Thursday, January 31, 2013

6 Tips to Learn Lessons More Quickly

You know how some students just seem to "get it" more quickly than others?

It's true that some of us have more (or less) intelligence than others.  That's a fact, and it's important to realize it.

So if you're not one of the "intelligent" people, are you doomed?

Not necessarily, but it's even more important that you take the right approach when you're learning.

Here are six (6) tips to improve your chances of learning something:

  1. Create a Mini Pre-Test
  2. Take Notes
  3. Ask Questions (During the lesson)
  4. Review Your Notes
  5. Try Doing (or Applying) New Ideas
  6. Ask Questions

Let's take a quick look at each one of these.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

4 Ways to Prompt Discussion in LinkedIn Groups

For me this has always been easy, but it seems like there are many people who use LinkedIn Groups from "afar" but are not sure what to write or say.

Here are a few ideas I use to prompt discussion within LinkedIn Groups:
  1. Ask Easy-to-Answer Questions
  2. Rally the Troops
  3. Agitate People
  4. Post LinkedIn Related Advice
If you do ANY of these things, you will prompt more discussion when you are using LinkedIn Groups, and people will take notice of who you are.

1. Ask Easy-to-Answer Questions

I've done this well, and I've done this not-so-well.  When you ask questions, it puts people in position to showcase their expertise, and most people like to be in those positions.

Thought provoking questions are great, and if the right people see them, you can have a larger discussion on your hands than you originally bargained to get.  (Maybe not! :)

However, most people do not really want to commit very much in writing, especially on a public forum, like LinkedIn Groups.

Therefore, if you ask questions that are easy to answer and do not take much time (or often thought), more people tend to answer those questions.

Bad Example: What do you think about social media?

Good Example: Which social media platform do you use most often?

In the first example, it might lead to some great answers, but having to take time to answer might be too daunting for most people to want to take time to answer.

In that second example, a person can decide to answer with a simple 1 or 2 word response, or that person can decide to explain why he or she uses the "preferred method" over the others.  It makes the respondent feel like it won't take 10 minutes to answer, unless he or she WANTS to take that time.

Once people answer, you can always ask more specific questions, based on the answer they provide.

2. Rally the Troops

If you hang around a LinkedIn Group long enough, you will find certain things resonate with most of the people inside that group.

Begin a post that shows your support of this point.  Almost certainly, there will be people "Liking" your post, if not leaving a comment as a sign of support.

Either way, people will get to know you, and you will have (likely) started a discussion.

3. Agitate People

Besides learning what resonates with people within a LinkedIn Group, hang around long enough and you will find the polarizing topics.

If you want to ignite discussion, post something that establishes your view on that polarizing issue.  This is a high percentage shot to get people to respond.  Most people love controversy, and they love explaining why they're right.

Example #1: Thank goodness Obama got elected.

Example #2: 4 More Years of Obama?  Yikes!

Either way, do you think some people might notice...and feel the need to comment on EITHER of these?  How about BOTH?!?

If you want discussion, be a leader and choose a side...even if it does not really represent how you feel, but it's better if it does.

4. Post LinkedIn Related Advice

Hey, if we're using a LinkedIn Group, we're on a LinkedIn platform, right?  Why wouldn't we want advice how to use it better?

Maybe people already know that advice, but it will be new for some people.  However, we're all looking to find ways to be better at what we do.  If we share LinkedIn tips with other people using LinkedIn, is there any way that does NOT get attention?  (Answer: Only if nobody sees it.)

This is the easiest grab of all.  People will respond if they see it, especially if you make an observation that really helped you, because it will probably help someone else, too.

How do you get people to talk more in LinkedIn Groups?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

5 Twitter Direct Message Turnoffs + 2 Winning Methods

Anyone who uses Twitter for a week will know exactly what I mean.

Do you get any Direct Messages (DMs) on Twitter?

I don't have to talk to you to know THAT answer...a BIG RESOUNDING "YES!"

Now for a better question...Do they do anything good for you?

When I first used Twitter, I got tricked.  I would receive these messages almost immediately after pressing the Follow button.  I remember thinking, "Wow!  That's really fast customer service, and how nice of them to  welcome me."

See Also: Marketing Tip: Twitter Taught Me a Customer Service Lesson

Now, I realize that almost all DMs on Twitter are not as great as I thought initially.  They CAN be really good, but most of the time, they BOMB.  Let's take a look at both bad and good ways to use Twitter DMs.

If Twitter Direct Messages fall into any of THESE categories, they BOMB in my book:
  1. Ask me to buy something...BEFORE I get to know you.
  2. Ask me to check your Facebook Page (Website, Blog, etc.)
  3. Give me "The Next Big Tip"
  4. Offer me free gifts
  5. Non-genuine Greeting
1. Ask me to buy something...BEFORE I get to know you.

Example: 2400+ crazy contextual backlinks to your site from 1100+ authority wiki site including real edu wikis for $15 *Link*

I know I might not get another deal like this ever again...or I can only hope.  Why would I buy ANYTHING from you?  I don't know you, and I can't say that I'm looking for excuses to spend my money with you, especially before I know anything about you.  Clicking the "Follow" button does NOT mean I "know" you.

2. Ask me to check your Facebook Page (Website, Blog, etc.)

Example: You're great! Connect with me on Facebook - *Facebook Link* …. I enjoy connecting with fun people.

Oh, boy.  I don't even know you, and you're giving me an assignment.  I can get to know more about a person I don't know...and have no incentive to spend time to get to know better.  Plus, I did not have enough to do today, anyway.

3. Give me "The Next Big Tip"

Example: Early TWITTER INVESTORS got FILTHY RICH! How YOU CAN GET RICH with the NEXT TWITTER Growth Story Now *Link*

Yeah, I know you have a sixth sense that I (a person you've NEVER met in any form before now) am someone special who deserves this "inside tip," but...

4. Offer me free gifts

Example: Welcome Chris and I really hope you enjoy my Tweets. As a thank you here are Four Free gifts *Link*

5. Non-genuine Greeting

Example: I genuinely appreciate u following me. My passion grows daily & am dedicated to serve!! Let' create the future together! Only Success

Wow!  I feel special after that--NOT!  It's a pleasant message, but is there enough value in that message for you to take your time opening and reading it?

If you don't know any better, it seems great...until you realize that you could make up a fake Twitter account, and this person will resend that SAME Direct Message to your "new" Twitter account.

Now...for the GOOD Ways to use Twitter Direct Messages:

  1. Continue an ongoing conversation
  2. Ask a Question about that person's profile, website, blog post, Tweet, etc.

1. Continue an ongoing conversation

Sometimes, we exchange Tweets with someone, and we get to enjoy their company.  Maybe we start to get more flippant, because we're more familiar with each other.  However, Tweets are PUBLIC.

Now, it is a GREAT time to send a Direct Message on Twitter.  This allows you to continue "Tweeting," but now only you and that other person see's it--not the entire world.

This is also a good idea if the next discussion phase involves partially private information that you don't want to share with the world...or if you sense the other person does not want to share.

A Twitter DM is a perfect way to continue a conversation "offline" while you're still "online."

2. Ask a Question about that person's profile, website, blog post, Tweet, etc.

Another great way to use Direct Messages on Twitter is initiate a more intimate relationship with one of your Targeted Followers.  You can send a DM asking a question about something in that person's profile.

Example #1: I see you're from New York.  Were you born there? How long have you lived there?

Compared to the other DMs that person gets, you'll suddenly look like a superstar.

Example #2: I checked out your writing for marketers site. Do you limit your writing to any particular industry or geographical area?

If this person does not answer THIS Direct Message, either they did not notice or will NEVER answer a DM.  You showed interest, and you made the questions easy enough to answer.  Better yet, you might even get an email to expand your conversation beyond the mere 140 characters the DMs allow you to write.

Twitter Direct Messages (DMs) can be a HUGE part of your marketing plan, but I suggest that you use it to improve intimacy...not simply treat as a mindless classified ad site.  I know that I will eventually ignore you if you treat me like a target...instead of a person.

How do you use Direct Messages on Twitter?  Do you have any success with them?

Monday, January 28, 2013

9 Ways I Would Market Wine and Get More Sales

What company doesn’t want to make more sales?  Wine makers certainly aren’t any different.  They want to make more sales, also.

I am not a drinker, but I like to purchase wine as gifts for several people I know.  So I “speak” as a member of one of the target markets.
Let's discuss how I would market wine to get more sales and improve my brand awareness.
People like wine, but there are so many wine choices to make.  Most people don’t know any better, and they will simply buy what they “know” for themselves or other people.

How do we get our wine in front of these buyers?  They want wine; we have wine.  Why not find ways to make them want to buy OUR wine, the wine we sell?

Here are nine (9) different ways that I would market wine so that people, stores, and companies will want to buy our wine.
  1. Create Wine Tasting Events
  2. Write a Blog
  3. Email List
  4. Join LinkedIn Groups
  5. Give Presentations
  6. Use Twitter - Strategically
  7. Write Press Releases
  8. Produce Videos
  9. Join Industry Groups

Of course, many people “list and run,” which is better than nothing, but it often leaves the reader feeling like he or she missed a great opportunity.  So let’s take a closer look at each of these marketing methods.

1. Create Wine Tasting Events

I can’t emphasize this enough.

If I have a product that I know other people will love but don’t know, I BRING IT TO THEM!

I would find an upper scale wine shop or a higher end grocery store that sells wine.  Of course, make sure that this location gets a lot of foot traffic.  Give them samples.  Of course, you have to be careful.  (I am not a lawyer, and I do not know anything about liability laws.)

The big thing is that if your wine is really good, all you have to do is have people TASTE it.  Your wine will prove its worth.  You just have to get them to taste your wine(s)!

One of the best ways to get people to BUY your wine is to get them to TRY it.  Then they'll get hooked!
You may even want to partner with an author who writes books about wine, or you can combine your wine tasting event with a local cheese maker, especially one who makes cheese that goes PERFECTLY with your wine.  You can even pair with a local musician.

Somehow, make it fun, and make sure they TASTE YOUR WINE!

2. Write a Blog

Don’t just write a blog to write one.  I would want people to know that (a) I am a wine expert, and (b) they can always find great, helpful tips about anything relating to wine.

Here are great ideas for topics to help you get started:
  • Ways to Preserve Wine
  • Ways to Serve Wine
  • How to Select Great Wines
  • How to Avoid Lousy Wines
  • Ways to Market Specific Wines
  • Wine Characteristics by Year
  • Wine Characteristics by Vineyard Region
  • Ways Weather Conditions affect Wine Taste 
Do you see how a wine drinker, someone who sells wine, or someone looking to buy wine as a gift might be starting to look at you as the wine expert?

Most of all, we keep finding “excuses” for people to keep returning to thing we make.  Not to mention, a lot of these blog posts can be found on Google or other search engines.

3. Email List

An email list should be a list of people who are customers or perfect prospects to become customers.  I would market my wine(s) and my wine expertise to these people.

Here are different examples of things I would send to my email list of customers (or soon-to-be :)
  • Special Deal Coupons or Wine Promotions
  • Blog Post Teasers…Just enough to get the started, and…Click here to continue
  • Review Wine Vineyards
  • Review Books about Wines (or Wine Tasting) – Perhaps even Joint Venture with them
  • Special Wine Gift Baskets
Here, we are constantly giving the people on our email list reasons to keep thinking of us.  We constantly keep in front of them, and if our emails provide them with enough value, they will look forward to opening OUR email, even when they skip over many other emails.

Enough people are passionate enough about wine that this might be easier for us wine makers than other types of companies.  However, even most non-wine making companies should be funneling people to their email list…and marketing to them, either by branding or going for the sale…AFTER you build their trust in you, not before!

4. Join LinkedIn Groups

Many people I know who use LinkedIn do not use it for anything other than an online resume and a contest to see how many LinkedIn Connections they can get.  Quite a few people don’t even realize that there are LinkedIn Groups.

Of those people who are aware of LinkedIn Groups, many people simply sign for a group to never return to it.

This is okay, as your LinkedIn Profile shows a list of LinkedIn Group of which you are a member, but that is sort of like having an ice cube tray that can make 12 ice cubes, but you’re only making 1 ice cube at a time.

You know why I REALLY like LinkedIn Groups?

I can get in front of people who DO NOT KNOW ME…yet!  LinkedIn Groups allows us to post links or begin discussions to establish our expertise.  It allows us to join discussions that are already in progress…in other words there is a mini-market of readers already looking…Now they’re looking at me.

The BEST feature is the ability to “Reply Privately.”  This lets me send a personalized message to someone who is otherwise a stranger.  I make sure that my message BENEFITS THEM.

Most people do not take the time to do this, or if they do, they usually make it all about what they want as the sender…paying little to no attention to the person they want to “impress.”

I would want to find people who seem like they have people who listen to them, and I try to find people who are likely to share my message when it deserves it.

If I show how much of a wine expert I am, do you think people might want to learn more from me?  Once key people in my wine industry begin to support me, other people tend to follow the “popular” people…or in this case, the popular wine guy.

One more thing…I would join LinkedIn Groups about wine, marketing, food, retail, and event planning.  I might avoid children’s groups, even many of the parents there might BEG you for some of your wine. :)

5. Give Presentations

Give talks wherever you can.  People see speakers as the experts, and so few people are willing to speak that it’s easy to become that “wine expert.”

If the venue allows it, give wine samples—SMALL samples.  We don’t want to send home anyone who is drunk.  (Again, I am not a lawyer.  Consult your lawyer to check liability you might have where you hold the event.)

Besides talking about wine, you can talk about business, retail, marketing, or other topics where people will listen.  If you are a resourceful or entertaining speaker, people will like you.

It’s amazing how often people buy from people they “know,” even if they only know you as a speaker without you knowing them (sitting in the audience quietly).  Your brand becomes a person, not a company.

It’s even better when you can throw in wine tips that will help them enjoy wine better.

6. Use Twitter – Strategically

I would use Twitter to brand myself and to market my “resourcefulness” about wines.

Using Twitter, I would market my blog posts, which should be okay, because my blog posts are helpful and interesting to people who buy, sell, or market wine.  Each post helps further cement me as the “wine expert.”

I would also look for people who discuss wine and try to develop a relationship with them.

7. Write Press Releases

Writing press releases is one of my most powerful marketing methods, but many people are not comfortable with writing them…or even considering what they do to be news.

Ideally, these press releases make the local paper, radio, or TV.  However, most of the time, we simply target submitting press releases online, which is still really good.

At the very least, the more my wine making company is in the news, the more active I appear to be, and the better chance that people will see me.  Hopefully, they will KEEP seeing me, and they will eventually become curious.
Often the difference between unknown wine and award winning wine is simply marketing exposure.
About what types of things can I write a press release about my wine making (or wine selling) business?

  • Wine Tasting Events
  • Presentations about Things in the Wine Industry
  • Blog Posts about Wine
  • Discoveries within our Wine Company or the Wine Industry
  • Celebrate Accomplishments of Customers or Wine Suppliers
  • Books about Wine
  • Acknowledge News about Wine Authors

I would do anything to connect my company with any sort of wine industry news.  Press releases make it easy to do that.

8. Produce Videos

I would create videos that showcase my wine expertise.  Videos add a certain dimension that brings real life to my product, not just simply words to describe it.

Plus, it gives me another chance to brand myself or my wine company.

Here are some different ways I would use videos to market my wine business:
Videos will help separate my wine selling and wine making business from my competition.  Plus, videos help connect me with my wine loving customers.

9. Join Industry Groups

Just like any other industry, people in the wine industries always want to know about the best wine products or things that contribute to making the best wine.

No matter how hard you work, you will not know everything about wine.  Nobody does.  That’s why it’s a great idea to mingle with people in the industry.

They also want to know about my great wine product, and I am going to make it easy for them to know about it.  I want to make these people raving lunatics about how great my wine is.

There are many different wine industry groups, but here are a few of them:
Since I really am not a drinker, I have not really evaluated any of these wine industry associations.  However, if I were marketing my wine(s), I would be checking out several of these and finding where I can have the greatest amount of influence with the least amount of pain.

Each of these represent potential speaking opportunities for me and my wine company.  Of course, each time I am scheduled to give a talk, I would write a press release to cover and promote it.

There are other ways to market your wine, but this should help you begin to market your wine.  Even if you only do a few of these things, you will be able to sell more wine.

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Biggest Mistake People Make When Presenting a Lesson

I see this mistake ALL of the time.  I see it in blog posts, in presentations, in press releases, , and in sales material.

In each of these cases, more often than not, the author, presenter, creator, etc. is trying to present an idea or a lesson.

The person's point may be excellent, but they miss something really important.

The Biggest Mistake: They never build a case about WHY we should care about what they're presenting.

We're just simply lecturing, forgetting that the listener, reader, watcher, etc. does not necessarily have the same background that we do.  We're telling people TO DO something, but we're not making it obvious about why it's worth their time to LEARN...much less why it's worth their time to DO.

Side Note: People make the same mistake with news releases and sales material, also.

Compare the Following Paragraphs (fictitious example)...

Paragraph #1: The Anytown Boys and Girls Club will be meeting in Towne Hall on Main Street on Thursday at 7:30 p.m to discuss upcoming events.  There is not any cost but registration is required.

Paragraph #2: Just like previous generations, boys and girls are curious people who want to learn but are not sure what they need or want to learn.  Without guidance, they could decide to learn things adults really do not want them to learn yet, adversely affecting our neighborhood streets.  On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Towne Hall on Main Street, the Anytown Boys and Girls Club will be meeting to discuss volunteer projects and events to help shape children's experiences.  There is not any cost but registration is required.

Now, if you weren't already part of the Anytown Boys and Girls Club, would you really continue reading about that event?  Probably not.

However, if you're a concerned person living in Anytown, might you have more "incentive" to attend this meeting now?  (A real pro would have made things look really dire, but this was simply meant to be an example.)

When you're presenting something in print or in person, have you made the reason clear why your reader should keep reading...or the listener keep paying attention to you?

If not, you could be wasting your time, and that would be a BIG mistake!

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE

Friday, January 25, 2013

5 Steps for Social Media Beginners to Take to Become an Expert

The more I am using social media, the more I can see that it's a really good idea to have your own content to share.

However, there are plenty of beginners to social media, online marketing, and just basic business who are interested in getting started but don't have anything to share.

What can these beginners do?

Idea for Beginners to Social Media: Accumulate Ideas and Share Them

Here is a more thorough explanation of how to do that.  (Otherwise, this becomes a lecture rather than a lesson.)

Method #1: Find Articles and Share Them: If you're serious about eventually becoming an expert, the easiest first step is to become a resource.  Find articles that you find interesting and share them.  Keep a list of these; you can share these more than one time if the topics are not time sensitive.

After a while, your list will become its own sort of library, and most people don't do this.  Many people find articles that other people post so they can share them, but most don't keep a running list to keep sharing.

See Also: Internet Marketing Tip: 3 Intelligent Ways to Recycle Blog Posts

Method #2: Find Other Experts to Promote: Eventually, you will start to notice many of the best articles come from a lot of the same sources.  There are some people who have individual moments of brilliance that they share, but most of the best people produce a lot of the best work.  (Think of the 80/20 Rule.)

Keep an eye on the people (or companies) that continue to provide work that gets YOUR attention.  Be the resource that shares their work.

Kristi Hines is an expert at this (Click her name for her website; click HERE for her Twitter posts).

Method #3: Attend Events & Report: I don't know anyone besides me who does this, but it's an easy grab.  Go to topic related events and provide reviews.  I suggest that you stick with positive reviews.

See Also: Being a Marketer Means Always Showing a Good Attitude

This positions you as someone who does things that other people are not willing to do.  Plus, it often gets the attention of the person (speaker or event organizer) that you are reviewing.  If they're smart, they will help promote THIS post...since it really promotes them...and their topic.

Example: Review: AMA-SWMI Event: Craig Daitch: A Different Way to Use Social Media

It also gives you a chance to include "expert level" material in your blog post, because you can relay notes that the speaker mentioned.

Truthfully, I don't even do these reviews often enough.  (Then again, today I have plenty of material.)

Method #4: Begin to Formulate Your Own Ideas:

After a while, you will start to get your own ideas.  Keep a list and track those ideas.  Maybe, write a blog post or share a podcast/video that explains your ideas.

Your going to get them if you're doing these other things.  You might as well position yourself as the new, upcoming expert.

Method #5: Perform Your Own Tests:

Now that you're getting ideas, test them.  Once you perform your own test and start to see results, aren't you  in position to report on (a) your testing method and (b) your results?

At this point, what is the difference between you and the other "experts?"

Congratulations!  Now, you've become the area's newest expert.  Maybe not to the already established experts, but you ARE the experts to those other people who began after you...or started before you but never made the effort to do these things.

BONUS METHOD: Give Presentations or Demonstrations: This takes some guts, and the first few times you give a presentation, you will probably get nervous.  You will wonder things like, "What do I have to offer these people?"

You will be right.  Some people will know what you're presenting.  However, there are always people who know less than you.  Focus on those people.

Once, you're known as a speaker on your topic, now you're an expert.  If you can find a way to present at a college AND a major company, then you'll really cement your status as an expert, and finding speaking engagements really isn't as hard as you might think.

Are you really serious about becoming an expert, or are you just wishing you were?

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Being a Marketer Means Always Showing a Good Attitude

I don't always follow my own advice, but there is something I like to tell people.

As much I hate people who are fake, I would much rather someone pretend to have a good attitude instead of really having a bad attitude.

I do not mean to suggest that you should not look at things with a critical eye.  I am as analytical as nearly anyone else I meet.  It's important for us to pay attention to things that are scams or just plainly not the right thing for us or the right time for it.

However, there is something that keeps many people from being truly good marketers that I can see.

They are blocked by the fact that something is not perfect.  Maybe the product has some flaws, or the service is not as supportive as we wish we could represent.

The problem is that NOTHING nor NOBODY is perfect.

We all are vulnerable to that probe for perfection, but what many of us MISS is what we represent HAS TO OFFER.

If we place our focus on that, we'll probably find people who want what we (or our product/service) has to offer so much that they are willing to overlook areas that could use improvement.  Sure, they'd like to see those improvements, and we should always strive to be better, make better, or serve better.

However, whatever is available today is the BEST that we can offer.  We might as well focus on what it offers--not what's missing.

A few quick examples...

Example #1: Coca-cola (or Pepsi...same thing to make my point)
THE BAD: Colas of any kind are nasty liquid chemical pools of effervescence that interrupt a person't digestion system, overwork the liver, are negatively abrasive on teeth, injure our sugar counts (if it's not diet), and otherwise introduce a slough a chemicals that are foreign to our bodies.  This stuff is TERRIBLE!

On the other hand...
THE GOOD: Colas help many people from getting headaches, and they keep many people from being overtly grumpy.  They are an inexpensive thing to serve at parties, as many people truly crave the taste of an ice, cold cola.  Plus, they provide a more responsible alternative to alcohol, as they each act as a stimulant (opposed to alcohol being a depressant), and people can legally drive on the road after drinking it.

Both of these are valid, but there is obviously a market for it.  If you represent this product, does it really make sense for you to dwell on those couple of negatives?

Example #2: Exercising
THE BAD:  Exercising takes time and energy that most of us just don't have.  It removes us from our more important responsibilities, like our kids or studies.  It is easy to over-exert ourselves, and we can do serious damage to our hearts, muscles, and skeletal systems.  Plus, it will increase our metabolism, which means it will cost more to keep feeding our faces.

THE GOOD: Exercising provides a releases the endorphin hormone, which not only is physically healthy, but it leaves us feeling refreshed.  It takes about 2-3 days for us to lose the muscle that we built, and exercise helps us stay on top of that loss.  It also helps develop muscles, which provide better support for our bones, helping keeping them from deteriorating or experiencing too much stress.  Once we improve our metabolism, we can eat more without worrying about gaining as much weight.  We tend to feel better about ourselves when we exercise and tend to be less distracted by negative health issues; so we can maintain our focus on things that improve our lives without those health distractions.

While I am not a doctor, nutrition expert, or anything else like that, most (if not all) of what I wrote--for both--is true.  However, which makes you feel better?  Which do you think will inspire more people to do great things?

Being a marketer means always looking for the good and finding convincing ways to present that good.

Are you really a marketer, or are you just a complainer who happens to do marketing work?

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4 Quick Steps for a Great Way to Present an Idea (During a Presentation or a Blog Post)

I got a really good idea to grab the attention of my accident.

Actually, I gave a presentation recently, and I mentioned that I would tell them how to do something...sort of sneaky.  It definitely met a concern that a few people in the room had.

Step #1: Setup the puzzle.

I promised them that I would tell them how to do something sneaky within a larger overall topic.

Step #2: Give them all of the puzzle pieces they need.

I proceeded to explain those concepts, and I provided a demonstration how to do several things within this larger topic.

However, I did NOT connect those individual things I showed them with how they could solve the puzzle.

Step #3: Give them the mini-quiz.  Present the puzzle.

Once I gave them everything they needed to do that "cool sneaky trick" I mentioned earlier, I reminded them of my promise.  I restated my promise, and I told them that I gave them everything they need to solve the puzzle.

I asked them, "I just showed you everything you need.  Can you tell me HOW to do it?"

They weren't expecting this.  I could see their brain wheels turning.

Of course, they weren't prepared, but they WERE paying attention now.

Step #4: I connected those dots.

Verbally, I reviewed those steps with them, and then I demonstrated those steps--to be sure they knew HOW to do it.  I became the magician who showed the secret to his trick, and now the people watching were prepared to go do that same trick.

The funny thing is that I found this by accident.  Truthfully, I got sidetracked and forgot to connect those dots.  Then I realized what I had done, and I saw the opportunity I had to make that impact.

My point is that maybe you plan this in advance, but even if you don't, you might be able to turn a mistake in your presentation by posing that question....

I've shown you everything you need, but can you figure HOW to do it?

Either way, it's a great way to present a lesson that leaves an impression, and it's not hard to do.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

3 Reasons I Will Become Your LinkedIn Connection

This is part of a series I am writing about my recent struggle with LinkedIn Connection requests.

I am one of the best people about knowing which people should connect with each other.

In real life, I have my own personal databases (including ones stuck inside my head), and the quality of my relationship with each person is not a big deal.  Nobody but me sees these lists, and I can decide who to connect...and who not to connect.

People who know me might know that I know somebody else, and they might ask me to connect them.  At this point, I know enough about each person to make that decision whether it makes sense for me to connect you.  (Note: Sometimes, it makes sense for you to be connected, but my relationship with certain people aren't strong enough for you to benefit from ME making that introduction for you.)

However, on LinkedIn, all of my LinkedIn Connections can see my 1st degree connections (the people who are MY LinkedIn Connections).  So when I get these requests to introduce someone on my "list," it's really embarrassing when I have to respond with something like, "Sorry!  I don't really 'know' that person.  He (she) just came across each other one time about a year ago.  We don't really 'know' each other."

LinkedIn is supposed to be a database for true connections, meaning that each of us has some sort of relationship with the other.  So I try to be protective about who I put on my list of LinkedIn Connections.

Here are three (3) reasons I will become your LinkedIn Connection:
  1. I've met you in real life.
  2. I've had a phone conversation with you.
  3. We've exchanged meaningful emails.
Let's explore each of these more closely.

1. I've met you in real life.

I might not know a lot about you (though I may know a lot), but at least I know something about you.  Maybe you sat next to me in a group, and we talked for a bit.

Truthfully, I am going to send you an email to learn a little more about you.

Okay, we don't know a lot about each other, but if you ask to be my LinkedIn Connection, I can live with this.  I would like to know more about you, but we've put in the initial steps to progress.  We have a connection, even if it's a loose one at this point.

2. I've had a phone conversation with you.

Maybe I've never met you, but you and I talked at length over a phone call.  If we had the type of conversation that would give me a good chance of remembering you a week from now, then we probably did more than exchange pleasantries that strangers riding an elevator might share.

I can live with you making a request to be my LinkedIn Connection.  I will probably accept it.  (I will probably try to get to know you better if I get the sense that it will be worthwhile socially, intellectually, or professionally.)

3. We've exchanged meaningful emails.

Similar to phone calls, I realize that talking on the phone to people in different countries is not as expensive as it used to be, but it isn't cheap, either.

If we've exchanged some emails that allow us to know more about each other than what the business cards or websites say then I am okay accepting your LinkedIn Connection request.

Again, I will try to get to know you better, but at least we have made some sort of connection.

Key Point: You actually know something about me, and I know something about you.

My decisions to accept or reject you as a LinkedIn Connection pretty much is defined by whether or not you want to make a true connection with me or are just simply trying to fill a quota.

There are way too many people who want to use other people rather than connect.

Key Takeaway: If you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, take time to connect with me in real life.

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE

Monday, January 21, 2013

2 Reasons I Will NOT Become Your LinkedIn Connection

This is part of a series I am writing about my recent struggle with LinkedIn Connection requests.

Many people want to become my LinkedIn Connection, which is a nice gesture, but I try to really protective of the quality of my connections on LinkedIn.  In real life, people ask me to introduce them to people I know, and a lot of these people accept this introduction, because they trust my ability to match people.

See Also: LinkedIn Connections - Is Quantity Important?

People want me to connect them via LinkedIn and the "real world."

Here are two (2) reasons that I will NOT (automatically) become your LinkedIn Connection:
  1. I don't know you.
  2. Aide Your "Notch in the Belt" Goal

Overall, I am interested in MEETING people, not just simply listing them.  Let's look at my reasons for not accepting your LinkedIn Connection invite a little more closely.

Reason #1: I don't know you.

This seems obvious, except that it happens to me nearly every day.  I get a request from someone on LinkedIn to connect, but I've never met them.

I meet a lot of people.  I'm not a celebrity, but I give a lot of talks, and I network actively.

Sometimes, they don't even know who I am.  Maybe they see that I am in the same LinkedIn Group, but I will comment more on that with my next reason not to accept your LinkedIn Connection request.

More often, someone will assume that because we both made a comment within the same LinkedIn Group Discussion that we have a "connection," but at least I've seen your name somewhere.

Even more baffling to me is when people like what I write but never interact with me.  They simply state that they like reading my blog posts, or they like the way I respond in LinkedIn.

What's the problem?

Who are you?  I've never met you or even seen your name before now?  No, despite your compliment (which is really nice, by the way) we have not made a "connection."

Reason #2: Aide Your "Notch in the Belt" Goal 

I keep reading this advice, and I even attended a couple of talks where I've seen speakers suggest something along the lines of....

"You must get more than 500 Connections on LinkedIn."

They say this, because your LinkedIn Profile shows the number of Connections you have.  If you have more than 500, it shows "500+ Connections," regardless of whether you have 4500 or just 501.

For some people, this is simply a status symbol.

It seems like some people use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to see how MANY people they can accumulate.  These people really are NOT interesting in getting to know me.


If you want a "notch in your belt," you will have to EARN it from me.  I don't want to just be a "number" that you add to your tally.

I always wonder--not HOW MANY connections you have, but--what the QUALITY of your connections really is.  That is what will have the greatest chance of being valuable to me.

Most of my LinkedIn Connections are pretty good quality.

I'm not as picky on my requirements to be a LinkedIn Connections as I was when I first started.

If I don't know you, but you REALLY want to connect with me (and not just list me as another "Connection"), then I try to give you a chance.

I offer you a chance to let me know more about you.  I realize that this is a tough question, because it is so vague.  So I will check something in your profile and ask you something specific about something I see there.

You simply answering my first question will not make you my "Connection," but it will give you a chance to begin a discussion that could lead to that.

Yes, this takes more time, but the value of our connection will mean so much more.  I guarantee that whatever I have to offer you far exceeds simply adding another "notch in your belt" on your LinkedIn Connection count.

My next post will address each when I will become your LinkedIn Connection.

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Recent Problem with LinkedIn Connection Requests

I really like LinkedIn, but I struggle with one aspect.  Recently, this has been happening to me more than usual.  So this might qualify as a rant, but I hope I am making a valid AND valuable point.  (If not, I guess I'll just feel better. :)

I use LinkedIn more often than most people, because I think it offers a lot of great ways to meet people professionally.  I've met some people on there who became friends, but that is NOT my objective when I use LinkedIn.

See Also: Using LinkedIn Productively - Not Wastefully
 Within LinkedIn, I visit and often contribute within different LinkedIn Groups.  Certainly, I use it to market my material, but I also try to contribute to the community by responding to things happening inside it.

See Also: Marketing Question: Is Posting in Multiple LinkedIn Groups SPAM?

However, I have been struggling with something lately within LinkedIn.  Because many people enjoy my writing, they read my blog posts or what I write within several of these LinkedIn Groups, and they appear to like what they see.

That's a good thing.  Where is my struggle with LinkedIn Connections?

I read something important in the LinkedIn Book How to REALLY Use LinkedIn by Jan Vermeiren & Bert Verdonck.  One of the points they mentioned really stuck with me.

The 90/9/1 Rule:  In a nutshell, this is similar to the 80/20 Rule, but here is the (roughly approximate) breakdown of the people using LinkedIn Groups.

1% - Initiators: They begin discussions, either with their material or sharing
9% - Responders: They won't begin discussions, but they contribute by making comments
90% - Readers: They visit groups and read without leaving any evidence they were there

What is my recent struggle with LinkedIn Connections?

I've been getting a lot of people who only read what I write and want to be my LinkedIn Connection.

This is very nice, and I want people to appreciate what I write, but there is something missing...a CONNECTION!  I've never SEEN you (outside of maybe a comment - often not even that much).

I receive LinkedIn requests that might read something like this,

"I'm in the same LinkedIn Group as you, and I like what you write.  I would like you to join my LinkedIn Connections."

The problem is that I never met you.  Often, you've read MY material, but I've never seen YOU in my life.

Some people feel that because we exchanged a comment or two, we now should be LinkedIn Connections.  I admit that there are sometimes where there is a bit of a connection there, but most of the time, it is simply the equivalent to being in a large room with each of us saying something about the topic from different parts of the room.

So what are my "rules" to agreeing or not agreeing to becoming a LinkedIn Connection?

My next posts will address each when I will and when I will not automatically become your LinkedIn Connection.

  • 2 Reasons I Will NOT Become Your LinkedIn Connection
  • 3 Reasons I Will Become Your LinkedIn Connection
There seems to be a big push, encouraging people to reach over 500 LinkedIn Connections so that their LinkedIn Profile reads "500+ Connections."  In an earlier post, I responded with my view to that push.

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Another Use for Blog Posts - A Record of Problem Solving

"Can you give me an example of when you solved a problem?"

I don't know about you, but I HATE that question.  I solve problems all of the time, but one I solve them, I'm no longer thinking about them.

To exaggerate my point, I became potty trained a long time ago, but I do not remember the "problem solving" process.  In fact, since that's a given (for most healthy adults), it does not occur to us to consider that as an example of solving a problem.

However, people still will ask some variation of this question.  (i.e. "Tell me about a time you solved a problem.  Describe the problem, and explain what you did to solve it.")


I've given many talks and written several posts about different reasons it is a good idea for anyone to do blog writing, but I thought of another one that I never considered.

Blogs can produce and provide a record of Problem Solving!

Certainly, there are plenty of other types of blog posts besides ones that solve problems, but I notice that the majority of my blog posts that seem to get the most "recognition," either things easier for people or provide insight into questions they have...and often don't realize.

Example #1: Over 7 Things in Your LinkedIn Profile That I'm Checking

Example #2: Easy Way to Create an InfoGraphic (Using MS PowerPoint 2007)

Example #3: 4 Ways I'd Market a Local Store Online to Get Found in Google

Example #4: Over 5 Reasons This Lazy Person Is Not Reading Your Blog

In order to write blog posts like these, I needed to make realizations based on my own experiences.  I identified that many people would like to know or get more insight into questions that these answer.

When you write your own blog posts like these, based on observations that you make during your own experiences, you are solving a problem...for yourself and probably many other people.

These blog posts become your proof that you solve problems.  As you reread these blog posts that you wrote, more than likely you will begin to relive a lot of those realizations....and how you came to them.

Once you've written your blog posts that solve problems, you can use those to help provide proof that you really do solve problems.  You explain it in all of those blog posts.

That's how it works for me, anyway!  How about you?

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

6 Great Headline Ideas That Make People Read Your Book, Article, Blog Post, or Press Release

Ever spend a ton of time writing something...the PERFECT blog post or a great article...and NOBODY READS it?

Don't you HATE that?

What keeps people from reading things you write?  (Don't worry - It's happened to me, too!)

Yes, it could be a marketing problem, but most of the time, your title just isn't very good.  It's amazing how much time writers will spend on what they are writing, but too often these same hard-working writers just throw together a title, as if people will read the words they wrote in the body of the article, book, press release, or blog post BEFORE they read the TITLE.

If the title is boring, do YOU read it?

If you're busy (and who isn't?), are you reading every article you see?  Probably not!  You're reading the stories where the TITLE catches your eye.

Which titles catch people eyes?  Here are five (5) different types of headlines that will bring more readers to see what you wrote:
  1. Make a Ridiculous Connection or Comparison
  2. State Something Seemingly Scandalous or Contradictory
  3. Create Lists
  4. Make People Embrace Their Laziness
  5. Demonstrate Desirability
  6. Give the Inside Scoop
Let's take a closer look at each of these...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

4 Ways to be an Leader in Your Field

It is no secret that most people want to buy from the people and companies who are seen as leaders in their field.

We might pay someone we know who is a little less than an expert to help him or her, but we really prefer to hire someone who is an expert to do the job.  If you're the leader, you're often seen as the expert.

How can we become THAT leader?
  1. Find Someone to Mentor
  2. Write Articles
  3. Give Talks or Demonstrations
  4. Promote Other People

Let's look at each one more closely.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Business Tip: 1 More Reason We Need a Team

We can't do everything ourselves.

If you're a small business owner, you probably can relate to this.  (Even if you're not, this topic is pretty universal.)

Recently, I was on my way to an event.  Truthfully, this would have been a great networking opportunity.  The event was about an hour from where I live.

I started driving to that event, and about 4 miles into it, I suddenly realized something.


Now, this event is well attended, and I knew exactly what I wanted to get from that event.  Plus, it is run by someone who does a great job running it.  She always has great ideas.

I REALLY wanted to go there!

...but I realized I couldn't. *sad face*

It occurred to me that I need someone who can do some work while I attend events or attend some of these events for me...AND represent me well.

I started thinking, "How many other things do I wish I could do but can't...just because I cannot be in two places at once?"

Similarly, when we have a few things that are JUST as urgent AND important, we can only work on ONE at a time, even when BOTH need our immediate attention.

How do we handle those situations?

When we only have ourselves, we have to choose, and we will choose the wrong one--EVERY TIME.  If we chose the other one, IT would be wrong, too, because both things needed our attention.

We need a team to help us with the AMOUNT of work, but we also need a team to help us with doing urgent or important things simultaneously.

We need to build a team.

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Make the Same Mistake I Made During My Presentation

I made a HUGE mistake during a marketing presentation I gave recently.

Actually, this particular event was a Q&A session.  I lead these events, because I really enjoy helping people.  More importantly, I completely respect the importance of helping people learn, and I am passionate about doing what I can to try and make things as easy as possible for people to understand.  (I don't always reach my goal, but...)

(If you prefer to LISTEN to this post instead of read it...)

During this specific portion of the event, we took a volunteer who is a business owner and tried to get the crowd to collaborate to help this person form ideas to market his or her service.

There were a lot of great ideas being exchanged.  A lot of people were participating.

There was one person, however, who I KNEW had the background to help this person.  This individual expressed concern about helping a competitor.  This person does a little bit of work doing the same thing.

While I knew that this concerned individual is at a much higher level than the business owner we are trying to help.  This business owner was not any threat to this more experienced individual.  Not by a long shot.

I also knew that individual could contribute a lot that could help many other people attending the event, even people who had different businesses, altogether.

Here is where I made my mistake.

It is MY passion to help people learn.  I want to help people learn whatever I have the ability to share.  I am passionate about this, and I get frustrated when people struggle for the wrong reasons.  I really like to do my part to remove these barriers that keep people from learning.

What's wrong with that?


Key Question: What did I do that was so wrong?

I pushed this more experienced individual to help when he or she clearly did not want to help this struggling business owner.

As much as I would like this struggling business owner to learn and be exposed to helpful ideas, it is NOT this more experienced person's OBLIGATION to share ideas.

Helping and sharing ideas is MY passion--not the passion of this more experienced individual.

Eventually, this person provided ideas--some really great ideas!  At the time, I thought I did the right thing, but after this person brought his or her concern to my attention, I realized that I was wrong.

I pushed MY views on someone who came to learn--not teach.  I forced this person to teach.

When I promoted the event and encouraged people to attend it, I did not advertise that they had to help.  They only had to come to be part of the exchange to benefit from it.

The cost of this particular event was free for everyone who attended this--EXCEPT this more experienced individual.

I penalized this person for knowing something, and essentially I made it a requirement--on a social level--for this person to help.

I vilified this person simply for knowing more than the other person.  This more experienced person should not have felt obligated to share.  Yet, I completely obligated this person.

I had really good intentions, but I was absolutely wrong.

(NOTE: This is NOT making any statement about whether this more experienced person should offer help.  This is about whether I, as the speaker, should REQUIRE it.)

If you're a presenter, have you ever done this?  Before you read this post, did it ever occur to you that you were being unfair?

If you're a presenter, you might be making this same mistake...hopefully not, but until someone brought it to my attention, I made the mistake...and I've made this same mistake often.

I look forward to making new mistakes during my next presentations.

Like this post?  Other recent posts are
To visit The Ultimate Analyst company website click HERE.