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Vitality of New Talent Engagement

In the original Toy Story – the toys didn’t understand why Buzz Lightyear thought he was real. They tried everything they could to have him “get it,” but he resisted and resisted all the cues around him until it was almost too late. Thankfully Woody saved him and Buzz finally was part of the gang.

Sound like work to you?

When new employees join your company, you assume that they should just jump right in and know all of the established traditions and norms of your culture. Different than Toy Story though, we just expect newbies to simply “get it.” It is astonishing how quickly we forget that we were once new at a company because existing employees fall into the trap of “assumed culture.”

For instance, your office practices Casual Friday, but you don’t tell the new hire. You all go out to a certain restaurant for Chinese Tuesday, but don’t even see if the new person in your department wants to go – or if they even like Chinese.

HR and hiring leaders are notorious for this. We spend so much time during new hire orientation on paperwork, manuals and a facility tour that we miss the chance to educate new folks on the company’s workplace culture. This needs to change. You can’t aspire to be a great place to work if you don’t work on engaging people from the first time you contact them as a candidate through the entire process when they get to join you.

Leaders – Take the time to be Woody. Go out of your way to do everything you can to break through to the new hires in your company to make sure that they learn ALL of the culture around them. What you’ll find is how awesome they really are and that they will add to your unique culture.

Don’t let anyone just exist. Be intentional and engage. It’s vital for company growth and creating a positive workplace culture.

Workplace Culture Doesn't Fatigue Me: #TChat Recap

It was Q2.

In “Employment Rage”, Howard Adamsky wrote, “Corporate America is not human.” If this is so, does culture really matter?

My answer: It’s not human, but we are and we drive the culture. Top down, sideways, bottom up.

So yes, it does matter.

Sure there were many other responses much brighter than mine (you can read the transcript here), but it’s not the fact corporate America is inhuman or the fact we can overcome workplace culture fatigue in general that bothers me, it’s the fact that we still fight the work/life integration, regardless of how much we discuss the opposite.

Matt wrote yesterday in the #TChat preview:

After all, it’s culture that defines the best (and the worst) places to work…For HR professionals, Recruiters and Executive Leadership, culture is often a top down directive, but the employees are on the front lines, truly defining a corporate culture and create its impact.  Culture’s a lot like meetings and memos: it’s an inescapable, and inevitable, part of the employee (and candidate) experience.

Culture’s a lot like meetings and memos: it’s an inescapable, and inevitable, part of the employee (and candidate) experience.

And at times is sheer joy and fluffy rainbows, while at other times is complete and utter hell.

Like life. It’s inescapable.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Which brings me to my point.

I read an article in Fortune recently (and I can’t seem to find it again online or I would’ve linked it) on how detrimental it is for managers to be friends with their staff.  Or to be friends at all with anyone at work.

I’ve heard the arguments before.  I’ve made the same mistakes before.  But workplace culture is the magic mess we make at home, in the car, in the office, on the phone, with our bosses, with our colleagues, with our customers, with our competitors —

We succeed at work.  We fail.  We fall in love at work.  We breakdown.  We lift each other up at work.  We rip each other a new a-hole.

Just like in life. With all the talk of work/life integration the workplace itself really would prefer to keep a sterile separation.  But that’s impossible.

Businesses will come and go.  Social communities will come and go.

What makes them come alive with culture and commerce is us.

Don’t tell me that doesn’t generate shareholder value.

Here were last night’s questions
  • Q1: In 3 words, describe the culture of your current/recent employer; was it the culture that lured you there or that drove you away?
  • Q2: In “Employment Rage”, Howard Adamsky wrote, “Corporate America is not human.” If this is so, does culture really matter?
  • Q3: What is your definition of “office politics” and how does it impact hiring and retention?
  • Q4:  What tools does your company use to assess “fit” during recruiting; how do these “track” to your culture?
  • Q5: What should CEOs be doing to create and lead a culture that generates shareholder value and what is this “value”?
  • Q6: What should all employees be doing to develop a culture that generates shareholder value?
  • Q7: How would you conduct a workplace culture audit? How often should this be repeated?

Top Contributors:

  1. @talentculture – 223
  2. @meghanmbiro – 118
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 105
  4. @LevyRecruits – 92
  5. @IanMondrow – 89
  6. @ValueIntoWords – 81
  7. @dawnrasmussen – 79
  8. @DinoDinosaur1 – 66
  9. @sbrownehr – 52
  10. @tfklass – 44

Love what you do and work hard every day. And the other way around too.

A very special thank you to Meghan M. Biro (a.k.a. Culture Queen), Steve Levy (a.k.a. Captain Rainbow Fluffy), Matt Charney (a.k.a. Information Superhero), @monster_works, @MonsterWW, everyone else from the TalentCulture Community and all the #TChat participants.

For without them, there is no culture.

See you next week for #TChat!  Next topic coming soon…

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Workplace Culture Fatigue: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney, one of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

Fortune recently released their annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which takes into account such factors as internal mobility, inclusion/diversity, employee training and satisfaction, among a litany of seemingly disparate criteria that, together, comprise what’s often referred to as “Corporate Culture.

It’s no surprise that the companies on Fortune’s list are widely recognized, in best practices publications and in recruitment literature, for having developed distinct and unique corporate cultures designed to attract, develop and retain top talent.  After all, it’s culture that defines the best (and the worst) places to work.

For HR professionals, Recruiters and Executive Leadership, culture is often a top down directive, but its employees on the front lines who truly define a corporate culture and create its impact.  Culture’s a lot like meetings and memos: it’s an inescapable, and inevitable, part of the employee (and candidate) experience.

That’s why “fit” is so important to talent acquisition and development; but what does it take for new employees, their managers, executive leadership and customers to fit in, and thrive, in a unique corporate/workplace culture?

Join the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT. We also enjoy hearing from our global community and hope you can join from wherever you might be. Let’s explore what companies can do to create, implement and evolve the kind of corporate culture which drives employee satisfaction, engagement and ultimately, bottom line results.

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading: 1.25.11

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some background reading, to help prepare and inform the #TChat conversation.  While this isn’t mandatory to get in on tonight’s #TChat action, we suggest checking out these articles by top career advice and talent management thought leaders to explore the possibilities (and pitfalls) of workplace culture:

Q1) In 3 words, describe the culture of your current/recent employer; was it the culture that lured you there or that drove you away?

Read: Personality and Corporate Culture: Where’s A Person To Fit?

Q2) In “Employment Rage”, Howard Adamsky wrote, “Corporate America is not human.” If this is so, does culture really matter?

Read: The New Rules of Engagement (Excerpt from “Employment Rage”)

Q3) What is your definition of “office politics” and how does it impact hiring and retention?

Read: Office Politics: How Well Do You Play the Game?

Q4)  What tools does your company use to assess “fit” during recruiting; how do these “track” to your culture?

Read: Culture Brand: Create Magical Distinction to Attract the Very Best Talent

Q5) What should CEOs be doing to create and lead a culture that generates shareholder value and what is this “value”?

Read: The Cornerstone of An Engaged Workforce Culture

Q6) What should all employees be doing to develop a culture that generates shareholder value?

Read: It’s Not the Stupid Culture; It’s the Culture, Stupid!

Q7) How would you conduct a workplace culture audit? How often should this be repeated?

Read: Practical Ways To Address Employee Engagement

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

#TChat is brought to you by @TalentCulture, @MeghanMBiro, @KevinWGrossman, @monster_works, and @MonsterWW – They will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

5 Simple, Affordable Ways to Retain Workplace Talent

Offer professional development opportunities

Professional development doesn’t have to be time-consuming—or expensive. There are many inexpensive or free resources available today to continue the learning process for talented employees. Follow industry blogs, read magazines and whitepapers, and check out the latest books in the field for opportunities to share with your current employees. Be on the lookout for webinars, teleseminars, Twitter chats, and conferences that they may be interested in attending—and determine how your company can help make that happen.

Think about how you can provide a better work-life balance

Telecommuting, virtual meeting and flexible time off policies are all highly desired qualities in a workplace. Many top performers are constantly striving to maintain an ideal work-life balance because they are innately hard workers. Examine your internal policies to see if you can make this balancing act easier for your employees.

Provide a variety of projects to keep the work interesting and meaningful

No one wants to work at a job for the rest of their life where they do the same thing every day. Employees want to feel that their work is making a difference to the organization and its audiences. Talented employees crave challenging tasks that can add to their skills and growth as a professional. Cross-training and team projects are a great way to provide additional opportunities.

Look into tuition reimbursement initiatives

If an employee yearns to go back to school to complete another degree or certification, determine how the organization can help them make that happen by helping out with costs.

Provide quality feedback in a timely manner

Instead of waiting for an annual or semi-annual performance review, give your employees feedback about their tasks as soon as possible after completion. Feedback is an important piece of workplace satisfaction—even if it’s a simple “Great work!” e-mail or note.

Looking for more ways to retain top performing employees? Susan M. Heathfield in an article on About.com outlines the following 10 ten ways to retain great employees:

  • Management thinkers agree that a satisfied employee knows clearly what is expected from him every day at work.
  • The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention.
  • The ability of the employee to speak his or her mind freely within the organization is another key factor in employee retention.
  • Talent and skill utilization is another environmental factor your key employees seek in your workplace.
  • The perception of fairness and equitable treatment is important in employee retention.
  • The easiest to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time and training.
  • Your best employees, those employees you want to retain, seek frequent opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, knowledge and skill.
  • A common place complaint or lament I hear during an exit interview is that the employee never felt senior managers knew he existed.
  • No matter the circumstances, never, never, ever threaten an employee’s job or income.
  • Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognized and appreciated.

Does your company have any unusual or non-traditional tactics for retaining talent? I’d love to hear them!

Magnetic Cultures and Twitter Chats — The Latest #TChat Recap

Talk about a magnetic culture.

At least in the context of online Twitter Chats in 140 characters or less of reciprocal conversation and idea exchange — we’ve got a winner.

My fearless culture cohort in crime, TalentCulture founder Meghan M. Biro, and I started #TChat back on November 16, 2010, and have now hosted four forums.

The latest titled The Workplace Culture Audit:  Building a Magnetic Company Culture and Recruiting the Best Talent was our biggest yet.

Check out the stats here — over 250 contributors last night alone sharing over 2,000 tweets.

Our good friend Eric Leist, an Emerging Technology Strategist with Allen & Gerristen, wrote about Twitter chat madness this week.

Let’s get back to last night’s topic, though.  Meghan’s forte is company culture and here are some of her thoughts on the subject:

Companies faced with retaining their most important asset – employees = people – should focus on creating a workplace culture that accommodates not only the organization’s need to meet business objectives, but also what resonates with an employees’ need to see themselves as a key partner in the organization’s success. Let’s ensure people feel valued and respected in this equation at all levels in the organization.

 

Workplace culture is so much more than a mission statement or having a cool ping pong table for breaks or sharing free sodas in the refrigerator (these perks matter of course). It’s a powerful metaphor for the workplace that allows employees to compellingly describe where they work, what the business does, and what its value is to customers. Companies successful in creating a unique and compelling workplace culture will have much more success attracting and retaining talented people who experience ‘culture fit’ with the company.  It’s so important and often overlooked.

Right on the money.  If you don’t have a workplace culture that attracts and retains quality talent, that gets most of them excited about the why of do and not just the what, then your days in business may be numbered.

I say “may be” because cultural wasteland firms can still produce a product and/or service the market wants and be awash in huge profits.  You know, like banking, investment and financial services firms.  (Did I just write that?  Please, no e-mails or phone calls.)  Magnetic culture and business can be mutually exclusive but are oh so much better together.

Magnetic culture is organic, and although leaders help to spark it, fanning the flames comes from inside.

You can read more from Meghan on culture at Culture Brand: Create Magical Distinction to Attract the Very Best Talent.

Here were the questions from last night’s #TChat:

  • Q1: How do you define company culture and what makes it magnetic?
  • Q2: Why aren’t happy hour Fridays, flex time and nap couches enough for a magnetic company culture?
  • Q3: Why is culture a key determinant in attracting and retaining talent?
  • Q4: What constitutes fair compensation including benefits and how does that affect culture?
  • Q5: Do your talent objectives align with the business objectives?  Vice-versa?
  • Q6: How can employers make employee training/career development a priority and give culture more meaning?
  • Q7: Does “open” communication exist in your company? What does this term mean to you?
  • Q8: Why or why not is it important to have an emotionally intelligent company?
  • Q9: How are you challenging your employees (good or bad)? How is your employer challenging you?
  • Q10: How important is it for your personal values to match those of the company?  Vice-versa?

The caliber of attendees and their answers was outstanding.  Smart and savvy folk.  You can see a sampling below or search hashtag #TChat stream to read more.

A very special thanks to Monster Thinking for their support and partnership.  @monster_works and @MonsterWW will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT.

We also welcome global input and hope you can join from wherever you might be. We certainly want to hear from you. We are committed to creating educational content and social community here at the Culture of Talent. Learning is continuous here and we are nothing without people. People (AKA: human capital) are the most valuable asset to any organization or community.

Thank you all again for joining us!  More #TChat next Tuesday, December 21, 2010 — The Very, Merry Cheddar edition.  I have no idea what that means, but be there.

Monster is Thinking + Join our #TChat Community

Could this be any cooler or what?

What I mean is having MonsterThinking as a #TChat co-host and brand ambassador. That’s very cool. The Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and our TalentCulture mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

The MonsterThinking blog explores the complex world of work and is more than just their tagline; it’s their mission. I always enjoy spending time with their talented team members at social media and career/workplace events and have personally known this company for many years and phases of their workplace culture.

I’m honored to have them on board with us. And of course, finding innovative ways to connect job seekers with the employers looking for them is what Monster’s all about. How can we not love this community of people?

@monster_works and @MonsterWW will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT. We also welcome global input and hope you can join from wherever you might be. We certainly want to hear from you. We are committed to creating educational content and social community here at the Culture of Talent. Learning is continuous here and we are nothing without people. People (AKA: human capital) are the most valuable asset to any organization or community.

Read more from MonsterThinking on tonight’s #TChat topic. The Workplace Culture Audit: Steps To Building a Magnetic Company Culture and Recruiting the Best Talent.

We will see you tonight and look forward to a new 2011 jam packed with opportunity to learn and grow! Thank you for engaging with us on this channel.

Workplace Leadership Engagement: Challenge, Meaning, and Lots of Love

I grew up loving the Raiders.  Before the 2010 NFL season started, I had a Silver and Black rock and roll attack!

But for the first four weeks of this season, I had nothing but Silver and Black heart attacks. They were at the bottom of the AFC West.

Argh. Although when I take another look at the homemade video montage of the 2010 draft picks, I get all fired up inside all over again. Plus the fact that during the last four weeks they’re winning, winning, winning and movin’ on up (4-4)!

These big boys are still excited to work play. Ready to give 110% to just get chance to work play on the team they were hired to play for any given Sunday (or sometimes Monday, Thursday and/or Saturday).

The Raiders and their lore are personified by none other than John Madden — Mr. Football himself.

John was an inspiration who loved, lived and breathed his game everyday. His coaching staff loved the game. His players loved the game.

Love, Love, Love — there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.

Under Madden’s guidance, Oakland never experienced a losing season.

Can you imagine if your players employees worked that hard for your organization? There’s no way a team gets jazzed and exceeds expectations because they show up only to pick up a paycheck.

There’s a lot more to it than that — whether you’re playing in the NFL, selling clothes at Kohl’s, developing products for Apple, or reinventing the way we watch movies like Netflix.

The motivational sentiment of giving 110% is nice, but no one can really give more than what they’ve got. It’s much more realistic to get your staff to give 100% by challenging them to give their all, to be better at what they do and why they do it, and to love what they do while working hard doing it.

Leadership and HR expert Dave Ulrich touts that when workers find meaning in their jobs, they’re more productive and contribute more to the organization as a whole.

So in a very small space, here’s what we’ve got for why employees give 100%:

  • Inspirational Leadership
  • Challenge
  • Meaning
  • And Lots of Love

What better architect and facilitator for all of these but HR, right? In fact, if human resources and the organizations for which they worked focused more on empowering their leaders and employees rather than enabling them (as in non-productive co-dependency), then maybe we’d advance the workplace a lot farther than we have to date.

We should all know no other way to work play.

Be better and brighter.

5 Important Workplace Factors: Recruiting & Retaining Today’s Young Professionals

The young professionals you will be trying to attract to your organization today are members of Generation Y, also known as Millennials or The Internet Generation. Technology was a part of their childhood and still plays a huge role in their everyday lives. They don’t have many boundaries between work and life, are tech-savvy and innovative, and in high-demand.

Opportunity

Generation Y expects several types of opportunities in their professional career. Number one, they are looking for a chance to grow and excel in a company – somewhere that will give them opportunity for promotions and other perks if they perform well and choose to stay there long enough.

They also are looking for opportunities to be challenged. Millennials aren’t looking for “just a job” or to “go through the motions” everyday – they want a job that will utilize their expertise and education in new, challenging and exciting ways.

Finally, Millennials want opportunity for personal and professional growth. This can be through challenging projects, collaborative tasks, conferences, etc. This generation is easily bored, and you need to be able to retain them through offering these types of opportunity.

Flexibility

Gen Y expects flexibility in their work hours, schedule and work environment. Many Millennials want to telecommute or work remotely at their ideal jobs. Although they expect flexible hours and schedule, this generation is more plugged in than any other –meaning they will likely work after their “scheduled” hours and have less boundaries between life and work.

Technology

Since they’ve grown up with the latest gadgets, Millennials expect them in the workplace, as well. They’re used to constant connectivity, and if your workplace doesn’t offer that, they’ll likely look elsewhere.

Culture

In order to recruit today’s young professionals, you need to have a great corporate culture that will intrigue them. Think: socially responsible, innovative and great people to work around. Millennials tend to work for companies that they believe in and share in their mission.

Mentorship

Members of Generation Y want to learn something if they work for you. That’s why providing a mentor for each new young professional is vital to keeping him or her at your organization longer. Not only can a mentor aid in skill development, but also they become a personal connection that the employee trusts in your workplace.

With more than 80 million members of this generation, you’ll need to understand them in order to attract and retain them at your company. For more information on Generation Y in the workplace, download an infographic loaded with statistics here.

Perils of Brand Abandonment: Strive for Shiny, Fresh and Authentic

Brand is something that cuts both ways in the recruiting business. Candidates have personal brands – we talk about that a lot on the TalentCulture blog – and companies have brands. A company’s brand directly relates to it’s workplace culture. An excellent (and disturbing) article by David Lee on ERE.net has me thinking about the perils of brand abandonment – those moments when people, or companies, stop paying attention to the messages they’re sending out when they are hiring and retaining talent.

Brand, the way I talk about it with candidates, is a shorthand way of presenting yourself to others. It’s more than an elevator pitch, but it relies on the same idea: a condensed and polished presentation of a few key facts about you and why you’d be a good employee. As I’ve written here, a personal brand should present your skills, interests, personality attributes and values in a coherent manner that will be compelling and authentic to recruiters and hiring managers.

For companies the process isn’t that different. An organization/workplace may start with a mission statement, then move on to values and objectives, but the point of the exercise is the same: to create a compelling, credible, and authentic collective persona – a culture brand – that is compelling to customers, investors and valuable employees. Of course, we know workplace culture is so much more than a mere mission statement. Healthy organizations strive to make their brand consistent on all angles.

But sometimes, when you’ve worked to establish your brand, you start to believe the shorthand version. You drink the Kool-Aid. You stop listening, stop monitoring how people react, and stop thinking about the value of your brand.

Lee’s article describes a survey in which candidates describe horrific, dispiriting experiences they had with prospective employers. Read the article for particulars, but the net is this: treating candidates poorly at any point in the recruiting process leaves them with a bad impression of your company. It’s brand abandonment, and it’s completely avoidable.

Brand abandonment is a real risk for career seeking candidates as well.

Here are a few points of risk:

Social Media and TMI

Social media can be the enemy of brand for a job seeker. We’ve all heard the stories of candidates being screened out for Facebook and Twitter posts. Don’t put anything on social media you wouldn’t tell your grandmother. The not-cool grandmother. I’m not saying do not be authentic and interesting. If your not-cool grandmother does not accept your unique personality well then – perhaps we can ignore her. I want you to be you! Just be thoughtful. Protect yourself here.

Poor Interview Technique

Talk about what you can do for the employer. In an interview situation you need to reinforce the links between your brand value and the company’s brand, without being narcissistic. Don’t reveal details that aren’t relevant. You may have been an Eagle Scout, but that was then and this is now. Listen, don’t just talk.

Improper (or no) Follow up

It is absolutely imperative to follow up with a thank you note. Unless part of your personal brand is being rude, there’s no excuse for not saying thank you. No scented pink paper, check your spelling, sum up the key takeaway of the interview – What you learned about the company, why you’d be the right candidate, why it’s the right company/fit.

Check Your References Before the Interviewer Does

Don’t count on the boss you had three jobs ago for a great reference – make sure you’ll get one by making a call and running through what you need in a reference and what he or she is comfortable saying. Don’t trust your brand to someone else: make sure you’re on the same page before you hand out names and phone numbers.

Brand is a responsibility. It takes care, constant monitoring and periodic refreshes. You are your personal brand. And companies need to stay present and take full responsibility for their brand behaviors by being consistent and sensitive to the messages they are sending career seekers about their workplace culture. Bottom line: Use what you’ve got to keep it shiny and fresh.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

5 Marketing Lessons from Crack Dealers

Disclaimer: I have never used illegal drugs and I do not advocate the use of illegal drugs or controlled substances illegally. Drugs and the repercussions of their use, do irreparable harm to the user, their families, their coworkers and the community at large. Stay clean, stay sober or stay home.

One of the things I love about teaching Sanera Camp is I get to hear the awesome ideas the recruits come up with. This was one of them.

Earlier in class this week, we talked about building relationships versus push marketing and how technology has helped us do that better than ever because the new tools allow us to share information across wider audiences. We also talked about the shift in mindset from protecting our information to sharing our information so more people can get to know us, our level of expertise and what it would be like to work with us.

Then this conversation broke out:

Person 1: Alicia, I was thinking that drug dealers are a great example of this.

Everyone else: A combination of silence, belly laughs and dropped jaws.

Me: How?

Person 1: Well, they’ve given out samples for years and years and it works. Their prospects know what it tastes like, what it feels like and the quality of the product.

Person 2: You’re right! I never thought about it before.

Person 1: Look at it. It’s a successful, multi-billion dollar industry that has world wide distribution. The use of illegal drugs has increased, not decreased even though it’s against the law. Their clients know where to find them, know how much the product costs and they tell everyone else about it. It’s perfect word of mouth advertising.

Person 3: But what we’re selling isn’t addicting.

Person 2: But can’t we make it addicting? If we give out some of what we have to offer, won’t people want more?

They are right. It’s hard to find a better example of how giving things away can drive revenue. But Person 3’s observation is pivotal – certainly one advantage the drug dealers have over us is that their product is physiologically and sometimes immediately addicting. So what can we do to drive our revenue without breaking the law and harming others?

How To Market Like a Crack Dealer

1. Know your target customer

Who wants your product/service? Better yet, who craves it? Who needs it so badly that the moment they get it, they will have an insatiable desire for more of it?

2. Analyze your market

Where does your target market hang out? What kinds of activities are they doing?  Is it in a certain zip code, metaphorical “corner,” in an industry meeting or somewhere online?

3. Make distribution easy

Ensure your target customer knows who you are and where to find your products/services. Make the purchasing process as simple and seamless as possible. You will jeopardize your chance of closing a sale if you make them:

  • Talk to lots of people
  • Click too many times online
  • Give too much personal information
  • Look at too many options

4. Give away the right samples

Here are some examples of things you shouldn’t give away:

  • Cheesy tchotchkies that people are going to throw away. If you’re going to give away promotional items, make sure they are things your prospects will use and value.
  • Proprietary information. Enough said.
  • Low quality products. I know this sounds obvious, but come on. How many of you have received a sample and discovered that it was someone’s attempt to get rid of their non-selling inventory? It’s happened to all of us. You will be associated with your samples. What do you want people to say about you?

Some things you should give away:

  • Consumables – when they run out, they will want more from you.
  • Useful, actionable information. This is not limited to service industries. If you are in retail or a product-driven environment, you have valuable information to share about your store, your products, care of your products, upcoming sales, etc. Err on the side of education & information vs. “selling.”
  • A piece of what you want them to purchase. Giving “everything” away eliminates the incentive for your prospects to want more.

5. Give them to the right people

If you give everything away, you won’t make money. Be selective. Find the influencers, the people who will spread the word and give to them.

It’s pretty unconventional, but think about it. Any lessons here you can apply to your own business?

Click HERE to view more posts by me.

Special thanks to Nora FrostDenise Sample and Rob Hatton for their creative ideas and discussion. Keep the conversations going!