Monday, December 21, 2009

Using Connector Tactics to Land A Job (or help someone else advance their career)

Maribeth Kuzmeski
Red Zone Marketing

(get Maribeth's marketing guide fore 20% off when you use code GROUCHY)

Many people are looking for jobs these days. If you know someone looking for a job, give them 9 proven Connector Tips to help make their job search successful!

1. Search Everywhere For Job Connectors! “Job Connectors” are the best source to get you that key interview and land your best new job. Connectors are willing to share information about you with others, they have a wide network, and they like introducing people. Find these connectors to help you get your next job. You will find them at every meeting you attend, in your neighborhood, at your church, at your former employer, within associations, etc.

2. BE a Connector: BE a connector yourself by finding networks of people you can build relationships with that will lead you to your next job. But don’t confuse this with random networking. Successful connecting requires taking a targeted approach to meeting the right people everywhere you go. Make a list of the 20 Powerful Connections or types of connections that would be able to help you get that next job. Then find out where they are and go to them. Being a connector and reaching connectors requires research and patience. But the payoff is enormous!

3. Check Out Your Interviewer. If you know who you will be sending a resume to or who will be interviewing you, conducting a little research in advance of your communication can be a big advantage.

During an interview I conducted with a candidate for my company, the candidate began talking about how much he liked one of the books I had written years ago. He quoted from the book and offered a story of how he used the information in his career. He had me! I had spent a lot of time and sweat equity writing that book, and the fact that he liked it and gave me information that proved he really read it made me remember him. And somehow he seemed smarter! After ten interviews in one day, people can start to blur. He never did.

The fact is that we didn’t end up hiring him because he had little experience in the type of service marketing we needed, but I gave him a high recommendation to one of our firm’s clients and he was hired within a week!

4. Get Face-to-Face With Potential Employers! Find a way to get in front of your potential employer. These days it is much harder to show potential employers what you are all about and to forge a connection with them because so much of the pre-hiring process is done online and through email. That is why it is essential that you find a way to communicate face-to-face. Dropping off a follow-up note or resume are great opportunities for getting some face time with a potential employer. Another great face-to-face opportunity comes after the interview. To show you paid close attention to everything your interviewer said, stop by her office with an article that you think would be of interest to her or a small gift (e.g., a box of candy) based on some information you found out during the interview.

And once you are face-to-face, in an interview or otherwise, focus on having eye contact throughout. Lean in, show them you are interested in everything they say, and think before you answer any question. Thoughtful deliberation can be difficult if you’re nervous, but it is critical in answering your potential employer’s questions to the best of your ability. Establishing this face time is sure to set you apart from your job market competition.

5. Make an Impact by Using Video. If you really want to capture the attention of a potential employer, record a quick video. Use it to get an interview or as a follow-up after an interview. Here’s how it works: Instead of just emailing a resume or a post-interview thank-you note, include a link to a video of you talking directly to them. Carefully script your response and record the quick message using a Flip video camera or even a web cam.

Script Out Your Video Messaging to Get The Interview:

1. The video should be no longer than one or two minutes.

2. Introduce yourself.

3. Identify the job you would like to be interviewed for.

4. Tell them three things about your background that may make them interested in interviewing you.

5. Thank them for watching the video, ask them for the interview and give them your contact information!

Then post your video online and share the link or use a service like to email your video to your potential employer. You will definitely make an impact!

6. Practice Your Interview Answers With a Friend or Mentor. Don’t go into your interview cold. There is too much competition for jobs to take anything for granted. Think of potential questions you may get about your previous positions and how you will answer these questions and then go over them with a friend or mentor. Work on thoughtfully communicating how you will deliver benefits in a given position, not just on what you know. Become an expert at clearly communicating your strengths both verbally and in writing.

Practice providing information that is compelling, impactful, and clearly expresses how you will benefit the employer. Give your interviewers reasons to think about hiring you, not reasons to end the interview early!

7. Use Words that Connect. In interviews, try to scrap your memorized job pitch in favor of a more natural conversation. You’ll seem more at ease and authentic—and your potential employer will be more inclined to believe everything he’s hearing. In written communication, be sure to answer all parts of any questions you receive. And carefully read over the job description so that you can communicate your specific strengths based on the job’s requirements.

8. Prepare in advance to follow up after the interview. Plan on sending an immediate thank-you note through email or social media. Then, to ensure you are using every available option to stay in front of your potential employer, consider also sending a note in the mail. Yes, the mail. The note should recap what you discussed in the interview and reinforce what you can deliver to the company.

9. Show Passion! If you really want a particular job, tell those hiring why (not because you need a job – that will not separate you from the rest). Share tangible reasons why this is the perfect job for you and at the same time show them in advance the same passion you will give to the job once you land it. Enthusiasm, energy and passion are contagious and are traits you want to accentuate while in the job search.

GET Maribeth's great MARKETING PLANNING GUIDE plus free bonuses for 20% off when you enter code GROUCHY.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski, is the author of the new book, The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life (Wiley, September 2009, ISBN: 978-0-4704881-8-8, $22.95)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now is the time to use this with your clients …

by Troy White

I am at a client event in Tampa this week and want to share some exciting news with you. The event I am at is for a very unique niche that targets the affluent buyers that you should be targeting. Why? Because they are the fastest demographic to recover from this economic mess we are all in. The trainers at the event are consistently sharing their success stories in the affluent market, and the rapid growth in demand they are seeing right now.

According to Pam Danzinger, the leading publication for affluent marketing, “At Parisian luxury fashion brand Hermes, best-known for its leather bags that start at US$7,000, sales are up 10%, while demand for Coach’s ubiquitous US$325 handbags has slumped. High-end New York City apartments may have seen their values plunge, but at Fifteen Central Park West, billed as the ultimate Manhattan luxury building, at least eight condos are reported to have sold for nearly 40% above what their owners paid for them in 2007. Now you’ve got to spell luxury with a ‘V’ and the ‘V’ is for value, and value doesn’t mean cheap." They want an experience, and are willing to pay for it”

One of the ways you can get your more affluent clients buying again is to give them what they want … a unique experience that no one else is giving them. What follows is aproven model for getting your affluent buyers buying again.

Even if you aren’t targeting a certain part of your business offerings to the affluent (which I think you should be), this STILL applies to you!

At times like this, your customers NEED to hear a calm, reassuring voice telling them there is a future ahead, and you are there for them no matter what they need.

Rather than someone telling them how the sky is falling and every one of us is doomed to financial destruction (which the media gladly does 24/7), they want someone to help them feel at ease.

Announcing your Emergency Customer Update
and Appreciation Events

These are mini-events (preferably live, if you can) … designed to show them your stance on the economy and how it impacts your industry.

This is also designed to help you get closer to your clients, at a time where everyone else is slashing their marketing expenditures and burying their head in the sand, waiting for it to pass over.

The more you are in front of them now, the more trust they will have in you, and the more value they will see in buying from you when they open their wallets again.

These can be breakfast meetings, luncheons, dinners or teleseminars … the point is to get out there and in front of those who buy from you.

Step 1: Target your audience:

  • Figure out if you want all your clients to be invited, or a smaller, more targeted group. (Now is the perfect time to go through your list and find the perfect clients you want to continue working with - and not work so hard on the others.)
  • Do some research with them to find out where they are at, how scared they feel, and what type of information would be the most help to them right now.
  • Get controversial. Build a story that you will share with them at the meetings. Think through the stance you will take on the market, on the economy, on people’s mindset, and anything you can think of that may help them understand your point of view as we move into the unknown months ahead. Think about what Clayton did with his Imbeciles article – major controversy – and major kudos for him for being the one to say what most people were thinking.
  • Create an executive summary or market/business update that you can hand out at your meeting.
  • Make sure all the applicable players are involved. Everyone within your company should be there. Partners, suppliers, customers, etc.
  • Ask your clients to invite their friends and associates.

Step 2: Meeting Venue and Ambiance Setting (the marketing theme you want to use):

  • Find a nice, clean, professional venue to hold your event at. Do not go overboard or too lavish here. If you have a nice office boardroom, use that.

    If you are holding an evening event, you may want to bring in wine professionals and have a tasting event, or professional sushi chefs to show them how easy it is to make simple at-home sushi rolls.

    (If you are doing wine tasting or are offering drinks, do your event first, then the drinking … hecklers come out of the woodwork when alcohol is added.)

  • Design them to be smaller, more intimate, and more personal. In order to show them you honestly do care about them, do not pack them in with 200 others.

Step 3: Strategically invite the groups of people you would like all in the same room at the same time:

  • If you have no choice but to do a teleseminar, tell those you are inviting that it is a small group of people that will be on the line. They have been chosen to be part of the panel to discuss ____(your topic)_____. The last thing you want is a line full of people … you want intimate discussions with your best, most coveted clients.
  • Preferably, place personal calls to each person you want to invite. (Remember, small groups of eight people will not take a lot of phone calls to fill.)
  • Tell them the intentions behind the meeting (value added content, market updates, and strategies for them to weather the storm).
  • Invite your most affluent clients as well – try and have them in each group.
  • E-mail them – but personal e-mails … no mailing services.
  • Even send FedEx packages, if your products and services justify it.

Step 4: Wow them at the meeting:

  • Show them the historical facts behind recessions. Help them understand what a recession is, and what happens during the typical cycle. (Sounds basic? Most people do not know this … be the one to help them understand.)
  • Hand them your market-update sheet or package.
  • Make sure they get great content, great food, and great company. You can even bring in an outside speaker to talk about related areas of interest.
  • Do NOT pitch them anything here. This is not the time or place to be selling anything … now is the time to show pure value and content.
  • Have respect for everyone there – start and finish right on time.
  • Give them a gift … something simple yet memorable. Put together your own quotes book of your favorite inspirational quotes and have them printed up by a print on demand supplier. Have your company information in the book and a catchy title for the cover. It costs you next to nothing, but it will have a lasting impact on them. (You can even have their names custom-printed on the cover. Print on demand is very inexpensive these days.)
  • Educate them about what you have planned for the next 6–12 months in your business. And tell them you will send them monthly updates as part of this session. (Make sure they understand the information shared is private and not to be shared.)
  • Make sure all of your people are in attendance, dressed professionally and prepared for the meeting.

Start putting one or two of these on a week, and watch what kind of a response you get.

This may sound unusual … but that is the point.

No one else, especially your competition, is doing this.

Show them how much you care about them and their future right now and they will respond in kind when they feel more confident in the economy.

They may feel helpless about the economic conditions out there, but you can help them see the upside, and give them specific strategies for the challenging times ahead.

Never forget …

… During recessions, many businesses fail …

… But it is also the time when absolute riches can be made in any industry, if you position yourself correctly with your existing clients.

Find a few ways to make these lessons work for your business…

To your success,

Troy White Signature
Troy White
Editor, Small Business Mastery

Troy White is a top marketing coach, consultant & direct response copywriter based in Calgary, Canada. He has a powerful approach to growing small businesses and entrepreneurial run ventures on a budget. His FREE Cash Flow Surges newsletter shares tons of great strategies.

He also publishes the incredibly powerful Cash Flow Calendar system that gives you daily, weekly and monthly marketing ideas to promote your business and stand out from the crowd. Click here to get your free tips for growing your business!

Looking for resources related to this article? Try some of these.

Looking for more of Troy’s articles? Check these out.

Looking for past issues of The Total Package? Click here for our archives.

A Final Note:

If you have specific subjects you would like addressed, or have any comments on what you have seen here, please submit a comment below and I will see how I can help.

"Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”

–Napoleon Hill

This article was first published in The Total Package. To sign-up to receive your own FREE subscription to The Total Package and claim four FREE money making e-books go to

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Provoking The Sale To Close How advisors are moving away from solution-based and product-focused selling methods

Maribeth Kuzmeski, MBA
RedZone Marketing

In today’s difficult market conditions, it has become more important than ever to generate a stream of new buyers to keep the firm operating in the profit-zone and not operating out of fear. And, there are certain sales strategies that are working right now that are reducing the fears and paralysis of investors and getting them to take action quickly.

A Provocative Selling Approach:
In the March 2009 issue of Harvard Business Review, “In a Downturn, Provoke Your Customers,” the article details a unique and successful approach to sales. It is a sales approach that, interestingly, some financial advisors have already been using in this downturn with success. The article calls the technique, “Provocation-based selling.” It is different from the traditional consultative selling approach that is focused on a solution and goes way beyond product-based selling that is focused on features and benefits.

Now, provoking a client to buy must of course be in their best interest. The objective is to persuade a prospect that the solutions you have do not just sound good, they are essential. But this approach doesn’t focus on the obvious concerns an investor has. Instead, the approach directs a prospect to the other things that perhaps are of even greater concern to them.

One advisor who is having a lot of success in these difficult times gathering new clients and new assets shared how he uses this provocation-based selling approach. It is focused on getting the client to do something because a client who does nothing right now could be permanently affecting their future.

“I regularly hold seminars to introduce people to my firm. Recently, during my appointments with the people who attended my most recent seminar I realized that I was going to have to go way beyond the obvious in order to get anyone to invest today,” the advisor said. “But I felt so strongly that for some people, having exposure to the market was the right thing (in the right products of course).”

A husband and wife he was meeting with recently began describing all their concerns about their current assets invested with another advisor. They said that the stock market was too volatile, they didn’t want to lose more money, they were scared they may be eating their dog’s food in retirement, etc. So the advisor took this as an opportunity to ask about ALL of their concerns - not just the immediate stock market issues. “Let’s lay it all out,” the advisor said. And then he went to the white board in his conference room and began to write.

The couple, in their early 60’s, were concerned about their health, concerned about the well-being of their children and grandchildren, really wanted to enjoy life on their terms and not just get by, were scared they’d have to sell their second home in Virginia, wanted to leave a legacy to their favorite cause/ charity so that all they worked for would live on when they pass, etc. The advisor kept writing and writing.

The advisor then started asking them what their solutions were for some of the most important things on their list. How would they avoid a negative conclusion and achieve their goals?

It turned out that none of their life-long goals would be possible without an alteration in their financial situation. “Not having the money invested and not giving themselves a strategy for growth and protection would have meant that surely most of the things they worked their lives for wouldn’t be possible,” the advisor said. “Especially if they put the money under their mattress.”

Now this may seem like a common sense strategy, but the advisors that have been using their version of this provocation-selling approach say that it is more complex than it seems. This approach takes the focus beyond today’s investment situation and gets to the real heart of the matter. The advisor ultimately wants and gets the prospect to come to the conclusion that they can’t afford not to do something.

And, according to the advisors using this technique, it rarely involves getting into the specifics of the stock market history, or their opinions of the market and whether it is at the bottom, middle or wherever. It is all about the person’s concerns on the other side of the table. It also typically shortens the sales cycle because the client wants to make the decision. Advisors have shared with us significant results in closing new business – especially as it compares to the decline in new business that some of their colleagues are unfortunately experiencing.

The Steps of the Provocation Sale:

  1. Uncover the client’s hidden concerns.
  2. Raise those critical concerns to the forefront and their potential solutions.
  3. Develop your provocative view point on their critical concerns based on your solutions.
  4. Share a story about another client (keeping their name and telling details confidential, of course) in a similar situation and the solutions you prescribed for them.
  5. Close on the provocation that gives them the NEED to take action and do business with you now in order to solve their crucial concerns.

Traditional solution-based selling has the individual considering whether you can solve their immediate needs (i.e. keep them from losing money in the stock market). Provocation-selling transforms their thinking about what their deeper challenge really is and that you have the solution.

Be sure to hear Maribeth LIVE online on December 8th. Find out more here: