Category Archives: Networking

Are You A Lazy Networker Or Marketer?

Some of you know I own a blog about financial stuff. Some of you also know I used to accept guest posts on that blog, but ended it last December after being bothered by the types of requests I was getting, the lousy editing and, well, just the time it was taking away from doing other stuff.

Portrait of a Traveller
Dick Vos via Compfight

Even though I still get those requests, I can easily deflect them. However, if the offers are good, I still entertain letters about advertising, although so far I haven’t found any of them to be up my alley. I’m just not going to allow links or banner ads to any businesses or companies that aren’t aligned with finance on that site; that’s the smart way to do business right?

One type of email I get, that most people get, is the form letter. You know it, where you see the same language all the time, the lies about how they’re impressed with your site, yada yada.

One rule I’ve always had, even with the guest posts, is if my name isn’t in the email I ignore it and move on. When I was accepting guest posts, if I got a second email I’d write back quickly informing them that they hadn’t read the guest posting policy; yup, I had one of those, fairly extensive. Nowadays I’ll ignore that second email and move on with life.

Well, the other day I got a third email from someone. However, in both the second email and the third, instead of writing something new, and still not having my name anywhere in it, the emails said “contacting you again; see message below.”

Since I got a third email from the guy, I decided to write him back. This is what I wrote:

Greetings,

I’m responding to this email because it seems ignoring it hasn’t taught anything.

Yes, I saw the other emails. Why have I ignored them? Because every single email is proof that you or nobody else who works with you has ever visited my website. If you had you’ve have seen that I have a name, I have an about page and I have an advertising policy.

Frankly, it’s always been my assumption that if people who say they want to work for me show that they’re too lazy to look at anything on the site that I don’t trust them to keep their word on anything they have to say, thus I’m not working with them. I’m only writing you because you’ve sent this more than once.

If you’re actually representing the company you state you are, you’re doing it poorly. Maybe you’ll treat your job and give the people you hope to work with a bit more respect after this email. In any case, at this juncture I’m not interested. I wish you well as you pursue your career, hopefully with a bit more circumspection on how to contact potential customers and partners.

Was that too harsh? I didn’t think so, and I actually felt it was a good lesson that might help make this guy a little bit better at what he does and how he works.

Y’all know I’m an independent consultant in health care. Because I can’t call all the hospitals within a 7-state radius all that often I have a set of marketing letters to help introduce myself to the people I need to talk to.

Pushkar, chai wallah (tea vendor)
Arian Zwegers
via Compfight

What I have done is researched every hospital I wanted to send something to and found the names of the people in the position, as well as the actual title they hold, and that goes on the letters I send out; almost never email. I do that because I know if a letter is a bit more personal there’s a better chance it’ll at least be opened, and hopefully read. I also try to mention something about the hospital that I’ve learned that might flatter them in some fashion, such as acknowledging a new service they have or an award they’ve recently won.

Sometimes you get a name wrong because, in health care, people move around pretty fast. But that’s not a big deal because you’ll get the correct name when you follow up by phone. And that’s interesting because at least someone will talk to you, maybe not your intended target, if you have a name.

It’s just lazy marketing if you don’t try to find out someone’s name, or if you haven’t even looked at the website or blog of a person or business to see if maybe the information you’re looking for is there already.

Add this to the process of networking, where you reach out to someone without even attempting to know something about them. At many networking events I go to people only talk about themselves, and are pushing their business card at you before they’ve even told you their name. Sometimes I don’t even reciprocate by giving my card out because I know this is someone who could care less about me. Who wants to spend money, or sometimes even make money, working with someone who doesn’t care about you in the least?

Am I in the wrong here? Am I not being forgiving enough to those who obviously don’t know any better? Or do you see where I’m going, what I’m saying, and possibly agree? Let me know, and thanks for reading.
 

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More On Influence – Being Fascinating

Y’all know I’ve talked about being influential in the past. I need to talk about it more because, as I always say, the more influence one has the better opportunity one has to make money and make a difference. There’s nothing wrong with either so if your mind is in that place leave it immediately and never go back there.

Blogging Meetup02

A couple of days ago I was watching a video of Marie Forleo’s, and if you’re looking to grow your business and also need boosts of positivity you have to check out her video page on YouTube, which I check into often. She was interviewing a lady named Sally Hogshead, who has a business that teaches people how to evaluate how fascinating they are and how to become more fascinating in the eyes of others.

Now, initially that can sound strange until you hear her talk about it. In essence she sees the topic of fascination as a way to be in people’s minds so that you’re the only thing they can think about at certain times, if not all the time. It’s kind of like the fascination people have with certain musicians or actors or models. Her premise is that everyone is born being fascinating but over time we start to diminish ourselves, either by our own means or by listening to the words of others. Then when we need to be more fascinating, such as those of us who work for ourselves, it’s hard to turn back on. So she teaches people how to recapture that and gives 7 triggers to getting there in her latest book which is called Fascinate.

Here’s where things get interesting. One of the things she said in the video, which I’m putting at the bottom of this post, is that we need to look at ourselves and determine how other people see us, then figure out how to be more fascinating. My interpretation on this is that we do this to either try to figure out how to impress those people enough to want to hang onto our every word or buy from us or to even like us.

In other words, self reflection time; scary isn’t it? I’ve written on this blog & another blog that one thing most people hate to do is self evaluation. It’s scary because we’re all critical about ourselves and find it hard to find or talk about the good things that are within us. We’re not smart enough or tall enough or pretty enough or anything enough; isn’t that how it goes? Sure, every once in awhile we start feeling special, and yet it’s not often that many of us can sustain this. And that’s a shame.

If I had to go first, and I do since I’m writing this, I’d have to admit that more often than not I’m not feeling fascinating at all. I’m certainly not feeling influential. And yet, a few days ago I went to another local event where bloggers in the area got together and talked and networked, and I had a great time. Not only that but I can truthfully say that I felt a lot of people enjoyed my company and were happy to see and meet me. Heck, I got hugs all around; what’s better than that?

And yet, there are other meetings I go to where I feel like I’m the pariah in the room. Sally actually mentioned in the video that people get feelings from others and often ignore them in one direction or the other, but that we really do know what we’re feeling. Trust me on this one, often in my professional networking ventures I feel like people are working hard “not” to see me. That’s disconcerting and bothersome, and I either react by leaving pretty quickly or looking hard to find someone I know well enough to hang with. That means I don’t meet as many new people as one would hope, thus limiting the possibilities of being influential in any way or even attempting to be fascinating.

That’s part of the key, isn’t it? If one demures and doesn’t say anything, how will anyone even have the opportunity to see if you’re fascinating or not? For all the stories I have and the experiences I’ve been a part of, if I keep them all to myself who would ever find out if I was someone worthy of knowing? For that matter how could I ever determine whether I was fascinating or not, or what I might need to change? Blogging’s a nice thing, but is it enough to express oneself? Not in public it isn’t.

Enough about me; your turn. Do you think you’re fascinating? If so, why, and if not, why. What holds you back and what are you willing to do to try to break out of it? As you’re reading this I’m in the middle of 5 videos in 5 days, an experiment I’m trying out. My attempt at opening up some, being more personable, seeing if I can be fascinating or if I’m just goofy. You can check them out here if you have the guts. lol Meanwhile, check out the video below; both of these ladies are fascinating:


 

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Interviews – What Prompted Yesterday’s Post

Yesterday I wrote a post telling people that I was available for both interviews and questions. It may have seemed like a strange post to some, and I mentioned in that post that I was looking to increase my influence and find more topics to make videos about. But that’s not all, and I thought I’d talk about the rest of it in a secondary post.

I’ve done a lot of interviews with other people. I’ve posted them on this blog, my Syracuse blog, and my business blog, Mitch’s Blog. The thing is that I’ve actually put out way more requests than that, and it’s that point where things have been a bit irksome for me.

As I write this I have 6 interview requests out there. Actually that’s not quite accurate. I have one interview requests and I’m waiting for 5 people with whom I’ve requested interviews from to respond to the questions so I can put them, well, somewhere. These are people that agreed to be interviewed, people I’ve already sent the questions to.

Now, I know people get busy, and I know I didn’t specify a time frame. However, when I sent the interview questions, I actually figured I’d get responses back in 1 to 2 weeks. This isn’t the case, though. Three of the interview requests are more than 3 months old at this stage, and I’ve sent them all followups. I figure it’s not going to happen, and that’s too bad because I think it would have been as good for them as it would have been for my blogs.

People are funny. They have these businesses and they say “I don’t know how to increase my sales or get people to know more about me”, and then an opportunity arises, it’s free, and they disappear. Months ago I put out a call to interview people for my business blog. In general it has a format that everyone has to adhere to, only 5 questions, and folks have to be independent or a small business for participation. I had one person who responded; now that’s a shame. I put it out on Twitter and I repeated it twice, and only one person? This from, at the time, almost 3,000 people who supposedly follow my stream? Even people I know didn’t pony up for it.

What does this say? To me it says people have no idea what an opportunity looks like. Sure, this blog might not have an Alexa rating under 10,000, but it is under 100,000 and that’s a pretty good accomplishment. According to Feedburner there are more than 250 people subscribed to this blog, and that probably means there’s at least that many people coming to the blog in other ways on a daily basis. Many of those people are consumers in some fashion, or looking for ideas, or are just interested in learning more about something or someone. And let’s face it, you never know when someone might reach out to you to ask for your services or products if they get to know you better, right?

This was on my mind when I wrote yesterday’s post. If others don’t want to jump on opportunities to get their name out there, to increase their influence and possibly affect their income, I’ll take their place. Strangely enough, a couple of days ago I was listening to an interview I did with someone 4 years ago talking about SEO and websites, and the good thing is that interview is still out there affecting someone’s life; okay, maybe not but I can dream. lol One just never knows.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled reading. 😉
 

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Go Ahead, Interview Me

Well now, this is a different kind of post. The title kind of says it all, but I figure I should add a little bit of something extra.


My friend Kelvin
hates this picture

In August of last year I wrote a post about influence and social media. I talked about how I wanted to work on growing my influence and I talked about a few things I was going to try to do to achieve that goal. I talked about how I was going to work through Twitter and Facebook. I’ve gone that route, and I’ve actually had a little bit of success with it. I even talked about this blog and, at that time, my business blog and the number of links I supposedly had between the two. Now that Yahoo Site Explorer is gone I’ll have to check somewhere else to see the numbers again.

I’m also done with Klout, as you know, although using that to measure influence was really ridiculous. There really isn’t a true tool to measure clout that way. But I still want to increase my influence, and thus I’m asking for help while offering help; how’s that sound?

Here’s the deal. I’m putting myself out there to do interviews. You’ve seen examples of how I do interviews on this site and you’ve probably seen me being interviewed on other sites. This post on influence listed a bunch of interviews I’ve done with other people on this blog. This page to interviews are some I’ve done with other people; I think it needs to be updated.

Anyway, part one is putting myself out there to be interviewed. It can be through questions you send me by email (look at my contact page for my email address), or I’ll do your podcast, or even video interview. I’d like to do a lot of them, but any interviews would work nicely. I can speak on a variety of topics, but I’m not going to tell you what they are just yet.

That’s because I have part two. Last December I wrote a post asking how I could be useful to you. I got enough comments on that post and people were very nice, but no one really asked me for help on anything. I’m going a different route here. I need to create some more videos and what I thought I could do was see what people might be interested in asking me so I could answer those questions or address those topics by video. This time, instead of asking people to write their questions on the blog, I’ll ask you to go through the email route to send me your question. I started wondering if folks didn’t want to put questions in comments so everyone else could see them; by going the email route, maybe folks will feel more free in asking questions.

And now the topics. Y’all know I can talk about a bunch of different subjects, so maybe these will fit your qualifications for an interview, or give you an idea of things to ask me questions on that I might be able to answer. This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, and frankly I know if I actually get questions that there might be some I can’t answer. Let’s see how all of this goes; if nothing else I got another unique blog post out of it. The subjects are:

Leadership/management; racial diversity; customer service; medical billing; health care finance/revenue cycle; SEO; social media; writing; budgeting; blogging; 70’s music (odd one, eh?); and speaking.

That’s what I know I know, but I’ve talked about all sorts of things on this blog over almost 1,200 posts so I know something about other topics as well that one might find intriguing. I’m game to try almost anything; almost, that is. 😎

Consider this a social experiment; at the very least you know you’ll end up with a link back to this blog if you interview me, since I always mention when I’ve been interviewed; let’s see how we can benefit each other. Thanks; enjoy your weekend.
 

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What Happened To… When People Disappear

My buddy Mitchell Allen and I were discussing how one of the online sites we used to visit on occasion and actually wrote content for has disappeared. So has the site owner, whose blog and entire presence seems to have been wiped from the face of the earth.

Goodbye Cruel World

Of course we have our speculations, which shall remain so, but it points out one of those weird things that happens sometimes online, and often without any advance notice. It’s pretty much the “now you see them, now you don’t” thing. It’s not so much when people stop visiting your blog and you wonder why. It’s when you go to visit them and notice they’re no longer there, or you send email and accounts shut down or you never hear anything back. That’s when it’s, well, weird.

Of course people disappear for a variety of reasons. The biggest reasons are time and money. Either they don’t have the time anymore to communicate as much as they did in the past or they didn’t have the money to renew their blog or domain name or even an internet service. True, if they have something like Gmail or Yahoo email all they have to do is go someplace like a library or internet cafe and access things that way, but usually that’s not convenient enough for everyone and thus they don’t do any of it.

Humans are social; we like to know what’s going on with people we’ve gotten to know, whether we like them or not. If someone announces they’re leaving for awhile or permanently, that’s preferable to someone just disappearing without a clue. Of course, if someone has expired and their spouse isn’t internet savvy, there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it.

Or is there? I have kind of a backup plan. I’ve asked one of my friends to kind of intercede on my behalf if I’m unable to get the word out to anyone. Of course one of these days I’ll have to tell him where I’ve hidden my passwords, but to many things on my browser he won’t have any problems accessing any of it. That and I have other friends who I’m sure would get the word out if I went missing for any length of time.

Have any of you thought about what to do to try to get the word out if suddenly you’re unable to yourself? Do you think it’s important enough to at least think about? Would you be missed?

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