Showing posts with label groups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label groups. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Innovations Are Not Solutions

I watch, you watch, we all watch & listen. We observe. And that observation drives innovation. Innovation, however, is not as a solution, or even a means to a solution. It is rather a catalyst of change. 

Now change doesn't imply that we try to change all at once. We couldn't do that even if we wanted to because the world around us is always changing. Instead, change embraces the idea that when we challenge the world around us with new ideas - new innovations - we evolve. 

What's more important yet is that we continue to push those boundaries. Just like the world never stops turning, we never stop changing. We learn to appreciate that what's better in the moment, isn't an end-all, be-all solution.

Take time to make changes. Bike to work, use a motorless mower, recycle. If it's not a hassle to take time to brush your teeth, why would it be difficult to always keep reusable bags handy?

Walk a different path. Don't try to be something you're not. Don't try to be the next Google. There's already a Google. Take the road not taken. 

Plug in to the world. Plug into the choices you're making. Plug into what may be a solution for everyone, and not just what benefits the individual in the moment.

Focus on the future. There is no greater cause or inevitability than our future. We can explore the past and the present all we desire, but the future marches on, with or without us.

Do what you can, when you can, how you can. Observe. Learn. Change. Grow. And when someone says:  because we've always done it that way, ask, Why?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social Media: A Sales Perspective

I originally wrote this piece from Market Integration's website as:

Social Media - A Salesperson Perspective

posted Aug 23, 2011, 3:51 PM by Stirling Morris   [ updated Dec 12, 2011, 3:12 PM ]


We're all salespeople.  Whether you're a mom trying to explain to your child why practicing good hygiene is important or you're a CEO out to lunch with a new investor prospect, we all have something to sell.  Some of us are really good at it and some of us aren't.  But most of us don't even realize we're selling until our client (or child) agrees or disagrees with whatever we've pitched.

No matter who you are or what you do, social media is a not only a tool for networking but for selling.  Unfortunately, not every company has learned this lesson.  I actually had a General Manager of a sales company in the construction industry once tell me, “Networking must be limited to assure it does not take any time away from selling.”  I don't think he realized the power of social media in sales and networking.

I was asked by a Retail Sales Manager within the same company for advice regarding networking; particularly through social media.  After spending years as a sales / product representative in the construction industry, here are some of the finer points I offered:
  • In addition to joining professional organizations, social media is the key to business relationships for tomorrow to keep you informed when you can't be present or just to stay up-to-date with industry activities
  • Connecting and engaging with individuals and businesses on facebookLinkedin, Google+, and Twitter is vital to a successful, long-term relationship with tomorrow’s customers.
  • Most importantly, actively participating (e.g. joining groups, asking questions and giving answers) is the best way to make social media successful and you potentially seen as a Thought Leader. You can’t just create a social media profile / page and expect customers to come knocking. If people don’t see you engaged, they won’t follow back. And, if you only promote yourself, your business, or your services, you are committing sales suicide and will often be hidden or blocked by your customer's (or potential customer's) social media feeds.
Social Media helps us grow as people by creating interactive dialogue when a phone call or in-person visit or meeting isn't feasible.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Don't Underestimate the Marketing Value of Volunteers

Have you ever volunteered for an event, or cause?  Did you feel underappreciated or that your effort and time were abused?  You're not alone.

While I must admit that this thought stems from experiences in my life from community and industry led volunteer efforts, I'm sure you have your own war stories.  When your volunteerism is devalued, it creates unnecessary drama and heartache for both you and the organization, business, or group you're working with.  And who needs drama in their lives . . . unless, of course, you're watching a good movie or live theatrical performance.  

For the organizations, groups, and businesses leading a cause or event, volunteers can be some of your greatest marketing assets.  By treating volunteers respectfully, everyone wins:  the leading organization, group or business, the cause or event itself, and even the volunteers.  Volunteers help the marketing effort primarily through viral marketing, spreading the word about your cause or event to people you might not otherwise reach.  But if you abuse their time you lose them and the people they know.

Here are some considerations to show appreciation for volunteers (or for volunteers to look for in a volunteer-driven cause or event):
  • Some volunteers are okay with casual or even formal word-of-mouth or paper certificate recognition (and some are fine with nothing), but most appreciate those little (or big) extra perks.  In my experiences, community organizations often put limitations on the perks or rewards because they feel they will get a better ROI; don't do this.
  • Just because a volunteer runs a business and has expertise in a specific area that they might otherwise charge for, doesn't mean that the business, group or organization asking for volunteerism should expect they'll get everything for free.  I have found this unfortunately and primarily true for industry led and business partnership volunteer efforts.
  • Organizational and (especially) business leaders sometimes automatically expect that the volunteers should be as professional as they are and should devote countless hours toward the volunteer effort; this is simply not true.  Let the volunteer arrange for their time and effort.  In my experiences, this is more often a problem for community organizations holding events requiring hours and hours and volunteer preparation time.
Asking a lot from a volunteer is also asking a lot from their own personal and business relationships.  This a consideration never to be abused.