Another day dawns on The Geelong Copywriting Blog and the pulse of the city beats to this drum…
One of my clients gets me to ghostwrite blogs for him. The client is an authority on networking and likes the way I put his complicated ideas into simple, easy-to-read articles.
Here’s his latest instalment.
It happens to all of us – sometimes we’re so self-absorbed we become unaware of what’s going on around us. If that’s a temporary state of affairs, there’s nothing wrong with it. But if it’s a systematic methodology, well, that presents problems for effective networking.
In a café the other day, the other latte sippers were merrily engrossed in their conversations when a severely disabled fellow with two crutches entered. I noticed him looking around intently and it didn’t immediately dawn on me why he was scanning so carefully. But he stood just inside the door and continued to stare. Well this is interesting, I thought. What’s going on here?
Slowly, he began to make his way between the tables and chairs and sippers ignorant of his difficulties. These were all fairly closely positioned and, of course, he began to struggle. Now, I’m not a hero but when you see that, you’ve got to do something, right? So I got up and moved a couple of chairs and tables and requested that a couple patrons move in while he made his way. He was appreciative and I felt good for having helped. Anyway, as I returned to my coffee the reason for his initial studious viewing of the café came to me – he was problem solving. He was searching for the easiest path to a vacant table. But this only came to me by taking the time to see the world through his eyes.
Some people think networking is a dirty word. They think it’s schmoozing and trying to gain advantage by being a slick operator and smarmy. Well, I can tell you from experience, people who network in this manner may be effective networkers for a short time but pretty soon people will see through them and their effective networking days will be numbered. Me? I think of networking as seeking opportunities to help people and the best way to quickly become aware of these opportunities is to view the world through their eyes. Then I ask myself, what problems does this person need help with?
One of the biggest hurdles routinely encountered by BNI members is regularly generating referrals. By being in a helpful state of mind when you’re out networking you will notice referral opportunities become more easily identifiable. This is because wanting to be helpful keeps you present to the problems of others. Additionally, engaging in a steady series of One-on-Ones is an excellent strategy for discovering the problems your fellow chapter members are able to solve. So, when you are out networking and encounter people who have such problems you are in a position to simply marry the problem with the solution. Hey presto – that’s a referral!
So get out there and get networking. Don’t be self-absorbed, view the world through the eyes of the person you’re talking to, see their problems and introduce them to your fellow chapter members whom you know can solve them. And the referrals? Well they’ll just happen.
Best of all though? Not only is this state of mind quite likely to generate business for you and present referral opportunities, it’s also highly probable to leave you with the best pay off of all – feeling good for having helped.
The Geelong Copywriting Blog creates engaging content on all subjects.
The Geelong Copywriting Blog is blessed by several clients. I love doing these famous women posts because I learn so much and they give me a greater appreciation of what real struggle means.
Doctor Catherine Hamlin.
Have you ever suffered from a feeling of feebleness so overpowering as to banish your hopes and dreams? Ever had to weather a relentless storm of humiliating hissings cast at you because your cultural ties forced a life of shame upon you? No? Well how would you cope with catching a vision of your reflection and finding it so repulsive that you become physically ill?
After answering an advertisement in The Lancet in 1958,Dr. Catherine Hamlin could not stand idly by and allow the curse of obstetric fistula to ruin the lives of the young women of Ethiopia in these ways anymore. So she and her husband, Reg, were drawn to that poorest of nations and by 1974 had established the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital specifically to treat obstetric fistula. The prevalence of the disease results from women as young as 5 years old being betrothed and, therefore, becoming pregnant well before their bodies are physically able to cope.
Obstetric fistula does not exist in the western world. However, in Ethiopia, Catherine Hamlin has performed, or been involved in, more than 34,000 surgeries for this disease which, if untreated, results in young girls having to live with a constant flow of urine and faeces streaming down their legs and becoming outcasts. You see, obstetric fistulas are holes which develop in the rectum and vagina because of long labour periods and birthing difficulties. It is considered a disease of poverty and leaves victims publicly humiliated every day of their lives.
Dr. Reg Hamlin died in 1993 and Catherine’s work has continued ever since. With a single-minded focus on the task at hand, she has lived a life of paucity when one of plenty could easily have been hers. She established a charity to receive the donations necessary to fund the operations and a supply chain so the medical necessities could find their way to the hospital where this vital work is performed. Regional centres are now available to assist women in remote communities and a midwifery school has been established to help prevent obstetric fistula occurring in the first place. In a land where poverty, poor sanitation and malnutrition lead to a life expectancy around 50 years, Dr. Catherine Hamlin has overcome the obstacles to provide a safe haven for the young women this disease would otherwise have had no mercy for. As a result, she has received the Companion of the Order of Australia, been nominated twice for Nobel Peace Prizes and been named a National Living Treasure.
Dr. Catherine Hamlin’s ability to manage her emotions in the face of horrendous difficulties and use her deepest desires to advance the interests of her patients in a completely selfless manner are hallmarks of a woman with superior emotional intelligence and spirit. Her dedication, drive, desire to live amongst the women she assists and inner need to take action while others merely bear witness make her a truly great Australian woman.
Workplace productivity gains are demanded by managers all over the world. Unfortunately, they usually try to win these gains by cutting staff or conditions. This diminishes morale which further reduces the productivity they were trying to gain. If they were thinking, “I know, firing a few will increase the workplace productivity of the remainder,” perhaps they should think again. The few left are now actively seeking alternate employ because they are stressed and dissatisfied with their employer. This means, when they go, the skill level of the organisation drops. Will your customers benefit from that?
Here’s my solution –
Keep your existing staff happy.
Happy staff work harder, take fewer sickies, complain less, are keen, innovative, solution-oriented and work more effectively in a team. It’s a no-brainer! And the payoff you’re looking for is there – Workplace Productivity Improves!
But how do you foster this environment? Simple…
!!!COMMUNICATE WITH THEM!!!
Now, as a manager, you don’t have time to get around to every employee and ask, “So, how was your weekend?” Consequently, no one expects you to. However, to ignore the communication options you have is a sure way to breed the negativity you are trying to avoid.
Have you ever noticed that the day after Master Chef or the footy, your employees are congregating and talking about Master Chef or the footy? Common experiences unite. So,
give your employees the common experience you want to unite them.
Give them an internal newsletter jam-packed with your messages written in an entertaining and educational form. Give them a little piece of your organisation to talk about each month. Employee of the Month, A Trivia Quiz about your business, an article on company or personnel milestones, the CEO’s blog – these can all entertain and educate if they are read.
But how do you make your employees want to read this newsletter?
Employ someone who knows how to write.
New content versus other marketing.
Where do you spend your marketing dollar?
Yellow Pages? About $4,000.
Networking Groups? $2,000 for some.
Newspaper advertising? Sky’s the limit.
Radio and Television? Wow, you’re rich!
Do these marketing forms help you succeed in getting across the totality of what you do? Are your prospects likely to become sufficiently informed about your product range, the services you provide and the region you work in to want to become clients? Or, is their next step to go to your website to find out more?
Savvy business owners use the above marketing forms to refer prospects to their websites because no other marketing form can economically provide the information a website can. Don’t fight, hug it! It may result in spending less on marketing while achieving greater sales!
When actively seeking information about a product or service, how many prospects rely on the above marketing forms? Hmm… about none!
A proactive consumer doesn’t wait for an ad!
So make sure your site is –
- Easy to find,
- Engaging and
- Build confidence in you.
Easy to find equates to ranking well. A constant stream of fresh content will help achieve this.
Informative means you must tell your prospects about what your business sells and how this benefits your customers.
Engaging. Okay, it’s getting harder now. Your fresh and informative content must induce a prospect to keep reading. Otherwise, why is it there?
Building confidence in the business is the big one and is overlooked too often by copywriters. If I’m looking to buy an item worth a few grand, I want to know the guy selling it to me will be there tomorrow, can fix it if it breaks down, has spare parts, can make good on any warranty claims and has that manner about him/her that says, “I’m here for you.” Anything less and I’m going down the street with my hard-earned. A website with the right content can build consumer confidence like no other form of marketing.
Blogging – it’s a catch 22.
The sites ranking well in Goooooooogle rankings get lots of hits because they rank well in Gooooogle (number of ‘o’s may vary) rankings. But they got there and stay there because of something else – they communicate with their customers frequently. They know this communication has two benefits…
- It keeps them near the top of the rankings, and
- Communicating with your customers keeps your business top of their mind so when they need to purchase, who do they think about purchasing from?
So how does a new kid on the block rank well, get lots of hits and make more sales?
Simple – it’s no secret! The answer is a constant stream of fresh content. Ask any blogger. Some bloggers are maniacal and on the job 24/7. But what business owner has that much time for blogging? None. So set aside a quarter of an hour a week to organise your thoughts and a further half an hour to type them up. Don’t just start typing! You’ll get yourself in a knot, get frustrated and give up resulting in your Gooogle ranking remaining the same and your business being as hard to find as it was before.
Know what you are going to say before you start to type!
And if this is still daunting, contact me.
It’s what I do.