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How to Say “No” Without Feeling Like a Jerk

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and our guest today is Bob Burg, author of Adversaries into Allies – you can download a free chapter by visiting www.AdversariesintoAllies.com

You’ve probably gotten a request that was unreasonable at some point, I know I have. Or maybe you’ve locked down on the two or three core priorities that need all of your attention only to get tempted by some new cool project. About once a week I receive a request for help that would entail hours of time with no mention of the fact that I might need to be compensated should I say yes.

In today’s post, from my friend Bob Burg, you’ll learn how to say no to those things you should say no to in a gracious and effective way.

how to say noHave you ever been asked to do something that you simply didn’t want to do? Yet, saying no was difficult. Perhaps you didn’t want to let them down or even appear selfish.

On the other hand, you really didn’t want to say yes.

Saying no can be difficult, can’t it?

You may have received advice saying that it’s okay to just tell people no! Or, even that “’No’ is a complete sentence!”

Well, despite the momentary feeling of empowerment upon hearing that, saying no, especially like that, is easier said than done.

After all, are you willing to say no in such a way that it offends the person, closes the door on other opportunities or — most importantly — simply runs contrary to your core value of treating people kindly?

Probably not. Especially if you’re the type who has a hard time turning people down anyway.

Good news:

You can say no. And, you can do it with tact, kindness, and in a way that makes the other person feel good about themselves.

How?

Let’s say a friend or colleague asks you to serve on a committee. For whatever reason, you’d rather not. Simply say:

Thank you for your kind offer. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored {or grateful} I am to be asked.

The key is to say it with kindness and gratitude and with absolutely no defensiveness.

Key point. This is vital: Make no excuses!

Resist the very natural urge to say, “I don’t have time” or something similar. If you do, they’ll attempt to answer your objection. And, when they do you’ll either have to accept (so that you don’t appear to be a liar) or admit that what you said wasn’t really true. Either way, bad feelings will ensue.

Don’t get sucked into that game. The above response along with a genuine smile of gratitude will accomplish your goal. That, and no excuses!

But, what if they persist?

For example, he or she says, “oh, c’mon; why not?” Or, “please, we really need you.”

All you have to do is reply with a sincere smile and say, “I’d just rather not, but thank you so much for considering me.”

The person will clearly understand that you’re not going to accept the position, but cannot possibly be offended because of your gracious, humble and appreciative attitude.

Once you begin training the people in your life (even those who are used to your giving in) that you are able to say no and not be bullied, coerced or guilted into doing something, you will find that, from now on, all it will take is one “no” per request to not be asked again.

Of course there are plenty of times that “yes” is the appropriate response. But, saying no when you should say no allows you to say yes more often when you feel you should say yes.

And, it allows you to do what you do say yes to much more effectively.

Excerpted from Bob Burg’s new book, Adversaries into Allies. Best known as coauthor of The Go-Giver, Burg’s newest book will help you to become a top influencer and persuader, learning how to consistently obtain the results you want, while helping everyone come away a winner. You can get Chapter One by visiting www.AdversariesintoAllies.com.

The ROI of Relationships

Marketing podcast with Bob Burg

I suspect the title of this post will raise some eyebrows. I mean relationships aren’t about ROI right? They’re about something much deeper. Something you don’t measure in the same way you might, say, the performance of an ad.

relationships

photo credit: Angela Radulescu via photopin cc

Well, maybe. Relationships in business are more important than ever and why not think about the return on the time and assets you invest in building real ones.

Relationships can and do feed the soul and make businesses more human and they are quite often the key to great success.

When we work to build relationships we invest our relevance, our influence and our network – all valuable assets. So, why not think in terms of investing these things wisely.

But, if we were to take this ROI notion to heart, we must measure the right thing.

I visited with Bob Burg, best selling author of Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and right off the bat Bob offered this, “All things being equal we do business with and refer those we know, like and trust.”

I know you’ve probably heard me utter those same words many times and it is the ultimate game we engage in – building trust. In fact, I would argue that trust and respect are the definitive measures of a strong and healthy relationship.

Today it’s so easy to talk about the relationship we invest in with our thousands of Twitter followers or our Google+ Circles, but can that scale in any manner that feeds the soul or the bank account?

One of Burg’s greatest contributions to the art of relationship building comes from his relentless pursuit of the notion of giving before getting. Healthy relationships are almost always built on our ability to add value.

Value can be something as simple as “you make me feel better” to something much more business like such as “you help us get more from our current assets,” but the equation remains the same – those that enter into relationships and potential relationships seeking to give value earn trust and respect and that’s how you produce a return on your investment.

I believe you can start to measure the ROI of relationships based on how much you give. Think about that for a minute. You can measure the success of a relationship based on what you give rather than what you get.

What if that was the standard by which you measured how you engaged your world?

What if instead of just looking for ways to engage potential buyers you looked for more ways to do things like introduce others, make referrals, express appreciation, share other people’s content, promote someone else’s dream or understand what a person was lacking.

Although it may at times seem counterintuitive, and it can’t be done with an eye on reciprocation, this is how you measure the ROI of relationships.

Thursday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Thursday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Keith Ferrazzi
Keith Ferrazzi is the author of Never Eat Alone and the founder of the Relationship Masters Academy, an online training program for networking that offers the structure and support to put Keith’s bestselling books into action in your life for unparalleled career success and satisfaction. Go here to learn more!

Joseph Jaffe

Joseph Jaffe is President of jaffe, LLC.  His popular blog and audio podcast, “Jaffe Juice”, provides daily and weekly commentary respectively on all things new marketing. His latest book, “Flip the Funnel: How to use existing customers to gain new ones,” presents a powerful hypothesis that retention can become the new acquisition through the strategic incorporation and elevation of customer service, customer experience and customer initiated word-of-mouth, content creation and incentive-based referrals.

David Meerman Scott

David is the author of 7 books, Real-Time Marketing & PR , is his newest addition to the collection.  His blog – Web Ink Now – is ranked by AdAge Power 150 as a top worldwide marketing blog.  David has presented at hundreds of industry conferences and events and the marketing programs he has developed are responsible for selling over one billion in products and services worldwide.

Bob Burg

Bob Burg’s national bestseller, The Go-Giver, has been heralded as a new business classic.  Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve and how well they serve them. Find out more information about Bob Burg here.

Rohit Bhargava

Rohit is a founding member of the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence team, the world’s largest global network of social media strategists. His personal marketing blog called Influential Marketing has been recognized as one of the top 25 marketing blogs in the world and was featured in the Wall Street Journal. He also teaches global marketing at Georgetown University.

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is the senior editor of Copyblogger and a co-founder of Copyblogger Media, a company with a suite of valued marketing and training products and more than 55,000 customers. Copyblogger Media empowers online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

David Meerman Scott

David is the author of 7 books, Real-Time Marketing & PR , is his newest addition to the collection. His blog – Web Ink Now – is ranked by AdAge Power 150 as a top worldwide marketing blog. David has presented at hundreds of industry conferences and events and the marketing programs he has developed are responsible for selling over one billion in products and services worldwide.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 1

Say NO to squeezing your buyers. You have a choice.

When you want to get more “leads” into the top of your sales funnel, you have the option of not requiring people to register to get the valuable content that your company creates (an ebook or white paper perhaps).

Here are the three options for offering valuable information:

1. Requiring an email address (and other personal information) prior to your buyers being permitted to download content. With a gate, each person downloading becomes a valuable sales lead. This is a very typical yet flawed approach.

2. Making the content totally free with no registration required. Value comes from many more people consuming and spreading your content.

3. Implementing a hybrid scheme. This takes a leap of faith but typically pays off for those who try this controversial approach.

The vast majority of marketers choose option 1 and require a form up front to get leads. You must resist this because:

- Registration is a holdover from direct mail days (when a business reply card was the way to fulfill a white paper request). Is a direct mail technique right for today’s hyper-connected web?

- Requiring registration greatly reduces the number of people who download something. One of my ebooks has been downloaded close to one million times. With a registration requirement, I’m convinced it would be only a few thousand.

- Because bloggers do not like to send their readers to something that could cause them to get onto unwanted lists, when there is a registration requirement, very few (if any) bloggers will talk it up and you get little or no inbound links.

- When lots of people link to your stuff, you rise in the search results. For example, The MailerMailer Email Marketing Metrics Report is number one for their important phrase email marketing metrics as a result of free content. With a squeeze page, you’re lucky to get into the first 20 pages on Google for a phrase like “email marketing metrics”.

But you want leads, right? So for you option 2 (just making the content free) may not work.

That’s why when asked about this religious discussion in my live presentations, I also offer a third option, which is a hybrid.

I suggest the first offer be totally free (such as an ebook). Then within the ebook, have a secondary offer that requires registration that you can use to capture leads. A secondary offer might be a Webinar or free trial or something else of value.

This hybrid approach will both spread your ideas and generate leads!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Rohit Bhargava

Rohit is a founding member of the Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence team, the world’s largest global network of social media strategists. His personal marketing blog called Influential Marketing has been recognized as one of the top 25 marketing blogs in the world and was featured in the Wall Street Journal. He also teaches global marketing at Georgetown University.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 2

There was a moment in the movie Forrest Gump where he was caught with his friend Lieutenant Dan in a huge storm on board their shrimp boat. As a storm rolls in and destroys all the boats docked at the port, Gump’s boat survives thanks to being out at sea. He comes back, ends up with a relatively monopoly over shrimp boating and gets rich.

So the obvious lesson here for getting more leads is to watch for storms and hope to be the last boat standing. Of course, that will probably be hard advice to follow if you happen to not be in the business of shrimp boating, or not really excited about the idea of having a business strategy focused on hoping for a big storm.

The irony is, that is exactly what many small businesses are doing with their marketing by placing ads in locations that are unlikely to be acted on, following ill-advised trends or advice to create social media graveyards (which never see the light of any attention or conversation), and assuming that just offering a good product or service will spread.

Hope is not a marketing strategy.

Instead, consider that leads come from many different methods. Here are a few that could be worth focusing on:

1. Show up in real life. There are dozens of events taking place in just about every region. Are you making an effort to show up and meet the right people in person?

2. Share expertise for free. Often you will be in a position where you are selling some type of expertise – but how much of it are you offering for free? Free advice, particularly online, has a way of paying off in terms of building your reputation as an expert. And reputation leads to, well, leads.

3. Make powerful friends. As the new social media adage goes – it’s not who you know, but who knows you. The more influencers who you can build relationships with, the more likely those will come back to your business directly with new leads and referrals based on what you do.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Sonia Simone

Sonia Simone is the senior editor of Copyblogger and a co-founder of Copyblogger Media, a company with a suite of valued marketing and training products and more than 55,000 customers. Copyblogger Media empowers online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 3

It’s funny how many of our moms’ and grandmas’ most-treasured recipes came from the backs of cans, jars, and boxes.

Recipes are irresistible — and not just the cream-of-mushroom casserole kind.

The fact is, all of us have recipes in our business — sequences of steps that can help our customers get what they want.

It might be “8 ways to take out stains,” “7 ways to save money and headaches on your kitchen remodel,” or “12 simple secrets to reducing neck and back pain.”

One of my very favorite spots for this kind of recipe is the email newsletter. More specifically, it’s the email autoresponder — a sequence of messages that gets sent to each and every new subscriber to your email list.

When you create an email sequence that forms a killer recipe, the reader develops the habit of opening each message.

Sure, he can still unsubscribe when he’s finally captured the final step. But by that time, if your recipe is good enough, you’ve created trust. Your reader has started to know and like you.

You’ve just emailed him 9 times in a row and you haven’t sent him any junk. Just valuable, good information that gets him a result he wants.

Think he’s likely to open that 10th email?

Think he’s likely to refer your autoresponder to a friend?

Think he’s likely to talk you up on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter?

You bet he is … I’ve seen in it my own business.

The recipe for a great email autoresponder

Make sure your “recipe” delivers a solution that your prospect really wants.

1. Break your recipe into a 7-10 part sequence. Whenever you can, make each one a quick standalone tip that brings immediate results.

2. Deliver your recipe using the autoresponder function of your email marketing program. If your email service doesn’t let you put together an autoresponder with as many messages as you need, consider using a new service.

3. Write the best content you can. The time you put in now can continue to work hard for your business for years to come. If writing isn’t your strong suit, this is a great time to bring in a professional copywriter — you’ll get great ROI on a relatively modest investment.

4. Rather than selling your products or services, start to “sell” your great free recipe. It will build trust and rapport, so that down the line you can fully explain all the benefits of what you do.

You’ll find it’s much easier to promote this kind of high-quality free content, particularly with social media, than it is to try to jump right to the sale of your product or service.

Deliver a great recipe for your topic, and just like that killer marinara sauce on the back of the tomato can, it will get passed along.

You’re not just bringing in leads, you’re nurturing them and building your reputation … and that’s the kind of lead generation that will keep paying off for months and years to come.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Keith Ferrazzi

Keith Ferrazzi is the author of Never Eat Alone and the founder of the Relationship Masters Academy, an online training program for networking that offers the structure and support to put Keith’s bestselling books into action in your life for unparalleled career success and satisfaction. Go here to learn more!

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 4

“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.” – Lucretius

Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Then follow up.

The fact is, most people don’t follow up very well, if at all. Good follow-up alone elevates you above 95 percent of your peers. The follow-up is the hammer and nails of your networking tool kit. In fact, FOLLOW-UP IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN ANY FIELD.

Making sure a new acquaintance retains your name (and the favorable impression you’ve created) is a process you should set in motion right after you’ve met someone.

Why go to all the trouble of meeting new people if you’re not going to work on making them a part of your life? Give yourself between twelve and twenty-four hours after you meet someone to follow up. If you meet somebody on a plane, send them an e-mail later that day. If you meet somebody over cocktails, send them an e-mail the next morning.

Some tips for flawless follow-up:

Put the name and e-mail address of a new acquaintance in your database and program your calendar to remind you in a month’s time to drop the person another e-mail, just to keep in touch.

Remember—and this is critical—your follow up shouldn’t remind them of what they can do for you. It’s about what you might be able to do for them. It’s about giving them a reason to want to follow up.

Always express your gratitude.

Be sure to include an item of interest from your meeting or conversation—a joke or a shared moment of humor.

Reaffirm whatever commitments you both made—going both ways.

Be brief and to the point.

Always address the thank-you note to the person by name.

Use e-mail and snail mail. The combination adds a personalized touch.

Timeliness is key. Send them as soon as possible after the meeting or interview.

Many people wait until the holidays to say thank you or reach out. Why wait? Your follow-ups will be timelier, more appropriate, and certainly better remembered.

Don’t forget to follow up with those who have acted as the go between for you and someone else. Let the original referrer know how the conversation went, and express your appreciation for their help.

Make follow-up a habit. Make it automatic. When you do, the days of struggling to remember people’s names—and of other people struggling to remember yours—will be a thing of the past.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 5

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Bob Burg

Bob Burg’s national bestseller, The Go-Giver, has been heralded as a new business classic. Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve and how well they serve them. Find out more information about Bob Burg here.

How Do I Get More Leads in the Top of the Funnel 5

First, let’s define “Top of the Funnel.” These are people who, while perhaps qualify as prospects they are little more than that. In other words, while they now “know” you, the “like and trust” part of the “know, like and trust” equation is not yet there. Nor, is the need, want or desire for your product or service. Thus, they are at the “top”…the starting point.

The more people at the top of the funnel, the more will likely work their way down into actually becoming prospects and/or referral sources. This, of course, assumes you are correctly building the relationships.

This is why, when people ask, “which is more important, quantity or quality?” I generally answer, “it’s not an either/or, but a both. However, the key is the focus. Since high-*quality* relationships lead to direct business and referrals, focusing on quality over quantity results in an even greater quantity of quality.”

Fortunately, whether in-person or via the various social media, it’s easy to begin the process. In a sense, it’s about identifying the right people (or having them identify you!), meeting (connecting with) them, and building the relationship.

So, in-person? Your local Chamber event, BNI chapter, charity function, etc. Ask questions focused 100% on them; make them feel good about themselves: “How did you get started?” “What do you enjoy most about what you do?”

Online via blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? Engage them with value. Comment on something in their bio, post or tweet. Ask questions about them. Connect them with others (only with permission, of course), etc.

The best of all is through a referral. Usually, referrals begin already much closer to the sales point, but not always. Sometimes they come in at the top, as well.

Regardless, the key is, at the very moment you “meet’ them, communicate value; no, not in your products or services, but as a person. It’s as simple as that. And, best not to make it any more difficult.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here