Posts tagged as:

scott stratten

I just finished Scott Stratten’s book, “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging” so this post could  just as easily be named, “A Page From Scott Stratten’s Playbook…”

This is a post about how to boost your biz…

but also kind of a case study about what’s working and not working in networking groups. Okay, since you’re getting this message, let’s assume you’ve become a member of Linked Orange County. You’re in our group; neat. Welcome! Now what? What’s in it for you? How do you get more business by being part of a group like this? Unlike most of the business networking groups out there doing it old-school, we’re trying to do things a little differently. We’re far from perfect but here are a few ways you might use the group to boost business:

Biz Boosting TIP #1

Step away from the TV. I have a favorite shirt like the one in the photo above. It’s the shirt I put on when I’m done with work and ready to eat something on the couch. It goes great with my stretchy elastic waistband pants-also good for eating alone. Make time to get away from your computer-and indoors in general and get out there to a group event [insert obvious plug for 11/11 networking event here]. I don’t need to entice you with the thought of a peppy Canadian author. Or the likes of a power panel of guests….The air is fresh and the people are friendly. This still seems to be a tough one for people. Todd, you know I’m talking about you!  I understand about being shy or introverted, it’s very natural and common. No one likes walking into a crowd of people they don’t know…so keep reading, but make plans to come out.

Biz Boosting TIP #2

Before you even come to an event, join our LinkedIn Group and use it to its full potential. What I mean by this is, update your profile to 100%, add a natural looking picture, not a Glamor Shot. Avoid the fist curled under the chin shot especially. Once you’re a member, you can do searches based on keywords, titles, names, company name etc. Make a target list. Not so you can blitz them upon meeting, or be that creepy guy who somehow knows all your stats..but so you can do research on their interests and background to build relationships of trust. Find people you might already know and ask them if they’re going to the event. Then when you do meet them IRL (in real life) it’s more like meeting an old friend vs. awkward blind date. When you start the relationship see what you might have in common, don’t jump in with a sales pitch.Be yourself. Be friendly. Don’t spend too much time talking to any one person. Remember, if you (think you) love someone, set them free. Don’t ask for anything.

Good example vs. Bad example. People like examples, so here goes…

Bad example first…

This person brings a big stack of business cards the size of a deck of playing cards like he’s a Las Vegas dealer to our monthly events. He approaches people with biz cards in hand, and ready to let them fly with the intention of passing out and collecting as many cards as possible. This he does under the guise of “lead-gen” or worse– to add or collect more people (also known as victims) to his mailing list. Surprise!  He evaluates ROI (return on his event ticket investment) on how many cards he collects and how many he passed out. When he meets a panelist or the keynote speaker at the event, he tries hard to spend as much time talking to them as possible, hoping they will be convinced his company is the bees knees, ignoring the long line of other people waiting their turn. He adds the VIPs to his email list because he’s sure they are the most influential and can help him the most. He follows up with several emails, calls, text messages and DM’s (Twitter term) to consummate the relationship. Since quantity is his game, he also belongs to several groups and attends as many networking events as possible. He is not loyal to any one group, he just wants to promote and push his product to as many people as possible.

One alternative…

She uses the Linked Orange County LinkedIn Group to search for business leads that she can engage in discussions or meet in person at events. She is active on the Discussion Board and posts meaningful questions or valuable insights so that when there are events she’ll know a few people. She connects with group members on Twitter. She does not post her sales pitches, promote other groups or outside events which may conflict with the Linked OC event calendar. She brings business cards to our event but tries to get to know people first. She has a mental checklist in her mind: 1.) Is this someone I can help? 2.) Someone who can help me? 3.) Do I know someone who can help this person? If there is a match she exchanges biz cards. She shares the group with friends and colleagues. She tries to give back by attending events, becoming a sponsor on occasion or by spreading the word when she cannot attend. She recognizes that it’s about building relationships. That we buy from people we know, like and trust. That we’re all in this together and that we need each other. She tries to give business and refer business back to Linked Orange County group members when possible.

Biz Boosting TIP #3

Establish yourself as an expert in your category by posting valuable nuggets of expertise, shoot a video or point to articles on the LinkedIn Group Discussion Board. I find most of the discussions don’t seem to be discussions at all. You may actually hurt your reputation by posting thinly veiled sales pitches or posting too frequently when the content isn’t exactly great. It’s also bad form to promote your own events, semimars, webinars etc. as these count as pitches too. Get pre-approved before you post your own event and I’ll make sure it gets noticed by members. Give back by cross promoting Linked Orange County at your event. The idea is to engage people in a discussion. But you’d be surprised how many people post questions like, “What are the best networking groups to join?” This is like going to a great steak restaurant and asking the waiter, “Where ELSE can I get a great steak in this town?”

Biz Boosting TIP #4

Get involved. Let me tell you the story of BoardWalk Ice Cream Co…Josh Bruni owns and operates the company and is a smart guy. I met Josh about a year ago when he first opened his ice cream shop in Irvine Spectrum. I invited him to join the group and he quickly stepped up to donate his delicious custom-built ice cream at events. He’s got a great product, but more importantly Josh gets it. He understands the value of being part of an active networking group (aka: passionate community) and quickly embedded himself and his product at several events by donating free ice cream.

Those of you who are skeptical about how effective this is might wonder how much Josh spent giving out free stuff. Assuming full retail price of an ice cream is about $3, Josh probably spends between $600-$1,000 per event. So what’s the ROI?(return on investment) Did a hungry crowd rush to his Irvine shop the days or weeks after the event? I’m guessing no. But Josh wasn’t interested in making sales first. He was after relationships. He knew that several people who run their own companies, host their own company picnics, events, trade shows, etc attend our events. His plan was to be there before the sale. To delight you and give you an enjoyable experience with his brand.

This style of engagement marketing paid off big time. Josh started making big deals with major players and organizations (like hotels and pro baseball stadiums), and started to get invited to big paying events. You can see him below with pro skateboarder and MTV star Rob Dyrdek at the Fantasy Factory.

What are the ways you’re marketing your business? How’s that working for you? If you’re showing up at networking events, I’m guessing there’s still room for improvement… What does a print ad cost? 1/2 page ad in a local free Orange County business and lifestyle magazine costs about $1,500. How about doing some TV? The local cable company recommends a budget of $1,000-$3,000 per month minimum to make any splash with a product or service. No sales guarantees, just reach and frequency stats. How about a website? This you can do on the cheap, do it yourself or have your cousin do it and pay peanuts. But is anyone visiting the site?  Josh invested a few hundred dollars in you without pushing out a message or asking for your business and got a huge return. Yes, I’m bias because I host these events. And you know that I rely on sponsors (and attendees) to help cover the costs to put them on. But consider the upside of building relationships vs pushing out an ad to potentially thousands of people who couldn’t care less.

Biz Boosting TIP #5

Refer business to each other. Yes, it’s that simple. Ready…set…go. But wait. Way before we’re comfortable doing this we have to get to know each other. That’s what meeting in person is all about. How can we have a passing interest in the group and the people in it and expect business? We can’t. Scott Stratten has said something I like a lot: “If you believe business is built on relationships, then you need to make building relationships your business.”

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. What did I leave out or miss?


Networking w/ @UnMarketing: Nov 11th

Scott Stratten… is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. It’s all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of target market, so when they have the need, they choose you. Scott is a music industry marketer, national sales training manager and a professor at the Sheridan College [...]

Read the full article →