Archive for May, 2009

Why Help Other People

holdingbulbsmallI believe that the best way to succeed in life, and business, is to help other people.  A life built around helping others will yield not just the joys of relationships, but also the sweet success of achieving your own goals.  Here are just four of the reasons I choose to live my life by focusing on helping other people:

  1. The Principle of Give and Take – The best way to motivate someone to help you has always been to help them first. Help someone 20 times and they will have a healthy desire to return the favor. This basic principal allows us to understand the power of living a life centered on helping others.
  2. The Power of Friendship and a Strong Network – Most people recognize that it is people (both personal and professional) that lead to the greatest successes in life. Helping others builds a foundation for new relationships and opens the door of communication that can lead to mutually beneficial relationships.
  3. A Historic Perspective – Without question an individual that has left one of the greatest impacts on the world was a carpenter’s son from 2000+ years ago who lived his life to help other people. While many people differ on who Jesus was, everyone agrees that his life has had unprecedented impact. He spoke about this philosophy by stating that you should “love your neighbor as yourself.”
  4. A Life Worth Living – Finally, even if I am wrong I note that I will have lived a life worth living, with a legacy that I will be proud of. We will all know when I turn 80 how successful this approach is, but till then I figure I am living a life that has purpose, meaning, and one that my three children will be proud of when I am gone.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to send me an e-mail or to contact me though the ‘About the Author’ Tab.

Tim Klabunde

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The Secret to Marketing Campaigns

rainmakerThe following article written by Tim Klabunde was published in the May edition of A/E Rainmaker, a PSMJ Resources publication.

By the time Mark sent me an e-mail, he was already beyond frustrated after yet another failed marketing campaign. In the past several months, he had developed an ineffective postcard mailing, wasted time with a series of cold calls to potential clients, and spent hundreds of dollars on a web site optimization that did not bring in a single project. Everything that Mark had done had been part of successful marketing campaigns at other companies, so why wasn’t it effective at his? As we spoke, it became clear that Mark was failing to leverage the rule of multiplicity. That is, you must combine marketing activities to multiply their effectiveness.

Hit rates and multiplicity

To understand multiplicity, you must first understand hit rates. Everything you do in marketing has a hit rate; that is, the number of desired responses you receive as a result of your efforts. For example, postcard mailings result in three to six return phone calls for every 1,000 cards mailed, or a 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent hit rate. Likewise, true cold calls result in two to five future direct communications for every 100 phone calls, or a 2 percent to 5 percent hit rate. While these hit rates can be used as the basis for marketing campaigns, there is a simple way to rapidly increase these hit rates and build a strong return on investment for your marketing dollars.

The rule of multiplicity

The key to building a successful marketing campaign is to combine several approaches together with a concentrated group of people. Multiplicity is the concept that combining related marketing activities together will multiply your hit rates and ultimately the effectiveness of your marketing program through the saturation of your target market.

How multiplicity works

When you combine a series of events, you effectively multiply the hit rates together (2 x 3 x 4 = 24 percent hit rate), instead of simply sending out independent campaigns that result in adding your effectiveness together (2 + 3 + 4 = 9 percent). In Mark’s case, he could have initiated the same postcard mailing to a select group of prospects, followed with a letter containing a company introduction, e-mailed a link of helpful information he had posted on his web site, and then initiated a warm call to the prospect. By using this combined approach, Mark would be able to greatly increase the effectiveness of his marketing campaigns.

Building your marketing campaign

When you start a new marketing campaign, look at your objective, then identify the resources that you have available: the communication channels you can use, the time you have to deliver results, and your budget. With these parameters in mind, develop a marketing campaign that closely associates key marketing activities together with a consistent message. It is important to do this with a concentrated group of people, making changes and refining the process as you go to develop the best approach for your company and objective.

Overcoming failure

In Mark’s case, it was easier to just send out a postcard campaign and sit back to wait for the calls to roll in, but realistically, we all know that building our companies is harder than mailing a little piece of paper. Multiplicity is used by the best marketers in the world for one main reason – it works! Utilize the rule of multiplicity the next time you have a marketing objective to attain, and I promise that you will never go back to one-off marketing.

Online Networking and Real Relationships

dcdcn

Back in November, 2008 the Design and Construction Network (DCN) started with a single goal of turning online networking into real relationships. Since that time I have shared with you this ongoing case study through Cofebuz in hopes that we all might learn how to better leverage online networking sites to achieve the goal of fostering real business relationships.

Needless to say, the past seven weeks have beyond exceeded my expectations for the DCN. Here are just some of the highlights:

  1. The network has grown from 480 members to over 1100 members nationally
  2. For our second Happy Hour we had to close down a restaurant in Arlington Virginia to the general public as 323 members converged to attend, representing over 200+ design and construction firms.
  3. Members of the network have found new ways to connect in person, including the creation of a Design and Construction Network team that will be competing at the 2009 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Real Estate Games! (www.realestategames.org)
  4. In the last several days members have proactively initiated the establishment of a Twitter group for anyone in the industry that is looking to connect via Twitter. (http://twittgroups.com/group/designconstructi)

The question people always ask is “where do you go from here?” The answer is simple and exciting: we are going to continue to focus on helping others develop relationships in the industry. To achieve this goal we are working to roll out some incredible changes. I am personally most excited about a new partnership that is unfolding which will help everyone in the network, not just those that are local to one of our Happy Hour locations.

In the next several weeks I will be making this new partnership public, but until then let me encourage you to think about the time you spend networking online. Are you truly building relationships, or just collecting links?

Tim Klabunde

If you would like to join the Design and Construction Network just use this link and click “Join Now.” http://www.linkedin.com/groupInvitation?gid=926787

Stop associating Networking with Sales

tree-in-desertI believe that introverts and extroverts alike have the ability to network. I also believe that many people have never learned how to be successful at networking because they have been taught to incorrectly associate networking with sales. More than ever, the articles and seminars on networking are full of information regarding elevator pitches, how to work a room, and closing the sale. The problem is that all of these items miss the mark on the primary focus of networking: relationship development.

I was honored to reconnect with Rob Comet and Ambur Willis of BCWH Architects over the past several weeks in preparation for a private webinar on Networking that I presented to their firm on Friday. During our many conversations I was impressed with BCWH’s dedication to the relationships that their employees have with each other, clients, and others in the industry. Preparing his company for the road ahead, Ron clearly told his staff prior to the start of the program that BCWH was more interested in people than immediate sales, a philosophy that I wholly agree with.

Not everyone can sell, but everyone can Network

Over your career you have probably met dozens of people that can really sell. They are generally extroverts that have learned the art of understanding the only two things that people buy: Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings. While these people are amazing at what they do, I would argue that the vast majority of corporate revenue in the world comes from something far more powerful, relationships. This is especially true in the services industry where our primary product is the knowledge and capability of people.

Your Relationships

What about you, are you focusing on the sale or the relationships? If you are focusing on the former let me encourage you to evaluate relationships as a better approach to long-term success.