May 26, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Business Cards

Recently I heard someone proclaim that business cards were a thing of the past. This person felt that business cards were obsolete due to the emphasis on exchanging electronic data. I did not agree with him for various reasons, the least of which is that not everyone has the latest smartphone with the latest sharing apps.

Everyone in business, engaged in a career change, or just networking in general should have business cards. They should be carried everywhere you go, since you never can anticipate where someone may need your information. They allow you to exchange contact information easily, even when you don’t have time to do it manually. You should always have your business cards; never run out of them, and have a backup supply.

Business cards may range from the simple to the elaborate. You should err on the side of simple, but be complete. You should have your name, phone number, email address, and mailing address on your cards. In addition, you should include your business name, address, phone number, and website address if appropriate. Your cellphone number should also be included if that is your primary or secondary contact means.

You need to indicate your mailing address so others may want to send you information that cannot be emailed. If necessary, obtain a mail box either with the post office or with a service. A private mailing service, unlike the post office, will accept packages and envelopes sent by FedEx or UPS, as well as anything that is mailed. This is much better than having a package left at your home’s front door which may not be secure.

Should you have your picture on your business card? Often, businesses such as realtors will include their photo so that people will feel more comfortable with them. If you include your photo, make sure that it is recent. You don’t want anyone to ask you why you have your daughter’s photo on your card.

Your name, and other information, should be printed in an easily read font, in a normally large size, at least a 10 font. Do not use fonts that are difficult to read such as script, calligraphy, or juvenile. This is a business card, a contact card that reflects your professionalism. It is not a brochure or flyer that implies cuteness. If that is what you indicate, people will judge you as unprofessional or immature.

Use dark color on a light background, or the reverse; never use a dark font on a dark background or a light font on light. These are just too difficult to read. Colors are great, but do not overdo them or mix too many different colors on your card. The reverse side is perfectly good for information, including a message you may want to provide. Do not include information that will become out of date quickly. Remember to be professional.

What about your business cards; do you believe that cards are obsolete? You must make it easy for people to do business with you by being able to know who you are. Please leave me your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691. Keep them close and always have a backup supply in your car, briefcase or otherwise. You never know when someone special may want your information.

May 19, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Learn Communications Techniques from Animals

Do you have a dog or cat? If so, you interface with them each and every day. Maybe you have trained your companion to obey your commands; maybe your buddy just ignores what you say (especially if you dealing with a cat). However, have you ever observed how they communicate, including with you?

Animals have mastered the “art of the pause” in their communication. If you have ever watched great speakers, whether they are giving a speech or engaging in conversation one-on-one, you will note the use of pauses in the flow of words. Often the pause is used to allow someone to catch their breath. However, it can place emphasis on what was just said and allow the listener think about what was stated.

Since animals do not speak words, they use a pause for emphasis, allowing the listener to think about the situation for a second. A cat will growl and pause, allowing another cat to ponder whether it is worth pushing the moment. A dog may bark and then pause to allow the situation to develop if it must. It allows the other animal, or us, to mentally debate the response possible.

Another communications technique that animals use is the tilt of the head, sometimes coupled with the blink of the eyes. We have all seen that soulful look, the pleading with the eyes. This is usually coupled with a need for something such as breakfast or some other meal. At times it just means: “I need a pet from you or a lap in which to sit”. This may be non-verbal, but these techniques are very powerful and compelling.

Can you use either or both of these techniques in your daily communication? Try inserting pauses into your communications. It doesn’t matter if you are engaged in a chat over coffee or in a long presentation; a pause will allow you to emphasize a point. It also allows someone to ponder an idea, or perhaps you can catch your breath. The use of a “pregnant pause” can indicate an important point that requires thought.

Another emphasis of a certain point may be indicated by the tilt of your head. Keep eye contact, just like your dog or cat, tilt your head, and see if you get approval regarding the point that you just make in your discussion. Include a pause, and you may gain the client agreement that you want. Of course, it will not work every time, but try it and see.

In addition, there are other communications techniques that animals use. The soft meow, the loud howl, the faint growl, and the deep woof can all be quite effective. From subtle words to a loud cry for help, we can emulate these techniques if we learn how they may help us communicate with others. Add in the use of eyes, ears, the head tilt, and the wag of a tail, and you can see how animals communicate their needs, wants, feelings, and other ideas.

Remember that dogs will do anything to please us as long as we care for them. Cats were once worshiped by ancients as gods, and they have not forgotten that fact. These facts influence their feelings and their communications. We can learn from them, and we can use what they use on us to gain agreement from others.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691. Maybe we can discuss communications techniques and practice what our animals teach us. Who knows, we may even teach each other something new. If nothing else, perhaps we could become networking partners.

May 12, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Words and Actions

In this posting we are deviating somewhat from strictly business marketing, to emphasizing that marketing applies to both our business and personal lives. Many of the blog topics we have covered apply to both business and personal actions. Being aware that our behavior may cross over from one to another makes us better at both.

Often, we hear others say that they wish that they had said something different when they were in conversation with someone else. Perhaps it was someone who met with an untimely accident or demise. Possibly they didn’t speak in the clearest or most correct terms when speaking with a client. Maybe we omitted telling someone something that would have changed their life’s direction.

Marketing is letting others know who we are, what we would like them to know about us, and what we have that may interest them. If you are in a career transition, you are marketing yourself. If our business has a product or service, we are marketing that product or service. If you wish to engage in a personal relationship with someone, you are marketing yourself and that intent.

How do you know what to say and when to say it? You must discover what the other person or business needs before you attempt to market whatever you have to them. If they don’t need it, you should never be able to market it to them successfully. If you try even if they don’t need what you have, or if you somehow get them to purchase from you, the relationship will not proceed successfully. You must be aware of the conditions.

Let’s say that the situation is open to success in your marketing. Pick your words carefully, but be complete in your marketing. Let someone know what you have to offer, the price, any other conditions, and all the other details of the purchase and delivery process. Do not leave the prospect with any open questions. In short, make sure that you tell them everything that they need to make a buying decision.

In any relationship, one party is the prospect and the other is the person marketing to them. That phraseology may sound direct and blunt, but that is what it is. Remember that marketing is what you say, what you do, and when it is said or done. It is all marketing, every move you make, and every word that you speak. Make everything count, but make everything sincere.

Keep everything sincere, honest, and simple. Don’t use “smoke and mirrors” to throw the prospect off balance. Our networking partners deserve the best that we have to offer. The best includes our ethics and honesty, and it includes our expertise in making our partners and prospects comfortable because we have their best interests at heart. Marketing should be about service to others and making their lives better.

We are all known by our networking partners for what we say and do. Our reputations are based on our actions that others see, hear about, and experience. Don’t be the person that your partners avoid; be someone who others want to know, be seen with, and refer business to. Be the person that they know, like, and trust.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691. Let’s discuss our marketing tactics and help each other grow our businesses. Then we can be successful and prosper with our networking partners. That is Appreciation Marketing at its best.

May 5, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – It’s the Little Things

Previously, we have discussed that everything that we do in our lives is marketing. From the time you wake up in the morning until the moment you go the bed at night, you are marketing. You are marketing either your business or yourself, or both, in everything that you do, every day, all the day long.

Marketing includes your business elevator speech, other presentations, brochures, website, and advertisements. In addition, there are other “little things” which are also included in your marketing. These are the things that many people do not consider important but make up the sum of your business for those prospects and clients that you meet and interface with each and every day. These are the “little things”.

One of the first things you hand to others is your business card. Is it simple or confusing? Is it legible and easy to read? Dose it help those to whom you give it, or does it confuse them? It should contain your name, your business’s name, your contact information including your email address, phone number, website address, and your mailing address. Make it professional and not so odd or weird that no one wants it.

Your card does not have to include your home address. If you are in career transition, you should get a mailing address at a mail box or some other address where people can send you information that may not be able to be emailed. Make sure that your email is active and check it frequently. Make sure that your phone, especially your cell, has a functioning voicemail with a professional greeting. Make sure your voicemail is never full, check it frequently, and follow up on your messages, no matter who is calling you.

Use both sides of your business card if you wish, but make sure that the type font that you use is large enough to be read without a magnifying glass. A small font is not acceptable, and fancy fonts that are illegible just make it difficult for the person who may be trying to contact you. Keep it simple and clear, not fancy. Make it easy if for your contacts, and they will be inclined to help you. People don’t want to work with others who are too complicated. Make it easy for people to do business with you.

When you attend networking meetings, wear a name tag. The event may provide stick on tags to which you add your name, but get your own name tag. For a small price you can print your own or have one made. Keep it simple; your name and business name are all you need, and your business card has the remainder of your contact information. Your name tag should be legible from several steps distance and not require the person who you meet to lean into you in order to read your name. Your name tag should provoke questions such as: “So, what does your business do?”

When you are given the opportunity to introduce yourself at a networking meeting, if you are sitting, stand up and project your introduction to the room. Do not whisper, but take the same attitude that you would if you were giving a presentation, for that is what you are doing. Be clear, concise, and complete, and do not ramble on excessively. 30 seconds is all you need to bait the hook so that they will ask for more information.

Remember that marketing is everything that you do. It is the bigger things like advertising, but it also is the little things such as business cards, name tags, and replying to emails. Leave me your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691. Maybe we can share some ideas that might help us both. That’s Appreciation Marketing at its best. Let’s make it work for everyone.