November 25, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – It’s All Marketing



Recently I had a conversation with another business professional, and we agreed that we are marketing from the time that we wake up until we go to sleep. We are marketing to everyone that we meet or to others with whom we never even have a conversation. Sounds like we were focused on our business and our marketing messages, doesn’t it?

We all engage with others whose lives we want to impact in some way. In fact most of the people with whom we come in contact each and every day are those whose lives we want to influence in some manner. From our spouse, to vendors, clients, prospects, family, friends, even total strangers, we want to engage in a pleasant, mutually rewarding process with everyone. Even our pets, neighbors, or drivers on the road, everyone is someone with whom we want a comfortable, rewarding relationship, if only for a moment or for a lifetime.

Isn’t our behavior towards these relationships just marketing, making other people approve of us or what we say or what we do? Is there anything wrong with trying to influence others in a positive manner? Sure we want others that we meet to behave in a manner that is positive to us, but how about we try to do so in a manner that results in mutually positive results? You have to agree that it is basically marketing, but it sounds like Appreciation Marketing to me.

From the time that your feet hit the floor in the morning until you doze off at night, you are marketing, trying to influence others to listen to what you have to offer and hopefully believe that they need what you are offering. Marketing is every word out of your mouth, every action that you take, and every movement that others see, hear, or feel. You are attempting to influence everyone with everything that you say, all that you do, or whatever feelings or emotions you convey to others. These influences may be positive, or they may be negative.

If you drive down the street with your business name all over your car and you engage in road rage in some manner, that is negative marketing. If you hold a door for someone to pass through it, that is positive marketing. If you thank someone for what they do for you or someone else, you are practicing Appreciation Marketing, positive marketing at its best. If you never thank your clients for doing business with you, you are practicing selfish marketing, negative marketing at its worse. Which do you believe will gain you the approval, and cooperation, of those with whom you come into contact each day?

Do you think that it is better to practice Appreciation Marketing, letting everyone know how much you appreciate whatever they do, either for you or for others? Or do you believe that we should just plod through life, taking advantage of everyone, looking only for what we can gain by using those whom we meet or with whom we do business, running over everyone? Whatever your former manner of living, and doing business, why don’t you try Appreciation Marketing? See what it can do for you in everything that you do during the day; after all, everything that you do is marketing. You might as well make it positive.

Whether you agree or disagree, leave me your comments about your marketing and whether you believe that it is everything that you do. You can also call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Since Appreciation Marketing is my passion, and what I teach to others, I look forward to your comments and a discussion about this subject. Who knows, we probably will form a networking relationship that will benefit both of us.

November 18, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Why Did You Attend?



When I attend a networking meeting I am looking for different results depending on the different meetings. Any gathering of any sort is a networking meeting, even if you are going to be with just one person. Of course the more attendees present, the better the chance of meeting someone whom you have not met before or someone with whom you may be able to form a business relationship.

When attending any networking meeting, I anticipate learning something that I did not previously know or meeting someone new to me. There is something refreshing about learning that never ceases to amaze me and always rekindles my inner fire. Sometimes the what, or who, that is new may not be discovered at the meeting itself but may be found before, or after, the event.

Depending on the meeting and its organizers, your intent in attending may vary. Is it a business event, an entertainment function, a small gathering of friends, a celebration of some sort such as an anniversary or birth, an educational seminar, or even a combination of reasons? Whatever the function, you will be in the presence of people whom you may know well, or not at all. Take advantage of the meeting and spend time with the people that you never met before, or the people that you don’t know well.

Of course, you can spend time with friends, but after you acknowledge them, get to know someone with whom you are not acquainted or do not know as well. You never know what you may learn, or the new relationship that you can make. This does not mean that you should only make acquaintances based on who can enhance your life. Try getting to know someone whose life that you can improve, with whom you can share some of your knowledge. That way both of you can find the event was beneficial or rewarding.

At an event there is always the person who may not be comfortable being in attendance. It is perhaps the person who has never before attended a networking meeting; it may be the spouse who is present at their partner’s corporate function and feels left out of the small talk. Look for the person who is alone, even in a crowd or conversation. Look for the person who is “hugging the wall”, standing by themselves, or doesn’t engage in a conversation, even if they are physically included in the group that is chatting. Seek out these people and see if you have something in common, learn from them, and share with them what you have to offer. Treat them like you would want to be treated, or treat them even better.

Of course the most important thing that you can do in relation to any gathering is to follow up with everyone that you met. Words of thanks to them for their knowledge, wisdom, laughs, comments, attendance, or whatever are always appreciated. Fulfillment of your promises to them for information or clarification should be shared, just as you promised that you would do. Your follow up is essential to the success of the meeting, as well as to your reputation.

I still believe that every meeting, no matter the number of participants, is an opportunity that should not be missed. Learn, share, follow up, and enhance your life. You will be the better for it. Leave me your comments about this phase of Appreciation Marketing, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. I even consider your reading this blog posting as a gathering of the sort that will improve both our lives. Thank you for your time, and remember to give, receive, and repeat to others to make everyone’s life better.

November 11, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Thank You



This blog posting was supposed to be a “Thank You” to all those who serve this country and allow those of us who live here to be safe, well, and successful. However, I realized that the subject of “Thank You” should be expanded to everyone who does something to help everyone else. You cannot be stingy, or frugal, with your thanks.

I honor my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who serve in the military. However I also honor those who serve their local neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states as the first responders, emergency personnel, doctors, nurses, police, and others who pitch in and help when help is needed. This may be in time of armed conflict, war, national disaster, local emergency, crime, accident, or otherwise. There are times when we just need someone and these people are there, helping and holding us up when we cannot do so.

Sometimes we don’t even know these people’s names. Sometimes we don’t even know that they were there. They are the uniformed responders, the neighbor down the street, and the stranger who just happens by where they are needed. Sometimes they are the person across the country or around the world; other times they may be the person where we are but who doesn’t speak the same language as we do. We may not even remember that they were there when we needed them, but we wouldn’t be who we are, or as well off afterwards, if it were not for their efforts.

Do you think that someone who had their dog returned to them after Katrina knew or remembers the person who saved their pet? Do you believe that the soldier who wakes up in a military hospital in Germany knows who the pilots were whose helicopter flew him to safety after a road side bombing or the ones who flew him to Germany? Does everyone involved know the firefighters who respond to building fires or the emergency technicians who respond to 911 calls? Do we know those who just listen when we are racked by sadness and loss?

It would be better if we always knew those who help us in little ways, or in larger ways which save our lives. We cannot always have this information, and we cannot always have the opportunity to thank these people personally for their efforts, even those that may involve the risk, or loss, of their own lives. There isn’t a pause that we can take when everybody shares their questions and answers as to who helped whom, when, and where. Unfortunately, that just is not possible. Remember that it doesn’t have to be possible for us to take direct action.

However we can do something. We can take the time, and not just on days like Veterans’ Day, to thank other people for what they do for us and what they do for others. I don’t mean just military veterans. I mean the firefighters, police, doctors, nurses, emergency room personnel, first responders, neighbors, friends, strangers, and people just like ourselves who reach out when someone else needs a hand, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. These are those people who are there when someone, even a stranger, needs them. They may do their job, or they may go beyond their normal duties to take a stand, help someone else, and do something for someone who needs them, often for nothing in return.

Every day, look for the people to whom you can say “Thank You”. If someone says it to you, thank them, and pass it on to others. What do you think of extending this to every day of the year? Please leave me your comments, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. I guarantee your efforts will be returned to you with benefits, and that is good karma, maybe even Appreciation Marketing. Give, receive, and repeat to others.

November 4, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Networking Relationships



In the past we have discussed networking as a method of marketing our businesses to others who we may not know or even those who are just casual acquaintances. Recently, I chatted with someone who looked upon networking as simply a means of building their client list and nothing more. This is a very shallow outlook to which you should never fall victim.

Last week we discussed our peers who do not want us to succeed in our lives past the levels that they themselves have reached. They don’t encourage us to try new methods of moving our business past the levels that it has attained, nor do they look beyond the now, or present, in their evolution of their businesses or lives. They have always seen themselves as being at their current level of success or don’t have the courage to move themselves into the realm of hard work, self improvement, or taking advantage of the examples of others.

Networking should be about forming relationships with other people, people with whom we share common objectives, attitudes, and thoughts. Networking may also be where we meet others from whom we may learn and receive advice about our lives and businesses. Networking is about learning; learning may involve receiving ideas about our business operations, our marketing methods, our personal lives, or any of many other topics. Everyone that we meet may teach us something, good or bad, about life.

When we begin networking and marketing ourselves and our businesses to others we meet people of all levels of success, people who have different agendas and opinions, and people with varying personalities or mentalities. You must decide who you are, what your intent in networking is, and with whom you want to network. Just because you meet someone at a networking event does not mean that they have your best interest in mind or that they are someone with whom you want to form a relationship. Different networking partners may result in different networking relationships.

Everyone that you meet will not become a client; everyone that you meet may not have something that you need or want. Everyone that you meet may not be someone from whom you should take advice; everyone that you meet may not be someone whom you should trust. You should form relationships with all types of people; clients, prospects, family, friends, and casual relations may be networking partners. Your networking partners should be those whom you know, like, and trust. These are the people who will become clients, offer referrals, or provide advice to which you should listen. They should have your best interests at heart and not be jealous of your success; they are your partners in success.

Does this network remain the same over time? It must grow, expand, contract, or change as time passes and as new partners enter it or others leave for various reasons. You should be proud of these relationships, and your partners should be proud of the relationship with you. It should be mutually beneficial in some way, shape, or means, not just a way for you to expand your client list. Your networking partners will offer advice before you request it; you may reject their advice, but don’t fault them for offering it.

What does your network look like; is it growing, and does it contain the right mix of partners? Are your partners proud to have you in their network? Leave me your comments about your network, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Networks are work to maintain, but they should be fun and rewarding. They should be living, breathing groups of people who give, receive, and repeat whatever that benefits their partners.