler” logo.

Graphic consistency

I started with your appearance because the human face recognition skills far surpass our visual cognition in every other area. We are better at sensing when something is amiss then when all is okay. Other graphic elements to consider:

Color The color in your logotype needs to be the same wherever it is employed. If the color plays a major part in identifying you. It needs to be consistent. Where?

  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Website
  • Signage
  • Vehicles
  • White Papers
  • Brochures
  • Presentations
  • On-line Content

Typography The type style you use for your logo may be so singular that it will prove too hard to read if used for all the text in your materials. That is not always the case. The critical decision here is the selection of a single type style for all the required word elements—headlines, subheads, text, captions and even footnotes. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to make it all easily readable.

If you tend to produce a lot of your own content there are a couple other tips you may want to employ:

  • Try to keep your line length under 50 characters. Tess show that the human eye tends to tire if the line length is too long. Apparently, resetting to the next line “wakes up” the eye.
  • Use flush left ragged right. Do not use the other options available in Word (Center, Flush right ragged left and Justified) All of those are harder to read.
  • Multiple columns of information tends to be perceived as for business purposes.
  • Eye traps (bolds, underlines, italics, bullets, lists, indents, and initial caps) can enhance read through.
  • Use reverse (white type on black background) very sparingly.

Process Diagrams I never met a consultant that didn’t have a process. Like most of us they like to have diagrams that help explain their unique approach. Too often those diagrams are drawn anew each time. Again, consistency is the most direct route to Trust.

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The style of the diagram also needs to be constant. This is particularly true if there is motion or implied motion in the process. That is why I use a gyroscope as the primary overall illustration for the Z-axis Process. You can use a photo or a graphic extracted from a photo or linear graphics. Arrows can be hard-edged or brush strokes, open or filled in. Here’s a hard edged example straight out of Word

Whether you use hard edged or loose design the key is to keep it the same throughout and to use the same descriptors throughout.

Photography/Illustration Be careful to assure that your photos are all the same level of quality. If you use color photos, do so on everything (unless you have a historic black and white or tinted photo that lends credence to your “About” story) Seldom if ever should you swap back and forth between photography and illustration. Pick one and stick with it.

Most importantly, be sure all your designs look like they came from the same family. A good designer can give you a “look” that helps brand you, make you memorable and get you one step closer to becoming a trusted advisor.

Like mama said, “Mind your Ps and Qs and use consistent Visual cues!”

And so it goes.

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

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

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

Consultant Marketing Content

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Yes, we live in a digital world.

Yes, every business needs some content to fulfill marketing needs.

Everything you need and nuthin’ you don’t.

There is no one size fits all. Each practice must build the content that will answer the questions prospects ask and maintain the contact over time. No two are the same. You and your clients are a different equation from all the others out there.  It comes down to these functions:

  • Starting a relationship
  • Maintaining the connection
  • Supporting Referral Sources

The start of something big.

Run the numbers. You’ll find that conversion rates for digital offers are at best 1 to 2%. Direct marketing using more traditional media may get you up to 5%. Networking because it is so personal can generate about 30% new contacts if you operate in the right circles. Speaking to an appropriate audience, if you understand how to reel people in from the podium, can range up to 70%.

No matter which approach you use, you first need to determine exactly who your best prospect is and learn what they want to know about the solutions you offer to their problems. You need to know how they define the job they want done and where they are in relation to that concern. You must also understand that you must be available to take their order when they are ready to buy.

The purchase journey is not a linear path. These days, because of the ease of access to all kinds of information sources the average buyer may move from broad information gathering to supplier specifics and back to more general information any number of times before making a purchase decision.

All you want to capture initially is:

  • Name
  • E-mail
  • Smart Phone Number

I find that having a singular offer makes getting that information more efficient for you and prospects. I recommend offering what is commonly referred to as a “lead magnet” in the parlance of digital marketing. This will vary based on your business and that of your ideal clients. I find that Checklists, Worksheets and Quick Guides work best.

In digital situations I use a form to fill out on a landing page which grants a download to the e-mail given after the data is entered. The contact data is put into a CRM for further attention. I suggest that in Networking situations the item be mentioned as available and that the consultant will send it personally if the contact data is furnished. Usually a business card is exchanged. Speaking to a small group you can simply make the offer and ask for a card to be given to you to assure its delivery. With larger groups you need to have what I call a feedback card which is placed on every seat. The feedback card carries a way to write in contact information (and perhaps respond to a survey question or two) on one side and the same pitch you would use on a landing page on the other side.

Staying connected

Most of my clients connect with the C-suite, usually with the CEO. When I asked one what sort of content he wanted to receive he answered:

“Don’t give me stuff I’ve already seen in business publications. Give me the benefit of your thinking that is relevant to me. Be consistent. I appreciate it when information arrives at the same time each week and in the same form. That way when I get something out of the ordinary, I know it is important.

In a lot of consulting businesses (particularly financial) the industry sends out information quarterly at best. That is not good enough. In order to stay top of mind with a prospect, client or referral source you need to touch them at least once every four weeks. And more often is better.

That’s why I recommend a weekly contact of some sort. The best options are:

  • Blog
  • Video Blog
  • Podcast

In addition, I recommend that high end consultants provide everyone on their e-mail list a Newsletter on a monthly basis. Based on feedback from their clients a recap of the weekly items provided is the best received. I’ve been told that it makes for a good way to provide staff with solid information quickly and to give other CEOs a quick way to get a fix on a consultant that might help them.

A Recommendation beats a Referral

A referral can be as simple as, “Here’s a number for someone that might help you.” These days, a notch up from that is the e-mail introduction. Both are helpful but a full-bore recommendation is more powerful.

A recommendation is when a person who knows you and your consulting capability invites you to a meal with a prospect and proceeds to sell your services over the meal. Done properly, all you do is take the order.

But in order to be able to do that, your recommender must know about your success and your failures. She or he must know how you have developed. The only way that can happen is if you consistently provide that information. That means you need to identify those Recommenders and Referrers and kept hm informed. One of the best ways I’ve seen is to continually change your e-mail signature to incorporate short outcome- oriented testimonials. It also helps to provide these known sources of new business with copies of your case histories as soon as they are issued.

Personalization of all the materials you send them will pay dividends.

And so it goes.

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

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

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

Consultant Marketing List Building

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You snooze, you lose.

Something got lost between the Rollodex, the CRM (Contact Relationship Management) software and the growth of the internet generations.

People seem to have become a lot more transactional. They have given up the power in the connectivity of relational networking.

Relational vs Transactional

I’ve been speaking and writing about networking as a business development tool since 1990. Early on, someone asked me what the best “style” of networking might be. Here’s how I replied in an Article called Pearl Diving:

“Network. Just don’t try to turn that contact into a contract on the spot. It won’t work. We’ve all met people that try that. They glide up to you like a shark, ask a question, talk through your response with a rapid fire commercial, tell you to call them and then they’re gone. In their view, they are networking. Those predatory types just don’t understand the difference between transactional and relational networking.

Transactional networkers want to score now. They are driven to pin down a prospect, get the job or close the deal. They have no time for anything else. They see networking as just one more form of manipulation. Leads groups that penalize members for failure to produce prospects fall into this category, as do the tactics employed by some multilevel marketing organizations.

There is a place for transactions, but it is never on a first meeting. And in most cases it will come much later in the sequence. Tit for Tat Transitional Networking does not scale. The best networkers understand that Networking is the establishment of a relationship.

Relational networkers aren’t interested in what you might be worth to them. They are always more curious about you as a person. They consistently ask how they can be of help to you rather than the other way around. They maintain the contact out of regard for you, not a need to cash in on the contact.”

The power of the list

I advise elite consultants on the marketing they need to build already successful businesses. All have a list of clients, prospects, referral sources, trusted advisors (for themselves and others) and other resources pending Trust evaluations.

The numbers on the lists vary and may be scattered across the world depending on the geographic scope of the consultant’s business. For instance, if you need to initiate a change in a government or multinational I can tell you who to call. That trusted resource is headquartered in Singapore. Need software to revolutionize the speed of managing your business? I can connect you with the president here in North America or the founder in Australia.

In most cases the extremely successful do not have huge lists. If you sell product on line you need to continually expand your list or you need to offer new products of value on a regular basis. But if your business is primarily one to one B2B your list may be relatively small. My current clients have combined lists of no more than 500. They continually add prospects and referral sources but the best apply one measure you should consider.

Meet them before classifying them.

You can add folks to your list in these ways:

  • Speaking—all those folks that want to talk after you step down from the platform and be added to your blog and/or newsletter list if they agree to that. Meet with them before you classify them as a prospect or referral source.
  • Networking—at industry events, again with their permission. Before you go past your blog and newsletter try to meet with them on a more personal basis.
  • Social Networking Connections—to include Linked In, FaceBook, BeBee and any other that provides a profile and allows you to connect with them. Before you start adding folks willy-nilly be sure you have a solid description of the demographics and psychographics of your target addition in mind. Again, get permission before you add them to your blog and/or newsletter list. I recommend that you limit your on-line list development primarily to prospects and that you count on it taking longer than you expected.
  • Introductions—either in person or on-line from referral sources or a relational networker. Always get their permission to put them on your blog and newsletter lists. If you think they are worth pursuing as a prospect, add them to that list. Could they be a referral source or a resource? You decide.
  • Face to Face—prospects introduced by referral sources should be added to the blog and newsletter list almost automatically. If you are meeting with them as a result of speaking or networking you will need to decide whether to put them in your prospect or referral source or resource list.

Keeping track of them

There is no question that the digital world has more efficiency than the old rollodex. The question is how much of that capability do you need?

Excel or other Spreadsheet programs are quite sufficient for some small or highly specialized organizations. That is good for maintaining the list. You’ll need to have calendar program as well to assure you can schedule follow up.

Manual CRM system sounds like an oxymoron but if you are really dealing with a small target number it can make sense. I designed a manual system for a client specializing in Gallium Arsenide chips that had a total of only 26 prospects. It worked. He sold his process and retired.

Digital CRM software can be added to your computer as a standalone or cloud based. Your practice or business size and the number of people that will require access to the data can significantly impact your choices. That, plus the capabilities of the software to deliver blogs or newsletters and other marketing materials, should be considered.

E-mail Programs like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp make it easy to build and e-mail your newsletter as well as keep track of your lists. One of my clients decided to forego a blog opting to send his guidance filled newsletter on weekends. Midweek he sends a mini-update including a new video. His opens average 25.3% on a list that is exclusively c-suite.

Automated Marketing? Yes, It can be done but do you need it? Do you need to trigger actions based on time elapsed or actions taken? Can you build out a funnel that will guide the prospect to a sale based on their situation? (That is a whole blog by itself)

Your list is the second most important part of your business.

The most important is you. If you are a solopreneur the knowledge you bring to the equation is why the business succeeds. If you are an entrepreneur working with a team, your ideas and processes are the intellectual property that makes the business possible. Whether you provide a product or service without your list you can’t make sales over time.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

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

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Personal Brand Memorability

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Anna Liotta gave us a glimpse of her expertise in “Generational Codes.” It was obvious from the amount of information she conveyed in a limited time that the years she had devoted to studying and interpreting this phenomenon had not been in vain.

A wake-up call

The trouble is, she made me rethink Brand in terms of how the collection of cohorts now co-existing on this planet each think feel and believe about the most important element in marketing products, services, concepts and even individuals.

There is sufficient difference in how each of the groups she cites think and behave to suggest that they may deal with a complex notion like brand in distinctive ways. That is why I purchased her book, Unlocking Generational Codes this morning.

The generations in her terms:

  • Traditionalists, born from 1927 to 1945
  • Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964
  • Xers, born 1965 to 1977
  • Millenials (Gen Y), born 1978 to 1999
  • Globals (Gen Z) born 2000 to 2016

What makes them tick and what ticks them off (as she puts it)

Her analysis of how the generations differ, their codes, is broken down in these elements:

  1. Communication–the preferred style of communicating and interacting.
  2. Orientation—the way they view themselves in relation to other generations, people and the world.
  3. Discipline—how they interact with authoritarian figures
  4. Environment—the behavior they exhibit dealing with the environment including how they gather information, make decisions and relate to the world.
  5. Success—how they measure it. What drives them and gives meaning to their lives?

Comparison to a Millenial Daughter

Because she was born on the cusp between generation X and the Millenials my daughter displays attributes of each but generally falls into the Millenial category. Like an Xer she is very much an individual but she exhibits the Millenial trait of taking things to extremes becoming an Ironman, participating in ultra-running and swimming across Chesapeake Bay when there were small craft warnings.

When it comes to technology she can squeeze more out of a cell phone than I can comprehend. She would rather text than talk if it is a matter of data or a photo. The internet is, for her, a playground. But she doesn’t own a TV.

Her relationships stay strong regardless of distance due to the acceptance of digital connections. That crosses over to the business possibilities for her. She has gravitated to seats of power and because of acquaintances made in those positions enjoys entrée to extremely senior level options in both industry and government. She sees herself as both a nomad (Generation X) and a hero (Millenial).

The Deloitte Research presents another picture

The opening statement is:

Millenials are the most diverse cohort in US history

Black, Latino and Asian ethnic groups make up 44% or the Millenial cohort.  In the Baby boomer generation just 25% was non-white. The research shows that a more complete view of the dynamic consumer includes these factors:

  • The cost of education eats into discretionary funds.
  • People are getting married later or never
  • Home ownership is no longer a part of the American dream
  • There is a deepening divide between the top 20% of wage earners and the rest of the population
  • Millenials, overall are financially worse off than previous cohorts with a 34% decrease in their net worth since 1996.
  • Additional spending on experience-based categories is driven more by income than by age

The impact on Personal Brand

If you are in the top 20% of income (across all cohorts) you already have a brand. Your position in an organization, the reason you met someone, and where you made an acquaintance all contribute to their perception of you. Can you significantly add nuance to that perception? Of course. And if you are conversant with social media and offer a consistent image across the platforms you select you can easily build on what began on a positive note. Interestingly, you can limit your exposure on social media without adverse effect on your brand.

Not on top the income pyramid? You still need to be consistent across the social media spectrum. And, because you may have fewer first-hand meetings that build relationships with influencers you will have to strive to become known to them. How? Take the time to learn who they are and then follow them. Comment at some point and if they engage let them see the “real you.” Never pass up a chance to begin a conversation. And never overlook a direct or indirect request for more information that will put you in front of their “tribe.”

Personal brand is built one connection at a time. One gem of a connection plus another and another until you have a string of them…like a string of pearls.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand is Built on Moving Parts

I finished the on-line training for 30-Second Marketing TM and posted it on Ingomu. It is just one element of the four in Secrets of a Networking Ninja.

Brand is trickier

The second element I’m adding is called No Budget Branding TM but I’m combining parts of other products developed earlier to make this one as complete as I can. Some of the things I’ve learned over the years get in the way. This is a DIY (Do It Yourself) product and so I’m working my way through some of the expertise I bring to a one-on-one session and finding ways to incorporate the benefits without a physical presence.

I believe Brand can refer to a company, product or service. Sorry, I don’t include Personal as the only time, in my view, that Personal enters the equation is when it is linked to a company product or service offered by an independent professional. In other words, John Q. Public is not a brand. John Q. Public Accounting could be.

Trust keeps it spun up

Funny how teaching can help you see things you hadn’t before. As this video explains. Brand is an expression of Trust. But, building this program has confirmed that once you’ve set out to build a brand and spun up the promotional whirl, the thing that holds it all together is the Circle of Trust. Without it, it all comes crashing down. With it and judicious inputs to influence it you can keep it building. Trust allows you to influence Brand but you can never completely control it.

A flywheel instead of a funnel

Jon Dick, in a blog for Hubspot, explained how a new model, the flywheel replaces the familiar funnel putting a new spin on customer acquisition and retention. Jon relates the strength of the flywheel to how it maintains and increases trust as well as the momentum you need to keep things spun up.

A flywheel approach forces you to align all your marketing and sales efforts because any friction can slow the flywheel and wear trust down. In Jon’s words: “…your flywheel produces more growth as your customer count increases. If you can add ‘density’ to those customers, by getting them to adopt more of your products or be more ‘sticky’ even more momentum and growth can be achieved.”

Brand is Built on Moving Parts

Brand is the sum total of perceptions about your company, product or service from all the publics that are aware of you. It is an expression of trust built on a complex set of factors that must be considered. Here are the elements that will make up the program I’m preparing:

  • Vision (from Lightning in a Bottle)
  • Mission (from Lightning in a Bottle)
  • Prospect Viewpoint
  • Value Proposition
  • Profitable Niche
  • Position
  • Persona (a core of Trust wrapped around with Product, Price and Passage (Distribution) encased in a Name
  • Promotional Whirl (Trust Tools and Spin Tools)
  • Performance
  • Perception
  • Prospect Feedback
  • The Circle of Trust

You can see my dilemma. But I’m doing my best. In a week or two this program will be available. Will it be easy? No. Will it work? Yes, as well as the user wants it to. The key here is that I’ll be right beside you in spirit and the program will be changed over time as we find the difficult parts that need more elucidation. And, if you get really hung up the folks at Ingomu will make it easy to contact me direct.


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

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

Is Your Brand “Strangely Familiar?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting

There is a point in time when your product is not a known quantity. People may not have an idea what it is and what it does. They need a way to wrap their mind around it. They need something familiar to connect to the strange. Here are some examples:

  • Horseless carriage
  • Digital camera
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Big box store
  • Electric car
  • Selfie stick
  • Virtual reality

That is the way to get hordes of people to comprehend what you offer. Those descriptions came from multiple directions. “Horseless Carriage” was first heard on the streets as the first automobiles were introduced. The” Digital Camera” dates back to the 1950s and is a spin-off of video camera design! The electric car was “invented” by multiple people starting in 1828. Today’s versions tend to be “hybrids” a combination of gas and electric but if fueling and range can be corrected an “all-electric” could be the coming thing.

This just in (sort of)

More recent additions to the above list might be:

  • Self-driving car.
  • Rollerblades
  • 3-D Printer

In every case, the familiar is combined with the strange to forge connections in our minds. Without such verbal equations we don’t have a shorthand term for the unknown product or service.  We don’t have a way to remember an offering.

It is all timing

There is a time in your life and that of the product or service you market that it needs to be strangely familiar and cited as “The.” The Selfie Stick, The rollerblades. The snowboard. If you’re lucky that yields a brand.  Later on you may have to add another word in order to protect your panache. Then you become “The original” as in The Original Pancake house,  The Original denim jacket and The Original Networking Ninja .

Factoring the familiar

Sometimes you need to add a little strange to make the familiar more powerful. That’s where Instant Brand and 30-Second Marketing come into play. Memorability can be added to anyone’s response to the question, “What do you do?”

Over the years I’ve used these responses:

  • Marketing Rainmaker (my original consulting title)
  • Networking Ninja (I’ve been speaking under that sobriquet and owned the URL since 1990)
  • Brand Poobah has been one of my titles for the last couple years as people kept asking me to help them with their Brand

Marketing, Networking and Brand are descriptive but not words that will tickle your little grey cells. Rainmaker says I can change your marketing and your life. Networking Ninja has a marvelous consonance and infuses expertise. Brand Poobah says expert but with a bit of tongue in cheek fun. All three are much more unforgettable than they were before the strange was added.

Want to make yourself “Strangely Familiar?”

Call me. 503 957-7901


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

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

 

Chutes & Ladders To Build Your Brand.

 

They didn’t have the game when I was a kid.

We got it for my daughter when she was in grade school. It is a counting game where you move from the bottom of the board to the top. Where you land determines your progress toward the goal. A Chute, like a playground slide takes you down while ladders take you up.

It is all about mindset.

Yours. Others. Whether we go along or not is dependent on the convictions in place both before and after individuals engage. Chutes are pre-engagement. Ladders are once we begin attempts to influence another.

Chutes, in the real world turn out to be positive or negative according to Robert Cialdini in his new book Pre-Suasion. His first book, published 20 years ago, (Influence) was about the six key “ladders” that marketers, advertisers and sales professionals use to convince and persuade.

A chute is my way to describe Pre-Suasion.

It occurs:

  • Before you are in a position or situation to be sold.
  • Before the discussion of features and benefits.
  • Before the emotional appeals.

It happens when you or your prospect are in a frame of mind that will color your reaction to all the ladders. You are on the chute and what you feel, think and believe in that moment is predictably what will make the difference in your reaction.

This is behavioral psychology finally exploring the complexity of factors that control acceptance of advertising, marketing and sales techniques.

Too often we use a Ladder approach, stacking up all the features and benefits of going our way and at times yielding to the hard-won knowledge that decisions are emotionally, not logically based. Yet we fail because the chute our prospect was perched upon ran counter to our approach.

The power of setting the stage.

Shakespeare noted that “All the worlds a stage” Before you, as a player, utter a single line, consider the stage. Is it conducive to the outcome you hope to produce? If you can control them, how would you change the trappings? Could you change the speech that precedes yours? Is there a musical or sound note that could be injected to change an attitude? Is there a lighting or art effect that can change the mood?

30-Second Marketing TM, the technique I teach for self-introductions is a powerful example of how the elements revealed in Cialdini’s book set the stage.

Why 30-Second Marketing TM works.

  1. You wait until they ask, “What do you do?” that shows focus on you.
  2. You hook ‘em. You respond with something memorable like, “I’m a Networking Ninja.” That generates curiosity and puts them on a chute because they want to solve the mystery of the title.
  3. Next you hold ‘em with a statement like, “You know how you, like most people, are really uncomfortable introducing yourself…” A nod or other positive response will tell you that they are with you and that you have now personalized this conversation to them.
  4. Then you pitch ‘em. You say something like, “What we do is teach you how to have a conversation instead of doing a commercial. We help you mothball that elevator pitch and use a technique that is a shortcut to Trust that you can do in 30-Seconds or less.
  5. You close ‘em on a date and time to sit down in their office to work out the details of how you can work with each other. You set the stage.

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Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and Business Development on and off-line.

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

 

 

 

Do you Look Your Brand?

Your logo is the least of it.

Part of my job as a consultant and speaker is to help independent professionals and small businesses see how important every graphic, photo and video is to their brand.

Adults relate to people not symbols.

It is easier for grocery shoppers to pick Newman’s over a host of competitors. Which do you lean toward, General Mills or Betty Crocker? Given the choice so you opt for coffee grown, picked and shipped by Juan or one of the raft of others on the shelves?

Animals come in second.

Can you believe a Super Bowl with no commercials featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales? When it comes to batteries do you want the Energizer Bunny ones or the other guys.

Cartoon Personalities come next, particularly with kids.

Four out of the top five cereals are hyped by a cartoon character (Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch and Fruity Pebbles). Ever wonder the King Kong of movie production in the last few years is Marvel?

Here’s how that impacts you and your business.

  • If you are an independent professional, your name and your image should be part of every way you promote your brand. For example, recently I decided to do more speaking. My new card reflects that in the visual which is a photo taken during a keynote. If you’ve ever been to a conference the impression is that this is a keynoter.If you can manage it, use a photo that allows the person viewing to make eye contact with you. Spend the money to have a professional photographer capture your essence. Selfie’s just don’t get it!
  • If your business is a separate entity providing a product or service not tied to your name or professional capabilities consider using an animal. I’ve known a very successful writing instructor that built her identity around her Newfoundland Retriever. At one point one of the most successful speakers I know had a blog “written” by his dog.

Be careful how you choose. Not everyone likes insects, or snakes or a mélange of other critters. Usually you need to stay away from the scary ones but sometimes the fear factor can make you more memorable. Or, you can do a switch up by using a comforting story or image. One of the highest readership blogs I’ve ever written was about a Mama Raccoon.

  • If you like cartoons, consider the expense. There are a lot of low cost logos that are cartoons. The problem is we are trained very carefully from youth to expect cartoons to be animated. Full scale animation is costly in terms of both time and money. Some amazing things have been done recently in software that may help you overcome this difficulty. Check into it before you walk away from the potential.

The key is to keep it consistent.

Every time you produce anything that will be seen by your customers, prospects, connections and referral sources make sure the visual reflects the image you want to present to them. That includes looking in the mirror as you leave your lair. Even if you are just running out to get an item at your local grocery, you need to look your brand.

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Jerry SpeakingJerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and Business Development on and off-line.

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

Personal Brand Out Of The Dark.

I went dark back in mid-November.

Shift happens. I put my house on the market and it sold. The condo I wanted to buy had not received FHA approval. The mortgage company bureaucrats demanded data at the last minute. Mom was in the emergency room so I flew back to the Midwest.

Then, not only Murphy but his minions decided it was my turn in the barrel. I figured my Personal Brand was going to take a hit.

Keeping your personal brand means you have to:

  • Constantly keep it in mind.
  • Unceasingly support it.
  • Always keep it visible.

That is especially true when Murphy and Minions grab hold of your life.

I’ve just come through three months of coping with the Murphy clan.

According to Google:

Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. (January 11, 1918 – July 17, 1990) was an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems. He is best known for his namesake Murphy’s law, which is said to state, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

How do you sustain your personal brand when everything you do seems to diminish your ability to look after it?

For me it started with three apparently unrelated decisions:

  1. I would assist Mom in getting the eye surgery she needed by being there.
  2. I’d sell my house, downsize and bank a little cash on the way.
  3. Speaking appearances would get more attention in 2018.

I wrote about how Murphy and his Minions started changing my life regarding the first two decisions in my Personal Note Series (Best Laid Plans, To Market To Market).

Little did I know back then.

You are who you are and that will not change catastrophically unless you run afoul of the law in a major way.

I went dark for three months. My last Small Business Marketing Blog and weekly commentary last appeared in mid-November. Updates to my Brand web site and Facebook page stopped about the same time. My regular contributions to BeBee became a trickle of comments and then just stopped altogether.

I did maintain my consulting business clients but had to discontinue most of my new business activities. I flew to Cincinnati, Ohio from my home in Portland, Oregon four times in two months Two of the trips were unplanned because Mom was in the Emergency Room.

There were a few concerned business phone calls but It wasn’t until I cancelled the land-line phone service that I got any major reaction. I only have one phone number now: 503 957-7901

Be yourself. Don’t allow the events of the day to muddle how you connect.

Base your personal brand on your core competence, convictions and confidence. Stick to it through thick and thin. People understand that your professional abilities can be impacted by emotional situations. You need to be transparent about how Murphy and Minions are impacting your emotions. They will give you credit when you are candid.

Honesty, candor and your web site are the night light you need when Murphy and Minions force you to go dark.

My consulting site continued to generate leads and proved to be the primary resource for clients that were referring prospects. The comment, “I felt I knew you before we met in person because your web site gave me so much information.”

Over the next few weeks you can look forward to updates in my speaking site (www.NetworkingNinja.com)

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Jerry SpeakingJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and Business Development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

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

 

Step Away From That Social Media Suckhole

Social Media SuckholeJim said, “One of my clients was talking about his experience on FaceBook. It seems he has looking for a high-tech app for his company, saw an ad on FaceBook, clicked on it and within 15 minutes someone from the company was calling him.”

He told me that he suggested the CEO turn it around and use it for his own company.

Then he asked the wrong question!

No, I said, you should not be advertising on FaceBook. And you should not think about LinkedIn or Google either. The reason is simple: That is not the right model to build your business.

Until the customer/ client/ patient gets access to your product you don’t have a business.

Service Businesses require someone to provide “hands or minds on” actions. There is direct contact.

Product Businesses make an item that can be used but the company may or may not have direct contact with the end user.

Combination businesses make products and provide services associated with those products usually but not always directly. Their passage or physical distribution may be direct or through several intermediaries.

Distribution businesses provide physical distribution of products to end users or resellers such as retail outlets. The most common are independent distributors and wholesalers. The amount of inventory they carry varies across a full spectrum.

Agent/Broker businesses sell products or services to end users but may not handle physical distribution. Most independent salespersons fall in this category. Frequently they handle several lines that are used in an industry but are not directly competitive.

What is the right model to build your business?

  • Consultants and Professional service providers usually do best when they use tools that generate referrals
  • Business to Business B2B organizations that offer services need a combination of promotion, referrals and a sales force that connects with customers efficiently
  • B2B organizations that offer products at low cost may orient more to advertising and telephone follow up like Jim’s client experienced. The controlling factor is the cost of the products offered. Higher priced products generally require a more knowledgeable sales person and sometimes the best solution is an engineer partnered with a salesperson.
  • Business to Consumer B2C companies have the broadest selection of distribution possibilities that run the gamut from direct sales to distributors, wholesalers and retailers. But here, too, the price of the product being offered will have significant impact on the level of salesperson required.

Do you or a competitor have a way to change an industry?

Examples abound: Amazon, Lyft, Driverless Cars, Disney’s Magic Band access to hotel and park, Airbnb and a host of Internet of Things (IoT) applications that may not have existed last week.

You need to think about how FedEx technology adaption forced UPS to leapfrog them. Can you do something like that? No matter what your product or service, you can, if you think it through, make your offer in such a way that it stands out form the crowd.

That’s when Social Media fits in.

Use the social media platform that gets you the most exposure within your target audience at the lowest cost until you move on to pay per click advertising. Hire a professional organization that makes a living doing that. You will save yourself time, pain and money in the long run. But first, make sure your landing pages and website support your Mission, Position and Value Proposition.


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

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