Now that life has settled a bit, I’ve had some time to process my last few days. I spent March 2-4 in Phoenix, Arizona, for the ICON conference hosted by Infusionsoft, our automated marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) software. Going to the conference without any compadres from SkEye was a bit daunting and overwhelming. Not knowing what to expect, I armed myself with an extra stack of business cards and full batteries in my Macbook and phone for taking copious amounts of notes.
Soon, I realized that Infusionsoft is more than just a software provider, they’re a tool and small business success agent. The conference was aimed at helping small businesses take themselves to the next level, whether through improved confidence, leadership training, software-usage improvement, management skills, branding, networking, and so many more!
Five things I learned from ICON 2016.
1. Don’t let crazy in the door.
Dave Ramsey gave a breakout session on hiring and firing. One of his key points on hiring was “Don’t let crazy in the door.” He said that it’s harder to get rid of a toxic employee than to not hire him/her in the first place. His hiring process is incredibly lengthy and thorough. It inspired us to go deeper in our internship hiring process and ask non-traditional questions that allow us to better get to know the applicants.
2. The “buyer journey” of a client is like a romantic relationship.
Carey Ballard, director of content marketing at Infusionsoft, shared the analogy of how a sales pipeline should be thought of in a more personal way, like a romantic, dating relationship.
- Awareness (catch a person’s eye)
- Interest (chat a bit, have a connection)
- Learn (get their number)
- Justify (figure out if you like each other)
- Purchase (put a ring on it)
And as silly as it sounds, let’s just be honest, most of us are much more willing to become a loyal customer if we feel like we’re being “wooed.” As consumers, we want to feel like a business wants more than just our money, they want a continued relationship that provides value to both parties. So business owners, I challenge you to examine your process, are you fostering a relationship with customers?
3. Gary Vaynerchuk.
Social media marketing guru. I hadn’t heard much of him before I sat down for his keynote. But now I’m a convert…and then some. Chris and Maggie have even listened to/read his latest book, #AskGaryVee. Entrepreneurs: Look. Him. Up.
4. Sales Pitch Timing.
Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything gave a keynote reminding the fundamentals of selling. These days, too many people are spending too much time developing rapport and features, losing attention when it’s the important “ask” happens. By the time that a sales conversation gets around to needing to overcome objectives, you’ve lost the attention and focus.
5. Branding that Sells.
A client-business relationship can be equated to a bank account. Branding is like making deposits into that relational equity account; selling is making withdrawals. It’s not a bad thing to sell, but it needs to be done once enough relational equity has been built. Since we’re creative-minded people, we like to build our relational equity through branding videos and content. The following are a couple methods to build those “bank accounts.”
Make ‘em laugh. If you can make them laugh, they’ll remember you, and it will build relational equity. Question: Can you laugh at yourself? If you’re willing to do it, you can be funny.
Make ‘em cry. This is difficult to do well, but if you can cause someone to have an emotional response, it can be hugely effective.
Make ‘em feel a part of something. Do your customers know what you believe? Do your customers know where you stand?