If you are in the Dorking area in Surrey, UK, please come along and support the Dorking Business Show on 20th September.
I was born and brought up in Dorking, went to school there, met my wife there and my Father's business was there, so I'm really looking forward to it. In their own words:
'Last year the Dorking Business Show was a great success, with over 65 local or Surrey based businesses exhibiting. The 2011 Show attracted hundreds of visitors.
The buzz around the hall was incredible throughout the day and many deals and relationships were started because of this event. This year HJP, Independent Financial Advisers are the Show organisers with support from Bullimores Chartered Accountants. The intention is to make the show Exhibition bigger and better!
The 3rd Dorking Business Show
and Seminars will be at Dorking Halls on Thursday 20th September 2012 and promises to bigger and better than ever.' Follow the show on Twitter at @DorkingBizShow
I will be speaking at 2pm: Social Media — A Load of Hot Air, or the Single Most Important Sales and Marketing Tool for Decades?
Don't miss it!
Are regulations holding back your Social Media plans?
The schools are back, the roads are clogged and there's an Autumnal bite in the morning air.
I've always liked this time of year; the 'back to work' feeling has energy and excitement in it. I've even heard two Coalition spokemen saying that "the Government is back after the Summer break and fizzing with ideas"
Yes, both spokesmen used the word "fizzing"; no doubt thought up by the Government spin masters.
But it at least sounds good, and gives a sense of energy, activity and expectation. But for most casual observers of politics, words are not enough. The people want action to back it up. Actions speak louder than words and all that.
I work with many businesses in highly regulated environments and professional services. A lot of them are intensely nervous about using Social Media; their main concern being that they will say something online that might not be 'compliant'. Quite a few have even resorted to using pre-approved words and phrases in their social updates which presumably their Compliance officer won't get upset about.
This implies that many businesses in regulated industries see Social Media as predominantly a sales and marketing tool, so if they are going to use Social Media then they have to get the words right in case it's seen as a financial promotion or official advice.
What many of these businesses forget (or don't yet know), is that Social Media is not entirely all about sales and marketing, and that it can be used in a variety of different ways - even in regulated businesses.
One of those ways is to create perception about yourself and your business. One perception that has great value is that of activity; that you are in fact busy, open for business, helping customers, sharing expertise and best practice, networking, hosting seminars, adding value, giving client presentations, connecting people and yes "fizzing" with ideas.
None of these activities should remotely begin to raise the eyebrow of a compliance officer - whatever industry you are in. They are all valuable and healthy activities that all businesses, large and small should be engaging in.
Use Social Media to share your day-to-day activity. Show that you are alive, thriving and passionate about what you do and making things happen.
That of course assumes you are indeed alive and active. If you're not, you're probably heading for trouble and no amount of faking it will make a difference to your prospects.
Social Media need not be a problem for regulated and professional service businesses; use it to give people a window into your world and what you're doing. Show them that you're positively fizzing with ideas and activity, and that in itself will prove to be one of your best sales and marketing tools.
Philip Calvert is hosting a special one day workshop on Social Media and Conversational Marketing
for financial services product providers on 19th September 2012 in London. Click here
I came into my office today and smiled. Not just because it’s the start of an exciting new week, but because the room has a lot more space in it than usual.
That will be the big clear out that I had over the weekend, when for the first time in my thirty four year career, huge quantities of card and paper were removed from shelves, shoe boxes, plastic stacker boxes and ‘filed’ in the circular filing cabinet.
It’s not that I’m a hoarder; no, this was stuff that I just had to keep. But over the weekend I finally let it go.
The material that headed for the recycling facility was my collection of literally thousands and thousands of business cards.
Before I became self-employed, I worked for a number of large financial institutions in Sales. Over twenty five years in Sales and Key Account roles, I averaged ten meetings with prospects and clients every week. I also attended every conference, every industry exhibition and had developed a technique for collecting audiences’ business cards after every seminar and conference where I was speaking.
That resulted in a massive collection of business cards. In fact, I didn’t stop collecting them when I went self employed. At that point I started running several seminars each month and was speaking at even more events, so my business card collection grew even faster.
It goes without saying that a large business card collection can mean a very large list for your newsletter, and that can mean a truly valuable prospecting list. And if you enjoy networking then a large collection can make networking almost a full time occupation! But it was this collection which formed the foundation for my own social networking site, so it proved to be valuable in its own right.
One observation I had, was that in the financial world where I was collecting these cards, the turnover rate (i.e. people changing jobs and companies) seemed very low. In fact, a quick look through the cards over the weekend showed that many people whose names were on cards I was given twenty/twenty five years ago are still there. In many cases the logo and name of the company has changed (due to takeovers and endless reorganisations), but a lot are still in a similar role and at the same organisation. And although a lot of people had changed companies, they were still in my card box – still a part of my network.
But all of a sudden technology has changed things. Over the last five years, I’ve experimented with various business card scanners and devices, all of which have promised to make my life a little less cluttered and a lot more organised. Most of which have done nothing of the sort. A lot of names on cards ended up as Contacts in Outlook and more recently in Google Apps – but essentially they are still just names on cards – whether on paper or kept digitally. They’re static – they don’t live and breathe.
It has been since I’ve been running workshops and consulting on how to use LinkedIn that I realised that I now, finally, no longer need to keep those business cards. Why, because the overwhelming majority of those people are now on LinkedIn and other social networking sites – where not only do I have a simple record of their name and company, but I can now get a much more detailed sense of who they are, what they are about, their areas of expertise, what they’re doing, what projects they are working on, where they are in the world – and much more. They even let me know electronically when they change jobs.
In fact, their online profiles are telling me much more about them than I had ever known in the first place when I originally met them face to face. Many of these people had great reputations in business in the ‘real world’, but now they are developing reputations in the ‘online world’ too.
But a word of caution; if you had a great reputation in the real world, it does not necessarily follow that you have a great reputation in the online world. In fact some people’s online profiles (particularly on Facebook and Twitter) tell people a lot more about them than perhaps they had intended.
Social Media enables and empowers people to highlight their expertise and their personality to the world and reputation matters. It always did and always will; don’t get too carried away with the visibility that Social Media gives you – think carefully about what you want people to see and experience about you.
The relief was palpable and like a weight off my shoulders when the business cards headed for the recycling via the shredder. But I was also relieved that every single person is still part of my network and still just a click away.
Where is your network – in a card index on your desk or dead and buried in a box on your office floor? Or living and breathing online?
Tip: If you can’t yet get your head round finally ditching your business card collections, check out LinkedIn’s cardmunch app which enables you to scan a card and connect with them on LinkedIn – all in one process. It’s a really neat way to integrate your ‘real life networking’ with your ‘online networking.’
Want more help and tips to leverage your profile and generate business from LinkedIn? Click here
I was going through some old photos today, and found this one taken in Singapore. It was a marketing event and I was there to speak about how to plan, promote and present successful seminars.
My book Successful Seminar Selling had been published the previous year, so it was a good opportunity to give it some promotion in Singapore - an area where everyone loves seminars.
One of the tips I include in the book is that when you are marketing or promoting a seminar, you should always say that your event will be a "great networking opportunity" for attendees.
As well as the fantastic content that attendees will hear at your event, people are naturally drawn to opportunities where people like themselves will be attending. People like being with other people, so express that as a great networking opportunity, and it will help to get attendees to your seminar seminar or event.
As it turned out, it was a great networking opportunity for me too, as when I was there I discovered these well known, top speakers (left to right) Roger Harrop, Patricia Wheatley Burt, Frank Furness and personal branding expert Lesley Everett. Oh, and that's me on the right.