Posts Tagged ‘sales’

There are people who claim that networking only became popular with the onset of LinkedIn Groups and the advent of popular social media. Others argue that networking has always been in existence and has evolved for the better, becoming more efficient.  The fact is that networking has been around for hundreds, or even thousands of years.   There are (and always have been) multiple ways to network- endless events, mixers and social gatherings to attend.  But what is networking really and where is the value in this age-old concept?

Last year I made a conscious effort to look at all of the networking I was doing and the groups I belonged to, both online and in person. I did my best to place a value on the time, money and effort I was putting into each group vs. the value I was getting out of each one. 

I quickly realized that I didn’t have a cohesive plan for my overall networking. It was obvious I needed to re-evaluate why I was attending the many networking groups and events. I decided I needed a better plan if I was to continue spending my time at many of these groups.  Perhaps I would even conclude that my time could be better spent elsewhere.

Think about these questions for a few minutes. . .

  1. Are you seeing the same people at several of your different networking groups?
  2. Do you find that you are meeting a lot of people who you will introduce to others (i.e., business referral)?
  3. Have the people in these groups or events referred business to you?
  4. Is the group “industry exclusive”, meaning that you are the only representative of your particular industry in attendance?
  5. Will members of this group view you as a potential resource?
  6. Have any of the members of this group become a direct source of revenue for your business?

If your answers were as follows: 1-Yes, 2-No, 3-No, 4-No, 5-No, 6-No.Then you are probably in the wrong group and it may be time to reevaluate. 

I can hear the potential arguments now, “But Erik networking isn’t an overnight thing. It takes time to develop a relationship.” “Erik, I need to get out there and network or I risk not being seen.”  There are many arguments for networking that I agree with completely. But I ask you again, what is the value of networking?  I have talked to a number of people recently who feel the need to determine the real value of their networking behavior. Remember it isn’t about whether you like the people at these groups. There are always awesome people everywhere. But business is business. That’s the bottom line.

Me?

How am I spending my time after my evaluation? I am still part of a number of networking groups. I am finding more time to spend on sales and strategic partnerships. I continue to stay in touch with members of groups that I am on hiatus from at this time. I am being more specific and intentional in quality referrals to my connections. Finally, I continue to refine my networking plan for what works best for me and my connections.

You?

What do you think? Is it time for you to pull back and evaluate the true value of the networking you are doing?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

LinkedIn’s “One Click Endorsements” feature is a way to quickly endorse a contact’s skills and expertise. This is what I often refer to as the “Get out of Jail Free Card”. In other words, it is the perfect excuse for some people to get out of writing a long winded recommendation they don’t have the time to write. Most people are breathing a sigh of relief that they can now save themselves tremendous amounts of time by simply clicking away to endorse their connections. Sure it’s a nice gesture to click a few buttons on someone’s profile to say they are good at this or that and I do support kindness to others as a general rule. But as more and more people click, click, click, on those endorsements what value is it bringing the clicker and/or the clickee? At some point it will simply become “noise” to which few people actually pay attention.  I would argue that it’s already noise. After all any LinkedIn connection can endorse a member, without ever having worked with or even knowing him or her well. Are they just assuming the person must be talented if he or she lists a particular skill? 

Value?

If you really want to endorse someone’s skills and make a valuable contribution to them there is a better way to do that than simply clicking a few boxes on LinkedIn.

  1. Find the connection and locate their contact information (a good reason to make sure your contact information is current)
  2. Find their phone number and call them.
  3. Conduct what I will call and interview to make sure you are up to speed on what they are doing, what type of business they are looking for and how you can help connect them with a quality referral that truly needs them.
  4. Then actually make the conscious effort to connect them with someone that is most likely to do business with them. Make sure to follow up and be sure the connection happens.

By the way the above is the over simplified version of referral selling. If you want to be connected to someone who has an awesome process for this type of referral give me a call.  I will connect you.

If you have been reading this and are scratching your head saying “I have no idea what Erik is talking about! What is the endorsement feature on LinkedIn?” Follow these steps.

  1. Sign in to your LinkedIn account
  2. Find a connections and click on their name
  3. Scroll down to the “Skills & Expertise” section
  4. Click the plus (+) sign next to a skill you want to endorse.

What do you think? Is there any real value for the new endorsement feature on LinkedIn?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.


“It’s not working! Everything we put out there is falling flat and I don’t know what else to do! We post interesting stuff all the time on Facebook, Twitter and on our blog but no one cares. No one is reading it. No one is responding!?!?!?!?!?” These are typical comments we hear from our potential clients on a regular basis.

Sound familiar? Have you ever voiced any of the above questions? You think you are doing the right things for your business but no one else does. Your trusted advisors are even telling you that you are “doing it wrong” but you insist you are doing it right. The fact is that nothing you are doing is creating revenue for your business but you can’t see it through your blurred vision . . .

Here is my advice, STOP. Stop and figure out what it is you think you are doing and why you are doing it. Think about whether or not it is time to consider a new strategy. It is often obvious to outsiders to see when someone doesn’t have a strategy and their activity seems disjointed, disconnected and irrelevant to their overall objective.

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the one where George decides that he is going to do everything opposite of how he has done it in the past and everything begins working for him, from that point forward.

Sometimes doing the opposite of what you have been doing is the right decision. I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who insisted everything he was doing was the best way, the only way. The reality was that his “best way” was yielding NO results in revenue for his entire first quarter. When approached with suggestions on how he might consider doing things differently he immediately shut down and wouldn’t consider any other way from his own way of doing things. The logic there still baffles me to this day.

I’m not saying for you to say YES to everything. Clearly that can be the wrong approach if there isn’t a solid strategy behind it. Remember what happened to Carl in the movie YES Man.

Making a decision that goes against your gut isn’t always the right decision. But making good decisions based on the advice of experts and professionals should be strongly considered before summarily dismissing them.

Do you have any examples of when changing your strategy and going in the other direction paid off for you and your business?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

We all love a great success story! So our question this week encourages you to brag. What worked for you? What was your campaign? Why did it work so well? What was your inspiration? Did the money you spent on the campaign translate to revenue? Or was it successful because you gained tremendous exposure? Did you handle the project on your own or did you use an outside agency? How did you get the message out. . .direct mail, email, social media, broadcast, outdoor?

Whether you answer one or all of the questions we are excited to hear what worked for you. Time to start bragging!

Have a suggestion for a future question? Email me at EHultman@UberBlueDM.com

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend.

Why?

Our Wednesday Question of the Week comes from Don Jaynes, President, Ednovia Learning Solutions .

Q: “How do you, as the small business owner, balance the need to be hyper focused on your core products with the need to also always be exploring new product directions and opportunities?”

Time for your answers. . .

Have a suggestion for a future question? Email me at EHultman@UberBlueDM.com

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend.

We recently discussed good listening skills when it comes to social media. Now that you have learned more about hearing & listening, let’s talk about responding. Yes, you do have a chance to respond and you should actually respond. But here are a few rules this time. Don’t talk just to hear yourself talk. Say it out loud with me, “Don’t talk just to hear yourself talk!”

Some of the most amazing people, authorities, experts, salespeople and others I have ever worked with aren’t big talkers. But when they say something, people listen. Remember EF Hutton?

Hopefully when you talk it will work out better for you than it did for them.

If you do respond all the time but you disagree simply to disagree or you don’t have a valid, valuable or useful point, then simply, don’t say anything at all. If this sounds like you, then your responses may be perceived by others as “noise”. There are exceptions to this rule but we have all seen (& heard from) those individuals who like to hear themselves talk. We see them coming and we run as fast as we can in the other direction.

The ability to respond to others is a fantastic opportunity for you. When you respond to others posts, blogs, tweets you are potentially bringing value, contributing and not simply being a consumer. In a recent session with a client we talked about individuals who only post products and services they offer and nothing else. These posts are not viewed as being valuable to most of us. They are viewed as spam. One promo every so often is fine. But product or service promotions each and every posting, is definitely not fine. When you are responding to others, you have the opportunity to get your name and your business out there. You also have the ability to be viewed as the expert without being one of “those” people.

Have you had a positive experience when responding to others? Has your response ultimately led to business? Share your experiences with us here.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend. We sure would appreciate it if you “Like” us on Facebook.

In the past I haven’t sent eBlasts out as a common practice for ÜberBlueDM, Inc. We are Social Media Solutions Company and also provide Social Media Staffing solutions (promo). Does that mean we limit eMail marketing campaigns in social media? Absolutely not. Email marketing campaigns can be extremely effective, inexpensive and valuable if done properly. They can also encourage people to be driven to your social media. I put these in the social media, digital marketing, internet marketing category.

How it used to be done?

I am sure you get your share of emails. I am also sure that you would call some of it spam. Not everything we receive in our inbox is always welcome and certainly some of it doesn’t bring us value. That’s why you should give careful consideration to what you want to accomplish with your email campaigns and what rules to follow. Here are a few thoughts and tips.

If you already have an email marketing service, fantastic. The reason I suggest a service vs. sending via Outlook is because many of these services provide you with a lot more functionality. They can help keep track of mailing lists, give recipients the ability to unsubscribe (this is very important) and offer a lot of other bells and whistles for what people do with the your email after they receive it. For example, did they open the email, did they forward the email, did they click on links embedded in the email and so on. It’s nice to have this information although not all of the information is completely accurate. An example of this would be if someone has email forwarded to their Outlook. You won’t necessarily know if they forwarded the email to someone they know.

Not sure what service to use? You can check out Constant Contact or iContact. There are many many more out there. Constant Contact is considered to be one of the leading providers. Which ones do you like best?

Bring value. One thing we always talk about in social media is brining value. Is what you are saying, sending and offering others bringing something that is valuable? Again, not everything is going to resonate with all people but do your best to say to yourself before you hit send, “Is this something that I myself would like to receive?” Make every effort to take off your sales pitch hat and ask the question. If the answer is no then you better reconsider hitting that send button.

Make sure you give recipients the option to share your information, forward to a friend, share on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Make sure you provide links for your website and social media pages. Encourage them to actively get engaged in discussions, ask questions, provide their thoughts, advice and recommendations.

With that in mind, how are you succeeding with email campaigns? What is working for you? Why has one campaign been successful and another one not so successful?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend.

How many times have you heard this comment? “You’re listening to me, but you’re not hearing what I’m saying”. It’s one thing if you hear this line from your spouse, significant other, friend or colleague. Typically this is not a positive statement. The real question I have for you is this: how are you listening to your clients? What are your current and future clients talking about and asking about? What are they looking for on the web as it relates to your business? How and where can you actually “hear” what they are saying?

Listening when it comes to social media is something that is often overlooked. When is the right time to start listening in the chronological timeline of social media? The answer is…Right from the very beginning! Most business owners are so eager to get the Facebook fan page and Tweets going that they miss the point.

Start by listening first, to your current clients and potential clients. What are they talking about, interested in or having problems with? How can you help them? Given your expertise and your products, how can you be part of their solution? When you understand your target audience and where they hang out on the web you will be able to effectively implement the best tools. Ultimately these tools will make the most sense for everyone, giving everyone their sought-after results.

Hear is cutting edge information on one of the greatest inventions ever made.

In the beginning as part of your social media process “listening to the web” means researching and finding individuals, groups, communities, bloggers, fans and other related people and products who can dramatically impact your business. We often hear, “I don’t have time for that.” But finding time can mean the difference between success and failure of your social media strategy. When working with our clients we always recommend and ongoing commitment to taking time for research and listening. Part of this process also falls into the reputation management aspect of the solutions. The fact is that whether you do it or we do it…don’t wait, do it now.

Even if you have already implemented the aforementioned tools (Facebook and Twitter) it’s never too late to start listening. There are plenty of tools that you can harness and find your clients so that you can listen to them. If you are unsure what these tools are (many of the tools are free) give us a call. We can help suggest ways to listen that are relevant for you and for your business.

Perhaps you are already practicing good listening habits. If so, keep it up! The web is constantly changing and is never static.

How are you listening to your customers on the web? How are you finding success by listening? Share here. . .We all want to Listen and Hear what you are saying.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

When I talk to our clients I ask them to look at their hands. As we know each finger serves a purpose and yes…so does the very important big thumb. This reminds me of the movie Stripes when Bill Murray offers to be the BIG Toe (kind of like a big Thumb)(Platoon Leader) if anything happens to Sgt. Hulka.

Hold up your hand and consider each finger one of the reasons for your business to be successful.

1. Advertising
2. Marketing
3. Sales
4. Public Relations
5. You (The BIG Thumb…The Sgt. Hulka…or Bill Murray…you choose).

Each one of these “fingers” of your business cannot operate independently of the others. Each “finger” of your business needs to work in harmony with the others or the handshake (the deal maker) will be limp, weak and more like a deal breaker. We will not get in to the “how to have a handshake” conversation here. Actually, yes we will. . . This very interesting “how to” video on a proper handshake sums it all up. If you are model that is. . .

I will have to pay attention next time I shake the hand of a model. I think I will know whether or not they have seen this video. And most importantly…”Don’t pump it”, no one likes that? Seriously this nice lady was way ahead of the Shake Weight.

Now that we are back on track and know how to shake hands, what is the one thing you may be missing? What is the extra finger you would grow if it were possible? The #1 new thing you need that you can use to tie them all together? You already know the answer. YOU NEED SOCIAL MEDIA.

But you’ll have to keep them all on the same hand because “one hand doesn’t always know what the other hand is doing”!

So if I may point this out one more time. It isn’t possible to grow an extra finger. But it is possible to include SOCIAL MEDIA in your business mix

What questions do you have about growing that 6th finger of SOCIAL MEDIA?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is founder of ÜberBlueDM, LLC., specializing in educating, empowering, strategizing, implementing, managing and reporting for businesses to build their social media success.