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how to succeed in business…successfully (and like a real person)

By December 17, 2008How To, Networking, The Business

Hi! My name is Al Aboutme from the Al Aboutme Print Shop! We print everything. Even holiday cards. Have any of those? ‘Cause I’ll print ’em! What? You have cats? We print cat posters too! Come on down and visit us. Come to our website, I need business and I want yours. What? You never print things? Sure you do, come on down, we’ll find something you can print…blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.

Gross. Don’t be like Al Aboutme.

To build your business, you have to network and you have to work with other people. You need to talk to them, collaborate, do business – but you don’t have to do it like Al, and you shouldn’t. Why? Because it isn’t comfortable for you or for the people around you…oh, and it doesn’t work.

Think about this: when a company comes at you via email, a social network, on the phone or by direct mail, you typically cringe at the sight or sound. You sense the ambush, you know they want something from you. But, when a person approaches you via email, a social network, on the phone or by direct mail, you wonder who they are, you look forward to making a connection, you engage in conversation.

Please be a person all the time:

  • Listen to what people need.
  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Give more than you take.
  • Be generous with your time & information.
  • Be in places where your clients will be.
  • Realize potential clients are everywhere.
  • Be kind.
  • Be your most authentic self.
  • Stay true to your goals and mission.
  • Check in with yourself & make sure your actions/words feel comfortable as they happen.
  • Be honest about what you can and can not deliver.
  • Have the resources to help your clients with the things you can’t supply.
  • Grow with your industry & the world’s needs.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Nice post. I think kindness and authenticity are going to be especially important in these times of economic wariness…

  • Ari Herzog says:

    The key may be in your last bullet about growing with the world. This is a concept every world citizen is recognizing, especially since 9/11 when Americans realized they needed to look beyond their shores; and countries beyond those shores accepted what happened in New York could happen in London, Amsterdam, Beijing, or Johannesburg.

    The same is true for companies, as you say. Don’t focus on your customers and your competitors. Also focus on your competitors’ customers, and the customers who enter the storefront next to yours but don’t enter yours. Could you form a venture partnership with your neighboring store owner?

  • Jonathan says:

    It might’ve been the fall of 2000 when I picked up “The Cluetrain Manifesto” in a bookshop in the terminal at JFK. By the time I got off the plane at LAX my thinking was forever altered, and it started with their simple statement that, “markets are conversations.”

    Your post about now not to be “Al Aboutme” is nicely reminiscent of that and adds to the conversation. Effective marketing IS about the human connection, and while we might work for corporate behemoths or for ourselves (hooray for the 9-step commute and pajamas-only dress code!), advantage accrues the same way: one dialogue at a time.

    Thanks for your work here and across your blog. I’m a fan!

  • Ah, I like that! Markets are conversations. Put that way, it’s interesting how many companies talk to instead of talk with their customers.

  • Rob Gokee says:

    I know many fellow composers that are like Al Aboutme. They’re pushy and salesman-like in their approach, and attack a director like a used car salesmen in a recession (if I was actually a used car salesman right now, I’d be using that technique). My first reaction is to help them out, tell them, IMO, what they might be doing wrong.

    Then I remember that we’re vying for the same clients, and who am I to judge?

    Thanks for the enlightening post.

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