Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

The Baseball Rule of Personal Branding

Friday, January 8th, 2010

StrikeThree strikes and you’re out. You may do all the personal branding and business marketing imaginable. But, if you can’t move through the bases of new business development, you’re OUT.

Marketing is getting easy and easier. But your sales from social media marketing are probably getting worse, if you see any results at all. Why? You’re only ready to strike out. You’re not prepared for success.

Here’s what I mean. Marketing is really simple now. Just tweet and link to your website or article.  That gets you in the game really fast.

Over time, you attract followers – including qualified prospects. This means people (like me) need what you’re selling – and have money to pay you. We click on relevant tweets with links. That gets us onto your website or an article you’ve written.  You seem like you know what you’re talking about.

If you were prepared to succeed, we would be your customers within 24-48 hours. But, two-thirds of business people aren’t ready for the most important conversation you can have: talking to a qualified prospect.

Can You Recognize a Qualified Prospect?
In case you don’t know, here’s what qualified prospect looks and sounds like.

  1. We have a problem we’ve identified, even if it’s not the “right” one.
  2. We could use expert guidance to understand the consequences or tentacles of the problem.
  3. We need your help to define the right sized solution, especially because what we need may not be exactly what we think we need.
  4. We need simple to understand pricing information, so we know what you deliver for our money.
  5. We can afford to solve the problem, and more importantly: you created a feeling of urgency to get to it right away. You’ve amplified the downsides of leaving things as-is. Alternatively, you’ve made our mouths water thinking about the pay-offs we get from working with you.

How a Direct Message Gets You Up to Bat
A qualified prospect probably sends you a direct message to begin the attempt to work with you. Learn to recognize it. Here’s an typical exchange.

PROSPECT to YOU: Do you do handle (insert problem/solution)
YOU to PROSPECT: Absolutely! What’s your project?
PROSPECT to YOU: Briefly (insert quick spec). Can you email me (insert my email)?

Then, you and the prospect email back and forth a bit, even talk directly. This is where you strike out. It’s like we’ve put a softball onto a T-ball stand in front of you. How do you miss?

When you are obviously unprepared with relationship-building skills, including the right questions, along with examples, success stories, roadmaps, references and budgets: you unwittingly reveal you’re no major league expert.

You ask about the “project,” not the challenge we’re facing or opportunity we’re trying to capitalize on.

You don’t have the time or you lack the communication skills to help prospects define what we need. You’re unprepared to lead us with questions or examples that capture the downstream consequences of our problems or the upside of solving them.

Sad, because the single greatest factor in your getting a job is your participation in defining it. If only you were ready with the right questions.

You poke around in your prospects’ pockets.  We’ve taken an inexpert stab at defining our project (which is what you call our problem when you talk to us). Now you want us to tell you what we should pay you.

Your bad. Don’t rely on customers to come up with your price. Once you’ve defined the problem accurately, produce a price list that describes similar jobs, reflecting a range of costs. Maybe you have a menu of functionality or customization, based on objectives. How about terms and timelines? Time is money.

You don’t have samples and references.

Maybe you’re too busy working to get your site together.  Maybe you forget to save your work and you have no idea how to ask for a reference letter. Or maybe, you’ve thought about the business you’re promoting, but you don’t really do it.  You don’t have to be a veteran to win over prospects, but if you’re a newbie: you must partner with someone who has samples and references.

How to Go All the Way with a Prospect

Get down the fundamentals of the game.

  1. Write and practice clear, crisp and compelling questions that get you the information you need, and inspire the prospect to do business with you. Make a FAQ cheat sheet for yourself. This allows you to get back quickly via email or be ready to lead conversations on-the-spot.
  2. Prepare a price list with job descriptions and timelines.
  3. Put your samples together with highlights of outcomes they helped achieve. Make these easy to see on your website, or send in a email. Post testimonials.

It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame. Get prepared to win.

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Ten Commandments of Personal Branding – #6: You Must be Consumed by your Tribe and Tribe Watchers, and Seen as a Servant-Leader.

Monday, December 14th, 2009

tribeThe drum beat, smoke signals, man-sized kettle slowly boiling bound strangers as warriors dance for vengeance or rain, that’s the old image of a tribe. Things have changed. Tribes are now considered groups of people who come together because of a compelling interest, connected on the web in forums or blogs, and occasionally at a Tweet Up. Even today, being a stranger is a losing proposition and reigning as a tribal leader is still the guy to be. The conditions, however, are less dramatic. The stakes however may still be life or death, for your personal brand.

Commandment #6: Be Consumed By Your Tribe

Of course, by “consumed,” I meant this in two metaphorical ways…

First, you must be authentically drawn to the industry, topic, idea and people you want to lead (your tribe per Seth Godin). At one time you were consumed by a group’s music, a lover’s magnificence, or a head-cold. By this I mean your thoughts were dominated by this one thing.

Ask yourself:

What subject and what group of people simply fascinates me? What am I drawn to read about, write about, talk about, investigate and sit endlessly through the night poking around the web finding new and arcane facts and opinions?

Look at your search history. What sites are consuming your interest? Who are your people – find them in these places.

Second, your number one priority must be fulfilling the needs of your tribe and the many ways you can get to them, to serve those needs. You must be genuinely willing and able to parent, lead, provide for, shepherd or otherwise serve the tribe, way more than most people in the tribe. Maybe not lead in every area, but in at least one significant area. And, make major, consistent and relentless improvements and opportunities for others.

Tribes need leaders, and your personal brand depends on your being seen and sought out as a leader.

For example, Greg Stewart is the Creative Director at Pegasus Media World. He happens to be consumed by Freemasonry. He’s engaged in a nearly lifelong journey of consuming everything imaginable about the group. He knows the myths, legends, history, famous people, deeds, misdeeds, odd turns and even the criticism and fears evoked by this group. He can compare its practices and traditions to almost any other practice, including some ancient religions that many theologians might not know. And, by the way he’s a creative director in publishing – so its a behemoth role to have taken on leadership of a tribe outside of his professional activities. But, he is simply and authentically consumed by this interest.

Greg is also consumed by his tribe and their needs. He has made himself a clearinghouse, central resource, education and entertainment center revolving around Freemasonry, Greg lays out a significant body of work at the website he founded and runs, Freemason Information. You can get his free eBook there. You can listen in to hundreds of podcasts featuring Masonic experts that he’s recorded. You can interact, be inspired and connect with the tribe there. Follow him and his blog posts, feed, tweets, and Facebook, from the blog.

You’ll constantly tend to your tribe via social media, forums, personal calls, emails, meetings and more. If you have an innovative and inclusive approach, that will create a leadership position for you. Consider how you can provide a unique and powerful platform such as a blog or forum for your tribe to gather about, contribute to and dwell.

Your tribe could be candle makers, cupcake bakers, crochet hobbyists, nanotechnology scientists, SAP programmers, accountants with small practices or like me: the tribe of people who are building personal brands via the web and on-ground opportunities. I am consumed by the sociological, psychological, and technological aspects of creating reputations in today’s online and on-ground environments. I want my tribe to find the best most satisfying jobs and business opportunities. My tribe consumes my tips, tactics, and techniques of creating and managing personal brands, and my philosophy and thought leadership. I give away a lot of stuff that teaches you how to market yourself, impress recruiters and win big contracts, because it nourishes me to nourish my tribe’s ability to leverage their personal brands. This status provides me with a huge audience, speaking engagements, book contracts, consulting gigs, media coverage and access to the leading people in many fields. Your leadership may do the same for you.

What will you consume today? And, who will be consuming you? The answers will help you define and find your tribe. Once you connect with your people via the many platforms on the web, or simply start by creating a blog, you are no longer a stranger. You won’t be boiled while others dance – if you have identified the right tribe.

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Are You Absent, Invisible, a Reflection or an Impression?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Publisher Nance Rosen’s weekly Syndicated Column on Are You Absent, Invisible, a Reflection or an Impression?

You may be among us and we might not know. If you’re not blogging or at least leaving comments on blogs, not tweeting or at least re-tweeting, or haven’t posted or at least contributed to a thread on a social network: you may be present but virtually invisible to us.

By selectively interacting, you shape how we know you and insure that we consider you. By your posted reflections about others’ ideas, you give us some way to see if you are the right person to hire, promote, or otherwise include in our companies or projects…

Read more on the Personal Branding Blog

Are You Absent

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