Thursday, December 19, 2013

Leveraging That Holiday Lull

Despite the encouraging pressure of making year end goals (usually with a prize or a trip on the line), network marketing professionals often struggle around this time of year. Each day more and more people fall into their "holiday mindset" and essentially end their business year. It becomes more challenging than ever to schedule appointments, and often those that do get on the calendar fail to happen or don't accomplish much when they do. People are done with this year, and not ready to start the next one quite yet. Decisions seem best put off for a few more weeks. What is the ambitious network marketer to do?

Well don't join the herd in writing off the rest of the year. Even though it is unlikely that you will convince anyone to focus very much on your opportunity right now, in fact it is a great time of year to advance your business. How? Do the same thing everyone else is doing - look to next year. But do it with purpose. The year-end holiday season is the perfect time to meet new people. There are family gatherings, workplace parties, social outings and community events of all sorts going on, and there are people you don't know at all of them. But instead of trying to get them to a meeting or a sit down right away, beat them to the punch.

"Hey I'd love to sit down with you and share this right away, but with the holidays I am just slammed. What does your schedule look like after the first of the year?"

You will be amazed at how willing people are to schedule a meeting with you once they understand you aren't pressuring them to do it tomorrow. (Just make sure you schedule it, don't accept "I'll be in touch".) And having a full calendar is a really great way for you to start the new year. So don't slack off over the next two weeks. Instead, set yourself up for a running start into 2014. It won't win you that trip, but it will move your business ahead of everyone who has a "Gone for the Holidays" sign up in their head.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Type 3 Diabetes?

As if we needed another reason to "cut the crap" in our diets and lifestyle, new evidence is emerging linking Alzheimer's disease to insulin resistance. That is to say, the same mechanism that makes Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes so devastating. Since 2005, a series of studies have convincingly linked pre-diabetic and diabetic cellular insulin resistance to decreased brain function and memory loss. In short, to Alzheimer’s.

My mother is a late stage Alzheimer’s sufferer. The disease first robbed her of her ability to live her life, then of her memories, then rotted away her brain to the point where she could not even feed herself. Now it is finishing its work by killing her. It is a brutal, horrific disease that destroys not only individuals but entire families. How exciting would it be to discover that the same diet and lifestyle changes that we know will reduce our lifetime risk of developing Type 2 diabetes offered us significant protection from Alzheimer’s as well?

Read about the details here. And then do something about it. Before you forget.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Social Media vs Social Networking

Let's say you've decided to add traditional business networking to your marketing mix. You find a couple of local groups, schedule the time and show up at the meeting with a pocket full of business cards and a well rehearsed "30-second commercial". Now what? Do you rush around handing out your cards to everyone else in the room (Spamming)? Do you monopolize every conversation talking about yourself and all the quirky, fun things you do? Do you give your commercial and then sit in the corner waiting for people to approach you? Is your idea of relationship building squirming in your seat waiting for someone to shut up so you can talk about your business? Probably not. And yet this is precisely how many people try to use "social media" to attract new customers and grow their business.

Back in the days when AOL was credible and MySpace was cool, and Facebook and LinkedIn were just getting started, this whole online genre was called "Social Networking". The recent movie fictionalizing the dawn of Facebook was named "The Social Network". And that is what they were about, people connecting with other people socially online. There are over a billion people using Facebook alone today, and dozens of other popular social systems online as well. So its not surprising that before too awfully long, businesses and their marketing arms moved in. This is not entirely a bad thing. Someone has to pay for these things to exists, and advertising is a well established way of funding "free" systems. It wasn't long after the arrival of the marketers, however, before things morphed from "social networking" into "social media". And the distinction is anything but trivial.

"Networking" is all about establishing connections and building relationships. Its the sort of thing salespeople understand and gravitate toward. "Media", on the other hand, is principally a means of mass communication. A way of taking your message and broadcasting it to as large an audience as possible. A vehicle for advertising. And it is the province not of salespeople but of marketeers.

These days it seems like everyone is clamoring for instructions for "using social media to grow my business". And there is no shortage of consultants and trainers stepping up to meet the demand. Hey, at least someone is making money on social media! And what advice do we usually get? Be active. Post cool, interesting things about yourself - often. Slip in ads for your business every now and then but don't overdo it. Make your profile look like this. Say that. Avoid doing this other thing. Wait till someone says something related to what you do and then pounce. More followers is better than less followers. In short, good marketing advice and bad networking advice. And manipulative.

Let's go retro and start thinking of it as social networking again and leave social media to the social media consultants. Start to apply the same principles and approaches you would use at a networking meeting. Don't wait to be found, reach out to others. Don't just connect with the people you know, or hope people will find you, make the effort to find them. Connect with people you share meaningful common interests with, business or personal, and build on that. Build relationships, whether or not they ever lead to a sale. Have fun and let it show. Be yourself. Look for quality connections instead of just a lot of them. Give back, contribute, offer to help.

I've taken this advice to heart recently and its making a noticeable difference in how I use Facebook and LinkedIn and for the first time ever it is even producing some real business results. Give it a try yourself and see if networking doesn't beat advertising by 2 lengths.