Five Challenges Every Marketer Faces

What keeps marketers up at night? Here are the top five challenges for marketing executives I’ve discovered through online interaction in the first half of 2014, with suggested solutions:Social Media Rubics Cube

1) Creating Awareness and Driving Traffic

Why is this a challenge? Before your prospects raise their hands to learn more about your product or service, you must first create awareness in their minds.

Marketers need to have a large enough universe of interested prospects and know how to reach these people to bring in the highest return.

Suggestion: Analyze which channels of communication to prospects you’re getting the highest return on and immediately focus on these markets. Gradually experiment with communicating to new markets and keeping only the market segments you get the highest ROI from. Are you using the right online channels (YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) where your audience will be? Are you effectively blogging and creating helpful content for your prospects and customers?

2) Reaching the Right Prospects Effectively

Why is this a challenge? To be at maximum effectiveness, a marketer needs to identify key buyer traits and determine how to create awareness within this buyer’s psyche.

Marketers need to fulfill a relevant need or desire of a prospect and be sure marketing communications communicates in the right places where this prospect would be. This is not an easy task.

Suggestion: Develop a detailed analysis of your target universe. Consider buyer demographics, identify their needs and develop a profile of each of your buyer universes. Determine what your prospects are looking for and how you can provide for those needs and wants.

3) Using Social Media to Generate Sales

Why is this a challenge? Few marketers know how to use social media to generate sales. A simple social media presence isn’t enough. There is a science to targeting and engaging on social networks that eventuate in new business.

Suggestion: Intelligent management of social influencers as to timing of posts, content of posts, etc. draw a marketer and prospect closer to a sale.

4) Staying Current with Marketing Trends and Strategies

Why is this a challenge? Marketing has changed dramatically, especially in the last decade with advances in Internet technology. Social media is a new preferred means of two-way communication between marketer and prospects. So how does a professional marketer stay current?

Suggestion: Stay abreast of current marketing trends and strategies by following leading marketing bloggers and Internet resources.

5) Measure and Understand Your Marketing Efforts

Why is this a challenge? Analytical tools abound and paint accurate pictures of a marketer’s efforts. A marketer has to prove that invested effort, time and money are worthwhile.

Suggestion: Professional marketers should be able to connect every prospect and customer back to a specific marketing initiative. Use all available analytics to determine which marketing activities are generating leads and ultimately customers. Copy what’s working and drop what’s not working.

Stay current with technology, reach out to prospects in unique and professional ways and constantly analyze for best results.Reaching Your Target Market

Mike McCann

Business Development in an Uptight World

Skydiving“Formula this,” “system that.” Everyone in business development wants to cling to “safe.” Everywhere I turn, people seem to be uptight about stepping out to do anything “different” when it comes to business development. Granted, you need to know your prospects and customers very well before you suggest one of these five activities, but…why be a “cookie cutter” businessperson?

1) Skydiving for Business Development
For adventurous among us who have ample life insurance, skydiving has a way of building bonds when you’re facing open sky several thousand feet from earth with just a parachute and instructor to depend on. Safe to say, you’ll be remembered with your prospects and customers for years to come.

Several years ago, I took a flight in a small plane from a small airport. When we were returning on final approach, I was amazed to see lots of people coming down from the sky in the approximate area where we were planning to land. Turns out, there was a skydiving school right next to a flight school.

2) Afternoon Road Trip for Business Development
There’s no substitute for getting out of the office with prospects or customers on a trip together to give the two of you a chance to unwind, relax and get past the routine chatter.

Pick up your business acquaintance in a nice vehicle (I often go in a rental car) around 3:00 p.m. on a weekday for a one- to two-hour road trip to a nice restaurant in a nearby city. Being on the road for an hour or two each way gives the two of you a chance to chat about personal and business matters…getting to know each other on a deeper level. The destination is icing on the cake. Leaving at 3:00 p.m. gives both of you a chance to get in a lot of work for that day.

3) Participate in a Recreational Activity for Business Development
I enjoy an activity where the weather will not make it uncomfortable to go back to the office in the afternoon (e.g., lunch boat cruise, walking through a large mall and lunch).

I prefer a weekday mid-day schedule for a recreational activity because there is not much time out of the routine day and the activity you participate can be anything but routine.

When you break away from what everyone else does for business development, staying within good taste, you have memories to share with prospects and customers. Good memories build bonds.

Mike McCann

Using the OODA Loop in Business Development

OODA LoopWhether you’re looking out for the next big customer, making a move before your competitors do, or assessing the current state of your industry, you need to be sharp-sighted and decisive. The OODA Loop gives you a great way to maintain this edge and stay proactive in a rapidly changing business world. By using the OODA Loop, you can be quick in your decision-making, and make changes to your strategy quickly and decisively.

Background of OODA Loop

The OODA Loop was originated by Colonel John R. Boyd, fighter pilot. Boyd theorized that decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.

Your job in business development is to create and retain business, respond decisively to fast-changing conditions, and defeat your rivals. That’s why the OODA loop, the brainchild of “40 Second” Boyd, an unconventional fighter pilot, is one of today’s most important ideas in battle or in business development.

Applying the OODA Loop to Business Development

1. Observation includes gathering information on what’s happening in a company and its environment. A business development professional will know what information is relevant and what information to disregard.

2. Orientation includes processing streams of incoming real-time event information. Business development professionals need to actively monitor prospects, customers and competitors by calculating key performance indicators, making predictions and preparing real-time business options.

3. Decision-making. The quicker, the better.

4. Action. The quicker, the better.

The key to better business development is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your competitors while you simultaneously clarify your competitors’ intentions. Operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your competitors from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause competitors to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.

In business development, you gather information (observe), form hypotheses about customer activity and the intentions of competitors (orient), make decisions, and act on them. The cycle is constantly reoccurring. The aggressive and conscious application of this process gives a business advantage to you over a competitor who is merely reacting to conditions as they occur, or has poor awareness of the situation.

The OODA approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

Observe, orient, decide, and act (continuously).Decision Making

Mike McCann

QR Codes Aid Business Development

With many businesspeople having smartphones, use of QR Codes in business development collateral is rising. The business development collateral can illustrate a visual and few words with pages upon pages accessible via clicking the accompanying QR Code.QR Codes

QR Codes are free, simple to create and accessible to every advertiser. Creating QR Codes requires no special technology. Sending readers to campaign-, list-, or channel-specific web pages, you can track which lists, channels, and other segments of your business development campaign are most effective.

Here are five ideas for using QR Codes for business development:

• Point to Web pages specific to the business development campaign, not to a homepage.

• Optimize all pages for smartphone access.

• Provide major benefits to prospects and customers for scanning your QR Code. Consider a “how-to” video or relevant product information and customer reviews.

• Create a QR Code with “readability” in mind.

• Test your QR Codes before publishing to make sure your intentions for business development match reality.

You’ll be amazed at what you can “place” in a QR Code to bring your marketing collateral for business development to life. Give it a try…

Mike McCann

Business Development Activities Away from the Office

Business Development Out of the OfficeGet out of your office to growing your business! Business development is person-to-person and staying in your office is often an impediment to business revenues. Here are three fun activities to engage prospects and customers

1) Dinner (or Lunch) Theatre

Prospects and customers have to eat…why not combine great entertainment with food and business for an enjoyable time? Consider arriving early enough to engage in conversation, with dinner (or lunch) provided and movie or play to follow.

As you get to know your prospects and customers, you will have a good idea of what entertainment genres they are interested in for choosing the right theatre choice. Prospects and customers I’ve met at theatres love the idea of a one-stop meal and entertainment venue.

2) Festivals

There are approximately 12 national major holidays in America annually. (Many nations have similar quantity of major holidays yearly). With numerous festivals associated with national holidays, you have a great opportunity to enjoy life and indulge in business development with prospects and customers at a festival.

3) Traveling Together on a Train, Plane, Automobile

When I lived in South Texas and worked with a resin tabletop business, my key business partner was in Dallas. The two of us would often travel on Southwest Airlines together between South Texas, Dallas and trade shows giving us quality time to talk face-to-face.

On the east coast of America, train travel is feasible…great chance to work out business details with prospects and customers while traveling. Californians love their cars…offer to drive a prospect or customer to the airport and talk personal topics and business on the way. Each geographic area in the world has a prevalent mode of travel…use travel to your advantage for business development.

Business development (and revenues) will head north when you get out of your office with prospects and customers to “talk shop” and have fun together.

Mike McCann

3 Fun Business Development Lunches

Business Lunches Can Be FunTired of going to the same old blah! business lunches for business development? If you know your prospects and customers well enough, suggest one of these three ideas for your next business lunch and watch business development go to a long-term relationship:

1. Reading Food Labels at an Upscale Grocery Store
This is fun and eye-opening! I was in a customer’s office with whom I felt very comfortable with, so I suggested we go to lunch at a nearby restaurant and then go to an upscale neighborhood grocery store to read food labels for fun. He thought this was a great idea.

Nothing special about our lunch venue selection, but going to a grocery store with white shirts and ties going up-and-down the aisles looking at ingredients of popular foods was a blast! People seeing two grown men reading food labels in the middle of the day probably thought we worked for the grocery store…we didn’t care because it was an entertaining break.
By the way, as a result of reading food labels, I no longer eat Oreo cookies or processed cheese. George, my lunch companion, loosened up and we had great conversations.

2. Bakery with Take-Out
Treating your prospects or customers to lunch at a bakery serving sandwiches and light foods not only develops business relationships with your direct contacts but with support staff as well.

Business development at the bakery is easy enough with all of us enjoying our selection of light foods and carrying on light conversation. What makes this experience special is that I order enough bakery products for prospects and customers to take to their office staff immediately after lunch.

To date, no one has been able to resist the great aroma of bread and cookies at the office…and they know who brought this afternoon snack to them. I top this off with each person at the office receiving their favorite beverage (soft drink, iced tea). The office staff may encourage their boss to go to lunch with you because you remember them afterwards.

3. On the Water – Boat or Beach
Few things in life are as relaxing as being on, or next to, a desirable body of water. If you live in a coastal area, this is a guaranteed method for conducting relaxing business development. Every prospect and customer I’ve suggested a water activity to has eagerly accepted.

If you own a boat, treat your prospects and customers to a Saturday or Sunday cruise, ski adventure or picnic using your boat to move from the dock to desirable places along a route.

If you want someone else to skipper, there are many commercial boat services that have lunch, dinner and theme cruises.
When I lived in Southern California close to a beach, I received a call one day around 10:30 a.m. from our Pitney Bowes representative. A call from this vendor was no surprise, but what was different was that I could hear the sound of surf in the background over the phone.

When I mentioned I could hear surf in the background, this representative told me he was just down the street at the Corona del Mar beach and asked if I would like to have pick up some easy food selections and join him at the beach. “Sure,” I said. We had a great time and I’ll never forget this unusual business lunch.

Use what you have around you to create a unique and memorable business lunch for business development. Mixing business with pleasure is still a possibility.

Mike McCann

Using Complaints for Business Development

Complaints for Business DevelopmentComplaints are great! You know you’re touching a person’s senses when they complain. If you’re interested in a persons’ business, touching their senses is exactly what you want for business development.

It’s your responsibility to make sure prospects and customers are happy with the progress of your business relationship. Never assume all is fine because you don’t hear complaints because people are often reticent to complain. Complaints will become manifest when you notice a dip in your business appointments or sales.

Complaints should be an important part of your business development. You should actively seek out what prospects and customers think about your products and services. Actively seeking out other persons’ thoughts about your business shows others that you are genuinely concerned about providing the finest service possible.

Here are 10 suggestions for using complaints for business development:

1. Assume that prospects and customers are genuine and honest, wanting to find resolution to a perceived problem with your business.

2. Stay relaxed and don’t get defensive when you encounter complaints. Let dissatisfied prospects and customers fully divulge their thoughts.

3. Take a genuine concern in resolving complaints. Have a person in as senior position as possible contact the complainer to try and achieve satisfaction.

4. Quickly apologize and express your appreciation for a person sharing their genuine thoughts…regardless of whether you believe the person is right or wrong.

5. Show respect and listen aggressively to the complainer.

6. Show understanding with prospects and customers.

7. Ask unhappy prospects and customers what they want to see to resolve their complaints to their satisfaction.

8. If practical, try to give complainants what they ask for. If you cannot give what a complainant asks for, be polite and offer what you can.

9. If complainant wants his or her problem to be escalated to higher management, politely do so (make sure you’ve taken detailed notes to this point).

10. Actively look for reoccurring problems with your products and services that solicit customer service time and resources…cover these negative issues quickly to improve your intangible and tangible offerings.

Using complaints for business development will make your business stronger and more profitable. It behooves every businessperson to develop an effective strategy for the reoccurring issues and continue to chip away at these issues.

Think of complaints this way: The fewer complaints you routinely receive, the easier your day and the more the customer service department can do to increase the value of your offerings.

Mike McCann

Writing Product Descriptions That Sell in 7 Steps

CopywritingWriting effective product descriptions that sell is a learned system you can repeat over and over for your products and services. Question: How well do your product descriptions sell?

The secret to writing effective product descriptions is to engage, persuade and sell. Does your copy encourage readers to try or buy? Or, do you solely describe your product or service and tell prospects what it does? Here’s a proven system to help you move prospects “off the fence”…

1. Define Your Likely Buyer
You not only need to create your target audience with knowledge of demographics, etc. but you need to know what makes your prospects laugh, become skeptical, become convinced…the psychographics of prospects and customers.

Think about what your prospects and customers read, websites they visit, what keeps them up at night, how they make decisions…because knowing this will enable you to create copy that “speaks” to your prospects and tap into their emotions.

Knowing your prospects and customers intimately will transform product-centric descriptions into customer-centric descriptions, with vivid, personal and persuasive product descriptions. Here’s how this system works:

2. Create a Comprehensive List of Features and Benefits
You know all about your products and services and want to tell the world everything, but wait…

Prospects and customers don’t care about intricate details, but they do care about what your product or service does for them. How does your prospect or service make life easier? Which problems does your offering solve?

List all features and details about your products and services and then translate them into benefits. Features are facts. Benefits are explanations of what features do for the customer, phrased as a positive (e.g., improves productivity) or as a problem solver (e.g., reduces payroll). Try to mix positive benefits with problems that are avoided in your copy.

Many people are risk-averse, so it’s smart to include references as to how your product or service avoids solve problems.

3. Create Your “Personality”
Creating your “personality” entails coming across to prospects and customers as authenticity. With an “authentic voice,” you have a good chance of engaging prospects and customers.

Your “personality” can differentiate you from your competitors, giving the public a strong impression of your organization’s culture. Rather than say you’re fun to be with, illustrate this fact in your content using professional humor. Rather than saying your customer service is above reproach, show that you’re friendly, approachable and interested in upright business practices.

4. Create Rapid-View Copy
People read a small fraction of the words on a website. To encourage people to buy your product or service, people need to read your copy. How do you bring prospects and customers from skimming your copy and start reading your content?

Create an easy-to-scan and easy-to-read format with subheadings having a large font size and the body of content having an easy-to-read font size for prospects of all ages.

Subheadings typically focus on a benefit, while the body verbiage provides a more detailed explanation. Adding pictures and simple animations provide comfort, increasing the prospect’s possibility of testing.

To make your product descriptions rapid-view and easy to read, use:

• Subheads to encourage scanners to start reading
• Bullet points to attract attention to key points
• Larger fonts than usual to improve readability
• Video or photography to create “authenticity”
• Ample white space to guide readers through your content and make your content a pleasurable experience

5. Write a First Draft
Once you’ve done your target market research and have pinned your content outline, writing your first draft becomes relatively easy.

Outline your list of features, benefits and objections and rank each one of them in a systematic way that your prospect will find easy to follow.

Create comprehensive and persuasive copy by conveying all of the benefits of your product or service, making sure you cover all the common objections.

6. To Be Persuasive, Product Descriptions Require Editing
Editing is more than correcting typos and grammar mistakes. Professional editing makes your copy more readable, engaging and persuasive:

• Review your list of features and benefits to be sure you didn’t miss anything.
• Review your “engagement” level. Is your copy focused on your prospect and customer? Highly engaging copy uses the word you more often than your brand or product name and the words I, we, and us.
• Replace difficult words with simple words and reduce the average sentence length.
• Replace clichés and generic phrases with specific details. Specificity increases your credibility. Include numbers where possible to bolster credibility.

Picture yourself conversing with your prospect and read your copy aloud. Do you stumble on words or phrases? Is your copy engaging and persuasive?

Keep editing your copy until you feel certain your buyer will purchase.

7. Emphasize Two to Three Key Phrases for Search Engines
When you write to engage your prospects and customers, using phrases they use, you’ll be optimizing your product descriptions for search engines.

• Leave the jargon at home and use words your prospects understand
• Use your key phrases in your headline, subheadings and body text
• Use your key phrases in your images, along with file name, image description and alt tag.

CopywritingThink about your prospects and customers. Consider how you can make his life easier. Speak in specificity with appropriate benefits and turn your product descriptions into sales.

Mike McCann

Effective Introductory Sales Letters

GBC - Business-Development - May 15, 2014Forget almost everything you’ve learned about writing effective introductory sales letters. Most business letters are dull and void of human empathy.

Yes, you do need to write a professional note or letter (depending on familiarity) in business, but you do not need to show a lack of personality and high-levels of robotic writing.

With electronic communication being so routine, an aesthetically-pleasing handwritten letter will make a BIG impact on senior-level executives because handwritten letters are as rare as a modern dinosaur.

Key to an impact-getting effective introductory sales letter is to be professional and unique. Be only professional and you come across as “dull” and yawn-inducing. Be only unique and you come across as “weird” or out-of-touch with business protocol.

Professional and unique introductory sales letters make a professional impression and open the door to a phone call or face-to-face meeting. There are rules-of-thumb that help you advance your note beyond the executive assistant to your intended decision maker and motivate your intended decision maker to being interested in seeing you.

1) Use the five-second rule when designing direct sales letters opening statements and headlines. You must grab attention in five seconds; that’s about ten words comfortably; fifteen to twenty words at most. This implies a headline, which is why headlines are often used. If you prefer not to use a headline, fine, but still you need to grab attention in your opening paragraph in five seconds.

2) Keep the sentences short.

3) Date at upper right.

4) Recipient’s first name or salutation and last name at upper left.

5) Attention-grabbing headline or first sentence.

6) Credibility and relevance statement to establish your credentials and explain your proposition in a single statement or paragraph.

7) “How” and “why” statement with special characteristics of your proposition.

8) Suggestion of similar opportunities for recipient’s business.

9) Action/follow-up statement – what happens next…

10) Your signature.

11) P.S. (not mandatory, but usually helps).

The letter as a whole must aim make the reader think “Yes, that’s of interest to me, and I like the style of the letter. I can imagine at least talking to this person without feeling I’m just another prospect…”

GBC - Business-Development - May 15, 2014 - Number 2Writing effective introductory sales letters definitely bring new and substantial business over the long-term. Break the inertia barrier and start reaping new business rewards. If you want additional tips for this introductory letter, e-mail me.

Mike McCann

“Listening” for Business Development

GBC-Listening-May 8, 2014On a simple human level, what is one of the key things we wish for from acquaintances and colleagues in business? Answer: A real live human being nearby who has mastered the art of listening.

So many people in business are so full of self-importance and insecurities that they believe they can speak like experts in all things and prove competence in but a few things.

Think about it…what do prospects and customers, just like you and me, want? Answer: Someone who is a great listener. For long-term business development, we should move from “talk, talk, talk” to “listen, listen, and listen.

When listening, be quiet and absorb what the other person is saying (and not saying). Skill in analyzing verbal and nonverbal signals will help you put the complete picture of your conversation together so you can customize your business development proposal.

Chances are that if you are genuinely attentive to the other person, that person will take notice and, in turn, listen to what you say. First, though, you must listen and absorb the other person’s feelings and meanings so you can address the other persons’ issues you have solutions for.

GBC-ThanksforListening-May 8, 2014Skills in listening not only build long-term business relationships but will help with your personal relationships as well. Take the 30-day “active listener” challenge for one month and you will notice positive results, both in business and your personal life.

Mike McCann

Cruising for Business

Meetings at SeaCruising for business is not going to replace hotels, but it’s definitely a nice and relaxing alterative for your prospects and customers. Imagine sitting at a conference roundtable and being able to look out the window at the turquoise sea for creativity and pinning agreements.

Facilitating a meeting at sea with your prospects and customers (and their families) means you don’t have to go far for a:
• conference meeting
• business meal
• first-class entertainment

Where else can you be within 1,000 feet of prospects and customers for three or more days night and day? This is what a corporate event should look like. Business cruising builds in the social and land-excursion time needed to get clarity of thinking and share new experiences with business colleagues for long-term business.

A businessperson facilitating a business cruise has access to amenities on cruise ships that otherwise might not be affordable. In addition, participants only need to unpack once!

Cruise lines are also interested in attracting corporate business because the lead time the cruise line has to organize is longer. Cruise lines routinely plan three- to five-night programs in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and shorter cruises out of South Florida to fit business timetables.

In addition to the importance of the cruise itinerary, it’s important to evaluate the quality of food onboard and size of cruise line staterooms. There is a definite difference among cruise lines.

Relaxing Business Meeting at SeaIf you’re accustomed to meetings on land and have never tried a cruise, you may want to cruise for business.

Mike McCann

Business Development During Holidays

Friendly Gathering in LobbyBusiness development efforts during holiday periods often change routines. Use this change in business development routine to your advantage with a change in your business routine as well.

Here are three ideas to “fit in” to the holiday business routine with your business development efforts that produce a “WOW” factor:

1. Host a holiday party (can be any national holiday) via Skype.

Send an invitation to your key prospects and customers, along with a nice drink mix of their choice, inviting them to come together at a pre-determined time on video Skype for just holiday cheer.

2. Provide decision maker assistants drinks of their choice.

During encounters with people in your prospects’ and customers’ offices, find out what drink each person likes the most. Before a holiday break, bring (or have delivered) an inexpensive Styrofoam ice chest with a customized selection of drinks for people in that office.

3. Invite prospects and customers to join you for a charity event.

Holidays are the time when many charities hold events where volunteers are desperately needed. This can be a fishing tournament on the coast, a Thanksgiving meal at a coliseum for the homeless, escorting giant balloons at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade… Find out, from event sponsors, details for volunteering and email/call prospects and customers inviting them to join you. Great chance for face-to-face relationship building.

Key is fostering an environment where prospects and customers feel like they belong and can relax. I have an annual “No Reason to Get Together But Enjoyment” mixer where my prospects and customers participate with NO expectations as to behavior. Because there are NO expectations for results, there are usually very productive results.

Business development is built on healthy business relationships. Create a fun and relaxing environment for your business community and revenue is guaranteed to increase.

People at Charity EventHappy Year-Round Holidays!

Mike McCann

Smart Planning Leads to Business Success

Online ShoppingIf you have a quality product, aggressive marketing and well-thought-out branding, you can achieve success quickly and leave competition in the dust.

Here are four suggestions to get your business development in overdrive quickly:

1. Keep quality high and affordable prices. Consumers LOVE both in the same product or service.

2. Be ready to take advantage of your competitor’s missteps and acquire market share from inept competitors.

3. Provide a simple shopping experience. If you have ecommerce, keep the checkout cart quick and simple. If you have a storefront, establish checkout lanes that move quickly.

4. Give customers what they want. Research, research and research to see what “flips your customers switch.” Figure out a profitable way to flip customers’ switch in your direction.

Rapid business development is easy when you focus on customers and keep a simple growth formula (four points above). All possible trips off the tree limbs of business development should be well thought out in advance to keep your growth momentum ongoing.Business Growth

Mike McCann

Business Development with Twitter

Twitter for BusinessIf you’re like many business development professionals, you may feel reticent about the effectiveness of Twitter’s social media. Twitter is undoubtedly a major social network…just how effective can it be for a professional in business development

You often see Twitter feeds on all media and often on business cards. Use this medium to communicate your “30-second pitch” in 140 characters. Interact with prospects and customers easily because all parties can be anywhere in the world and quickly communicate.

Here is a simple, effective method you can use to build an engaged following of prospects and customers in just a few minutes a day. This method is built around knowing both your own customers and the people who are your likely prospects, and who are active on Twitter.

Let’s look at each stage of this preparation so we know we’re starting off on the right foot:

1, Know your customers well – what do your customers like to do when not on the job (boating, traveling, cooking…)? What issues are important to your customers (building a profitable account base)?

2. Know several business development professionals who represent where you want to be when you become successful at building your business.

3. Find some of the business development professionals from number 2 on Twitter. Some of these professionals will have blogs, some will have e-mail lists and all of these things may become important to you in the future.

Next, let’s see how these three elements come together into a simple strategy to build your own Twitter following in just a few minutes a day.

Okay, here’s the plan…

It’s simple, and I’ve broken it down into six steps for you.

1. Search for the professionals in prospects and customers you’ve identified.

2. Go to their profile and click on the “Followers” link.

3. Set an alarm for 10 minutes.

4. Scroll through the follower list looking for similar people to your prospects and customers. Ignore accounts with the words “social media” anywhere in the person’s bio and accounts with no photo of a person’s face.

5. Click the “follow” button” on the people who look promising to you.

6. When the alarm goes off, quit for the day.

You’ll find that you can follow these steps quite quickly, and in 10 minutes you’ll be able to follow at least 30 people…probably more.

But keep in mind, this isn’t about numbers. What we’re doing is trying to find the people most likely to be interested in our products or services. Then, we let the human tendency to reciprocate when someone “compliments” us in some way – like following us on Twitter – come into play. It’s just natural to do it, especially if you seem to be part of the same community.

Knowing this, you’ll want to make sure your own Twitter profile is what it should be, considering you now understand what role it plays. Your profile, including your photo, should clearly indicate the value you contribute and who is most likely to benefit from it. This allows people to qualify themselves into your community of followers. And that’s why this list will be engaged when you carry through on the promise made by your profile.

Twitter for BusinessFor just 10 minutes a day, you can build a substantial network quickly.

Mike McCann

Business Development Builders

ICANN - Global Business CafeBusiness development is not difficult…far too many people just create unnecessary work for themselves and lower effectiveness. Here are four business development builders designed to create personal and business success:

Business development professionals listen to learn.

Business development personnel consciously train to present themselves to colleagues, employees, business associates and investors for the maximum business effectiveness. In all this training, though, business development specialists may forget how to listen. People have been shown to cherry-pick what they want to hear and conveniently disregard all else.

Common is the business development professional who comes away from an important meeting or event thinking that all went well when, in fact, others had no interest in what you were communicating.

To overcome this communication block, business development professionals can create open-ended questions to discover what other people are thinking. For example, “What do you think of ___” indicating whether the other person is a good prospect or not.

Business development personnel cannot please everyone.

You cannot achieve any level of success in business or personal life without attracting detractors. Don’t let these detractors pull you down. Consider your detractors’ context. Were negative remarks made by an insecure rival? A disgruntled customer?
Address legitimate issues, but otherwise don’t let detractors de-rail you from your goals. Seasoned business development professionals realize it’s impossible to be all things to all people. As soon as you try to please everyone, you’ll no longer have a business that is different enough to attract business.

Business development professionals create their own networks.

Instead of joining a wide variety of networking organizations, create your own. Start your own Meetup group or host a special event.

When you start your own networking group or host our own event, it’s a way that others see you as different in a positive way. Selling is not the key here, but initiating and facilitating an event that adds value for your prospects and customers.

Business development personnel take time off to rejuvenate.

There’s a feeling that successful business development personnel need to be working around the clock 24/7. That strategy may work for a short time, but not over the long haul.

Successful business development executives religiously take time off from work to relax and stay fresh. Not only is a routine of relaxation beneficial for one’s health, it’s beneficial for everyone in this person’s periphery. For maximum effectiveness, a business development professional needs to maintain “recharged batteries” in a discharging world.

GB-1-FishbowlBusiness development professionals listen and create…prospects and customers respond.

Mike McCann