This Network Is Hard Work

Efficient-International-Negotiation

Everyone notices the great schmoozers in the middle of a crowd roaring with laughter. Bystanders are quick to praise their networking skills. Their storytelling holds audiences hostage. They always have the right punch line at the right time. They are quick to make key introductions between influential professionals who secretly wanted to connect. On the golf course or the annual conference’s after-hours event, they look like a million bucks, every time.

However, that schmoozer is fooling the crowd. The best networkers connect buyers with sellers. They access people and products that solve very specific problems. Master networkers religiously provide extraordinary service in every deal where they participate. Most importantly, great networkers create unexpected value between professionals once they get involved. She works hard to positions herself to enjoy rewards that result directly from her actions and relationships. So, how do mere mortals get these skills?

Do The Job
Between making connections and contributing resources, great networkers fundamentally deliver solutions. As business professionals, they realize that work is necessary to create value. Furthermore, they understand that great work results from great preparation. Somebody has to get the job done! Results matter. They simply focus on doing it first. Preparation means that they contribute insight in carefully targeted situations. They know their niche. Besides understanding exactly what happened regarding the latest industry intelligence, they focus on who made it happen.

Additionally, the job involves intimately knowing the competitive landscape. Then, they insert themselves by congratulating, influencing, and endorsing colleagues and customers at every opportunity. Opportunity does not magically find great networkers. Opportunities follow bread crumbs that savvy professionals drop at every occasion. Considering that business development professionals are responsible for securing revenue, the most prosperous ones participate across the value chain. They personally know about sources, raw goods, distributors, and buyers within their industry. Doing the job at this level clearly requires extra work. It then delivers extra rewards!

Tell The Story
To apply such expertise to so many stakeholders, master networkers always communicate effectively and efficiently. Storytelling is their weapon to communicate facts and emotions to audiences that matter most. Consequently, the superior networker pays enormous attention to detail. These details have to reach other influencers who facilitate transactions. Consequently, their self-promotion, referral promotion, and industry promotion create a rising tide that lifts many boats.

A master networker tells stories that are well received and circulated, because he includes multiple characters who have individual incentives to share the story. Great stories benefit from invested audiences! When more people both participate and circulate the story, greater reach and more valuable results happen. Networkers who excel in creating value maximize success because they continuously include advocates and beneficiaries. The best way to create enormous value is to be sure that enough people benefit from transactions reputationally or financially. Get the audience participating in the story!

Takeaways
This network is hard work. You schmooze, you lose! However, professionals who lock in on delivering tangible results create opportunities to continue building rewards. Reputational growth equates to stronger personal branding, and consequently more opportunities for success. Assist in building other individual’s professional reputations. Give credit liberally. The contacts that benefit from the relationship know who really was responsible. Then, encourage them to join and contribute to the next big deal as an insider!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Client Relationships, Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grabbing Money or Building Value

Money

Barnum’s American Museum entertained millions of young and old customers across America throughout the mid 1800’s with brand new attractions and freakish animals. P.T. Barnum, the outlandish owner, placed signs on specific doors that said, “This Way to the Egress”. Curious customers eagerly approached the door, and subsequent doors with the same sign until they found themselves outside of the museum. An “egress” is another name for “exit”. Consequently, anyone wanting to return to the museum had to pay another admission fee! Understandably, the value proposition of this practice was poorly received.

Money Grab
Grabbing customers’ money through trickery is a death sentence in today’s business world. Information, opinions, and bad news travels too fast. Customers have options and substitutes for most products and services. Consequently, customers who believe that they were mistreated, will take the egress and head toward a competitor. Yet, some businesses continue to dupe customers to buy before they fully understand. The value that business creates disappears as fast as each fooled customer churns.

Re-establishing trust is hard once customer credibility is violated. Businesses focused on the money grab eventually spend too much time and money finding new customers instead of taking care of the ones they have. Even the business’ internal and external storytelling suffers because the message continuously changes as marketers reinvent shady claims. An exciting product, or a dazzling service may capture the marketplace’s imagination initially. But, the marketplace will report poor performance and the damaged brand will have difficulty recovering. Ultimately, customer satisfaction becomes non-existent, marketing costs soar, and doors close in the money grab world.

Money Hold
When sellers build relationships on purpose along with delivering a desirable product or service, the seller benefits from the money hold. Consider an exceptional contractor who transforms kitchens into magical palaces of cooking and conversation. Since the contractor has demonstrated credibility and cultivated a miracle-worker reputation, buyers gladly pay a deposit to get started. Besides establishing trust in the marketplace, his longevity indicates that this contractor is responsible. As a responsible service-provider, the miracle-working contractor earns the privilege to hold money at the beginning of the transaction. As evidenced by his ability to sustain service delivery excellence, the belief is that he also holds onto it well on the back-end.

The money hold mindset reinforces a reputation for excellence with the ability to benefit from referrals. Success encourages subcontractors to want to work with him. Also, suppliers want to attach their reputation to his brand by offering favorable terms in their selling relationship. The value multiplies throughout the subcontractor’s supply chain resulting in superior growth. Essentially, the money hold creates a more positive and sustainable business environment. The value is revealed in the final product, and in the contractor’s brand.

Takeaways
Ultimately, in business, the money will move. Rewards grow according to the level of service provided. Consequently, marketing that emphasizes superior service creates greater opportunities to do good and do well. Service-based branding and superior execution makes a difference in the rewards that a business enjoys. Hyper growth is exciting. But, enduring growth builds better business. Grabbing money attracts a lot of business attention. Holding money builds fortunes. Business success ultimately comes down to making money and keeping it.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Brand Said What?

Business Secrets Whisper

During an overly animated marketing presentation with a sweat-dripping speaker, an interesting branding question surfaced: “When does your brand take a break?” The presenter stopped dead in his tracks. Took a deep breath and screamed, “NEVER”, before returning to attack his audience. Truly, a brand has several characteristics. It can be liked, or hated. It can be clever, or boring. An effective brand projects assorted human characteristics because its purpose is to speak for the business, person, or organization even in their absence. But, how does a marketer really know what their brand is saying?

Who You Are
An effective brand communicates for a specific business, organization, or person. The “who” may not be a literal person. For example, a celebrity chef has a brand that speaks on his behalf. The chef’s cooking style indicates a certain background. The media channel that broadcasts the show says something about the target audience. Yet, the individual is more complex than the brand. Customers are less interested in the person and more fixated on the image that the person projects. Raving fans want to identify with the celebrity chef because they want people to connect them to the celebrity’s good taste and personal style.

A brand speaks for a business such that it continuously sends information, and reinforce their market appeal. Social media images can flood worldwide audiences around the clock. Even inanimate businesses can project their personality under those circumstances. Essentially, the brand communicates an ongoing set of opinions, images and sound bites so that customers, fans, and pundits can piggyback on the attention the brand craves. A winning brand projects a personality that attracts attention leading to growth. The public then decides how they want to engage it.

What You Deliver
Personality is not the only attribute attracting business to a given brand. A well- executed brand communicates how well an audience values its benefits. At 7:45 AM on a Friday, a favorite coffee house delivers its signature brew just fast enough for an assistant manager to arrive at the office at 8:10 for an 8:00 team meeting. However, the assistant manager knows that the boss has publicly acknowledged his addiction to their dark roast. So, when the employee arrives at the meeting with two cups of dark roast, both he and the delighted boss understand that five more minutes of grace period remained because the boss now had his fix. Brand loyalty results from delivering on emotional promises.

Great brands deliver satisfaction, experiences, reliability, timeliness, durability, or cool points to loyal customers. Customers who ally themselves with such brands willingly pay for the privilege of that connection. Ask your favorite Nordstrom shopper. Such brands clearly tell buyers what to expect, then faithfully deliver it. The only part of the buying process that is more important than what a particular brand means, is when the customer experiences the brand doing what it said.

Takeaways
Acknowledging a brand’s personality is the first step for a marketer to harness its power. A meaningful brand’s character involves the ability to make an emotional connection to the customer. Notice how happy children look when entering Disneyland. The relationship has been established before starting the memorable experience. Can a customer imagine buying a Mercedes-Benz without expecting to be pampered at every dealership visit for scheduled maintenance? Successful brands communicate, then deliver. Whether through messaging or actions, the brand speaks louder than any singular purchase. Successful brands must communicate clearly AND deliver consistently, or accept being disconnected like an AOL email account.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Success Abhors a Vacuum

Businessman vacuum 3

“Success leaves clues.” is a popular statement attributed to Tony Robbins, a legendary motivator, trainer and success guru. The point encourages his audience to be intentional in identifying goals and to pursue them relentlessly. From a business growth perspective, the quote also inspires immediate action toward specific results. It suggests solving the mystery of success, now! If business gains are available, then successful people will find them. Furthermore, tangible milestones toward desired outcomes appear once proper pursuit begins. In the same vein as “nature abhors a vacuum”, success becomes attainable upon starting proper steps toward specific goals. Accomplishments are ready to fill the void.

Connect
Success does not happen in a vacuum primarily because it is a communal endeavor. While narcissists will quickly point out their individual accomplishments that led to their victories, the reality is that communal efforts create most substantial wins. Referral networks, market researchers, operational support are all examples of contributors for most conspicuous business development victories. Positioning such resources to contribute to the desired outcome is an essential skill that winners master. Furthermore, the skill’s core involves forging healthy relationships to facilitate successful growth.

The most effective relationships germinate beyond a singular organization. By cultivating favors throughout an industry or social circle success fundamentally benefits from establishing a network that is emotionally invested in an individual’s success. Mentors, referral partners, social connections are examples of relationships that pour into one’s accomplishments. Furthermore, the willingness and proven ability to reciprocate fuels ongoing contributions toward significant, future gains. The winning skills go beyond systems and product knowledge. Success is based on building a personal brand based on delivering on promises and generating value through consistent, measurable execution.

Collaborate
Additionally, success results from whom the successful professional attracts. An old networking saying teaches, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you!” If “Success leaves clues”, then it is worthwhile to have a team in place to gather them. Deliberately engage relationships to share and achieve mutual benefits. Communally, be active learners in specific disciplines. Whether it requires being active in digesting industry research, or sustaining visibility in a chosen discipline, remain faithful to increase continuous understanding of targeted professional skills.

Enforce a personal brand that reveals superior depth in industry-specific knowledge. Demonstrate success characteristics based on accessibility and camaraderie. The purpose is to be recognized for being competent enough to possess and confident enough to share proven tactics that produce results.
Furthermore, project a brand that demonstrates personal service. By sharing individual capacity to help others in social environments, it reinforces a reputation for being service-oriented in professional environments. And, outstanding service delivery is always a valuable business development differentiator. Actions tell a better story than all the witty, self-serving anecdotes that one can possibly memorize.

Takeaways
Deliberately fill the vacuum with successes. Consistently perform tasks that lead to measurable outcomes. Furthermore, routinely acquire new knowledge so that the filled space is consistently growing. Actively expand knowledge into tangential industries and personal interests. Contribute to a broader community to identify new innovations to resolve old problems. Most importantly, share personal growth experiences with valued connections. Whether it is attending team training seminars or joining a new board of directors, facilitate growth within specified inner circles so that personal influence and accountability increase exponentially. Expand individual capacity. Ongoing success depends on it.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Client Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Your Story Becomes Your Brand

What are they saying about you

A promising young business launches, ready to revolutionize its space! Rushing to get to market, it experienced an epic fail at firmly establishing its branding. Recognizing the priority of generating awareness, finding customers, establishing new operations, and paying bills, the oversight is understandable. Nevertheless, upon deciding to de-prioritize branding, the result was a weak start with poorly presented verbiage and images representing the brand. The consequences included limited awareness and questionable authenticity. Without building a strong, intentional brand, the business lacked credibility, choking on its own potential, because a consistent story failed to evolve.

Storytelling
The relationship between branding and storytelling is birthed from the understanding that a brand speaks to an audience in the business’ absence. An entrepreneur upon assuming ultimate responsibility needs processes to optimize deliberate messaging into the marketplace. Effective branding delivers that need. However, the brand must be thoughtfully and intentionally prepared to perform excellently. No reasonable entrepreneur would put a sales professional in the marketplace without proper preparation. Likewise, intelligent entrepreneurs do not send a brand into the marketplace without a specific message.

To communicate that message, effective storytelling must be part of the initial integrated marketing communication process. Tell the story across multiple channels so that social media, in-store images, and face-to-face messaging are consistent and memorable. Beyond specific phrasing to identify the business’ brand in a crowd, remarkable anecdotes must be infused into the enterprise’s culture. Modern customers will more likely flock to a retail outlet because the founder photobombed a political event than because they distributed a Groupon. A successful, distinct marketplace presence must result from emotional connections that make prospects yearn to become customers, and then tell their friends why. Fundamentally, effective storytelling tugs at prospects’ heartstrings to inspire opening the purse strings.

Authenticity
While awesome stories gather attention and connect packs of raving fans, the emotional bond demands honesty to sustain itself. To galvanize a community to create business momentum, stories must be true! Thanks to Yelp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others, bad news based on lies move faster than pre-orders for the latest iPhone release at 12:01 AM. Unfortunately, good experiences need more time to catch up. To win that race, each opportunity to deliver as promised must be successful in order to withstand the dumpster fire of bad news ignited from a singular negative interaction.

Beyond emphasizing positive and truthful stories, authenticity requires consistency. In-N-Out Burger does not have to be fast. It must be consistent. Their lines remain long because customers will endure lack of speed, since that was not part of the deal. They are willing to wait slightly longer to get flavorful happiness in a bun, as expected. In-N-Out’s authenticity features the pleasant service interaction, cleanliness, menu’s simplicity, and not-so-secret non-menu options. To maximize that experience, customers must be an insider to the story. In-N-Out’s reward results from genuinely meeting expectations during the purchase experience. Their story works because the brand delivers!

Takeaways
Effective storytelling is successful upon incorporating emotional connections between sellers and buyers in their relationship. In business, facilitating enduring connections reveals the difference between fads and legends. Classic stories transcend cultures and generations because they spark human feelings between the speaker and the listener. Furthermore, when success brings scrutiny, the authentic story that consistently delivers good feelings based on the business reputation becomes even more powerful. Let the good-feeling story be factual and opportunities for the business to rebound emerge even quicker. Ultimately, entrepreneurial success happens when incredible products align directly with emotional experiences. Consequently, authentic storytelling becomes the fuel to accelerate unforgettable branding and enduring success.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Development, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Had One Job! – Niche Development

Winning Sales Team

A newborn baby enters the world, gets smacked on the bottom because it needs to start breathing immediately. New business ventures launch in an identical fashion. The newly birthed enterprise immediately demands revenue which only results from aggressive sales activity. That urgent speed to market reflects the earliest glimpse of the business’ branding. When growing a business, several tasks and responsibilities compete as high priorities. However, the one priority that is inevitable among every growing organization is growth itself. Consequently, successfully performed sales activities emerge as the highest priority. Initially generating revenue requires dedicated efforts that focus as narrowly as possible. Failure to execute results in business’ leaders stealing a classic movie line from “Oceans Eleven”: “You had one job!!!”

Know Your Target
Furthermore, to grow rapidly, businesses often deploy a niche strategy. Reinforcing the “one job” mindset to maximize results, the business targets “one niche”! Particularly among younger companies, a quick sale is often superior to a big, slow sale. Of course, a big, quick sale supersedes all! Nevertheless, the quick sale fuels the bank account to fund getting to the next piece of revenue.

Shorter sales cycles directly align with producing customer solutions quickly. Success requires solving problems with incumbent knowledge instead of developing customized expertise. The more thoroughly that the sales professional knows and fulfills specific niche targets’ needs, the faster revenue appears. Superior knowledge regarding prospects enables quicker communication of specific solutions. Nimble businesses who demonstrably know their specific target market, close deals quicker and generate momentum for future customers which in turn grows their knowledge base further.

Know Your Stuff
This increasing knowledge evolves quickly into niche intelligence fueling the enterprise’s growth. Successful, nimble organizations acquire knowledge through multiple channels. Prospects and customers help tremendously as they articulate critical needs and desires in the sales processes. Friendly competitors and established colleagues offer a wealth of knowledge. Likewise, industry intelligence, consulting content, competitors’ annual reports, friendly suppliers, disgruntled job seekers, and aspiring collaborators are viable sources. Every stone left unturned has a potential dollar beneath it.

Growing enterprises must generate revenue with assistance from professionals who willingly share their inside intelligence for a fee, a favor, or old times’ sake. The objective is to equip the sales effort with as much knowledge, wisdom, and hacks that lead to the next opportunity. Knowing your stuff ultimately means knowing the marketplace dynamics, competitive personalities, industry trends, and competitors’ strategies. In entrepreneurial arenas, multiple intelligence channels are mandatory.
Having the ability to discern prescience, rumor and fact is key to achieving successful, rapid growth. Listen, learn, compete, and apply are the cornerstones for fulfilling the “one job”!

Takeaway
When a sales organization or professional pursues its one job, results are the only objective that matters. Leveraging organizational expertise in one niche effectively generates enviable market momentum. When the enterprise is small, be nimble to learn, be quick to apply. Slow and small participants get eaten. Success mandates that sales efforts iterate often and fail quickly. That tactic results in winning business promptly, leading to an organization that grows strongly. Organizationally learn to execute efficiently the team’s “one job”. Additional opportunities will follow those victories. The nimble newbie may not initially get it all, but it will get enough to keep growing stronger.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Storytelling Tips to Get Others to Sell You

Sales Award Winner

Great sales professionals know referrals are a powerful way to generate enormous sales results. Other successful sales professionals quickly point to the importance of storytelling. Recognizing that both approaches feature interpersonal relationships, exchanged value, and direct communication, their proven results are more important than the tactics’ labels. However, to benefit from the tools and tactics leading to revenue-generating success, three specific tips explicitly result in greater sales results.

Visibility at Others’ Events
Like and trust routinely appear as a key success factor in sales training. Too many sales professionals eagerly bring prospects, clients, and influencers to events that feature themselves, their company, or their product. However, to demonstrate superior authority and prominence establish visibility at other professionals’ events. Networking is an unquestionably successful sales tactic. However, limiting networking to familiar environments is a poor strategy. Extending networking activities beyond obvious comfort zones serves two goals. It enlarges the professional’s reach to additional contacts beyond established relationships. Additionally, it raises visibility by being seen as unique and memorable in new social situations. New experiences result in new connections, plus exposure to additional opportunities to contribute to fresh social niches.

Share the Microphone
Champions do not necessarily win the most games, they win the game that matters most. The professional who insists on telling every story is indistinguishable from a braggart. Stories about success can have several sources. The professional who performs such that others eagerly repeat her story becomes legendary. The absolute best professional cannot reach the entire marketplace. Furthermore, they cannot reach the entire marketplace with credibility. By sharing the microphone, other influencers, pundits, and customers can embrace the opportunity to tell the story. Multiplying sales volume is a direct result of multiplying listeners. Empower advocates to share success stories with new audiences by giving them access, messaging and authority.

Bring a Hype Man
Perform at such a level of success that others want to share the stories. Third party affirmation multiplies reach. A credible hype man performs that function. Like a heavyweight champion who has someone responsible for carrying his belt, a marketing department, or industry pundit can be available to proclaim the sales superstar’s prowess and expertise. Incorporating more voices and channels to articulate accomplishments contributes to overall recognition. The more credibility that individuals referencing success stories have, the more prominence the sales hero enjoys. With more success, then more opportunities emerge for victories worthy of more storytelling. Essentially, an effective hype man extends overall reach, while mitigating personal boastfulness. Then with additional success, the sales star creates incremental value, experiences, and conquests worthy of future stories to repeat!

Takeaway
Successful selling is fundamentally about delivering value. But, is value truly recognized if no one tells the story of its contribution? Effective storytelling persuades prospects to become customers by communicating personalized value. Furthermore, storytelling communicates victories, for both buyers and sellers. Consequently, ongoing sales success becomes self-perpetuating. New customers become convinced of the value of participating in the story. Ultimately, storytelling maximizes profitability when stakeholders willingly associate with winning achievements and extend the narrative. Sales professionals that deliver the best results have the best stories to tell. To the victor goes the spoils!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond LLC

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Development, Client Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment