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Building Relationships in Your Network: How a $20 Gift Can Have a Huge Impact

We believe relationships power great businesses. So our team at Contactually is always working on how we can help empower great relationships, through proven and new methods.

We’ve heard of Basketball Diplomacy — how about Basketball Relationships? Hmm, maybe not as news-worthy or “diplomatic,” but along the same lines for relationship building.

I got the chance to meet with Stephen, a local executive with plenty of connections, on a miserably cold day (so cold that the local school systems had shut down). He and I admittedly had a very weak connection — a weak intro via LinkedIn through a weak mutual contact.

We had a great conversation, and what came out clearly was that he had way more to offer me than I had for him (which was nothing).

Yet, months after our initial coffee, he’s still, unprompted, making incredibly valuable introductions to me. He continuously sends me information and files.

Why? Because of $20 on Amazon.

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7 Surefire Ways to Write the Ultimate Introductions

Contactually is the second startup, not counting my internships, that I have the pleasure of gaining invaluable experience from. And one of the most frequent questions I get asked is how I came to find the startups that I’m currently working for and have worked for.

It was a mixture of chance, networking, and good introductions. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have had a relationship with anyone at Contactually without an introduction.

Introductions are all-around tough. They are hard to ask for, and probably just as hard to give. Are you telling each person they need for a good starting point? Are you introducing the right people to each other? What do you need to say exactly?

It’s simple to say “Hi so and so, meet so and so” and then assume that one will take the lead, but you know what assuming does…It tells each party nothing. It’s ineffective and the value of that introduction is now diminished.

So how do you write the ultimate introduction that hits on all of the right points? Based on our own experience in writing and receiving introductions, we’ve identified 6 elements that great introductions have. With these 6 elements, or a combination of a few, you can can write introductions that actually work.

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One of the Ways We Innovate: Contactually’s X Day

Would you shut down your company for 2/3 of a day and kick everyone out of the office?

Startups, in their sheer existence, define innovation. Building something that didn’t exist before and finding a better way to solve a problem is a startup’s lifeblood. But how do startups stay innovative?
 
I’ll admit — we got to a point where we weren’t. While we hold the core value of progress over process, we became set in our ways — opting for extending out what we have rather than rethinking what we could be. Innovation still lay at the heart of the company, but it was getting expressed by a select few, leaving rank and file to casually discuss ideas in passing. This is something we saw that needed to be fixed.

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30 Effective Questions to Ask to Close More Deals

To fall in love with anyone, all you have to do is answer this set of 36 questions with each other.

Recently, this was the topic of an article that I read on The New York Times’ website and how the writer tried this technique out. Ever since I’ve read it, I’ve seen these 36 questions everywhere and although I have yet to try it with my significant other (although, we’re past the beginning stages of using these questions ;) ), I understand the premise why they would work.

There are psychological triggers behind asking questions and they create a connection with the questioner and answerer. They can compel someone to become more curious or interested. There are four different brainwave states that can be visited in the question and answer stage.

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How to Stay Top of Mind With Your Contacts

Once upon a time you could remember all of your business contacts with ease.

The people you interacted with to maintain your business were a select group. You knew all of their names, their kids names, and where they went to college. It was easy to connect with them and stay in touch.

You also walked uphill (both ways) to work and soda was a penny.

It’s 2015 and I’ve got a soda’s worth of pennies that say you probably have more business contacts than you can count or remember at once. In a time when people have 2000 Facebook friends and 5000 LinkedIn connections it’s no easy feat to remember each person you come into contact with and maintain a relationship.

Are you trying to find a way to wade through the noise and stay top of mind with your contacts? Try these tips today and and start making more meaningful connections today.

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10 Apps to Improve Your Professional Relationships

If you’re like everyone else that’s alive and not living under a rock right now, you love apps. And who can blame you? Apps are pretty great. What do you want to do? There’s an app for that. No really, there is. In fact, there’s probably more than one. As is evidenced by my disappointment every time I check the app store after having an app epiphany.

This handy list breaks down 10 of our favorite apps for improving your professional relationships. From team chat to conference networking, this list (in no particular order) touches on quite a few different pain points and we’re pretty sure you’ll find at least one to help your business (especially #10).

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Why You Won’t Sell Anything at SXSW

SXSW Interactive’s portion is starting in less than a few days. Last year over 32,798 people attended with over 1,100 sessions, and 2,377 speakers. 

SXSW Demographics

I had the opportunity to attend SXSW last year with the company I was at before Contactually, and boy…it was an experience. I went to a few trade shows previously, but it was no where near a typical trade show. With the amount of people, companies and parties going on in those 4 days, it was a whirlwind. I had set goals with the team previously on how many leads we wanted to bring in and close, along with other marketing benchmark metrics. However, it didn’t turn out the way I was thinking it would.

I remember overhearing someone say they kept their calendar fairly open to have serendipitous encounters. At the time I laughed at this statement and thought it was silly. Yet, things have changed especially when I factored in what happened afterwards.

As a marketer, I have to show how a campaign or something we’re spending money will prove to have a positive ROI. I have to be proactive and make educated assumptions that a campaign will succeed because marketing is expensive especially events, like SXSW.

However, SXSW will not prove to have a positive ROI until months after and knowing that you won’t sell anything upfront is an expectation you must set at the very beginning. You won’t be able to set up sales calls, demo your product effectively, or probably get anyone to sign a yearly deal with your service. With that many people, brands, sessions, parties, and influencers all in one place, SXSW is a learning and relationship building opportunity. And even though you won’t directly sell anything at SXSW, you need to set things beforehand in order to count the trip as a success.

Instead of selling a SXSW, here are some factors you can do order to make your trip a success:

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One Page Best Practices for Getting to Know Your Prospects [Cheat Sheet]

I understand how small talk can be really uncomfortable; however, I may be one of the few people who actually enjoy it (probably because of my high levels of curiosity). I tend to use the general small talk questions, “How are you doing?” “Where do you work?” “What did you do this weekend?” etc, as ice breakers that could potentially lead to more explorative questions.

In marketing the small talk comes in different forms and has to be interpreted by data at certain points; but, in sales it’s a little different. Conversations happen at many different points and it’s a sales person’s job to get to know their opportunities and prospects as soon as possible with the small talk and all.

So, how do you get to know your prospects best? What questions should you ask? What data points should you keep track of? We have the answers for you in this one page cheat sheet.

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