Brilliance on a Napkin

How often have you been in conversation over lunch with business associates and watched as they reached for a napkin to sketch a concept?

Not often I bet unless you are lucky enough to enjoy a meal with a “thought leader.”

Amygdala hijack

Concepts are hard to come by and harder to present in a way that is understandable. Often, years of experience and research come to frustration as the paper blotches and smears you’re carefully contrived graph or sketch. Even when all involved share similar experiences and background it can prove to be truly challenging.

The effort is what Laurie Buxton, the Neuro-humorist describes as an amygdala hijacking. That’s a surge of neurons in your vestigial lizard brain that brings you joy, frustration and sometimes laughter.

Sketchy but beautiful

These ideas when drawn on the porous paper bleed every which way. The lines may be ragged but the intent is quickly obvious from the accompanying explanation. Positive ROI follows when you put them to work. That’s because the narrative is so rich in the vocabulary of first-hand experience.

Brilliance on a napkin

I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to a powerful concept illustrated on a napkin a number of times:

  • The Brand/Direct Scale, invented by a former client and his partner to show the difference in ROI dependent on the percentage of direct marketing versus Brand use in ads.
  • The Consultant Value Jump developed by the Alan Weiss Community and shaped like a ski jump seen from the side that portrays how fees can be increased as engagement time decreases.
  • The Promotional Whirl from the heart of my own Brand Gyro that uses over-lapping circles to make both the new Trust tools and traditional Spin Tools understandable.
  • The Brand Introduction Curve a Marketing director and I put together for a training session with the divisional directors of a Fortune 500 company. The major difference we incorporated was using a full cross-hairs X-Y axis and showing all the time and costs in development before the product was introduced and began (with luck) to generate ROI
  • The Brand Disruption Curve used by a management consultant friend from Toronto to convince clients to begin considering the mortality of their brands and how to be prepared for the shift.

Less is more

Using a napkin as your art board means you must strip away all the extras and get to the heart of your concept. Space can be a concern. Multi-faceted symbols can prove difficult to render. Writing can yield pathetic results. Less is more in napkin conditions.

Radiance

I was rattling on about this over Thai food with a friend. She put down her chop sticks, picked up her purse, searched out a pen and then picked up a paper napkin. The waiter removed our dishes and she put the napkin in the middle of the table between us saying, “All those things about presenting an idea on a napkin you said are true but it also gives you one thing that is less expected.  It makes your imagination a part of the concept. Let me show you.

With that she drew a small box about a quarter inch square to one side of the napkin. Three inches to the right of it she drew another. This one she filled in. Then she said, “Most people see decisions this way…black or white. A few have been taught that there are many greys that separate them.

But I tell my clients to imagine the colors of the rainbow filling that space in the middle. Not only do we have more than two ways to go we have infinite choices, all of which can bring new light into our lives.”

Imagine your rainbow.


Jerry Fletcher­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry 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

Three Little Words

Heart in sightsNo, not those three.

The three I have in mind are

  • what,
  • how
    and
  • do.

Putting together a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) program called No Budget Branding over the last few weeks made me think about decisions I’ve made over time and how much I’m like other people.

What

Back in the days when I was up to my eyeballs in a pheromone fog “What” started rattling around my skull. I was lucky. I selected my parents well so the decision for me was delayed until after those halcyon high school days. Friends and acquaintances had to choose due to financial and social situations long before I did. They followed their fathers into the construction trades and the military and their mothers into the careers reserved for women at that time…homemakers, cooks, waitresses and nurses.

Some of us were lucky enough to put that decision off until we went to college. It was called selecting a major. I had my choice between Business, Engineering and Advertising. I took one look at the business school types wearing ties and blazers, the engineers with huge slide rules hanging off their belts and said, “Madison Avenue, here I come!”

It ain’t pretty but that’s how I decided what I was going to do with my life. I could have changed but I stuck with it. I’m still sticking with it a full career later. Yes, I was one of the Mad Men. That TV show was accurate, sort of.

How

I learned a lot in College—mostly that I had a lot to learn.  You see, making a profit on what you do is dependent on knowing how to get it done. If you are working in a trade, your knowledge is what lifts you to a position of expertise. Understanding the how will get you into management, assure you better pay, and sometimes ownership.

What is the way people are intrigued with information on the internet. How is what they are willing to buy.

You can tell people all day long what they need.

You can get them to click on the offer because they want to know how.

Think about that offer which you ”bit on.”  The video on the web site told you how the seller was now making seven figures. The clock on the webpage kept ticking showing how little time was left for you to jump in. The testimonials talked about instant results. The key elements of the formula, what makes it work, were revealed and even offered as part of a downloadable note. Some organizations even showed you how they were improving society as well.

Do

You clicked the orange button, plunked down your credit card, signed up and downloaded the “goodies” to include the promised bonuses. Wow! Talk about instant gratification!

Did you notice the admonition that was the first thing out of the chute? It was something like this:

Step away from your limiting beliefs.

You can do this. Focus on it.

Dedicate your life for the next x weeks to this formula.

Focused action will allow you to accomplish your goals

You will be SUCCESSFUL

That’s because the seller knows a secret.

Most people will not act. Many will not even open the packet of information, digital or traditional.  They are telling you the truth.  They decided or were forced to decide what to do. They learned how (sometimes the hard way). They learned that the only way to make something happen is to do and stick to it.

Will you act?


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry 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

 

The Calendar of Brand

Times change.

Brands need to change with them.

At least the trappings of your promotion and advertising should. Too often we seem to get stuck in a time warp. Just because it is another decade in the program your commercial is scheduled to run in is not a reason to look like that era.

It’s similar if you’re trying to appeal to today’s audience and not come off stupid. Beware of being too trendy. That graphiti background is fine for the coasts but it screams “not from here” in the midlands. Too much “hot lingo” can backfire with both the target you are aiming for as well as the rest of the audience that is not quite up to the minute yet.

Everybody is not a valid statistic.

When the person presenting that original commercial storyboard or radio commercial or web site utters the word “Everybody” you need to beware. Examples:

  • Everybody has a smart phone these days. (over 75% in the USA but only 37% worldwide according to PEW research)
  • Everybody bets on televised sports (Statista says 13%)
  • Everybody knows video gets more digital shoppers (But mobile is 3x of desktop viewers.)

Being in sync is not a perfect science.

The better you know your primary customer the more your appeals can be honed. What if you have the perfect solution for those folks that don’t currently have a smart phone? Should you be looking to sell to people that don’t own a mobile phone or would you be better off going after the folks that haven’t upgraded to a smart phone?

Building a commercial whether it is radio or TV or both that relies on bettors language and actions is going ot fail to reach north of 85% of the audience. Why would you do that? And be careful of the “Big Game syndrome” that usually is presented as the one that gets the biggest audience of the season or year or week. Look hard at the statistics.

Video isn’t vaporware but it is close.

Too often video is presented as a band aid for a sucking chest wound. A single video will not save you. Video needs to be part of a considered strategy that is based on how digital shoppers operate in your market. Multiple videos will serve you better than one that runs continuously.

If you put videos on your web site they should start on customer command, not automatically. You have to stay committed, changing out video options and building in Calls to Action (CTAs) that allow the potential customer to get more information. That commitment goes to building videos that meet the criteria sought by your perfect clients. The wrong videos or those couched in the wrong  terms, visually or verbally, will result in negative click through.

How important is Season, Month or Holiday?

We all know that sales events linked to the calendar pay off.

Or do we?

Twenty percent of annual retail sales occur during the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New years). That means that 80% do not. Knowing the right season, month or other days to chase that business is a good idea.

You need to know what used to work and calculate how the recent trends might be impacting the situation. For instance, there was a time that catalogs were most impressive in terms of sales in the period between Christmas and New Years. Is that still true? How much has online retail changed or added to that phenomenon? The same goes for all the other holidays.

What’s on your calendar?

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker and the founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

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

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.

______________________________________________________________________

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

 

 

 

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

Brand Demands Focus

Brand FocusFor starters who is really the customer?

That sounds like a simple question but it isn’t. The world is more complex today than it has ever been. The way products and services are delivered today, especially digital products, is revolutionizing industries.

They call it disruption.

The digital transformation is rolling across industries like a tsunami. Businesses that don’t recognize the possibility are disappearing. Blockbuster is gone. Uber and Lyft have become the go to transporters for a new generation.

Complexity makes it hard to Focus.

Southwest Airlines operates in what would seem to be an easy to understand market. Passengers are the obvious customers but founders of the airline understood that in order to compete and build a brand they had to instill a love of passenger service in everyone that worked for them. They said their employees were their primary customers. They “luv’d” them and changed the industry. Success is why, in 1977, their stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “LUV.”

Airbnb is an alternative to hotels and bed and breakfasts and so the customer at first appears to be the person looking for an overnight or multi-night stay away from home. This disruptive service works because it handles the infrastructure of advertising space availability, booking the visitor, paying the owner of the space and taking a commission on the deal. The real customer is the person with space to book, like a Silicon valley investor on vacation with his extended family in Europe who earned enough through an Airbnb booking for part of his home to pay for the trip and make a profit at the same time.

Where the money is defines the customer.

A client which must remain nameless because of non-disclosures is a good case in point. It requires a distributor and allows contributors to provide content and is used by consumers delivered in the form of an app for smart phones.

Who is the customer? Is it the distributor, the contributor or the consumer?

  • We know that the consumer is not going to pay for the app even though it could have great advantages. The consumer is not the customer.
  • Contributors would have to distribute the app in order for it to be of value to them. Could they recoup that expense and make a profit? Possible, but a tough sell.
  • The distributor can use the app to generate additional revenue from current users and expand their service to new users. At the same time they can recoup the costs by charging a small fee to implement the app for their users. This is the customer.

Focus your business and your brand to succeed.

The more laser like you can be the better. Strip away the complexity. Figure out which of the parts of how you get your product or service to market has the most profit capability for you and for them. Go where the money is. Target them first.


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

Your Brand is Your Secret Funnel Story

Story FunnelYou can’t sell anything if they don’t buy your story.

You can talk at people until you are blue in the face and it won’t do any good.

You can “logic them” and “feature them” and even “benefit them” but your results will still be negative.

If your Web site or landing page starts with an “I” you are going to lose.

If you don’t make yourself memorable, communicate the problem you solve in their terms, tell them how you do it in their language and explain how to get your help in a couple minutes or less, you lose.

If you don’t make it easy for them every way you can, go back to your day job.

The secret is your story.

It makes no difference whether you are doing e-commerce for a product or a service. The distinction doesn’t matter.

Passion is what matters.

Why are you passionate about this thing you are selling? How did that happen? Want to bet that your experience is similar to other folks that might be interested? Have you watched someone’s eyes as you tell them the concerns you had about it? Have you noticed how they start nodding when you talk about how the change it made in you made you feel about yourself and your family? Have you noticed how you don’t have to sell but rather just take orders.

Your passion plus your story plus a formula.

Imagine you are in a room with a crowd of other folks that are entrepreneurial– consultants, coaches, professionals, guys and gals starting companies and people charged with launching a small company’s new product.

The speaker says:

Target “Are you the one that has to be sure that there is paying business in the pipeline? Do you find yourself looking for another place to network or a trade show to attend just to meet a few new prospects? Are you tired of waiting for leads from your web site or all the social media stuff they told you would work?

And even if it did isn’t that little voice in your ear saying things that make you doubt you’ll ever get this thing off the ground? Makes you feel like a failure that doesn’t take care of his family doesn’t it?

Ever wake up in the middle of the night worried about money to keep the business afloat and to be able to give your kids a college education?

We all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust.

Problem Would you say that your problem is building trust fast enough especially if your budget is zilch?

Guide I know what that’s like. I was the CEO of an ad agency dealing with national and international clients but my board and I agreed to disagree and I went from the corner office, the BMW and the expense account to a makeshift office in a spare bedroom.

I felt rejected. Put out to pasture. Trapped. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills.

I knew that I could help the little guys, the small businesses that couldn’t afford a big agency. I knew I could help them do it without breaking the bank.

First I had to get to trust. I had to find a way to reach them without looking desperate. But I had more bills than money.

I resorted to asking those pearls of contacts I had to help me get some business.

I sent a letter to just 60 golfing buddies. Six responded. Two wished me luck. Two referred me to prospects. And two gave me engagements.

That was in 1990.

I’ve learned a lot along the way. The most important is this:

  • What you know is significant
  • Who you know is important
  • But the single most critical factor in building a business, a career or a life of joy is who trusts you.

You can do what I did.

I can show you how.

It’s called Marketing Without Money.

Would you like to hear more about that?”


Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry 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

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

 

 

Deja-vu Testing for On-line Success

The Marketing lunch bunch“It’s not a new idea” Kate said, “So don’t try to take credit.”

Rick groaned, took another sip of wine and nodded. Then he rose to the bait saying, “I know I didn’t invent the idea but at least give me credit for figuring out how to apply it to the funnel hacking e-marketing world we live in.”

“So what brilliance did you come up with?” I asked.

“Daily déjà-vu of simultaneous synchronized multi-variant testing of multiple elements is my claim to fame,” he said.

Gail guffawed looked him in the eye and said, “What a mouthful! Rick, my boy you are brilliant at times but this is not one of them. You know as well as I do that direct marketing copy controls have been tested every which way you can imagine over the years and that something as simple as an A-B split test is so easy online that anyone that can afford the software or the service can get it done. So what are you claiming?”

Kate piled on noting, “And don’t try to pull that tale of having to dumb down your ideas of how to test that the programmers couldn’t figure out 10 or 15 years ago because Fletch was sitting beside you in that meeting you’ve told me and as I recall he’s the one that had to explain what an A-B split test was.”

Rick swished his wine in the glass, carefully set it down and replied, “You all would agree that we need to find out the relative importance of the offer, the list of people you are addressing and the approach. That principle is true of direct marketing, e-mail marketing, e-commerce stores/catalogs on-line or even a web site developed to begin a relationship for a professional service.

My approach takes the ability of the internet to produce quantifiable data quickly and the need to look a multiple components of the message to new levels. There are entrepreneurs out there right now that are pushing the envelope. They test everything. They find a control that works and then start testing to improve it. Sometimes as simple shift can increase ROI by hundreds of points.

What are you doing to make your web-based marketing activities more successful? Why not try tests of formatting, subject lines, subheads, arrangement of paragraphs, captions, descriptions, addition or deletion of photos and a host of other variables. There is hard data that shows that at least half of these have increased response levels.

The time to test what works for your business is right now. And tomorrow. And the day after.

Testing ought to be Deja-vu, over and over again.”


Jerry Fletcher weaves the tales of the Lunch Bunch based on his experiences in advertising, direct marketing, consulting and helping build entrepreneur businesses.

Jerry Fletcher KeynoteJerry 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

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

3 Tricks to Take Face Time From Awkward to Zoftique

3 Face Time TricksAbout mid afternoon, my brother in law pulled out his cell phone and then his pad computer and announced, “It’s time for some face time.”

I thought, “Do I have to?”

Today there are a myriad of ways to use technology to see who we’re having a conversation with. The results run the gamut from awkward to zoftique.

You can use:
An app on your Smart Phone
An app on your Pad Computer
Your Laptop or Desktop computer via Skype or meeting software.

Is there a device that doesn’t have a camera and microphone on it anymore?

Here are some things to consider before you opt to call or receive a call using “Face Time”

No matter what device you are reading this on, I want you to turn around and look at what is behind you. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

  • Would you be comfortable with an unannounced visitor seeing that?
  • Does the view of you and your surroundings convince people of your expertise?
  • Will the prospect have a better impression of you?
  • Will they remember you or your background images?
  • Most importantly, does the background meet their expectations about you?

Face Time used to mean an in-person meeting. You knew it was going to happen. You dressed for it. You got ready for it, reviewing information and honing your observations and questions.

Today, you could be face to face in a heartbeat. Here’s how to be ready:

  1. Plan for these calls. If you know it is going to happen you can be ready. If you plan for it you can better control what is going on around you. You won’t wind up talking from the back of cab on our way to a costume party which is where we connected with my nephew.
  2. Be aware of the background. In your office take the look suggested above. In the field, try to find a quiet place with a neutral background and a low probability of people wandering through it.
  3. Look at yourself before you answer and make sure to disconnect. Too often people that work from home simply forget where they are and the fact they are in their pajamas (or less). Then, too you can stay online with some technologies and not know it. Just disconnect if someone forgets to do so. You probably don’t want to know what you might see or overhear.

As Humphrey Bogart would say, “Here’s lookin’ at you kid.”


Jerry FletcherJerry 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

 

The Skin in the Game is Your Brand

Success All the e-mail said was, “Being successful developing and commercializing technologies and start-ups is a given or I wouldn’t have contacted you. I appreciate your offer but I don’t do business with people or groups that don’t have skin in the game.”

Skin in the Game according to Investopedia

A term coined by renowned investor Warren Buffett referring to a situation in which high-ranking insiders use their own money to buy stock in the company they are running.

Your Brand is at stake every time.

Every consultant puts skin in the game every time they accept an engagement. If their recommendations fail they will lose Trust with that client and with every one that client tells. The skin they have in the game each time is the lifetime value of their brand. That value is always greater than being allowed to invest in the startup without having legal control.

Value, like Brand, is perceived.

Your value to clients depends on their situation, how much information you can elicit to make a proposal and how strongly you believe in yourself.

Here’s the suggestion that was rejected:

“I’m not a stranger to new products. I stopped counting successful introductions at 207 and that was years ago. I’m willing to invest an hour on Skype to determine how viable I think the product is. But, full disclosure, I’m too busy on paid retainers to take on any additional work without getting paid for it. If I believe your product has the positive value that Digimarc had (I named the company) I will give you the same deal I gave them, a monthly retainer plus a stock bonus. Call or e-mail if you want to take the next step.” 

Skin in the game is a two-way street.

In my experience, the proposition is always essentially the same: Give the start-up the benefit of your time, knowledge and wisdom for a percentage of the company in the future. In other words, we want all your value for as long as it takes but we don’t want to pay for it and, oh yes, you’ll have no say in how the company operates.

Does that sound fair and balanced to you?

Without candor there is no trust

In a conversation with any entrepreneur or start-up if they do not believe in their offering it will show. If they are not cognizant of a marketing problem I may be able to help merely by pointing it out. Should they have been short-sighted about how the company will be run as it moves into the future I may be able to suggest both interim and long term solutions. My initial conversations with start-ups are based on both of us being truthful with each other with the objective of making them successful.

The skin in the game is your brand… and theirs.

Your Brand has established value or they wouldn’t be talking to you. Theirs has little or none. In my view the fees for services is a negotiation.

They need to build a business. You need to be paid.

How you get paid is another matter. If you believe in your brand you should be able to determine the value of your services to the prospect and be paid at that level via any combination of cash, stock or ownership you can agree on.

What say you?


Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry 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

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