Blog Archives

Real Connections Matter!

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I have known the one-of-a-kind Paul Castain for over three years, and had the pleasure to speak with him on several occasions.

Long ago when I started writing, did not have a blog yet, and was “stuck”, I started to research the sales profession and stumbled across a website. They had a blogroll (list of blogs that they followed) and Paul’s blog – “Your Sales Playbook” was one of them.

I had clicked on many of the other blogs and moved on shortly after, but something made me dive deeper in to Paul’s content. He even had a link to a music playlist to help pump everyone up! Any sales website that has content on music (one of my passions) is going to get more of a look than the others.

From that moment, I made a point of supporting him on my “regular run” of the social media circles. I commented on his posts, listened to podcasts, shared content and interacted with him on a more personal level. I really connected with him, and at any moment felt like we could go grab a drink and shoot the breeze.

Over a year and a half passed and I was finally ready to launch my blog in January of 2012. It was a honour early on to have Paul stop by and comment to wish me well. Like many bloggers, my first two or three posts had limited traffic beyond family and friends. I did not totally understand “the blogging thing” yet, and was not driving traffic to my content.

Then came February 13, 2012 –  the day I will never forget.

I walked in to my office like any other morning to check email. I was stunned to see so many new emails related to my blog. My first thought was “What did Castain do”?

http://yoursalesplaybook.com/2-newnewer-sales-blogs-worthy-of-your-attention/

I share this not to be cocky or arrogant, it was just the first thought that came to my mind. I had a feeling that Paul was responsible.

I still remember my heart racing as I realized what had happened.

To this day, no matter how hard I try, I cannot surpass the number of daily page views that I received when Paul gave Bruce Zimmerman and I a “shout out” on his blog. I am forever grateful for the gesture, and what he has done for me and my business.

I never expected anything in return from Paul. I just wanted to help because of his incredibly content, passion to make others be better and his love for life.

Our relationship has now developed to where I help run his music group on LinkedIn (a subgroup of the highly successful Sales Playbook) called the Daily Music Sanctuary http://linkd.in/1g45rW0 .We try to talk at least 2-3 times per year. I was invited to attend one of his webinars free of charge, and had the distinct pleasure of doing a testimonial for his awesome Ebook “Paul Castain’s Social Networking Playbook” http://bit.ly/Mw7YOI 

If you reach out to others and build relationships you never know what might happen. If your intentions are not self-fulfilling, you might get an incredible surprise like I did that day!

Paul has become my mentor and motivates me to move my consulting business forward every day! As great as the mention was on Paul’s blog, the best part is I now have an incredible friend who will be there when I need him, and that means the world to me!

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The Connect and “Barf” Method Rarely Works!

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I love to discuss this scenario when speaking about networking with anyone who is interested in hearing my take….

You are at an after work business mixer – a cocktail party per se. You meet somebody for the first time, shake hands and exchange business cards. What would their body language be, and what would they say if the next thing you did was try and sell them something?

So why do so many people think this is ok to do when connecting online?

I could rattle off many examples when this has happened to me. I am stunned and bewildered every time.  I am now less and less surprised because it is becoming more prevalent online.

Relationships take time to develop, and people typically only purchase from those that they know, like and trust.

Somebody can’t possibly have a hot clue what you are all about after you have just said “hello”. Most people would think you were an alien trying to connect for the first time offering your products and/or services.

  • Thank people for connecting when they confirm your “request to connect” via social media
  • Provide value 
  • Get to know them, and actually listen to them
  • Connect them with like-minded people in your network

People will see right through you if you are only in this to sell. But if you put the focus on them, and show that you actually care about building  long-term relationships, you will be much more successful when it comes time to present your offer.

Don’t just “barf”. That is just plain lazy!

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A Special Guest Post – Networking Is Pointless

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I am so excited to introduce one of my best friends, Roger Demas to everyone. I have the distinct pleasure of posting his first writing online. He picked my blog to post on before his even launches! His take on networking is entertaining and provides lessons that we can all learn from. Enjoy!

Networking is pointless!

…. Or is it truly the basis of almost every long lasting personal and business relationship?

I was inspired to write this by a recent online discussion. I saw a question about networking and whether it was effective. One of the first responses was a bold “all caps” –

“Networking is a waste of time.”

Ironically, this discussion was on a social networking site!

Not only do I completely disagree with the statement, but I feel that networking can and does happen all the time.
We network every day. Speaking on the phone, sending email or other electronic communication, engaging through social media and traditional face to face dialog – it is all networking.

Networking situations can have positive results, if you want them to. When I introduce myself to a new neighbor and ask what they do, I am networking. When I am riding my bike and say hello to a passerby, I am networking. When I post or share something on social media, I am networking.

It is ultimately what you do next that makes the networking worthwhile. If I introduce my neighbor to someone else that they might be able to do business with, that is effective. If I stop and engage in casual conversation with that passerby and find out more about them, that is effective. And if I take the next step to introduce myself and offer help to a fellow social networker, that is effective.

Every person that I meet and learn about can become part of my network. It really comes back to the age old theological principle of “give and you shall receive”. The more I put myself out there and the more I can provide positive sentiment to others, the more likely I am to receive positive sentiment in return. Those budding relationships become the friends, loved ones and potential business relationships or referrals that we have now and in the future.

I can say with pride that I have met and conversed with many people in different social networks that I now consider friends (even though we may have never met in person and may never do business together). I was fortunate enough that many of these people either reached out to me or responded when I reached out.

Taking that extra step to be “social” on social networks and not just “broadcasting” makes all the difference. Now I am able to connect with great people from all over the world which confirms that networking is NEVER pointless.

You can connect with Roger at:

Linkedin http://goo.gl/vsgkq
Twitter http://goo.gl/2uaSl
Google+ http://goo.gl/lBae2
Facebook http://goo.gl/4GgKM

His blog is coming soon if you want a sneak peak at: http://www.sunnycanuck.com

Have A Laugh Fridays – Trouble Connecting With Customers?

I stumbled across a cool company on YouTube today called Second City Communications. They are doing very cool things about video training with a humorous twist in the workplace.

This trailer discusses connecting with your customers.

You can check them out at :

Website: http://www.secondcitycommunications.com/

Twitter: @SecondCityBiz

Have a great weekend!

Automatic “Disconnect”!

 

Twitter has an “unfollow” button which many people use when necessary. Unfortunately LinkedIn does not have a “disconnect” button, where you can “relieve yourself of the burden” of networking with somebody who just does not get it! You can remove a connection, but it takes some work.

I recently had a request to connect from a gentlemen on LinkedIn, which I accepted. I sent a personalized thank you note, and made mention of the other places that he could connect with me.

To my surprise, I was then sent a generic email (with my name inserted) promoting their business and asking me to get involved. There was no acknowledgement of my personalized reply, just them “barfing out” their sales pitch. Usually I let this type of interaction slide, but I had a little “bite in my step” that day, and wanted to give them some friendly advice.

My exact response was:

“I appreciate your connection, but I don’t think that you should be “flogging” your products the moment that we connect.

Just a friendly suggestion to change-up your approach as you attempt to attract partners.

Thank you,

Tim”

I thought this was going to go one of two ways. I would either never hear from them again, or they could come back with some defence of their sales strategy. Instead I received:

“Dear Tim Mushey. Thank you so much for your reply”…

Followed by a canned sales pitch being “barfed” on me a second time, but now TWICE AS LONG!

Did I mention that he also sent me one of those generic LinkedIn invites ? Yuk.

At the end of the day, those who are engaging online, specifically for business purposes, should know better. This is networking 101! Would you try to sell somebody your products and services from the moment that you met them in person? I would hope not! So why should it be ok online?

Network “virtually” like you would “personally”. Show up, be responsive and care about your connections. The last thing you want is for people to “unfollow” or “disconnect” with you soon after accepting your requests.

That would be a huge red flag that you need to adjust your approach.

Lessons for Sellers from the Unsocial Media

Paul McCord from TheSalesandManagementBlog.com has an incredible post today discussing social media. If you don’t go about it the right way, connecting with somebody can become “unsocial” in a big hurry.

Enjoy his post at the link below:

Lessons for Sellers from the Unsocial Media.