The $1mm Lesson I Learned From the French

Bob and I chose Paris to share the last week of 2011. Our initial intent was to disconnect from the everyday and savor the beauty of this “incroyable” city. What we came back with was so much more.

The lesson that we learned was that connection is a way of life, not something that you do in certain business situations. We all know that the French have a reputation for being aloof and condescending towards Americans- I could not disagree more after this week. We found that if you make an effort to speak their language and greet/ acknowledge them while visiting their shops, restaurants and sights then the most magical things happen.

You may be asking “What does this have to do with my business?”. It is an approach that is gaining momentum and addressed in "The New Relationship Marketing" by Mari Smith and other current business books. There is so much “noise” in today’s information age that focused and direct connection is not only unexpected but it is rewarded by those who value your beliefs (and in turn are your most valuable prospects). Connect and there is no competition for you, your new prospects become members of your club and  raving fans.

Now, back to the French. Here are my recommendations based on our experience this past week:

1) Meet people “where they are” : Bob and I spoke French when ordering, greeting and inquiring (as best as possible). Speaking others’ “language” goes beyond the literal. What I am suggesting is to be the best communicator as possible by understanding the person across from you and how best to deliver a message. If you are speaking to a Gardener about setting goals then use a planting analogy to get your point across. This heart centered approach versus “my way” ego approach makes a mark and is rewarded.

2) Acknowledge/validate: When Bob and I walked into a shop we lead with “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur”. We made eye contact each time and struck up a conversation with each proprietor who knew “un peu” English. Upon leaving we exchanged “Mercie” and “Au Revoir”. What I learned this year from my own sales experiences is that most pros do not take the time to understand what is going through the minds of their potential clients that critical period right before they make the decision to say “yes”. When I sensed this inability to acknowledge what was going through my mind by others, I was lead to say “no” to opportunities presented to me. Take the time to acknowledge and validate through phrases like “people in your situation often ___________ ” and you will be greeted with a “yes” more times than not.

3) Stop and smell the roses: All week we enjoyed every street we walked down, every bite of croissant, and the light that hits Paris at 5P. Having this approach to life drives an appreciation that paints every corner of your life with a newness that has you excited to greet each day with excitement. An “it’s all good” attitude is the strongest magnet you can wield to attract success into your life.

If you haven’t guessed already, “Je t’aime Paris”. I am laying out my plan for the coming year with what I have learned about human connection this week. Being as approachable, interested and appreciative as possible will be my daily mantra. C’est bon!

Love and Light, Dawn

PS: Check out my “I Love Paris” video (2 min) which was shot completely on my iPhone with wide angle/ fish eye lens kit and edited in 1 hour with iMovie.

Be “Enchanting” on Twitter

I had the great opportunity to participate in a webinar lead by Guy Kawasaki yesterday (thanks to my mentor Mari Smith for pulling this together!). His new book, "Enchantment", is a business book for our times- a guide to understanding how to connect to your ideal client through “wowing” them in today’s interactive emarketing environment.

Guy’s definition of what our intent is with Social Media: “To position yourself as an expert on any subject in the world.” A tall order but something that I am successfully achieving through the tools!

Interested in how to start through Twitter? First off, establish your intent. Mine is to be a go-to “giver” in the areas of Social Media, coaching/spirituality/motivation, real estate and New York City lifestyle. Guy emphasizes that Twitter is a “Link Economy”- every tweet of Guy’s includes a link to an article associated with the area that he is working to establish his expertise in.

My daily program to drive Twitter expertise (and increase your “Klout" per my post from yesterday):

  1. Set up content aggregation in Alltop, Stumble Upon, and Smart Brief. I have set up a “Magazine rack” in Alltop for NYC Real Estate Professionals and I encourage you to use it!
  2. Choose at least 8 pieces and craft at least 8 Twitter posts where you comment on the content. 
  3. Use Hootsuite and schedule your posts with 1 hour intervals between them so you are set for sharing the knowledge of the day.

This great start to developing consistency has a by product- you are increasing your knowledge in your subject of choice daily. Win/win/win- your future clients are waiting for your direction!

3 Rock Star Social Media Pundits

I am seeing a pattern this week- companies who are trying to understand Social Media are asking “why?” and those of us who get where all of this is going are asking “how can I best communicate the critical nature of getting on board with Social Media?”. Maybe this is surfacing because it’s Internet Week, maybe there is some planetary activity, or maybe people just want for all of this to go away and get back to the good old days.

One thing is for certain- consumers do not want to be sold to anymore! They are buying through the recommendations of the community. Today’s consumer dictates that you exist online (transparency) so they can develop a relationship, get to know you (or your company) before taking the next step (which is going to your website and converting into a customer). The evolution of the new way of marketing and selling is Relationship Marketing and the time to start is now!

Brian Solis came to the rescue with his posts R.I.P. Marketing, I Never Really Like You Anyway and This is a Time for Leaders to Lead and Not to React. He communicates that

  • Social and selling just don’t mix. Have you ever been to a wedding sponsored by Nike? Does a future where restaurant tables display infomercials sound appealing?
  • The last thing anyone wants in a social context is a commercial. If you’re responsible for marketing your business, the time for change is now!

His second post  (be sure to watch the videos- they are brilliant!) reveals:

  • From satisfaction and goodwill to thriving online communities to building loyalty and trust, customer engagement in social networks is revealing tangible advantages.
  • social media will become an integral and proven pillar in the foundation of not just customer service, but the very fabric of business.
  • This is about taking the perpetual switching of social media from on and off to on again and evolving campaigns to that of continuum engagement. A connected customer is always on and as such, an adaptive business must do just that, remain nimble.

The second pundit to the rescue of those of us who are driving the importance of Relationship Marketing is Gary Vaynerchuk and his book The Thank You Economy. His wisdom regarding where all of this is going is:

  • People often buy for no other reason than they associate one choice with someone they know. (p54)
  • The ROI of a company’s engagement with a customer scales in proportion to the bonds of the relationship. (p54)
  • Without Social Media, you and your customer are relegated to strangers; with it, depending on your efforts, you can potentially upgrade your relationship to that of casual acquaintances, and even, in time to friends. (pg54)

He goes on to say that EVERY COMPANY should be investing in transforming customers into advocates and he gives statistics on how advocates stick around longer and would be more likely to keep spending with you as time goes on.

I hope these two sources give you the ammunition you need to convert the questioning masses (your colleagues and clients who are having trouble embracing Social Media and the concept of Relationship Marketing).

And if the above is not enough, here is the updated "Social Media Revolution" video from Erik Qualman.