Tales from Box Mountain Part 3: Broken Promises, Cut Locks, and No Texting While Driving (Not what you think!)
Note: This post is the third in a series about what I learned about life and business from moving my family from the suburbs of Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the first post here and second here.
Whenever you move, one of the biggest issues to contend with is how to get all your stuff from your current home to your new home, expediently, efficiently, and safely – and as cost-effectively as possible, unless you are being moved by your company and they are footing the (potentially massive) bill. That was not us.
During our recent move, we looked into the options, which as far as we could tell included:
- Hiring a big cross-country moving company (far too expensive).
- Renting a truck and hiring a driver (not sure we wanted to trust some random driver with all our earthly possessions).
- Renting a truck and driving it ourselves (no one in our family has a truck license, plus … just no.).
- Having a service bring a container to our driveway, we load it up/ hire movers to load it up, and have it picked up again, shipped to our new home, dropped off, and unloaded.
We went with that last option because we had done it before, twice, and while those moves were local, it worked out well enough both times we felt confident it would be the best choice for us this time. So I did my research and made a choice on the company to use.
First, I have to say, ultimately we were happy with the service. However, there were A LOT of missteps by the company we choose, ABF Freight, otherwise known for it’s consumer service called UPack.
We chose them on the recommendation of my father-in-law, who had used them in the past and remembered their prices being far and away less expensive than PODS, Pack Rat, or any of the other consumer container storage and shipping companies. He was right… the price was almost half of what everyone else was going to charge. That was explained in their marketing. Because the company is a commercial freight service, they may place a few boxes of their own on the back of our truck, to be delivered to another of their commercial customers en route to our new home. Makes sense to me.
The first misstep came with their scheduling online. I wanted to set up my moving date for the last few days in June. But their online scheduler automatically chose a random date two weeks into the future, which was still early June, and wouldn’t allow me to change it online; so I had to call.
Lesson #1: If you have an online scheduler or order process, make sure everything can be done online without forcing your customers to make a phone call or jump through other hoops.
After I *thought* we had the date squared away (more coming later), the phone rep told me part of the deal was that the driver would be texting my container’s location to me along the route to my new location so I would have an idea where my stuff was. That wasn’t anywhere on their website, but the site had already proven to be less-than-reliable, and it sounded like a cool value-add. Plus, with my knowledge of technology and what’s possible, it was perfectly feasible that a driver could check into an automated system, that would then send me an auto update like “Driver 7245 has now entered Kentucky with your container.” It makes sense right? Well, the person I was on the phone with was making that up apparently, because in subsequent conversations (to fix the wrong drop off date AGAIN), this customer service agent said there was no such offer of texting while driving, so to speak.
The only thing I can think of now, as I reflect, is perhaps that is an offering for their freight customers but not for their individual consumer customers and the customer service agent I spoke with was confused. I don’t know, but I felt like I missed out on a great service.
Lesson #2: Deliver on your promises.
Lesson #3: Make sure your entire staff can effectively explain your offerings correctly.
Interestingly, I soon learned this company DOES use texting to confirm that your container will be dropped off to be loaded on a certain date. That was good because I received a text with the wrong date, so I had to call AGAIN. In fact, I planned an out of town in Minnesota for a business retreat on that date, which had been scheduled for months, so I would have never set that date up as a drop off or pick up date. The good news for this company is they had the text confirmation set up so I could see the error and immediately call to avoid having a driver show up at my home while I was out of town and pick up an empty container 2 days later because I was still out of town. Their system worked in this case to catch the customer service agent’s mistake.
Lesson 4: Have systems in place to catch any errors before they turn into bigger problems down the line.
After we received our container, on time and set up exactly how we wanted it, we set to the hard work of packing it. In another post, I’ll share about the fabulous service our movers provided, because they deserve their own post with more lessons learned.
Another promise was after we packed up our belongings, we should LOCK the wall they provided to completely secure our things in the container. A regular pad lock wasn’t going to fit, so my Dad went out and bought a $25 heavy duty industrial lock for the job. We secured our belongings as stated in the contract and on the phone and were on our way.
Not long after our container was picked up, however, I received a phone call from the local dispatch office. At this point, we were on the road somewhere between Illinois and Tennessee. The dispatcher on the phone asked me to come in to remove my lock so they could get their ramp, which was inside the truck when they delivered it to us, and we put it back inside. There was no mention that specific ramp, which we would need in Tennessee to get our stuff OUT of the truck, had to stay in Illinois. Apparently the Tennessee dispatch office would have their own ramp. Unfortunately, I had the only keys and we were on the Interstate somewhere. So they cut off a brand new $25 lock and now our personal items weren’t secure.
Lesson 5: If you want something to be a certain way (in this case, the ramp to be accessible to the local dispatch office), spell it out in your instructions and make sure it’s well-communicated.
As I said, overall we were happy with the end result: our container was safely delivered, when we wanted it, where we wanted it, and at an affordable and fair price. After we arrived in Knoxville, everything went very well and the Knoxville dispatchers were great with accommodating the times I needed for our container to be dropped off and then later the same day removed.
Could I recommend this company? I would, with the caveat that people I refer read this blog post so they know what to expect. What it comes down to is this:
FINAL LESSON: If you teach your customers what to expect from you and then deliver that exact promise through the customer experience, you will have raving fans every time.
After my husband and I made the decision to move from the suburbs of Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee, we thought renting for a year would be a better choice because we looked at more than 20 homes to buy yet never came up with quite what we wanted. Plus, we don’t know the area AT ALL, and we didn’t want to rush into buying just any old house in any old place.
In another post, I’ll talk more about the decision to downsize from our 3000 square foot home to an 1121 square foot apartment, but for this story here’s what you need to know: in that process, we realized our daughters, ages 10 and 13, would have to share a bedroom in our new 2-bedroom apartment.
I suggested the girls might enjoy bunk beds, and they were both elated to have that experience. So I set to work on finding some gently used bunk beds for sale at sites like Craigslist, Bookoo, and OfferUp. I soon negotiated a good deal on a set for sale near our former home that I really liked because the lower bunk is a full-sized bed, which allowed a few more options.
When we picked up the black metal frame of the bed, it was in parts. That’s when my Dad took over. You should know my Dad is the handiest of handy men, the most intense assembler you’ll ever meet, and a complete perfectionist when it comes to doing any project he undertakes, no matter how long it takes to get it done right. If you’ve ever seen the HGTV cable network star contractor, Mike Holmes, who makes EVERY thing perfect about a project, you have an idea of how my Dad tackles a project. Plus, he’s retired now and has FULL TIME to devote to any pursuit he wants. And in this instance it was all about the bunk beds.
Once he was involved, Dad went online and printed not one, but two full sets of directions to assemble the set. Then he took the whole bed completely apart so it would fit on the moving truck. He labelled all the little screws, nuts, bolts, and pieces that were part of the assembly of the bed, organized them by what part of the bed they came from into little plastic bags, and then put those into a bigger plastic bag. Finally he packed the whole lot into a well-marked cardboard box and sealed it up.
When we arrived at our new home, for the first couple of weeks one girl slept on the twin-sized sofabed and the other slept on her mattress on the floor because my Dad wanted to be the one to put the beds together the RIGHT way and had planned to come down the second week we were in Tennessee. He’s great at assembling anything and loves it, plus we had plenty of other tasks to do before my parents arrived (have you seen the photo of Box Mountain in my dining area?!), so we came across the well-marked box, and put it into a very safe place.
When the day came for Dad to put the bunk beds together, we started looking for the well-marked box with all the nuts and bolts and pieces neatly organized inside. The well-marked box was about the size of a shirt box at Christmas, but double the thickness, so it wasn’t a massive moving box, but plenty substantial that it could easily be noticed.
But nobody could find the well-marked box ANYWHERE.
We looked all over the apartment, which was easy enough because there are only two bedrooms with walk-in closets, the main living space, and the kitchen/dining area. No well-marked box.
I recalled having the box in my hands and placing it into the girls’ bedroom in the stack of other boxes in there, but as we organized their room and closest, emptying moving box after moving box, the one well-marked box we needed to find to make their beds was not among them.
My husband saw the well-marked box a handful of times, too. He ran back and forth to the storage area (I couldn’t part with my dining room table, our Christmas decorations, and some much-loved bigger furniture pieces!), and he could never find the well-marked box.
My mother-in-law and father-in-law, who live near us here in Tennessee had been helping us unload and unpack. My mother-in-law remembered seeing the well-marked box, but wasn’t sure where it was, either.
After several DAYS of searching off and on for that well-marked box, my Dad and my husband finally decided that we needed a Plan B. We called the manufacturer and explained our situation, hoping they would sell us just the parts, but that wasn’t going to work. So we ended on Plan C: Buy a new set of identical bunk beds to the set we already had and start fresh.
Now, being a thrifty sort who isn’t quite a conservationist, but hates throwing things away that can be used, that really upset me. We had all the BIG pieces for the bed, it was just those screws, nuts and bolts. I knew we would someday come across that well-marked box, so I thought at the very least I could re-sell the whole original set so it could go to a home that would use it.
While my Dad and husband were at the store, buying the new bunk beds, I said a prayer to St. Anthony (the saint of lost things), and suddenly I had a revelation.
It wasn’t the well-marked box we needed AT ALL. It was the stuff INSIDE that mattered.
Suddenly, with a new determination — and NOT looking for a BOX, but instead looking for the actual thing we needed — I FOUND IT within 2 minutes.
Where was it? In the girls’ room, right next to the parts of the bed. What we needed had been removed from the well-marked box, which had apparently long been discarded, so instead it was a plastic bag filled with other plastic bags in which all the pieces were!
All along we had been looking for a BOX, when what we wanted was what was inside the box, and ignored everything else. We probably each looked right past the set of plastic bags a half dozen times each.
What a relief to finally find what we needed!
The Life and Business Lesson Learned:
Sometimes we THINK we want the box because the magic, we’ve been told, is right inside that particular box. All we have to do is open it. But instead of seeking the magic itself, we seek the box.
Put into concrete terms related to business, we want what goes with a successful business: the credibility, the clients, the cash, the freedom… but instead of working for those things, we spend a ton of time worrying far too much about the box we THINK those things are inside such as a perfect website, a finished information product, a book fully written and published, and so on. You CAN achieve what you want, without worrying about the box.
In life, too many people wait to go after their dream job or search for the person they want to enjoy the rest of their lives with because they are stuck looking for the perfect box of making their body perfect, or their resume perfect, or their wardrobe perfect. You can reach those personal goals, without worrying about the box.
My friends, keep your eye on the prize. It’s not about the box at all, no matter how well-marked and how certain you are you will find it one day. Seek what is inside. Go for what you REALLY want.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. As you can likely guess from the title, because you’re smart like that, I’ve been preoccupied with relocating my family from the suburbs of Chicago to the 3rd biggest city in the state of Tennessee, Knoxville. Yes, I’ve been working, but doing the bare minimum to get by.
You know how “they” say moving is one of the top 5 or 10 or whatever most stressful life experiences up there with getting married, having babies, changing jobs, and driving in traffic (that last one has to be true, doesn’t it?)? Well… I am here to say, yep, that’s about right. Whew.
During our move, over and over again I kept seeing so many business and life lessons I decided to share them in at least a series of blog posts, if not, someday soon, a short book. So I’m starting here and we’ll see where this takes me.
As a preview for what’s coming:
- We about pulled our hair out over looking for a certain box, when I realized it wasn’t about the box at all. That’s when I found what I was looking for.
- My wedding and engagement rings were in a super safe place… so safe I thought I’d lost them forever.
- Two reactions to getting lost during travel; he wanted to be upset, so I let him be.
- Broken promises, cut locks, and no texting while driving. (Not at all what you think!)
- Going from 3000 square feet (plus garage and shed) to 1121 square feet with a family of 4, plus a dog.
These and other stories will follow this week. Some may appear as written posts and others as video posts. We’ll see what comes up!
What lessons from moving have you learned that can be related to life and/or business? I’d love to learn from your experiences – post in the comments below!
It’s not every day you get to share a ride with an executive at one of the world’s biggest companies who becomes interested enough in what you do to ask you to get in touch. But THAT’s exactly what happened to me when I landed in San Francisco a few weeks ago.
The video below tells the story and I recorded it as part of my 30-day storytelling on video challenge.
Moral of the story: Quit using a dag-gum Elevator Speech! (I wrote a whole book about exactly how!)
Now you can live in my home, and work in the same office that launched both of my #1 best-selling books, built a successful consulting and training business, and took me from being a Mom in the suburbs to an internationally-acclaimed business professional.
Here’s the video announcement my family made on May 8 on Facebook that to date has more than 3,000 views:
We are very excited about moving, but first we must sell the home we’ve raised our family in for more than 10 years.
Here are the photos so you can see it all:
Imagine what it would be like to live in my home:
You’ll love the breathtaking 2-story entrance to this gorgeously maintained home, with a beautifully landscaped, fenced yard with mature trees, in a quiet cul-de-sac location.
There are a total of 5 large full-sized bedrooms, with one on the main floor currently being used as a home office… bring your biggest furniture and move right in! Gourmet cooks will adore the custom granite countertops, double oven, and extra deep double sink with telescoping faucet in the kitchen. There’s plenty of storage for all your pantry items in the many solid oak cabinets (upper cabinets are a storage DREAM at 42” tall) and large pantry.
Step outside to your big-enough-for-entertaining-a-crowd brick paver patio and into the massive fenced back yard complete with a lush well-manicured green lawn and quaint organic heirloom vegetable garden (already planted for the season!) to pick your herbs and veggies for dinner tonight. Watch the kids play on the wooden play yard in the back while you wash up after dinner and put your dishes into the new stainless steel whisper-quiet dishwasher (all appliances were recently installed at the end of 2014 – all less than 6 months old!).
On weekends, arise slowly in this quiet neighborhood luxuriating in your master suite, complete with two large walk-in closets, custom tile floor, private commode water closet, and large shower. Again, enjoy more storage than you can imagine with space for everything you need in the master suite linen closet, and two linen closets in the upstairs hall. The three remaining guest rooms are all ample-sized for whatever your family and guests would enjoy in each.
Meander down to your basement where you can set up an art studio in one room, an in-home fitness center, and a place for the children to explore their imaginations and play for hours. Or create a workshop in the unfinished area and putter away at whatever hobby projects you revel in most.
If you have a lot of “stuff” you’ll find more storage in the garage with installed cabinets along the back walls, and several closets in the basement, not to mention the under-the-stairs area. Oh yes, don’t forget the shed out back to store your outdoor tools, gear, and equipment of all kinds.
In this family home, sweet babies became middle-schoolers, two successful home businesses were launched, and many happy memories with hours of laughter were created and shared. If these walls could talk, they’d tell you stories of love and life well-lived and now await the next family to begin their new adventure. It’s your time to settle in and get to enjoying life in your new home!
Here are some more facts about the home:
*Entry to house can be wheel chair accessed with sloped entry (no step) and double entry doors.
*2 story foyer with spacious entry and generous-sized double-door guest closet
* Oak stairs with landing on the 2nd floor
* Cathedral ceilings in living room and dining room
* 9 ft ceilings on remaining 1st floor rooms
*New light fixtures
*Many rooms recently painted
*New all stainless steel appliances in kitchen
*42” uppers for kitchen cabinets
*Center island in kitchen
*Eat in kitchen for breakfast table and open to family room.
*Family room with new carpet
*1st floor home office has a closet for a main floor bedroom.
*1st floor bath has full shower with walk/roll in option (perfect for handicap usage)
*1st floor laundry off the garage entry
*All window treatments included (please exclude the 2 girls rooms curtains)
*Large master suite with 2 walk in closets and spacious master bath/double bowl sink and private commode area.
*All bedroom closets have closet organizers.
*New tile in Hall bath and main floor bath
*Basement is full ( no crawl!) and is 85% finished with 3 rooms.
*New water softener
*Lovely fenced back yard with large paver brick patio for summer enjoyment.
*Home warranty included
Contact Felicia [at] Felicia Slattery [dot] com and I’ll schedule a private showing for you or your friends, family, or others you know who would like to live in lovely Oswego, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, close to shopping, great schools, and a perfect place to raise a family. Or send people to this post OR our official home sales page at 711BlossomCt.com
What have I gotten myself into THIS time?!
You can keep up with my progress on Facebook, YouTube and here on my blog (as soon as I’m home from my vacation and get all the videos uploaded everywhere).
I’ll tell you one thing, if it wasn’t for the accountability with my friend, video marketing expert Lou Bortone, and the public promises I made to keep this thing going, I’d have quit by now, less than a week after posting my first video.
But I’m all in. Keep coming back for a new story and lesson each day.
Today’s guest blog post comes from my friend, Nicole Dean, who at a recent keynote “double dog dared” everyone in the room to be more awesome and launched what she calls her “Awesomization Nation.” I call it 30 days of awesome you! You can call it whatever you want, but I urge you to consider joining us. We officially start tomorrow but many of us have been warming up and being awesome since last week!
I Double Dog Dare You to Be Awesome!
By: Nicole Dean
Question: What is Awesomization Nation?
Answer: The Awesomization Nation is a group of awesome entrepreneurs who want to be their awesomest selves. We’ve got hundreds of members already, and each person in the group is posting at least 3 small awesome things they’re doing each day. We encourage members to do a minimum of one thing in their business, one in their lives, and one thing to impact their world or THE world.
Question: Why NOW?
Answer: I was scheduled to give a Keynote at NAMS in March 2015 and the topic was “I Freaking Double-Dog Dare You to Be Awesome” and so the idea for the Awesomization Nation just happened. I wanted to create a movement and the amazing thing is that it’s already taking on a life of its own and we haven’t even officially STARTED yet.
The Awesomization Nation was supposed to start on April 1st, but the members are so eager that they’re already doing awesome every day and posting about it. I’m amazed watching the group and participating in it, too. Joint Ventures are forming, connections are being made, and inspiration is flying everywhere. I honestly am blessed beyond measure that I get to be in this group of positive people.
People are hungry for an invitation to be better versions of themselves, me included. I’m just shocked at how it’s taking off – and thrilled and excited, too!
Question: Will being part of Awesomization Nation help me grow my business or is this just another distraction?
Answer: Being part of the Awesomization Nation will awaken you to potential in your business and your life that you may have stopped seeing. Yes, you’ll receive all kinds of valuable information and inspiration for moving your business forward. But the other important thing is that I want you to have grace to take small steps forward – as long as you ARE moving forward.
For instance, one item you do for the day may be to take 5 minutes to map out the outline of the book that you want to write. Instead of letting 6 more months go by being overwhelmed by the task, break it down and let Awesome You do one part to move that project ahead. Or perhaps an awesome task you might do one day is to schedule a coaching time to talk with Felicia about your Signature Speech™. Instead of putting it off and letting yourself be overwhelmed, take the 5 minutes to book the call, invest in yourself, and walk away ready to rock the stage. That’s definitely what “Awesome You” would do. So do it!
And, to answer your question, YES, it will help you to move your business ahead. Any time you invest in taking action, you’re moving in the right direction. And, these people are definitely taking action. I can’t wait to see where this leads and the RESULTS that our members will get by the end.
Join us at The Awesomization Nation and become more awesome today!
In the years I’ve been teaching the Signature Speech™, one of the main issues I deal with is helping experts understand that the speech is only the beginning of the conversation with the people in the audience who want to know more.
In fact, one of my clients told me yesterday that from one speech she delivered, she booked $16,000 in consulting business within a week or so of the event. Had she insisted on being paid a speaking fee, she would not have been welcome to that stage where her PERFECT clients were sitting in the audience. Speaking for free, selectively and strategically gets results EVERY time. (Of course you can get the same results speaking for a fee, but sometimes the events that don’t pay can yield the greatest profits!)
So that leads to the question about how to ethically get people to join your email list community so you can keep in touch with them to make great things happen and serve them? Thanks to client and friend Shelley Hitz, book writing coach, who inspired this post by asking:
“Do you give [the audience] a link to sign up [for your list] or get them to sign up on a sign up sheet?”
Here’s how I answered:
I ALWAYS use a sign-up sheet passed around the room. I do it that way for several reasons.
- People physically commit to receiving your information in their own writing. That cements for them that they really do want to know more.
- I save those pages and keep them as proof to show any autoresponder service (or even the person himself) later on that they did sign up, if ever there is a challenge of any kind. It’s a way to make sure I’m safe and protected because most people are awesome, but every once in a while you’ll get the occasional mean person who wants to create trouble for you rather than just hitting the unsubscribe button. And yes, some people will reply to your messages and say they never signed up. So it’s easy to show them their own handwriting if they get testy about things. And then hit unsubscribe for them!
- No other method works as well to get everyone in the room who is interested in what you have to offer on your list. I usually get 100%. The mobile app and text people will tell you their way is better, but I have tested every way known to business speakers, and there is something powerful about a plain old sheet of paper with a growing list of names on it being passed to you. You see, there is a psychological trigger of being excluded that comes along with seeing everyone else’s name on a list and the feeling (more than the thought even) that “everyone else is getting this, I don’t want to miss out” because they can see everyone else signing up on the spot. It’s also a concept known as social proof. You don’t get that with mobile because we all know people can be checking their email, Facebook, or texting their friend about dinner plans. No social proof there.
It’s powerful for such a simple, old school thing.
Recently my husband and I enjoyed a week of sun and fun on the 9th Annual Marketer’s Cruise, where we were part of a group of 450+ business owners and marketing professionals on a ship in the Caribbean for networking, meeting new friends, and spending time with old friends.
Because this is a group of marketers, some who are seasoned, but very many newer folks, there are strict rules about what is allowed and what is not in terms of connecting with people during and after the cruise to “sell your stuff.” The definition of “cruise spam” is clear. The rules are:
- Don’t blast everyone with your message, whether via email, social media, or even by dropping your business card by every room associated with the event (yes, someone actually DID that! At least we knew who to steer clear of!).
- Don’t add anyone to your mailing lists who didn’t specifically asked to be added, and especially don’t go through the directory and/or addendum to add people who included their email addresses as part of their profile.
- No overt selling, unless it comes up in conversation that someone tells you directly they are interested in your products or services and they specifically request to know more. Believe me, people will tell you if they are interested in what you have to offer and then the door is open.
The rules are made very clear both in welcome messages sent to each cruiser separately and to the group by means of our private Facebook community, as well as spoken out loud several times on the ship itself by the group coordinator and travel agent, Captain Lou. The rules boil down to STOP selling and see how you can help add value to someone else’s life.
That’s where things get fuzzy. How exactly can you add value? What if, as you’re going through the directory of all the people who attended, you read a bio of someone you didn’t meet on the ship (easy to miss many folks when there are more than 450) who, based on their info looks like they could be a great fit for what you offer? How can you take the conversation off the ship and outside of the Facebook community to see if there is some interest?
What led to this particular blog post was a spammy Facebook private message both my husband and I received yesterday. I described it and asked in the Facebook community:
So, is it considered “cruise spam” for my husband and I to have received the same exact “buy my stuff” private Facebook message from someone neither of us is friends with here and someone neither of us had any conversation with? Or is that just to be assumed as “follow up” (albeit it bad form & poorly done) by someone in a group of marketers? Overall I’ve been impressed with the personal follow up and connection, but now I just feel like I need a shower.
After confirming comments from Anita and Sarah that the message would indeed be considered spammy, one kind and forgiving soul, Scott, suggested maybe the person sending me the spammy message was new, but as it turns out, this person is far from new and even appeared on stage at the event, so theoretically should know better. Why I decided to write this post today is other commenters asked what is the best way to connect, summarized nicely by this question from Susan:
“So any suggestions on how to connect beyond the cruise without being spammy? For fear of being spammy, I haven’t really connected with a lot of people on the cruise that much after the cruise. I would love the connection because I want to know what they do, what are their upcoming events, projects and how we can help each other.”
And then our fearless leader even chimed in, Captain Lou himself, saying others may also be able to benefit from my thoughts. And here we are!
True Connection 101
How you connect with others after a business event of any kind, depends completely on the kind of interaction you had while at the event itself. What follows are my suggestions for how to do that in a way that builds a relationship, whether you buy from each other or not.
Situation 1: Met the person, had a conversation where they expressed interest in what you do as a potential product or service for themselves or someone they know:
This one is the easiest by far. If a person says, “I’d like to talk more with you about this after the event,” that’s your open door. Send an email, private message, or make a phone call to talk with that person more. In the message or at the beginning of the conversation remind the person how you met and a little about your conversation. At longer events and/or where there are hundreds of participants, while we all like to think we are memorable, it’s nice to help the other person connect your name and your face with a reminder of your conversation.
However do NOT simply add that person to your email list without asking first. Better yet, give that person your card and tell her how she can add herself to your list if she would like by offering something for free, for example.
Situation 2: Met the person, hung out for a little while, but business didn’t come up or no direct interest was expressed in what you do.
Let’s say you sat next to a person at one of the shows, or sang karaoke together, or did a cruise excursion to the same place and enjoyed your conversation enough that you decided to check out your new friend because work really didn’t come up. Look for the person in the directory of attendees, visit his social media page, or even Google him or otherwise find his website. Connect on social media for sure. Then if it feels like there might be a good fit, send a private message or email that looks like this:
“Hi John! I really enjoyed hanging out with you at the shore excursion to the Mayan ruins on Belize. I’m sorry we didn’t run into each other much the rest of the cruise. First, I wanted to send you this photo I took of us [or of you and your wife or whatever…].
Second, I had a few minutes to visit your website today and it looks like you’re up to some cool things. I loved your blog post about [be specific about something on his site that you really did like so he knows you’re not just spamming; actually comment on the blog post first. Or watch a video and comment. You get it.]. That got me to thinking we never did get around to talking about business. I don’t know if you had a chance to look at my website, but it’s YourWebsite.com and I thought, if you’re up for it, I’d love to talk to you about what you’re working on. Maybe there’s someone I can connect you with, or a project you’re working on that I might be able to offer help with in some way, and vice versa. What do you think? Of course I understand if you’re busy, and either way, it was great to spend some time with you and look forward to talking more soon!
– Your signature
PS Based on your website [post recently on Facebook, etc.], I think you might enjoy or find value in my free report [webinar, checklist, mp3, whatever…] Title That Would Make Sense to This Person. You can get it here: LinkToYourFreeGift.com
I would not send a link to my calendar at this time. Yes, it would save time if the person wants to say yes, but it presumes too much. If the person emails back yes and does not send you his calendar link to schedule, then send yours. If the person replies back with a no thank you, or a not right now, then stay connected on social media.
Situation 3: You did NOT meet the person or you met only in passing.
With hundreds of people, it’s not likely you will meet everyone. But if you’re looking for leads from the event and don’t want to offend anyone, or worse, get banned from the group, here’s one way to connect.
First, visit the person’s website, blog, or social media accounts and comment on posts, share, retweet, pin, etc. Second, connect on social media. Third, send a PERSONAL message that goes something like this:
We didn’t have a chance to meet each other / or have a conversation on the recent marketers cruise, and now that I’m looking through the directory of attendees, I’m wishing we had. Although between my hubby and I loving all the fun shore excursions and the shows on the ship, I didn’t get to Pizza and Profits until later in the evenings. I’m really sorry I missed you, because as I was reading your entry in the directory you mentioned that you’re looking for help with [be specific, using the same language they used] and that’s just what I do for my clients.
If you want to know a little more about me, you can see me on page 268 of the addendum. I even created a special gift just for cruisers called, “The Marketers Cruise Guide to Speaking and Profits.” You can pick that up for free at http://FeliciaSlattery.com/cruisegift.
I took a few minutes to visit your webiste [blog, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel] and really like how you [be specific and give an honest compliment]. Also, I noticed a couple of things you could quickly and easily change that might make a big difference for you. I made you a super short video showing you what I mean that you can see privately here [use Jing or another screen capture video to add value by sharing immediately or don’t make a video, but offer a suggestion.] I’m actually doing a free webinar on that next week / or / if you’d like to talk a little more about it, I’d love to connect now.
You may not hear back right away, or at all. If this person seems like a good fit, you can copy the same message into a social media private message or email (whichever you didn’t use the first time) and suggest that with all the filters in place, you wanted to be sure the person received your message. If you don’t hear back again, and the person honestly looks like a good fit for what you do, move them to your offline direct marketing campaign path and send a print newsletter, your book, a post card, a direct response letter, or something else. Make it personal. Make it about them. Offer a specific solution to a specific problem they may have.
Situation 4: You want to know more about someone’s services (without feeling spammed).
No one likes to feel sold to, but everyone like to buy things, especially things we want and need. If you meet someone you think has a product or service that could help you, you can simply join their email list to see what they send, connect and follow them by paying attention on social media, or if you’re ready for the “big guns” of sales that some marketers use, tell them directly and ask for an appointment to talk more about your needs. Before the conversation, be clear on what EXACTLY you need, how you want it delivered, and what your budget is. Then it’s your job to see if the product or service is a good fit for your needs and the business owner should be listening to you to determine if you are a good fit for them.
Under no circumstances:
- DO NOT: Have an assistant copy and paste the same generic message over and over again, whether it’s in email or on social media. Even if it sounds sort of personal or is written by someone who knows how to write copy, it’s still spam.
- DO NOT: Send unsolicited “here’s my free stuff” messages without any reason related to the person you’re “reaching out” to.
- DO NOT: Treat anyone as a number or just “another lead.” Every number in your funnel represents a person; a human being with needs and wants, hopes and dreams. They deserve to be respected, even if they don’t want to buy from you.
Finally, I’ll end with a story. My husband, Brent, and I met a wonderful couple, Dutch and Vanessa, on the cruise. We spent several evenings chatting, hanging out, and just having fun. If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know it’s rare to find couples friends, where the husbands have things in common, the wives have things in common, and even the opposite husband and wife have things in common. That was us with Dutch and Vanessa.
Naturally, the topic of business came up a few times with Dutch and Vanessa, but it was simply where the conversation went, rather than any one person trying to sell another. During one part of our conversation, after Dutch told me more about what he does for his clients, I suggested maybe we could talk about him helping me. And what he said next will stick with me for a long time. In that moment, he could have moved in to set up an appointment or tried to sell me on the spot. Perhaps instead, he could have been preparing me for a let down that maybe my business isn’t at the volume that his company requires or that we might not be a good fit, but he said,
“I don’t know if we will end up working together or if we won’t. But no matter what happens with work, I’d like to stay great friends.”
Doing business is about creating authentic connections and real relationships so we can help each other succeed.
Anything else just makes you look like a jerk out for only yourself.
Me and my big mouth. (Or maybe I should say “fast fingers” instead.)
When my friend and colleague, Kelly McCausey over at SoloSmarts.com mentioned on her Facebook page that she was issuing a challenge and tagged a few other friends, I chimed in something about how fun a throwdown is. And then she invited ME to do it, too.
Well, I can’t turn down a challenge – it’s my competitive nature. So here is the challenge, as Kelly described it:
Answer my challenge, create your own Best of the Blog list and leave a link as a comment and I promise to share it with everyone in my community (just like I’ve shared mine).Rules of Entry:
- Your post must list and link to at least 10 blog items you’ve chosen as faves.
- Tell your readers you’re answering my Challenge and link back to my post.
- Leave the link in a comment on my post.
- Give your post some social media love of course!
- Deadline: 5pm Eastern on Tuesday, December 30th
Did you catch that last line, I highlighted it in red so you wouldn’t miss it? yep. The deadline was only a few hours away.
My first thought… dang, do I even have 10 posts from this year? LOL I share a lot of content in a lot of places, but Kelly’s challenge is a reminder to me to blog even more frequently with some of that content.
So without further ado, here is my list. I decided to share categories:
First, I see part of my job as protecting my readers from scams, so I post whenever I hear about a scam against speakers:
Then there are lessons learned that speakers can use:
(No image – just a cool music video!)
If you want to be a successful speaker, but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas about that and getting past the nerves!
This was a promo I wrote for a webinar that people loved because of the title and how the post pointed out the obvious that just because the advice is common, doesn’t mean it makes sense!
And then was a product I created called Speaker One-Sheet Templates where I shared a bunch of training on how to use those to get more speaking gigs and such, so even if people didn’t use my templates, they could definitely benefit from the posts.
And finally, something you should do in your business, if you haven’t done yet: