Two days ago I attended The Santa Barbara Business Expo, my first networking event. Almost all the business blogs and books I’ve read give importance to networking and nothing convinced me more than when I met with my friend Jackie, a real estate agent. I asked her how business was since she had only become a licensed for a few months earlier, and from what I know about real estate, it takes years to get clients. But she told me that she’s busy and business keeps coming. What? How? I asked her what she did for marketing, and how she sought clients.
“Well, it was really easy. I found some real estate agent networking events to go to, and this guy I met told me he was leaving for Shanghai and gave me all his clients”.
My eyes widened. Of course there was some luck to this, and I couldn’t help myself from being jealous. I had spent the past few months, thinking of a business identity and value proposition, targeting my niche, sending out cold emails, meeting with potential middlemen …and Jackie just goes to a networking event and gets handed business.
Since Part 1, I’ve been trying to ramp up my sales skills and actually close a sale. So I bought 3 sales books. The problem with these sales books is that they are mindset oriented rather than action oriented. I’m looking for a technique or a script I can use today, whereas instead these books give general advice on trying to understand the customer. I agree that this is something that I should know, but is not directly applicable.
One of the key things I learned is that selling to VITOs (Very Important Top Officers) is a lot different than selling to common small business owners. VITOs are hyper-busy and want you to be direct about your offer. Small business owners on the other hand, appreciate small talk and compliments. They like formalities and building friendships before buying.
I also learned some copywriting. It’s surprising how difficult writing a simple email copy is. It’s also surprising how little material there is on teaching writing small business email copy. I’ve asked Sebastian Marshall and Daniel Odio and they’ve offered suggestions. Sebastian told me that I needed to shorten my copy, and to have a stronger call to action.
In International Trade we learn the idea of comparative advantage, and how countries benefit from trading with each other if one is better at producing a commodity than another.
Within the first few lectures the professor will emphasize that a country doesn’t need absolute advantage for trade to be beneficial, just comparative advantage.
I think this concept can be applied to team dynamics.
A few months ago I was talking to my friend Tony, a video producer. He said his business was going well but he’s relying too much on his former company referring him business and has no idea how to generate business for himself. Since I am interested in marketing and selling, I told him I would market his services for him with a 30% cut. He agreed.
I started off as clueless as he was. I knew that marketing required segmenting the population, and really zoning in on the target niche. However, almost anyone with a product or service could benefit from video production. My assumptions were that those who demanded video production services didn’t need much convincing, but I had no idea how to find these people.
I posted in Sebastian Marshall’s community section and someone commented that while he (the commenter) was working as a web developer, clients told him that they needed these services. This gave me an idea.
I could target the middleman, the people whose clients may demand my services: marketing agencies, graphic design agencies, and web development agencies.
Lucky for me, I had already located an example email script. I pulled the email script from Ramit Sethi’s book, “Finding Your First Profitable Idea” and tweaked the wording.
Expected Value is the Profit or Loss from a decision times the probably of that happening.
Box A has a 25% chance of giving you 30 dollars, a 50% chance of giving you 20 dollars, and a 25% chance of giving you 10 dollars. It costs 15 dollars to buy box A, what is your expected value?
30-15=15 ; 15 x .25= $3.75
20-15= 5 ; 5 x .5 = $2.50
Its been two years now since the start of my fantasy football league. When I first started, I knew nothing about football. My first draft was a mess - I used a cheat sheet I found in the July issue of ESPN magazine. I drafted a defense with my 10th round pick (everybody knows you only draft defenses and kickers with the last two picks). Worst of all, I was in a league full of sports junkies, guys who watch every game every Sunday.
This season I’m 2nd place, with the best season record. I’ve made around 7 trades. I know the names of most teams starting players, and a few of their backups.
I guess it takes something as trivial as fantasy football to show me that improvement is a long and slow process, but improvement happens. Too often I look at things and get disappointed because of the results. I’m so focused on improvement that frustration quickly swells up. Why am I not getting better? I expect so much from myself that I can’t see small progress for what it is: a tiny bit improvement.
But everything takes time.
Even if it takes years, I know that I’ll reach my goals eventually. And if i can get good at fantasy football, something I don’t care and didn’t even try to get good at, then of course I’ll be good at something I poured sweat and tears into.
I’ve choked many times. But compared to others, I’m really not that much of a choker. Honestly, we make a big deal out of choking, and the reality is that almost everyone cracks under-pressure. Clutch is what’s rare, that’s what makes 4th quarter Tim Tebow so exciting.
I want to be clutch. So I read this book.
Basically, the book outlines five traits of clutch.
These 5 traits are what makes people clutch -and they make sense, but there has to be something more, what about Tim Tebow?
Part me wants to believe that God is doing this out of amusement, to use Tebow to promote himself. But I think I can make a better guess.
I was jumping on a trampoline and feeling pretty good from landing some moves I was working on. I did a back hand spring, and bounced a few times back and forth gaining momentum. Then a front flip - pretty soon, I felt invulnerable. Maybe it was the release from all the fear and frustration of not getting my moves, or if it was the bliss of being in the air, but I felt invincible. Then, with momentum carrying me upon landing, I ricocheted off the trampoline and banged my heel on the steel base of a vault. The fall must have only been 3-4 feet max, but ouch. Funny how quickly invulnerability fades when you realize how fragile the human body is.