Category Archives: Marketing

Networking or building relationships

I really hate the whole networking thing. I hate going to events and shoving cards into as many hands as I can. (Although, I do kinda like taking the cards home and writing postcards to the people I met. But more and more people don’t bother to include street addresses. So that just frustrates me.)

In the fall I took the assessment associated with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths.

One of my top five strengths is “Relator.” That means I prefer spending time with people I already know. I’m not shy. I don’t dislike meeting new people. But mostly I prefer to build relationships. I want to understand the dreams and goals, fears and pleasures of the people I know.

To me, relationships only have value if they’re genuine. I have a very low tolerance for political games and BS. I know there is a risk to say this out loud. (And perhaps more of one to publish it on the web where it will live forever. There goes my shot at a supreme court judgeship!)

I know there is a risk involved in starting my kind of relationships with people. At the outset, I can never know if the other person is on the same page as me. Maybe I’ll put a lot into the relationship and find out that the other person just wants something from me – not necessarily a sharing thing. But when the connection works, it’s a beautiful thing.

Before I knew about this relator part of me, I thought I was some how flawed because I had such a hard time making myself attend more networking events and shoving more cards into more people’s hands. But now I’m thinking, as a relator, I have to find other ways to connect to new people.

I stumbled on this post in the blog, Addicted to the Hustle, written by Fredd Kambo

I don’t bother “networking” anymore, instead, I try to build relationships with people I find interesting, and who I think are doing interesting things. And I make it my mission to help them in any way I can to achieve their mission. I find this much more satisfying, much more honorable, and much more fun. And this is the cool thing about people….When you help them out in this way, they help you out. Not because it’s a tit for tat deal, but because both parties are engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship that extends beyond the next favor.

Hey, I was a math major, I can put two and two together

I add Fredd’s idea to what I’ve learned from Ellen Bristol at the Bristol Strategy Group about Selling the Smart Way® and finding my “ideal client.” And I’m thinking I just have to get more clear about just who are the people I really want to work with. When I know who they are it should be easier to find them. Personally, I’d rather talk to four people and get three new clients than groaning under the prospect of having to talk to 100 people in order to find 5. (Besides, I have ADHD. I’ll forget the plan way before I hit 32 contacts)

So maybe I’ll just put it out here:

  • I love to work with people who own their own companies. There is so much happening so quickly when you’re the top dog. If you’re not careful you’ll miss enjoying the ride on that pony you started down the mountain.
  • I “get” IT types and engineers and they fascinate me. Maybe because they are so much about “fixing things” and that feels like a commitment to progress. I love to work with other coaches who get the process.
  • I want people who will commit to at least three months of work and then keep going. I don’t really care what the schedule of appointments is, but I love it when it’s consistent. It’s really a rush for me when clients come to the call having thought about what they said the last time they’d do by this time, and then have made some progress on that… even just a little.
  • I don’t like to feel like I’m taking my client’s last dollar. I don’t like working with people who always seem to know whose fault it is that their in a certain position, who never take responsibility for their own situation. (You might need therapy) I don’t write resumes, but I will look at them and give you my opinion of you from the page. I’m not a professional organizer. I know some I can recommend. I can talk to you about how your stuff is working for, or against you, and help you decide what you really want to do with the stuff. But I’m probably not going to sit on the floor with you while you go through boxes of files.
  • But most of all: I love people with too many ideas — people who can always think of another way to do something are never boring. Sometimes I have to hang on tight to the string of their kite as they soar to new heights and see new sights. (OK, maybe that was a really lame attempt at literary something or other, but you get the idea.) I love to help work out the details of that plan when they come back down to earth.

Call me if you’re ready for a coach. Let’s see if I’m the one for you right now.

Call me if you were a client and are ready, or thinking about coming back. I love connecting with old friends.

Call me if you want more information. I’m happy to be a resource.
And if you’re working on some marketing plan of your own, just who are your ideal clients? Can you name them? Can you figure out how to get more? Want some help?

Call me or send me a note.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


Signature Files for Advertising

In my continuing rant on the simple things of business, I wrote a piece for the ADHD Coaches Organization about using a signature file, also called a sig file — those short couple of lines at the end of your emails that tell people who you are and a pass on a tiny bit of advertising about your business.

From the article:

It should not be more than about seven to ten lines long. It should contain at least your full name with appropriate credentials, your business name, your web site address and your phone number. I also include my street address and my email address – just in case the body of my email is detached from the header (the top part of an email that includes the to/from info).

If you send a joke to your mother and she sends it on, then your info will follow with it. I can’t tell you how many random emails I’ve gotten from people looking for a coach who found out about me because of those couple lines of text at the end of an email they read someplace — someplace in which I was not particularly trying to advertise!

You can have different sig files for different kinds of correspondence. I have one for emails about the ACO (ADHD Coaches Organization), one for the work I do with our local CHADD chapter.

Read the full article here.

And, just FYI, here’s the file I use most often:

Kerch McConlogue, CPCC, PCC
              Clients with too many ideas are my passion!
Map the Future
701 Hunting Place
Baltimore, MD 21229

VOICE:        410.233.3274

Who the heck IS*

It has generally bugged me when otherwise seemingly professional business people use an email address with someone else’s domain name. If you actually WORK for AOL or MSN or even GOOGLE, then, even if you think the address is cheesy, you’re sorta stuck with it.

But people with their own businesses ought to have an address that encourages correspondents to think of them in that professional manner. The email address you first got when you were 12 (something like flowerchild2456@hotmail*) is probably no longer appropriate if you own, say, a private investigating business. I know Lynn Levy has another address, but the published one uses her domain name. Way to go Lynn.

I had generally considered people who use free addresses to be somehow not quite “up on the low down,” if you know what I mean.* just doesn’t quite ring true. I mean how famous can you be? And if you’re just trying to be famous, seems to me you’d want something to set you apart from the 63bagillion people who use AOL or gmail or, in my opinion even worse, the address that comes from your internet provider — which, you may remember, is what AOL was back in the day.

Lena West, a guest blogger over at Lip-Sticking: Smart Marketing to Women OnLine made a great point yesterday when she said:

If you think AOL/Yahoo/MSN or any of these other companies need your help in advertising their companies, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

HA! You’re advertising AOL/Yahoo/MSN! You think they need YOUR money? Well, thank you very much. See my priority #2. People who want to give me money… I’m sure they’re all happy to take your money. But do you choose to give it? Or would you rather keep it yourself.

I hadn’t actually thought about using an AOL address as advertising for someone else. I just figured people who did it were just lazy. Or worse, in my opinion, not very smart — especially for a business owner!

Lena pointed us over to Seth Godin’s post on the topic. He calls people who use free email addresses, “Lazy people in a hurry.” But guess what?! (I am so disappointed) Seth Godin, Marketing Guru Extraordinaire, has a typepad address — — a free blogging platform. Oh the hypocrisy of it all!

Nevertheless, even your parents told you, “Do as I say and not as I do.” You lived to learn from them and try something new.

So get yourself your own domain name and your own email address. You can do it thru Get a domain name and get an address. If you can’t figure out how to change your in-house system, set the new address to forward all mail to the address you have now — If you can’t figure out how to maneuver thru the godaddy site, get a high school kid to help you. It’s just not that hard.

PS. GoDaddy will offer you all kinds of extra “features” like private registration which keeps your street address and name private from people who would like to know who you really are. You really don’t get much from paying extra for a private registration. Besides that, what if you have a great name but go out of business? Wouldn’t you like someone to find you if they want to PAY YOU MONEY for your domain name?

If you publish the address, and of course you’ll do that, right? I mean what’s the point if you don’t? You want business, right? Private registration keeps people from finding your street address, but, in my opinion, not much more. And for goodness sakes, even the government has your street address, so how safe can that information be?

* These email address are PFA (Plucked from air) — Made up. I apologize to who ever might actually HAVE these addresses. Also, I send my sincere condolences.

What trade show exhibitors can learn from craftsmen

I’ve just returned from St Louis, MO and the ICF conference, that’s the giant gathering of professional coaches from around the world. It’s a time for some serious meet and greet and education. It was my first time there so, I was heavier on the meet than the greet, but still it was an experience. I was struck most (well, as I think about in now) by the exhibit hall. OK, the hall didn’t actually hit me and no one IN the hall hit me. But it was a sort of aha! moment

I spent 20 years of my life making money out of a 10×10 booth. At the time, I mistakenly believed that those craft shows weren’t really the same as trade shows. Even the big wholesale craft markets in which I participated late in my career seemed less-than the (grunt, grunt) Iron and Steel Engineers’ gatherings.

But I’ve changed my mind. The midsized exhibit-hall companies that are trying to sell to small businesses could learn a lot from a craft show.

I noticed some serious mistakes but I’ll start with this one because it was so prevalent:

Company X spent a lot of money on a professional sign that blasts the name of their company across the back of the display. Great! That way people walking down the aisle can find you if the place is packed. But usually … it isn’t. (Well, at CRAFT shows, it might be. But not in other exhibit halls.) That kind of display presumes that I already know what you do and can’t wait to buy some.

I don’t really want to make anyone in particular mad, so I’m going to make this up: Suppose the sign said GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY in giant letters across the back of the booth. Under that was the tag line that says: “We bring good things to life.”

But think for a minute, if GE didn’t already have such a recognizable brand, would you have any idea what they’d be selling or why you might need it? Actually even if it WERE GE, would you expect to buy financial services? (Right there on their website it says they sell financial services. Who knew?)

So I look at those big signs across the back of the booth and because I don’t even know what they are selling, I walk on by. Ooops, I might really need financial services. But they don’t get a chance to tell me about it because their display didn’t tell me anything I needed to know.

Here’s the message: In the ICF hall there were sales offered to end users — like books or training. But other sales were offered to coaches, but would ultimately be used by the client. Way too many exhibitors didn’t make that clear. They assumed that whoever walked down the aisle was a potential customer but they were unclear about the reasons that any one customer would use the product.

Look, if you want to sell me something, you have less than 10 seconds to grab my attention and start your story. TEN SECONDS … OK, that’s not figured out by any scientific research, but from 20 years of noticing people who pass by a 10×10 display booth. I’m not saying exhibitors should be accosting visitors in the aisle. But they should figure out how to connect simply. (By they way, standing behind a table makes that nearly impossible.)

So: Exhibitors need a short sentence that explains exactly what they’re selling and why the customer needs it. Back in my craft days, I sold painted papercuttings. At the time, they were not very common, so I had to explain what the customers were looking at and how they were made. It was an educational process. People don’t often buy what they don’t understand. But if the story is a good one, they can be convinced. Or they really will “come back later.”

So here are the tips for people who sell stuff from booths:

  • Go to a craft show, the bigger the better. Find a booth that seems like the stuff is just flying off the shelves. Stand close enough so you can hear what the craftsman is saying. I guarantee, those items are not really selling themselves!
  • Then figure out who should buy your product. What can they can do with it and under what circumstances?
  • Be able to explain that in about 3 sentences. At the ICF conference I liked this line from CoachTrack Practice Management software (although it was buried in the presentation): “You can keep track of your customers with this software. If you’ve been managing alright up til now, what would happen to your system if you suddenly had twice as many clients?” Hmm.. now THAT gives me pause.
  • WRITE DOWN your sentences so you can be sure you like them. Make them normal language, not marketing speak. People don’t ever want to talk to marketers. Then repeat those lines over and over, to yourself, until they roll off your tongue without even thinking. Yep, it’s spiel. YES, this will be boring to you. But NOT to your customer who will only hear it once.

Bonus tip:

Invent an opening sentence. If it is a question the visitor should be most inclined to answer “yes.” For example: Exhibitor says, “Can I help you?” Customer replies, “No.” Bad choice. Once the customer says no it’s hard to engage them in further conversation and you are lost. So how about at least “Are you enjoying the show?” “Yes.” Much better choice.
Now find a yes question you can ask your customers.

If you want me to thank you, give me your address.

I’m on a roll here with things that bug me.
Here’s another one.
… people who don’t put their physical address on their business cards.

I figure this is some kind of hedge against random people showing up at your home. It must be your home you’re protecting, otherwise, why hide the address?

Before I was a coach, I was an artist. I made painted papercuttings and sold them to craftshops across the country and at craft fairs up and down the east coast. I always had my street address on those cards.. and by the way, I’ve always worked from home.

Back in the day, there was no internet open to the general public. So your phone number and address were the only way clients might find a professional.

In almost 30 years, I never had a person randomly show up on my doorstep. But in the ten years since I have more or less retired from that business, I’ve had a pretty fair number of people call or write because they kept my business card and now, years after we met, they want to buy something or ask about something. What kind of connection might THAT be worth?

Sometimes they want something I still have around. Sometimes they want something I could make up relatively easily. And it always connects me to someone I once met.

Connection is a very nice thing.

But over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten way too many cards with no physical address. Miserable dictu — that’s Latin, means “terrible to say”.. or as I recall anyway — most of the cards I get without addresses are from women. HMMM, Do I think you are professional? Or scared of the public?

Why does it matter to me?
When I meet new people, I like to drop them a note and make another connection after that initial hand shake. Perhaps, (“Although it’s hard to believe,” she said smiling) I didn’t make a big enough impression so they don’t recognize my email address.

Perhaps a hundred people will be sending that person an email. So why bother to open mine?

I like to send post cards. My own personal post card, with my logo, address, tag line, etc. It also has a place for a HAND WRITTEN NOTE! Imagine! And I like to write with a fountain pen! Think my note will stand out? You bet.
Think you’ll get one, if I don’t have your address? Nope.

Hey, try this, send me a note with your street address, and I’ll send you a post card!
And, hey, if you’re doing it right, your street address is already in your signature file so you only have to click that button and we’re good to go!

I’m waiting to hear from you.