February 2009


3 Quick Ways to Reach Critical Mass

Numa Numa – Most have no idea what this means or what this is.  It’s the name of a video on YouTube that’s garnered 26 million hits!  His cost… nothing.  Ok, there may be a little cost like being known as the chubby guy lip-syncing to a German dance club tune.  But his costs were just his time to sit in front of the computer and film himself.  Put this in perspective, Pepsico and GE would each pay top dollar to reach 26 million viewers.  But you don’t have to lip-sync to techno music to be heard.  Here’s three very low-cost ideas to reach out to others in a professional manner on the web.

1.  Facebook - It’s not the kiddos’ network for who’s wearing what today at school.  No, it’s for any professional business man or woman interested in networking with people they know.  If you target a commercial niche or are a general lines producer, you can let any number of people you know what you do.  It’s free, it’s not going away, it’s free-subscriber base is growing daily so make yourself known to as many as you like.  You may learn a few more things about your clients too.

2. Twitter - What in the heck is all this Twitter stuff I keep hearing about?  Well, surprisingly it’s pretty elementary.  Here’s how it works.  The simple question is this, "What are you up to?".  I know, you don’t have time to keep random folks abreast of what you are up to on a daily basis.  So let me ask you this.  If you could provide small industry updates or insurance tips from time to time and attract followers, would it be worth it?  Yes, is the correct answer.   You can follow others as well as create a following of your own over time.   And furthermore, you can have your twitter posts feed directly into Facebook.  Think world wide web here where everything is connected to one another.

3. LinkedIn - It all started here.  This is one of the first sites to link professionals.  Professionals alike link themselves to one another through past jobs, positions, and current occupations.  Looking to reach out to accountants?  Check out who’s in your LinkedIn network.  You may be surprised to know there’s a couple in our network.  You can also create a group where you have members follow your discussions or posts.  By the way, the cost is free here too. 

These online networking applications are here to stay and will only continue to grow.  How much do they integrate themselves into our everyday business practices and activities remains yet to be seen.  But getting in early and contributing builds your credibility and just may land new business.  – villageChief

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Four Ways to Win at Trade Shows

If you’ve ever had to represent your company at a trade show or even set-up a booth for your company, you’ve more than likely encountered one if not all of these scenarios.  First, usually set-up is at general time for everyone.  Which basically means all the competition looms around the corner, snooping, or just "innocently" popping in your booth to say ‘hello’.  Right, like you’re really here to see how I’m doing and to offer a cordial greeting.  Next!  Secondly, it’s always great to see a familiar face like a client.  Unfortunately, you know the competition gets to see their face too.  Excuse me Mr. Client, can you please avoid booths number 10, 23, 31….  Third and most importantly you have to be "ON" the entire time (if you care to make it a success).  By being "ON" I mean greeting new potential prospects with a kind smile without a break.  You’ve been there before and have the perma-smile to prove it.

Here’s four points to help make the most of this opportunity.

1.  Don’t sit down.  Sitting down during the trade show / expo, while all your visitors are standing, sends the body language message of  "I’m here but really don’t want to be."  So stand up tall the entire time and take special consideration of your footwear selection.  Never take your shoes off and never wear new shoes!

2.  Offer to shake your visitor’s hand and introduce yourself.  You are the first person they’ll associate with your company after all.  It’s your first impression to make on some of these visitors so make it count.  Immediately engage your visitors by greeting them with a smile.  If you’re giving away freebies, offer them one.  If you’re running a "guess how many jelly beans" contest, let them know you want them to participate. 

 3.  Learn the 10 second rule.  If you have a visitor in your booth, you generally have 10 seconds to earn their attention for a more lengthy chat.   And if you do, you can ask your open-ended questions so you can build more of a profile of this person and their company.  Remember you are at the show to learn about others and to qualify who is an ideal prospect for your company and who is not.  Besides, these shows can be pricey for a 10×10 booth, so make the most out of your allotted time.

4. Post show follow-up is huge.  This is how you pay for your time and expenses for the expo / trade show.  Here’s a couple of tips on making this part easy.  Before the event starts make sure you’ve written your thank you notes.  Leave the attendee’s name blank (you’ll gather their b-card later).  When you do trade b-cards at the show or they put theirs in the drawing, be sure to write a quick note of something you learned about that person on the back.  You’ll want to reference it later (they’ll be impressed too).  Also, you may want to keep your schedule flexible for the following week after the show.  A hot-lead may want an appointment.  So be ready!

Bonus, here’s a couple of sites I think you’ll find helpful in planning for your next show.  www.tradeshowmarketing.com, www.trade-show-advisor.com, and an article by Susan Friedmann I found helpful on About.com called 10 Ways to Master the Trade Show Giveaway Game.

I know these will help you improve your results at the show.  If you can think of other tips that help you and your company out, please share by noting them in the comments field.  We’d love to hear your voice in the village.  And if you haven’t joined iiaVillage as a villager, it’s free, please go to the homepage and click on "Become a Villager" on the upper-right side.  Peace   -villageChief


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