July 28, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Intelligence

This past week, I had the pleasure of chatting with several people who brightened my day, heightened my levels of appreciation for others, and generally made me feel better about life. One of the traits that I admire greatly is intelligence. Maybe it is because I have a difficult time tolerating the traits stupid or dumb. Intelligence is not rated high enough, and it should be sought after by all of us, in others and in ourselves.

I find intelligent people to be wonderfully rewarding challenges to have in our lives. They make us strive to better ourselves, give us goals to accomplish, and make us question our own values and beliefs. We may not agree with the viewpoints of others, but their intelligent arguments and knowledge will make us better educated in our own beliefs. To be able to counter their opinions, we must be more knowledgeable in our own.

Intelligent people are sometimes haughty and standoffish. When an intelligent person is well grounded, can laugh with you about their own human failings, share amusing stories, or understand your quirks, they are so much more appealing with whom to spend time. You may learn something new about them, or you might learn something new about yourself, but the time will be well spent.

Of course, we should spend time with people more intelligent than ourselves. That way, we will be able to learn what may make us better in life and in business. Does the meeting and conversation need to be punctuated by our note taking and recording of their every word? I believe that we often absorb better if we just listen and think. The conversation should dwell on viewpoints, and listening can be a learning tool also.

Having a conversation with someone can provide you with a world of knowledge. If the person with whom you are speaking represents some product or service that you need, you can learn about what they offer. If they need what you provide, you may learn what you can do for them. If you never listen, you will never learn. Learning from intelligent people is an opportunity to better ourselves in many ways.

Learning from others can provide you with the methods to succeed in life and business. It also can provide you with the knowledge of what not to do to succeed. We should therefore listen to intelligent people with whom we may not agree so that we prevent ourselves from repeating their mistakes and errors. Intelligence is not a trait that is only found in successful people, and it must be nurtured and applied correctly.

If we ourselves are intelligent, we have an obligation to share our knowledge and experience with others. Mentoring others is our duty for being given the intelligence that we possess. That may be one of the most important parts of the “give, receive, repeat” philosophy. Mentoring, or giving to, others is intelligent in and of itself. It is also very rewarding mentally, emotionally, and physically.

How is your day filled with intelligence? Is your intelligence showing to others in a good way, or do you hide it under a cloak? Do you enjoy meeting other people with great intelligence? Your comments here, or your emails at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or your calls at 360-314-8691 are welcome as always.

If we share our experiences with other intelligent people and discuss those intelligent people whom we know with others, that is a great referral in itself. And you know how rewarding referrals are, don’t you?

July 21, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Empathy

Empathy is defined by the Webster dictionary as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another….”. In other words, empathy is when you understand another person whom you know and why they do what they do.

How does empathy apply in your everyday business activities? You must understand the thoughts and beliefs of your prospects, customers, and others with whom you network, your business partners. You do not have to agree with their beliefs and thoughts, but you must understand their beliefs and thoughts and why they have them.

In the past we have discussed that you must discover what your prospects actually need before you market your product or service to them. If they do not need what you offer, you should never sell them what you want to sell to them. If someone doesn’t have a driver’s license, you should not attempt to sell them a car or truck.

It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, or how reasonable the price is, if they don’t need it, they should not buy it from you unless they plan to gift it to someone else. You should make them aware of your business’s product or service so that your partners can refer business to you, but there should never be pressure applied to them to buy for their needs if those needs do not match what you have.

In addition, if the prospect in question does need what you have for them, you must understand their thought process and beliefs about what they need and why. If they are short of money, do not believe in their need, or something else has happened in their life to impact their needs, you must be aware and attuned to these factors.

If you are involved with the person during your marketing efforts, you should not be surprised by these factors. You must stay in touch with prospects as well as customers and partners, follow up with them on a regular basis, and listen, listen, listen to what they tell you, and what they may not tell you. Your understanding is imperative.

Prospects will not follow through and purchase what you offer unless they believe that you understand how they feel, the why behind their decisions, and what makes them do what they do. You must emphasize with them, understand their thoughts and actions, and make your prospects know that you understand their feelings and beliefs.

Does this same need include your current customers as well as your prospects? Yes, but it also applies to all your networking partners, family, friends, as well as clients and prospects. In addition, you must project this empathy to anyone whom you meet. Remember the need for partners to know, like, and trust you. Empathy will go a long way to establishing those 3 levels of a relationship.

Listen, listen, and listen to everyone whom you meet, want to prospect to, and have as clients and relationships. Establish yourself as someone who emphasizes with others, and you will reap the benefits of being that person. Your comments here, or your emails at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or your calls at 360-314-8691 are welcome.

Discover what others need, try to match them with partners who can solve those needs, especially if it is you, and be a connector for your relationship partners. If you are not listening to and speaking with others, someone else is.

July 14, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Relationships

When attending a networking meeting, we have a limited time to meet others and to decide whether to pursue a networking relationship with them. Remember that a networking relationship could provide you with a client, referral, both, or a partner with which you can forge a partnership which will benefit both of you. Any relationship short of that may not be the best for either of the parties involved.

Development of this type of relationship will not take place immediately, but it must be forged over time with varying efforts of the part of both parties. How do we decide whether the other party is one with which we should devote time and effort in order to attempt to develop such a relationship? There is no perfect pattern to follow; we must decide for ourselves through investigation and research.

Of course, when you meet someone you have an initial reaction to their presence and behavior. Never, ever prejudge anyone. Sometimes first impressions are correct, and sometimes they are not. In addition, there are times when the circumstances may change as time passes. The relationship that may not seem beneficial for both parties today may be so tomorrow.

Relationships must be beneficial for both parties. Networking is a two way street as is all of business. Networking relationships must be partnerships; they should not have winners and losers, but the input and outtake of the parties will vary according to need. Sometimes one partner is the strong one, helping the other. Sometimes the other partner takes the lead and aids the other, somewhat like a good marriage.

We must learn who we know, like, and trust in order to form good networking relationships. Perhaps you will know this information immediately; sometimes gaining experience and knowledge takes longer. Other times it may take many years and even more work. However, the rewards are great when we find those people who become invested in a mutual relationship built on helping each other.

Can these partnerships deteriorate over time? Of course, just like any relationship, networking relationships can become damaged as people and circumstances change. Hopefully, the relationship can survive these changes, but sometimes they cannot. A relationship that ends is a sad situation making us wonder how the circumstances can be prevented from causing a reoccurrence.

Our relationships make us better people in general; they make us successful in our business and personal lives. They can be fulfilling, and they can be educational. While they may not always be easy, they are worth our work, time, and effort to begin, grow, and maintain them. No relationship is easy, but sometimes the work seems easy due to the result over time. Never keep score and be a giver to others.

Business relationships can be the same as marriages. They both affect us personally, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Look for new partners, but never neglect your current ones. Your partners should compliment each other as well as you.

Your comments here, or your emails at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or your calls at 360-314-8691 are always welcome, even if you disagree. Who knows, your next great networking partners may be right around the next networking meeting door that you enter. Make the best impression and look for opportunities to help others.

July 7, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Grieving

Grieving after a loss is a process through which all of us must pass for closure on a past experience. While most of us associate this process with the loss of a loved one, or even a romantic involvement, it may also be related to the loss of a job with a business. Both types of losses have the same level of impact on our lives, including emotionally.

Just like a romantic involvement, or a relationship of any type, we assume that employment with a business will last for the foreseeable future, however long that may be. In the past we may have anticipated that we would work with one company for the majority of our lives, and moving from one company to another was looked upon with disdain. Both of these ideas are ancient history, gone from the current logic.

Hardly any of us have not experienced a loss of a loved one or relative? Also, due to the recent economic decline, most of us have experienced the loss of a position with a company which employed us, perhaps the “dream job” for which we groomed ourselves or in which we “grew up”. Afterwards we must go through a grieving process, just like the loss of a love. Until then, it is difficult to move on in life.

It is from the broken pieces of this lost career that some people gain the strength to start a business, the one which they may have dreamed of all their lives. They may take the experience, knowledge, and abilities that they gained and start a new business in the same industry. Some people even transfer their talent to an entirely new industry.

Entrepreneurs are born from adversity. They almost always have experienced a life changing event in their lives. They have discovered the desire and commitment to never allow someone else to curb their ability to “try something new” or to “venture into new territory. They may face obstacles, or they may face limitations, but they rely on their proven talent to discover the way to prevail.

I always say that we all should spend some time every day in self improvement. This includes learning more about our business industry, our own business’s functions, vendors, markets, and competitors, and about anything that will enhance our ability to market either our business or ourselves. This should also include information about transferring our skills to another industry or becoming our own boss or entrepreneur.

Don’t have an inclination to venture out into a new industry or to become a “risk-taker”? That is understandable; maybe you haven’t passed through the grieving process yet. Find someone and discuss this situation, and maybe you can find some answers together. If nothing else you may gain another perspective on the problem, perhaps a result that may change your life. Don’t be the person hiding behind a closed door.

Open your mind to the possibilities that life has for you and at least take a good look at them. Don’t take the attitude that you don’t have the ability or the courage to take a chance to control your life. Find someone to chat with and have an honest, fact-finding conversation that could change your life. You may be surprised at yourself.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Maybe your networking partners can help you with the grieving that you need to experience. Maybe one of your partners needs your help in passing through the grieving process in which they are mired. After all that’s what partners should do. Need a partner? You know my number.