Marketing Generosity

“Perhaps the most important lesson in business I’ve learned in the past few years is that, when it comes to marketing, it is not what you take, but what you give, that counts the most.”
Mark Buckshon
Construction News and Report

If you have been reading this blog for the past year, or if you have attended my seminars on Networking or building a Rainmaking Culture, you have probably noticed that the key to being successful in business and marketing is giving, not getting. In his recent posting Marketing Generosity, Mark Buckshon writes about some of the practical ways you can build success by leveraging this age-old marketing technique.

Why it Works
If you ever wondered why focusing on others instead of yourself is such a powerful approach, there is a simple answer: Selfless giving is the foundation for relationships. It builds trust and allows others to know that everything you do isn’t centered on the almighty dollar. Mark’s posting is not only worth reading, it is worth taking the time to think about what you are doing to market generously.

Google PageRank: How Do You Rank?

Ever wonder what Google thinks about your website? Ever want to compare your website’s ranking to that of your competitors? The secret to knowing your website’s ranking on the World Wide Web (at least in the eyes of the world’s largest search engine) is your website’s PageRank.

The description of a PageRank according to Google
“PageRank reflects our (Google’s) view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value.”

If you didn’t catch that, here is the layman’s version: Websites with a higher PageRank (a value between 1 and 10) will be more prominent in Google search results while websites with a lower PageRank will be lower in Google search results.

Find Your Google PageRank
Two websites that you can use to find your Google PageRank are FindMyPageRank.info and PRChecker.info. Please note that their servers often get slowed down so you may have to try a couple of times. I have listed several websites below with their PageRanks, including this one, to give you a better sense of how you are doing. A better measure of how you are doing is to look-up your competitors’ PageRanks and see how you are doing in comparison.

PageRank 10: www.google.com
PageRank 8: www.aol.com
PageRank 7: www.raytheon.com
PageRank 5: www.smps.org 
PageRank 4: www.cofebuz.com 
PageRank 2: www.midatlanticlocating.com
PageRank 0: www.xcskiindiana.com/

Increasing your PageRank
The last sentence in the quote from Google above points to the easiest way to can increase your PageRank: get websites with higher PageRanks to link to your website. In other words, it is not the number of links you have (although that doesn’t hurt), it is the PageRank of the pages that link to your site that helps move you up to the next PageRank. This is truly the tip of the iceberg in search engine optimization, but it is a great tool to help you understand where you are today, and how to improve your search engine results.

Note: PageRankTMis a registered trademark of Google Inc.

Building a Company of Rainmakers

When I first heard the term “Rainmaking” used as an euphemism for bringing business in the door I immediately thought of someone banging on a drum and dancing with the hope of producing rain. Just as I am skeptical of the success of a tribesman accomplishing this feat, so are many of our employers and coworkers as they wonder how the elite 5% of our companies are successful at bringing work in the door everyday. In order to truly build a company of rainmakers we have to breakdown this skepticism with knowledge, and then help others in our companies to truly embrace the rainmaking process.

Drums and Dancing don’t make a Rainmaker, but Networking does
As we discussed during my seminar on this topic at Build Business 2008, networking is the universal key to “making it rain” in business.  This is because everyone, even introverts, can be successful at building strong networks. The key to networking is selflessly and continuously helping other people. By focusing on helping other people we build mutually beneficial relationships where others want to help us in return. Over time these relationships develop into a strong network of people that are continually working to help us succeed. When we apply this process consistently, we find that our network is regularly providing us with leads and information that yield new work.  This is the process that turns someone into a Rainmaker.

Transforming Corporate Culture
Once we have demystified the art of networking we can then walk through the four steps of changing corporate culture: 1) Educating and Encouraging, 2) Defining Expectations, 3) Acknowledging and Celebrating Success, and finally, 4) Rewarding Success. As we follow this process we will find that building a corporate culture that embraces rainmaking is a choice rather than an accident.

Build Business 2008: Wrap-up

This years SMPS Build Business conference was nothing short of great: great friends, great information, and great fun. Some of my personal highlights included speaking at CPSM day on Wednesday on Building a Company of Rainmakers, celebrating with friends at this year’s awards gala, and finally meeting Randy Pollock, Mark Buckshon, and Mel Lester in person. I would like to say a special thanks to Kevin Doyle who worked with me at length to make certain everything went smoothly on CPSM day.  Also, extra thanks to Ron Worth, Lisa Bowman, Michele Santiago, Mark DellaPietra, Bill Scott, Christine Chirichella and the rest of the SMPS National staff that made Build Business such a great success. I have enjoyed getting to know so many of the SMPS staff and I am nothing less than impressed at the incredible job they have done as SMPS continues to grow.

Later this week I will post a follow-up to Building a Company of Rainmakers for those of you that are now apart of this blog’s network after attending Wednesday’s seminar. Also check out the PSMJ Resources Blog that was also active during Build Business this year for additional follow-up from the conference.  Thanks for the great coverage Ed!

Thank you again SMPS, I look forward to seeing all of you next year in Las Vegas for Build Business 2009!

Build Business 2008: You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader

You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone at Any Level Can Make a Positive Difference

Speaker: Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE
Bestselling author of The Fred Factor and You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader

Favorite Quotes from the Session
“Marketing creates demand, not a sale”
“Having a title does not make you a leader”

Key Takeaways

  • Leadership is Positive Influence
  • Leaders can be identified by their ability to inspire others to be better
  • A leaders purpose is to grow people

Six (6) Skills of Leadership

  1. Leadership begins with Self Mastery. You must first be an example before you can lead others.  Everything you do promotes or pollutes. Take responsibility for your own actions.
  2. Focus your time and expertise on your most valuable activities. Then focus your team’s time and expertise on the most valuable activities. Create shared focus.
  3. Leaders have power with people, not over people
  4. Managers tell people what to do; Leaders sell people on doing it.
  5. Your success is based on your execution. Say what you are going to do, and do what you say.
  6. Leaders focus more on what they give than on what they get.

Your Legacy will be what you give, not what you get.

Mark provided the following link to conference attendees to learn more:
http://www.marksanborn.com/buildbusiness

Build Business 2008: Marketing the Experience

Marketing the Experience

Speaker: Mel Lester – The Business Edge

Favorite Quote from the Session:
“Marketing should be centered on providing value to potential clients, not inward focused or ‘selling'”

Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on the client, not yourself
  2. Our goal should be to make every encounter with a client or potential client a positive experience
  3. Service is delivering great experiences to the client
  4. The best way to sell is to serve
  5. Marketing should be centered on providing value to potential clients
  6. Don’t underestimate the impact of “service centered” marketing
  7. Service centered selling is focusing on providing value to the client before they ever hire you
  8. Time is your client’s most precious resource, don’t waste it!
  9. Bring something of value to every meeting (including sales meeting) with a existing or potential client
  10. Demonstrate your service, don’t just sell your service

Build Business 2008: How to Shift Perceptions Through Re-branding

How to Shift Perceptions Through Re-branding: A Case Study

Speaker: Howard Wolff, FSMPS – WATG

Favorite Quote from the Session
“Your brand is not what you say it is, it is what they say it is.”

Key Takeaways
Your brand is the perception, over time, of what other people think of your company

The Re-branding Process:

  1. Discovery Phase – Using surveys to learn who your clients and others in the industry think you are. Research your competitors and identify what others in the industry think of them. 
  2. Brand Core – Who do you want to be? Identify your mission, vision, values, and guiding principles.
  3. Invitation – Open the re-branding process to all groups in the company, including shareholders, satellite offices, corporate staff, and employees.
  4. Brand Strategy – How are you going to shift perceptions?
  5. Visual Identity – Company name, logo, colors, etc…
  6. Internal Alignment – Ensure the leadership aligns with the new brand, educate everyone in the company on who the company is going to be in the market.
  7. Launch! – Tell the world, show the world, ensure that clients experience your brand 
  8. Aligned Organization – Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce

Build Business 2008: Navigating Uncertain Times

Navigating Uncertain Times: An Executive Briefing on What to Do Now

Speakers:
Randy Pollock, FSMPS – Walter P Moore
Praful Kulkarni, AIA – GKK Corporation
Monica Bell – HDR/CUH2A
Bill Viehman – Perkins + Will
Greg Nook – JE Dunn Construction
(note: speaker names were not provided in the program so I pulled them from Google searches. As a result this information may not be perfect)

Favorite Quote from the Session
“Even optimists have to come to grips with uncertain market conditions.”

Key Takeaways

  1. The speakers were generally optimistic on the market. Overall the feeling was a strong institutional/public sector market, and a weak residential market.  Only limited comments were made on the retail and commercial markets.
  2. In every market condition it is imperative that firms ‘follow the money.’  Research the market to identify future growth sectors and then work to lead in those sectors.
  3. Relationships must be the focus to succeed in this (and every) market.
  4. Prepare for the upturn that is coming through market positioning. Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities, be nimble and ready to react, anticipate the market.
  5. Look to the future and identify the trends that will dictate success: energy crisis, economic changes, and cultural changes are all important to explore.
  6. We are becoming an expertise driven industry; clients are beginning to expect the “A” team on every project.
  7. Trust and Shared Values are two of the top reasons that clients are hiring firms. Clients are looking for more than great design, they are looking for values in the companies that serve them.
  8. Politics: There was a debatable belief that the upcoming elections will not have a major impact on the industry post-election.
  9. Public Private Partnerships (P3) are a wave of the future for the A/E industry.  They represent a new change in how clients want projects to be managed.
  10. Marketing needs to intersect with human resources to develop programs that focus on hiring a new generation of leaders.
  11. Never stop marketing. Firms that do quickly find their backlogs depleted.
  12. Embrace change – with volatility comes opportunity.

Build Business 2008: The Medici Effect

The Medici Effect
Groundbreaking Innovation at the Intersection of Disciplines and Cultures

Speaker: Frank Johnson
Bestselling author of The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Ideas at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, & Cultures.

Favorite Quote from the session
“If you always look at the same places you will always come up with the same ideas.”

Key Takeaways
Diversity Drives Innovation
The world is changing quickly so we must innovate to survive
Intersections of diverse ideas, people, concepts, etc… are the best places for innovation

Keys to Transform:
1. Find inspiration from fields or cultures other than your own… then dare to explore the connections
2. Staff for Innovation
     – Surround yourself with people that are different than yourself
     – Go to different people for advise
     – Hire people from outside your industry
3. Leverage Existing Diversity
     – Actively try to find the connections between existing knowledge bases
4. Unique prospectives do not automatically happen
     – You must place team members in new circumstances and in new places to get new innovations
5. Get ideas from people in other industries
6. Diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams… but they need more time to ramp-up
7. ACT! Try as many ideas as you can.  Many will fail, but some will succeed
8. Use diversity to make connections that yield success. 

Someone is going to innovate and make the connections, why not you?

Build Business 2008: Lead Tracking and Client Relationship Management – Group 3

Group 3 Members:

Tim Klabunde – William H. Gordon Associates – Moderator

Carie Dunn, CPSM – Trivers Associates

Denise Ann Balko, CPSM – BBC&M Engineering

Diane Hathcoat, CPSM – BAMO

Dinah Layton, CPSM – SLATERPAULL Architects

Elizabeth Connolly, CPSM – TOWILL

James Byrnes, CPSM – Erdman Anthony

Jennifer Ganley, CPSM – ARUP

Jessica McGaa, CPSM – Perkins + Will

Joanmarie Eggert, CPSM – Kennedy/Jenks Consultants

Joy Woo, CPSM – EDAW/AECOM

Karen Carr, CPSM – Stafford King Wiese

Lee Jarboe, CPSM – McCarthy

Marisa Verga, CPSM – Barton Malow

Mary Fogle, CPSM – Structural Engineering Services

Phyllis Boyea, CPSM – Rolf Jensen & Associates

Sean Lewis, CPSM – Absher Construction Company

Stacey Ho, MBA, CPSM – Kennedy/Jenks Consultants

Suvi Caton, CPSM – Adolfson & Peterson Construction

 

Session Overview:

Regularly turning leads into work is one of the most important actions that a company takes to solidify its future workloads and establish its growth path. Discussions centered on best practices and lessons learned on managing the lead tracking and relationship process through client relationship management systems.  Each of the three groups (Posted separately here) developed a list of the ‘Top 10 Keys to Managing Leads.”  That list for this group is provided below:
Top 10 Keys to Managing Leads
  1. Link all of your systems together (Marketing, Accounting, and HR)
  2. Develop Standards, Processes, and Procedures
  3. Don’t just train users how to use the system, but also train them about the purposes of the system (Build Buy-in)
  4. Develop a strong project close-out process that updates the data upon project completion
  5. Build accountability to the system by linking it with things that must be done
  6. Limit projects that you develop project write-ups about. One way to do this is to choose a fee amount for projects that won’t be entered into the system.
  7. Have a ‘sync’ feature between your CRM and individuals Microsoft Outlook contacts
  8. Match-Key software can be used to identify duplicate entries in your CRM
  9. Build a strong link between users in Marketing, Accounting, and HR
  10. Pay the extra money for 1st class mail so you can identify errors in your client information with every mailing.
  11. BONUS: Having buy-in from the top of an organization is needed for successful implementation