Put Your Mind In the Gutter (Or Else Your Clients Will)

Browsing through Reddit today and ran across this post of Worst Business Name Ever with this photo:

kidsexchange1.jpg

Hopefully you see the obvious problem here.

It reminds me of when one of my friends was pregnant. She and her husband were considering names for the baby and this was the conversation:

Wife: What about Regina? It’s my grandmother’s name.
Husband: Nope. She’ll get teased and get called “Vagina” in school.

Every name my friend threw out had to pass her husband’s “what will kids call her” test. Brilliant! Way to think ahead and catch a potential problem early.

Business owners should apply the same test when naming their business. What will clients call you? And put your mind in the gutter before you spend all the time and money on a name that only gets plastered all over the blogosphere as the worst business name ever.

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

What Karaoke Can Teach You About Marketing

woman-singing.gifOK, I admit it – I’m a karaoke junkie. My friends and I go every week. I have a standard set of songs I sing – because I’ve practiced them so often I could sing them in my sleep. I don’t have to worry about going out on a limb – I’ll sound good as long as I stick to what I know.

Last night after singing “Moondance” for about the 98th time the DJ kept me up on stage. “A gentleman has requested Andrea sing ‘Fever’ so we’re gonna keep her up here for one more song.”

What!? I thought, “I haven’t practiced this song. What if I fail? What if I sound terrible in front of this room full of people? No way – I just can’t do this.”

It took some persuading, but I eventually agreed to sing the song. I stood on stage praying that I wouldn’t mess up.

The comfortable feeling I had during the last song apparently decided to go outside and have a cigarette. I held the microphone in my slightly shaking hand when the seductive beat began. I swayed my hips at each pluck of the bass and started to find my grove.

Then a miracle happened (ok, maybe not a miracle – but something pretty cool). I started singing and I was good – damn good. So good I got a standing ovation.

Strutting back to my seat I reflected on what had just happened. Because I had something that worked, there was little incentive for me to go outside of my comfort zone. But because I didn’t take the risk, I missed out on an even better opportunity.

Marketing strategies can fall into the same routine. Year after year companies stick with “what works” because they fear the unknown.

Trying something new is risky. There’s a chance you’ll fail – but there’s also the chance that you’ll have overwhelming success. And if you’re missing out on a standing ovation – doesn’t that make staying comfortable the really risky choice?

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Why Link Love is Bad for Your Blog

Fresh out of college I worked selling ad space for a regional lifestyle magazine. It was a tough sell because the magazine was about 80% advertising and 20% editorial – and people caught on. The lack of original content was ultimately what caused the magazine’s demise.

Similarly, I can predict the same fate for blogs who evangelize link love strategies. Simply creating a list of other blogs or writing a post to the effect of “Read this blog – it’s good” is an ineffective long term strategy for building a quality blog.

If you look at some of the best blogs out there – blogs like ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Copyblogger, or How to Change the World, you’ll notice they never re-hash other people’s ideas. If they do link to another blog it’s with a purpose. If they reference an article they state their opinion. If they use a “tactic” it’s subtle and buffered with mounds of original content.

Unsure you have what it takes to come up with original content on a regular basis? Maybe you shouldn’t be blogging in the first place.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Too Clever For Your Own Good?

ice-cream.jpgMrs. Mogul posts on the following stores that went out of business in what she thinks is due to their poor naming.

Candle Store – The Almost Edible Candle Gourmet Shop

Ice Cream Store – The Marble Slab

Pet Store – Doggy Style

Your business name is the most critical piece of your branding. How do you know if your clever name will be worthless or a winner?

Try test marketing with these short questions (with strangers for best results).

1. What images does this name make you think of?

2. What feeling does this name give you?

3. If you purchased something from this store, who would it be for?

4. What product/service do you think this company offers?

5. What if I told you this company sold _________? What do you think now?

An effective brand is congruent with the company purpose. If you find the answers to these questions out of whack, revise your name until it’s right. There’s a lot at stake – so it’s worth the investment.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Professional Millennial: My life in Gen Y

I have a secret…I’m a millennial.

I knew how to operate a computer before I knew how to write. One of my first “real” dates was with someone I met Online. Every research paper I wrote started with an Internet search.

Maybe this explains my ridiculous work ethic, my uncompromising idealism, my unwaivering integrity – it’s a part of my generation.

As Claire Raines explains in her article at generationsatwork.com, Millennials (born between 1980 – 2000) are the

“hottest commodity on the job market since Rosie the Riveter. They’re sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, influential, and achievement-oriented. They’ve always felt sought after, needed, indispensable. They are arriving in the workplace with higher expectations than any generation before them—and they’re so well connected that, if an employer doesn’t match those expectations, they can tell thousands of their cohorts with one click of the mouse.”

And you know what – she’s right. Here’s my story…

In high-school & college I graduated near the top of my class, was in too many extracurriculars to mention, and earned a darned good living working part-time as a telemarketer for an insurance agency.

After college, I entered corporate America and was severely disappointed by the “do-what-I-say-because-I’m-the-boss” attitude that many of my employers exhibited.

Like many Millennials, I job hopped until I found a company that operated with integrity and purpose. Within three months I was the top selling rep in my office. Within eight months I was #3…nationally.

I was wooed away by a company that shall remain nameless and was slotted to earn well over $100,000 a year before I was 26. Because of my ethics and integrity I made a tough choice and walked away because I refused to “sell out.”

Without skipping a beat I started Write Ideas Marketing – which has been profitable from day one. I now get paid to think of ideas that my prior employers not only had at their disposal for free, but actually told me “would never work.” Funny how things work out, isn’t it?

Are you managing a millennial?

If so, I can tell you from personal experience that most of what I’ve read about our generation is true. We are driven, confident and won’t settle for anything less than ideal.

The secret? Keep us challenged. Mentor us. Inspire us to dream bigger. And make things fast-paced. We’re used to instant gratification and find it hard to “wait in line” or deal with bureaucracy. If you don’t, you may see your top talent walk right out your door.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Integrity Selling: An Interview with Fred Sarkari

Recently, I ran across a blog post that made me think. It was a man who openly admitted to double booking an appointment with a client and chose to be honest. You can read my former post by clicking here.

This fascinated me. For years I have been saying that it is not only possible – but essential for a salesperson to have integrity to be successful. So I decided to ask Fred what his thoughts were on the subject…

In a Gallup Poll released in December 2006, the sales and marketing industries represented 3 out of the 4 least trusted professionals. Why do you think sales people are perceived as untrustworthy and how can we change that perception?

Sales people at times get so caught up with the end in mind that they start making promises just in order to reach their goals. So, unfortunately we are least trusted with some level of validity.

The only way we can change that perception is to start putting our energies into the success of our clients. Our ‘end in mind’ should not be what will we receive, it should be how can I help my client succeed. Help enough people get what they need and you will receive more then you ever dreamed possible.

In your program descriptions, you mention, “gone are the days of sales people using closing lines.” Why do you think so many companies train their sales staff to sell in this style? What can salespeople do as an alternative to using traditional tactics?

Yes, closing lines are not only ineffective to our clients; they are out right frustrating and disrespectful to them. At the same time these questions are necessary in the questioning process. What makes them ineffective is not the questions alone but how and when they are used.

It is like building a house, for a house, the foundation is needed along with a roof and doors for the completion. To try and frame and roof a house without pouring the foundation is as ineffective as using questioning in the wrong process.

Maybe if enough people request, I will put together an article on effective questioning.

Some people feel that “integrity selling” is somewhat of an oxymoron. What are your thoughts? Do you feel it is possible to sell in an honest, ethical and integrity-based manner?

It is the only way, as long as you are in this game for the long term.

First we need to define what integrity really means. Integrity is being true to your values no matter what circumstances you face. “People with integrity expect to be believed and when they are not, they let time prove them right.”

In essence, if sales people were to take the time to become aware of their values, be true to themselves and their values this game of ‘buying and selling’ would be a lot more enjoyable for all involved.

How can business owners help their salespeople sell with integrity? Is it more about hiring the right people or creating the right culture?

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. One of the major errors business owners make is chasing people with the right skill set causing more of a frustration to them in the long term. It is crucial that the people we hire want to be there and more importantly share your values and vision.

There are 3 things business owners have to keep in mind when hiring people for any position.

1. Hire the right person for the job. The right person is the one that shares your values and vision.

2. Then put them in the right position. The right position is the position that will bring out their greatness, this does not necessarily has to be their expertise. Connect with your employees in order to truly understand where their heart lies.

3. Give them the tools and resources they require.

Remember, the right people will never complain about the lack of resources. The right people will make it work with what they have.

Your question about the culture. As the business owner, you are the culture. Your culture needs to be defined first. Then you hire people that believe in your culture in order to sustain your culture.

Your foundation, Dare2Drm, is focused on instilling desire, direction, passion and purpose in our youth. How can we help a child in our lives achieve their highest potential and act with integrity?

Very simple, stop telling our children they cannot do something. Even when we know there is a good chance they will fail.

Parents think they are protecting their children by making sure they do not fail. We do nothing but set them up for their greatest failures in the future without the experience of how to overcome and move on.

Always let them be young enough to know nothing is impossible.

Let them fail, let them fall, let them hurt and in turn teach them it is okay to do so as long as they never stay down.

Your organization works with companies across the globe – do you feel that the values of honesty, integrity and ethics are universal or do they change from culture to culture?

From what I have seen they are absolutely universal. A culture in a company is nothing more then an accumulation of values within the people in that company.

Values are linked to principles, and principles are principles because they are universal and prove the test of time.

You also provide one-on-one coaching – is there one person that you would like to work with? Why?

Someone just asked me if I have a mentor. Yes, I do but I have many. I have ones that I like to learn from depending on what part of my life I am looking to grow in.

For a little over a year I have been learning from, or I should say trying to suck every ounce of experience from Callum Desouza’s mind as I can.

Why you ask? I find it very intriguing how he can run a multi million dollar business with such calmness and balance in his life. His employees would do anything for him without question as they have the utmost trust and respect for him.

www.belleviewcommunities.com

You’ve recently written a book, “How the Top 5% Think.” Who or what inspired you to choose this topic?

That is a tough question for me to answer. Not because I am unsure of the answer but because the book has a background journey that goes back approximately 15 years. It is a journey where I finally embraced and in turn it made me who I am today.

We all have our own stories and in turn our journey. Some choose to fall a victim of them and others choose to embrace them. I fell victim of my medical journey for close to a decade until I embraced it with the realization of it being a gift. Your purpose will reveal itself when you embrace your journey.

This was my way of reaching out to a larger population. Help others embrace their journey and in turn pursue that life of ‘happiness’ that we so long for.

What is your secret to success?

Wow! Where do you start with that question? I really cannot say there is one thing. Part of success to me is always staying true to your core values while fulfilling your purpose.

Most have a hard time with that, as most have not gone through the process of true awareness; a process where they have clarity to their values. If you do not know what you value then how can you live your values?

One of the main reasons would be not only understanding the process required but more so to implement the process in order to achieve your desired success. A clarity in awareness is the foundation to any success in your life.

For more information about Fred, please visit his website at www.fredsarkari.com

 

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

How to succeed in sales without really trying

Fellow blogger Fred Sarkari posted a true-to-life tale of a mistake that I know all of us have made at one point or another – double booking appointments. To read the full story click here.

Fred’s reaction to his mistake and the choice to be upfront, honest, and genuine is one we can all take a lesson from. We will make mistakes – there’s no question about that. The question becomes how do you handle your mistakes?

Do you hide, lie, and cheat? Because if you do – you are making a bad name for all of us who believe in selling with integrity. In addition, unethical sales is hard work – remember Quintillian’s quote, “a liar should have a good memory.” You are actually creating more work for yourself – and you’re busy already, so why would you choose to do that?

Instead, let’s dare to be honest. Let’s follow Fred’s example and reap the rewards of better clients, more referrals, and a cleaner conscience.

Kudos!

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit www.writeideasmarketing.com.

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