The Shocking Ways that Execs are REALLY Making Buying Decisions

buying decisionsA fascinating study was recently published by B2B agency gyro and the Fortune Knowledge Group outlining some pretty shocking stats on how business execs are making decisions these days. It reminded me of conversations I have frequently with telecom and IT business owners.

Let’s get down to it:

  • 62% of business executives rely on “gut feeling” when making a decision
  • 70% say that company reputation is the most influential factor when making a decision
  • 53% say that company culture is also an important factor
  • 61% say human insights must precede hard analytics

Awww…doesn’t this information make you wanna snuggle? But seriously, what does this all mean?

Yes, the facts are still and always will be important. But effective marketers and sales people will stretch beyond the data and engage personally with business decision makers.

Are you like, popular?

The data supports the old adage that “People buy from people who they know, like and trust.”

Digesting this info and putting it to good use, here are some questions to consider for reaching decision makers:

  • How am I consistently bolstering my company’s reputation, on and offline?
  • How do I create “buzz” on a consistent basis?
  • How can my company become more trustworthy?
  • How can I foster my company’s culture and then share that culture with potential customers?
  • How can I engage with potential customers on an individual, more personalized basis?

In other words, get out of the numbers and into the hearts and minds of your potential clients. Anything I missed here? Feel free to leave me comments below.

 

 

How LinkedIn’s Acquisition of Newsle Will Effect Your Reputation

LinkedIn’s latest acquisition of Newsle, a platform that alerts you whenever a contact is mentioned in the news or a blog you may find relevant, is great news for B2B marketers, brand advocates and anyone trying to build their influence online (as in, YOU!).

Why is this great news?

Marketing has become “tribe-centric” in recent years.  Social media, blogging and other web marketing tactics have allowed “Common Joes” to become gurus, celebrities, and most importantly, influencers.

This move by LinkedIn will help to further that cause: now when you are quoted in a press release published by that sexy tech website, your LinkedIn audience will see it. When you’re interviewed at the industry trade show and the blog gets posted on the media team’s website, your LinkedIn audience will see it. Any time you’re mentioned online in a news or blog-y kind of way, you guessed it, your LinkedIn audience will see it.

The power of third party endorsements has never been thrown in our faces in such an eloquent way. We all know how potent testimonials are, but “the press” has significant more influence in establishing trust and authority in our minds.

Those who are smart will take this ball and run with it like this:

  • Create a constant stream of news from your business. Make sure to quote the people who act as “face of the company” in your press releases.
  • Get out there. Get interviewed. Have the interviewers post the content on their blogs.
  • Interview others. Post the interviews on your blog.
  • Make sure all of these things are visible to Google and the other search engines. As in, use the proper titles, title tags, meta descriptions, etc.

 

Books that Changed Our Business: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

gary vaynerchuk jab jab jab right hook bookJab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World By: Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vaynerchuck, the self-described hardest working F-student in the world, revolutionized how wine was sold using social media and video.  Now he’s created the fastest-growing social media marketing agency in the world, working with both big and unknown brands.  This book is much more than an ivory tower social media babble book.  He uses actual case studies of brands that did social media right, and those that screwed it up.  Yes, he looks at B2B too.

His premise is that social media success is just like boxing.  You use setup “jabs” over and over on each platform by providing value–not self-promoting.  Only after you’ve set your audience up with enough jabs (valuable information), can you go with the knockout right hook (your own self promotion).   He’s BIG on using social media for storytelling.  Here are my favorite quotes from the book.

  1. “Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling.”
  2. “There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup.”
  3. “A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.”
  4. “Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.”
  5. “Creating content that allows us to share our experiences, thoughts, and ideas in real time is becoming an intrinsic part of life in the twenty-first century.”

Check out the book here. (We have no affiliation to Gary Vaynerchuck):

http://www.amazon.com/Jab-Right-Hook-Story-Social/dp/006227306X

Books that Changed Our Business: Buyology by Martin Lindstrom

BUYOLOGYIf you’re fascinated with how our brains function and, more importantly, how they aid us (and your potential customers) in buying decisions, this is the book for you. Science and marketing have finally intersected in a meaningful way, as this book discovers various studies involving studying brain activity during marketing experiments.

Some of the key take-aways for me were:

Focus groups and other similar “market research” activities are practically worthless. People may think they are expressing their true opinions, but the brain activity research suggests otherwise.

Sex doesn’t sell! It’s true…when used improperly, it actually distracts from the message and causes more damage than good. So what sells? The controversy created by sex (or whatever else.) Think Miley Cyrus. The uproar she caused earlier this year got everyone talking about her. And the result? Record-breaking sales and video views. The lesson here? To break through the noise, you must be a little controversial and polarizing. It takes balls to do it, but it works. Other brands that have used this technique: Apple, Virgin, Calvin Klein, American Apparel.

The most effective marketing campaigns touch on our fears but offer a solution. This ties into the most primitive part of our brains—the part that wants to escape pain and seek pleasure. Be careful though: too much fear evoking will have a negative effect. It’s all about the balance between presenting the fear and offering the escape method.

Books That Changed Our Business: Pitch Anything

pitch anythingHere at Mojo, we’re all massive nerds…oops! I meant to say avid readers. And we don’t just read – we like to implement the cool stuff that we learn from the super smart authors. Our business has dramatically changed due to our love of reading.

This month’s book is “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff. If you’re in sales and you haven’t read this book, I’d recommend you get it and read it in its entirety before doing another sales presentation. The techniques outlined in this book are really powerful.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why people REALLY buy – the science behind how our brains work and how you can use it to your advantage
  • Frame control – how it applies to every sales situation and how you can overcome any “frame” you encounter
  • A very specific methodology that effectively get sales from start to close.

You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Pitch-Anything-Innovative-Presenting-Persuading/dp/00…

P.S. We’re thinking of starting a “book club” where we would go into more depth on the books we’re reading via webinar or video conference. Cool idea or crazy idea? Let us know.

Is Your Telecom Marketing a “Comedy Carnival of Wacky, Funny Screwballs”?

Most people know I lead a bit of a double life. Marketer by day, musician by night. The other night, my band’s bass player and I hit up an open mic night to get in some good practice and do some networking.

After we performed, I was approached by an older gentleman named Julio and the following conversation ensued:

Julio: Does you band play out a lot?

Angela: Yeah, we’re starting to get out there.

Julio: You should have me open for you! I’m a comedian and I’m really great at warming up the crowd!

Then he handed me this:

 

Immediately, I was yanked out of musician mode and into marketing mode. This happens all the time. Yep, I’m one of THOSE who points out every spelling error and marketing mistake.

Now before I get to my critique, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way.

  • I realize this is just a nice (probably retired) gentleman trying to make some extra cash.
  • And I realize he’s not in the B2B telecom/IT space.

BUT – there are some valuable lessons here that I can’t resist passing along. And to be honest, some of the marketing I see from the telecom & IT industries isn’t much better than Julio’s homemade flyer.

Lesson #1: Know Your Target Audience, Yo

Julio approached me with his pitch “let me open for you!” without really thinking about his target audience. Would a young(ish) rock band be likely to hire an older gentleman to open a show? Methinks no.

I was polite and chatted with Julio and was impressed by his hustle, but in the end, it was a gigantic waste of his time. I’m not his target audience at all. I think he’d do a lot better hanging out at senior centers, veteran’s associations, etc.

Gut check: As a telecom agent or carrier, are you CRYSTAL clear on who your ideal target audience is? Do you know what their pain is, what their demographics are, where they hang out online and offline? The clearer you are on this information, the more surgical you can get with all of your marketing strategies and tactics.

Lesson #2: Be Consistent in Your Messaging, Dude

Your message is confusing my eyes, lips and pigtails.

Your message is confusing my eyes, lips and pigtails.

Julio’s messaging is all over the place. “Wacky funny screwballs” vs. “class act entertainment” (his email address). “Dramatic comedy”…isn’t that an oxymoron? “Corporate Affairs” vs. “College Dates.” What does that even mean? College kids hiring him to entertain them on dates? Would love to be a fly on the wall for that one!

The point is, Julio isn’t really clear on who he is, who he’s targeting, and what his messaging should be. He’s casting a net so wide that he can’t possibly catch anything.

Gut check: Is your messaging ABSOLUTELY consistent with who you are, what you represent, and who you’re targeting? When someone lands on your website, can they assess in less than 10 seconds who you are, what you do, and what industries you serve? What benefits you offer? If not, your prospects will be confused at best.

Lesson #3: “Dress” Your Business for the Clients You Want, Sucker

We’ve all heard that phrase, right? “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” It’s about gaining respect and having the image of someone that can deliver at a high level. I obviously don’t have to point out where this flyer falls short in that regard, but if Julio ever expects to get hired for corporate gigs, he’s going to have to have the image to match. Handwritten flyers are not going to fly. (Ha! I just cracked myself up.)

I have this conversation every day with telecom agents, VARs and even some carriers. They ALL tell me how they need to move upstream and land larger corporate multi-location deals. That’s a very worthy goal, and I can certainly help them do that.

shutterstock_108100979

Don’t make your prospects cringe!

Then I cringe (to put it lightly) as I look at their websites that haven’t been updated in years, their barren social media accounts, their total lack of effective messaging. Many of them resist the idea that these things are important to marketing and sales, so I simply think…”well, good luck!”

Gut check: Would your current image attract your ideal client or make him or her cringe? We’re talking about your logo, website, messaging, content, business cards – ANYTHING the prospect may come in contact with. If not, then it’s time to step it up.

The truth is, we ALL judge books by their covers. We have to. We don’t have time to dive deep into something unless we’re impressed first and intrigued second.

Why? The reptilian parts of our brains (located in the brain stem) are in charge of quickly filtering out any new information we encounter. Our fight our flight mechanism quickly assesses if new entities are trustworthy or not, without us even having to think about it.

Bottom line: If your company’s image breeds uncertainty and looks “mom and pop,” you’re not just fighting an uphill battle – you won’t even be invited to participate in it, and you’ll never even know.

 

Do Booth Babes Work?

In a tradeshow stand-off between booth babes and grandmas, who do you think will win? And by “win,” we mean “generate the most high-quality leads.”

Angela Leavitt and Brian Leonard of Mojo Marketing bet that the answer will surprise you. In this video, they share the results of one company’s tradeshow experiment that pitted beautiful booth babe against knowledgeable booth grandma. Though the results seem counter-intuitive, Brian and Angela explain why they actually make perfect sense. Watch the video to see why.

If You Use LinkedIn Like This, You Deserve to Die from 1000 Swirlies

This is not me, but my face looked like this after reading these emails.

This is not me, but I looked like this after reading these emails.

I’ve debated about whether I should share this or not, but this has happened to me TWICE this year already, so I think it’s time to address it. This is a real email conversation I had last week with a *cough* gentleman.

The subject line was “In Town,” the email came from a Yahoo address, and there was only a first name listed, let’s say “Bob.” I had no idea who this person was.

WARNING! Bob used some VERY strong and offensive language in these emails. Proceed with caution.

Awarded!

Creepiest Email Chain of May 2014

  • BobCome out and join us, Friday May 9th.  I’m back in town.
  • Angela: Who is this?
  • BobBob McBobberson from LinkedIn.  Sales Engineer, Bobbing Head Networks. (No such company, I’m just rolling with the Bob theme. I went to his LinkedIn profile, no pic. Still clueless.)
  • Angela: Have we met in person? I tried to look you up on LinkedIn but you don’t have a picture! In any case, I moved to San Diego, so not sure what “in town” means to you. I’m guessing you’re referring to Phoenix?
  • BobMy apologies, Angela.  Yes, I meant Phoenix. (This message had a pic of him driving a convertible. I didn’t respond.)
  • BobWhat if I am I San Diego?  I travel, all over.  Free food, and beverage!!! (Oh yay, bribed with food. I didn’t respond again.)
  • BobWhen I’m in San Diego, I’ll look you up!!!
  • AngelaI’m still not clear…have we met in person?
  • BobNope, it’s LinkedIn.  I’m in Sales, and I like to meet people.  I’m old school, not like people are today.  Live in fear, and stay indoors.  I’m all about networking, and meeting people.  Besides, you are also smoking hot!
  • AngelaPlease do not contact me again. You’ve officially crossed the line.
  • BobF*CK YOU, C*NT!!! (I added the asterisks…he used the real words.)
  • Bob: You look like a C*NT!  BUH BYE (Hmmm that’s interesting, five minutes ago I was smoking hot. Which is it?)

That’s right folks, this is the SECOND time this year alone I have had this happen, which makes me think this is probably more common than I previously thought. And by “this” I mean a man resorting to extreme name calling once I reject his personal advances that should have never occurred in the first place. I had no idea there were so many temper-throwing toddlers running around out there dressed in business suits.

You don't want my creepy emails? How dare you!

You don’t want my creepy emails? How dare you!

I don’t know about you, but I find this incredibly disturbing. Not because it was aimed at me, but because it would happen to anyone in 2014. This happened through LinkedIn. Not Match, or eHarmony, or Tinder, or FarmersOnly.com (my personal fav), but the social platform used exclusively for B2B networking. Well, that’s the idea anyway.

Wanna Behave Like an Immature Jerk-Face? Bad Idea

What strikes me most is the utter stupidity of this guy. This is 2014 where EVERYTHING is transparent.

Doesn’t he understand the power of the web? Or social networks?

Doesn’t he realize the potential damage he could incur permanently on his reputation, and that of his company?

Doesn’t he realize that we now live under a giant microscope where every word, picture and video we produce can be permanently archived?

What rock has this guy been living under, and better yet, why can’t he just stay there? (With no access to email, please.)

If I were a vindictive person, here are just a few of the ways I could retaliate:

Anything can go viral. Especially controversy.

Anything can go viral. Especially controversy.

  • I could post this conversation everywhere, with his contact details included.
  • I could post this all over his company’s social media accounts.
  • I could post it all over my social media accounts.
  • I could post it to the WiC forums, warning other women about this guy.
  • I could forward the email chain to his boss and/or work colleagues.
  • I could forward the email chain to other friends and partners I have in the industry, many of whom are very influential.
  • I could make sure that this email chain shows up when someone searches his name on Google.

This is exactly the kind of thing that goes viral. Can you imagine all the women chiming in with outrage? The men telling me they will go personally kick his ass? Given the nature of his message, I’m sure I could cause him a lot of pain, both online and offline, for a very long time. Good thing I’m not a vindictive person! At least not today.

So in conclusion, here are the TWO GIGANTIC lessons to be drawn from this drama:

#1: Don’t write ANYTHING to ANYONE, public or private,

that you wouldn’t mind printed on the front page of a newspaper.

#2: In 2014, your REPUTATION and your NETWORK are everything.

Guard them with your life.

Oh, and P.S. LinkedIn is NOT a dating site!

P.P.S. Bob, grow up.

 

How to Suck at Networking: A Real Life Horror Story

This is how I was feeling, not how I looked.

This is how I was feeling, not how I looked.

So there I was, out with a group of friends, drowning my recently broken heart in a nice glass of wine, feeling like a boatload of crap (see pic). At first I was only interested in talking with the girls I already knew, but as the night wore on I internally yelled at myself for being lame and decided to strike up a conversation with the nice young man and his girlfriend sitting next to me.

I discovered I had a lot in common with both of them. He was a musician (I’m a total wannabe rockstar) and she was raised in the same faith as me and had left it behind as an adult.  I won’t name names but it’s one of the religions that prohibits alcohol consumption, so we chuckled at the irony that we met at a wine bar while consuming wine in plentitude. Yay freedom! I digress…

Anywho…I spent the next hour or so getting to know these nice people and having a great time. At no point did a business conversation take place. This is important information for later, hence the bolding. At the end of the night, the nice young man asked for my card, and I wondered which one I should give him. Music or business? Hmmmm…I went with the Mojo card and didn’t think anything of it.

The next day, I received this email from him (I’ve replaced the personal and company info to protect the not-so-innocent):

Sucky Email #1

Hi Angela, I would love to set up a quick business meeting also with you.

About MY COMPANY

MY COMPANY, Inc. (NYSE: POOP), the fifth largest payment processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card processing, mobile commerce, eCommerce, marketing solutions, security technology, payroll solutions, and related business solutions and services to more than 250,000 business and educational locations nationwide.

A FORTUNE 1000 company, MY COMPANY is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices. More detailed information can be found by visiting MY COMPANY.com, HMY COMPANY.com/Blog or following the company on Twitter @MY COMPANY and Facebook at facebook.com/MY COMPANY

Let me know if Tues the 8th at 10am would work for you or maybe Wednesday the 9th at noon for a biz lunch. I’m looking to partner with a marketing group or person.

Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 5.58.32 PMIn case you didn’t want to read all of that (I don’t blame you), here’s the gist:

“Let’s get together so I can SELL YOU STUFF!!

It’s gonna be more awesome than CAT VIDEOS!”

What? Huh? Really? REALLY?! Did I miss something?

I mentioned earlier, we had ZERO discussion about business. There was no transition from personal to business discussion, much less a sales discussion. I had to wonder, does this ever work for him?

But wait, it gets better! I mean worse than horrible. I responded with the typical “We’ve got that covered…my business partner handles it, etc.” response, and got this back:

Sucky Email #2

Hi Angela, Thanks and please do pass along my info and I would love their contact as well. We also have an ABC service, DEF service and processing online.

I would still like to meet for a quick coffee date just so we know more about each others business and can help each other out. Anyone that accepts a card is a prospect and I want to explain why MY COMPANY is different. Have a great week and let me know if you can share 15 mins soon.

In other words…

“You don’t need my stuff? Oh!

Can we still get together so I can sell it to you anyway?

‘Cause what I’ve got to say is more awesome than a truckload of

VIDEOS OF CATS WATCHING CAT VIDEOS!!”

Summary of what he did wrong in this scenario:

  • Didn’t break the ice about business earlier if that was his intent. Seemed to come out of left field.
  • Didn’t assess my needs.
  • Didn’t ask any questions, just assumed I wanted/needed his services.
  • Didn’t intrigue me in any way.
  • Came on too strong with a hard selling frame.
  • Didn’t listen.
  • All in all, made me wish I had handed him the other card!

Here’s the email he should have sent:

Non-Sucky Email

Hey Angela! It was great meeting you last night. I checked out your website and your business looks cool and awesome and totally amazing! I mean not as amazing at cat videos, but pretty damn close. I’d love to learn more about it and hear more of your story. And typically when I ask people what they do, they will ask me back and it turns into this totally cool conversation. Isn’t that splendid!? What do you say we get together for coffee or another consumable liquid of your choice next week?

Don't punch people with your sales pitch. It hurts!

Don’t punch people with your sales pitch. It hurts!

Maybe you think I’m overreacting, but here’s the thing – I totally WOULD have met with him if he had sent that email instead of  sucker punching me in the face with his sales pitch gloves. Had he just used more skill in making that transition from personal to professional, who knows? Maybe I would have been intrigued and passed along his info.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jeffrey Gitomer, and he says, “Everyone hates being sold to but everyone loves to buy.” It is SOOOOOO true!

I wanted to share this story with you because today, in what Seth Godin calls “The Connection Economy,” your value is equal to your NETWORK. Networking has never been more important so I want to make sure everyone is as effective as possible. So stop vomiting your sales chatter all over unsuspecting potential clients, mmmm-kay?

I’d love to hear your horrible networking stories as well. Feel free to share in the comments below or shoot me an email and we can all have a good laugh while learning at the same time.

How to Work With Graphic Designers

What happens when a linear-thinking business person tries to explain her vision for a design to a spatially thinking graphic designer? The sparks fly! But not always in the most positive and productive direction.

In this video, Angela Leavitt and Brian Leonard of Mojo Marketing explain why there sometimes is a disconnect between the ideas of business-savvy execs and the designs of the creative team. Think the problem can’t be solved? Think again! Watch the video to learn how easy changes in your approach can help you get the best results.