Branding and Creativity

Animated Fall Messages – The Perfect Way to Connect at the Perfect Time of Year

Summer is fading into memory. The craziness of the holidays looms ahead. We’re in the sweet spot of productivity right now. Don’t let the next few weeks get away from you without connecting with your clients and customers. Whether you’re just saying thank you or want to set up a meeting, we’ve got new messages that are perfect for your needs and ready to send.

Login to check them out in the Message Library now.

Sign up for 30 days free and start having some fun with your contacts today.

Veterans Day Messages - Honor Our Freedom Fighters

Veterans Day is just around the corner, and we’ve created a new batch of messages to help you thank the Vets in your life. A few of those messages share some history of how the day came to be and interesting statistics about these courageous Americans.

Check them out in the message library and use them today to say a heartfelt thank you.

Don't have an account? You don't know what you're missing! Try it out 30 days free – Send a few messages, get a few rave responses, and fall in love.

Daylight Savings Messages! In Time For Halloween’s Sugar Crash

As if Halloween on Friday night isn’t enough reason to celebrate, we also get the best kind of daylight savings on Saturday night: Fall Back! That’s right, the extra hour of sleep to recover from your candy coma is just around the corner.

These days, since so many clocks update themselves, the only reminder many people get about daylight savings is a quick mention on the local news. Do you think your competitors are going to fill that gap and make it a point to remind their clients of the time change?

Of course not. Which is exactly why you should! 

We’ve created a set of messages – some with animated GIF's like the one above! – that not only serve as reminders, but many also include awesome productivity tips and meeting invitations. Stand out by sending messages at a time when no one else is sending them, and you’ll really sleep well during that extra hour on Saturday night.

Which one do you like the best? 

How are you going to use the Daylight Savings messages?

Pre-created messages means you can send them to your customers and best contacts in minutes.

So how do you send these handy pre-created email messages quickly?

  • Just log in to your account (or sign up free for 30 days)
  • Click the "Message Library" tab
  • Then click the Daylight Savings category on the left
  • Preview and purchase your favorites – some are Free, some for $1.99

They're yours forever to use again and again!

Our Favorite Trick: Giving You A Bag Of Treats

Halloween is this Friday. To celebrate, we’ve put together a whole new batch of Halloween messages that are wrapped up and ready for you to pass out to all your favorite clients and team members.

From perfectly timed and festive motivational messages for your team to productivity tips and seasonal meeting reminders, we’ve covered as much ground as a kid on Halloween night with this latest update. Putting these messages together got us in the Halloween spirit, and I’ll bet scrolling through them will do the same for you.

Can you think of just one person you’ve been meaning to get back in touch with? Maybe a lead that’s been sitting just a little too long? Well blow the dust and cobwebs off that email address and send that person one of these messages. It will get noticed, and your results will be anything but scary.

And sending one of these messages is like trying to eat just one piece of candy on Halloween - you just can’t do it. 

Check out the messages. Let us know what you think. And definitely let us know how well they work for you. 

Happy Halloweemail!

How do you send out these pre-created email messages quickly?

  • Just log in to your account (or sign up free for 30 days)
  • Click the "Message Library" tab
  • Then click the Halloween category on the left
  • Preview and purchase your favorites – some are Free, some for $1.99

They're yours forever to use again and again!

'Bear' Essentials for St. Patrick's Day

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Green beer. Green rivers. Green lipstick. Green EVERYTHING!

St. Patrick's Day is no doubt one of the weirder and wilder holidays! Whether you're one of those crazies who go all the way on St. Patrick's Day or you're a more sensible type who grabs their once-a-year green socks, don't forget to send a greeting to your customers and contacts.

St. Patrick's Day is all about friends, family, fun, festivities – and sometimes even acting like an animal.

So here's a series of fun and festive pre-designed, pre-written St. Patrick's Day messages with an animal flair and a 'pinch' of weirdness.

To use the messages:

  • Log in to your Ace of Sales account (or sign up for a 30 day free trial)
  • Click the Message Library tab
  • Click the St. Patrick's Day category on the left
  • Preview and purchase your favorites for $1.99 each (yours to use over and over!)
  • Click 'Use'
  • Add a contact or group of contacts
  • Make any edits you want, then send!
  • Enjoy the appreciative responses!

Speaking of appreciation, we appreciate you!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Ace of Sales Team!

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New Daylight Savings Designs Added

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Don't let your customers experience the Wake of Shame this Sunday by forgetting to spring ahead because of Daylight Savings.

That's right – we lose an hour!

Twice a year, you get to be Johnny-on-the-Spot by reminding your customers about the upcoming time switch.

Here are 3 new pre-written, pre-designed messages that will help you do it in style! They're 100% ready to send.

Just log in to Ace of Sales, click the 'Message Library' tab, click the 'Daylight Savings' category in the list on the left, preview the messages, purchase your favorites for $.199 each, and send to all your contacts in seconds.

Way to go, Johnny!

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Written, Designed, and Ready to Send - New Message Series for Valentine's Day

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Appreciate your clients. They’ll love you for it!

Instant is the opposite of lasting.

Instant fades quickly.

Instant never tastes as good as slow cooked or slow brewed.

Instant has its place, but it’s not at the heart of real connections. Or is it?

Harken back to the days when connections were real with our new pre-written, pre-designed Valentine's Day series. We’ve added the new series to the Message Library so that in mere moments you can fire them off to every single one of your clients in a couple of clicks.

Just show a little appreciation.

Valentine’s Day is a great occasion to let your clients know you’re thinking about them. It offers a unique opportunity for you to stand out and build loyalty.

While most of your competition is trying to find the time to get a gift for one or two people in their lives, we’ve made it easy to touch all the special people in your life.

Sending a message your contacts will appreciate and remember? No sweat.

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See how to send one of these new Valentine's Messages in 1 minute

New Designs Added – Will You Be My Valentine?

Remember that kid in first grade who didn't get a valentine?

Of course not! That's because your teacher made a rule that you had to bring a valentine for EVERYONE in the class.

This year, we're making a rule. Every one of your clients deserves a valentine too. Why? Because just like little Timmy in first grade, they're each special.

Are some more special than others?

Sure. That's why you gave the wrinkled one to Timmy. Thankfully, at Ace of Sales, we don't have any wrinkled ones, so start sending valentines like the teacher's watching.

Put your heart in it and have fun.

We're sure the replies will make it all worthwhile.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Check out the designs below and feel free to leave a comment about your favorite or make any suggestions for next year's batch.

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Create Impact With Printed Cards

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Emails, texts, and phone calls are cheap. Printed cards are forever. OK, diamonds are forever. But the impact of a printed card lasts a long time. When you get a personalized greeting card or postcard in the mail from someone you know, it has impact. It communicates your level of investment, organization, sincerity, and commitment. The response is respect, appreciation, gratitude, consideration, and a deepening of loyalty.

Emails can get ignored. Printed cards can be kept for months.

Texts are forgettable. Printed cards are placed on the front of desks.

Phone calls get sent to voice mail. Printed cards get sent around the office.

Are you sending printed cards to your new prospects? Best customers? Business friends? Partners?

At Ace of Sales, we just relaunched the beta version of our printed cards feature. You can now upload your own image or choose one of ours. In a one screen, mobile-friendly interface you simply upload or choose an image, add a message, and send. Your card is printed and mailed for you within two business days (currently, US and Canada only). Add custom finishings like rounded corners or a gift card to your order. Greeting cards are less than $2 with postage. Postcards are a buck or less. We don't put the Ace of Sales logo on the back of your cards.

We loved the way our longtime customer, Amy, put it – "I just ordered a card for my mom and the process was super easy. I especially like the fact that everything is on one screen and you can see at a glance how everything will look without having to make additional "navigation clicks". Thank you for providing such a quality service!"

This week, I take a break from my usual column to invite you to try our new printed cards in Beta at Ace of Sales. (Everyone who signs up gets a 30 day trial account at no cost. Monthly subscriptions are $20 after that. No contracts ever. Cancel at any time.)

Sign up here to send one to yourself and one to your customers today.

I await your feedback at andyhorner@aceofsales.com and look forward to hearing about the impact our printed cards make on your customers!

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How Different You Must Be

Everyone agrees you must be different – or differentiated – to succeed in business. But HOW different must you be? Answer: You must be Different enough to set off alarms and Relevant enough to spur action.

Let's start with the first step:  Be different enough to set off alarms.

The human mind is excellent at ignoring similar information. This means you can't just be a little different. You must be out of the ordinary. Take any set of information – a highway, a spreadsheet, a bookshelf, a website, a sales presentation, a conversation – and the brain will identify anything out of the ordinary – a parade, a deficit, a best-seller, a broken link, a shocking statistic, or a comment that brings you to tears or laughter. Another term for "out of the ordinary" is "extraordinary." Is your product or service, or are you... extraordinary? If so, the brain sets off an alarm rousing the active mind to "Pay Attention!"

How different must you be to set off an alarm? Different enough that no comparison can be made!

The brain's filtering ability is based on memories. It compares new information to examples and models it has stored. It does this extremely fast, of course. "Have I ever heard a salesperson say this before?" "Have I ever seen a website like this before?" "Have I ever seen a product similar to this before?" "Have I ever heard a description worded this way before?" "Have I ever seen a pricing model like this before?" "Have I ever experienced expertise at this level before?" When the brain discovers information for which it has no comparison, it fires the signal, "This is new! This could be important!" If you're being honest with yourself, are you a little different or alarmingly new?

If you can answer "alarmingly new," congratulations! You just earned a split second of your customer's focus.

That was the easy part.

The next step is far more difficult, but critical: Be relevant enough to spur action.

Even if you're successful at firing off a "this is new information!" alarm, you have a second test to pass before being stamped "important." During the split second of focus you earned, the customer's brain speeds to decide if this new information is relevant or irrelevant. The new information is cross-referenced with the active projects alive in your customer's mind. These active projects are the ideas, concepts, and problems they turn over and over in their heads – both consciously and unconsciously – throughout their day. "How to boost productivity?" "How to complete a project?" "Where to find the right expertise?" "How to train staff?" "How to please the board?" "How to be more important to the company?" Your customer has a sensor ready to recognize and receive information that advances their initiatives. Set off any one of those sensors and you'll be perceived as relevant, which can also be translated as "meaningful to me right now!"

Different + Relevant = Important

What follows the identification of importance? Action. Your customer's next move is to decide HOW important you are by replying with, "Tell me more!"

Are you Different enough to set off alarms and Relevant enough to spur action?

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Bonus Lesson

Here's a quick visual that illustrates how different you must be to set off alarms. Most business people think they're VERY different from their competition. They firmly believe their logo, brochure, pitch, features, and benefit message are all distinct. In reality, they're perceived to be so similar to their competitors that they're indistinguishable.

Everyone's fingerprints are unique, right? Yes. But when viewed side by side, not one stands out as different:

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To stand out, you have to be out of the ordinary – a distinct individual.

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Is there room for everyone to be DIFFERENT? Absolutely!

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What is YOUR Brand Conversation?

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What's that core dialogue that keeps customers returning to you to learn, discuss, debate, get guidance, share their experience, and soak in your perspective? Your Brand Conversation is NOT your logo, website design, business model, or revenue driver. It's the topic your customers would want to dive into if they had a chance to have coffee with you.

Here are a few to consider...

Apple's: Your media is your life, and your life should be extraordinary.

Old Spice: Men should be unpredictable, audacious, cocky, and self-confident.

Jeffrey Gitomer: Stop selling people and start using value to win loyal customers who want to buy.

Dale Carnegie: To win friends and succeed, put people first.

Each of these statements starts an original conversation. Each entices customers to respond and engage in terms of you. They stimulate excitement, intrigue, a desire to return to the Conversation with you, and in time... buying customers!

If I could've had coffee with Steve Jobs, I would have talked to him about how I use my iPhone, iPad, and how I love exploring the Apple Stores. I would talk about myself in relation to Apple - how they've made my life and my media more extraordinary. Our conversation would have naturally centered around Apple's Brand Conversation.

What is your Brand Conversation?

What do your customers ask you about when they meet you for coffee?

If your customers are all over the place or don't naturally fall into a conversation about themselves in relation to you, maybe you haven't defined your Brand Conversation yet.

Now's the time!

In one sentence, what is your Brand Conversation?

Here's mine: When a person is original, relevant, and highly skilled, they're the most powerful force to drive a successful brand and business.

When I meet face to face with customers, they often speak about how I've helped them stand out, be creative, show off their capabilities, and make their business more relatable and human.

Your turn... Add your's to the comments below.

A Mark of Great Marketers

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Great marketers are separated from good marketers by their level of Market Perception – theirability to spot emerging needs of customers and trends within their industry. This capability can mean the difference between eeking out sales each year or banking big profits. How's your Market Perception?

Are you observing the shifts in your industry as they're happening and while they're hot – or are you jumping on the bandwagon when the market is saturated and the opportunity to lead and succeed has all but dried up?

Business moves fast. Successful marketers can identify and seize important opportunities that are invisible to most.

Can you?

Over the years, several fascinating studies have examined our ability to pick up on our surroundings, as well as our (in)ability to notice one thing while paying attention to something else. Perhaps the most famous of these is Dan Simon’s Selective Attention Test. (Don't read ahead - spoilers!)

It's astounding to think we could miss something so obvious right in front of our eyes, but there’s no arguing that it happens. Compare the original above to a more fully produced version below of the video Professor Simon did for a conference. Now that you know what to look for, you can't not see the visitor in the video!

So how does this study apply to us as marketers?

By now, it should be abundantly clear that focusing your energy on one thing can distract you from the big picture.

Every industry changes over time. How well are you picking up on those incremental shifts in your business? Are you ahead of the curve? Behind? Do you spot trends or read about them after they've been identified and acted on by someone else? What would it mean to your own level of success if you were the one being quoted in or even writing those ground-breaking articles?

On a smaller scale, how well do you pick up on the changes in priorities that your clients are dealing with? Consider the questions they're asking you now, as compared to the questions they used to ask you. In other words, they're pointing right at the gorilla. Are you seeing it? If you give these clues the attention they deserve, they can make all the difference.

For example, have there been any personnel changes at your clients’ offices lately? Often a shift in management can bring a shift in priorities. Looking for those clues helps you build loyalty. It shows that you’re paying attention to the big picture for your client and not just your personal sales goals.

There’s a lot of talk in business circles these days about focusing your efforts on specific targets, and that’s good advice. But focusing your efforts should never mean restricting your field of vision. Pay attention to the little things and you can grow them into big successes.

Daydream Achiever: 9 Keys to Unlock Your Success-Generating Brilliance

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In grade school, I was often "in trouble" for daydreaming. My teachers called it "not paying attention." After a while, they'd put my chair in the hall or send me to the principal's office. It worked out perfect for me. I found both of those places ideal for... daydreaming. And it was in those places that some of my best ideas for creative projects, fantastic stories, and imaginative games were fashioned. I still daydream every day. But instead of games and stories, I'm conceiving original ideas and deep answers for customers that leave my competitors' heads spinning.

Daydreaming is pure thinking. It's where innovation is born.

Do you allocate time for pure thinking every day? If you're like most salespeople, who are too busy being busy, probably not.

If you don't carve out time to let your mind crunch on deep answers and unravel genius ideas, how will you develop the differentiators you need to beat competitors and build a booming business?

Dedicated time for pure thinking is the catalyst many business people need to escape their current plateau and reach higher levels of profit and growth.

Here are the 9 keys to unlock your success-generating brilliance by daydreaming like a pro:

1. Put your own chair in the hall. Everyone has a place where they think best – their "Thinking Place." Allocate time to be in your thinking place for at least 30 minutes a day.

2. Daydream on the move. Too antsy to sit and think? Go for a walk around your parking lot, mall, shopping center, or neighborhood.

3. Clear away distractions. Make sure your thinking place is a location where you won't bump into a bunch of people you know. Turn your phone off or put it on "do not disturb" – a new feature in iOS 6. Leave your folders and files back on your office desk.

4. Allocate time in the morning or evening. During the middle of the day, your mind is filled with matters of the moment. Morning people think most critically early. Evening people think clearly late. Guard and use those times for your pure thought.

5. Be intentional. Don't use your thinking time for free thought, where your mind can drift onto any topic from politics to your kids' activities. Go to your thinking place with a specific business topic, goal, or challenge to chew on.

6. Take notes. Bring a notebook or iPad to scribble your ideas down. Record everything you dream up.

7. Don't force a solution. Your thinking time may not yield the A-Ha! or the final breakthrough you were seeking. Let your mind be loose and flow down thought paths to explore new ideas. Your big idea may come tomorrow... or the next day.

8. Mind-map your thoughts. Write down the big thoughts or challenges at the center of your page. From each thought, draw a line and write down where each of those big thoughts lead. Then, do the same from each thought branch. Observing your divergent thoughts diagramed on the page will help you draw conclusions and see answers you can't when they're swimming in your brain.

9. Expect brilliance later. The time you invest in pure thought will often be harvested at a later time – a time when your mind is calm, relaxed, free. It could be in the shower or while walking your pet. Your subconscious mind will take the input from your thinking time and assemble the perfect solution. When it happens, write it down immediately!

Bonus: You may feel silly at first or that you are wasting your time. Keep going. Before long, you will come to hold this habit as one of your most valuable processes to succeed.

Thinking Place

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Where do you think best? Chances are it's not your desk – that's for work. Work is conscious. Dreaming is subconscious. Thinking is where the two merge. The junction of wild divergence and linear order is where answers are fused, innovation springs, and brilliance goes supernova. Sounds exciting, huh? So why aren't you spending more time in your thinking place?

I have many thinking places, but my favorites are: The patio on the corner outside my office, The Muse Coffee Shop a block away, and McDonald's near my house in Forest, VA.

I always have something to record my thoughts. Let me say that again, I write them down immediately! Thoughts are the most fleeting substance in the world. But there is nothing more powerful to change it.

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Here's a tip: Don't just record the thought itself. Record how you felt, where you were, and what was going on in your day. These details will give your thought context so you can recall  it's full impact and depth later on. I use the Notes and Voice Recorder apps on my iPhone and iPad. I also use ScoutBooks and Evernote.

Here's a better tip: Allocate time every day to be in your thinking place.

Here's my best tip: Don't just go to your thinking place to hang out. Go with a specific topic to consider. Bring something on the topic to read and a pad of paper or iPad to scribble ideas, doodles, and 'thought-lettes' (half thoughts). The goal is not to force a solution. It's to discover an answer. That's the whole point of being in a relaxing setting - the magic of your thinking place.

Where are your thinking places? How do you spend your time there? Tell me in the comments below.

And... follow me on Twitter for more of my thought-lettes, ideas, and full blown answers.

Out of This World "Out of the Office" Replies

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It’s the middle of summer. Your vacation starts tomorrow. Time to turn on your "out of the office" auto-reply. Yours might sound like this:

“I’m on vacation until August 6th. If you need anything before I return, contact my assistant at 800-555-1234 or by email at assistant@ourcompany.com. I’ll respond to your email as soon as I'm back."

Short. Sweet. Perfect, right?

Well... it doesn’t make much of an impression, does it?

No. But who cares? After all, you have a million things to do before your minivan pulls out of the driveway.

Using a creative "out of the office" auto-reply message is a fast and often overlooked opportunity to stand out from competitors, strengthen your brand, build a little loyalty, and offer some value to customers while you're sipping umbrella drinks under a grass hut.

It'll only take you 5 minutes if you just remember the "3 keeps" - keep it short, keep it fun, keep it real.

Use these 6 tips to make your "out of the office" reply out of this world:

1. Tell them where you're going. You're out of the office - great! So where are you? Tell them. It's far more interesting than saying you're not there. It's a golden chance to connect and prepare your customers for a conversation when you return. Your auto-reply could go like this, "I'm vacationing in Bermuda with my 3 kids - my 'Bermuda Triangle.' Unless my plane is sent back in time, I'll be back in the office Monday, August 13th."

2. Tide them over with something valuable. "I'm out of the office, but before I left I found this short article you'll love - '7 ways to make your home 25% more energy efficient without buying a thing.' Let me know what you think. I'm back in the office next week!" It could be an article, video, blog post, news story, or anything your customers would perceive as valuable. It proves you thought about them before you left.

3. Make 'em laugh (or at least smile.) Your personality is a big plus to your customers and a major reason why they work with you - they like you! Don't disrespect and disappoint them by using a template "out of the office" reply devoid of "you-ness." "I've traded in my suit and tie for the week for my swim trunks and beach shirt. That's right, beach shirt - I have body issues. Greetings from the Outer Banks! I'm back Monday." Or, "Who cares where in the world Carmen San Diego is - I'm jumping wakes on my wave runner on Lake Michigan. Where am I on Monday? Responding to you back in my office."

4. Be more specific. If the playful or creative route doesn't suit you, use your auto-reply as a chance to give the emailer more information and a response expectation. "I'm on vacation, but I see you're at work. I'm back Monday and will mostly be using that day to catch up. My goal is to respond to everyone by Tuesday at noon. If you need me quicker, just call: 434-555-1234!" 

5. Introduce your back up. Your customers know you and love you, but they may not know your assistant or support person who will be on point while you're catching rays. By introducing your back up in a fun and personal way, your customers will be more comfortable (and more likely) to use the back up and get the help they need. "Lucky for you, I'm in Cabo for the week. Why lucky? Because that means you get to work with Sally Iver, my fellow consultant who's filling in for me while I'm away. She loves chocolate, tennis, and making customers happy. Customer, Sally. Sally, customer. Back at my desk on Monday!"

6. Allow them to connect, while you're away. "Thanks for your email. I'm in Las Vegas on vacation. But what happens on my trip, isn't staying in Vegas. I'm tweeting and blogging ideas for you to help your business grow and a few personal things mingled in - Uh, oh! Follow me @andyhorner and andyhorner.com." Post at least 1 blog post per day and 2-3 tweets. Make sure they're rich with value and watch your followers grow while you're away.

Bonus: Don't use an auto-reply at all. Have a support person or assistant reply to your emails or just respond to them yourself once a day while on vacation. Now that's out of this world! It also makes for less catch-up work for you when you return.

What’s the best auto-reply you’ve ever used or seen? Leave it in the comments below!

Also, Follow me on Twitter for more creative, practical ideas and inspiration - @andyhorner

A Logo That Has "Thanks" Written All Over It

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Recognize the logos in the image above? Of course - Aflac, ReMax, BMW, and Superman (had to put that one in there). The word "Thanks" has been designed into each logo. Pretty cool.

With Ace of Sales, you can send Email Greetings to your customers with your own images! Next time you want to say, "Thanks," "Happy Birthday," or "Hello," why not create a graphic for your Email Greeting that combines your logo and your message into one image? It's fun, customized, creative, and stands out.

How do you create one?

Easy, if you have the right tools and follow these simple steps:

1. You need an iPhone, iPod, or iPad (sorry other device people)

2. Get WordFoto from the App Store

3. Email yourself a JPG file of your logo on a square-ish shaped background

4. Check your email on your iDevice and save the logo image

5. Open WordFoto and import the logo image from your Photos App

6. Render a WordFoto image with any text

7. Email the final WordFoto image to yourself

8. Save the image to your desktop on your computer

9. Upload the image to a custom Email Greeting design in Ace of Sales

10. Add a longer email message below the image and click "Send"

Hope your customers love it!

What It Takes to “Get It"

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“You get it." Ever heard a customer utter those words? Whether your customer says it or thinks it, those three words are the precursor to any customer relationship.

So how do you get your customers to get that you get it? There’s no trick, script, or system. You have to prove to the customer that you see what they see - that you fully grasp their perspective.

Eight years ago, I met a customer who had fired 4 providers before me. He found me via Google and asked me to give a pitch. He was willing to spend big money but said he fired his previous providers because they didn’t “get" what he was trying to do...

The man was a brilliant engineer whose company sold sonar imaging software. During our meeting he explained the details about his business and the goals that eluded him. But not being an engineer myself, I was lost in the techno-speak.

I wanted to help him, so I asked him to show me his software. “That was a first," he said.

I replied, “What do you mean?" He said I was the first marketer or creative consultant who wanted to observe his product before developing campaigns, promotions, and website content.

He took me to a control room and sat me at a computer hooked to nine monitors stacked three levels high, all flickering with waves of data. The system curved around me like the controls of a spacecraft. Enthusiastically, he began showing me how it all worked.

2 hours later, I had a cursory understanding of sonar imaging and how his system improved sonar data for nautical use.

But then a funny thing happened...

The man’s speaking pattern transformed from technical jargon to heartfelt conversation. He began sharing his ultimate goals for the business, his passion for his unique team, and how he began the company on a shoestring budget.

At this point, I didn’t have to “engage the customer." He was engaging me. I didn’t need to “sell" him. He wanted to buy. See the difference?

I began to understand who this man was and what was meaningful to him. Making money wasn’t his primary driver. He wanted to create something important - to use his imagination and intellect to contribute something to the world.

We spent the last hour of the day with a whiteboard. He shared ideas with me. I shared ideas with him. I knew his product and goals well enough by then to contribute real value to the brainstorming discussion. I offered a specialty he didn’t have - marketing and branding expertise. In less than a day, I had become a member of his planning team.

The appointment was over, but just before I cleared the security checkpoint exit, he said, “Thank you for getting it."

Notice: There were no sales barriers. No qualifying questions. No slick presentation. No need to close the prospect. I simply took the time to do what no one else had done - care, listen, see, understand, and contribute.

I went beyond simply selling a customer. I saw from his eyes, walked in his shoes, and shared his perspective of the world. When you do, your customer will award you with a slice of trust. And that slice is all you need, because people naturally equate a willingness to listen and understand to wisdom and selfless friendliness - two of the most scarce traits in the business world today.

Do you get it?

I’m sure you do! Perhaps you have an example similar to mine or a story that sheds new light on the topic. Add your contribution (or question) to the comments below!

Big Job Title, Big Response

big-job-title-big-response

While I was at a conference, I met someone from Apple. When he handed me his card, I knew we would have a great conversation. His title was "Senior Armageddon Avoidance Engineer."

I could have been in the middle of talking to three hot prospects, and I would have put all those conversations on hold to talk directly to this guy.

I met someone else at the same conference with the title "Customer Service Specialist." While I was genuinely interested in doing business with his company, after the conference I couldn't remember this guy's name, or his title, or his company. I had to sift through my business cards to find him.

“Oh, yeah, the generic guy."

What kind of impression do you want to leave with your job title?

What’s Your Superpower?

Your job title should not only get attention, it should reflect your personality. This is an opportunity to be creative about defining yourself.

What kind of real-world or historical occupations are a super-version of the things you do, or the way that you do them?

Anyone with a keyboard can be a “Data Entry Specialist." But the same person is perceived very differently when she calls herself a “Spreadsheet Queen."

You don’t have to just be a “Customer Service Representative." You can be a “Happiness Engineer," or an “Excellence Technician."

Identify your unique superpower and how your work directly benefits the customer. Add those together to get your new, memorable job title!

Don’t go over the top, but go close to it.

Having a job title like “Godzilla Kong" would certainly be unique, but it wouldn’t convey what your position is, or imply what you do. (Unless you work in citywide demolition. If that’s your job, “Godzilla Kong" is a go.)

While you’re brainstorming job titles, go way over the top. Get ludicrous. Write down fifty arrogant job titles, and somewhere in the 30s or 40s, you’ll hit on a word or phrase that is just crazy enough to be interesting, but still serious enough to show you get things done.

6 Job Title Brainstorming Tips

1. What words describe the benefit that you provide to the customer? Make a list. Think of emotions and actions.

2. What outlandish occupations describe your working style? Are you a Ninja, a Cheerleader, or a Reigning Overlord?

3. Write down a list of the 50 craziest job titles you can think of. Ask your funniest friend to help you.

4. Cross off the ones you'd be embarrassed to have on your LinkedIn profile.

5. If you're in legal services or insurance, it may behoove you to rein it in a bit more than a motorcyle salesperson or a software rep.

6. Say it out loud over the course of a week. Test it out on a few new contacts. If it still feels right after a week or or two, it's time to put it in print. Armageddon avoided.