Thursday, March 30, 2006

Do you blend into the business background or are you leading the You Marching Band?

There is a finesse to self promotion. Hand Number One says you should be modest and helpful. Hand Number Two says you should tell stories about yourself and be interesting. The fact is, you must be ambidextrous to pull off good self promotion.

I am always amazed at how hard many people work to blend into the business background.

  • I want my website to look like everyone else's
  • I want to dress like everyone around me
  • I want my brochure to be just as good as my competitors
  • I want to offer the same products and services as others in my industry
  • I don't want people to know I was an Fashion Design Major for a year (That is true about me, but don't tell.)

Instead, find ways to be different. Both personally and as an organization. However, not so different to make everyone afraid of you.

I just met a motivation speaker, Derrick Pledger, who hired us. His last marketing expert told him to take things out of his bio, like that fact that he dropped out of school in the 8th grade. (he is now finishing his Ph.D.) She thought it made him look less professional.

Instead, we are getting him set up with a blog so that he can keep his professional profile but also tell his real story, which is far more interesting than the grey wall of trying to look like everyone else.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How is your pre-sale sell?

I am in a group of business professionals that meets every two weeks to review business issues and each time one person does an extensive presentation. We do help each other grow their network as well, when there is a good fit. This Friday, Richard Henry is presenting and he sent out PDF documents, personalized for each recipient, which details what his company does and what kind of companies he helps. I have to say, the pre-sell before the presentation is just excellent. Instead of showing up and listening and thinking about who he might be interested in meeting, I can do my homework and go in with concrete leads and contacts for him. I find his approach very effective to get people to act. Several times in the 5 page document he lists his number and invites you to call him with referrals, if they match his target. Now if I do not come up with some interesting people to introduce to him, it can only be because I am lazy.

Thank You

I have had several people use our posts in their posts recently and I just wanted to say thanks and point them out. All excellent blogs. Automatic Referrals Travelin Librarian Legal Sanity Conversations Make It Great Career Intensity The big winner recently was our simple challenge for people to be better listeners in order to be more memorable to people they meet. Thanks for the links and if I missed anyone, please let me know.

Monday, March 27, 2006

What is your Buzz Impact Score?

Your Buzz Impact Score is how likely someone you just met is likely to tell someone they know about you. Read each description and rate yourself 1-5. 5 is highest, meaning an exact description of you, and 1 means the description is could not be further from the truth. _____ My style of dress is unlike anyone else's I know. _____ I always Google someone before I meet them and know as much as possible about them. _____ My conversations are daring. I tell people what I am passionate about and try to find out interesting things about others. _____ I like to listen to others and laugh out loud often when they say something funny. _____ People often say I am enthusiastic and full of energy. _____ I love to network and meet people, even if I have no hope of selling them something. _____ I enjoy introducing 2 people that I know would like to meet each other. _____ When I have the chance to meet an influential person, I jump at the chance and introduce myself. _____ I am not afraid to empathize with people I meet. _____ Because I have done some adventurous things in the past, I have plenty of interesting stories and knowledge. ---------------------------------------- Add up the score. If you scored a 40 or higher, you are going to be talked about, but if you are not careful, you may monopolize the conversation and leave the person you met feeling pillaged. If you scored a 34 to 39, you are well balanced, enthusiastic and fun. People will most likely remember you, even after a few beers. If you scored a 25 to 33, you have spurts of fun involvement but generally feel more comfortable among the safety of friends. Try meeting new people more frequently and read more about networking blogs. If you scored below a 25, you definitely need to take more chances and get to know more people beyond your immediate circle. If you are not comfortable with getting to know people in person, the web is a great way to meet people. Just be sure to have lunch with someone new once in a while too. This Personal Assessment is highly scientific and not to be used for fun or leisure. The fact that it was developed in 15 minutes in bed when I could not come up with a better blog post does not have anything to do with its accuracy or effectiveness as a tool to assess all of your employees and fire the less popular or more flamboyant ones.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fast Release and Child Inspiration

If you read regularly, you know I sometimes reference insight I glean from my 8 year old. Here is a very good blog post by someone who got great insight from their teen age daughter on fast release cycles and the importance of understanding online communities.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Free Meat Update

I got an email today warning me that someone I recently promoted on this blog is indead a SCAM artist. I posted the email at the top of the older post here. If you are in education, please make sure you read the whole thing as he seems to visit many schools with the same story. If you have any information (positive or negative) please let me know and I will add it to that blog post. Sometimes Word of Mouth can stop more bad things from happening.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Word of Mouth and Exaggeration

Interesting post at The Church of the Customer this week. It is concerning the velocity of bad word of mouth. What I find more interesting is the fact that 2nd and 3rd level removed people that repeat WOM tend to exaggerate it. I am not surprised, I have been guilty of that myself, but usually in a positive way. As much as I try to be truthful, it is easy to draw conclusions and add them to a story. For example, I was recently talking about someone that is generating a large income from selling ink. He used to have a real job, but eventually started doing so well that he is able to focus on just his websites. I do not know how much he makes, but I am assuming it is a lot because he quit a good job. So how did I exaggerate the story? I told a group he was making 6 figures. He might be, I do not know. He probably comes close to that if it is not true. My point is, people will embellish your story so implying something positive and big and leaving something for the imagination is probably a good thing. For those of you reading this, don't worry, I have never lied to you. :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Viral Blogging

The Indie Virus is a blog viral campaign started a short while ago to create a chain of links through the non-top 100 blogs. David Lorenzo sent it over my way and now I am challenged to come up with two people to send it to. #1 The brand builder blog: The Indie Virus. I enjoy this blog #2 Kids Roar: The Indie Virus. I am committed to helping her make that a success, and she had her first revenue this week, so I am seeing the enthusiasm go through the roof. Honorable mention is Phil at Make it Great . He was already tagged so I could not send it his way again. He is always a very kind and interesting person that I enjoy reading.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Your next conversation: 6 Things that will make it different

The next time you have a conversation with someone that lasts more than one minute, challenge yourself to make these minor changes and watch how the person responds to you compared to previous conversations. 1) Listen 50% more 2) Ask twice as many questions 3) Hold eye contact 50% more 4) Make slight contact, or hold contact slightly longer. (Better hand shake maybe) 5) Show sincere sympathy or enthusiasm for something they say 6) Ask them if there is anything you could help out with If football is a game of inches, meaningful conversations are a game of nuances.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Monday and Tuesday Winners

Monday and Tuesday Career Intensity Books have been given out. It is not too late to get your own copy. Just email me 1st one day this week. Thanks to David Lorenzo for being so gererous to give out so many copies.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Become your own Agent

Agents manage people's career. If you have lots of money you have someone manage your career for you and continue to grow the buzz. If you do not have the excess cash, you have to do it yourself, which means there is a good chance no one is making your career their priority. This week, if you want to become your own agent, David Lorenzo has said I can give away one of his books per day. Career Intensity All you have to do is be the first person to email me your name, mailing address and phone. I will forward it to Dave and he will drop a copy in the mail. My email is

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Are you an Ordinary Diva?

Your workforce probably contains some ordinary divas. The question is, what do you do about them?. First, what is an Ordinary Diva? This is the employee in an organization that thinks they are doing the organization a favor by working for it. These people are not to be confused with the real divas. What is a Real Workplace Diva:
  • Irreplaceable
  • High Profile, face of company
  • Creativity drives product development
  • Pays for themselves many times over with the value they add

What are the traits of an Ordinary Diva:

  • Strong sense of entitlement
  • Belief they cannot be replaced even though they can
  • Complain to their friends because they are not appreciated at work
  • Point out organizational flaws but do not step up to be part of the solution
  • Always think they should be paid more despite ROI saying otherwise
  • Causes moral problems with the teams they are on

A real workplace diva may be worth the headaches to make happy and manage because they provide a real value to the organization. Ordinary Divas in the workplace are just going to drag down moral, create negative buzz and hurt the organization over the long haul.

Depending on the severity of the divatude of the person, you may choose to work with them or simply move on and replace them. If you find that many people develop this attitude over time, it may be a good time to take a closer look at your workplace culture and ask yourself what is causing it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Buzz By Example

One powerful way to create buzz for your organization is get to know people that speak and network often. Then provide these people with great (and I mean great) examples that help illustrate what they speak about. And let them know if it OK for them to use you as an example. Speakers are often wracking their brains to find good, easy to understand examples that will help them illustrate a business point and show how someone can be successful. I talk about other people all the time in my examples. I am always on the look out for new fodder. I know other speakers are too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

How Speaking Spreads

About 6 months ago I did a free speech for a chamber of commerce. That led to a paid series of speaking engagements to a school system. Tonight I am preparing to go and speak to a class on administrative management for public entities at the Masters level in a University. It is at the request of two people that saw the paid speech I did. Will I walk away with a contract tonight? Of course not, but I might plan the seed in these people that I am the guy to call for creating buzz and stronger community ties. Since I know some of them already have jobs in cities and schools, it may or may not result in additional opportunities.

Speaking Engagements are a great way to create buzz. One just seems to lead to another.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Personal Buzz - Career Intensity Contest

Get a FREE copy of Career Intensity. The book that is your roadmap to career success. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of the book, and David Lorenzo has said he will give away a few books to people that I specify deserve it. I get to make up the contest. Since his book has a chapter about creating personal buzz, and that is my favorite topic, that is the contest. Post in the comment section of this blog post a short story of some buzz you created at some point in your career for yourself that resulted in a positive change in your career. I will pick the best buzz stories and send your name and address to Dave (please email me this info so I can get the book to you. My email is ron [at] I will announce the winners by March 21st.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hidden Assets

How often do you check your website traffic stats? Surprisingly, many business owners put up their website and forget about it. I have a friend that put up a website and was doing a television show. Some sponsors recently pulled out and the show was cancelled, and she felt the business was going to go under. Then she and I had a meeting on what was going on with her website. She was surprised to find that she had nearly 100 people signed up for her eNewsletter, her site will get over 2,000 unique visitors this month, and her website traffic has gone up by over 100% in the last two months. Armed with this knowledge, she is now reworking her business plan to do podcasts, blogging, video webcasts, ecommerce and more to capitalize on this audience she did not even realize she had. High traffic is a hidden asset if a company has published some valuable information and does not realize how many people are accessing it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

2 Minutes or 15 Minutes

I get a lot of calls from people that want to know more about what we do. If you call about Internet Marketing, SEO, eCommerce you will probably talk to someone smarter than me in our organization. If you call about Buzz or Word of Mouth Marketing, you will find yourself in a long discussion with me. Many of the callers simply do not have the budget for our services, but I still usually talk for a while. I can rarely hold back the urge to brain storm a bit as well. Even though sales people probably think I am giving away the farm, I do find there is a big difference between the 2 Minute conversation and the 15 minute conversation. For example:
  • I learn a lot more
  • I get referrals months later
  • I get invitations to speak
  • I meet interesting people
  • I let myself enjoy talking to the caller and laugh freely
  • I talk about cheaper resources they can us, such as books they could read

Those are just some of the things I get out of not screening my calls too severely.

Career Intensity - Why you have to watch.

In my opinion, David Lorenzo is doing everything right in marketing his first book, Career Intensity. He is building relationships that will make it a smash success. He also has written a book that will appeal to most professionals, although maybe not the business owners all the time. Empowering employees does have risks, after all. This will be fun to watch and even more fun to participate in. Disclosure: I am not being paid by David, but I have agreed to help him promote it because he has gotten to know me over the last year and I like what his book has to say. Here is an interview I did via email. I got him to talk about his strategy in creating online buzz. Career Intensity Interview with Dave Lorenzo This is your first book. What are you doing to create a buzz around its release? Buzz sells books so I’m doing many traditional things as well as many things that are unique to Web 2.0. We have a terrific publicist promoting the book like crazy to print and trade press, TV and radio but I’m most excited about the things I’m doing on the Internet. The Career Intensity Blog is gaining popularity each day. I also have many friends who blog – like you – who have agreed to read the book and tell their readers what they think about it. If you know any bloggers who want to read the book, let me know. After the release of the book I’ll be posting podcasts and video on demand on The Career Intensity site. My team is all fired up about the video portion of what we will be doing. We want to make it like Rocketboom for careers. It will probably be a once every couple of weeks to start but we hope it gains momentum and becomes a more frequent thing. We’re also taking a contingent of people to Book Expo America (BEA) for the official release of the book. BEA is the largest trade show for the book industry in the world and we secured a boot right in the middle of everything. We’ll be doing podcasts and live blogging the whole thing. Who knows which authors will stop by the booth? It will be full of surprises. We’re literally coming up with new things every day. How did you come up with the idea for Career Intensity? I have always been fascinated by success. Throughout my career I have studied successful people so that I could model their behavior. At some point I became a good listener and people began to ask me for career advice. In writing Career Intensity I just imagined having a conversation with a friend who wanted to “build the perfect career”. What did the cycle of continuous career improvement come from? It really came from the conversations I had with superachievers (highly successful people). They all work constantly to assess their current situation, create value and demonstrate value. They do this over and over again. What about the 4 types of workers you found in society? Where did they come from? I created these 4 archetype work personalities so that people could understand the challenges (and ultimately the potential) related to just showing up for work everyday. Just showing up and staying with one company for a long time is not enough anymore. Now everyone needs to think like an entrepreneur – even if you work in a corporate environment. The entrepreneur’s mindset of value-creation is a necessary component for success in today’s business world. You encourage people to look at themselves as a brand. Why is this necessary? If you want to achieve your career goals, you need to influence the perception of others. You’re essentially selling yourself everyday – either to customers or to coworkers and your boss. Your brand is the perception others have of you in their minds. You need to understand how you want others to perceive you and then go about creating that perception. The key is that your brand represents the “true you”. The challenge is to uncover what is great about you and make sure people know about it. Tell me about creating personal buzz. Why is that important? Buzz is the ultimate form of advertising. It is powerful and contagious. The challenge for each of us is to get people to talk about us in a positive way. Because of its personal nature – spreading from one person to another – buzz has a dramatic impact. In the context of your career, you want to create positive buzz and you want it to spread quickly.

Seth Godin Video

I am a bit late on this one, but check out the video of Seth Godin talking to Google. Interesting stuff.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Viral Marketing Effort

I was talking with Steve Smith today after a presentation of mine he attended. He was telling me about how a start up is signing up people for their text phone pay system. They have an interesting viral effort going on and I am just posting Steve's email (with permission) to illustrate what they are doing and how they are getting people to sign up. Steve is a Microsoft partner. -------------------- Ron, Michelle and I enjoyed the presentation this morning, good job! We came away with a few new ideas for our sites and business, so it was definitely worthwhile for us. I hope I didn't step on your toes at all with my input. Regarding the TextPayMe thing, it's an interesting buzz marketing technique they are using. They're basically a startup and they're getting a very wide number of people to talk about them by giving away XBox 360's to anybody who can generate 36 leads within a certain time frame. It's harder than it sounds - I think they will end up giving away about 10 of the systems for the most recent promotion (ending March 18th). So, for $3000 they are getting a tremendous number of referrals and leads. Personally, I need about 8 more leads to win an XBox. My blog entry about the service is here: ASP Blog My referral link is: Text Pay Me If you'd care to sign up with that link (and anybody else in your office), you get $5 for doing so that you can play with and test out the service (basically let's you send up to $500 to others via SMS text messaging, which you confirm via a phone callback and a PIN number -- it's like PayPal for phones). Email me a link to anything you post, and I'll link back to you in a post later today or this weekend. Thanks, Steve PS - Let's try to meet regarding the text link project some time next week, perhaps we could invite you and Yasir to our office or something. -- Steven Smith President, ASPAlliance LLC ( Microsoft Regional Director

Thursday, March 02, 2006

In the Beginning

Today my business partner and I were talking about our first few sales. The first sale he made he visited 3 times and held several phone calls. Finally the sale was made and we were $1,200 richer, after a lot of work. What does buzz do for you? It takes the work out of making money. Now most of our sales come from the website, referrals and happy customers buying more. It is wonderful to be able to put more of your effort into your clients success and less into finding new work. It is far easier to create buzz than it is to cold call people. It just takes a plan, discipline and an understanding that it does not happen overnight very often.