The power — and danger — of habits
Habits make all our lives easier. When something is second-nature and we no longer have to think about doing it, we can spend time and energy on more important things. If your workflow consists of highly productive habits, you’ll be able to hit your mark seemingly without effort, and even find yourself being proactive and latching on to new opportunities. Conversely, if your workflow consists of unproductive habits, you’ll be dragging your feet and constantly in a reactive mode, probably losing opportunities that come your way as you attempt to make ends meet.
Habits are powerful. As a young lad, I was involved in door-to-door sales and marketing. My manager was not the most organized—he was in the habit of mapping our route through the neighborhood when we arrived, which wasted 10-15 minutes each day. I suggested we make a small change—let’s have someone else in the vehicle do the mapping during the ride, that way we can hit the ground running. read more…
Blame Canada (just kidding)
If email marketing is as critical to your business as it is to ours, then you’ve probably heard that changes to the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL) go into effect today, July 1st, 2014. If you haven’t heard about the CASL changes, then you should pay attention too.
The changes make CASL the world’s toughest anti-spam and anti-malware legislation, and as such will majorly impact all business and individuals who use email to get in touch with prospects and customers in Canada. If you fall into this category, it’s important that you know what lies in store so that you can ensure that all of your communications fully comply with these stringent regulations.
To better understand CASL and how it will affect business in Canada and beyond, we interviewed expert Shabana Ahmad to keep us and our loyal readers informed. Read the interview below, and don’t hesitate to pass it on to any of your friends or family who might also be affected by these legal changes.
Disclaimer: Contactually’s interview with Shabana does not constitute legal advice. If you have customers or subscribers in Canada, we recommend speaking with legal council on your own behalf.
Why don’t we organize our contacts?
In theory, it’s a nice idea to follow up regularly with contacts, but for most people it never happens (including myself). Until my role at a startup two years ago demanded I figure it out.
I finally took the time to learn how to organize my contacts.
While we were growing up, no one taught us a class on “how to organize contacts.” There was no instruction about it in grade-school, high-school or even college.
You would just meet someone new, get their phone number, maybe their email, and then add it to your phone. That was the extent of organizing contacts.
Now we have the opportunity to do things differently.
I’ll share with you how I philosophically think about contacts, how that effects your way of organizing them, and how you can finally put them in order to make follow ups insanely simple. read more…
Searching for a better way to sell
It’s easy to get discouraged with the lack of response when trying to connect with executive level contacts. Understanding how they function and what catches their eye is essential in successfully landing an in-person meeting or even just getting them on the phone.
In most sales scenarios, the process starts with targeting low to mid level employees — most of whom aren’t decision makers – hoping that they relay your message to the top and do it accurately. Using a bottom-up approach is a multi-step system that usually leads to prolonged games of phone tag, inaccurate or secondhand information and, more often then not, your original sales pitch or value proposition being destroyed as it moves up the rungs to the eventual decision maker.
So how can we simplify this process and make it more efficient? read more…
No capital? No problem.
When I launched a few of my first ventures, we had to bootstrap everything. We had very little startup capital and needed to make our dollars go as far as possible. However, I also subscribed to the idea that people do business with people that they like. Often, to get people to like you, you have to do more than just sales meetings and conference calls. Face-to-face is still one of the most important ways to bond in business.
I knew I couldn’t compete against my peers that had huge expense accounts and bottomless Amexes but I didn’t even want to run that race. I thought there must be a better way to make an impact and to make prospects and clients feel valued and special besides dropping big stacks at the five star restaurants. read more…
Keep in touch with your thousands of “friends”
During the first-year of my MBA, I met at least 500 people for in the span of just a few months (everyone from fellow students, faculty, other professionals, recruiters, guest lecturers and many more) . Many of these people have been added to my facebook and linkedin networks, but that’s pretty much where the interaction ends. With so many demands on my time (homework, class, studying, partying, recruiting, extracurriculars), it has been quite difficult to keep in touch with so many people. This can be quite frustrating as one of the key selling points for the MBA is the “network” that you can develop while at school. read more…
“You need to find a mentor,” my parents once told me.
While I figured this was one of those classic things that parents say to teenagers, in the same category as “Just wait until you have to pay for college,” it stuck with me. But what did this mean exactly? When I think about the word ‘mentor’ I still see a boy in the early 19th century hammering boots as an blacksmith’s apprentice. So how does it apply today? read more…
Don’t be a robot — treat your referral provider like a human being.
Everybody wants more referrals, right? Well, get in line. I mean, literally, there is a line of people waiting for a referral from the busy, important person you just sent “HEY, HOW HAVE U BEEN?”
Getting an answer — and eventually, a referral — isn’t necessarily about timing, or how important you are, or even how often you communicate (although all those things help). Sometimes it’s about standing out, and in today’s overworked, too-busy-to-stop-texting-while-I-plow-through-this-crowded-library-parking-lot world, just talking to another person like they’re a unique individual is a pretty good way to stand out.
For all the cynicism about social networking, “liking”, and everything else (shared by me, of course), one of the good things about today’s connectedness is that it’s easier than ever to learn about what makes people tick. Some people like board games, some people have kids, and some people are really interested in a local charity. If you share one of these interests, they can be a great way to connect with someone in a meaningful way. You know, like an actual relationship, instead of a purely transactional one. And who are you more likely to refer — the person who emails you the most, or the one who’s connected with you in a meaningful way?
Contactually’s Tony Cappaert recently presented his system for building meaningful, relevant follow-ups at RETSO, in the hopes of helping RETSO attendees foster better, stronger relationships with the people they reach out to every day. He also walked me through it, and I thought I’d share it with you. Here we go! read more…