Social Purpose: Falotico & Inner Balance

Social Purpose Drives Startups

Part 1. What’s Your Point? PODCAST

Launch Day Perspectives PODCAST

Entrepreneurs Lino Falotico and Alicia Zadravec of InnerBalanceWear.com candidly share thoughts on inner balance and on integrating social purpose into their business venture. Are you searching for social purpose to enrich your work, contribute to obvious local need, and reach out to new target groups? Listen in…

PODCAST Highlights: 18:53 minutes
00:48 Lino Falotico’s social purpose & inner balance
04:16 Epiphany…from caterer to designer
05:56 Lino: “I believe my product will…” invisible awareness
08:20 Lino: “20 seconds” next step after epiphany
09:49 Evolution of the business concept of Inner Balance
11:26 Alicia: “Why underwear…”
13:34 The practical side…manufacturing
16:39 7% of net proceeds to Mental Health Awareness…

Part 2. Article: “5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose

Before you plunge into a new social venture, consider our social-purpose example and these 5 Tips for Successful Pursuit which reveal the driving force of social purpose. This article adopts the perspective of real estate and related financial professionals to explore integration of social purpose into a practice. Simple extrapolation into other professions and business ventures requires only a pinch of imagination. Plus more on Startup InnerBalanceWear.com

Part 3. Where Does Humor Fit into Social Purpose?

Increasing numbers of professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners want to integrate social purpose into their business venture. Their reasons for doing so, range from personal involvement to client-based concern. In all cases, if social purpose is poorly or sloppily handled, it can setback the cause and undermine business relationships.

When social purpose is your intent, you’ll probably have to address sensitive topics and discuss subjects that can cause offense or upset. Language has evolved over this century to include more and more topics previously rarely spoken of. Have we improved our communication skills or vocabulary to be sure the point can be made clearly and sensitively?

Before you plunge into marketing and sales content and campaigns to spread the word about your social purpose, make sure you won’t get tripped by ignorance or blind-sided by overlooked perspectives. For instance, when considering your social purpose, invest time analyzing where humor comes in and where it definitely doesn’t fit:

  • Don’t assume your taste, experience, or education dictates what others think or react to. Consider the long list of social media “foot in mouth” incidents from the well-meaning.
  • Research the history of your social subject to clarify persistent misconceptions. Talk to those who really know about a subject and you’ll discover an amazing list of things the public misunderstand. Communicating your perspective will involve clarifying this confusion and make you a recognized expert.
  • Expand your understanding of related issues rather than investigating your social issue as if it exists in isolation. If you are already involved in the social issue, you may be too close to see the big picture. If you’ve only recently come across this issue, there may be a lot to learn.
  • Do you know enough about those who are directly and indirectly affected by this social issue? Assumptions are dangerous and often counter-productive.
  • Avoid impromptu responses, discussions, or interviews until professional communicators have helped you. They will clarify your social message, the match between this message and your business issues, and what you want to change about the current social situation. Start with clear simple messages and that will attract experts as well as those directly involved. These people will help build momentum for the cause that they also believe in.

Humor can add another element of complexity

If the social purpose involves changing views that included laughing at people or their behavior, then misunderstandings can complicate the situation. Remember that humor is an attitude. You’ll understand that changing the perspectives on your chosen subject will involve permanently shifting attitudes. How does that align with the client education that helps clients achieve the best results when they use your products or services?

Humor is not always about the punchline or a belly laugh. Often it revolves around every-day occurrences and involvements. When humor is properly applied, attention spans increase and learning increases:

  • Humor can bring people together quickly or widen the divide between them. What are the tensions associated with the social purpose you’re considering? Will humor reduce those tensions or could it inadvertently increase stress?
  • Humor can reveal common ground, common misconceptions, and the silly side of misunderstandings and miscommunication. Jokes and stories that make fun of others can build barriers and entrench resentment. What language, stereotypes, or misconception could build barriers?
  • If you want to use humor to raise morale, build teams, and enhance rapport to build awareness of the issues associated with your selected social purpose, you must understand the issues from all perspectives.
  • Humor may provide strong ways to offer coping mechanisms for those involved during the transition or in the new solutions you propose. People like working and volunteering in positive, optimistic workplaces, so humor will become an asset when intelligently and appropriately applied.

Just because you can get a laugh or tell jokes well, does not mean you understand how to professionally communicate with humor.

The unpracticed speaker often repeats catchphrases and cliché which perpetuate ageism, sexism, and other prejudices. Some people will tell you directly that you have made a serious misstatement, but social media is driven by those who’ll tell others, with much embellishment, about your misstep.

How helpful can you be to your social cause if you cannot communicate the point of your social purpose clearly in every medium, on all platforms your targets frequent?

For more on Forward Thinking, visit these posts:



For more on PJ’s work as The Catalyst, visit www.TheCatalyst.com

Marketing Involves Distraction, Good & Bad

Businesses and professionals, with good or bad intentions, create distraction.

Marketing, advertising, and promotion intentionally distract targets—consumers or business-to-business decision makers, depending on the business.

These self-serving communication approaches refocus prospect and client attention on the company (its products or services) which pays for the marketing and promoting.

In this highly-distracting world, do your target prospects and clients see genuine value in the additional distractions you subject them to?

  • Your marketing and promotion distract target prospects and clients in an attempt to shift their focus toward your service or products. You consider this interference “good distraction.” Would your target prospects and clients agree?
  • Competitors’ marketing and promotion distracts your target prospects and clients away from your company and toward competitors’ products or services. Would you consider this interference “bad distraction”? Would your prospects and clients agree with you?

I am someone’s target prospect. So are you.

This means we are regularly distracted and interfered with in the name of marketing, advertising, and promotion, whether we want to be or not.

Are you always caught by a marketing or promotion message at the best possible time to make a buying decision for that product or service?

Even if you’re interested, don’t these messages often catch you in the middle of something that is as, or more important, to you than spending your money in response to someone else’s distracting marketing or promotion message? How do you feel about the value of these marketing, advertising, promotional, and other self-serving messages in view of the time they cost you?

Emails and online advertising are honed and data-manipulated to attract select prospects and clients, but these intrusive sales pitches can miss their mark when timing is off—distraction plus.

When the sender—that’s the marketer or promoter—decides what’s the “best” timing for them, not targets. When targets find the messages unnecessary or untimely, the resulting distraction can be a nuisance, an annoyance, an interruption, or a major turn-off.

How are you sure that your marketing and promotion messages carry value in their own right? Is the timing ideal for targets or is the message just a waste of time? Do your selected prospects and clients respond to your marketing, advertising, and promotion? Would your targets label your messages “good distractions”?

From The Target’s Perspective

Targets can be distracted by the cloud of marketing, promotion, and advertising you, your competition, and your industry surround them with, online and off. These distractions can keep target prospects and clients from making clear, confident buying or selling decisions which are in their own best interest.

What is your full intent when marketing?

Most of us are consumers of real estate and its related services in our personal or business lives. This means you may relate to the following example of how one aspect of distraction affects real estate buyers. Prospects and buyers can be diverted from clear thinking and decision making by real estate marketing, promotion, and other deliberate marketing distractions.

Take a look at “Seven Essentials for Buying a Safe Home:”

“In dazzling summer sunshine, everything in a home looks great. But…and it’s a big but! Buyers can be distracted by strategic staging, clever decor, and time pressures.
They benefit from stepping back to determine whether the home they’re considering will require expensive additions or overhauls to keep everyone safe—not just this summer, but every day of the year. As well as any safety concerns specific to your family, there are seven main safety issues that should be top of mind for buyers of houses, townhomes, or condominiums. How long is your safety list when home shopping?Continue reading…

Are you aware how your marketing, advertising, and other communication distractions could intentionally or unintentionally undermine targets’ decision making?

Is distraction an intended or an unintended consequence of your determined outreach to prospects and clients?

For more on effective client communication and for client retention insight:

Coaching Skill & Recognizing Good Advice

The under-valued, but essential 21st-Century skill is recognizing good advice—relevant, forward-thinking, practical insight—and knowing what to do with it.

This crucial skill expands opportunity as it overcomes or counterbalances deficiencies, increases advantages, and diminishes problems.

The results include lowering stress, reducing anxiety, and enhancing outcomes.

Change and uncertainty are now standards.

The pervasive influence of both means that to successfully navigate the future, you can no longer rely entirely on your own experience and knowledge to forge ahead.

Continue reading

Roots of Resistance to Change

Roots of Resistance to change—yours and clients’—can cause problems and distractions.

Reactions to change, whatever they are based on, are most disruptive when they arise between professionals and their prospects and clients, especially when a transaction is involved. Resistance to change is usually grounded in frustration, vulnerability, past experience, or miscommunication, not in change itself:

  • Resistance can arise when the interests of one individual or group seem to be, or are, ignored, misinterpreted, or disadvantaged by others.
  • Entrenched roots of stereotypes and prejudice in one group may lead to other individuals or groups being labeled “resistant to new ideas or procedures” before they actually reveal their true reactions.

Roots: Resistance to change is not always the wrong reaction, nor is it always negative.
Continue reading

Mobile-Friendly: Are You Responsive?

With more and more people relying on smartphones to search the net, the mobile-friendly quality of your net presence makes a vital statement.

What message do professionals deliver when their website or blog is not mobile-friendly?

Google-recommended Responsive Web Design is the most common method of achieving mobile-friendly web pages configured to look great on small smartphone screens and on those of other mobile devices. Responsive uses computer code that responds differently to different screen sizes, but ensures page displays remain similar and readable on any mobile device.

Sticking with a non mobile-friendly site undermines your message, value, and connection to your target users.

Can you expect target users to trust that you are net-savvy enough to successfully tap the power of the internet for targets when your own net presence is stuck in the unresponsive “desktop dark ages?”

Smartphone internet use and mobile computing continue to dominate, so mobile-friendly design is essential. In April 2015, Google announced search changes that favor mobile devices. With this and subsequent edicts, responsive shifted from a target-driven alternative to a business essential.

The internet is increasingly defined by the rising mass of mobile computing devices. Mobile phones have replaced desktop and laptop computers on many levels. Websites and blogs that are not mobile-friendly are increasingly ignored unless they have unique, highly-valued content.

Websites designed and coded for larger screens do not automatically make a graceful transition to small screens.

Your beautiful desktop-designed non-responsive website can look hideous on a smartphone. Potential viewers must do so much pinching, scrolling, zooming, and squinting, they may give up and click on a competitor’s mobile-friendly website.

If you’re not sure if your website or blog (or the competition’s) is responsive, visit it on your smartphone or use Google’s handy Mobile-Friendly Test.

If the design is not responsive, a jumbled mess will appear on a phone screen. The responsive website page will remain readable on the full range of screen sizes.

The transition to responsive involves more that recoding.

Multi-column websites and blogs, originally designed for big desktop screens, will require an overhaul. For instance, a signup form prominently positioned at the top of the right-hand column may end up at the very end of the first column so few may see it and sign up.

  • Changes in content, layout, and overall design may be necessary for the best internet presence.
  • Simplification and content re-positioning may be required to maintain desired objectives.

The time, expertise, and expense involved in transition to responsive may be daunting for some site owners.

Here are strategies to consider:

  • Prioritize: Traffic, lead generation, and e-commerce are among the key reasons for investing time and money to go responsive. For example, suppose you have a blog and a website, and your blog draws significantly more target traffic. Start with the blog and overhaul the website later. Expanding the blog and phasing out the website may be another alternative.
  • Allocation of time and resources: Create an efficient sequence for continuous updating and modernizing. Responsive design may be the latest overhaul, but it will not be the last that technology and Google dictate.
  • Analyze Don’t Just Assume: Switching to mobile-friendly may not instantly create dramatic shifts in traffic or usage statistics since so many factors are involved. Reduced bounce rates may indicate phone users find it easier to stay and read, but relevant marketing and promotion are necessary to generate a flood of new business. Determine what your selected target markets expect from your online presence before you plunge into expensive, time-consuming redesign.
  • Relevant Content Rules: If content is not top-notch and video excellent, mobile-friendly design alone will not be enough to increase traffic and usage.

If you present yourself as a tech-savvy professional or a social-media natural intent on engaging target prospects and clients on their terms, transforming your website and blog into mobile-friendly territory is essential.

Take time to decide which redesign strategy is compatible with your short- and long-term goals:

  • Nowhere Fast: Those who find little or no business comes to them over the internet may decide there is no need to redesign. (There may be a very good business case for going responsive and optimizing the site to gain traffic, leads, and referrals, but that’s another article, for another time.)
  • Halfway There: Blogs are not automatically responsive. For instance, popular WordPress(WP) accounts for almost 25% of internet activity and powers many blogs. Earlier WP blog templates or themes were not responsive. Even now, new bloggers do not have to choose responsive themes. Transforming non-responsive WordPress blogs and websites may involve switching to a responsive theme.
  • All the Way: The process of transforming a website to responsive is not as simple as switching templates. Coding changes are just the beginning. Design—including layout, fonts, images, and site navigation—will need modification to optimize smaller reading “windows.” Although going responsive may be an opportune time for a full-site overhaul of content, navigation, SEO, and all related marketing elements, a phased-in re-do or scaled-down site are other alternatives. In some cases, recreating the site as a responsive WP site may be faster and less expensive. Google suggests other ways to optimize for mobile search.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Responsive design is one element in SEO which concentrates on continuous improvement of the site’s online presence. What is your SEO strategy?

If the website or blog drives your business, delaying the move to mobile-friendly may be expensive.

In this blog, we’ve been talking about communicating your value and intentions using technology. “Responsive” means much more. In both the technical and relationship sense of the word, how you manage interfaces like websites—between what you offer and what target prospects and clients value and need—is a measure of your relevance and responsiveness to them.

Target Test: Ask mobile-addicted prospects and clients what they think of your website or blog. If you hear complaints about what a pain it is, the site is non-responsive or very badly designed.

“No complaints” may be worse since it may mean users have bounced off to visit competitors.

Revised from article “Are You Responsive?” first published May 2016 on RealtyTimes.com

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Stand Out: Get The Jump On Spring!

How can you make this spring different for your targets?

How can you help them take advantage of unexpected changes and rise above seemingly undermining influences?

Most industries have seasonal patterns that are followed and addressed in annual marketing campaigns:

  • Your goal should be to remain a step ahead of the predictable. Can you see opportunities for setting new standards or revealing new goals?
  • Can you attract increased market share by redefining client goals and expectations for this season and following seasons?
  • Redefine the negatives of this season with new products or niches that address shifts in target lifestyles, workplaces, or family structures. Can you see new opportunity and benefits for your prospects and clients?

Or, look ahead and get the jump on the following seasons or the whole year. There are new opportunities out there to discover before you’re in the middle of others jumping on them.

For instance, if Facebook has been a fav of your targets, explore the changes in this platform to uncover opportunities to communicate your value to targets.

Last spring, Facebook reported:

  • Daily active users (DAUs) numbered 1.09 billion on average for March 2016, an increase of 16% year-over-year. By year end, DAUs amounted to 1.23 billion on average for December 2016, an increase of 18% year-over-year.
  • Mobile DAUs averaged 989 million for March 2016, an increase of 24% year-over-year. By year end, Mobile DAUs increased to 1.15 billion.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) counted 1.65 billion as of March 31, 2016, an increase of 15% year-over-year. By December, MAUs climbed to 1.86 billion, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 1.51 billion as of March 31, 2016, an increase of 21% year-over-year. Mobile MAUs increased to 1.74 billion by year end.

That’s just the change over one year! What’s next here or in any platform your target loves?

How was that reflected in your targets’ use of your Facebook contributions? What’s you’re involvement going to generate this year?

What could you help make happen this year for your targets?

If you don’t think ahead for prospects and clients who will? Wouldn’t you rather it were you?

For example, spring is traditionally accepted as the “big market” for real estate. In a blog I write for a client, my question was: “Are real estate buyers making a mistake when they wait for the ‘hot’ spring market with its price increases and multiple offers?”

This question and content has a double purpose:

  1. This query and the related content start the client’s clients—real estate and financial professionals—thinking differently about what they take for granted about this season and what they can do differently this year.
  2. AND

  3. The question and content trigger fresh thinking and enhanced reception to new ideas in the professionals’ clients who could gain from thinking differently about their reactions to spring.
  4. The ideas shared do not have to be “big” or outrageous. Sometimes, a gentle nudge is all that is needed to shift thinking into innovation mode.

    FYI: The blog I write for this client deliberately builds on my work as a futurist, business strategist, and committed communicator to help real estate and related professionals and their prospects and clients think differently both about “Decisions & Communities.” This combined topic-title focuses on the real issues involved in real estate for professionals and their clients, not on rehashing the traditional.

    Do spring and other seasons offer overlooked opportunities to cast new light on buying, selling, and user patterns for your industry, product, or services?

    Can you see how to take a different perspective—drawn from a different profession, industry, or communication technique—to provide new insight, products, or services for helping target prospects and clients get the jump on spring and everything else?

    FYI: If you’d like to be a buyer or seller, or a professional with a jump on the spring real estate market, visit “Decisions & Communities.”

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Eliminate “Two-Faced” Customer Service Experiences

Two-faced customer service

Two-faced customer experiences must go!

Even the most reputable company can create “two-faced” customer service experiences.

If face-to-face service creates a customer experience vastly different from the online shopping or call-center customer experience, customers can be left with a “two-faced” impression of the business.

  • One face, the pleasant, inviting marketing brand we have all seen
  • The other face, a negative reality which may appear as disinterest, dishonesty or deception.

“Two faced” may seem an overly-strong adjective since it smacks of deceit, but it’s not. Personal and emotional customer reactions are involved when services and products are bought and delivered, so customer perceptions define reality. Inconsistencies in service delivery may leave the perception of disinterest in customers or of dishonesty or deception.

Example: My Starbucks “two-faced” customer experience could have undermined years of “Grande decaf” loyalty.

Starbucks provides a globally-consistent example of extremely-responsive face-to-face service excellence. However, even this can be undermined by online or call center experiences that contradict the branded customer-centric experience of good-natured coffee delivery.

When you walk into a Starbucks or text ahead, you know exactly what to expect. The attentive all-about-you staff seem happy to see everyone who wanders in. This is such a predictable reaction that I often give Starbucks gift cards as thank-yous: A positive experience in exchange for the positives I received.

Then in one afternoon, I discovered this reliable positive brand could be undermined in this customer’s mind by a disagreeable online experience followed by a more frustrating, dismissive call-center conversation. Years of positive impressions dissolved into experiences of being dismissed and of not being valued. I felt fooled into thinking the frontline experience penetrated right through the corporate body, so that everyone I encountered would perpetuate Starbucks customer excellence.

My attempt at “just takes a few minutes” online registration of my card turned into a frustrating experience that took more than an hour. Since loss of my time ranks as a number one crime against this customer, I was beyond disappointed.

No preamble diminished the sense of intrusion brought on by the depth of personal details required by this impersonal online registration form. Finally, an account was created.

A few minutes later, I decided to log into my new Starbucks account. The login told me firmly I had no account. Wasted time sucked as much as not being valued.

Finding Starbucks humans to talk to seemed to be the solution. Finally dug out a phone number and connected with a Starbucks voice. I explained what had happened. My questions?

  • Where did my personal information go?
  • What happened to the account I created?

Now, I’m into hour two on this “just takes a few minutes” project.

The Starbucks phone voice told me to be patient. Curt and unsympathetic, the voice said it would take care of everything. More information required. Long wait on hold. I was informed there was no account on record. No answer was given to my queries regarding the information I input or how this could happen. The offered solution: Go back to the Starbucks store and get my money back. No apologies for inconvenience. No alternatives. No warm Starbucks fuzzies there.

An indifferent or bad online experience followed by a worse call-center experience may be enough to overshadow even the best face-to-face experience.

Returning to my local Starbucks #16896 reminded me how pleasant picking up my favorite coffee is.

  • When I handed in the gift card and asked for my money back, the cashier was puzzled, but immediately obliging.
  • The manager, ever watchful of workplace flow, noticed our exchange. He offered a new card which I declined saying only that the negative experience had turned me off and I’d had enough of that. He offered to make my current order complimentary to ensure today’s experience was a pleasant one.
  • Seamlessly, pleasantly, and without debate, he and the staff set about deliberately counteracting my negative Starbucks experience.

Act on Your Brand Definition to Achieve Extreme Service Excellence.

Are your main service delivery methods consistently strong enough to overcome negative experiences with your other service delivery methods?
Question: If I were a customer or client, displeased with any two of your company’s online, call-center, or face-to-face experiences, would the third delivery method be consistently terrific enough to erase the bad feeling generated by the two negative experiences?

Answer: If you say “Yes,” how sure are you? Assumptions are dangerous.

  • When was the last time you made a mystery visit, call or email to test out the actual customer experience for each of your delivery methods?
  • Are the nice service delivery people in your company counting on nice customers who will forgive them for making mistakes at the customer’s expense?
  • If redesigning your service model is practical and essential, where is the best place to start on the evolution to Extreme Service Excellence?
  1. How will you create a process that innovatively aligns with your style, brand, and the challenges your business considers top priority?
  2. Experiment with key variables for your industry and related industries since client needs rarely fall in one industry to the exclusion of all others. Overlaps between industries and niches can offer more opportunities since these may be areas ineffectively covered by everyone.
  3. Whether this is a creative thinking exercise or a practical evaluation, experiment before you finalize your process and begin making widespread changes.
  4. Don’t rush this process or turn it into a marathon. Work through a few ideas and then let things percolate. Haven’t you found that your subconscious keeps processing, even while you’re working on something else?

Whisper in the Ear: Experiment with service variations. Involve target clients in evaluation and valuation of new services and products rather than assuming you understand everything.

  • How will you monitor effectiveness?
  • How will you let participating clients know how much you value their insight and suggestions?

P. S. My Starbucks experience has left me less likely to give Starbucks gift cards as gifts to people whom I really want to thank. The possibility that they could have a “two-faced” experience similar to mine, has me hesitating. Still a great fan of the brand and I remain hooked on my Grande Decaf coffee, so I’ll keep showing up for more.

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Outsourcing: Knowledge Attracts Knowledge

Professionals know what’s next

Professionals who employ their depth of knowledge to service clients, appreciate genuine expertise in others.

In delivering consistently high-quality services, professionals often have to outsource some or all of the work.

The challenge lies in locating complimentary services and products sold by professionals who also possess deep commitment to honing their expertise.

Tradeshows and conventions are terrific environments for discovering outstanding skills, products, and expertise without the hollow ring of “showing off” that marketing and advertising content can introduce.

For example, the annual IDS—Interior Design Show—is a professional-on-professional trade show that also invites end users to enjoy the mix of innovation and sustainability. If you’d like to observe professional communication in action, this is a great place to start.

Ask IDS Exhibitor Michael Pourvakil of Weavers Art about his business creating “the world’s most beautiful rugs” and it’s not long before he is extolling the value of professional interior designers.

Pourvakil explained, “The best products and best services are shown to advantage by interior designer expertise.”

The value of Weavers Art products and services is embodied in the “rugaholics”—Pourvakil and his staff—who curate the extensive and continually changing, internationally-sourced inventory.

They know that their expertise is amplified by the expertise of interior designers. At Weavers Art, they understand that this dictates their job is doing all they can to ensure working with Weavers Art is the best decision each designer makes.

Pourvakil stressed they do not sell on price since handmade rugs do not come down in price in a world where labor costs are increasing. The focus is peace of mind for all concerned which makes clear, accurate communication essential in every stage from design and creation to installation of the finished custom rug.

  • Does the process of servicing your clients involve the exacting delivery of products or service by other professionals? If so, how do you identify genuine talent and commitment when outsourcing? Or is price/cost the main focus?
  • How do you ensure you understand the specific value—from your point of view and your clients’—of outsourced professional expertise?
  • What steps do you take to guarantee respect for expertise—therefore, communication—works both ways and always benefits your clients?

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Make Faces Top Priority Not Screens

face-to-face not screen

What does face-to-face reveal?

How many face-to-face conversations do you have each day? Each week?

Before our current obsession with screens, business questions like these would not be necessary.

Face-to-face meetings were where significant decisions were made, relationships cemented, and deals done. Big business stills revolves around face-to-face meetings, but small business owners and professionals, swept up in technology’s apparent access have shifted business to screens.

Are most of your 1-on-1s with people you know well—friends, family, co-workers?

Much as you love them, does it make good business sense that the majority of your face-to-face time goes to those whose trust you have already earned, in meetings that do not generate revenue?

How do you engage new clients?

Email and phone contact play important roles in connecting with target prospects for many professionals. For you, are face-to-face meetings—either initial or to close a deal—essential to transition target prospects to client status?

Earning trust is what you’re doing when prospects willingly become clients. The skills and time involved in earning trust through email or over the phone can be considerably more challenging, than earning trust face-to-face.

Everyone is too busy for meetings, you say.

Yes, but I say, target prospects have interests that they prefer to pursue in person. Knowing how they spend this hands-on time is part of learning how to engage your target market.

For instance, if your service focus is B2B:

  • Do you know if many target prospects would favor business events introducing new products or systems?
  • Would they prefer professional-development conferences or out-reach campaigns promoted by professional organizations?
  • Perhaps, their line of work would lead them to favor restaurant openings…family charitable events…sports in any format…or meetings about shared interests in anything from WordPress or Buffer to wine tastings or photography.

I’m not suggesting you become a business predator, tracking target prospects down in their off-time and pouncing on them.

However, to effectively develop and deliver products and service that attract and engage your preferred target group, you must understand them. Not as statistics and marketing projections, but as individuals and as contributing members of groups, organizations, and communities that matter to them.

You love what you do and believe in your ability to contribute benefits to target clients. Take that deep commitment and share a some of it with the individuals you are intent on serving.

Each week, get out there. Meet target prospects face-to-face, so you can flesh-out the profiles your research frames. Enjoy yourself in the process. These experiences will assist you with naturally and confidently arranging the face-to-face opportunities that drive your business and client success.

Face-to-Face Question: Your online venture may be designed without face-to-face client contact, but would your prospects be receptive to a get-together that would simultaneously give your client base and your revenues a big boost?

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The Ideal Length Of Everything

Ideal length of everything

Who determines length?

It’s not about the length you want to write or how short you tweet, but what your ideal target client believes is an ideal length—enough, but not too much.

Journalists and copywriters are trained to write length “to count”—to fill the exact space available in print context, like column inches or above the fold in newspapers. Online lengths are measured in bytes and bandwidth. Digitally, “above the fold” continues to set limits, but it now means before the need to scroll. Publishers limit nonfiction authors “to count” in tens of thousands of words, especially when creating a print book which has size and weigh limitations for a lot of practical reasons. Yet these decisions may be flawed.

Don’t think about the length—number of words, number of lines, number of pages, amount of scrolling required—when you write or send messages to engage your target prospects and clients. Instead, carefully consider time—theirs.

Time is the precious and limiting resource for all of us and no less for your targets.

Make sure you consider length by determining exactly how much of their time your communication will use up. How long will it take prospects and clients to read, watch, or listen to content you’ve created, or had created, to promote you and your offerings? Be sure that you aren’t wasting their valued commodity:

  • Wasting time, because you are not on point, that is, clearly sharing valuable knowledge that targets can easily use to their own benefit.
  • Wasting time, because you’re not reaching them when it’s convenient for them to receive your information and ideas and to act.
  • Wasting time, because the result is not more revenue, more work, and more trust for you and your business or practice, but possibly less of all three.

Search the net and you’ll find lists of the ideal length for almost any communication product or service. Averages and generalities are ball-park figures. Unless these lengths were generated by or for your specific target, they may distract you from your target’s ideals.

Start by deciding how much time target prospects and clients might invest in a specific written, audio, and/or video message because they value your expertise. Remember, miss the point and deliver little targets consider relevant, and hard-won trust is eroded regardless of the length.

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