Thursday, November 30, 2017

4 Ways to Build Relationships and Avoid 'One-Night Stands' With Your Customers




Did you start your business to have a "one-night stand"? Did you launch your company, found a startup, or join an organization just to make more money? If so, stop reading this column now.

I'm about to share the four ways to create truly meaningful relationships with your customers that will take your startup to the next level. Having "one-night stands" with customers may have worked for some startups before, but in this hyper-competitive age of technology, I've seen firsthand how customer churn can kill a company.

Entrepreneurs know that the success of their companies is dependent on customers. Without paying customers, your startup will never get off the ground.

To help find these customers, businesses have traditionally relied on marketing to generate a bunch of new leads at the top of the funnel to find qualified prospects for sales. But what resulted from generating all these leads was that marketers became bad dates only looking for one-night stands!

Marketers would never greet a prospect at the metaphorical door, on their own terms. Instead, they opted to honk the car horn incessantly in the driveway (i.e., blasting out emails) hoping maybe the prospect would come out (replying to said email).

Think about it: a sales development representative (SDR) or account executive (AE) is constantly calling a prospect while marketing sends email blasts, and maybe immediately, maybe tomorrow, or maybe a year from now, that prospect will hopefully say, "Okay, let's talk."

These leads would shuffle through a buyer's journey (or courtship if you will) to hopefully become paying customers. Who wants to be courted like that? There's no flowers or candy, no meaningful conversations, and no foundational activities for establishing a relationship.

And in reality, this is no way to build your business. According to Forrester Research, less than 1% of B2B leads will ever become paying customers. That means if your company's marketing team is focused on lead generation, you could be wasting up to 99% of your marketing dollars trying to engage with people who will never have a relationship with your company.

Here are 4 ways to build customer relationships instead of having "one-night stands". 


1. Focus on engagement, not leads


People who still think leads are the be-all and end-all KPI for marketing are starting to drive me a little nuts. Kind of like that obnoxious guy or girl at the bar.

In our modern, tech-savvy world, why would you continue to count new leads as a success metric for your company? It's like if you were dating and you counted getting tons of phone numbers as a successful night. If you followed up on all of those phone numbers, how many great dates would you get? It sounds like a waste of time and a recipe for heartbreak.

You have the capabilities to find that right person for you, and your company, then try to have a conversation. Both marketing and sales should share the common goal of trying to engaging prospects instead of generating leads. The world is a much better place when sales and marketing are aligned on goals.


2. Drive conversations vs. conversions


Let's say you're tracking conversion rates as a success metric. Most digital marketing professionals still are. You love driving people to your website so you can cheer when a form is completed. Yeah! Score! A conversion!

Then what happens? You try to engage this person with a follow-up phone call, drop them into a drip campaign or add them to a nurturing email. Do you ever hear from them again? If not, that sounds a lot like a one-night stand.




3. Generate revenue instead of registration numbers


Like flowers and candy, content marketing is a great way to start off a date. Your prospect gets to hear from thought leaders about the problems in your industry and how your business is a solution. Your marketing team plans regular webinars and invites anybody and everybody to register and attend.

Big registration numbers are exciting, but what does this actually do for revenue? That's what sales and your executive team care about. Sure, you got the prospect's attention with your webinar, but what happens next to turn that prospect into a sales opportunity is what truly matters.

When I was Head of Marketing at Pardot (now Salesforce), I recall how we saw 33% higher win rate when someone attended a product webinar after the opportunity was created. Now that's the kind information that can shape your marketing programs. It's all about knowing what is working to drive new revenue and more new customers.


4. Plan great dates


The way you design activities to engage your potential customers should be like planning a date -- personalized based on who that person is instead of using the same old pickup lines. The content and activities should align with not only the account's stage of the buyer's journey but also to the individual buyer personas.

Your prospective customers deserve special "dates." You can't expect someone to open the email you just blasted to thousands of people and actually respond. That's not marketing. It's just "spray and pray." Instead, show the love to your prospects and customers by designing personalized marketing experiences.

Think about it this way: you should not bring thousands of frogs to your door, "kissing" each one with a form completion. Focus on defining what your perfect partner's qualities would be. Those are the customers that will help your startup to grow and your company to flourish.



Source: https://www.inc.com
Image Source: Getty Images


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Why Marketers Need To Focus On Return On Relationships


Relationships, A.K.A. "the way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other." There are of course other definitions but in this particular context this is the most appropriate. Relationships are all around us and come in many different forms.

For brands the word takes on a significant meaning and value for having relationships — the right kind of relationships that is, with customers and prospects alike is paramount for long term survival. Of course that is easier said than done for sure.

And just so we're clear when I say the right kind of relationship I mean one in which the brand realizes they are not in control. One where the customer or prospect drives the bus, decides what movie to see and what restaurant you go to. Get the analogy? You better.


The Importance of ROR

Last month I attended the GRMA (Global Retail Marketing Association) Executive Leadership Forum for Financial and Insurance Services in Florida. One of the speakers at the event was Lou Paskalis, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Media Planning, Investment and Measurement Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Yes his title is a mouthful.

Lou, whom I met for the first time at the event, was incredibly dynamic and passionate about the importance of Return On Relationships, adding that he believes marketers need to focus on ROR before (gasp!) ROI.

I spoke with Lou after the event to dig deeper on ROR and other topics including the fact that he also believes, quite strongly mind you, that marketers measure the wrong KPIs.

Steve Olenski:
At the GRMA Forum you spoke about Return On Relationships (ROR). You believe that marketers need to focus on ROR before ROI, adding that you think marketers are measuring the wrong KPIs. I'm sure there are cynics and skeptics out there who are literally shaking their heads even reading this. Why is ROR so important and what are the wrong KPIs and in turn what are the correct ones?

Lou Paskalis: I think it’s a fundamental human truth that we are generally more receptive to people we have a relationship with. People who work in retail often engage their regular customers in conversation about current events or acquaintances. Our financial center associates often cultivate relationships with their frequent customers as a matter of instinct or human nature, not merely business value. Rishad Tobaccowala is fond of saying that we chose with our heart and then rationalize with our head.

We’ve lost some of that ethos in advertising, particularly digital advertising, because we have been lured to the bottom of the funnel by transactional measures. Last-touch measures are interesting diagnostically, but too often it’s these measures that are optimized, when in fact it’s the relationship over time that the marketer should be optimizing which, is possible with today’s technology. This requires a fundamental regrounding in the role of advertising. Too much industry is put behind the direct relationship between an advertising stimulus and a transactional response.

I call that “A” to “C” marketing. What we should be measuring is the impact that an ad or a piece of content published by a marketer has on the relationship between that marketer and a particular audience as measured by some impact on perception. Once a positive perception is cultivated, then we can, and should and see a corresponding positive impact on business outcomes. In other words, “A” to “B” to “C” marketing. Investing in relationships is far more sustainable than just trying to money ball transactions.

Olenski: As a follow up how do you get marketers, so deeply-rooted in the same old KPIs to pivot and measure what you believe are the right KPIs?

Paskalis: Great question. This requires an amalgam of marketing science, marketing intuition and intestinal fortitude. Until the 1500’s every map ever made showed the earth to be flat. That was the truth. Then it turned out that it wasn’t. That’s where a lot of the KPI discussion are today. In marketing we’ve got a set truths that are hard won and very specific to a channel or a product or even an audience sometimes, but more often than not, those truths are looking only at a narrow set of stimuli and force relating them to a specific outcome.

Very often, these “insights” are constrained to a specific session in which the customer interacts with the marketer. Where we are going is to connect every experience to a “single view of the customer across all touch points” so that we learn their needs, retain the insight and orchestrate the next interaction based on not only same session insights, but previous learnings on everything from interests, to preference to immediate context and how that might impact receptivity.

Ultimately, the KPIs that we need to be optimizing are grounded in the sentiment space such as favorability, relevance or advocacy. KPIs that modern marketing technology enables us to observe and learn from. At Bank of America, we know that customers who think more favorably about us do far more business with us than those who don’t. It’s common sense, but that insight is commonly underutilized in a marketing industry that has had their focus pulled to the bottom of the funnel by measures that historically have been easier to measure.





Source: https://www.forbes.com

Image Source: Pexels

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Growing a Business While Dealing With Relationship Issues




Love can be one of the greatest feelings a human can experience. It can make us feel like we’re capable of anything, and as if we’re living in the clouds. It can also be one of the hardest things to get over. It’s fair to say that most entrepreneurs reading this will have experienced the negative side that comes with love. A hard breakup or love not returned in the same way it was given can be depressing and kill our inner drive to grow. Many an entrepreneur’s businesses have suffered because of issues with romantic love.

Life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes relationships don’t work out despite our best efforts. At that point, you have a choice to make. You can let the feelings overwhelm you into quitting and worse. Or, you can view the experience as something you learn from and grow through. Either way, there are some things you should understand about relationship struggles and maintaining the growth plan in your business.
You are human. It will affect your motivation and productivity.

As entrepreneurs, we try to be strong. It's not easy leaving the security of a job for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. To do that, we tap into something deeper. When we’re dealing with relationship struggles, we try to go to that strong place and muscle through what we’re feeling. Don’t! We are entrepreneurs but don’t forget that we’re human first. We have feelings and emotions.

When you are dealing with the side effects of negative relationship experiences, realize that it will affect your motivation and productivity. Realize that it’s hard to focus on business because a huge part of you is invested in what’s happening. This is all normal. Don’t beat yourself up during those days when you only feel like eating all day while you binge watch your favorite Netflix show. Don’t punish yourself for not being Superman 24/7 and for taking a break from the hustle.

Give yourself time to process and heal.


After reminding yourself that you’re human, give yourself the proper time to process everything that’s happened so you can heal. You just went through something traumatic and that’s not easy to overcome. Take a few days off from business and have some “you” time. Do something fun. Do something that helps relieve stress. Hang out with friends and vent. Mediate and get all that junk out of your head. If you give yourself the proper time to heal and process, you will be more productive when you come back to business. Trying to do business in this state can lead to less than your best work.

Create a to-do list every night that will keep you focused.


When we're going through emotional stuff, our natural inclination is to wing it. We do a few things here and there so we feel like we’re getting things accomplished. During these times, structure can help. Spending a few minutes each night planning out the next days will help you stay focused on what you need to do. Don’t go nuts with tasks. Realize that you’re not at full strength and give yourself manageable goals for your current state.

Continually evaluate your 'why.'


The reason most of us started a business was to create freedom, financial security, and make an impact. It’s easy to lose sight of that—especially during relationship struggles. If you are going to accomplish major goals and dreams, you must have them and you must update them. Maybe you’re not moving forward because you don’t have a big enough “why” anymore. At least a few times a year, you should take time to make sure you’re pushing and challenging yourself as a human and entrepreneur.

Never settle or get complacent.


Maybe the relationship struggles are happening to show you that it’s time to move on. Life would be amazing if we found the “one” and nothing ever went wrong. That’s not a reality. Listen and learn from the experience, good or bad. Don’t justify or make excuses for a relationship that you know is holding you back and is not healthy. You might have to make a hard choice right now that saves you years of pain and worse. You deserve someone who loves you for you and wants to do anything they can to make your life better. You deserve the real thing in your life.

Life is too short to spend it constantly stressed out and not moving forward because you are dealing with relationships issues. Fights happen. Things go wrong. Sometimes love takes more to make it work. Recognize the kind of love that’s worth fighting for and the kind you need to walk away from. Realize that it can and will affect your business and use these strategies to get through it. This is your year -- you’ve got this.






Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image source: Getty Images




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Monday, November 27, 2017

How To Put Advertising Theory Into Practice

Brand managers face a challenge of deciding how to apply theory into practice.

Professors tend to spend substantial amounts of time in an effort to understand how the human mind works. This leads to the development of theories, for example, to help us understand how to better communicate a brand’s value proposition to consumers.

However, a critical challenge occurs as practitioners attempt to apply academic theories in practice. One core issue is that, while academics have a number of important theories and findings, it is often difficult to know, a priori, how to best apply a theory. In a similar vein, it can be a challenge to discern which finding is most applicable to a given brand or how to apply a finding in a given situation.

As an example, prior research has found consumers respond differently based on whether they are promotion or prevention focused. Promotion-focused consumers — people focused on advancement, growth, and gains — are more responsive to messages that emphasize what can be gained from a product or service. In contrast, prevention-focused consumers — people focused on security, safety, and avoiding loss — are more responsive to messages that emphasize what can be prevented through a product or service. For example, a promotion-focused consumer might respond more favorably to a gym that advertises that it will increase consumers’ fitness (i.e., a gain). In contrast, a prevention-focused consumer might respond more favorably to a gym that advertises that it prevents consumers from losing their physique.


What motivates consumers to visit the gym can vary.


How can a practitioner apply this work on promotion and prevention? The challenge arises when one recognizes the questions a brand manager must answer in this situation. First, a brand has to have a sense of whether the audience is likely to be promotion or prevention focused and whether this is relevant to consumers’ decision making in a given situation. This question can be a challenge because various factors affect consumers’ focus and whether or not consumers’ focus is relevant to a decision. Second, a brand has to have an idea of how to represent their message in a manner that effectively resonates with consumers’ focus. Given the brand can communicate its message in a near infinite number of ways, how does a brand even know how to start?


When I represent an example like this to practitioners, I can sense their discomfort. It becomes clear that they wonder if academic research has any value at all. It absolutely does! The work on promotion and prevention, for example, is both influential and critical in helping us to better understand human behavior. This work gives us the theoretical scaffolding or starting point to help plan our advertising efforts. And, it is with this scaffolding that experiments become critical. By experiments, I mean exposing different consumers to distinct treatments that help us understand their motivations and how they respond to various executions.

Brand managers have told me they already do this with A/B testing. To be clear, I am suggesting a different approach in this post. I am suggesting theory-driven experiments. The idea is not to simply test different ideas against one another, but to use academic research as a starting point and experiments as the bridge to leverage those concepts in practice. Over time, brands that engage in theory-driven experiments will gain insights about their consumers that can inform their future efforts to advertise. Not all experiments will work, but rather than be viewed as failures, these are learning opportunities that brands must catalogue. And, if such results are shared with academics, academics can in turn figure out why an experiment did not work.

Theory-driven experiments also offer a bridge between theory and practice because they allow a common ground for academics and practitioners. That is, academics and practitioners can work to develop experiments that test theories and help brands to learn about their consumers and what academic theories are of most value. Indeed, practitioners appear to see the value in this perspective. I have heard from more firms this year, compared to any previous year, that have earmarked part of their marketing budget to engage in the test of different ideas. I believe if such efforts are paired with theory-driven experimentation, a bright future exists to bridge theory and practice that will allow for more effective communications with our consumers.





Source: https://www.forbes.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Friday, November 24, 2017

How to Create and Launch a Multi-Million Dollar Brand Advertising Campaign



Once you've decided to take the plunge into brand advertising, and you've determined your company is ready, you'll need a game plan.

We all aspire to advertising greatness, like the inspirational "Be Like Mike" campaign for Gatorade, or the longest-running campaign of all time: the Clio Award-winning "Mikey Likes It" ad for Life cereal. I would love it if we could create a campaign with that kind of resonance.

My company, Tile, just introduced our first-ever brand campaign. While we're new at this, here are four things I've learned along the way:



1.Get your story straight.


We wanted to tell a story that would help us foster an emotional connection with our customers. Airbnb did a brilliant job of this when they introduced their "belong anywhere" campaign. One of the videos, "Never a Stranger," tells the story of a young woman who discovers herself while living in someone else's home (she even hangs out with their friends!). A company that started out as a more affordable way to travel suddenly became the provider of a universal desire -- wanting to belong.

At Tile, we already knew people felt strong emotions about loss: we can feel sad, ashamed, angry or frustrated when we lose things that are important to us. (That was the reason I founded Tile: I wanted to help my wife, Camila.)

Before diving into a big campaign, we asked ourselves if anything changed about our company, our customers or the world around us. We read through reams of feedback and conducted market research to learn what mattered to our customers.


We learned they like that our app allows them to help other people -- family, neighbors, and even strangers -- find the things they've lost. By helping others, they feel more connected, which makes them feel more hopeful. We decided to anchor our campaign on those feelings.


2. Figure out where you are on the spectrum.


Ask yourself where you want to land on the outcome spectrum, which runs from "inspire" to "activate." Inspire is meant to drive attention. Activate is meant to encourage an action, such as joining a community or making a purchase. In our new campaign, we wanted to hit both ends of the spectrum. We also wanted to educate consumers so they could understand how our product works.


3. Make sure your creative team stays true to your story.


Our brand team worked with Deutsch and filmmaker Mark Molloy (director of Nissan's "Shoulders of Giants" -- an ad our whole team admires). Together they crafted a short film that was based on a true story about a little girl who lost a stuffed animal in Times Square and found it later with Tile. They imagined what it would be like to be that little girl, missing her best friend and wondering where he is.


4. Be consistent and cut to fit.


Once you land on the right story, tell it everywhere, from your website copy to your promotional emails -- even the street. Earlier this year, KIND, a healthy snack maker, pulled a clever stunt in New York City. The company piled up boxes of sugar -- nearly 46,000 pounds of it -- to show people how much added sugar children in the US eat every five minutes. They even sculpted kids out of sugar! While the out-of-home campaign was meant to raise awareness, it also promoted the company's new, healthier "fruit bites."

In our case, we cut our two-minute-long commercial into a 30-second spot for TV, a longer video for YouTube and a short, 15-second teaser video. We also created a series of short informative videos featuring the same characters from the commercial. In the weeks leading up to the video drop, we put 10,000 "Lost Panda" posters up all over New York City and San Francisco. On Instagram and Twitter, we encouraged people to share pictures of themselves with the poster.

In advertising, repetition is key. The more ways you can reach your audience, the better.






Source: https://www.inc.com
Image source: Courtesy Tile



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5 Great Questions to Ask at a Networking Event

Use these questions to talk less, listen more, and make yourself stand out in a crowd of networkers.



What's the easiest way to be seen as a bore? Talk about yourself.

So why would anyone think that successful networking means cornering as many people as possible and telling them all about your business? To the contrary, the best way to entertain a new contact and potential future referral partner is to get him to talk about himself and his business.

Your goal at a networking event is to make yourself memorable without talking about yourself. It sounds paradoxical, doesn't it? But, if you know how to do it, you will stand out in people's minds when they look back on the event. The secret is simply to ask people about themselves and their businesses.

A lot of people you run into at networking events are so busy talking about themselves, their products and all the great things they can do for you that they never take a breath and ask about you. Instead of competing with these folks, imagine the result of asking questions that encourage them to freely share that information. You can create a networking environment in which they're talking, you're listening and everyone is feeling heard. Not only will this technique help you stand out from the crowd, but it will also get you a ton of referrals.  


This all begins with your first conversation. If you lead off by asking the right questions -- questions that demonstrate a genuine interest in the other person's business -- you cultivate an attitude of trust and rapport from the start. Following are five good questions to ask that will make you a standout. 


1. What do you like best about what you do?





If you’ve been out networking before, you already know that “What do you do?” is one of the first questions people ask you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t leave you much room to maneuver after both you and your fellow networker have answered the question for each other. A typical conversation might go like this:

“So, what do you do?”

“I’m a public relations consultant. How about you?”

“I see. Well, I own a print shop.”

(Awkward four-second pause that seems to go on forever.)

Look how much better it works if you follow up with our question:

“Oh, a print shop. That’s interesting. What do you like best about the printing business?”

This leads to more interesting conversation about the other person’s business, his likes and dislikes, her experience, and so forth. It makes the conversation flow and lets you relax while you learn about his/her trade or profession.


What’s more, if they are like most of us, they will eventually decide they’ve talked enough and will ask you the same question: what do you like best about your business? Be ready with a response that answers the question, addresses key points, and explains how you’re different from others in the industry. If the person is thinking about using a PR firm or knows someone else who might need one, then you’ve gone a long way toward setting the stage for a possible referral.



2. You mentioned that you were in [industry]. What got you started in that direction?






This question is much like the previous one in that it gives the other person a chance to talk about personal goals and desires and to look favorably on you for asking it. It also provides some insight into how dedicated they are to their profession and how proficient they may be at it. When you learn what their previous experience has been, you will begin to see ways that you might refer other people to them for specialized products or services.


3. Where else do you usually network?





Not only does this question help break the ice during that sometimes-awkward period just after you’ve introduced yourself, but it also gives you a chance to talk about something you both know a little bit about. Another reason we like this question is because it gives you the opportunity to make an instant connection, and we all know a great step toward creating a solid referral partner is to first make a connection with that person.

This is why asking the right questions can help you stand out from the crowd. A conversation might start with, “Where else do you normally network?” and then dovetails into an extended conversation about the other person’s business. Within the first few minutes, the person you are speaking with will likely be listening with interest and thinking of ways to help. This is all you can ask for when meeting someone for the first time.



4. What are some of your biggest challenges?





This is a great question that can be used toward the end of the conversation. Of the four questions we’ve mentioned, this usually elicits the longest response. Why? Because you’re asking about their reasons, their passion, and their motivation for being in their specific business in the first place. We’ve had people tell us all sorts of things when we’ve asked this question.


5. How can I help you?





If you’ve asked a new acquaintance some or all of the previous questions, the conversation has gone well and you’ve decided this person is someone you’d like to have in your business network, this is a good question to ask. Their answer may tell you something that will enable you to help them, and being helpful is the best way to start building a solid relationship. To a networker who is living the principle of Givers Gain, it’s a question that comes naturally because that networker is one who has adopted the mindset of giving value and service to others without any thought of immediate return. It demonstrates that you have the other person’s interests uppermost in your mind, and it’s an excellent way to build the credibility and trust you’ll want to share with a valuable networking partner.

Remember, everyone has a story. Make it your job to find out what it is.



6. Bonus Tip: The Answers You Want








Asking the right questions is about earning trust and gaining rapport with your new contact. It’s about your contact feeling comfortable telling you about her business without competing with you for airtime. But most of all, asking the right questions is about developing a relationship with a future referral partner so they’ll be more than happy to give you any referral that might come their way.





 Image Credit:graphicstock
 Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Why Networking Business is Necessary to Create Trust For Your Startup Success



Humans, by nature, are innately social animals. It is built in them that they seek each other’s company and try to build alliances among them. Networking in business is vital to your success. Humans unlike any other creature, have the ability to empathize and effectively communicate with each other. Building connections for that matter are also inevitable for the success of startups. But the truth is, it’s not always that easy!

Some consider it sheer luck, others label it as persistent hard work. But for me, it is a power of a network. Yes, the more people you connect with, the greater will be your chance to succeed.

Pick a random biography of any successful Entrepreneur and they will share the same advice with you. No matter how talented or passionate you are, if you do connect with other people you cannot channel that energy for greater use.

Embrace the power of connecting with people with various talents. You can learn something from everyone. Try to learn the basics of networking and use that to make the best of people.


In a world that is bustling with distractions where everyone is extremely busy, it’s difficult to engage people. Here are some ways that are going to help you to do so with ease.


Start paying attention


In a professional setting paying attention is a must-have habit. So much can be learned about anyone by just paying attention to what a person is saying. Verbal or nonverbal, any communication, attention makes it easier for you to comprehend the appropriate behaviors.

The first rule of networking in business is to behave properly in a business setting. Checking your phone while in a room full of people is a bad habit. Such behaviors are considered rude in the well-established business communities. Making eye contact, asking questions or even nodding while communicating reflects your interest in the conversation and in the person talking to you.


Make the best first impression


Body language speaks volumes about your behavior and makes a prominent first impression. Your body posture and your facial expressions are the visible cues for creating an impression. You must always be aware of your expressions, voice tone, and your gestures while communicating to anyone related to business or in general.


Remembering the name


It is proven that people you meet for the first time, feel acknowledged and humbled if you ask and remember their names; for that matter introduce them to someone they don’t know as yet. One easy way to remember their name is by including it multiple times in a conversation. For example, how are you doing today, Larry? Did you meet Elizabeth? Elizabeth, this is Larry. My partner in the business. Just by including and narrating their names multiple times during a conversation makes it easier for you to remember them and you will notice that the other person will feel much better and is easily connected if you call them by their name in a meeting next time.


Make a story that connects


Make a story about yourself that gives insight into who you are and what your business is all about. For aspiring entrepreneurs, networking in business is important to become successful, and what benefits your startup is willing to provide to society. This is something that interests people and is going to build an instant connection.

The story that you make about yourself should be specific and must include a series of events that led to the actions that you are taking at the moment. It should be meaningful and motivational and must provide the audience with a benefit that they feel attached or attracted to.


Instill value in it


A successful person must find ways to which people can appreciate them. Being able to be of value to others makes you worthwhile and people find you more appropriate to make a connection with. You must understand that in today’s world, there is no one who wants to connect with a person that cannot add value to their lives. Therefore, in order to make a strong network of like-minded people, say professionals you are required to bring to the table that interests them rather than something that is of more interest to you.


Don’t forget the research


If you find random conversations sweat your palms and you wish to run towards the door to seek shelter, the more appropriate thing to do in such a scenario is to do prior research. In this scenario particularly talking of people in a business situation, I suggest doing your homework prior to the meeting and coming up with a few questions that are most likely to come your way during the meeting. This will resolve this issue and put you in a better position throughout the meeting.


Try to spark others interest


Many times all it takes to stand out in a crowd is your personal style and just being yourself. Yes, pretending is nice in business situations especially when you are trying to establish that first best impression, however, being too pretentious can become costly. Just being yourself in less formal situations and letting other know the kind of person you are, will help in building better connections.


Keep the learning doors open


When sharing experiences with others, understand that everyone doesn’t know everything. It is best to keep an open mind while communicating with others.


Conclusion


In today’s economy, the only currency that is relevant is your network. The more people you know, the easier it will be for you to succeed.

With the power of networking, you can easily get things done faster than usual. You can divide the responsibilities among your contacts. Help them first and after that you can ask for a favor in return. They won’t mind at all because you already did something for them.

When you ask for help they will be thrilled to help you. Acknowledge their help, appreciate them for their time and the effort they are putting in to make your thing work.


Networking is an important aspect in an entrepreneur’s life. Networking is the best form of learning when it comes to business. I hope these tips will help you to engage better and do more good with your work. Happy communicating!






Source:http://tweakyourbiz.com
Image Credit: irfanahmed

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Kick Start the Holidays 11/30 Business Networking & Holiday Celebration [White Plains, NY]



Join Westchester Networking for Professionals for some holiday cheer as we kick off the season with an evening of networking, great conversations, drinks, bites, raffle prizes and more.

This is our final live event for the year and a wonderful opportunity for you to make some new connections and re-acquainted with others before the year end.

Event Details:
Thursday, November 30, 2017 | 5:30 pm
HOBBS at the Westchester Mall
White Plains, NY

Register Online Today: http://bit.ly/2yilClq
Bring a friend for ½ price tickets.


Hope to see you there!

Westchester Networking for Professionals


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Networking as an Extrovert: 6 Tips for Success



If you're an extrovert in the business world, odds are you do a fair bit of networking. Research into social and business behaviors of different personality types has shown that extroverts are more likely to think networking is important and more frequently make time for it than introverts.

You also might assume that your sociable personality makes you a natural net worker. But being outgoing doesn't automatically make you skilled at creating professional connections. In fact, some of the things that make extroverts good at socializing may hurt you in a business setting.


If you are an extrovert who frequents networking events, keep these six tips in mind if you want to successfully grow a business or advance your career.



1. Ask open-ended questions.


Research has found that extroversion is a strong predictor of narcissistic behavior. This means that the funny stories and crowd-pleasing conversation that makes you the life of the party are often about one topic: you.

This may not be a problem in social settings, but it can get in the way of making strong professional connections. To avoid the trap of talking too much about yourself, come prepared with open-ended questions you can ask other people.

Open-ended questions such as "How did you decide to make such a big career change?" or "I don't know much about that type of work – can you tell me about it?" invite answers of more than one word. By prompting the other person to give an in-depth response, you put the focus on them and avoid the risk of monologuing. This creates an opportunity for the two of you to make a genuine connection.


2. Put the other person at ease.


Your extroverted social instincts aren't all handicaps: A study on conversational behaviors of introvert-extrovert pairs found that when extroverts perceived introverts were uncomfortable, they were likely to make comments mirroring that discomfort, such as "This feels really weird" or "Does this feel awkward to you too?"

Comments like these can break the ice and put your conversational partners at ease, allowing you both to acknowledge the strangeness of networking situations and laugh about it a little. Once you're both feeling more relaxed, you'll be more likely to have a genuine conversation that can serve both your professional interests.  


3. Don't let your focus wander.


Are you often aware of what's going on with people around you, even when you're in the middle of a conversation?

You're not alone. Extroverts respond strongly to "oddball" social stimuli. This means that if something interesting happens in another area of the room or you notice a conversation that doesn't involve you, your attention is likely to shift in that direction.

Be aware of this tendency so you can use it to your advantage. If you notice someone looking for a group to join, bring them into your conversation. If you hear another group talking about something relevant to you or your new connection, merge the two groups and help everyone get to know each other. But be careful to always stay focused on the person in front of you, rather than appearing to search for a better conversational partner or an opportunity to escape.


4. Seek out a variety of people to speak with.


Extroverts, research shows, are more likely to be drawn to other extroverts. This may make for a fun and exciting social life, but professionally it could cause you to overlook networking opportunities simply because the other person is quieter than you are.

Avoid this trap by seeking out a variety of people to speak with, even if they don't seem particularly engaging or outgoing at first. At worst, you may have an awkward few minutes of conversation. At best, you may make a valuable connection.

Either way, you'll meet more people than you would otherwise, plus you'll likely earn the gratitude of people who aren't as savvy as you are at striking up conversations with strangers.


5. Demonstrate your other strengths.


Out of the Big Five personality factors, conscientiousness is most consistently linked to successful job performance. So rather than only showing people how social, outgoing or friendly you are, show them how conscientious you are too. For example, pay attention to what other people say so that you remember it and can reference it in later conversations.

Another strength that extroverts bring to the table? They are more likely to perform well as part of a team. Your personality will already show that you can stand out, so make an effort to work in a few anecdotes that demonstrate what a team player you can be too, especially if you are hoping to collaborate or find a new job opportunity.


6. Be ready to tone it down.


Unfortunately, even if you are doing everything right, your extroversion can sometimes work against you. That's because introverts are sensitive to personality traits and may form unfavorable impressions of people they perceive as too outgoing. Research even shows that introverts are more likely to give poor job performance ratings to extroverts, regardless of the actual work done.


The best thing you can do for your networking is to pay attention to the people you are speaking with and how they are reacting to you. If you feel like they are pulling away or showing some signs of disapproval, be ready to tone things down and give someone else a turn in the conversational spotlight.




Image Credit: Peshkova/Shutterstock
Source: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Monday, November 20, 2017

7 Factors You Can Address to Boost Trust in Your Business Relationships



In one of the talks we give, we teach that business is about relationships. And that is so true: We entrepreneurs, after all, don’t do business with numbers or even organizations. We do business with people. So, business comes down to relationships -- individual relationships. And, whether those relationships involve customers, vendors, suppliers or employees, business is very personal.

To have productive relationships, then, we must develop trust. it's at the heart of every connection. People understand that trust is a positive emotion and, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a "firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something." 

As entrepreneur and author Evan Carmichael has said, “The moment a person is not trusted by an individual or team, their chances for success within that group are diminished dramatically.” Therefore, building and maintaining trust in your business relationships is vital to your, and your organization’s, success.

Trust isn’t something magical or elusive. On the contrary, Robert Hurley, a professor of management systems at Fordham's Gabelli School of Business, wrote, trust is a decision-making process that can be understood and influenced. Hurley listed seven situational factors that you can address to increase your own trust level and affect a positive outcome:

Security: The higher the stakes, the less likely a person is to trust.

Similarities: If the other person believes you are “like” him or her, he or she is more likely to trust.


  • Interest alignment: "Are we in the same boat? If so, I will trust you."

  • Benevolent concern: Will you fight for me and look out for my interests?

  • Capability: Do I trust that you can deliver what you promise? Are you competent?

  • Predictability and integrity: Do you do what you say you will do? Do you behave predictably?

  • Level of communication: Open, honest and regular communication builds trust.

  • Let’s look at three actual cases we've seen where these factors came into play. 



Vendors. One of our clients recently went through a cash-flow crisis. The client was a construction company with a large percentage of government contracts; it had experienced a spurt of rapid growth.


But that growth, coupled with the slow-paying practices in its industry, caused the company to have a shortage of cash to pay vendors. Rather than go underground and try to wait out the crisis, the company put together a plan to increase communications. It called its vendors every week to update them on its cash situation, what it could pay and what each vendor could expect to receive in the next week.


The company also reminded those vendors of their respective, aligned interests and asked for trust and patience. Finally, the construction company followed through on promises and if it couldn’t, made sure that the vendor was aware as soon as possible. Within a few months, the company had caught up with payments and salvaged all but a very few vendor relationships.

In some cases, in fact, some relationships were actually made stronger due to the company’s candor.

Customers. One of our clients is a marketing firm that works with large and Fortune 500 companies. Being a small business, it often has to build trust to increase its share of work within these firms. Frequently, our client will start by winning a small contract and then use this work to prove its capability. First, it works very hard to produce exceptional work. Then, it's very careful to fulfill each promise, follow up and do what it says it will do.

The company also works to build personal relationships within the firm through regular communications and development of aligned interests.




Employees. One of the businesses we partner with is in a high-stress industry. Employees are on-call for long periods and have to work with customers who are often in unhappy circumstances. This can make the customer unpleasant for the employee, and customer service in general more difficult.

However, the business enjoys low turnover and a terrific culture due to its owner and his management team. Management has created an environment where it supports the employees and looks after their interests. Management also sets reasonable expectations and is clear in communicating them to the employees.

The employees, in turn, feel secure in their roles if they meet their objectives. And management builds on that feeling, having created numerous opportunities for team-building, group outings and activities designed to reinforce feelings of a shared experience.

Altogether, the employees trust their managers and believe that they will be treated fairly.

In the end, trust is a necessary component of all positive relationships. Fortunately, it is also something that can be influenced when, as leader, you understand its components and work to create a constructive environment. We encourage you to think about the factors listed above and how you can put them to work in your own organization.



Image Credit:Shutterstock
Source:www.entrepreneur.com



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

7 Best Ways to Create and Execute Email Campaigns for Improved Marketing



Ever since the internet oh so eloquently entered our lives, emails have been the cornerstone of the field. Emails have been here since the very beginning of the internet and are still going strong, which goes to show their resilience and their effectiveness. Doesn’t matter how much we grow to like tweeting, liking, or commenting on social media posts, emails will forever remain our first love. And that is part of the main reason why email marketing campaigns are of so much importance to your brand if you are a budding entrepreneur in this day and age.


Via an email, you get to promote your brand, offer new deals, and brush up on your existing services, and you do all this, without having to do much. So all in all, running a successful email marketing campaign is of paramount importance when it comes to cementing your legacy as a successful brand. But that’s the thing, most people don’t really understand how a successful marketing campaign works in the modern era, and to help you solve the problem, we’re going to tell you about the best ways you can actually create and execute email campaigns for improved marketing. Here we go.


#1. Consent is important


Do you ever feel annoyed when you are working on something important and suddenly out of the blue, an e-mail pops up? Or better yet, imagine you are enjoying a fine dinner at a posh restaurant with a friend or your date, and a marketing professional just comes by, pulls up a chair, sits right next to you and starts telling you about his product and services. Wouldn’t that make you feel infuriated? Of course it would.

Now imagine a scenario where this marketing professional only comes to meet you and tells you about his products and services, just because you asked him to. You wouldn’t feel so infuriated now, would you? That is because now that marketing professional has your permission to promote his brand. That’s how it works in the email marketing campaigns as well, you have to get permission first. The best way to gain permission from a prospective client to send him emails would be to use a “Call-to-action” button on your website.

Sending emails to a client is like trying to get into their house so that you could sit down and talk about how great your brand is, so it makes sense if you get permission first, it is just like knocking on their door.


#2. Think from the customer’s perspective


It doesn’t matter how elegantly your ad is designed, to the customer it looks all the same. And that is because the customer gets bombarded with a whole bunch of advertisements and promotions the entire day, and your content goes in the same imaginary junk box.

Most of the times when you ask for permission from a prospective client to send him emails, he is asking himself a few bunch of questions. Like, what do I get from this deal? Is this guy going to spam me? Will this brand keep filling my inbox with useless emails? Will I get some concession or discounts? Are they going to offer me some unique deals like a go at the beta version of their new product? These are the questions that you need to answer to gain a customer for life, or risk losing business.


#3. Getting in the good graces of the customer


Most of the time, the emails you send, are filtered by the ISPs or the email service that your customer uses, and put in the spam folder. And that is understandable, because even though you sent a mail to someone who willingly gave you his or her email address, they haven’t really added you to their address book.

Getting whitelisted, or in easier language, getting added to their address book is basically the signal that you have been approved by the recipient as a genuine sender or a definite friend. ISPs and email service providers like Hotmail, Yahoo, or Google, will stop putting your mails into the junk box and you will be able to communicate with your clients without any obstacle.


#4. Know your audience


Email marketing isn’t about broadcasting emails out to the entire world. They are about knowing what to send and who to send to. If you are a company that specializes in offering writing services, you will cater to students, not to firefighters. This is why knowing your audience is the key to success. In order to know more about the customers, you can monitor their activities on your website and get to know them.


#5. Using automation


Implementing automation during your email marketing campaigns can add to your business substantially. Take a look at this email marketing software guide and go for the one that you like to get an autoresponder for yourself. Autoresponders not only help you gain new customers but it can also help you keep the ones that you already have. You don’t really have to remember which email to send to which customer, an autoresponder will do it for you and save you from the risk of losing business.


#6. Monitor your strategy


If you wish to run a successful email marketing campaign, you cannot just launch one and expect it to bring you maximum results. You have to constantly keep tabs on it and find out if it even brings you success or not. Because what’s the point of following a strategy when it is not getting you results? If it is not getting you the desired output, find out the chinks in your armor and get rid of them.


#7. Timing is important



One of the greatest strategies for optimizing your marketing campaigns results, is to get your timing right. If you are an e-commerce website, you need to take into account certain holidays and festivals, both local and international, to get the most out of your business. For instance, be it Christmas, Eid, or Hanukkah, if you set up multiple emails for different festivals, this can really add greatly to the positive results brought about by your marketing campaign.



Image Credit: unknown
Source:http://tweakyourbiz.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Successful Leaders Share How to Get the Most Out of Networking



Going to a big conference event can be intimidating – and overwhelming. There is so much to do, so many people to see and so little time.

Ahead of our Entrepreneur Live event, our day-long conference filled with information, inspiration and innovation to help you achieve your dreams, we reached out to some of our speakers, all conference pros, to ask their advice on how to make the most out of these events.

Check out what a few of them had to say.


Focus on you.

You're here to talk not listen -- even when you don't have the stage. Every entrepreneur knows that you need to tell your story to anyone willing to listen in 30 seconds or less. Go! You never know where it may lead you.

-- Cindy Whitehead
CEO of The Pink Ceiling, a strategy and mentorship program for female business owners


Have a plan.


Before the conference, ask yourself: what does my ideal future look like? Think about that ideal future a lot. Envision it. Now, at the conference, back out the steps that will take you there. Focus on those steps. Zoom in on related info, ask questions related to those steps and develop new relationships who can continue to guide you on the path to your ideal future.

-- Bert Jacobs
CEO of Life is Good, an apparel company focusing on inspiring its wearers


Be authentic.

Genuinely get to know the person sitting next to you. People like doing business with people they like. You never know who might be your next investor, partner or customer, but don’t make that your objective. Make friends first. Later you can invite them to become part of your advisory board, leadership committee or another counselor position. This invites a deeper dive into the organization, which then may create interest in becoming an investor, partner or customer.

-- Keith Krach
Chairman of DocuSign, an electronic signature company

Be curious.

Network and meet as many people as you can. Also, take genuine interest and really hear the stories of people.

-- Peter Kim
CEO of Hudson Jeans, premium jeans for men and women






Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Source: Getty Images

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Friday, November 17, 2017

3 Proven Ways to Make Money From a Business Conference




After taking a travel hiatus for the last few months, I'm back at it again. Within the next few weeks, I have two conferences on the books. First up, I have my biggest annual conference of the year next week, The Financial Blogger Conference (also known as FinCon).

Given that I am spending a lot of money to attend business events, it's only natural that I create a plan for getting a return on my investment. Because you see, not having a plan is the single biggest mistake most business owners make. Then they complain about not having made any money.

With that being said, here are x proven ways to make money from a business conference. I use these tips every year and always end up making a return on my investment.


What product/service are you trying to sell?

I'm a big fan of starting with the end in mind. That usually looks like figuring out what product or service you're currently working on selling and then creating a course of action.

In the past, I've attended this particular conference primarily to get writing clients. That means I was focusing on getting as much time with editors as I could. I also had a killer follow-up plan that I'd devised with my business manager. Spoiler alert:  It worked.

This year, I'm focusing on growing the digital marketing consulting portion of my business. More specifically, I'm looking for students for my six-week group coaching program.

So what does that mean for this year? First, I'm on a panel about how to convert a blog into a coaching business. Second, I have a team member coming with me so she can help find prospects. Third, we will have a system for collecting information from prospects in order to set up meetings with them.

Just a quick note that all networking etiquette rules still apply. I'm not there to shove anything down anyone's throat. I'm simply positioning myself as the expert through a speaking engagement, having conversations and setting up meetings.


What would be a waste of your time?

Here's a newsflash about conferences: You can't do everything.

Furthermore, as much as I love this particular conference, I know some things are a total waste of time for me. In my case, that looks like taking meetings with companies that want to pitch me their app in hopes that I'll write about it.

It's nothing personal. I'm just there to make money, not necessarily do you a favor. That's why this year I've opted out of taking any meetings like this so I can instead focus on my primary goal: finding students.

Now, if I happen to have a conversation with someone in the hallway that's a totally different story. I'm just not taking formal meetings for this particular purpose.


Who do you want to meet?

Growing your network is a huge part of growing a business. At the end of the day, who you know still plays a major part in business success. After all, % of business still comes from word of mouth and referrals.

And so your next quest becomes determining who you want to meet. Is it editors to get media attention? Is it influences for a marketing campaign? Is it people you admire?

Come up with a list, take it with you and make some connections.


Final Thoughts


If you're clear about your desired goals, making money from attending conferences becomes easy. The key is to determine what your main priority is and then make all of your decisions based on that.




Image Credit:Getty Images
Source: http://www.inc.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!