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Oh what a view!

A couple of weeks ago, I was staying in this ridiculous mansion out at Sylvan Lake. No, it wasn’t mine (someday!). I had been invited out for the weekend by a friend to enjoy some time off lakeside. As is my custom, I found myself in a debate with one of the other house guests. The topic? Relationship selling.

See, the conversation began around clubs, networks and the likes and your reasons for joining them. Are you in a networking club just so you can “sell”  your goods or services? Are you there to meet friends and like-minded people? Her point, relationship selling doesn’t work. My point, the only way human beings function is through relationships, so of course relationship selling works. It’s all “relative” anyway. To which she responded, “So, everyone is in a relationship with somebody or to something… that advice doesn’t help anyone.”

She’s right of course, that piece of information isn’t something immediately actionable by anybody. But for me, it IS the key to understanding the intricacies of relationship and just how subtle successful relationship selling is. (Tip: social media/relationship selling… same deal). It’s the most important point to understand. My goal was not to provide the magic formula for relationship selling, it was to communicate that everything we perceive about our world is only done in relation to something else. So in that sense, we are in a constant and evolving relationship to one another.

I used to cringe when the word “sales” came up in a conversation. To me, it meant trying to convince the person in front of me to purchase my goods or services in this moment. It was my job to onboard you. If I couldn’t close in the short-term, I had failed. You can imagine the inner turmoil when I thought of bringing that style of selling into my relationships. It’s very easy for friends to start looking like walking dollar signs. It’s why network marketing often has a bad rep.

I run into a myriad of people who still hold that perception of sales. Get rid of it. It won’t help you today, tomorrow or the day after that.

Relationship selling is simple, it’s just not easy and it takes time. It requires a consistency to your approach and doesn’t stop when you leave the office. It consists of building a genuine rapport with the person you’re speaking with, caring enough about them to establish whether your goods or service will be helpful and being confident enough to accept their answer of yay or nay without making it about you. Oh, and we can’t forget timing. But that’s not always something we can predict.

The other side to this is that your relationships follow you everywhere. Relationship selling doesn’t stay at the office. It’s how you approach your clients, your friends, your family, your networking groups, your online interactions – everything. It’s knowing that you can never predict when a business relationship will collide with you at a personal event. Or when your friend refers you to a client. Or that guy you’re working in the kitchen with up in the oilfields ends up as the business partner you didn’t even know you were looking for.

See, relationship selling is all about the impression you leave with people. It starts the moment you converse. It also requires being clear and upfront about your intentions. Successful relationship selling leaves room for either party to say yes or no and to have their decision respected. And it’s an approach that works with friends, family, coworkers, current and potential clients and any other person you come into contact with. Just rinse and repeat with every relationship and you’re golden.

How do I know? It’s how I’ve learned to operate sustainably. And it’s working.

That’s it. So, if you aren’t haven’t much success with relationship selling, consider:

  1. Re-evaluating your sense of what it means to “sell”. It may not work in terms of relationships.
  2. Do a self-audit on the relationships in your life. Are they supporting you? Or are they hindering you? Oh, and sometimes relationship selling is about ending the relationships (or at least changing their terms) when they aren’t serving you or the other party.

Takeaway: Be genuine. Be transparent. Be helpful where you can be. And always look for the opportunity that is mutually beneficial. Added emphasis on mutually.

Oh Twitter. Not a blog post goes by that I don’t mention it, but it’s just so damned interesting! What makes it even more interesting is the fact that I have my first name as my handle. Yep, I’m @Wendy. It wasn’t really a problem at first. When the local Calgary Twitter community was at a stage where most people remembered your Twitter handle rather than your real name, I didn’t have to worry. Everyone already knew it!

As the service became more popular, random users would discover that there was in fact a girl in Calgary using the @Wendy handle. They’d tag their friend, I’d answer. They’d talk about Peter Pan, I’d answer. For awhile, I think I had a bit of a following in Indonesia. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you, but I swear every other follower was from there.

One day back in 2010, I discovered this restaurant chain was using Twitter as well. You may have heard of them before…

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I quite enjoyed answering tweets for people mistaking my account over the years. All it takes is that little apostrophe, and you get me.

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And if you didn’t catch this recent news item

The restaurant chain isn’t the only one I receive mentions of, whenever anyone puts a space in the account for @wendywilliams, who do think subsequently get’s a flood of “how YOU doin!“?

I did make a random friend in Chicago thanks to Wendy Williams though, my Twitter pal Sid followed me accidentally think I was Wendy Williams, decided I was still pretty cool (even if I am Canadian) and continued to follow me anyway.

And then there was the time I was the devil’s spawn…

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There’s some good that comes out of being @Wendy at least… I make people happy when I tweet them! The following was sooo meant for me, right?

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I can’t deny that my life isn’t all that dull to begin with. But being the only @Wendy on Twitter? It adds an entirely new layer of interesting.

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I’ve even got my own fan club.

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blogging (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Oh Twitter. I went without you for 90 days (sort of). And now I’m back on and following all my old peeps and remembering just how hyped so many things are in your little echo chamber of a text land.

For instance, I saw a tweet with the headline from a recent Social Media Examiner piece, it read: “Research Shows Blogging A Top Focus For Marketers.” That’s great news for writers and bloggers alike. It means if you’ve been trying to make your living off of blogging, soon you might just be able to do it! Blogger for XYZ company could actually be a thing.

The crappy part about the Twitter echo chamber and a lot of online advice is people often forget to tell you how much damned work it is to get that blog up and running, get people reading it, get your company all on the same page of what’s actually going to go up and what’s going to be helpful. Big business gets it. But little mom and pop shop may very well just read the headline and think it’s time to get a blog!

And just like they got a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Pinterest page, an Instagram account, a Tumblr and a YouTube channel, it too will sit empty.

The long and short of it is, all this content creation stuff… you know, the fuel you need to fill your online pipeline… it’s a shit ton of work. Remember how much it took just to get your business off the ground? Yeah. A full and robust online presence is like doing that all over again.

So while it’s nice and fluffy to think a blog is going to solve all of your problems, get more traffic through your door and more money into your cash register, it’ll be about as successful as opening your store before you’ve even shopped for your product if you don’t approach it with a long-term vision.

But if you insist on doing it anyway…

  1. Decide how often you can blog WITHOUT taking away from your IGA, no not the grocery store, your income generating activities.
  2. Decide what you’re trying to accomplish by publishing and keeping up a blog. Are you educating your customers? Sharing company updates and news? If you can’t figure this out, please for the love of all things holy, don’t start a blog. If some brainiac told you it would get you to the top of Google, don’t start a blog. If you think it’ll make you look cool and with it, don’t start a blog.
  3. Before you start publishing, make an outline of posts and topics you can create for the first 4-5 posts.
  4. If you can afford it, hire an SEO person to do some research for you on some likely keywords you can target. Give him or her bonus points if they can teach you how to research these yourself over the long-term.
  5. DON’T pay a web designer to make you a website for $5,000. Just open a free Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, etc. site, grab a template and get going. If you want a custom template, spend $80 on one. That’s all you need.

One more thing… if nobody reads your blog, it’s ok. They don’t read mine either. The first month I wrote Spirit of the Wench, I had 1 unique visitor. Yep. 1. Just keep at it. Consistency is key.

Good luck!

Original iPhone + iPhone 3G + iPhone 4

Original iPhone + iPhone 3G + iPhone 4 (Photo credit: Yutaka Tsutano)

Apple picking. It’s not just with that tree in your backyard anymore.

I was at the gym last night peddling away on one of the recumbents when a news story about a new trend in iPhone stealing popped on the screen. It’s one that’s gaining traction in the US. Has it happened here yet? Not sure, but it could.

Apple Picking. As in, mugging you for your phone while you’re on it. The report said women were often the target. The older, the better. We’re often unaware of our surroundings when we’re lost in conversation or in text. Stolen iPhones can be sold for as much as $300 according to a nameless and faceless source during the story.

A few tips for keeping your phone in your hands:

  1.  Put it away. We’ve survived plenty fine in the world before cell phones. Save your texting and you’re talking for a time when you’re out of that big open public space.
  2. Get yourself a hands free, wireless set. Then you can continue on your merry way with smart phone in a zipped up pocket somewhere and still have your conversation.
  3. Don’t keep your phone on the table at a restaurant. Another easy walk-n-snatch opportunity. Take that photo of your food and then… put it away. Your dining companion is sure to thank you too. If you’re on call, set it to vibrate and keep it in your lap.
  4. Have a backup and don’t store important information or access to it on your primary phone.

Taking photos from your iPhone or iPad, talking, texting… what are other day-to-day behaviours that would make it easy for a thief to make off with our gadgets?

 

I don’t wait in line. I’ll either try something out before it’s super big, find a way onto the VIP list or wait until the hype has died down. Let me rephrase. I don’t wait in big lines.

And yet, as soon as there’s a lineup, people will join it. They’ll wait in line for hyped products, for new releases, for rides, for food trucks, or sometimes even for something unknown. Is it a North American thing? Or a human thing? I’m not sure. But… the fact remains, all you need is a lineup.

The proof is in the pudding with the virtual lineup Mailbox has created. “Put email in its place,” the tagline touts. A redesigned inbox promising to make the ever elusive Inbox 0 goal an attainable, sustainable reality. I first heard about it on Instagram when one of my fellow grammers posted her wait time. “What is that?” I wondered. I followed the link, downloaded the app and set my clock to wait. Then… I posted my wait time. “What is that?” a few of my friends wondered. I was waiting in line and posting about it. It must be important. Next thing I know, they’re waiting in line with me. We don’t even know if what we’re waiting for is as impressive as it promises to be.

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Now, the lineup’s still growing, and I’m 143,214 people away from my new inbox. It sounds silly, but every few days I check in to see how quickly the “lineup” is moving. I want that inbox dammit!

And… my friends are doing the same! And I’m so totally jealous of those much farther in front me.

See? Lineup. All you need is a lineup.