Sales

Have you been hypnotised by Apple?

Apple_Store-01.png

Watching people in the London Apple store, is like watching zombies in there ideal environment. They are all staring at screens, not speaking to anyone apart from the Apple staff, who are either convincing them that now is the best time to buy or the genius team who are telling them to switch off their device and then back on again. Ironically this happened for me when I met with one of the genius team reporting my failing notes app. It sounded just like being back with Microsoft. Oh blast! 

Anyway, I observed how these folks were being hypnotised by their surroundings and Apple’s stuff. Their ‘best ever’ devices. 

Yes I'm also a hypnotised victim, all my devices are Apple, although I do not have all the latest and greatest, still on iPhone 6s and iMac 2013, I did upgrade my iPad last year to a Pro and that’s because the old one just wouldn’t function any longer. Built-in redundancy tricks by the tech industry?

Anyway back to being a Zombie. 

Listening to a podcast by the Minimalists the other day, they mentioned that the whole reason Apple have laid out their store so that you can touch devices is that they have done extensive research that confirms that when people touch something which they desire, they have already bought it in their brain. So it will just be a matter of either convincing themselves that they want it or they just go through the process of buying having been hypnotised by having touched the device.

Although I hadn't actually considered this, when I think back how I personally have been affected by this, I can definitely see how this works. Yes I am a hypnotised victim and I’m not proud of it and being a victim means I probably didn’t have any control over it. Now that I know what happens, I will for sure be on my guard, no more watching Apple keynote announcements, unsubscribing from their announcement and product emails and unsubscribing from their YouTube channel. 

Oh my, I just hadn’t realised how I had set myself up to be hypnotised via so many different ways. It's my own fault.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy their products, they deliver immense value in my life and business, I wouldn’t have been able to be as proficient in my business without the functionality, reliability and simplicity. In the main the products and their apps work faultlessly. Inevitably as they have grown bigger and bigger with billions of devices installed around the world, I guess issues do occur. My firm belief is that IT companies of any kind are in constant BETA. That must be so tough for them.

The big lesson for me is to be more awake, less zombie-like and aware of any desires that may arise as a result of being hypnotised by big brands like Apple and others.

This Zombie is biting back!

@stayingaliveuk

How do you know if your content is any good?

And how do you know if your content is appealing to the correct audience? Data suggests that there are around 200+ million blogs in the world. I researched some data up to 2011 suggesting 181 million, so I've conservatively increased it. 

Can you imagine just for a second that all these bloggers are looking for eyeballs to engage with their content and in some cases its advertisers. That is an awful lot of competition!

Then add to that the amount of social media posts and sound bites in the form of likes, shares and comments that are also competing for eyeballs.

As of April 2017, there are 2.907 billion active social media users in the world of which Facebook owns 1.968 billion active users. All these active users are engaging with content in one way or another and that makes the job of content marketers even tougher. 

Facebook spotted the trend for companies needing to get more eyeballs on their content and that organic engagement was declining rapidly. Therefore low cost advertising is growing allowing many small businesses to get into the advertising game and getting involved with the chase for more eyeballs on their content and products.

Now big and small business are competing with each other for eyeballs like never before.

But how do you know whether you are targeting the right audience? Well advertising nowadays is so sophisticated that you are able to target every single aspect of that prospect's life! This is why Facebook ads are probably the most popular advertising platform around. 

Facebook will make nearly $61 billion per year from just mobile advertising by 2021.

Whether you are targeting Millennials, Baby Boomers or Gen X you can now do this with super laser accuracy. And you thought the ads in your Facebook newsfeed were random!

As a consequence the amount of Facebook ads consultants are expanding rapidly. Not that it's difficult to master the ads platform, the trick is to know how to write the copy, choose the right images that will appeal to that Millennial, Gen Xer or Baby Boomer and know the right keywords and all the other multiple targeting options. There is a lot to consider for sure and in the process of learning and failing you will make Facebook a little richer in the process.

Personally I would recommend that if you are serious about getting closer to your target audience, that you plan a better and more personal engagement plan. Yes it might be slower but it will potentially develop long term raving fans one person at a time. 

Experiment, experiment, experiment with ads, with email, with calls, with meetings and develop an understanding of what your audience engages with the best. 

I would love to hear what's working for you today or what you are experimenting with currently to ensure more eyeballs on your content.

Success!

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Is ‘WHY’ really the best question to ask yourself?

@linkedin & @gapingvoid

@linkedin & @gapingvoid

We have Simon Sinek to thank for making this word famous, very very famous and now many trainers, coaches, digital marketers incorporate this question in their discussions with clients. Me included of course. It's almost like we have been infected by it when we realised that actually ‘WHY’ haven't we been asking that question of ourselves.

Simon made us realise that we spend more time promoting what and how we do things and we forget about the ‘WHY’ completely. 

‘WHY’ do you think that is? 

Well, maybe it's because it's easier to answer what and how and much and much harder to answer ‘WHY’.

I don't know about you, but I witness many things in the world, whether it's in the news, on social media, in the things that people say, their presentations, their social media posts, all the content that's floating around, the faults and strange decisions that social networks like LinkedIn make and the one word that always comes up in my head is ‘WHY’. 

I often wonder now that when I witness that something, I realise they never asked themselves the question ‘WHY’, before they shared their content. 'WHY' would anyone want to know or care about this content that I'm sharing right now?

Of course now you are wondering whether I always as the question ‘WHY’ before I create and/or share anything. And the answer?

Of course not! I rarely do, but I can tell you now, after writing this article, I will be making sure to do so from here on in.

To be true to my word, let's discuss briefly my ‘WHY’ for writing this article, specifically featuring the image that's in this article.

A number of years ago I came across @gapingvoid, the handle for the artist Hugh McLeod and was totally inspired by his drawings. I had never seen anything like it and to this day I still haven't. I subscribed to his daily newsletter, which has a new drawing every single day. I then came up with the idea of saving the daily drawings to Pinterest and now I have over 800 pins of Hugh's art. But also his cultural ideas. I'm such a big fan I even purchased some business cards through Moo.com with his art on it and some cool messages on the back. My business card is always a big hit when I hand it over. 

Then LinkedIn came out with an eBook, which contained all his art and some appropriate messages in connection with content marketing. I loved it so much and decided that each page in the eBook would lend itself brilliantly to me writing some articles and blogposts with my thoughts about each of the messages contained within it.

That is my ‘WHY’ for this article.

I'd love to hear your 'WHY', will you?

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

linkedinlectures.com

linkedinlectures.com

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #why #linkedinlectures

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Are you sure you like change?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

Seriously though do you? 

I was browsing the news app on my iPhone early one morning in the past week when I read that there is a new social media channel on the rise, like Twitter but no spam or trolls and a Tweet is called a Toot.

The new network is called https://mastodon.social. And it has the picture of a cute mammoth holding a smart phone.

My first thought was, oh no not another social media network.  And I felt a heavy feeling with the prospect of having to master yet another Social Media platform. Of course I decided to investigate and was actually pleased to learn that registrations have been paused to ensure the quality of existing subscribers. Also they refer to ‘Instances’, another new language to learn. Give us a break please?!

The trouble is the digital news media have been all over this like a rash and this is what causes ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) in all of us.

Anyway no doubt if it catches on and millions flock there from twitter. Might see you there or then again maybe not.

Now back to ‘Change’.

The hardest job in that world is actually to change yourself. Just try brushing your teeth with your other hand or put your trousers (pants for my USA friends) on with the opposite leg first.

If you wish to change a habit or start a new habit it is incredibly tough, because you've hardwired your habits over years of regular repetition. The neurones in your brain are fused together forever or are they?

The good news is that your brain is plastic, a term neuroscientists came up with when they discovered that your brain can change even if its damaged and for the purpose of this article you can re-wire your habits, it just takes the same amount of repetition that caused you to develop your habits in the first place.

Coming back to why this is all important in the new digital and social landscape. 

If we want to get attention for our product or service, we have to change our learned habit of spraying and praying. Instead we have to get up close and personal. Deal with people one-on-one and treat them like individuals instead of a commodity. 

Stop email newsletters and instead send personal emails. Stop adding connections to email lists and instead tell them that they can opt-in if they wish and they can unsubscribe at any time they want. Don't cloak a mass email as if it was a personal email. I have witnessed so many bad and quite frankly stupid practices that my jaw literally hit the desk in amazement. 

Nobody by the way is waiting for your email message, your new product or service, your new book, your next blog post, your Facebook live video or even your next Social Media post inside LinkedIn and Twitter or your story in Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and no doubt others.

Why? Because everyone is overwhelmed with too much stuff. This article will hardly receive any views or engagement, because a hundred thousand other articles were posted in the same week and actually your real attention is on fear, like Donald Trump or Brexit or Syria or your own focus on getting your own content seen.

We all have to change our habits with publishing content or trying to get attention, become relevant and build relationships with real people who might if you do it right become a 'Raving Fan'

Because that is your only mission and 'spraying and praying' is not the way to achieve that.

I'd love to hear what you are looking to change in your approach to Social Media, Social Selling and content marketing. Let's change together forever.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk

http://linkedinlectures.com

http://linkedinlectures.com

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance #trust #love #mastodon #change

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Do you clearly articulate your purpose in your content?

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

@LinkedIn & @gapingvoid

In the image above, the part of the sentence that grabbed my attention is ‘we stand for something meaningful’.

Deciding what content to write and publish is the easy bit. Seriously it is becoming easier, because there are so many great content writers out there, which means our subconscious is absorbing it and eventually this comes out in our own content.

The tougher part is making it connect to your purpose, your passion and making it meaningful. 

Most content nowadays is forgettable, even the headlines are so sensational that they are becoming a massive turn off. The professional media is trying desperately to get our attention.

Whether you are in employment or running your own business, you have a desire to feel valued, for your contribution to be meaningful and deliver something that will have an impact on people’s lives. Most of us have those desires. And even if we don't have those desires for our business, we will have those for our family. 

There is a meaning, a purpose to all our lives and maybe you are not fully aware of it yet, it is vital that you understand what it is when you are writing content.

If your content is just about what you do and how you do it, i.e. selling yourself then you are, sorry to say, going in the wrong direction.

Simon Sinek is a master at teaching us how to become better at defining our purpose, our WHY? I have included his best video to explain this below. It's only had 30+ million view so far, so he must be on to something right?

Our ‘why’ has to be evident in what we say, what we write and how we market. Basically all our content.

The reader has to feel a connection with you beyond the words, the facts and the content. She needs to be convinced that you are congruent with your content and have written it with the right intention and with purpose and meaning.

If you are not clear on how to do this, start with thinking about why you do what you do? What you love about what you do and how you would like to make an impact in the world or maybe closer to home in your community. Once you start getting clarity about this and portray this through the content you write or share, your audience will feel a closer connection to you, a deeper feeling of trust will develop and a greater connection will emerge.

Defining yourself by metrics alone is never enough. Awards and league tables are the result of ego and self congratulations. You can only ever measure yourself, your business, the impact on your community, by the amount of change that is taking place as a direct result of your purpose.

How are you articulating your purpose in your content?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help us out and share your answer below.

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy #distraction #purpose #relevance

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

Why is Storytelling so important? Chapter 1

@stayingaliveuk

@stayingaliveuk

Because it takes us back to our magical childhood. Even before we could comprehend what was being said, our parents read stories to us. They took us on a journey, where anything was possible, where we could imagine anything with the use of our brain. We created mystical characters who did not exist in the real world but, as far as we were concerned, they were as real as you and me.

Hollywood have always known that we all LOVE stories!

When we watch or read a story we start creating images in our brain to fill in the missing parts. Let’s take the following paragraph.

“Jane, who drove too fast in her red sports car down the busy highway, was excited about the prospect of meeting up with her friends, who were waiting for her. They were waiting for her in her favourite restaurant at a table by the window with a view over the lake. Sundown had just started and the light was bouncing off the water, which was still and sparkling in the remaining light. Ducks were drifting peacefully on the water, heading towards their night retreats. Jane was running late”.

You just created several images in your brain taken from your library of images which are stored in billions of neurons. More than that you emotionally connected with Jane: we’ve all been late for appointments and know what it feels like to be rushing to try and get to our destination faster. You also love being able to get a table by the window in a restaurant, especially with a view over a lake. Oh wow, just imagine that. And who doesn’t like seeing ducks drifting on a lake at sundown?

This means that you didn’t just imagine Jane’s journey and destination, you actually wished you were Jane. Or John, of course, if it was a guy who featured in the story.

So, if we emotionally connect with stories what do you think the best marketers in the world do? Correct! You guessed right...they tell stories.

You can download the full story by clicking the link HERE.

#storytelling #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

So how do you create more relevant content?

I really and honestly haven't got the answer, if I did I'd probably be on a beach somewhere during the freezing winter months.  Are you feeling cold right now?

If you do think you can answer my question, please skip to the end and I'd love to hear your perspectives and of course we all need to know, urgently.

What I will do is share what content personally turns me off and what attracts me. And in the words of Tony Robbins we are either 'moving away or moving towards something', this could be pain or pleasure and in this case content.

Turn-offs (no way a complete list, but what comes to mind for now an I may continue to add as they come up in the future).

  1. Too many adverts saying 'buy me'.
  2. Self congratulations, which portray a message to say, 'aren't we clever?'
  3. Newsletters, I just don't get those anymore, they're such a complete and utter waste of time nowadays.
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat and even more multiple repeats of the same content.  I'm guilty of this too!
  5. No context around someone else's content you are sharing. Just sharing for sharing's sake. Ouch!
  6. Live video here, live video there, live video here, there and everywhere. Too many notifications to suggest that everyone is joining the bandwagon. Although I have to say the Instagram version is attracting me a little!
  7. Autobot messages via 'commun.it', oh dear what is everyone thinking?  Autobot messages are so 2014.  Stop them, stop them now!
  8. Articles with the top 5, top 10, top 25 and even the top 50 of suggestions we really never take action on. Do share if you ever have please.
  9. Adverts that have animals starring in it to jolt our emotional brain neurones into saying awwwwww and apparently remembering the product for longer.  And now even giving away toys of said animals if you purchase the product.  Readers in the UK, will know exactly what I'm talking about.
  10. Re-marketing ads.  They are really, really doing my head in, because unfortunately you can't get them out of your head. I bet a very clever psychiatrist at Google suggested this one.  Aaarrrggghhh!

Okay that's enough for now, turned out to be a bigger list than I had expected.

Attracts

  1. Videos that are educational.  Ted-talks and Ted-Ed are brilliant and I could watch them all day long.
  2. Content that answers my question when I search on Google for the answer to a problem I need to solve.  Thank you to all those amazing trainers, coaches, educators out there, we appreciate you! 
  3. YouTube. For making my home feed relevant to what I like watching, coming up with new suggestions or ideas and allowing me to scrap them if I wish. Also making the list of new videos from my subscribed channels easy to navigate around.  I love YouTube, it's visual, engaging and quick.
  4. Animated GIFS, as long as they're funny and clever.  I've even started to have a play with producing them myself.  Great fun!
  5. Comedy.  Who doesn't like having a good laugh, there isn't enough laughter in the world and social media can be a real tonic for the soul.
  6. Real-live stories.  In the last year I have seen more real people stories coming through even on LinkedIn and as you would expect they are stories of overcoming adversity in some way.  They are hugely motivational and at the same time make your so-called stresses seem so small.
  7. Content that provides great learning for where you are in that moment and time, whether it be your personal or business life.

Right then do you have the answer?  What content inspires you?

I'd love to learn and I am sure others would to, so help me out and share your answer below.

---

LinkedIn created a brilliant eBook with my favourite illustrator. @gapingvoid (Hugh Macleod) creates the most amazing messages through his illustrations. Read more about him and @gapingvoid here: (http://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/team-members/hugh-macleod/)

Regularly I will share one of the articles and illustrations from the eBook and give you my opinion, interpretation, insight and my meaning.

@stayingaliveuk 🚀

#contentmarketing #content #socialmedia #engagement #marketing #socialselling #sales #empathy

Online is great and talking is even better. Everyone's ultimate goal in business and life is to make real connections, where you meet someone face to face. Before that meeting a conversation is the ultimate icebreaker. I value my LinkedIn connections and realise that I don't really know you or what your goals are and how I might facilitate or support those goals. Feel free to click through and book a call with me (https://www.stayingaliveuk.com/discovery-call/). I have blocked out only Fridays each week, excluding holidays, for calls. Hope to speak with you soon.

 

 

 

Is Your Buyer's Brain Overloaded?

Possibly, but it depends...

Recently I read that 90% of all the data that's been created on the planet was created in the past 2 years! That's an astounding statistic don't you think? The amount of data we’re consuming is growing exponentially every single second and I've just added to it by publishing this post.

Just think about the amount of social media content and blog posts you’re reading these days considering they didn't even exist just a few small years ago.

In fact YouTube didn't exist 10 years ago and now 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute. 300 hours! That's about 20 days worth in a minute, (based on let's say a 15 hour awake day). And I understand that Facebook is well on its way to by-passing YouTube’s activity. 

When you consider how many users there are on social media channels and the data they’re all creating, one just can't comprehend how big those data figures are. The size of data is so large that it’s now being described in the form of zettabytes. By 2019 Cisco predicts that the Internet will carry 2 zettabytes of data, that's three times more than last year (2014). Video sharing is expected to increase to 80% from 67% currently over the same period.

So what's a ’zettabyte’? I'm sure you want to know, so I looked it up on Wikipedia for you.

The zettabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix zetta indicates multiplication by the seventh power of 1000 or 1021 in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore one zettabyte is one sextillion (one long scale trilliard) bytes. The unit symbol is ZB.

1 ZB = 10007bytes = 1021bytes = 1000000000000000000000bytes = 1000exabytes = 1billionterabytes = 1trilliongigabytes.

Silicon Valley already has problems finding data scientists to cope with figuring out the ’data revolution’ that's upon us right now!

’Customer experience enhancement’ is expected to be the largest big data business category and the one with the most growth, with forecasts saying this sector will grow from $0.75 billion in 2015 to $3.57 billion in 2020.

The biggest challenge for all marketers is how to get noticed and deliver that expected ’customer experience enhancement’, whilst everyone is sharing multiple amounts of content (data). Your messages are literally drowning in all the noise, which in the main is content (data) we don’t really need anyway! Buyers are being bombarded by millions of bytes of information every single hour. And then there's the question of demographics. Who’s more active on which platform, do I target Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn or the others? Managing this social media soup is also becoming a major headache for many marketers? Micro Enterprises are totally confused by it all.

And then we are developing love-hate relationships with all these channels too.

Why? Because they keep changing the format, the user interface (UI) and what you expected from it one day, can be gone the next. And we are still loyal to them, well most of the time anyway. That's why when a new channel comes along everyone rushes to it to see if they will get a better experience.

Advertising is losing its credibility too with the buyer as more and more of us loath being sold to.  
So what's the answer for getting noticed?

It's a tough one and I'm not sure there's one single solution to the question. But what I’m 100% sure about is that buyers want to be WOWED, they want to feel SPECIAL, they want to believe they've had the BEST DEAL ever and know that the follow up customer service will make them feel like they're the ONLY customer.

Your buyer’s brain is literally maxed out with data and there's no reprieve anytime soon.

We all need new and innovative ideas and above all we need to examine our own brains to decide what will be the most memorable way for our buyers to absorb content (data). Put yourself in the driving seat and examine the buyer’s journey through her eyes or rather her brain.

As humans we've always been fantastically curious. Curious about other people in particular, after all that's what makes us human. We have a natural empathy for others.  The only way we can develop any kind of empathy is to learn something about the other person or situation first. Without that information we can't connect with our inner self (emotional part of our brain) and develop any kind of connection at all.

So how do we currently learn about others or situations?

Through stories...

Storytelling is ancient and it evokes an emotion inside of us that leaves meaningful footsteps inside of our brains that potentially stay there forever. Well in fact they do, it just depends on how good we are in being able to recall those stories. Definitely what's true is that if there’s more emotion and feeling about those stories, we will remember it for longer.

Why is it then that most marketers are still stuck in a pattern of ’This is my Product - Buy me’?

With the amount of zeta-data spinning around the planet there's no hope for any of the old style marketing to stick with anyone, it just isn't appropriate any longer.

If we know that stories do stick, why are marketers not using this formula more often? And yes, stories do need to be targeted to each demographic, because they need to feel like you're talking directly to them. There's no point telling a story to a 60-year old expecting it to be relevant to an 18-year old.

Now over to you.

I'd love to hear whether you’re a storyteller and what success you've had  or otherwise. How are you getting or expecting to be noticed by your current and future buyers?

@stayingaliveuk - ’Share Your Story’

Image: @gapingvoid

Does Business Networking Deliver Sales?

I am a small business (SOHO = single office home office) and I know how lonely it can be at times to work on your own. Therefore for years I've enjoyed going to business networking events. Interaction with humans and talking about what you do, makes you feel worthy and loved.

But actually it's a feeling that doesn't last very long at all. Almost immediately when you leave the networking event, you start thinking about what you've achieved. Usually nothing at all. Of course you've met some nice people, had a nice breakfast or lunch and exchanged some business cards.

So you have a few more extra business cards, which most of us do nothing with and even if someone showed some interest in your work you are unlikely to get a follow up email or call, from them. Why? Because they are their selling themselves and if you haven't bought from them, they are unlikely to want to go after you and buy from you.

Of course there are exceptions, but in the main, everyone is at the meeting trying to find business and an opportunity for an introduction at least.

Don't get me wrong I have had business through these events but my thinking is changing. I've been trying a different approach. So please read on...

You actually have no idea who will be showing up at a networking event and even if you did, they're probably the wrong people for your industry. Thinking that if you show up at regular events and people get to know you, it will eventually deliver business is a myth as well.

Then there are the BNI clubs or referral type clubs, where you are encouraged to find referrals for your club members. These only work for certain types of professions and it often ends up being very internal to the club where members are obliged to give business to their members in order to show that they are contributing. Actually excellent for people starting up in business, but no good for those who have all their business services covered. Plus it's expensive.

These clubs not only have high costs per year and weekly breakfast costs, over time they do not deliver ROI.

And yes there are exceptions, I know, but times are changing.

You can now find your leads through careful and considered searching on the web. And of course searching doesn't deliver sales either, but now there's LinkedIn.

With 500+ million globally and 23+ million in the UK, LinkedIn is the only and best business professional network. Here you can connect to your prospects and develop relationships like you've never been able to at any time in your business career. (I'm a baby boomer so I've been around for a while).

Now it's not easy and it's not that hard either, you just need to train yourself to be disciplined and laser focussed.

Sales is a process and not a game of luck. You have to work through the process with discipline and resolve and ensure that you don't give up on your efforts, even if they aren't delivering results to begin with. After all you've been going to networking events with no sales results for years and have kept going!

By the way I’m not advocating that you shouldn't go to any events, one or two per month will be fine. But some small businesses spend hours upon hours going to networking events. Have you ever worked out the costs? Lets do an example and I know it won't be right for everyone but maybe you can do your own calculation based on the following blueprint.

  1. Cost of event, lets say £20 (non-membership events)
  2. Cost of travel to and from, lets say £10
  3. Parking is free sometimes, I know, but City Centre events maybe £5
  4. Time taken to travel on average lets say 20 minutes x 2 = 40 minutes
  5. Time at event on average 2 hours
  6. Lost productivity time, stopping and starting project work 30 minutes
  1. Total monetary costs £35
  2. Total approx 3 hours @ a modest £40 per hour lost time = £120
  3. Total costs £155
  4. Across the month for just 2 events £310
  5. Total cost per year £3,720
  6. Add to that any club memberships if you have any or do the calculation for that instead

Actually I've been very conservative in my estimation and I believe the figure is closer to £5000 per year on average, because we add new events now and again and waste more time in the process too.

Feel free to use the link below to the calculator to work out your own costings.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Vt77AtGNYkwszXqYMER28KDHB3Uh8Kpv_QkpMEKJ-oc/edit?usp=sharing

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 13.03.57.png

I would like to get an accurate figure for this so I am doing a quick survey and will appreciate your contribution. Complete the survey via http://styin.me/networkingresearch2 or scroll the form below to complete it here.

Time to take on a different approach. My new approach!

  1. Use LinkedIn to grow your network and this doesn't mean connecting to strangers but it does mean uploading your current address book. On average you know at least 200 people and in some cases even loads more!
  2. They also know at least 200 people, so in one action your network already will be 40,000 people. Many more than you will ever meet in your lifetime of going to networking events.
  3. Do you think there might just be at least one person in that network, who you would be interested in connecting to? The great thing is that your connections already know that person, so asking for an introduction will be an easy thing to do right?
  4. Remember that it's not your connections that you are necessarily interested in, it's their connections where the money is.
  5. And we haven't even explored a myriad of other strategies you can adopt on LinkedIn to get closer to that ideal connection.

Now just making the connection isn't enough is it?

Most people that have connected to me, never follow up with me and I used to be one of those too. But not anymore. Firstly I always acknowledge a connection and secondly, I ask that new connection to have a Skype video call with me so that I get to know their business better. You may think, oh dear that's very impersonal! But actually it's not, having a video call is actually more personal compared to a face to face meeting and some people shy away from this method I know.

You see, in a public place there are more distractions so you don't have to listen to everything the individual says but on a Skype call you have to listen to every word and believe it or not you remember more about the person and get a better insight to what they do and what they are looking for.

Now remember that you are wishing to learn more about them and indeed you do want to help them find new business. Only when you come from a place of wishing to help does this work. If you are only there to sell, this will not work and people will see straight through it.

The response I've had from people has been wonderful, they've enjoyed the video call and are delighted too that they've not had to travel, get up at the crack of dawn, pay for fuel, parking, breakfast or lunch and not wasted 3 hours of their time in the process.

We have a much closer and better relationship from where we can build.

But of course that's not where the work stops. You have to keep in touch with each other, look out for each other and recommend each other.

To start with you can endorse their skills on LinkedIn, which will enhance their own profile and they will more than likely return the favour too. Writing recommendations can come later when you or they have done a piece of work.

Social selling has never been easier and by taking the time to strategically find your connections and develop them intelligently, you will transform your business. And just because your business may be successful with current busy customers, you have to keep topping up with more prospects, even if you don't need those customers at the moment.

I hope this will give you some food for thought and for more tips and advice, follow me on twitter @stayingaliveuk or follow my tips via hashtag #LinkedLectures.

Success with your LinkedIn Networking.