Tag Archives: building relationships

5 Secret Questions hold the key to life

Often times I’m asked how it is so easy and seemingly effortless for me to meet strangers and soon have them turned into friends.

It begins with my genuine interest in people. It has always been my belief that I can enjoy anyone for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes 20 minutes is enough; often times a lifetime is not nearly enough. People genuinely interest me. They all have stories and I love to pull those stories out.  You see, I have discovered to make others feel important, show a genuine interest in them. Once they feel valued (important) they will open up and shortly thereafter a relationship is born.

To be successful, be genuinely interested in other people. I always learn so much from other people. It’s so easy to be interested, so why not be interested

To make others feel at ease with me, I’ve honed a specific set of easy-to-answer questions. Soon you will learn these questions. Commit them to memory (write them down until you have them memorized) and soon you can make everyone you meet comfortable with you.

When we build bridges with people we are more likely to create great relationships, to get cooperation and to conduct business. Talking with other people becomes easier when you realize that everybody’s got a story. And those stories, in most cases, are very interesting. These stories are so fascinating to me and it’s amazing how much I learn in about five minutes. We can all learn so much from the challenges, successes and adventures of others. When you meet someone new and find a way to allow them to talk, they will quickly hold you in high esteem. They will feel comfortable with you within minutes and they will often want to talk with you further. So, how do I get so many people to talk with me so easily? Getting people to talk with you becomes simple when you have specific, easy-to-answer questions that you can use every time. These questions will make you feel confident and make the person you are meeting feel important. Anyone will find these questions easy to answer. Make sure your tone is inquisitive and calm when asking these questions. No inquisition here.

Question 1:

I’m just curious, where are you from originally?

Starting this question with “I’m just curious”, relaxes the person you are asking. They are disarmed and comfortable right away. This question always leads to the beginning of a person’s story.

Now Question 2 can go two directions.   If the person you asked are from a place different from where they are now, ask:

What brought you here?

If they are from the same place where you are asking the question, ask:

Have you lived here all your life?

Question 3 is:

Do you have a family?

This questions immediately creates great relationships. People love talking about their family.

Question 4 is:

What do you do? 

Question 5 is:

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Because I owned a toy manufacturing company, I often also ask

What was your favorite toy when you were growing up?

Every person on the planet played with something when they were kids and this question is a wonderful ice breaker.

Everyone likes talking about their roots and about their families. Once you get someone started with easy questions, they’ll usually find it easy to keep talking. If the person you’re talking to is someone you’d like to speak with again, or do business with in the future, make note of the answers to these questions as soon as you have a moment. When you speak in the future, you can refer to some of their answers. This wins massive brownie points and showed you truly cared enough to remember. People are honored when we let them talk and even more so when we refer to something they told us in the past. That shows that you were genuinely interested and took the time to remember.

Many people have related to me that they were amazed with how much they learned about other people when they started using these questions. These questions will give you an easy and non-threatening way to start conversations and to make people feel important. You will see the magic this process creates in your ability to talk with others.

If you found this post useful, please forward to 5 people you know would like these questions. Please suggest they go to my website to learn more about me ~ www.marciareece.com

Remember:

It’s All About Relationships

– truly everything is!

Now practice your questions and let me know the results you achieve. Have fun and get to know some incredible new people with these fail-proof questions.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com

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Is Free Really Free?

These days, everyone talks about free content. “Give it away!” they say, but does this really work?

Well, yes and no.

As with anything, there has to be a strategy.

I listened to an author friend of mine telling me about her morning run through her neighborhood. She noticed a number of garage sale signs . One of the signs had a sign beneath it that read: We have free stuff! As she ran, she passed that house and noticed they put all their free stuff in the “Free zone” and already, even at that early hour, hoards of people were migrating there. She passed the other garage sales which were doing OK, but not great. Clearly the one with the free stuff pulled more people, but did it actually sell more paid merchandise? Yes. She checked in with the sale after her run to find most of the good stuff gone. The homeowner said the free stuff went fast, but it wasn’t junk stuff, it was actually good enough to make the garage sale shopper feel like they got a real deal.

If it’s junk and it’s free, it doesn’t really matter.  What’s the lesson here? Free stuff can help you sell more of the paid merchandise, but you have to be careful, because some people just want freebies and that’s fine. But they are not your customers.

Here are some tips to help you maximize the use of free:

  1. Why free? The first question you should ask yourself is why are you doing this? If you aren’t sure, then free might not be right for you. Free content should be offered to help further your message, build a list, and get new people into your marketing funnel. If your model isn’t set up this way, maybe it should be. If you aren’t interested in this kind of a marketing model, then free probably isn’t your thing.
  2. Define how free can help: Figure out why you want to give free stuff. Getting clear about your model will help determine if a free product is even worth your time. If it is, then you need to figure out how it will help you. As an example, while Secrets of the Marriage Mouse was in the final editing, I wrote a companion workbook.  It’s nearly 200 pages of content and I give it away free at my live events when someone purchases Secrets of the Marriage Mouse.  Great value; you bet!  This pushes my book sales to around 82% of my audience.  Those are great numbers any way you look at them.  Why would I do this?  To build trust.  Trust and caring are important. Our free stuff builds our mailing list, yes, but it also builds trust.
  3. Make sure it’s really free: A lot of people have content that is purported to be free when it’s not really free. What I mean is that you get a sliver of it, not even a piece really worth mentioning, but the stuff you want is something you have to pay for. If you want to do free, make it free. Find something of value and give it to your customers.
  4. Make it something your end user wants: Make sure the free is something people want. If it isn’t you a) won’t bring in the right crowd of people (you’ll end up just getting the freebie hunters, and b) you won’t build your mailing list as fast. Virtually any electronic product is easy to create and deliver.
  5. Take names: You should never give free away without asking for an email address. I see people do this all the time; they have a ton of free stuff but never collect emails. If that’s the case, the freebies you are offering may be of great value to your end user but they won’t matter to your marketing. Get emails. You get something (their email) and give them something (the free stuff).
  6. Make it easy to get: Don’t make free difficult. What I mean is make it easy to get your free stuff. If people have to jump through hoops, they won’t do it and the free stuff won’t matter. Put your free stuff on your home page, or at least have a link to it. They sign up for your newsletter and they get your free stuff.  This is a pretty common tactic these days.  But when ask for their email, make it easy. A simple click or two is all it should take. Then, don’t ask for too much information. Ask for what you truly need.
  7. Call to action: Make sure that your free stuff has a call to action. You are collecting names and email addresses and building your list, that’s great. But what do you really want people to do? Define what you want them to do, and then include your call to action in the free stuff. Let’s face it, it’s a good piece – designed to help your reader – but it must also help you. It’s ok to promote your book on the last page, or encourage folks to do a consult with you if that’s what you offer. You can also offer specials and change these periodically in the giveaway.
  8. Follow up! The best kind of free stuff is, as I like to call it, the gift that keeps giving. Auto responders are a great system but often underutilized when it comes to marketing. If you are collecting names and then never contacting your prospects again, what’s the point? People need to be reminded, and reminded again. Now, you can also funnel folks into your newsletter as I mentioned earlier.
  9. Define what your market wants and then give it to them. No one knows your market like you do.

The real key here is that free stuff can work well for you in so many ways, but free stuff without a goal is just free. Great to get free stuff, right? But then how is all of this hard work going to pay off for you?  I can tell how and when my free offer works to increase my market and to increase my sales.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com

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WIIFM

Today was spent working with a client on the east coast who has finished writing his book. It’s ready to go for final edit. We worked on his book promotion/media strategy.

Here are some of the things we completed you might also find valuable:

  • Complete a great media kit
  • Polish up your bio
  • Write 3 media releases, each from a different angle.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, find what’s in your book that will DO Something for the reader; solve a problem the reader is having.

Finding the benefits to your book might seem like a pretty simple task, but touting that “It’s a great read!” won’t get you very far. To determine what your book will do for your reader, you’ll have to dig deep, sometimes deeper than you thought. Especially if your book is fiction, this task of finding benefits will require some serious brainstorming. The key here is, be different. If you have a diet book, don’t offer the same benefits a million other books do: you’ll lose weight. Instead, offer a benefit that is decidedly different than anything that’s out there.

If you think you can’t find a different approach, go back to the beginning. Why did you write your book? It must solve a problem you could not find solved in the books already written.

Or, try to couch a similar benefit in a different way.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the WIIFM factor: what’s in it for me? If your reader likes what’s in it for them, they’ll buy your book.  Make sure your audience finds the answers to THEIR needs within your book and all of your interviews. If they stop hearing about them and their needs they will drift away and you will lose them.

Be sure to keep the WIIFM foremost in your mind as you write your media release and all your sales materials.

People only care what your book will DO FOR THEM.

The idea of not selling your book also holds true when you’re doing an interview. Never, ever answer an interviewer’s question with: “You’ll find it in my book.” If you’re the author, of course the answer is in your book.

The uniqueness of your benefits can also directly relate to each particular audience. For example, if you have different levels of readers or readers from different backgrounds, it’s a good idea to work up a set of benefits for each of them. Then any interview you do (or speaking engagement) will offer benefits with that audience in mind as opposed to a more generic form of, “Here’s what my book can do for you!”

Creating a list of benefits for your book can aid your campaign in a number of ways: first, it’ll help you get away from a more “salesy” type of approach, and second, it will help you create the tip sheets that can add substance to your media kit.

BONUS TIP:  When you are preparing for your interviews, speak to your audience as if you are speaking directly to one person at a time.  Don’t try to speak to the whole audience…make your answers specific to one person’s needs.

BONUS TIP:  If you’re working on the benefit angle of your book early enough, you can incorporate these into the back copy of your book.

The point is, never, ever sell your book. Be a step ahead of the competition and sell what your book can do for the reader, and let them know why it’s better than the competition.

In the end, that’s all anyone will care about.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com

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Would You? Could You?? Should You???

Last week at the Executive Roundtable one of the authors there admitted to “reverse shoplifting” and actually putting their book on the shelves of a store where they wanted it to sell…and it did sell!!  I’ve thought about doing this and never have.

Many years ago when I was in the toy industry, the company with whom I was working was launching a new Piggy Belly toy. It was debuting at Target. Over our lunch hour, we all went into the area Targets and each bought two Piggy Belly toys. Not quite the same as reverse shoplifting, but the principle is nearly the same.

Just for the heck of it, next week I’m taking my books into 3 retailers and leaving them on the shelves…as a gift from me. Does it sound as bad if it’s referred to as a “gift” instead of “reverse shoplifting”?

Chime in and let’s be honest here…how many of you have ever rigged your sales by forced purchasing or reverse shoplifted? Just suggesting we aren’t getting any younger and what the heck…it might be fun.

Let me know if this marketing strategy pays off for you. Listening to George Clooney and Jimmy Kimmel talk about pranks they play must have brought this out in me.  Who knows? I’m usually way to squeaky clean, straight laced.

P.S.:  Maybe we should take it a step further and leave stacks of bookmarks in the washrooms of the stores where you leave your books or other strategic places?  What says You??

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com

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View Yourself as Your Brand

If you were senior VP of marketing at Pepsi, you would have no problem tooting the horn of the product line you represented. Why is it different when You are the brand you must toot.

We were all raised to be humble and modest and that’s well and good.

To successfully market you and your work, you must be able to step out of your being and view yourself as the “work of art”, “the product”, the brand”. It’s very hard to do at first, but practice and you will develop the confidence to see the points others need to learn to KLT (know, like, and trust) and you will be able to promote You.

One place to start may be to write up You in the form of your marketing plan. You will be able to see how You stack up against your competition.

What are 3 things you can say about You, your work, and You, the brand in your Marketing Plan? Let’s start there.

If you get stuck, call me. I’ll be glad to help you view yourself differently than ever before.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com

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Social Media is a Waste of TIME!! NO, Its Not!!!!

Are there benefits to social media?

How are those benefits measured?

What are the big mistakes we make?

why? Why? WHY? do this crap at all?

Social media has changed the way businesses communicate with consumers; and the way we communicate with each other. Mobile devices are used far more for social media than for actual phone calls.

Potential clients find all the information they need with just the click of a mouse. Creating a social media presence for you and your business allows you to connect with consumers in a more personal way than ever before. You can meet them on their terms and in the location they feel most comfortable spending time.

It’s not going to go away; it’s only going to evolve.

What’s been your best experience with Social Media? And what has been your worst?

How do you see social media in the next 10 years?

The A-Team and Social Media for Business and Brainstorming. I hope each of you will comment on this and share with your groups. Let’s find out what everyone else is struggling as well as where everyone is having their successes. I know we can learn from both areas.

My biggest area I work on is social media etiquette. I have made several mistakes in this area and have vowed to read more, learn more, and interact more with those who do it right. I struggle to remember to attach tags and use categories.  I even have a yellow post it note check list by my computer to help me.

It’s hard to always remember to use my keywords for SEO.

“Grandma of 5 in Colorado” feeling a bit like a dinosaur but determined to learn!!!

Marcia Reece is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com.

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Boost Your Brand

Boosting Your Brand Builds your Business

Build a strong professional image everywhere you go and everywhere you show up.  That means on and offline.  Emphasize your strengths and make sure your brand supports your goals.

Clean up your online presence.

If someone who wants to know more about you checks you out online, what would they find? A well-branded online presence sets the tone and is critically important today, more than ever before. Google your name and review the first page of results. Does each listing support or weaken your professional brand? Take the steps to improve these results by overhauling your online brand.

Early birds still get the worms. When you next attend an event, get there early and grab a seat at the table so you don’t end up in a chair on the outskirts of the room. This way, it will be easier to join in the conversation and voice your opinion. If you have something to contribute to the discussion, speak up – don’t wait for an opening to appear, as you may miss your window.

Never stop learning. The best way to maintain a strong brand is to never stop learning. Seek out professional development opportunities through relevant webcasts, Meetups, and other membership associations.  Prove that you are a valuable resource to your following by sharing what you’ve learned that may help others.

Get involved. There’s no better way to become know and to build your brand in the process of having fun.

Recruit a mentor. When I first began to think about having my book published, I knew I didn’t know anything about that industry.  I joined a professional association and quickly found a mentor in that group. The right mentor can shape your professional skills, teach you the ins and outs of your industry, help you navigate, overcome adversity, and introduce you to the right people and resources to advance your work.

Toot your own horn. If you want to get ahead, you not only have to deliver results above expectations – you have to be recognized for your accomplishments. If you’re working on a project that’s going well, don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm with your following. Let them know your milestones. Share your results.

All of the above steps will each in their own way help to grow you and your brand.  What are your most successful tips and don’t be afraid to also share your biggest failures…we all have those and they cease being a failure as soon as we learn from them.

Marcia Reece is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com.

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