Patty Farmer, The Networking CEO™, is a multi-award winning and highly sought after business growth strategist, public speaker, radio show host and author of the highly acclaimed book “Make Your Connections Count.”
Recipient of 2012’s “Best Brand of the Year, 2011’s International Women’s Day Business Service Award as well as 2010’s “Best Business Connector in Dallas” award and a 2010 and 2011 “America’s Most Influential Business Connector” nominee, Patty has created a network of 100,000 + connections while teaching thousands of business owners how to effectively network and market to grow their businesses using a non-competitive and dynamic collaboration strategy.
Her newest venture, Biz Link Global is an unparalleled B2B referral networking and educational online community which introduces experts in their field with their target audience and teaches entrepreneurs how to take their networking global…
During our conversation, Patty and I talked about:
- Some little-known networking tips that get people talking about more than just what they do
- Why if you ask THIS all-too-common question upon just meeting someone, you’ve probably just tainted the relationship forever
- The reason why Patty only chooses networking groups where she has to pay to be a member
- Who needs a tagline, and why your business card is your most essential piece of marketing real estate
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 52.59 — 48.5MB)
Resources and Follow-Up
Maruxa Murphy is the founder and CEO of Instant Expert Media, the resource created for authors, speakers, coaches and consultants to amplify their brilliance through various online media venues.
She has been called “The Queen of Interviewing,” hosting over 500 interviews with Best-Selling Authors, Internationally Renowned Speakers, Business Trainers, Thought Leaders and Entrepreneurs with a powerful message.
Maruxa specializes in creating and putting on Telesummits (mega-teleseminars with multiple guests over a week or more), and we spent a lot of our interview discussing how to create and use Telesummits for any industry.
As Maruxa eats her way through almost an entire bag of dark chocolate chips, listen to us prove beyond a shadow of a doubt:
- How Telesummits can help add thousands of names to your email list and five to six-figures to your bank account
- The powerful tools you should be using to put on your Telesummits (hint: most are available for free or close to it)
- One secret trick to establishing rapport with your interview subject
- The common threads among some of the world’s most successful people
- How to stay positive in the face of overwhelming adversity, even if your interview guest eats through all your chocolate chips.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 56:00 — 51.3MB)
Resources and Follow-Up
There’s an excellent exercise for getting into the mind of your customer. It’s called creating your Customer Persona.
Here’s the gist…your target customer or client has all sorts of characteristics that describe them. If you know and understand that information, then you can use it to create a fundamental strategy on how you communicate with them, better serve their needs, and keep them (and your market segment) loyal to you and your services and widgets.
This is (at least) a two-part process, so stick with me.
Start by gathering information. And ideally, this is REAL information based on your ACTUAL prospects and customers/clients…not just speculation by what you think defines them.
You can gather demographic information, like:
- Education level
- Marital/family status
- Sexual preference
- Religious beliefs
You can (and should) also gather psychographic information on your market segment, which includes info that’s less quantifiable. It’s more about preferences and habits. Stuff like:
- Drivers (cost vs. benefit)
You can gather this information to build your Customer Persona in several ways.
The most accurate method is to ask directly — talk to several of your customers and get a sense of the similarities and ties among them.
You can also look into social media. Using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., you can get a sense of who they are and what they need.
And if you’re not a fan of social media, another option is to put a survey on your website or out to your email list. A great free resource to create surveys and polls SurveyMonkey.
Once you have that information, you can then create a “customer persona,” or general archetype of your customer and market segment. One of the best ways to do this is to actually create a (semi) fictitious profile of that person.
Write it like you were writing a biography — talk about what their day is like when they wake up, go to work, go shopping, come home, etc. What are their frustrations? What makes them happy? Talk about their lifestyle and habits. And finally, find a (real looking) picture that looks how you think they would, and place it along with the bio.
Use that customer persona bio whenever you’re getting ready to create marketing materials or tailor your new product line to the market segment you’re after. Reference it every day so that you’re REALLY getting into your customer’s head.
You can even stop and ask, “Would ‘Steve’ be into this?” “How would ‘Michelle’ feel about this new direction? Would it speak to her and answer her needs?”
The more energy you can devote towards truly answering wants, needs, and desires of your market segment by understanding them, the more success you likely find. Researching and writing a customer persona is well worth the time if it’s going to mean a bigger bottom line for you. social media
* Special thanks to Jenny Magic and Clay Delk for their contributions about creating a Customer Persona. Damn smart folks.
The other day I met the owner of a local camera store. And calling it just a “local camera store” is grossly undermining its local significance and rich history.
Precision Camera in Austin has been around since owner Jerry Sullivan started it in his spare bedroom in 1976. It was there until his wife told him he needed to find new space to make room for their upcoming baby.
He’s since grown the business into Austin’s premiere camera specialty store; literally a “mom and pop” that made it big.
Jerry was telling me that, even though they’ve enjoyed consistent growth for three and a half decades and have adapted as camera fancies have turned digital, they are currently up against some of their biggest challenges yet…the monster Internet retailers.
Companies like Amazon.com are the online version of the big box retailer (i.e. WalMart, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc.). You can buy literally EVERYTHING on Amazon. And in most cases, you can buy that everything for cheaper than most other places.
If it’s not Amazon, there’s some other online store that makes it nearly impossible for the local specialty retailer to keep pace. Not only are those stores’ prices as low as they can go, but they’re better equipped to handle issues like credit card fraud and returns.
Stores like Precision Camera are having a tough time competing. But don’t count them out yet.
Aside from having the personal, “everyone knows your name” feel that only local retailers can have, stores like Jerry’s have an advantage over the big online monsters in that they can try new things faster, and get creative with customer interactions without corporate red tape and lengthy approval processes.
Jerry and I talked about several different options.
Building Local Social Networks.
A business can leverage new digital tools like BuddyPress (a WordPress plugin) to build on an online social networking forum, complete with profiles, picture-sharing spaces, contests, meetings, and more. Combine that with event administration through Meetup.com and EventBrite ticketing services, there are all kinds of options to get the community involved and to participate with your brand.
Creating Information Products.
People turn to the Internet now more than ever to learn how to do stuff. And creating e-learning material has never been easier. Jerry could build some in-person classes on how to use a new model camera, film it, and then put it online and sell it for $19.95. Or, he could even give it away. He could then build it into an entire sales funnel that leads to a much higher-priced (or recurring billing) product on the back end.
Demos & Clinics.
This piggybacks onto the local social networking idea, but they could be holding (and recording to put online) even more in-store events that show people how to use their products, AND bringing in national photographers to sign books and talk shop with local customers.
Some of these are long-standing techniques from various industries. But the key through all of them is the notion that you always have options to save a struggling business or career by reinventing its purpose and focus.
You have more tools at your disposal than ever, and I encourage you to explore those as much as possible to better serve your customer base, and beat the big box-ers at their own game.
TEDx Super Organizer, SEO Expert, and Founder of Genetically Unemployable, Emily Leach lives life by her rules. In this inaugural podcast, find out why she does all of her speaking engagement barefoot.