I love planning. In fact, I always try to start any project with a planning stage where I layout multiple stages with milestones and a timeline so that everyone is on the same page as the project moves forward. I think there is definitely a ”control freak” inside of me and maybe that’s why I love working in digital marketing where I can track things down to the user level. While planning helps everyone in the group be fully accountable and focus on the same objective, I think it can sometimes hinder our ability to think creatively and be flexible.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that I need to shift gears from wanting full control to think more on the fly because I know at the end I will never really be in full control, ever. I watched the UMich commencement speech by Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo a few days ago. Great speech. Inspiring in many levels but one line stood out for me from the example he gave about the improv class he was taking.” If you try to plan what the next line is suppose to be, you are just going to be disappointed when the other people on stage with you don’t do or say what you want them to do and you will stand there frozen.“
This is what I told one of my non-marketing colleagues the other day when they seemed too bombarded with all the information that people had been giving them about the marketing mix.
No, I don’t think marketing is rocket science. But, learning how to work with people, yes.. that can seem like rocket science. And if your non-marketing colleague seems confused and dazed after you talk to them about marketing, then you should retink how you communicate and work with people.
The more I read about the top digital/social marketers and their “cutting edge” work, the more I realize there is not much to it besides being organized, working hard, and having the right focus. Tactics and strategies? They change all the time nowadays and as long as you keep on the top of marketing blogs and trends up to date, I’m pretty sure you will become one of the more knowledgeable person in the room of what your strategies are and knowing trends.
This is a formula I came up for myself to keep in mind when working with clients, partners, and colleagues who are usually less well-versed in digital marketing that helped me to gain trust and communicate better.
Listen: Just listen to anything they say to you. Try to focus on listening to his/her most concern and keep a mental note of that.
Ask: Focusing on the previous topics you noted, ask some broad questions or even better, tell them about what you think about the topic. Keep it positive.
Compliment: Focus on what they have accomplished so far that you are not an expert in and compliment them.
Repeat any or all of the above: and keep the conversation going.
I found that every time I go through these steps with people, I actually become genuinely interested about the person and what they are doing. In response to that, the level of trust between myself and that person builds up much quicker and easier than just me going “here is the list of my recommendations and how I can help you” or something along those lines. Once the trust builds up this way, you’ll find it amazing how much people will start relying on your expertise and respect you. You even might be overwhelmed with phone calls and emails because you will be in NEED!
Hence my daily motto, “Listen. Ask. Compliment. Repeat.”
My favorite coffee shop nearby my house is called Killer E.S.P. I try to go as much as possible whenever I feel the need to sit down with my laptop or if just want to have a cup of good coffee.
Their service is a bit slow because they really try to take care of everyone who comes in the door one at a time but the baristas here are probably one of the most friendliest people I’ve ever encountered working in a coffee shop.
Let me tell you… most of the time, it takes more than 5 minutes to get a regular cup of coffee (their regular cups are manual drip). This is probably unheard of in the Starbucks world of coffee shops but these baristas really go out of their way to strike up a conversation with you, ask/answer any questions, and make sure you are being served like you are a personal guest in their living room.
I will go out of my way to come here whenever possible. If you go out of your way to serve your customers, they will go out of their way to come back to you. People love to be treated special and I feel more and more this is the key to a great customer experience.
So what will a customer possibly do if you go out of your way to serve them?
- They will go out of their way to come back to you to buy your product/use your service, again and again.
- They will tell friends about how awesome you are.
- They will bring friends and make them buy stuff from you.
- They will start thinking of you at work, during meals, and in their dreams.
- They will post photos on instragram, tweet about you, foursquare check-in whenever possible, and use you as a great example of a wonderful customer service on a blog post like this.
So when I go back to work on Monday, what can I do to go out of my way and serve my customers?
Can you increase interest to your product by motivating your potential customers to ask questions?
I’ve been researching some potential vacation rental properties online the past several days. After days of searching online, I found an ideal property I was looking for that fit all of the criteria that I had in mind so I began to speak to the owner by emailing back and forth. I did not ask much in my first email, but in my follow-up emails, I started asking at least 4 to 5 detailed question about the property and other topics indirectly related. Now, I know this could’ve made the owner feel overwhelmed by the amount of questions, but I was 90% sure that as long as I got all of my questions answered to some satisfaction level, I was willing to book this property most certainly.
Would I have bothered to type and ask all of the questions if I wasn’t interested in booking the property? Absolutely not. But I am this close to booking this place!
Can this owner motivate me to ask questions about the property (without me discovering it yet) and would that make me interested in the property? Maybe if I “discovered” some answers to my potential questions.
So what’s my conclusion today? Motivating someone to ask questions would be difficult, but allowing customers to discover answers to potential questions could be a powerful way to get them on your side
I’m sure there are many definitions of what a great leader should be out there from industry experts and great leaders themselves. I recently enjoyed a podcast interview of Mark Miller related to this subject and was inspired in many ways. Thank you, Mark.
The past several weeks, I’ve been thinking about how can I start making a difference in my own life and what can I do to make that happen. The other evening, I almost didn’t even need to think about it twice and I was able to sum everything I should be doing in one sentence. “Do the right thing with a fearless heart”. Maybe because this is the main area that I have the hardest time actually implementing in my daily life or I see people struggle with the most, but these three elements seemed most crucial to being a great leader in my own day to day life. Here’s my three crayon in a toolbox to hopefully get me through everyday and start #winning.
Doing the right thing: For me, this is “Integrity”. During the past 5-6 years that I’ve been working in the real world, I’ve seen and worked with so many different versions of two-faced and dishonest professionals. And to be really honest, I was one of those people time to time - who wasn’t? I really like the definition of the word integrity “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished” because it really speaks to the core of what integrity is all about, which is being “whole” and not having another personality or agenda besides the one that you “are”.
Fearless(ness). I think Fearlessness goes hand in hand with Courageousness except that Fearlessness speaks more to breaking out of the mental chain we are bound by in our daily lives. I think a successful fearlessness becomes a genuine Courageousness, which will guide you to take things to the next level.
Heart (for people). If one was just to be doing the right thing with fearlessness, you can easily be successful as it can just become a simple formula one can follow everyday. Without a genuine heart for people, life would be just black and white. But WITH a genuine heart, I think integrity and fearlessness can really shine as it should and create such synergy that would really take your leadership to the next level.
Conclusion..? I have no idea where this blog is going as I mentioned in my first post, which is the beauty for me right now. I think I have a marketing related post in my next draft so I guess that is where I am going next!
Thanks to the inspiring conversation I had with my friend this past weekend, I’ve decided to “just put my stuff out there” on this blog. I hope to make a conscious effort not to use this as a promotional tool for my personal brand. I’d like for this to be more as a public thought collecting space for me. Working in my profession, I try to give the best advice to people, but when it comes to my own personal thoughts and strategies, I lack completely in every way and I hope to change this soon by taking this first step.
Here, you will find no fancy tumblr themes, alt tags, or even a google tracking code (yet) - just pure thoughts that comes through my head without any hesitation as I hope to create bigger thoughts and “to think the unthinkable”.