The Endless Referral System: cultivating new prospects and referrals (pt.1)

Rob Felber, president of Felber PR & Marketing, has been following Bob’s principles for over two decades. Rob may be one of the most networked guys in Cleveland and has cultivated over 1900 connections, as well as endless referrals…

Run out of prospects? It’s time to find new connections

"Each of us has a personal sphere of influence of about 250 people. People will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust." - Bob Burg

Bob Burg, speaker and bestselling author of The Go-Giver and Endless Referrals, spoke in Cleveland about how to “build a prospecting and referral ‘machine’ to continuously create more sales than you ever dreamed possible.”

Who do I talk to now that my list of prospects has run out? Whether or not you have any existing contacts, it is always best to search for new prospects to help increase business, and make those lasting business and personal relationships. Bob said when we try to find someone new, we tend to seek in “desperation.” We lose our posture, which is interpreted as “we care [about our new prospects], but not that much.” So, how do we go about having good posture?

 

  • As long as you do your best then you can let go and begin to find new prospects.
    • Your existing clients are satisfied with the way things are going. So, it’s probably time to find new prospects. Why? Well, why not? This gives you more reason to expand your business.
  • Go to the people who want help – don’t branch out.
    • Not everyone needs help. In the meantime, just make conversation and eventually someone will turn to you. Getting a new prospect does not need to be done immediately, it’s all about the building relationship first in order for them to want to do business with you, which I couldn’t agree more.
  • Know that you’re responsible to the people, but not for the people in making decisions.
    • As a businessman or businesswoman, you’re responsible for pitching yourself to the potential prospects, but not to force them to make a decision. I will further discuss this in the next paragraph.

When we network for connections, we want win-win relationships that are generally caring for their wants and desires. They do not always have to like us in order to do business, but we want prospects who can say “yes” and are qualified to do business with you. Bob introduced president of Influence At Work (IAW) Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence to explain why people take certain actions. Most of us can agree that we live in a low trust society. But if you can communicate well with your prospects, you will gain their trust.

We live in an increasingly connected world. With apps on our phones that allow instant access to our entire sphere of influence. With every new person we meet or we have increased our connection to 250 people or more. OK, 249 if you discount Kevin Bacon. That right there is your ticket to a network of endless referral business.

In my next post, we’ll discuss additional strategies for building a relationship from the very first meeting.

YOU’VE SENT THE PRESS RELEASE – NOW WHAT?

press, media, wire service, marketing, manufacturers, prweb, prenewswire, advertising,

To get the attention of the media, think like them. Where their hat for a while

Are you resigned to just sit back and wait for the onslaught of reporters, eager to speak with you?

Here’s what most reporters will tell you: “If we’re interested, we’ll call you.” Here’s what they have told me off the record. “Seriously, I get hundreds of emails a day. If I don’t expect the email, I may not read it. If the subject is boring or off topic, I may delete it. If you really want my attention, you better follow up via phone.”

So, editor and reporter generalizations aside, simply posting your release to an online service is not enough. Yes, you may get search engine optimization (SEO) benefit from the online services. They do a great job with their website affiliates. They report several website postings within the first hour. But, if there is no one looking at that forest when your tree falls, you are out of luck. Like website traffic, it’s all about conversion. Campaign effectiveness can and should, ultimately be measured by conversion. Conversion is anything from inbound phone calls, requests for information, actually sales, etc. The measurements are the same for tradeshows, SEO, direct mail marketing and yes, even sales calls in person.

Let’s rewind and discuss goals. If you are trying to influence a target market and you have identified the publications they read, visit and engage with, then you are 25% there. Start with the publication’s media kit, editorial calendar and audit statement. Study the research and see if your news, product or story fits their editorial guidelines. Each publication has a certain style, editorial direction and differentiating factors. Not sure what they are? Call the editor and they will be happy to explain. See, no one takes the time to ask them. This alone will separate you from the pack. We’ll dive deeper into publication research in a subsequent post. You are closer now, 50% of the way there.

But, you now need to present that news in a way that they will both understand its importance AND see a fit with their readers. This is a tough hurdle but will get you 75% of the way to your goal. You’ve studied the editorial direction. Look closely at the stories the magazine has run over the last two years. Make special note of specific writers and their style and try to align your story with one that is closest to your topic. Not every writer covers the same beat. Consider using graphics, videos, social media infographics; anything that will simply and succinctly convey your message.

What’s the final push needed to move your project to 100% acceptance? It’s the relationship. If the editor has never heard of your company, met anyone at a trade conference or even received news in the past, you have a tough final step. Not insurmountably, just tough. Like sales, the media/company interaction is all about relationships. Remember the professional call asking about their editorial guidelines? That is the step in the right direction. Be a resource and selfless supporter first.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the top five ways to build closer media relations and become their go-to person.

WHAT SKYPE, GO-TO-MEETING AND CONFERECE CALLS CANNOT SEE

 

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Stu Kaplan (Makuta) and Michelle Willmott (Felber PR) enjoy hands on learning

We need to be reminded, from time to time, that we’re humans. Every one of our five senses is important. As one of our favorite clients, Makuta Technics reminds us, there is nothing like “eyes on.” Michelle and I just returned from a two day trip to visit with them in their Indiana factory. When you meet in person, there is a tremendous benefit.

Skype and conference calls are great, but think about what you are missing. Your sense of hearing and sight is much more in tune when you sit across the table, face to face. Add sharing a meal or actually touching product and your firsthand knowledge of how your client manufactures their product is dramatically improved. Now, you are well on your way to deeper relationships through better understanding.

Admittedly, I have been at this for a while, but here’s a short bit of advice:

Next time you start to send an e-mail, reach for the phone.

When reaching for the phone, consider setting up a meeting in person.

Technology is great, but we’re too easily distracted during conference calls, “windshield time” chats to save precious time and video meetings that can be sabotaged by one errant glance away from the camera….connect in person. You will be rewarded.

Rob Felber (Call me and let’s do lunch!)

How to Get the Media to Pay Attention and What to Do Once They Do

I recently got the opportunity to see president Rob Felber speak at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland on how to get the media to pay attention and what to do once they do.

Every business should be transparent and showcase any newsworthy content to its key publics. But deciding what is newsworthy can be hard to determine, as well as deciding whether or not you need PR help.

So, ask yourself. Does your business need PR help? Felber makes some points and tips that can help your business make a wise decision.

Recognizing the need for PR

Recognizing the need for PR should always be the first step for anyone looking into getting his or her business out to the public. Needs include, but are not limited to:

  • Being transparent
  • Removing any rumors that might exist
  • How your product is unique/different

Felber defines PR as “a company announcement, an attempt to mitigate a problem (crisis), activities to improve an image, a recruitment tool, a method to drive sales inquiries, etc.”  PR is also the best tool to keep long-term relationships with clients and potentially gaining more.

Newsworthiness

What is considered newsworthy for your audience? Some things you should think about are “why should the editors care” and “what do I want to happen when the public reads our news?” In the following entries, decide which are newsworthy content:

  1. Company A nominated as 2013 top Fortune 500 company
  2. Company A revamps website into modern look
  3. Company A gives back to the community
  4. Company A President and CEO steps down after 55 years

Hopefully you did not pick the second headline. Why? Here are some of my explanations for each one of them:

  1. When a business is nominated as a Fortune 500 company, that’s good PR. What business does not want to be ranked as one of the top 500 corporations in America? Not only should your company be proud of that, but also the employees and consumers will feel special and continue to support your business.
  2. It’s not news when your company revamps its website. It could have been just a basic HTML format turned into this modern sleek look, but no one else will care for it as much as you and maybe some of your employees. It’s cool, sure, but when it comes to catering news to your key publics, make sure you consider what all of your stakeholders want to know.
  3. When a company gives back to the community, the community acknowledges your transparency and sincerity. This is the type of news that will touch people’s hearts and can influence them to respect your company.
  4. In August 2011, Steve Jobs stepped down from his CEO position due to health complications. He was always transparent before and after his health issues and still managed to do as much as he could. Besides the fact that he has a long legacy with Apple, he was the face of Apple and everyone – both stakeholders and shareholders – was updated on a regular basis.

And sometimes even the smallest news, such as a spotlight on an employee, may be much bigger than you think. Ellen Burts-Cooper, Senior Managing Partner of Improve, said she never would have thought the media, specifically by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, would pick up a story about a high school girl, whose book is sold on Amazon. She began to think about what else may be newsworthy for her organization.

Think about it. What news do you have for your audience that they will care about?

What to do now?

What’s nice about PR is that there are many ways to grab the media’s attention. Your business could pitch letters, send out make media alerts and/or hold a press conference. Although press releases seem to be the most popular tool, Felber likes to describe it as the “least sexiest way” because the format does not allow for “colorful language” and sticks more to the facts.

And when the media is ready to listen, make sure you’re confident and ready to pitch your story. Michael Obi, president & CEO of Spectrum Global Solutions, said to always keep up with what is going on in the news because one story that you may have on file could be significant around an event that may be happening.

Felber added to make sure your company has something ready to go for when the media is looking for some content. Have some of your staff seek media training in order to have graphics or video on file, as well as keeping your internal communications up to date about the story.

There are many things that PR can offer to help your business reach out to your key publics. So, ask yourself again. Does your business need PR help?

Cindy Deng is a PR & marketing intern at Felber PR & Marketing and a public relations student at Kent State University. She is also the Intercampus Liaison for the Public Relations Student Society of America, KSU chapter and a mentor for the Provost’s Leadership Academy.

Before You Can Prepare For an Interview You Must Know The Story

In the previous post we discussed what most manufacturers often miss at trade conference; they miss the opportunity to impact their brand and expand company name recognition with their target audience. Now, you know that coordinated research and efforts to engage with the media covering a show is beneficial. So, now what?

You may think you have the most interesting story in the world, but if it does not resonate (fit) with what an editor “believes” his readers are thirsting for, you will come up empty when you start contacting the media (before the show of course). Your research of the publications’ website and its editorial calendar was a great place to start. The editorial calendar provided the large building blocks. Researching past stories and a targeted reporter’s style is critical into providing insight.

When you research an editor, first see if your story or something similar has ever been covered. Nothing stings more than pitching a story that was done last quarter. You now have revealed that you have no interest in actually reading the publication and what/who they have written about in the past. If the story idea you has been covered previously, is the story due for an update? What is the reporter’s style? Are they positive towards your field or sector? Have they been negative or antagonistic? This is a cold-war style battle and you must know your competition; in this case, competition is not only other companies, but the reporters own attention span and limited time.

So, what can you talk about? Do you have a new product or service? Did your company experience recent growth? Have you identified a trend in the industry? Perhaps you or someone on your staff has a unique expertise? These are all great places to start.

If you get their attention, ask them how they want to proceed. One end of the spectrum is that you get to provide your written content, photos and captions. The other end of the scale is that they decide to interview you. While the first scenario allows you to carefully craft your message (they can still edit it), the latter requires even more preparation. There is no harm in asking them their thoughts on the story and its direction. They may even generously provide a few starter questions for you to review prior to the actual interview. If you have a complicated topic, make sure you have good art (graphs, photos, videos, etc.) to help you tell their story. Sometimes, just having “good art” can help you win over a competing story. Note, your contact may even be up against other reporters to their story published due to limited space.

In our next post we will expand on the various opportunities just beyond the tradeshow booth.

What Most Manufacturers Miss at Trade Shows

The show traffic was heavy. You made many appointments and even a few sales. Months of pre-show planning, training, traffic building promotions and creative booth design seems to have created success. So, what could you possibly have missed? You sponsored the cocktail party, hosted client dinners; you even held a demonstration on the show floor.
What you’re missing is exposure. In most sales calls and even inside your tradeshow booth, you can expect to speak to, at the most, 2-3 people at a time. So, how could you bring more exposure to your company? The answer is media.

Media – the one to 50,000 principle.

At most national and international shows, there can be as many as 20 or more independent trade media publications covering the conference. Not only are they looking for new advertisers, but they are also looking for news. Content is king and if they do not have it, they do not have a publication. When they speak, many, many more listen.
Over the next several posts, we will discuss how to establish, maintain and cultivate relationships with those that buy ink and megabytes, buy the barrel.

The first tip we have is find out if the show you are attending credentials media. If they do, the show organizers will most often maintain an up-to-date media list. Like confirmed attendees, these are media representatives that have requested passes and are attending the conference. The good lists may even indicate what types of stories they are looking to cover while at the show.

Research th

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e publications represented, and see if they cover topics that include your products and services. You can review their editorial calendars for detailed information on the subjects they plan to write about all year. If you see a connection, start with a simple get together. The myth is that you always have to offer a story. You don’t. Simply telling them you want to learn about their publication shows you are professional and courteous. Offer to meet at your booth, for coffee or even breakfast. Hey, they have to eat too. Ask a lot of questions on how their publication is different, their editorial direction and what they want to see at the show.

This is the first step to more exposure. Getting to know the media, understanding how they do their job and becoming a trusted resource.
In the next post, we will discuss preparing for interviews.

>Earth Day is April 22, 2011

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Yes the official Earth Day is almost here, but every day should be celebrated as earth day. As a society that is the world’s largest producer and consumer we have a responsibility to help sustain out natural resources and our planet.

Sustainability is more than just a word in our corporate culture but a way of doing things right. People don’t stop consuming and promotional marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways to tell your story and get your brand out there. Not only that but promotional campaigns yield some of the highest ROI in marketing. Since the promotional media has the ability to touch on every emotional and price level we too are striving to do this with our planet in mind.

Special biodegradable papers with seeds embedded not only provide long-term branding appeal but it is good for our environment. Call us for ideas and choices to fit any direct mailing or event budget.

Also ask about our complete line of products made from 100% USA Grown Corn. These products look great, are useful, do not use traditional petroleum-based plastics and are biodegradable naturally. From mugs, letter openers, health-care items and more the choice is easy. New this year we also have products made from natural wheat and potato.

Think of us for all your promotions that are good for you, your client and our home.

Contact Bruce Felber 330-963-3664 x 2 for all the details.

>Make People Ask For Your Card

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You walk into a meeting of five people, and the instinct is to immediately hand them your business card. Don’t do it! Why? Because they didn’t ask for it. Promotional Consultant Today shares these strategies for making people ask for your business card

Let me explain why that’s important. What happens when we give out our business card before someone asks? We announce: This is what I am doing. And maybe even: I want you to buy from me.

By giving out our business card when people don’t ask for it, we put ourselves and our businesses in the spotlight– this might be gratifying for our egos, but it’s not good for our positioning.

“Get in touch with me when you need me” is a weak attempt to get someone interested in our product or service. Although most people will politely accept the card, they will seldom, if ever, call.

But that doesn’t mean that you should leave everything to chance. Think in terms of earning the right to be in people’s contact lists. This way you will be asked for your business card, which is an entirely different situation. As a result of your extra efforts, people will also keep your card, and maybe even refer to it instead of trashing it with the others they receive unsolicited.

First of all, strive to become a person that attracts others. That’s very simple. It begins putting other people in the spotlight instead of ourselves.

Another necessary skill is active listening. Like it or not, people are much more interested in their own lives than in ours. And they love others who are genuinely interested in their plans, desires, headaches and values. If you encourage them to talk, you will be amazed at how quickly they will reciprocate and ask: “And what do you do?”

Isn’t this a nice prompt for handing them your business card?

My favorite is asking for their card first. You simply say “Gee, this really sounds very interesting– let’s make sure we stay in touch. May I have your business card?” Usually this prompts them to say “Sure, and may I have one of yours?” It is that simple. And what if they don’t ask? I do not offer mine.

Now, when I have their business cards, I also have permission to contact them. And that allows me to take the initiative, so most of the time I immediately follow up with a personal note and this time my card will be enclosed in the same envelope. Of course, that doesn’t mean that person is going to call me. It doesn’t mean that she will want to do business with me right away–quite the contrary. Most of the time it will take a lot more follow-up than that one note. But it is a pretty good way to begin a relationship, don’t you agree?

Source: Wanda Loskot is professional speaker and business coach for small business owners and self-employed professionals who love what they do, but hate selling. She offers free business strategies, marketing tips, teleclasses and other valuable resources.

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today and PPAI.

>A Sweet Deal to Show Your Love

>Wow! What a start to 2011. This should be a year of renewed energy in marketing by evidence of the current activity in the marketplace. I said I would report from our national convention held in early January, but so many new campaigns have prevented me from writing until today.

As promised here is a brief run down of what we can expect this year.

1. This will be the year of complete interactive marketing. Marketing that will transcend current methods without giving up on the techniques of the past. Look for more information about QR Codes, Search Engine Management and my favorite “Dimensional Direct Mail”.

2. Increased awareness for the environment as evidence by the growing number of “GREEN” products and services.

3. More online offers and specials with as little as 24 hour service

4. Increased public relations strategy for the recovering business to business environment.

I will get into more detail in the future posts. For now here is a great offer – Want to show your clients how much you love their business? How much you care? Then why not “Share the Love” with a custom branded food gift that will excite their senses and keep you top of mind. Here are a few examples.

Custom Hershey’s Kisses

We will print your logo or copy and affix to each kiss. Perfect to handout at meetings, trade shows, client visits and as a leave behind.

Custom S’mores Kisses Kit

Kits contain graham crackers, Hershey’s Kisses, Marshmallows, Toasting Sticks and a custom, printed insert with your logo and copy.

Want to know how successful food promotions can be? Take photo with your smart phone to activate the QR Code with your smart phone code reader.

Or visit here

For detailed information call Bruce Felber 330-963-3664 x 2 or email: brucefelber@felberandfelber.com

2011 may have some challenges, but we are ready to meet them and help our clients achieve their marketing expectations