The week is finally here -- the official launch of my new book, The Invisible Sale and I want you to buy it TODAY!
It's a small ask on my part -- but if you've enjoyed the information I share here or learned a thing or two that you've applied to your company or career -- then I'd ask you to help me out by buying the book. I'm going to keep providing a ton of free, helpful content here and in our Insight & Information and Painless Prospecting newsletters, but this one time I'd really appreciate if you'd trade a few dollars to get some of my best content ever.
Or if you live in Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston, New York City, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Austin or New Orleans -- attend one of the private happy hour parties to celebrate the book's launch. You'll get a copy of the book and I'll be there, so I can sign your book and we can talk shop -- over cocktails of course. Best of all, 50% of all ticket sales are donated to one of 10 worthy charities and we're even providing free food and in most of the cities your first drink is on me!
Click Here to grab a ticket to any of the #ivs4charity book tour events.
I loved the book as with each chapter you walk away thinking differently and sparking some ideas on how you can master the invisible sale. - Suzanne
Excellent book. I own a marketing company and some of trends and events that Tom talks about, I have experienced, but I thought they were anomalies. I'm realizing now that Tom has officially labeled this new type of marketing as the invisible sale. The radar is a great resource. I couldn't put the book down. - Erik
After almost three years of trying to maintain Positive Disruption and my Converse Digital (corporate) blog, I've decided to consolidate the activity over there.
I'll still be blogging here occassionally, but it will be more about stuff I just find cool, maybe some tech toys, and the occassional rant... but if you're reading here to learn more about any of this stuff:
You'll likely want to go over to Converse Digital and SUBSCRIBE to the blog.
BIG NOTE: If you subscribe to THIS BLOG via EMAIL, we've already ported you over, so you get to just do nothing. BUT if you're reading this post on the internet or via an RSS subscription, you're going to want to SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEW BLOG right away to keep the free goodness coming!
Here's a little taste of what we posted this morning:
So you just returned from a big trade-show or conference and now you’re wondering what to do with all of those business cards you collected.
Start an email list. That’s right, before you connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter or attempt to friend them on Facebook, send them an email. It’s the single, best, most powerful CRM tool ever invented and you’re crazy if you don’t invest more in it right now.
In fact, here is a simple 7-Step process to turn those business cards into behaviorally profiled business development targets that you can begin a conversation with today. Then over time, if you do it right, that conversation will turn into a customer.
As you can see, the focus of the new blog is going to be a lot tighter in terms of content buckets. But you know me -- intellectually ADD, so don't fret, if you're a fan of the purely cool, digital wow stuff -- I'll still be posting that here, just not as regularly.
But if you want to get the good, meaty, helpful marketing stuff -- you'll need to subscribe to the new blog.
As always, thanks for being here and I look forward to seeing you around... just not as often ;-)
photo credit: Steve Snodgrass
Recently I began a journey to clarify my own direction (professionally). As a classic generalist, I have become somewhat of a jack of all trades (marketing channels) but a master of none. In today's digitally centric, in-bound marketing world, that is problematic.
So I have been on a journey to discover the proper parking spot (thanks to Greg Hartle for that metaphor) to park myself and my social media marketing company, Converse Digital, for the forseeable future.
And I really should (given my extensive background in brand building) be able to do this myself -- I should be able to "heal thyself" to quote Luke 4:23. But try as I might, I couldn't.
Well, after much discussion with myself (yes I do talk to myself... a lot) and others whose opinions matter a great deal to me I realized there were two issues standing between myself and a bit of brand clarity.
First, the age old metaphor, "The cobbler's children have no shoes." I'm pretty busy right now with a number of exciting client projects and doing "Tom Work" just keeps getting pushed off the daily To-Do List.
Second, to quote my friend Steve Woodruff, "You can't read the label of the jar you're in." (Sorry Steve if I misquoted....but y'all get the point.)
So what is a boy to do?
In my case, I made one very important decision -- I hired someone to help me figure out my own brand. Steve Woodruff, many of you may know him from the Twitters, has been doing Clarity Therapy and I decided after talking to Steve and reviewing his site that it was just what the doctor was ordering.
Hiring someone else to help you figure out your brand accomplishes three things.
When's the last time you spent four full hours just thinking about you, your professional journey and your career?
So what was the outcome?
Well the jury is still out on that because Steve and I aren't quite finished yet. We're still finalizing a few key point -- like my Analogy -- and of course I have to have the willpower and faith to pivot myself and my company a bit to focus on what we discovered is truly my differentiator... the one thing that I seem to have that we didn't see a lot of in others in today's digital marketing space. But stay tuned (if you're interested in the outcome) because I have a birthday coming up and well, this seems like a pretty good gift to give myself.
Am I alone here? Are any of you feeling the same way? Like you too could use a bit of help figuring out your "go to" skill and then how to market it? Let me know.... be very interested to hear.
Photo By Perfecto Insecto
I was going to write a great post today but then I finished reading The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership written by my good friend Lisa Petrilli and I realized the most important information I could share with you today was hers. Yes, the book is THAT good. I should note that she was nice enough to send me an advanced copy to peruse at no charge and we've "worked" together -- she and the lovely Lisa Diomede co-hosted my first #Cocktails4Causes in Chicago -- but that's not why I'm writing this post today. I get a lot of free books and seldom review them because of late, a lot of the business books are downright weak.
Thankfully, The Introvert's Guide to Success isn't one of them.
It's a quick read, a mere 60 pages. In fact, I read most of it on my iPhone while waiting for my wife to arrive at a meeting the other night. This morning I finished it off over coffee.
Quite simply, it might be one of the best books I've read in a while and I read a lot of books. Lisa does a fabulous job of giving introverts a big "it's ok" hug and then leveraging that warm feeling to teach them applicable strategies and tactics for being successful in their careers, lives and pursuit of their dreams.
Best of all, the book helps the extroverts in the world understand how to better work with, for or direct introverts.
Here is a taste of the book -- one of the most insightful passages I thought...
Time to Recharge
Since extraverts get their energy from being around other people, from energizing
others, and from actively participating in events, the world of business and
leadership is naturally rejuvenating for them.
The opposite is true for introverts. The world of business and leadership is
draining for us, particularly energy-demanding events like conferences and
After basking in the glow of visibility and attention you will return home craving
privacy and time to recharge. Actually, on virtually every day of your business life
you will return home craving privacy and time to recharge; some days more than
Respect this need for time to recharge, and be clear with family, friends,
colleagues and fellow conference attendees that you need to take this time for
you. Everyone will appreciate you for honoring this need, because you’ll be
bringing your best self to them and to your work when you’re with them.
It's this kind of simple, straightforward advice that you'll find throughout the entire book. It is only $7.99 and I think it's only available in Kindle form... but go get it, read it and then start using the techniques in your life.
And let me know what you think about the book.
I've kind of sucked.
Not in the "dude, you should probably go call the 1-800 truck driver number from the late night TV shows" kind of suck, but the "damn, that could have been done sooooo much better, been soooo much bigger and likely been far more successful..." kind of suck. Which got me to thinking....
What causes us to suck?
Think about it. What keeps people from delivering the truly groundbreaking, inspiring, world-changing ideas, projects, etc., that we all really, really want to create?
Me... I think it is a product of folks moving too fast, committing to too much and fearful that if they skip any opportunity or miss any opening they'll regret it. Sound familiar?
It's the kind of suck that Brian Clark (@copyblogger) was talking about over coffee, when I met him at Content Marketing World. We were discussing how a few projects we were both familiar with weren't working as well as the owners of the project would have wished. And Brian nailed it -- he said the person wasn't taking the time to plan it right, to do the work (to steal a Tom Webster - @webby2001 phrase).
I didn't realize it at the moment -- or maybe I did and just didn't want to accept it -- but Brian was talking about me and a whole lot of folks just like me. All running so fast after that terrible brass ring of success, that ring that dangles just.... outside... our... grasp... but...we're... just....sooooo.......close.
So we take on one more speaking gig, one more project or say yes to yet another fellow employee or boss' pet project.
And then we suck. We deliver something that is "good enough" rather than fucking spectacular.
So it's time... at least for me... and I hope for you if you're still reading this and thinking... damn, that's me.
Stop sucking. Insist on spectacular.
First, say no once in a while. It's hard. But it's necessary. No frees you. No gives you back time. No let's you focus on what's important rather than what's possible.
Second, dream. That's right... dream, as in day-dream, night-dream or take the time to dream. Give youself permission to create spectacular.
Third, find partners. If you're not the best in the world at it, if you can't execute every aspect of your dream in spectacular fashion, find someone who is and partner.
Fourth, compete against yourself not others. You may be the most spectacular whatever, but if deep down you don't believe that you're the best you, well then at some level, you'll always suck. Right?
Last week a few of Jason Falls' friends, had a some fun at Jason's expense. Now Jason was great about it... he even posted the video on his own blog. And now this week, he's responding, publicly and answering the question himself.... who'se the biggest D-bag in Social Media.... go see his answer... good stuff.
His video was originally taped back in February at the MarketingProfs Conference in Austin... for my Talking With Tom series. I think his answer to "What's Next" is almost as good as his answer to the D-bag question... close but considering Jason was the first person to answer the D-bag question (that's right, BEFORE everyone else got a chance) well, it makes the answer even funnier. Go check it out.
It's the conversation that goes on behind the scenes, at the bar or on the DM during Social Media Conferences around the country -- social media celebs talking about who is the biggest douchebag in social media today.
So as part of my Talking With Tom, interviews with 52 Digital Thought Leaders project, I've been asking folks like David Meerman Scott, Jason Keath, Justin Levy, Ann Handley, CC Chapman, Amber Naslund, Brian Clark, Lee Odden and a few other folks you might recognize to name names -- publicly name names.
All I can say is two things:
Like I said, I was kind of blown away, so to be fair, I asked that guy to name his own names.... which he'll do on Monday, September 12, during his interview on Talking With Tom... be sure to check it out... and feel free to guess who he names. Like the others... it's totally unexpected.
Have you ever met a person that could take complex ideas and explain them in common everyday language that anyone can understand? Or maybe the person who can analyze complex business problems and boil them down to the root causes -- the true core of the issue... the kind you felt you could actually solve?
Funny isn't it.... they're usually the folks that are either quickly on their way to the top or they're already there and enjoying the view... and the paycheck.
Simple Sells. We all like simple.
Want to sell an idea? Figure out how to say it in one page or less. Or maybe more appropriately, one screen or less. But whatever you do -- don't over-complicate matters.
Of late I've seen so many people hell bent on appearing smart. They use big words when small ones will do. They provide indirect answers to direct questions... meandering and obfuscating along the way.
It's a shame. In they're drive to display intelligence and understanding... they end up confusing and frustrating the very person they hope to influence.
So remember... in selling... simple sells.
incredible photo by kevindooleyFollow @TomMartin
It marked the one-year mark for Converse Digital.
Yep, one year of "shitting and getting" as my dad calls it. One year of late nights, early mornings, long flights, hotel rooms, and wondering what tomorrow brings.
And I wouldn't change it for the world. Those of you that have taken the leap know what I mean. For me, this is my second such leap. My first one, Brandmarken was washed away in the waters of Katrina back in 2005.
So for me, May 1 marked a milestone that I'll not soon forget. As I sat reflecting in the moment, I thought about all I've learned this past year and how many of you might find something in that knowledge too. So here goes.
There's Never a Good Time To Launch
If you wait for the right time, you'll never do it. There is always a reason you shouldn't pull the trigger. Mortgages, school tuition, a down economy, an up economy that could crash. But if you're meant to be an entrepreneur, if it's in your bloood (as I have always felt it was in mine) then you just have to pick a day, pull the ripcord and hope the chute opens before you splat on the ground.
Dance With The One That Brung Ya
As any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a company means making sales. That means you spend a lot of time looking for new contacts, networks and clients. It can easily consume 20%-30% of your time. But in that quest to grow, you have to remember what got you to where you are today -- the clients, friends and networks that feed you today. You can't neglect those in favor of chasing the new shiny client or contract. By focusing on and supporting those that have supported you, I've found that it's funny how good things just happen. The new client or project that falls into your lap or referral that converts to a project.
Have The Faith
You can call it what you will... Karma, God, Nature... whatever, but I was raised to believe that someone (in my case God) has a plan. We just have to be smart enough to find it and have faith enough to take the risks (financial and otherwise) that always seem to be between where we are today and where the plan calls for us to be tomorrow.
Prepare Your Fields For Rain
I wrote about the idea of making sure you're ready for new clients/opportunity some time ago. This year has reinforced the idea of the necessity of preparing your business to receive leads. You have to put yourself out there... create opportunities to be discovered by others. By doing so, you create your own luck.
Give and Give and Give
I have spent the last year trying to really become a giver. A person that gives to others without asking or expecting anything in return. Whether that is being a gracious host when my fellow bloggers visit New Orleans or spending a half an hour reviewing someone's blog/resume and offering them advice for ways to improve it in hopes that they'll be able to find a job or move into a new career path. I make a real effort -- way more than I ever made in the past. Why? Because I watched others in this space... folks that are so great at this skill -- and I saw how it transforms them and everything they touch. So much of their success was based on giving -- and by success I don't just mean financial or business. I saw it in their personal lives too. Giving is the gateway to success. Believe it.
Plan To Fail -- small
You'll never know unless you try. And when you try new things a lot, you'll occassionally fail. So plan to fail. But plan to fail small. For instance, I've always enjoyed teaching folks about marketing and social media. So I do a good bit of social media keynotes and breakouts for various conferences. I also do private workshops for clients. I especially like teaching small businesses about the power of social media marketing. But until this month, I had never delivered my own social media workshop. So I've decided to do one... but I've purposely set it up so that if all 35 slots are sold, I win big. But if only a handful of folks show up, I fail small. I won't really lose anything and I'll get a chance to learn a ton that I can apply to make the next workshop better.
Every time I violate this I get smacked around. You have to run your own race. Success today is about being #1 in a category of one. You have to stand for something that is truly unique to you... and no, I'm not talking USP or Key Benefit or anything like that. I'm talking about being something that is truly unique and that people or companies value. Maybe you're opinionated and not all that worried about offending sensibilities. Fine, then be the social media marketing consigliere that calls bullshit when he sees it. Sure not everyone is going to want that...but those companies or clients that do... man, that's gold. And you'll have a ton more fun working for those folks anyways.
I've also found that these days, there is just so much bullshit in the world that being a real person, a straight shooter, a what you see is what you get kind of person is truly unique... and appreciated.
Remember Your Priorities
When you're just starting out, it's hard not to focus 100% of your time and effort on your company. When you've got a wife, four kids and a large mortgage, it's even easier. But don't. Don't make that mistake. All work and no play doesn't just make Jack a dull boy, it makes you one too. Develop some outside interests. Spend good, quality time with your family and friends. That distraction that stresses you out because you feel like you should be working is actually making you stronger, more creative and better prepared for what's next. You have to invest in those you love because there will be a day, actually many, where you're going to need to call on that love as a source of strength to get you through some really dark days where you truly wonder, WTF was I thinking.
And when you've reached a milestone, you win a big deal, land that Fortune 50 client, or just make payroll with a few dollars to spare... sharing that milestone, celebrating it, will be so much sweeter when you're sourrounded by friends and family that are rooting you on to the next one.
It's been a great first year. And I hope to be back here next year with another installment of learning. Till then, use the comments to let me know what you'd tell a new entrepreneur. I'd love to learn from you.