Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Using Twitter – 8 Tips – Part Three

June 4, 2014

online marketing, facebook marketing, linkedin, twitter for marketingI have written two (2) blog articles about my journey using Twitter.  The first was for beginners called “Do you Tweet?“.  I followed this with a Part Two.  A lot of business owners set up their Twitter accounts and then they get frustrated with trying to figure it out.  I bought a Twitter for Dummies book which was very helpful.

Initially, I followed other women business owners.  I went to trade organization meeting for women business owners and we were all encouraged to follow one another.  Well, it is great to support one another.  These follows make increase your business website traffic too.  However, at the end of the day, you need to ask yourself if the folks you are following and the folks that follow you back are best for your business growth and development.

I joined Twitter in 2009.  Last year, I began to lose interest in this social media site all together.  I would scroll through tweets by folks I was following and very little seemed to matter to me with regard to my business’ growth.

Then, on Facebook, someone posted how he was really reaching key business leads and sending them pitches.  He was getting appointments and making deals.  I had an “Aha” moment.  My problem was that many of the folks I was following and who followed me were not my ideal business targets.

Here are eight (8) tips:

  1. Be clear on what you are passionate about – – state this in your Twitter profile and photo images
  2. Be clear to identify products and services that you want to sell that are in alignment with what your passions
  3. Draft a list of ideal prospective clients — I have listed ours on our website
  4. Use the Twitter search tool to find your ideal folks and follow them – – be very selective on who you decide to follow

Read more

Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD – President

Lemongrass Consulting Inc.

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting Inc.

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Approaching Sales with Positivity – Building a 10 Step Sales System

February 12, 2012

If you have been following my online posts over the years, you know that my least favorite thing to do in business is sales. My favorite tasks are marketing, research, writing, and customer service. But, there’s one thing we all know for sure. Without sales, there is no business.

Another thing I know for sure is that if we keep telling ourselves how much we dislike something, we will never learn how to do it and we will never see the good in it. So, this year I have a new mantra. This year, I am determined to be a better sales person. My focus is shifting because I am reminding myself that:

  • Sales is a way to connect with great folks and build great, long lasting relationships!
  •  These folks have needs that our products and services can meet!
  • Sales-Time is Fun-Time! Rah Rah!

The key for me is to make it a fun, social activity rather than drudgery.  This takes me back to when I was a kid and helped with a political campaign for a Chicago alderman.  I worked the phones.  I mailed things out.  What I enjoyed most was the whirl of activity and positive energy. So, I create a whirl of activity much like a political campaign room. Here’s how I do it:

  • First, I start with my contacts list.
  • Second, I visit the person’s website to see where we have synergy. I ask myself what products and services my firm offers that might help this person out.
  • Third, if I am connected with the person online in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, I reach out to them for an appointment.
  • Fourth, if I am not connected with the person online, I send them a friend request on Facebook, an invitation on Linkedin, and/or follow them on Twitter …and then, ask for an appointment.

Where’s the fun in this? The challenge is to “get in there”. Social media provides valuable access and a peep into my new friend’s world.

  • Fifth, I schedule two mailings. On this day, I mail out a post card. I also print a customized cover letter, relevant flyers, a brochure, and business card to mail out 2 days following the post card. I prepare it and lay it in my desk calendar on the day that it needs to get mailed. I use a desk calendar that has loose daily sheets in a 3 ring binder.

So far, I have completed about 3 touches with this person.

  • Sixth, I schedule a phone call for one (1) week out. The key for me is the scheduling. I use a form and list the folks that I need to call.
  • Seventh, if I have not talked to the person yet, I make the scheduled call. Yes, it’s a sales call. But, no – it’s not a “cold call”. Now, it’s a “warm call”. Now, I feel ok about it because we know a bit about each other. I’m getting further in there!
  • Eighth, I visit the person if they are local. I either meet them at their office or join them at a restaurant. I bring another packet of information and a promotional gift.
  • Ninth, I send a thank you note card.

Now, I have completed 6 touches with this person.

I keep the system physically very organized. I have a long sales table in my office. It contains a contacts binder with my contact list. My table contains address labels, envelopes, presentation folders, stamps, post cards, brochures, flyers, thank you note cards, business cards, and promotional items (small candy filled jars, tea lite candles, mini-calendars). I’m ready to crank it out!

  • Tenth, I send a retainer agreement. This is the 7th touch. I let them know that there is no obligation or pressure, but I would love to help them out. I list the products and services that are relevant to what we discussed.

My contacts database has about 7500 people and it grows whenever I attend trade meetings and other events. It also grows when I work on a sales campaign idea and build or buy a list of contacts that are ideal to pitch to. The key for me is to not feel overwhelmed by the numbers. I spend a few hours each morning on sales. I am usually up at 3am. I will buzz about, have fun, and plow through my list until coffee time at 6am. I do not really have a numbers goal. I just do as much as I can in 3 hours – which is pretty substantial.

The old saying is customers first, then sales first, then marketing. I am most energetic first thing in the morning. So, I do sales first. I reserve the 9 to 5 for work. Most of my marketing is online using social media and I do that at night from my bed. I write all of the government contracting bid proposals that are due the upcoming week on the weekend. I pick 3 to 5 to submit each week. Know your biorhythm and implement routines that work best for you and your lifestyle. But, be consistent and work on it every day. Having a sales system in place is also critical if you want to scale and grow. Now, you can easily train others to pitch in, follow your system, and help you with your firm’s sales.

What is your sales routine?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and has served as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services.

Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/lemongrass-consulting-inc.
■ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans

■ LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LemongrassConsultingInc

How to improve your Influence?

January 17, 2012

My Klout score was 46 and is now 36. It dropped to 32 at one point. I wanted all of the bloggers’ posts that I routinely read to appear on my twitter site. So, I used twitterfeed to rss feed the blog posts. Well, my Klout score went down. What was even more frustrating was that only one of the bloggers that I essentially promoted did thanked me – referral sales guru Bob Burg. Well, when my Klout score dropped I started joining Twitterchats and it went up by 4 points.

I also posted my wordpress.com blog on my Twitter page to try to increase reads and comments on my blog posts. I think this hurt my Klout score. I have since changed that wordpress url to my firm’s website url. I will report on whether that makes a difference.

The topic of clout or influence is trending. It has had me reflecting on what truly makes a person influential. It makes me wonder if I am an influential person with clout; and who in my network has clout and influence. I also wonder if entrepreneurs like me are using social media to increase marketing, visibility, and sales; or are we really trying to become more popular, gain influence, and increase our personal clout.

I’m an academic analytic. With all of my research, I begin with definitions.

Merriam-Webster defines clout as pull or influence. The dictionary defines influence as power, force, and the exercise of command:

 an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
 an emanation of spiritual or moral force
 the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
 the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : SWAY

I like the word “emanate”. It makes me wonder what is emanating from me – what’s springing out, coming out, and coming across to others? I suppose one way to find out is to ask folks. We could ask image consultants. We could ask folks in our networks. I collect feedback I get online. All of it has been positive. Here are examples:

 You really get me going. Great motivation.
 Im so inspired by you & all that you do I’m inspired
 Happy Thanksgiving Clovia! You inspire me:)
 Dear Clovia, you always post value on Twitter and on Facebook. You are an example to follow.
 We need more people like you.
 Thanks for all you do!
 Thanks for your input. You are so very helpful.
 You have great style and the ability to communicate on the entrepreneur’s level.
 Thanks for the encouragement to stay focused!
 Thank you for the daily inspiration.
 I really enjoy your Social Media post. Thank you so much!!
 Clovia, I just followed you on twitter and checked out your website. Impressive…Thanks for connecting
 I follow you closely. I love what you are doing.
 You really do have it right and I’m glad that there’s someplace like Lemongrassplanning.com around to help people who realize that they need to set and manage goals, but maybe don’t know how.
 Thx for the free book. Lots of great insights & I didn’t know about Ping but am using it now!
 Happy New Year Clovia! Thanks for all the inspirational & motivational quotes.

If you are not studying what folks are saying about you, you probably should start. Collect the feedback and use Google alerts to see what might be stated about you that is not sent directly to you.

Lets get back to sales. Folks buy from who they come to know, like, and trust. So, perhaps you can influence a sale if you can get someone to if you cause someone click on a link and read an article; to comment on what you post; to click LIKE on your facebook business fan page; to click the + on the Google plus link; or to retweet and share what you post on Twitter.

Those of us in business know there is no direct correlation between the two. But, how much of a correlation is there between online social activity and sales?

Should there be a score for being inspiring, encouraging, motivating – rather than influential?

 

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/lemongrass-consulting-inc.
■ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans

■ LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LemongrassConsultingInc

 

You Feeling Something – That’s what Sells

September 26, 2011

One of my favorite TV shows is Mad Men. Small business owners or other leaders can learn a lot about advertising their organizations by watching Mad Men. There is a line in one rerun episode that I jotted down recently. The advertising firm leader said to his protégé copy writer:

“You are the product. You feeling something – that’s what sells”. She replied that sex sells. He corrected her and said that the people who believe sex sells think that monkeys can do advertising. He also added that just because there is sentiment does not mean an advertisement is sentimental.

Well, how does this apply to low budget social media marketing? It is all very relevant. The bottom line is that when we market and advertise our products and services, we need to feel something. In my mind’s eye, that means feeling what the ideal customer needs and can relate to. It is simply about putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Where does sentiment come in? Well, buying is emotional. For example, I am drawn toward traditional furniture and classic clothes because that is what my mother enjoyed. She wore the classics. She looked very 1950s and 1960s. I love this era because emotionally it reminds me of my mom. So, when we sell our products and services, we should give some thought to what emotions or feelings will resonate with our prospects.

The age old business lesson is to tap into our prospect’s pain. That works; but so does nostalgia. When I started my firm and made my routine rounds to visit prospects, many told me that lemongrass resonated with them – their tea, Zen teachings, candles, aromatic distillers, oils, and perhaps Thai dishes. All of these things provoked a “feel good” experience. People want to or should want to feel better and be happy. To be sentimental, we have to appeal to tender emotions and feelings such as what our prospects need, love and yearn for. It is about giving the customers and prospects an experience. This is all the rave right now! Businesses coaches are teaching – give them an experience. Many small businesses are thinking – yeah, well, how? How would you go about it?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

15 Lead Scoring Points to Use

September 4, 2011

via Google Images

We are in the process of revamping our contacts database to include a new Lead Scoring system. It’s “very” time consuming. But, we are certain it will pay off in the end. I have read quite a bit about various lead scoring systems. I am convinced that it is a must do for organizations.

The idea is that you give folks a point for various activities and facts that you value about them. Folks with higher scores should get more of your attention with respect to prospecting for sales; and promotional and other outreach. I am tickled by the concept because many, many years ago my brother had a scoring system for his personal contacts. He was an accountant and he kept an accounting ledger about people. He gave folks points for helping him out, remembering his birthday, hanging out with him, etc. One year he bought me a new tv set because I was so good to him. I thought it was weird to be so anal. But, you really should treat your advocates best.

We are painstakingly checking out every single one of our contacts online. So much changes over time – and especially due to the down economy. Some folks have moved on to new positions. So far, two of our contacts got in trouble with the law. Yikes! So, needless to say, they were removed from our list!

Here are 15 items that get points in our lead scoring system:

1. Connected on Linked
2. Connected on Twitter
3. Connected on Facebook
4. Has LIKED our Facebook business page
5. Located in our Target geographic markets
6. An INC 1000 firm
7. Opened our emails
8. Luv’d our business on Intuit’s LUV a business page
9. Commented on our wordpress blog
10. Subscribes to our wordpress blog
11. We have talked or corresponded online
12. Registered for a Seminar
13. Downloaded our ebook or other documents from our website
14. Subscribes to our Newsletter
15. Current or past customer

As you can see, conversation and dialogue is very important to what we do. Social interaction expands our scope and reach.

What items would you add to the list?

 

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

3 Ways to Empower your Brand Advocates

August 10, 2011

I recently read social media guru Lisa Barone’s article 5 Reasons to Engage Brand Advocates. I thought I’d take the time to share some ideas about how to implement the sharing of your content among your online connections.

Lisa wrote that “[b]y connecting with [brand advocates] and empowering them to share your blog posts, your eBooks, Facebook content, etc, you strengthen their voice and get them excited about the opportunity to share insight from the front lines”. So, here are some ideas on how to implement this in practice:

1. Your Blog Posts

I use hootesuite and ping fm to distribute micro blog posts of 140 characters or less (Twitter requirement). My micro blog posts are distributed automatically to several social media pages. So, I ask folks to read, leave comments, and share my wordpress blog post. I also have my wordpress blog post tied to linkedin and it appears on my linkedin profile. In addition, I post my blog in my relevant linkedin and facebook groups. My next move is to join some yahoo groups.

2. Your Ebooks

Whenever I get a new facebook friend, linkedin connection, or twitter follower, I send them the url to our fan page where they can download a free ebook. Many ask me if they can share my the free ebook. I always encourage them to share the url. The goal is to increase traffic to our website.

I also send new connections two more calls to action. I ask them to LIKE our facebook business page; and to read and share our wordpress blog post.

3. Your Facebook Content

I am pretty engaged on Facebook. I usually read posts early in the morning. I share articles and famous quotes and tell folks what I have been up to. Folks have naturally clicked on their like button or posted feedback as a comment if they want to participate. So, I rarely have to ask folks to share the content. But, I have asked questions and that is a great way to stimulate the conversations. Also, on my firm’s Facebook business page, whenever I share web links to videos or articles, our fans can reshare the links with others. So, you can have a call to action to “Reshare”.

What strategies do you use?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

Five (5) ways to increase your business network

May 31, 2011

I network pretty extensively. I think it is more important than ever to do so during the down economy. When the economy improves and we get busier with work, the amount of time available to devote to networking may diminish. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer in daily marketing and networking.

I am not connected to tens of thousands of people. But, I like to think that the folks I am connected to are real people. When you pay for followers or connect with just anyone, they will likely be fake people or market researchers. I have a small but influential network. I am often asked how I consistently make new connections.

The answer is that I put time into it. It is really that simple. Here are three things I do routinely to increase my business network:

1. Meetings – I invite business people that I meet and dialogue with to join my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin networks. I send the invitations out as soon as possible. I usually try to get to it within a week of meeting each person. I may meet these connections at trade organization luncheons, trade conferences, training programs, or meetings I coordinated to pitch a service offering.
2. Trade Articles – I let article writers know when I enjoyed an article they wrote. I then invited them to join my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin networks. I subscribe to Black Enterprise, the Atlanta Tribune, Home Business and Entrepreneurs magazines. I also subscribe to several free electronic news services for business articles. I am particularly interested in business strategy and government contracting. When these news emails arrive, I put them in a folder called Read Me Later. When I have down time, I go through the lists of articles and pdf the ones that I want to read. I then read through them once a week. If I enjoy an article, I immediately go online and post a comment; and I also search for the author on Facebook and try to connect with them.
3. Winners’ Circles – I like to connect with small business owners that win awards and contracts. I learn a great deal from the winners. They obviously have a winning strategy. I find them on Facebook and I congratulate them. I then introduce myself and tell them about my company and that I teach government contracting for the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center. I connect with a lot of great minority owned and women owned small business leaders with this strategy.
4. Alum – I also connect with folks I went to elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school with. I use my old year books. I also peek at each of their online connections to see if there is anyone I remember. You never know where a referral will come from. I think my relationship with school chums is that we will always have that shared experience – i.e. the old neighborhoods, the campuses, and the faculty. These folks are a true extension of my family.
5. Past Colleagues – I worked primarily as a government civil servant for more than 25 years at the federal, state and local government levels. Over the years, I have come to know quite a few really cool folks and have stayed in touch with them. I seek pass co-workers out online and send them invitations to connect.

What about the competition? I have also been asked why I allow competitors into my network. I learn from some competitors and I hope they learn from the information I share online. I realize that some competitors will try to get at your customers via Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. So, to be honest with you, I am not connected to my core customers online to prevent that from happening. I stay in touch with my core customers with email, direct mail, and visits.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Do you Tweet? Part Two.

May 15, 2011

This time last year, I wrote an article called Do you Tweet? I completed two Social Media classes in 2009 and decided to use social media online marketing as an affordable way to build my network. It’s working. My network has steadily grown. I went to a trade conference recently and folks recognized me when in many cases, I did not recognize them. Online marketing increases your visibility and helps you achieve “presence of mind” when it comes to getting referrals. This article serves to update you the new tools and techniques I am trying.
Last year I wrote how I spend a minimum (and usually maximum) of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night each day. Now, I spend more time. I usually devote a few hours on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s what I do with Twitter now:
You get followers by following others. If someone does not follow me in about a week or so, I stop following them.
How do I find followers and get folks to follow me?
1) I still get great twitter connections from my linkedin and facebook groups.
2) I upload a *.csv (comma separated value) file from linkedin into twitter to make sure I am following my Linkedin connections out on Twitter – and to encourage them to follow me back.
3) I look at every new Facebook connections’ information page to find out if they have a twitter account – if so, I follow them and email them to request that they follow me back. I also check out their website. I always do my due diligence to find out whether a Facebook invite or recommended connection is a good fit in my circle or space.
Why do I love Twitter?
1) It helps me direct traffic to my website. We have had an increase of website visitors as per our Google Analytics reports. I review our analytics monthly.
a. With each twitter follow, I use the Twitter Direct mail feature to send them an email:
i. thanks 4 the follow! I look forward to getting to know u! Free ebook gift for u: 25 Small Biz Tips: http://tinyurl.com/35rtl7e
ii. please support our Facebook biz page by clicking on the Like link & Join My List link – http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o
b. Each week I usually post a blog post and convert the post into articles. I then tweet the new arrival of a blog post and use auto notifiers to post the articles. This helps drive traffic to my website.
c. I have begun to post videos via YouTube, and photos using Twitpic.
How do I save time?

Well, last year I was using ping fim to post each morning. Now I use Hootesuite and schedule about 50 posts each week. I post about 7 times per day. I set up 2 or 3 posts in the morning, noon, and night. I use the ping fm feature in Hootesuite to distribute my posts to a number of social media outlets – myspace, linkedin, my personal facebook page, my company’s facebook like page, and other pages. I love the schedule ahead feature in Hootesuite.
Last year, in my Do you Tweet article I listed a number of news outlets that I subscribe to in order to read and cull out content to share online. This year, I have finally graduated to using Twitterfeed to share posts from my favorite blogs. At first I used their default of posting every 30 minutes. One of my cousins advised me that it seemed like I was posting on Twitter every minute and that was annoying. I went from about 7 posts per day to who knows what. So, I had to go back into Twitterfeed and adjust the settings.
I signed up for Gist and have begun to see dossiers on folks in my network. This helps me decide who to conversate with. But, I honestly lean more toward the Hootesuite mention feature to see who retweets my post or asks me questions. I can then easily respond. Gist is more comprehensive since it will show me my online connections’ posts in several outlets. But I will have to hire someone to help me make the most of that. It would be neat if all of this could be rolled into Hootesuite so that I could see everything on one website. If you know of a way, please let me know.
The key is to continue to try new marketing tactics. Post diverse things and use a variety of tools to stay fresh and interesting. No matter how much we small business owners do, we can always do more. You cannot get frustrated and quit. You simply build the empire one stone at a time with patience and persistence.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

How to go Grassroots with Sales: Sure we can Talk!

August 8, 2010

All year, I have been connecting with like business minds out on Twitter, Linked and Facebook. I know there are folks out there with 5 to 10,000 followers. I am proud of approaching 1,000 out on each platform. It takes work.

Usually when folks ask me to talk by phone, I immediately think I don’t have time for that and I will limit my correspondence to email. I also assume that they are going to try to sell me something that I do not need or want.  However, this week when someone asked I thought “why not? What would be the harm?”

(c) Pamela Perry. Pamsclipart.

Sure we can Talk!

Most of my connections are in the business of selling products and services.  So am I.  So, why not find out more about each connection that is willing to share.  If I do not want to buy from them, I don’t have to. There’s no gun to my head.

I can check them out and tell others in my network about what they are selling.  I can ask my new friend to do the same for me.

To survive this down economy, we need to make time to get back to grass roots. In 1912, Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge of Indiana, was quoted stating that the Progressive Party had “come from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of people’s hard necessities.”(Posted on Wikipedia courtesy of Eigen’s Political & Historical Quotations “Beveridge, Albert J.”. 2006-05-20).

We need to plant seeds and grow roots in the soil of our hard necessities. These are tough times we live in!

I like the term “Lemongrassroots”. Lemongrass because it’s an herb that used to relieve stress, stimulate, refresh, invigorate, energize and relax. Combine that approach with good old fashion grassroots tactics, and you are cooking with steam!

Here are some good old school grassroots movement tactics used by activists and political campaigners that are trying to sell others on ideas…trying to convince, persuade, influence, organize, lobby:
1. mobilize letter-writing, phone-calling, and emailing campaigns (…hmm sales campaigns)
2. host meetings or parties
3. put up posters (we do this online now with our Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin profiles)
4. talk to folks on the street (get out into coffee houses, trade meetings)
5. gather signatures for petitions (akin to getting followers on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin)
6. set up information tables (have exhibits at trade shows)
7. raise money from many small donors for political advertising or campaigns (why not sell online and rsise your revenue?)
8. organize large demonstrations (demonstrate what you can do by giving away free articles and ebooks)
9. ask individuals to submit opinions to media outlets and government officials (ask for testimonials and comments)
10. hold get out the vote activities (this reminds me of simply asking your followers to tell others about you)

With respect to sales, I have bought services that were not originally on my shopping list.  For example, I saw a Facebook ad by Moriah Diamond for a tweetimage and facebook badge.  I checked out my connection’s website, liked what I saw, and placed an order. It turns out, she is a great graphics designer and I have a new graphics design supplier to turn to.

Here are two (2) more important reasons to take the conversation offline:
1. This person could be a great teaming partner.
2. This person could need to buy your services or products.

If you do not carve out the time “offline” to talk to folks you meet “online”, you will miss out on some great opportunities.  Here are some time management tips:

1. When you are a solo or small operation, market during the day and work on your client’s tasks in the afternoon and evening.
2. Set parameters on phone calls with prospects. Set certain days, certain time blocks – and always schedule the calls.

Here is a neat example of time management and meeting parameter setting that I received from a small business liaison at a military base:

“If you would like to meet with me or set-up a telephonic conference call please provide two dates and times of your choosing beginning with the week of 09 Aug 10 based on the following guidelines:

(1) No meetings/conference calls on Friday
(2) All meetings/conference calls will be one hour in duration beginning in the morning at 9 and ending at 11
(3) Afternoon meetings/conference calls begin at 1:30 and end at 3.”

Use the Linkedin or Facebook email features and request phone conversations or accept offers to talk offline. Of course this example will not fit in a 140 character Twitter message. So, in the Twitter instance, get the prospect’s email address and send this type of response by email.

Let’s get our very own “lemongrassroots movements” going and prosper!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

How to ask for work online

August 1, 2010

I have only asked for leads once. I got some good feedback. My outreach resulted in 7 new clients. Getting timely cooperation was another story – a project management story. Nevertheless, I moved on to try other strategies.

Well, when my work (and cash flow) got really low, my coaches all pushed me to ask for work. On the one hand you do not want to come across as begging. On the other hand, in this economy, everyone is looking out for themselves – survival of the fittest. In between those two extremes, you have to share with others what you can do well that will help them.

(1) Never stop Marketing. Business owners need to consistently ask – not just a one time launch. The key word is “consistency”. We also need to assess and evaluate how we ask. We need professional, well thought out sales copy.

Getting work on Linkedin was discussed in one of the groups I belong to. I studied the feedback. As you can imagine, there was a lot of interest in the topic. There were 80 comments when I peeked in. But only two (2) people admitted to getting work on Linkedin. Neither of the 2 divulged “how” they actually got the work. I went further and asked them to share samples of their sales copy. One gave some valuable insight.

I have several really close, good friends who will not divulge their sales copy – they wont say how they actually approach prospects, what they say that’s persuasive and convincing. The way to see it is to follow them online and pretend to be a customer. Following how others do it and emulating them is actually a great way to learn sales.

But what is up with the fact that folks are reluctant to share how they do it? Perhaps, for the sake of competition, we should not give away how we do business. But, givers gain. I think folks using social media should share what has worked for us.

So, how do you ask? What are examples of what you can post or email to connections that are not too sale-sy? One of my connections recently told me how she has taken her blog advice and compiled a book and she sales it for $99 including a one hour consulting session.

(2) Sale or don’t sale online? Hard or soft? I have read that you should not sale at all on social media platforms. I do not agree with that. I think as part of sharing, we should share our expertise and share the fact that we help others for a fee.

I have also read that women give away too much how to advice – we give away the farm – whereas men do not share as much. Well, I think we should share our know how. That is what makes us absolutely marvelous! We nurture! We share! …but we have to be careful not to give away so much for so little that we struggle financially.

When I started my firm, I hated the sales part the most. I loved the work, but hated sales. Ever since I was a kid, I did not like it when folks cold called our house. I did not like until I had to start doing it to get face to face appointments. I still rely heavily on email. Online, I absolutely hate the hard sales. I drop connections that only post sales and discounts on their products and services. This “BUY NOW” blatant, in my face, approach is a real turn off.

(3) Learning Sales is Learning Relationship Building. Well, at the end of the day, we each need to learn “how” to sale!

This means, we have to learn “how” to build relationships. It takes strategy, planning, and execution. Folks want to know what problems they may have and how you can solve their problem or challenge.

To convince them that you know how and that you are the one they should hire, use testimonials to promote yourself. I routinely give references to folks on Linkedin and I have received them in return.

With consistent online presence and soft ask-offers of professional advice and assistance, the sales will follow!

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o