Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In One Minute, What Happens On The Internet?

Consider this: Every minute of every day, staggering amounts of data are being generated as consumers connect to, search for, watch, create, download, and shop for content.
Making sense of what all this data means is critical for the success of your company or brand.
So what are the 3.2 billion people who make up today's global internet population doing online?

Every minute:

  • YouTube users upload 300 hours of video, an increase from 72 hours a year ago
  • Netflix subscribers stream nearly 80,000 hours of video
  • Vine users view more than 1 million videos
  • BuzzFeed users watch more than 34,000 videos
  • Instagram users like more than 1.7 million photos
  • Snapchat users share nearly 300,000 snaps
  • Pinterest pinners pin nearly 10,000 images, up from 3,400 a year ago
Here are five more stats:
  • Facebook users Like more than 4.1 million posts
  • Twitter users tweet more than 347,000 times, up from 277,000 a year ago
  • Apple users download 51,000 apps, up slightly from 48,000 a year ago
  • Amazon sees more than 4,310 unique visitors
  • Uber passengers take nearly 700 rides
See all 15 statistics below:
ConnecTheDot-Every Minute of the Day

Monday, December 7, 2015

Are you a 'Risk-Taker'? Would you ask your clients this question?

To me, Rule #1 of Selling is to be crystal clear on your value differentiation. Unless you can clearly articulate the outcomes a client gets from using your product or service, it's nearly impossible to get them to change from the status quo.

Let me flashback to a situation that took me years to recognize.

At the time, I was selling consulting services. My own. I helped companies shrink time to revenue on new product/service introductions.

Specifically, I worked with the sales teams to focus on the right opportunities, rapidly create interest, get buy-in to the business case for change -- and close deals quicker.

I thought it was pretty compelling! Little did I know, I lacked metrics since my clients never benchmarked my approach to their old way of working -- which pretty much sucked.

I finally decided that I needed more data from my client.

I invited a client to lunch, telling him I had some important questions to ask. We went to a nice place. My treat of course.

After reminiscing for a while, I finally got up the gumption to ask the BIG question.

"Client," I said, "I'm trying to get a firm grasp on my business value -- the difference I make for my clients. Can you tell me what I'm doing for your business that makes you keep hiring me?"

ConnecTheDot Crazy Ones
"That's easy," he quickly responded.

"You make me see things differently."

"Can you be more explicit?" I asked.

"Nope," he said. "When I'm with you, I think things differently."

End of conversation. I was stymied. It was useless data. I couldn't imagine calling a prospective client and saying, "Hi. I'm Travis Rothstein. I help my clients think differently. Ready to meet?"

So I disregarded my clients message -- for years, actually. Perhaps I wasn't ready to appreciate it.

Now I totally get it -- and there's even data to support the approach I was using.


According to Forrester Research, you have a 74% chance of closing a deal if you're the 1st vendor to create a viable vision for the future.

That's what I was doing. I was using my value prop of "shortening time to revenue on new product launches" to set up a meeting.

In early conversations, I'd focus on what they were doing, their objectives, the challenges they faced and what they'd already tried.

Then, after a few more meetings, I'd bring them ideas on how to improve the process. They were too busy to think about it. They were just trying to get the new product out the door. I suggested ways to do it better, more effectively, faster.
I helped them see things differently.  I still do. It's probably my greatest asset -- one that I was totally blind to for decades.

ConnecTheDot simply does that for all our clients.  We help you see things differently, think differently, act differently and grow your business differently.

After all, if you’re not different you are the same.  Who wants to be the same when those that are different are the ones that change the world!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Start Strong - Finish Tough

Sometimes, when know that the end of a sprint or top of a hill is just 15 seconds away—so close that you can "see" it—I notice we do one of two things: “We” either slow down right away, coasting to the finish without much effort – OR – “We” buckle down and push on through the end with strength and heart. Which person are you?
Finish Strong - ConnecTheDot

When you lose a sale, do you give up for the rest of the week, or get back on track so that one slip up doesn't get in your way?

When life gets busy, do you skip your sales preparation entirely, or do you squeeze in whatever you can, even if it's only 10 or 15 minutes?

Finishing strong isn't that much different than any other challenge or goal in life. You have to decide that you want to do it, work hard even though resistance is working against you, and then follow through until you reach the top.

Two common phrases I reflect on during these times, "Give yourself a finish that you'll be proud of," and, "Finish just as strong as you started." And that's what I want to encourage you to do as you're facing the most difficult time today.

You will never regret choosing to work hard and climb to the top of that hill, no matter how challenging it may be or how much resistance is trying to hold you back. But you will regret giving up early, putting it off, and simply coasting to the finish line (which is a lot like backpedaling). In a race, a runner doesn't start to walk once the finish line is in sight ("Whew, I'm almost there, so I'll just relax now!"). That runner kicks it in and gives everything he or she has left until they cross that line.

So why should you treat your own goals any differently? Your personal finish line is no less important, and you owe it to yourself to get there without giving up. Use whatever effort you have left so that you, too, can finish out this quarter—that final hill—with a sprint to the finish. A finish you can be proud of.  A finish of victory!

Hail To Victory…here-here!

If your business needs a victory because you are losing every race against your competition then reach out to ConnecTheDot so we can help you start and finish strong!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3 Key 'Sales' Steps + Referrals = $

ConnecTheDot 3 Key Sales Steps + Referrals = $

I know you all have been in sales for different variations of time, but I did want to put in my two cents if I may here.  Sometimes it seems we get so focused on the number of sales we are “supposed to make” that we forget what gets us there.  Too many times we focus on the numbers rather than the actions.  To make clear the point I’m trying to make I’ll say it this way, the product doesn’t make the sale, the price doesn’t make the sale, the appointment with the customer makes the sale, if you can't get the appointment nothing else matters! 

The more (QUALITY) appointments you make the more sales you make and it’s that simple.

I still live by the same three rules each and every day that brought me loads of success:

1.      Break sales down by the numbers
2.      Give the customer a reason to buy
3.      Be persistent

I’ll break these down even further.

One: Sales need to be broken down by numbers, and I don’t mean the bottom line. 
Example: One sale is made for every 3 appointments.  3 appointments are made for every 6 decision makers you talk to.  6 decision makers are found for every 25 businesses you call on (walk in or telephone).

With this in mind if you want one sale a day, you need to visit 25 businesses a day to try to talk to the decision makers and complete 3 appointments.  Sounds like a lot, but keep in mind you are talking to 25 businesses for no more than about 5 minutes just to make the 3 appointments, so really your day wouldn’t be overwhelming.   Anyway, the numbers may not be exact, but from what I’ve seen and experienced one sale per 3 appointments is very doable with our products and services.

The reason I’m pointing this out to you is that sometimes we get so focused on the sale that we forget what gets us there. If you do this, the sales will naturally follow.

Two: Give the customer a reason to buy.  Simply put this means, you may be able to think of a hundred reasons why the product is a great product, but if none of those reasons are important to the customer, they don’t matter.  Selling is taking control, teaching, and tailoring the message (Become a Challenger), finding out what the customer needs figuring out the problems they face and offering a solution that fixes those problems.  When you find that one thing the customer needs, you’ll make the sale.

Three: Be persistent.  This means, when they say maybe later don’t say ok, and then call them back a week later. Challenge their decision making on the spot!  Remember a “NO in sales simply means you haven’t given me enough information to make me say yes.  So just because they say “not now” don’t give up, keep challenging them with new ideas until you find the one that makes the sale.  (Personally I wouldn’t go so far as to have them need to get a restraining order, but you get the point)

Lastly...ask for "referrals".  I can't think of a more powerful selling tool.

Customer referrals = customer retention

Friday, October 30, 2015

My 2016 Social Media Marketing Prediction

ConnecTheDot Social Media Marketing
ConnecTheDot Social Media Marketing Complexity
The world in which we live is evolving faster and faster. With the advances of the Internet, Social Networking sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have become part of our natural way to communicate every day. It’s now common to see television shows, beverages, cultural events and even pet food inviting us to join their pack, with callings such as "Follow us on Twitter", or on Facebook, or on any of the other 12,000 social networks. How about me? That’s the question that many of us ask ourselves…now, what’s in store for us in 2016?  Let me get to the point!

2016, in my opinion, is to become the year of “being connected”.  With the large migration of Generation Y moving to the “need” to be synced at all times will become the big shift to be wary of…or is it Generation Z?  Generation Z will be coming to work one day having used smart devices as early as kindergarten.  This group will be using better and faster technology at home than we will be able to provide at an enterprise level.  How many businesses out there will be ready to host these new workers one day in the near future? 

I/ we/ my company/ the world need to become aware of this migration revolution.  We all are aware the content is king and context is queen, however, 2016 mobile technology will shape the evolution of the way consumers find, read, and buy. Don’t think too hard about this, but, what is the first thing you touch in the morning? just said it indirectly or even looked at your mobile phone…and that technology is getting better by the day! Are you aware that the ‘average person’ is not outside a 4 foot reach from their phone at any given time?  Addicted perhaps or connected?  2016 = “Ultra Mobile” where we wear smart watches, smart clothing, and live in smart houses.  SMART = STANDARD in 2016

So now LOCATION plays a pivotal roll in the paradigm shift.  I’m not talking where you are simply located; I’m talking about where you are, when it suits you, when you are ready, A.I. (artificial intelligence)!  Today consumers have to check in to get specials, unlockable, and promotions.  2016 will be the year of the beacon.  Simply allow your device to connect with    brands matching your personal preference and voila!

So…the social challenge is next…I mean, really.  Did you think social media still runs on gut feelings?  You can’t even begin to count the numerous dashboards existing online and standalone.  2016 will be the year of strategy.  Businesses will need to find a way to interpret big data intelligently keeping it simple and to the point (the exact thing that corporate policy stops).  Social updates, going viral, telling a story, being compelling and creative through innovation all requires the same thing…stunning Social Media Marketing!

The need for employee advocacy is the new “NOW”.  Marketing isn’t your sale window to the world anymore.  Neither are sales.  Every single employee is an ambassador of your brand which means businesses have to lead by example.  Forget social media in this instance.  Rethink “SOCIAL BUSINESS”

ConnecTheDot is here to help.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Star Wars - It's #stickyadvertising impact 24 hours after trailer release

As tickets for the Dec. 18 film release went on sale, online ticketers Fandango and theater chain Alamo Drafthouse suffered temporary outages as fans flocked to their sites. Alamo Drafthouse apologized for the "frustration and disappointment" on Twitter after customers were unable to purchase tickets.
Star Wars = #stickyadvertising

Fandango said on Tuesday it "experienced unprecedented ticketing demand." The company declined to give ticket sales figures for "The Force Awakens," but said it was eight times more than previous record holder, 2011's "The Hunger Games."

Online ticketing site also declined to give sales figures but said "The Force Awakens" was the biggest first-day sales in its history and accounted for 95 percent of tickets sold on the site in the past 24 hours.

While it is rare for tickets to go on sale two months ahead of a film's release, studios will do it for big fan-anticipated films.

Twitter said there were more than 17,000 tweets per minute when the trailer aired, and more than 1.1 million tweets about the trailer in the 12-hour period after it aired.

Facebook said 1.3 million people engaged in 2.1 million interactions within the first hour of the trailer release.

The trailer has so far garnered more than 13 million views on YouTube and 8.8 million views on Facebook.

Now that is #stickyadvertising.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Is your sales approach "sticky"?

Why and how do customers decide to “BUY” from one person or company vs. another?  Below are what non-savvy sales professionals do:

  • Pressure people into buying the program with hard-sell tactics.
  • Act like their program is the greatest thing in the world.
  • Overpromise and under-deliver or provide the WORST #customerexperience.   

All three of these approaches are guaranteed to turn off a huge number of potential customers, and send your sales down the commode.  That’s no way to run an enterprise.

What you want for your business is to have created a Sales Professional that differentiates themselves – in other words, that makes your customers say “Holy ****, I want that Sales Professional and whatever they have because they are unique, have strategies and bring something DIFFERENT.”

You need something different, something that nobody else can provide.  Something, "sticky"!

Are you ready?

There are a lot of things you can do to create programs or solutions that people are eager to buy, but focus on these three first, and you’ll be well on your way to bigger sales.
  1. Link your program benefits to outcomes that ideal customers are itching for.
  2. Create your program to match the experience your ideal customers want.
  3. Show potential customers how your program overcomes their objections and differentiates themselves from their competition with a fresh, edgy and "sticky" strategy.
Your customers don’t want to buy your program; they want to create an outcome in their life or their business.  They want to see themselves thriving with your program that leads them to financial success.

They are in the market for the shortest path to their desired solution, and they couldn’t care less what your product is because everybody else out there probably has the same thing in one way or another.  All they care about is “Will this program give me the outcome that I need to have?”

Outcomes come first, product comes last.  I can’t stress this enough.  I see too many smart people positioning their products instead of positioning the program outcomes (and experiences) the customer desires to have or subjectively don’t realize they have the need to switch because they might perceive themselves as being “loyal”.

We all have objections when we’re considering buying something.  Think of the last thing you had to think about before you bought it, whether it was a digital product or a physical item in a store.

You had objections that you were going through in your mind, and you had to justify the purchase to yourself before you made it.  Eventually, something pushed you over the fence and you whipped out your wallet.  I bet it was something that was a “differentiator” or "sticky" that persuaded you to choose.

If you don’t know what your customers’ objections are, you won’t be able to address them in your sales material (and in the product itself).

Whatever it is that’s bugging them, fix it in your program and make sure “they” can see the path to solving this by being “different”.  Explain how it’s designed to take as little time as possible, or to fit into a busy schedule.  Talk about how you’ve made a complicated subject dead-easy to understand and drives results.

Whatever the objections are, defuse them by answering and solving for the inevitable before you go see your customer.  How might you ask?  Just look at what the competition is doing, identify from a “consumer” and a “business” point of view how your program brings a “different” solution to the market that addresses the needs and wants people are looking for.  Again, bring something “different”!  Nobody wants status quo or something that is easy to copy or mass duplicate.  They want something unique that builds a BRAND and is "sticky!"

And then they buy.  Your sales funnel explodes exponentially.  And then they tell their friends.

What have you read thus far that can change your Sales World, be “DIFFERENT”, be "sticky"…that’s all!

It’s not as easy as it sounds but hey…that is what separates MONEY MAKERS and MONEY BREAKERS.

ConnecTheDot - #stickyadvertising

Friday, October 16, 2015

#SocialMomentum = Laws of Motion

Let's start off by discussing Isaac Newton’s “Three Laws of Motion” but only focus on two in particular (1) Newton’s First Law of Motion & (3) Newton’s Third Law of Motion:

ConnecTheDot & Isaac Newton
First Law of Motion: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

You might be sitting there wondering where we are going to go with this but stick with us because this is going to get really good as you continue reading. Are you ready?

Do you know the difference between a “good” social marketing and an “epic” social marketing? -Motion

First Law of Motion applied to Social Marketing:

You can’t get anything done unless you are constantly moving.  You can’t gain #SocialMomentum by applying the brakes to your social strategy for one day.  If you’re not building your #SocialMomentum, then who is?

We realize that it’s a very tedious process to really commit to building #SocialMomentum to where you need it to be to make money.  However, until you get external forces interacting with your social strategy to keep it in motion, i.e., Tweeting about it, Google +1′ing it, watching and sharing your YouTube videos, etc. your business will remain at rest with your #SocialMomentum

The main idea is to eventually get consumers and customers socializing about your social strategy, sharing your content and linking back to your articles.  When you can do this, outside forces are interacting with your site to bring it to the motion that it needs to be at. Until that happens, your social strategy will remain at rest, and the only action that it will get is when you pick it up and run with it.  That is why it’s so important to be able to maintain #SocialMomentum all the times.

Third Law of Motion applied to Social Marketing:

Newton stated, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".  Stop and ponder for a moment and think about what Newton just stated...does that mean if a business shares someone’s post it will create an equal reaction from that person?  Well… probably not right away, but it will create opportunities that you will enjoy in the future.  There is one important aspect of social marketing that you can’t forget:

Share other’s articles more than your own

Try these three actions to get an equal and/or opposite reaction:

1.    When you share other people’s #SocialMomentum consistently you are definitely going to get them to notice you. Getting people to realize that you’re out there is what’s important.
2.     When you share others #SocialMomentum you create a space for a relationship, discussion or a future opportunity with that person.  
3.     When you share other posts you put other people before you…don’t be selfish but play the kids game of show and tell.  Don’t get me wrong, you want your content shared just as much as you are sharing other people’s, but you have to actually build these relationships before consistent sharing comes your way.  Better put like Jerry McGuire stated, “Help me, Help you”!

What do you plan to do?

We would like to hear your opinion on sharing other people’s #SocialMomentum. 

Does it affect your business in any way? We can’t wait to hear about it!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Do you speak your customer's 'Lingo'?

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you just can’t connect with your customer because they perhaps don’t speak the same ‘lingo’ as you do?  It happens all the time and can make a customer feel uneducated and emotionally disconnected.  Don’t fret, you still have time to make a change and fix it. A plethora of business professionals I've had the pleasure speaking to about this subject matter at hand have trouble talking a customer’s lingo as well, all in part because they're conditioned to think in very "balanced" terms when they talk to customers...and especially when it comes to making an offer.
Proposals happen to be a common malpractice where this commonly takes place. However, it's certainly evident in other business practices as well, like on your website.
Not only do most websites, proposals and other marketing material start out by talking about the individuals who created or designed them, rather than the audience they are intended to be written for, the CUSTOMER. The subject matter also tends to utilize a lot of irrational language. Have you ever seen or been a part of this where the subject matter attempts to convince people to buy using facts and logic.  Not that this is wrong, however, is it really the best place to use this material when trying to speak to your customer audience?
What could possibly be wrong with using facts and logic?
Well, more than you might think. It happens to do with how decisions are made in our brains.
Time to turn into ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ for a moment. Did you know that the driving force behind decision-making comes from a part of our brain called the limbic system (see Wikipedia for more information about this)? This is the part of the brain where emotions are processed.
In fact, when your limbic system is damaged, you can become paralyzed with indecision, consequently over miniscule choices like what to wear, what to eat or even what to do. You can weigh all the reasons rationally, yet never be able to actually turn that knowledge into a decision. Scary isn’t it?
Now, what if this happens when you're trying to convince a customer to conduct business with you?
They can have all the facts at their disposal...but if you haven't connected with the ‘emotional’ state for buying, well, let's just assume you have a much better chance at closing the deal if you actually connect with their emotional state of mind and connect with them with ‘points of pain’.
Obviously do want to give your customers good reasons to buy. But you also need to engage them emotionally.
One of the very simple ways you can do this is by taking rational, objective sorts of words, and just replacing them with more emotive ones that connect better with their emotions. Like this:
trademark --> brand
campaign --> promote
construct --> build
implementation --> differentiation
And of course you can also add extra emotional words, while removing some of the rational ones. Words like "powerful" and "successful" and "intense" are quite emotionally laden, whereas words like "purchase" and "propose" are not.
Just doing this can have a huge effect on the emotional impact of your text. It's subtle, and may not seem like it'll do much -- but what you're doing is invoking emotion through careful placement of powerful words.
And again, nowhere is this more vital than in your proposal or your website. That's a key hinge that your entire sales platform rotates around -- so small changes there can produce huge changes overall in the future.

If you need help with this, ConnecTheDot can help just shoot us an email.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Content = Purchase…How to Influence Purchasing Decisions

By this point it is safe to say the customer’s buyer’s journey has changed. Customers do more of their own research, and they engage with more content to support their decision-making. In fact the numbers look something like this:
3 Types Of Content To Illustrate The Customer’s Buying Journey
  • 70-90% of the customer buyer’s journey is complete prior to engaging a vendor. (Forrester)
  • Customers engage with 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase. (Forrester)
  • Customers are 5x more dependent on content than they were 5 years ago. (Nielsen)

The examples above illustrate the three different types of content used to determine which was most impactful in the customer’s buyer’s journey across the three best known stages defined as:

  • Brand Familiarity: Expert Content (3rd Party Content which they defined as credible)
  • Brand Affinity: Brand Content (from the brand or brand employees)
  • Brand Purchase Intent: User-Generated (Reviews such as Amazon)

While all three types of contents showed some uplift for the customer at various points in the customer buying process, expert generated content proved to be the most effective for giving brands improved sentimentality across all three phases of the customer buyer’s journey. 

How These 3 Types Of Content Impact The Customers:

Although the countless technologies and mobile devices available today are smart enough that we can simply tap their surface and pay for goods, 83% of respondents said they go online to research products, but then buy them in-store.

They're doing so for a reason. People want to see and touch what they're buying. They want to experience the product firsthand, whether that means testing an electronic device or trying on a retail garment.

Whether the customer is a practical shopper who weighs the pros and cons before spending money, or a person who is simply enticed by a product she can actually touch... it's all about show versus tell.

That said, images, photography, and multimedia have an immense impact on customers' purchasing behavior because they provide a way for customers to make a visual connection with a product before they buy. And the best part about today's technology is that it enables you to reach a customer with rich visual content anytime, anywhere.

So, how can you use images, photography, and other multimedia content to positively influence customers and build stronger connections with your customer base?

“Content” can do much more than build brand awareness though; it attracts interest, builds trust and ultimately, creates new customers.

To build trust and credibility, you’ve got to forget pushing products in the face of potential customers, thinking first how to create a genuinely useful content experience. 2015 is the year to make your customer’s live easier and help inform them on how to make the right decisions when it comes to buying.

As valuable as the content may seem (especially when you’re giving it away for free), this information is what will keep a customer nurtured until they’re ready to purchase rather than move on the next piece of content. The real trick to making this work is understanding the needs of a customer around the time they’re considering a purchase.

So, people are coming to your website, and that’s great. But how many of them are actually buying something from you?

Chances are it’s less than 1% of your visitor base.

But don’t worry! You can actually influence your visitors to make a purchase.

Start today by contacting ConnecTheDot.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Part 2: Aligning Content To The Customer Journey — A.C.T.

There are three leading phases that your customers will pass through as they prepare to move into the fourth phase, PURCHASE. Knowing what people search for, how they search and what types of actions need to be targeted to inside each of these phases can help you better engage these visitors. During each phase, you can create content that addresses their needs, building your relationship and solidifying a sale, thus providing the customer with an exceptional experience that makes them return.
Phase 1 of the Customer Journey: Awareness
This is when customers gather information and are surround by all forms of adverting and have so many choices to start their process but may or may not know which direction they want or need to move towards. They are just beginning the process of researching products and services that can help them resolve a particular need or desire. 

These customers are most interested in reading content that gives them an informative and engaging exploration of the topic in which they are interested. That is why in-depth articles, blogs, reviews, social media and videos can be excellent types of content for this phase.

Phase 2 of the Customer Journey: Consideration

As people progress to the Consideration Phase, they begin to move from making informational choices into explored actions. They have now interacted with your brand enough that your business becomes a potential viable option in their mind. They are interested in flushing out the leading brands and determining what makes your company worthwhile and unique. 

During this stage your business needs to produce rich content that positions your brand as an industry and thought leader — a business customers can trust when they want help solving their problem. This is where your business needs to establish the differentiation and why your business should be chosen.

Phase 3 of the Customer Journey: Transaction

Customers that move into the Transaction Phase know exactly what they want to find. They did their research during the Consideration Phase so they most likely have a business or brand already in mind.  At this point the consumer already knows the product the want but still need to make the final choice. But, what makes them get chosen? 
For businesses or  brands to be chosen, they need to focus on the experience of the customers for whom it is intended. That means aligning your content to the customer journey and being willing to expand your interaction with visitors beyond the traditional confines of how your business typically operates.

When your business improves your interactions with your customers, you will build your content and establish a more firm foundation of success.
The customer is now ready to take action.  Did the customer chose you?

If your business needs help targeting customers inside A.C.T. please go to ConnecTheDot.