Category Archives: ON POINT Communication

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?

Back to HOME… TheCatalyst.com

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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Social Media As Defined By Your Target

target WHO

Who’s your target WHO?

The social media that drove your business and defined your target through start-up, may not be the social media that fosters equally amazing future growth.
That’s a reality to consider before you assume it’s full steam ahead with the social media platform you built the business around. Or before something happens to the platform—it’s snapped up by a giant, algorithms are changed, or your defined target market is swept on to the next new thing.

You may be comfortable moving forward along the same social media path that has gotten you this far, but prolonged status quo rarely works in any aspect of business. For instance, the skills and knowledge that enabled you to grow your businesses through start up, are not the abilities and capabilities that facilitate mature business growth.

The choice of which social media to build services and products around should probably not have been yours in the first place. Ideally, you began by identifying the target or preferred client group or groups that would would place the highest value on what you offer, whether it is a product, software, skill training, or any other B2B or B2C product or service. Target social media preferences and usage patterns dictated yours and defined your social media.

(If you were first drawn to a new or emerging platform and then to key groups using it, you’ll still find, over time, user tastes and needs shift and changes to the platform may not favor your business.)

Which of the two classic client service patterns represents your high priority target clients?

1. “Temporary” Clients/Niche Specific:
Your product or service is valued at a specific stage, for an identifiable niche, or for short-term use. Your business is designed to continually cultivate new “waves” of clients at that same high-usage stage. Acquiring new clients is high priority. For instance, clients may only need your products or services during start-up mode for businesses or during university years for individuals. These clients remain loyal during this time and then their need or interest in the product or service ends and they move on.

2. “Permanent” Clients/Across Niches:
Your product or service is valued over each client’s lifetime or for long-term use. Your business is designed to “permanently” retain and maintain existing clients over years or decades, if not forever. Retaining existing clients is high priority. For instance, your business takes clients through a lifetime or all the growth stages of a business. Clients remain loyal “forever.”

The social media used by “temporary” client types may be different from that which attracts “permanent” client types. At least, how they use and engage will differ even within the same platform. The difference may also lie in which combinations of social media and technology targets use.

Would your prime target client group be considered “temporary” or “permanent?”
How does their social media usage reflect this pattern?
What’s next for your clients?

Defining your target client includes knowing how to anticipate their social media needs.

Back to HOME… TheCatalyst.com

Clients Demand: Pay Attention To Earn TRUST

Pay attention duck legs unseen

Pay attention: What’s below the water with clients?

To engage and hold the attention of a prospect or client, professionals must first PAY ATTENTION.

The media and marketing are committed to distraction, interruption, and redirection to achieve their goals, not your client’s. The more information, phone time, and social media noise distracting a prospect or client, the less of their attention there is to apply to the client problem you expect to solve. Ignore this attention-diverting context, and you won’t be prepared for success with clients who are distracted from making decisions and commitments.

To ramp up your “attention paying” and attention receiving:

1. Tailor to Earn Trust: Your approach, delivery, and service design may have worked before smartphones took over. Now, changes may be necessary to counterbalance the level of information overload your client is operating under or coping with each day. For instance, you may prefer one phone call or meeting to cover everything that you need said, concluding with the client signing on-the-dotted-line and buying your product or service. What’s the client’s preference? Today, many clients need more time and different methods of information delivery to become confident enough to buy. Others may want to take themselves through the sales process online with opportunity to search out details, alternatives, and reviews as they go. What learning tools do your target clients prefer: video, audio, experiential?

2. Concentrate to Earn Trust: It’s not only paying attention to your client that matters, but demonstrating that you’re concentrating. Reduce your level of distraction to elevate concentration. Put down your phone. Eye contact matters. Ask for details; listen constructively to client answers by taking notes; think about the points they make; analyze what’s missing; ask for details to clarify needs and gaps that your product or service is designed to fill. Every time the client has to repeat something to you or remind you that their earlier answer dictates their response to subsequent questions, you’re not earning trust and you may be losing accumulated trust.

3. Prepare to Earn Trust: Take-away content in print, audio, video, digital, or email form may give the prospect or client confidence in your sincerity. During a meeting, give them time alone to review the details and decisions involved. This focused attention may be all they need to sign up. Prepare a client-centric sales or consulting process that incorporates follow up, product/service customizing, client satisfaction, and above-average results for the client. This may mean tweeking your pre-smartphone sales or consulting system or completely overhauling your existing process so it’s smartphone-friendly.

The smartphone changed everything. How have you changed the way you do business to accommodate this communication revolution?

More: An example of how distraction and multitasking can undermine client decision making during a common buying process…”Multitasking vs A Real Estate Frame of Mind

Pay attention: What’s below the water with clients?

Back to HOME… TheCatalyst.com

Disruptive Technologies: Hyper Local & Diamonds

“Disruptive” has evolved into an exciting business word, but it remains full of surprises, especially when linked to “disruptive technology” and its sea of opportunity.

“Disruptive” used to be a negative word meaning “burst asunder,” “throw into disorder,” or “dash to pieces.” Now, many see the term as a provocatively-positive invitation to dismantle or redirect the existing and drive home their over-riding point of view à la Uber and Amazon.

Lots of opportunity there but, new disruptive technologies do not automatically over-write everything. However, they will always require new ways of thinking and communicating. As a result, re-engineering and re-designing are now ongoing business processes, not once-in-a-while overhauls.

Professionals, entrepreneurs, and organizations ready to jump in and grab the emerging “brass ring”—that is, “disruptors”—benefit most when, from the start, they have client-centric vision. Once clear about existing target market needs, wants, and the untapped elements of both, opportunity emerges. As the new technology alters context for both disruptors and their target clients, competition can heat up. Client-centric disruptors can maintain their “first in” advantage because they understand how to communicate advantages, not disruption, to target markets.

At a recent Global Forum entitled “Leading in Uncertain Times,” arguably the most popular of the 11 break-out forums was “Riding the Wave of Disruptive Technologies.” A panel of forward thinkers explored the question: “What is the potential long-term economic impact of disruptive technologies?”

One panelist set the stage for disruption of globalization and emergence of a new “hyper local.”

“The path of light determines decentralized architecture,” said panelist Marcus Weldon, Chief Technology Officer of Nokia and President of Bell Labs. “It is the speed of light that determines this. [Light] can only travel about 100km (round trip, meaning there and back) in 1 millisecond. So any application or service requiring this latency/delay has to be located within 100km maximum, which we say [as] 50km allowing for some additional processing time.”

According to Weldon, this means that the “within 50 kilometers” necessity leads to a focus on “hyper local because it must be that way.”

This predicted disruptive shift from globalization to a new hyper local arises from internet of everything demands. Resulting significant change may open up local or small venture opportunity.

Weldon (by email): “Going local will require the deployment of cloud infrastructure within 50-100km from each user/enterprise and not everyone will be willing or able to build out the cloud to this level. That is not to say that Global providers cannot become local cloud providers, but they may choose not to, and just partner or federate with other cloud providers who do. Telecom operators are one potential local cloud provider for these local clouds as they own local facilities (switching offices etc.) with fiber running to those facilities, and [they] need to run their networks in this way anyway.”

How would this disruption alter context for your target markets and their income earning?

Panelist Adam Khan, Founder and CEO of Illinois-based Akhan Semiconductors and co-inventor of the Miraj Diamond™ Platform explained how diamond semiconductor technology provides “new pathways of flexibility” that have the potential to disrupt electronics, including consumer electronics and wearable applications.

If diamond—known as the “Ultimate Wide Bandgap semiconductor material”—were a key successor technology to silicon, where could disruption materialize in electronics? How would your target markets be affected? Or, would the change created open new targets for your venture?

Disruptive bonus: Later in a phone interview, Khan talked about how local and global interplay is growing his semiconductor business. He also candidly explained why disrupting his work schedule to spend three days at the Global Forum was the best use of his time:

How do you disrupt your routine to benefit your business and, therefore, your clients?

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Part 1: Are You Responsive?

More and more people are using their phone to search the net. This means your net presence must quickly make a vital user-friendly statement. What message do you deliver when your website or online courses are not responsive?

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

Are you asking users and target clients to deal with non-responsive websites and online content that are stuck in the “desktop dark ages?” They’ll probably vote “no way” by clicking on the mobile-friendly competition.

If your target market is mobile savvy, engage them on their terms. Transforming your website, blog, and online content into mobile-friendly territory is essential. Take time to decide which change strategy is most compatible with your short- and long-tem goals and those of target clients:

  1. Nowhere Fast: Those who find little or no business comes to them over the internet may decide there is no need for responsive design. (There is 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.)
  2. Halfway There: Blogs are not automatically responsive. For instance, WordPress  (WP), which accounts for almost 25% of internet activity, offers many mobile-friendly templates or themes, however, earlier WP blog templates were not responsive. Even now, new bloggers do not have to choose responsive themes. Check it out: Transforming your non-responsive WordPress blog and website may merely involve switching to a responsive theme.
  3. 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.” Then, there’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to consider. Although this may be an opportune time for a full-site overhaul of content, navigation, and all related marketing elements, a phased-in re-do or scaled-down site are other alternatives. A big job with a big budget? If the website drives your business, delay will be even more expensive. Action: 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.

Are YOU responsive? This post explores communicating your value and intentions using technology. “Responsive” means much more. In both the technical and relationship sense of this word, how do you manage client and partner interfaces including websites and online interactive content? Closing the gap between what target prospects and clients value and need and what you offer enhances your relevance and responsiveness. That’s what credibility means to targets.

Resource: What’s Your Point?

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Trust Earning: Do You Deserve Client Trust?

Risk aversion stops many good things from happening when it is supposed to stop bad things. Trust is the antidote to risk aversion.

Professionals must communicate their trustworthiness to earn trust and build lasting relationships with prospects and clients.

Natural fear of taking action or making a decision is meant to preserve our health, property, way of life, and sanity, but it can do the opposite. As far as prospects and clients are concerned, their trust will be earned by professionals who show consistent, genuine interest in the wellbeing of the prospect or client. Unless this client concern is visible in every facet of the work carried out by the professional for and with clients, trust may not be achieved and the relationship will remain superficial.

Clients’ interests should be transparently and prominently placed above the professionals’ interests. This commitment materializes as services that are relevant to target client needs and as delivery methods that match the professional’s process and organizational support.

For instance, whether a client filters the world through their smartphone or prefers emails interspersed with phone or face-to-face meetings, they’ll be receptive to placing trust in professionals who respect client communication preferences. Professionals who commit to client needs and goals discover many ways to demonstrate their trustworthiness.

Trust is also earned by professionals who deliver on promises and responsibilities without prompting or excuses. If it’s not clear to clients that they are in sync with the professional, has the professional genuinely earned their trust?

Perception is the reality in earning client loyalty. The client’s definition of trust sets the standard for professionals to meet and exceed in everything from communication to service delivery:

  • Should trusting include the client questioning the professional, or is unquestioning acceptance demanded by the professional?
  • Is the professional’s reaction defensive or offensive if their knowledge or skill is challenged?
  • Does the client understand exactly what you, the professional, expect from them and from yourself as the relationship progresses?
  • From the start, clients deserve to understand what “trust” will mean to both of you, and to outcomes. Clients should trust themselves to be sure about this.

Will you share this post with your prospects and clients because you want to open up the lines of communication and earn trust?

© Source: What’s Your Point? PJ Wade The Catalyst

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Stalled Thinking Stifles Innovation

WYP ButtonsmWhat’s Your Point?—as blog and book—is a whisper in the ear, a tap on the shoulder, a pat on the back, and a mental kick in the pants for those with years of hands-on experience thinking, analyzing, creating, improvising…and deciding for others—their clients. No dummies here, but there is Room for Improvement and there is need for INNOVATION.

Experience can be valuable to the success of everything and anything, including communication, but not always. The professional wisdom, knowledge, creativity, and decisiveness that experience generates are frequently the driving force behind improvement and innovation. Ironically, these two essentials can be forestalled, particularly in times of dramatic shifts, by resistance to change and other distractions originating from past experience.

Merely saying, “I’m thinking outside the box,” or even making an effort to do so—alone or in a group—does not guarantee Continue reading

Determined Futurist or Wish-Distracted Fatalist?

Futurist or Fatalist

Is the difference clearly visible to you?

We are often more aware we have a future when a new year begins or we make a fresh start, like going back to school or launching a new venture. The rest of the time, the future is all but ignored. 

Even when we think about the future, “wait and see” is a common response to “How’s this all going to turn out?” However, you aren’t a leaf passively blowing in the wind of change, but a proactive agent for your own future—when you chose to be! “Wait and see” is the passive approach few can afford. It’s already cost too many too much.

Are you a determined futurist (“If it is to be, it’s up to me”), or a wish-distracted fatalist (“I guess it wasn’t meant to be”). I can’t help you achieve the latter, but the shift to determined futurist is right up my alley and a key “What’s Your Point?” themeContinue reading

10 TIPS for Complex Decisions Made Simple

triminii  Professionals, including advisors, executives, and entrepreneurs, are decisive by nature and training, so it’s not surprising that many often think they are great decision-makers.

Some professionals even believe that making decisions quickly is a sign of decisiveness, which it isn’t necessarily. Commonly, after a few years on the job, most professionals feel they have learned all there is about the decision-making process. They believe it’s just content in the form of product specifications, office procedures, and client “hot topics” that change, not decision making.

The more you understand about the PROCESS OF DECIDING relative to your target market and business, Continue reading