For GOD’s Sake, Just Try Something New!

I really admire successful people. And over the years, I've studied many of them, read their biographies and books and tried to emulate their strategies.

These books have helped me, but it was not their strategies thatave me the most valuable insights.

I discovered the one thing all successful people have in common, a trait that all of them have practiced without exception:

They try new things. Risky things. Innovative things.

Their progress and success is based on breaking the mold, and doing the things very few people are willing to do.

And I'm saying it so simply because it is that simple and that difficult.

Sure, we all try things in our business:

We read articles and books

We put together a website

We try new software and online tools

We participate in social media

We ask for referrals from existing clients

We get out there and network

But with most of these, we're just going through the motors. We're doing what everyone else does to just survive in business.

Most of these activities are safe and do not challenge us, let alone lead to breakthroughs in performance and results.

This article is an attempt to help you understand what it takes to successfully try new things.

Why do we settle for doing the safe things that everyone else is doing? Why do we hold back and play small more often than not?

It's very simple, really.

Trying new things is scary!

If it was not, we'd all be outrageously successful at everything we attempted to accomplish.

And clearly, we're not.

Instead of trying new things we delay and procrastinate. We get stuck in perfectionism. We judge and second-guess ourselves. We are analyzed by analysis. Or we hope things will change.

The first thing we tend to do is make a whole lot of excuses. We convince ourselves that we're not ready yet.

We do not try new things because we believe …

we do not have good enough ideas

we're not smart enough

we do not have enough information

we are lazy

we're not committed

we do not know the right people

we do not have enough time

we are disorganized

we do not have the right resources

we do not have the experience

we are not creative

we are inherently weak

we do not know where to start

we have bad habits

we can not get a break

All of these are just delay tactics. And none of them is legitimate.

The one and only reason we do not try new things is:

FEAR.

Many people, much wiser than me, have a few words to say on the subject:

“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” – Frank Herbert
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paul Coelho

“When we are afraid, we pull back from life.” – John Lennon.

“Fear cuts deeper than swords.” – George RR Martin.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato

“Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.” – Dan Brown

“I must say a word about fear.” It's life's only true opposition. – Yann Martel

“Fear kills everything, your mind, your heart, your imagination.” – Corenlius Funke

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.” – Krishnamurti

Yes, the only thing that stops us from trying new things, from success, from living our dreams, is fear.

Therefore the only way to succeed is to face our fears and try something new anyway.

And this is a lifelong process, an everyday process.

Thankfully, many wise people have even more to say about going beyond your fears.

“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I can not allow it to paralyze me.” – Isabel Allende

“I believe that every single event in life happens as an opportunity to choose love over fear.” – Oprah Winfrey

“We meet fear. We greet the unexpected visitor and listen to what he has to tell us. When fear comes, something is about to happen. ” – Leigh Bardugo

“Find out what you're afraid of and go live there.” – Chuck Palahniuk

“I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

“There's no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.” – George RR Martin

“It's better to die laughing than to live each moment in fear – Michael Crichton

“Do not fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. – Bruce Lee

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” – Aristotle

“Courage is feeling fear, not getting rid of fear, and taking action in the face of fear. – Roy T. Bennett

Face your fears. Find your inner courage. Take action.

This is really the only strategy we need to remember and come back to over and over again, no matter what we want in life.

Do not be distracted by a million strategies that everyone tells you are the answer to success:

– Develop a perfect 10-step morning routine

– Read one book every week

– Exercise 30 minutes every day

– Write down your goals and look at them daily

– Meditate before you take on a big challenge

– Write a step-by-step action plan before you start

– Make sure your goals are aligned with your purpose

– Keep lists of every task and project important to you

– Write down all the things you're grateful for

– Pursue excellence in everything you do

Forget about all that stuff. It only clutters your mind.

There's nothing wrong with any of these, except that we think they hold the key to our success.

Instead, they just distract us from taking action now on that new idea or project that's important to us.

We do not need to be perfect or make things perfect and organized before we take action.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, trumps trying something new that we fear. And then simply doing our best.

Everything in our lives neatly falls into place when we make that primary success habit.

All the ideas, strategies, tips, people, and resources that we need will come to us naturally and easily when we face our fears and take action.

If you do not believe me, believe these people:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Everything you want waits on the other side of fear.”

– Lisa Wingate

“On the other side of fear is your breakthrough.” – Jeanette Coron

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

Cheers, Robert

PS You'll find some wonderful quotes (more than 6,000 of them) about overcoming your fears on Goodreads .

Making Real Business Connections

I'm guilty of abusing new connections. But worse, I'm guilty of magic thinking when it comes to connections.

Making a business connection is a first step in a process that requires a lot of work. In the past, I've made connections and then launched into sales pitches. This happens to me a lot – and I see a lot of you reading this nodding your heads in agreement. But I've also been guilty of sometimes a worse practice, and that's assuming / hopping / wiping / believing that once I make a connection, that other person will reach out and not only beg me to sell them my services, but also put in one hundred percent of the work to build a relationship.

Beginnings
It can be scary, and it can certainly be a pain, but you have to be willing and able to take that first step once a connection is made. You have to reach out and do – not just 100% of the work, but – 110% of the work to build and grow your new connection into some kind of relationship. Your first step is asking about them, getting to know what motivates them and makes them get out of bed every morning. The next step is offering of yourself, asking “What can I do for you?” The third step, which many people ignore, is actually coming through with whatever you promised in step two!

1 – Ask About Them
Your connection with someone does not even warrant a number – that's how basic it is. Step # 1 is asking about your new connection, and actually listening to, and absorbing, the answer. And I'm not talking about asking, “So, what line of business are you in?” Egypt, “What do you sell?” Ask new new connection an open-ended question about themselves.

“Tell me – what makes Susie Jones rise and shine each morning?”

None of us are ready for this question. Are you? No, we all want to mumble our reminded elevator pitch which is all about what we want to sell them. Here's the hard part – do not accept that lame answer. Dig. Re-frame the question, and let them know you're looking for personal information. Do not be afraid to tell them explicitly what you want to know.

“C'mon Susie. That's what your canned answer for what you do for a living. give it meaning? ”

Now, listen to that answer, and internalize what they tell you.

2 – Offer A Hand
Listen to the answer to the above question, and start thinking. What can you, personally, offer this person? What other relationships have you developed where you can connect with another person and get your new connection what they need or want? One of my top concerns [Are you paying attention?] Is a cat rescue organization called Kitty Corner. Not only are they a client, they're also where I've adopted four of my pets over the years. I've yet to have a connection offer to make a donation, or to find me a larger donor for them.

I'm not saying you should offer to move their piano this weekend, but find something you can offer to make their life a little brighter. I use copies of my first book as a business card. But if they mention their kids or grand-kids, I have a selection of signed books by some children's authors I know. If that's the only interest I can match, I offer them a copy.

“Your face lights up when you talk about your daughter, Susie. I have a signed copy of a children's book by a friend of mine.

Or maybe your new connection needs life insurance, or is looking for reclaimed barn boards for their new den. If you can help them, offer to do so. And if you can not help them immediately, offer to keep an eye out for them, maybe offer their services to some of your other connections.

“I do not have any connections looking for magazine ad space right now, Susie. But I tell you what – if you give me a dozen of your cards, I'll send them to my local connections along with my personal recommendation that they contact your first. Would that be all right? ”

3 – Follow Through
Whatever you've promised in step # 2, do it! You know how many people who make promises drop the ball. Do not be one of those folks. Especially if what you've offered seems simple or even inconsequential. Most people ignore those promises, whether they make them or have them made. Doing small things can have an amazing impact, both for the do-er and the recipient. You'll get a sense of accomplishment if nothing else, and they'll probably be remembered you remembered.

Plus there's the psychological law of reciprocity, where they feel like they should do something for you now, but that should be totally beside the point.

The important part of this is to honor your word, keep your promises. Even if they never do anything for you. Or maybe I should say, especially if they never do anything for you.

Your Budding Relationship
And this is how you start building a relationship. Once you start developing that relationship, maybe you can ask them if they want to buy whatever is it you're selling. Or if they know other people who want to buy what you're selling. Better yet, maybe they have connections you can connect with, and start building relationships with those people too!

So, I'm asking you – YES YOU. What makes your life worth living? What makes you smile every day? What are the top five things in your life that give it meaning? Tell me below. Let's connect, and start working towards a relationship.

Trade Show Display Mistakes to Avoid

Creating a successful trade show display requires many actions: choosing the right exhibit company, selecting your target audience, selecting design features, simplifying text, and more. However, avoiding certain activities can also contribute to more profitable custom exhibits. Avoiding these mistakes is an important part of creating the highest quality, most affordable display possible for your business. Here are a few of the most common mistakes exhibitors make that can affect the success.

Failing to Read the Exhibitor's Manual

You should receive an exhibitor's manual for every trade show at which you register. This manual is an exhaustive list of the rules and regulations that govern your time at trade fair. For example, it should include the deadlines for renting equipment, the types of lighting that are (or are not) allowed at the show, the kind of technology that the event can support, and so forth. If you read it carefully, you should know everything you need to successfully exhibit at that show.

Unfortunately, many exhibitors fail to read this manual, out of boredom or a misplaced confidence that they already know all of the rules. The truth, however, is that each trade show has its own unique rules that can affect the design of your display booth. For example, rules about the height of your custom exhibit, the types of lighting allowed, and delivery deadlines can all impact when and how you design your display. Reading the exhibitor's manual before you begin the design process with your exhibition company can equip you to make decisions that comply with your trade show's rules.

Choosing the Wrong Sized Display

Another common error also occurs before the design process even begins. This error involves choosing the wrong sized display. For example, if you reserve one booth size and build another, you might end up with custom exhibits that simply do not fit. Alternately, your booth space and display may match, but the size may not fit your needs. For instance, exhibits that are larger than necessary can eat up so much of your budget that you have nothing left with which to design your large display. Plus, if you go too big, you risk having a display that looks empty because you simply do not draw enough visitors to make the space worth it.

Alternately, small displays can leave your booth feeling overcrowded. And an overcrowded booth can discourage visitors who otherwise would have stopped by. Or, it can make you look insignificant if your competitors bring larger exhibits. Plus, while you are likely to save money with a smaller booth, you may find that a small booth does not fit your business' needs if you happen to grow quickly over the course of a few years. The key is to select a booth size that meets your needs, gets your audience's attention, and leaves you enough money to build a unique trade show display.

Failing to Plan Ahead

One of the most common mistakes made by exhibitors is failing to plan ahead. Just building a unique trade show display requires 6-8 weeks of construction. Fleshing out your vision and creating and refining a design take even longer. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself and your exhibition company 4 to 6 months to complete the process of creating custom trade show displays . Any less than this, and you might not get your display on time. In addition, a failure to plan ahead can mean missing deadlines at the trade show (such as for trade show equipment rental or delivery windows). Or, it might mean losing out on the lower rates for reservations, materials, and services that are available to people who request them ahead of time.

Failing to plan ahead can also result in a less effective custom trade show exhibit. For example, if you do not develop a marketing strategy and set goals for your display, it will be difficult to create a display that meets your trade show needs. Without set goals, an understanding of your target audience, and a focused message, you are inadvertently to attract the leads you need to make your time at the trade show worthwhile. Planning both your marketing strategy and your display needs ahead of time can lead to a less expensive but more effective custom trade show exhibit.

Focusing on Cost Instead of Quality

Creating a unique trade show display on a budget can be a challenge, especially if your budget is small. That is why many exhibitors try to build their displays with the least expensive materials and the cheapest design services out there. They hope to achieve a successful trade show display without overspending.

Unfortunately, this strategy rarely works out. By using cheap materials and cheap design services, you risk getting what you pay for: sub-standard designs that wear out quickly or do not work the way they should.

Instead of making cost the most important element in your design decisions, consider making quality most important. This might mean that you have to build a smaller display or add fewer features. However, choosing quality materials and an experienced exhibition company does not mean having to give up on your budget. Instead, your exhibition company's design services should be able to work with you to innovate less expensive solutions that do not compromise on quality.

Trade show display mistakes may be common, but they are not inevitable. If you can avoid them, you can save yourself time, money, and stress, both during the design process and during the trade show itself. If you read the exhibit's manual, choose the right sized display, plan ahead, and focus on quality instead of cost, you should end up with a beautiful, unique trade show display. By avoiding the pitfalls many other exhibitors fall into, you can enjoy a more profitable and less stressful time at your trade shows.

The Long Lost Art of Being Discovered

One of the most of

fascinating Hollywood legends is the discovery of film actress Lana Turner at the soda fountain in Schwab's drug store in Hollywood, by director Mervyn Le Roy in 1936.

Wikipedia tells a different story, saying that Turner was discovered by The Hollywood Reporter publisher, William Wilkerson, not at Schwab's, but at the Top Hat CafÃĐ.

Neverheless, this legendary story gave rise to the American myth that “anyone can be discovered, anyone can be successful because of a stroke of luck and the right connections.”

However, Turner's online biography states: “She was not found at a drugstore counter like some would believe you, but that legend persists. in search of movie roles. ”

She was not even born with the name Lana Turner; her given name was Julia Jean Mildred Francis Turner (try putting that on a movie poster).

Turner, one of the greatest Hollywood beauties, had a film career that spanned 48 years.

Why all this interest in Lana, Turner?

I think it's the confluence of the Academy Awards show on Sunday night and a meeting I had with a client last week.

At the Oscars, I was inspired by the hard work and dedication of the many nominees who had worked, sometimes for decades, before being recognized for their excellence.

My client, who is a brilliant consultant with many professional credentials and accolades, also inspires me. She is smart, committed, and hard working.

But I think she might be working a little too hard on expecting to be discovered by the right person.

For her, this means making connections with influential people who Â- she hopes – will refer her to new clients.

It's wonderful to be referred by others who are more established, successful, and visible. And this approach to marketing can sometimes work when played as a long game.

But if you put most of your attention on these favored-for referrals, you may not spend enough time connecting directly with prospective clients right now.

Pounding the pavement is certainly not romantic, but it's infinitely more practical.

Advice to my client:

Keep an eye out for long-term referral partners, but put most of your effort into connecting with, speaking to, and meeting with those who can buy your professional services today.

Cheers, Robert

PS This is a paraphrase of a quote by Lana Turner:

“If you do not approach clients, you're called aloof, if you do, you're a hustler. update my website. ”

See Lana Turner Quotes

4 Ways to Better Networking

Let's say, you have joined a formal networking group or decided to network in your company and meet new people. What are the next steps? How can you build viable networks and grow professionally and socially? How can you cultivate great relationships? How can you stay consistent in your networking endeavors?

Listed below are a few methods for achieving momentum and long term stability in your networking endeavors.

See the End Goal

Many times we create goals but do not consider the length of time, resources and energy required to carry out these goals. Being focused, having a plan and staying devoted to tasks are critical in building networks. How do you want your network to look in 6-months? 1yr? Egypt 2yrs? Who are you willing to reach out and build quality relationships? What obstacles could cause for challenges? Take time to forecast and think ahead about how you plan for success.

See the Opportunities

Once you have met someone at a meeting, event or through an introduction, quickly follow up. Show a sincerity in wanting to connect and build relationships. Agree to follow up and keep the momentum going. Take time to brainstorm ways of working together, building each others networks and offering support. Do not drop the ball. Create calendar reminders to check in and reconnect.

See the Obstacles

As mentioned in the article, define obstacles that could hinder your progress. Obstacles include but are not limited to: demands at work, shift in career or professional goals, inability to attend networking events on a regular basis, limited activity with online networking, responsibilities with school, family, etc. Create ways to overcome these obstacles and reach out to friends and colleagues for support, advice and guidance.

See the Benefits

Similar to opportunities, you should list the benefits of having a great network. Benefits include but are not limited to: better communication skills, access to more opportunities, professional or business development, achievement in leadership, more community involvement, etc. Outlining these benefits can be a motivation to stay on course in your endeavors.

Use these practical and helpful tips to improve and sharpen your networking skills and approach. Remember to value relationships and keep the momentum going in your endeavors.

Tips and Tricks for Building an Effective Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

To begin your direct mail campaign, break down the process into manageable steps and take these factors into consideration. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Who is your target audience?

The first step is to identify your company's target audience, or target audiences, and understand these demographics as well as possible. The more knowledge you have of their purchasing habits, needs, and wants, the more effective your direct mail campaign will be in helping them understand how your business can benefit them. Are your clients male or female? Old or young? Where do they live? The more detailed, the better. Look at the demographics of your existing customer base, but also imagine what other customers you might want to reach out to. Who uses your services, and who could use your services?

Who is on your mailing list?

Once you have a good understanding of your current and prospective clients, create a mailing list. Better yet, create different lists for different campaigns; the material you send to existing customers may look different and contain different information than that which you send to potential customers. The more tailor your pamphlet, postcard, flyer, etc. is to the specific recipient, the better the chance he or she will respond positively, if at all. Keep detailed and organized records of your lists for reference when creating future campaigns.

What do you want to say? How are you going to say it?

Now it's time to design the actual promotional material that you will send out. There are many types, including postcards, flyers, and pamphlets explaining your services and detailing special offers. Thank you cards and greeting cards for previous clients are just as important; they're instrumental in fostering a sense of community and letting customers know how much you value them and their business. After all, one of the principal reasons people respond so well to direct mail marketing is that it's more personal than electronic communication. Identify which types of mail you will be sending to which people and the text to include. Make sure to double-check spelling and grammar.

Next, focus on the visuals. Pictures are crucial. If you are a company that sells home products for elderly customers, include photos of people making it clear just how easy-to-use your products are. Other businesses, like law firms and real estate companies, traditionally use photographs of lawyers, agents, etc. because they are businesses that rely on personal, one-on-one trust. Make sure whatever pictures you choose are high-quality and professional.

Graphic design plays a crucial role in representing your business as well. If your material appears outdated or aesthetically displeasing, you jeopardize the perceived reliability and quality of your company, which can greatly affect business. If you have no experience in graphic design, it is best to leave it to professionals. Some direct mail services offer in-house graphic designers.

With these tips in mind, you will be off to a great start designing an effective direct mail marketing campaign!

The No Joke System for Attracting Clients

A few months ago I re-rolled my system for teaching people to attract new clients. It's a new take on an old approach.

I called it ABDO – Attention-Based Direct Outreach.

And it's all about proactively reaching out to prospective clients and ultimately turning them into paying clients.

There are a number of things that makes this approach different than what most self-employed professionals do to attract new clients.

Let me count the ways. There are six. Yeah, I know, this is a three-minute-to-read-article. Who has three minutes to read these days?

Maybe you, if your client attracting system is not working.

1. Proactive. This means not waiting around for someone to contact you. That's passive marketing, which is getting your name, face, and message out there, but hiring someone will absolutely contact you.

From your website and newsletter, to networking and speaking, these all become passive when you do not take any initiative to follow-up or make direct contact with prospective clients.

But proactive marketing is scary. You put yourself out there and see if you can get a conversation or an appointment. For many, this is terrifying because of the possibility of rejection. Such is life.

2. Humor. Using humor in your outreach (especially in your emails) is a great way to break the ice and get attention. Despite its amazing effectiveness, it's relatively rare. How may emails do you get that incorporated humor of any kind? No, most emails are deadly boring. So they get very low response. Even this one is kinda boring. So I'm proving my point.

We're in the early weeks of my new ABDO group program, but participants are already sending out humorous emails and they are surprised at the positive response and the willingness of recipients to set up meetings. But no more humor here!

3. Value Proposition. A funny email may get attention, but it will not get you far if your value proposition is weak. If you're contacting a prospect, why should they be interested in listening to you? How can you help them? And what are you doing that's different?

If you do not clear articulate all of that in a concise, (but also entertaining email) it'll get deleted like all the rest.

4. Follow-up Conversations. It's rare that someone will respond to your email with, “I'm sold! When can we start?” If only. No, the purpose of an outreach email is to generate enough interest that they'll be willing to speak with you for a minute or two. That's all. But it's a lot.

Years ago, I did a lot of speaking engagements. At the end I collected business cards from the participants and then I followed up by both email and phone. I had one simple goal: get a follow-up conversation to see if they both needed some marketing assistance and were open to getting that assistance.

In that call I asked a number of questions and shared about some of the results I'd produced for my clients. I did not do any selling. I was preparing the ground for a selling conversation. If they showed enough interest, I'd set up a complimentary marketing strategy session.

5. Marketing Materials. After I set up an appointment for a Strategy Session, I'd say. “I have some information about how I work that I'd like to send to you. Can we please take a look at it before we meet for the Strategy Session? . ” I sent it along and most would read it. And it did save time in that I had to spend very little time in the Strategy Session talking about my services. I could focus on their needs and goals instead.

6. The Strategy Session. Selling has a bad name. We think of it as manipulative and pushy. But real selling is the exact opposite. It's mostly asking questions and listening. Where are you now in your business? What are your goals? What are your challenges? How will things change if you overcome those challenges?

I have a colleague who calls this process “Sacred Selling” in that it's a deeply personal and caring conversation to discover if you can partner with someone to make a difference in their life and business.

Those six steps are the essence of the ABDO system. And since the Internet, social media, and videos, I've found that this system still works the best to attract high-end clients who have big challenges that require a real professional with specialized knowledge and skills.

Yes, it's wonderful if someone calls you because of positive word-of-mouth. But if you get tired of waiting for the phone to ring, this is the next best thing.

It's not trendy or even that cool, but it sure does work. And even if you use some humor to get attention on the front end, I promise you it's no joke.

Cheers, Robert

Developing Cross-Cultural Relationships Over Technology

During a time when the internet has transformed the way we communicate, we see that lots of things can be lost in translation through technology. It is important to note that some means of effective communication can vary by the background and culture of the receiver. It is crucial to effectively communicate using the proper platforms.

The Telephone Contact

A telephone call provides a quick and inexpensive method of communicating with stakeholders. The telephone has some additional limitations. A person can not see facial expressions, gestures, or posture, and therefore, must absolutely collectively on the sound of our voice and the words we use. Plan in advance what you will say. It helps to use a written presentation plan as a guide during the first few seconds of the conversation. What you say is determined by the objectives stated at the beginning. An advantage of a telephone call is the option to take notes during a call without coming across rude or disrespectful. Be sure to reiterate what the other person has said to confirm you are on the same page and demonstrate you were actively listening.

The Voicemail

The growing popularity of voice mail presents a challenge for business people. Many people are very busy, and will only return an unknown number if they know the call was important enough to leave a voicemail. It is important to interview voicemail and know exactly what to say if you reach a recording. The receiver's perception of you is consistently based on what you say and voice quality. Provide a compelling reason for the person to call back and offer a valid item that would stimulate interest. The voice mail message should be similar to the opening statement you would make if you had a face-to-face contact with the prospect. Lastly, give your number slowly and completely. It's usually best to repeat the number.

The E-mail

Many prospects and established customers like the convenience of email correspondence and prefer it as an alternative to telephone contact. But note that some people, or generation, find that an e-mail is far less personal and professional than a phone call. Be sure to know your audience before choosing a means of communications. When using email, your challenges is to make it easy for your correspondents to read and handle your e-mail. People who receive large amounts of e-mail may selectively which to read by scanning the subject lines and eliminating those of no interest. Always use a meaningful, specific subject line. The e-mail message should clearly tell the reader what you want and then encourage a response. Identify the main point of your e-mail within the first or second paragraphs. Format the e-mail so it's easy to read. This may require the use of headings to identify main elements of the memo. Finally, a use of a signature file- a typical file includes full name, title, affiliation, phone number, and in some cases a slogan.

The Conference Call

Conference calls can be boring, and difficult to follow but a necessary part of business. When many people participate in a call, it is easy for our minds to wander. Keep your statements short and ask for direct feedback frequently, rather than asking an open question to the whole group. It is also helpful to send out an agenda ahead of time and stick to it so everyone knows the purpose of the call, approximately how long it will last, and what they are expected to prepare before the call. Some company's record calls for a variety of reasons, if you are on a call with people from other companies, make sure you let them know you are recording the call. Lastly, set limits on call duration. This is even more important than setting time limits for face-to-face meetings since the amount of energy lost in a call exceeded that of meetings. The lack of feedback is a huge energy zapper. Limit calls to reasonable lengths so everyone knows what to expect.

Do Customers Still Want Things For Free?

There's no such thing as a free lunch- it's a sentiment as old as time itself, however it still holds as true as gravity. In a business model, if someone is getting something free, then another party is footing the bill. Over the last five or so years, organizations have found the 'free', multi-sided platform very innovative and effective, turning traditional ways of conducting transactions on its head.

In a free business model, a substantial customer segment continuously benefits from a free offer, which is financed by another part of the model or customer segment. For example, RealEstate.com.au is a platform which lists properties for sale and rent for people to browse and apply for free of charge, instead charging the Real Estate Agencies to place their properties on display.

The most popular and captivating of these models, however, is the 'Freemium', which is where you get the basics for free and pay for the full version. Often, the free offer is offset by featuring paid advertising which is displayed to users as they use. It's quite effective when marketing Smartphone apps and software to the masses because there's no risk to the customer to give the product a try, therefore maximizing uptake, and then once they enjoy the features, they will continue to use it. This leads to either revenue from advertising or users paying for the full version. Now, while customers were quite content enjoying the free versions for years, they are starting to change their behavior.

Take Spotify, the popular music streaming service, as an example. It offers users free access to almost all music tracks, artists and podcasts on demand, right at their fingertips. It's free to use if you do not mind the occasional advert here and there between your playlists. Or even YouTube, which provides free access to endless amounts of video content for you to watch and get lost among, but be prepared to sit through adverts at the start and pop-up banners during.

That's all well and good, however with the saturation of adverts across all of these platforms moving in and really pushing the limits of customer experience and usability, the market trends are starting to shift again. People are beginning to see the value in ad-free subscriptions so they can gain all the benefits of the product without the interruptions and distractions of ads. So instead of just putting up with loud, jarring advertising in-between a customer's music streaming at the gym, they're now electing to pay the monthly subscription to gain the premium benefits.

This is an interesting shift for Marketing, as only years ago, the customer was being pleasantly surprised by receiving effectively a service for nothing. It caught marketers and organizations off guard as it was revolutionary to not charge customers for a product. Most digital products and some innovative physical ones allowed for this paradigm shift, and it was highly profitable, however after the years of this, the average person is becoming fed up with the extrinsic, non-monetary costs associated with their free use, and organizations are now seeing a demand for ad-free versions. This means that the typical modern customer who is quite accustomed to not paying, is now learning to pay again because the 'cost of free' is lowering their utility.

What a crazy, confusing and logically defying statement! Never-the-less, it's happening.
Truth be told, it's not like the cycle has exactly reversed to how things were before the free trend; all industries are seeing an advancement in the way customers interact and use these products. For example, with music, it's not like people are going back to paying $ 30 for a physical CD again. The overall market and the way a customer consumes music went from being free to now subscription-based, ad-free streaming. This seems to be the new and highly accepted trend now, which is being embroced all over the world.

There has also been a rise in ad-blocker software which is another threat to the Freemium model, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook or YouTube, as these 'cheating' customers are receiving all of the benefits for free without having to 'pay 'the trade-off of adverts.

It's an interesting trend, and it will be even more interesting to see where innovative thinkers will take organizational models to next.

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Marketing A Business – How To Market A Business On A Small Budget

Starting a business takes a huge amount of cash. The more you can save, the better. Here are some alternatives to help you create some buzz for your business on a budget.

Talk to Your community:

You do not have to have huge thoughts when it comes to marketing efforts. Think smaller.

Try sponsoring a little league team or a 7k charity walk. You can print book marks and leave them at your local library. Get your targeted customer and think about how and where they may spend their time.

Put A Group Together:

Collaborate with some people in a non-competitive way. The benefit with doing this is you can cross-promote. You can come together to bundle website links, coupons and share social media platforms. Cross-promoting put my business in position to expand to another consumer base.

Request References:

Do not be afraid to ask for consumer referrals. Most people say that they are willing to provide a referral if it is requested, but you may be surprised that so many business owners do not take the initiative to do it.

Offer coupons:

Although most start-ups are not in the position to give money away, this could be a way to get a little buzz going. In my opinion, it is better to make a 50% sale then make no sale. According to constant contact, research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon at 48%. In addition, coupons may create return visits. As an example, if you give a coupon to a consumer for a future discount, there is a huge chance that they will be back.

Do some article marketing:

Article marketing is one of many ways to promote and create content for free. It takes some time to create articles, but if you understand how to craft an article and provide valuable content online, you can generate hundreds of thousands of people to your website annually without spending a dime.

In addition, some benefits of doing article marketing is the credit you gain from your consumer base. When people develop a trust in what you have to offer they will be incredible loyalty to your business.

Create a You-tube channel:

It is free to create a you-tube channel. Similar to doing articles, you can create informative videos that can help build some traffic to your website and business. However, it is important that I tell you to avoid coming across as “salesperson”. The best approach to take when making articles or you-tube videos is to come from a place of help. Figure out the problems of your consumer base and inform them on how your business is the best solution to their problems.

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