Twitter is the Cashew

    

Cashew and entire fruit

Twitter is the Cashew and Social Media is the Entire Fruit

This is the last of my 5th Anniversary posts.  I will discuss here my 4th and 5th lessons I have learned throughout my five years in business.

4th Lesson:  Always be open to change.  Your Business Plan must be in the NOW. 

5th Lesson:  Position yourself around positive, energetic, enthusiastic business leaders that are going to give you motivational feedback. 

Both these lessons lead me to Social Media and Twitter which is my “cashew”.  Don’t get me wrong.  The entire plant is ALL GOOD but you have to decide which of the Social Media platforms are best for your business.  However, do not discard any of them because just like the Cashew plant here…..whoever may like the nut, would be making a huge mistake not to try the remainder of the delicious plant.

Last year, if I would have listened to most in the Promotional Product industry, who saw no value at all in Twitter, I would have denied myself the pleasure of  connecting with some of the most professional, knowledgeable, sharing, caring, intelligent, authentic business leaders in the Nation.  We must get past the hard sell, what is the immediate ROI in dollars, what’s in it for me in dollar compensation. 

Relationships create an energy that can’t be obtained more effectively than from each other.  Information sharing on Twitter cannot be matched by any other medium out there.  As an example, just recently @SocialNetDaily shared the following on blogging… http://ow.ly/1CB15.  This is packed with valuable information.   Just by this example should we understand what an impact Social Media can have on our business.

I am glad I didn’t get stuck in the 90’s and fortunate that I surrounded myself with leaders who understood the importance of adapting to the fast changing technology world.  Let’s help some of our clients, business colleagues, and entreprenneurs who are still hesitant about getting a taste of Social Media or at least taking a bite of the Cashew.

Have you had some resistance by executives?  What are some of their issues?

“Handcuffs” and Good Customer Service Do Not Go Hand-in-Hand

Don't do this to yourself!

The third of five lessons I am going to share with you this week that I learned over the 5 years I have been in business is:

#3.  Stay true to yourself insofar as how you believe your customer/client relationship is retained, nurtured and valued.

If you are an Independent Consultant, as I am in the Promotional Products business, make sure you remain INDEPENDENT.  Set your own ethical standards, objectives and goals.  Make sure they are communicated to whomsever you may be representing so that before you start working for them there is a clear undertanding of how you will work with clients.  If you don’t do this, you will find yourself adjusting uncomfortably to the “handcuffs” that will be placed on you.  AND….if you continue over a long period of time, the key will be tossed (that’s your brand) and very difficult to get back. Their handcuffs will be their standards, expectations, service, decisions, etc.

If you are employed by another company, large or small, you should always clearly understand their business philosophy.  How does it match up with yours?  What can you do to adapt without sacrificing your brand? Are they openminded enough to listen to some of your suggestions?

No matter what, you should never be in a position to compromise your character…even a non-compete agreement should not curtail any efforts to protect your good name.  It can take a lot of courage and especially so in this economy.  No one wants to be without a job.  BUT…take a look at those handcuffs again…..imagine yourself in them everyday and trying to do your job at the same time…..key is getting further and further away…..the ending isn’t pretty!!

How have you dealt with similar situations?  Anyone have a bad non-compete experience?

Flash Drives Are Not All The Same

 

Just when you think something is an easy decision and can quickly be processed….most of the time it is not!!  

Flash Drives as a promotional give-away, website driver, tool for clients, special promotion, etc. are of great value but only if you ask some questions first:

1.  Are they Tier 1?

2.  Are they Grade A?

3.  Do they have a Lifetime Warranty?

4.  How long is pricing good?

5.  Are they NEW….never been used?

6.  Does the vendor Upload for FREE?

7.  What capacity do you REALLY need?  64MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 4GB …… (well you get the idea)

Now you can purchase Flash Drives!!  Enjoy.

Any questions?

Is There A Golf Event In Your Future?

For most, I know golf season can’t come soon enough.  Actually….WHAT AM I SAYING!!  Golf season is all year long.  But for our purposes here, let’s imagine we are all on the east coast and sitting, wishing, wanting the rain to stop and the temperature be more predictable. 

We have arrived!!  Being in the promotional product business has propelled me to be thinking GOLF this time of year and for someone that can only hit the silly ball 100 yds….but straight guys…it does make me chuckle that I have become a Golf (product) expert. 

So that brings me to the point of this blog.  You all know that I want to be helpful and take some of the decision-making dilemma out of the mix when putting these golf tournaments together.  It is always nice to have a very special incentive for golfers to participate in your event but what makes yours more unique than others.  You have to take into account the economy.  Unfortunately it is a fact and in order for these events to be very special, they are not successful without value. Here are several ideas that can get all the foursomes you need.

1.  Relax first of all.  Take things step by step.       Important to determine what other events, not only golf, are going on in your area.  Also find out when other golf events are going on and set yours first.  You should be planning this at the very least six months in advance.  Once you acquire this knowledge, you can set a date for your event.  Another piece of advice would be not to choose Monday.  Not received well by business professionals for two reasons; start of the work week and is most popular to be taken as an extended weekend.  Thursday or Friday is best.

2. Pricing Your Event (now you should still be relaxing) ~ Decide NOW what you wish to have as your enticement, give-away, prizes, tournament prizes, gifts for registrants.  Only then can you price the event correctly.  This is where you can make your event UNIQUE.  Golfers expect to pay for the pleasure of playing in a well-run event and as long as they feel they are getting value, they’ll sign up for your event.  Even if it is a non-profit event and the money is going toward a worthy cause (and we know that they are all worthy), you still have to market it correctly, determine the best PR and promote it.  A “hook” may not be ideal at times on the golf course, but when it comes to persuading golfers to your event as opposed to others, get those “hooks” in place.  Point is….don’t under price your event which then leaves you with doing far too many 50/50 at event and Silent Auction.  Build what you need into the price to play.  If attendee is going to get a pair of Nike or Calloway golf shoes at the event, you’d be surprised what they will pay to play.

3. Call ME!!  Truly I can help.  Remember it’s me…..I hit the ball very carefully straight and I’ll get you there safely, securely and without getting in the rough. 

Do you have a golf event you are putting together?  What has been the most popular give-away?

5th Anniversary (Part 2) ~ Today Competition/Tomorrow Client

Celebrating 5 years in business is quite a milestone…..especially when you start to reflect on how you got here.  While business objectives vary whether B2B or B2C , certain standards are constant and can propel you to many years of success or, if not properly defined, a short-lived jaunt on the road to success only to find a cliff at the end.

Last week I shared with you the Number 1 of 5 lessons I have learned over these five years; i.e. “Never be about price because you will be replaced by your competiton immediately.”

Number 2:  I’ve talked about competiton in other blogs but it is a very integral part to continued success.  Whether you are a small business or part of a large corporation, spending negative time and energy on your competition is unwise and a waste of time.  First and foremost they may end up being your client someday or even working for you. 

The best business plans incorporate an accepted basis for dealing with competition.  All parties associated with your brand should be aware of what you consider acceptable.  Previous competitors from other positions I have had are now my clients.  They have no problem working with me because I already had their respect.

R E S P E C T   =>  R E T E N T I O N  =>  R E F E R R A L S

Have you set forth standards regardng competition in your Business Plan?  Do you find yourself talking about your competitor to your client or potential client?  Has your competitor Branded you?

5th Anniversary Post ~ 5 Reasons to Celebrate Accomplishments & Learning

Marketing by DM 5th Anniversary

Marketing by DM is celebrating a milestone ~ it is our 5th Anniversary.  Truly a time to celebrate and I thought I would share with you one reason per week on Monday for the next four weeks (the last Monday there will be two) setting forth some of the things I have done throughout these five years that seems to have resulted in retention, referrals and respect.  You be the judge!!

#1.  Never let pricing be how people identify what you have to offer.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s product or services.  If you find yourself saying, “I can beat anyone’s price”, then you have just diminished your worth.  You will be replaced tomorrow

As an example, the very first potential customer I set up a meeting with in April of 2005 told me that she was already using someone else for her promotional product needs but would still meet with me.  At that meeting she asked me to give her MY pricing on shirts she had already ordered from a competitor.  She volunteered the pricing informaton to me that she had paid.  When I returned to my office I checked the pricing she had paid and it was fair.  Could I have called her and said, “I would have sold these to you less expensive!”  Of course.  However, I called her back and said that the price was fair and that it was my business practice not to underquote a colleague. 

This potential customer turned into a loyal $20,000 a year client for the last five years.  Through Respect also came Retention and Referrals….the 3 R’s.

Interested in your thoughts.  Is this always wise to do?   Have you had similar circumstances and how did you handle it?