Twitter, FaceBook, blogs, grapevine. Of these four choices, which do you think has the potential to provide tremendous growth in leads? If you said Twitter, FaceBook and blogs, you’re right. And, for the record, I don’t care how many “friends” I accumulate on FaceBook, or how many Tweets follow me, they’ll never compare with the familiar and soulful sounds of The Miracles singing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Motown Records, 1966). There was truth and simplicity in lyrics back then. But, I digress and I sound like my parents! Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea what Twitter or FaceBook meant. However, I’ve been reading and listening and learning: The next big wave in business success is social networking via the Internet.
I had a million questions about this new computer stuff. Even the words sound funny: Twitter and Tweets. What does Twitter mean? How do you get started? If I have a FaceBook profile, will I get a truckload of spam in my in-box? Does anyone in the business world really read those things? Isn’t this computer stuff really just for the young people? I know many of you reading this are asking yourself the same questions.
I am a Baby Boomer and, not to date myself, but I remember watching TV on a small black and white television set (with no remote control!). When I revealed this to my 30-year old nephew, he rolled his eyes and chuckled at such a notion. He then asked me if I still had a land-line into my house. Yes, I do. He asked why and I gave him the standard “in case of emergency” refrain. He was now laughing at me. “Uncle Jim,” he said, “Don’t you realize they have GPS on your cell phones now and can even get satellite images of your house within seconds?” You see, he grew up with computers in every classroom. This group of 30-somethings has never known the reliance upon newsprint advertising or the delay of waiting weeks or even seasons for marketing plans to be realized. They know no real privacy (remember hand-written letters and phone booths?) or ownership of ideas. Their world is instant and in full view. In other words, they have instant access to each other and to singing lessons, pot roast recipes, editors, job opportunities, cancer research, film archives, dating advice, antique appraisals, dog sitting services – even where to find a new car. They are finding new ways in the art of communication and business through current technology and their networking.
Many of your employees are in that same group. The preferred way to communicate now is by texting. They find it more efficient to text someone down the hall rather than get up and go talk directly to them or even talk with them on the phone. But don’t for a minute think that they don’t have immediate access.
It seems the world is changing faster and faster. Maybe all progress is viewed that way from behind the curve. Learning how to adapt to technology is essential to prospering and growing your business. Here is the reality: You’ve got to jump into this technology with both feet and jump now. I promise you, your competitors are thinking the same thing, and we all know that whoever is first to the market wins the biggest.
I am always looking for new ways to learn and improve my own business. I just finished reading a book entitled “World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories” by David Meerman Scott (Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated, March 2009) http://davidmeermanscott.com/resources.htm This book helped me understand about this new technology and something called inbound marketing or, how to get people to call me. Let me say that again: Business prospects will call me instead of the other way around!
This is a huge idea and a major shift in the business of sales. Like many of you, I came up in the sales culture where one had to make numerous calls every day to be successful. This new book (and this new idea) is telling me the opposite is now true. As I read this book, I thought of car dealers and the challenge of letting go of some of the old ways. I’m not saying all the old ways of getting people in the showroom are useless; but, imagine a day where the customers eagerly seek you out instead of the other way around. Very few people even read a newspaper anymore let alone the ads and fliers that get thrown away immediately from the mailbox. Instant access, instant communication, and inbound marketing. It’s the difference between a friendly stream and a powerful tidal wave. It’s the World Wide Rave.
Do you as a leader create rave about your business? Maybe you can’t even imagine anyone raving about your business. How do you tell people about your offerings? How do you get people excited about buying, and then wanting to buy from you first? Odds are you use the old fashion way: TV, newspaper or some kind of direct mail.
A World Wide Rave is when people around the world are talking about you, your company, and your products. It’s when someone eagerly links to your Web site. It’s when viral marketing and social networking drives buyers to your Web site. It’s when customers visit your Web site and your blog because they genuinely want to be there.
A word of advice: there are some rules, etiquette, if you will in this new world. For me to explain each one of these rules would take more space than the editor will give me. You can buy a copy of David’s book or download a free eBook at http://davidmeermanscott.com/products_ebooks.htm Next you need to sign up for Twitter (a simple process) and start following others. (Note: “following” is a phrase used in Twitter loosely meaning that you, and others, are communicating by “following” a line of information.) You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jacksonlive Get on FaceBook and you will understand more as you read World Wide Rave. You can join me on FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/ just search for friend Jim Jackson. LinkedIn is http://linkedin.com/in/jimjacksonlive
You need to learn about utilizing the new technology trends to grow your business. Inbound marketing and the World Wide Rave are big and they’re happening right now. I have a client in Houston who estimates that maybe 140,000 cars drive by his business every day. Billboards, TV ads and the newsprint aren’t making them stop. He could build a community social site on the Internet sponsored by his business – a site where locals post what is happing in his neighborhood. Second, once registered on Twitter and FaceBook, he’ll invite every customer and all his friends and neighbors to follow him. In my community site, we have a local taco shop owner who Twitters meal deals once a week. Last night was “dollar taco night” – guess where I had dinner and the restaurant was packed.
The key is to use technology to get people familiar with you and your brand. A great example of who is using this technology is Auto Dealer Monthly. Their site, autodealerpeople.com, anyone can participate in a discussion on what is relevant that day in the automotive world. You could easily start there or create a similar site for your business.
Your challenge right now is to decide whether you’ll step into the next big thing or hang back and do what you’ve always done. I promise you, if you do what you have always done, you may get left behind.
Here is how I started my own “Grapevine.” After much research and some frustration, I aligned my company Web site http://jimjacksonlive.com/ with http://hubspot.com/ I made this decision for two reasons. First, HubSpot is an Internet marketing site with a very successful track record. Second, was Jennifer Snyder (%28http://email@example.com.). Jennifer Snyder may be HubSpot’s most valuable commodity. Jennifer was willing and eager to answer every question I had for her. And, on the rare occasion when she didn’t know an answer, she quickly had her boss on the line to answer my questions. It was the perception of value they gave me as a prospective client. It has all worked better than I expected, and I anticipate the relationship to continue for years. By the way, what we’re doing right now, you and me, is a known as viral marketing or the Internet “Grapevine.” We’re talking about HubSpot and we’re networking, communicating quickly and efficiently.
If you want to understand more about inbound marketing click on this link and read for yourself http://www.inboundmarketing.com/ I stress it is not just blogging, Twitter or FaceBook, it is about creating a World Wide Rave about you, your company or your cause – your own “Grapevine.”
Discover the secrets to leadership confidence with Jim Jackson's Leadership program.
Leadership is in fashion as a focus for business. Across America businesses invest time and energy in different leadership programs. There are as many different opinions as to what leadership is as there are cars. There are as many different and effective leadership styles as there are people to lead. With all the emphasis put on the need to be a great leader and with the market changing at an accelerated rate, you begin to ask the question. What is right for me and my people? Is the leadership style that worked 5 years ago still as effective today? You need to ask yourself if your leadership style is moving you closer to your vision or farther away from it.
With all these questions it is no wonder that leaders sometimes get confused about their role as a leader. First you should have a clear understand of the definition of the word leadership. The root word... "Lead" is to go, to travel... "Lead" is to show the way by going in advance... "Lead" is to go first as a guide... to be first... to be ahead...
If you have the understanding that to lead is to go first as a guide then you as a leader must have a clear vision of where you are going. What is it you desire?What do you want it to look like? Can you communicate clearly exactly the outcome you envision or are you telling people what you don't want and what they are doing wrong. As a leader you are responsible for the direction of the company or team by knowing the vision and clearly communicating the vision. When you have a clear vision of what success looks like you can break leadership into two critical success factors. Leadership should be made simple to understand and a continuous work in progress.
Leadership sets direction and shares with the team the Corporate Vision and any other refinement that brings this overall vision to the level of the team. Helping the team create their vision that drives the corporate vision. Leadership is always helping people feel "pulled" by the power of the vision, yet leaving room for the people to figure out how to get there. "Constantly re-connecting people with the Vision."
Can you imagine in 1492 a man named Columbus standing on a dock in Spain with a big audacious vision? Columbus needs to recruit a crew to sail around the world. His vision is so grand that people had to think he was insane. After all you can stand at the edge of the dock and see the world is flat. Who wants to sail off the edge of the world and die? Not me, you first!
This is not uncommon to what you as a leader in your business face when you articulate your objectives for business growth and profit in the year 2009. Just like 1492 except they are sitting behind a desk looking out over the inventory that they know is not right for this market and they know that because of the lousy leads they're getting. Your crew tells you all the reasons why your vision has flaws. And this is where you either become a great leader or succumb to their beliefs letting go of your visions. It is known as a leadership choice time.
Just like Columbus you need to inspire your people to go where they did not think they could go! That is why the second critical success factor of removing OBSTACLES is so important. This is where you as a leader must do something different in dealing with old policies and practices that get in the way of the change efforts and growth. You as a leader will find ways to deal with and eliminate old ideas and paradigms that do not support the new way of being profitable. You as a leader will find yourself confronting people who are not supportive of the new and want to cling to the past. You as a leader can never compromise your vision for old negative beliefs. You can help people understand they always have a choice.
Can you imagine the obstacles that Columbus had to remove? The rest of the world knew that the earth was flat and the only course you could chart was to sail off the edge of the world and die. I am sure that Columbus started his crew in small steps. Maybe sail out a little ways to see how successful we are. The more they sailed the more confidence they had in Columbus and the more the crew was willing to commit to the journey.
Leaders must be sold out for the vision. Commitment at this level, is a leader who will do whatever is needed to create the desired results. Leaders will use their creativity and their personal courage to deal with problems, challenges and obstacles to achieve the desired results. People will follow when they believe leadership knows where they are going and are committed to the achievement of that vision.
Great organizations have leaders, who are committed to the vision, the development of their people, and who extremely committed to their own development as a leader. The actions of a leader are mirrored each and every day by their managers and people. Whatever shortcuts you take as a leader your people will follow. Leaders who never compromise their values place a high importance on being consistent in their leadership style, they walk the talk. Great leaders never say do as I say not as I do. If you want your people to perform at a higher level you the leader must perform at the much higher level with the expectations that as a leader you model the way.
If you don't have the leadership skills to lead in this every changing market then find some help. Hire a performance coach. Read books or articles on leadership. Leaders invest in themselves because they realize that they need to have the tools to inspire people to go where they didn't think they could go. And to remove the obstacles that get in the way.
What kind of leader are you? The way you lead is a choice and how you improve those leadership skills is your decision. To learn what it takes participate in a leadership evaluation email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-644-8326.
Discover the secrets to leadership confidence with Jim Jackson's Leadership program.
Almost all news you hear or see today is about the downward economy. People are losing jobs, the price of gasoline is skyrocketing; and then there's the dreaded "R" word, Recession. As a leader, you are supposed to be upbeat and optimistic about the current economy. No matter where you go someone will ask you how the car business is because it can be one of the barometers for the economy. You try to explain that you have no crystal ball and you have no idea how the market is relative to your community, and you do this all with a happy face. After all, they may be a potential buyer. You then casually ask how their business is and they may say, reluctantly, they wanted to buy a car today but the economy feels sluggish and, they're just not sure about anything. Perhaps they will just save their money. They have a look on their face like they did you a favor by not purchasing a car today! As they walk away they say thanks for your insight into the economy, you may have saved them from investing in a car, of all things. No sale today, maybe after the elections.
In that very moment you wish that conversation had never come up and long for the good old days when the news was lighter - when people felt confident enough to want and purchase a new car. How can you not talk about the economy? How can you keep a positive attitude when the economy stinks?
Sound familiar and painful? You know you need a positive spin to rev up your sales team who are wondering how to meet their goals in such a dismal economy. After all, they've had the same conversations with each other on your showroom floor. You may even have a little doubt in your own mind. If only you could just avoid the whole situation, maybe it will all be different tomorrow.
STOP IT NOW! Stop talking about the economy! Stop telling people that business is slow. Stop all the negative whining about the economy. JUST STOP IT! The more you dwell on your perceived observation of the economy the more you look for proof you are right. STOP IT NOW!
Below are four keys to creating a positive and prospering market around you.
1. Focus on what you want. If you focus on the potholes while you are driving, you're going to hit the potholes. Instead, focus on a way around the potholes. When you're talking to your staff or customers, indicate business is great and now is the perfect time to buy. Never talk about how tight money is for you (or anyone else, for that matter). Words trigger pictures that create emotions. How do you think people will feel if they hear the boss talking about how bad things are? You, as the leader or a team player, should talk about success and how great it is to work in a winning dealership.
2. Create a perception of value. Would you trade me a one-dollar bill for my twenty-dollar bill? It may be a good deal for you, but is it a good deal for me? It is if I perceive the value of a one-dollar bill is worth more than the twenty. Let's say I'm dying of thirst and the bottle of water requires a one-dollar bill. Then yes, it is a great trade. Your job is to create value now that helps customers feel good about their purchase.
3. Create a positive environment. The only place you talk about the slow economy is with your competition. Let them believe that the market is bad if they so choose. However, you want people to feel good when they are in your house. So, take charge and a build strong belief in your people and yourself that you can prosper in any economy because you have the best team, the best product, and the best location.
4. Plant encouraging and positive ideas, discard negative ideas. Read positive material or listen to inspirational CD's - in other words, work on putting positive thoughts in your head. And, if you must watch the news, the second it is over say to yourself (out loud is even better), I am thankful that business is great at my place.
You might argue that I don't know how tough it is for you or what its like where you live. You're right. But, I have traveled all over these great United States and I have seen hundreds of people just like you, and they are winning. Every day I see people who know that no matter what is going on in the marketplace, there are many ways to win in this economy. You have a choice each day as to how you will face that day. Your choice is either one of adversity or prosperity. People who start the day with a prosperity mindset automatically think of creative ways to outsmart the market. People with a prosperity mindset look for ways to inspire people to go where they didn't think they could go. Leaders with a prosperity mindset see the obstacles as an opportunity to win when others might see only doom and gloom.
How do you want to feel when you go to bed each night? You can believe you may not survive this economy, or you can believe you can outsmart the economy. Dread or excitement. The choice is yours each and every day. Use it wisely, it is a gift.
Jim Jackson works with businesses to develop high expectations and becoming the exception to the rule. To book Jim Jackson call 800-403-8326 or email email@example.com with inquiries.