I was reminiscing yesterday with a dear friend who paid an impromptu visit to me. We worked together for almost eight years, and had about an hour to talk about her new career.  She’s a new RN in her mid 40’s, and has an extensive background in marketing; (I bought my promotions company from her ten years ago). She was a firecracker (still is), gutsy, and often made cold calls to VP’s of Coca-Cola to pitch an idea for the Olympics (and, she got their attention).

We talked about ways to combine her expertise and love of marketing with her new medical background, and came up with ideas to blend her passions. And, we laughed at stories we shared over the years.

Great teaching moment – from the late 1990’s:

Still employed as a Promotions Manager for a Fortune 500 Media giant, we made a sales call (during my lunch hour) to pitch a program for the Ryder Cup. The prospect was a major law firm in Boston.

Dressed the way I would be for my own job, I thought I looked great, never thinking about the consequences of dressing for the client’s corporate culture – a law firm. So, my red jacket with the leopard collar, which was quite stunning, didn’t quite make it.  According to feedback it was also one of the reasons why we didn’t get the job. (It was also noted that my colleague needed a haircut).

To this day, I smile in my own naiveté   at dressing for what I liked, not imaging how I might fit in.

It’s a lesson learned for a big appointment. It’s ok to check out how your prospect or their boss dresses in the office, or on casual days. It’s smart business and gives you perspective. Generally, I’d say  to look put together (have a few great outfits) be
professional and groomed — but (ladies) unless you’re pitching to a more creative field – I’d leave the leopard jacket home (or short skirt, low neckline top) – you get the point.

Years have gone by and I still tell this story with a smile. Granted, our ‘personal style’ might not have been acceptable to the gatekeeper of the VP, though he did love us. But, we were still able to secure three other Ryder Cup clients that year, and more conservative business in the North East.

My colleague got a haircut, and I bought a stylish navy blue suit.

Dress for you anytime
, but for a client, think about their audience.

Growing up in business, oh the lessons we learn,

This week, there were two networking sessions on my calendar; the first, an Open Mixer for Boston World Partnerships, and the second, an all-day conference, Promote Your Passion, where entrepreneurs and a series of experts met to talk about building stronger businesses through innovative marketing, sales, networking and charismatic relationships.

The theme of the conference was clear.  Connectivity is today’s new currency. Without relationships there are no sales, and without sales, there is no business.

Here are some takeaways you may like to add as Insider Secrets:

  • At your next networking event, meet 5 people, and connect with each of them for 5 minutes. The key people are: the Speaker; the Organizer; and 3 yappers. Yappers are always talking to people, have a crowd around them, and never talk to other yappers.
  • Don’t bring business cards to networking sessions. Just bring a sharpie. Write one of two notes; Dud (in code) or *. Follow up with the stars and ask how you can help them (by asking the right questions). Make a coffee date and begin a relationship. Don’t ask for business, just ask how you can help.
  • Buy from network marketers, instead of Target for items you need (and are available by those same network marketers). In fact, buy one item from each marketer who sells the item you need, because each of those marketers know hundreds of people.
  • Find out which Facebook groups those marketers are in, and join those groups. With each new contact, there are hundreds of prospective customers.
  • If you’re in business, use your phone message as a branded marketing opportunity. One of my colleagues has a company that “brings back desire” in relationships. If she added a weekly intimacy tip to her voice mail, and promoted it on Facebook and Twitter, she might double her mailing list. In fact, her phone might ring off the hook.
  • And lastly, be creative with your marketing. You know all those pre-paid envelopes that come in the mail? (Love this), send your marketing material back in the same envelope, and ask the recipient to pass it on.  Why not, right?

Loving the ideas from the 33rd floor and hope you do too!

Special Thanks to Casey Eberhart who shared this information. 

Best money ever spent? Buying one of the companies I was working with for commission only on future sales. A TOTAL win for me,since I didn’t have to come up with big bucks to get Fortune 500 clients,and existing work.Company still thrives 9 yrs later!

Thanks to The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur for sharing this tip in the The Best Money We Spent In Our Business compilation.

Often when we feel like business is down or we missed an opportunity, we have a tendency to get “down” on ourselves.

But, little do we know that those setbacks, or what appear to be setbacks, are just little breathers – or spacers, as I like to call them, there to make us stop and re-analyze a situation and take note of “what is” and “ what isn’t” for real – in any given situation.

Take for example an event, where attendance is less than you expected. You prepared. You created material. You called in a videographer. You practiced. And had every intention of “rockin’ the crowd”. But, you were disappointed in the turnout.

The truth is: You had half the audience than you “expected.”

The Silver lining is this:

  • You made an impression to whoever showed up, and engaged them as your primary focus
  • You practiced your speech/talk/presentation so you’ll be better next time
  • You created handouts for your next event, and took that item off your to-do list
  • You have video footage, or audio snippets you can use in sales and marketing materials, including podcasts, social media, You Tube, pitches, promotional DVD’s
  • You took advantage of the one-on-one opportunity to connect with the organizers and hosts of the event, and can capitalize on that connection and relationship to get to the next level
  • Your brain kicked into “Ferrari gear” to make lemons out of lemonade, and it worked!

Most of you know I am an optimist, and believe that everything happens for a reason.

When you’re having one of those moments where the clouds are hanging low, STOP. Look at what this situation may be teaching you, and learn from it. Think about how you can use it to your advantage.

Most entrepreneurs have the uncanny ability to think on their feet.

Take the cloud and re-invent it, just as you do every day, in business and in life, to make it work for you.

Often we’re so consumed in our own thoughts that we forget to realize — if we’re taking the right steps, and have intention and inspired action in our work, and in our passion, that the pieces of the puzzle will fall together. What puzzle? Projects that require multiple strategic steps, by a handful of people, with a purpose and focused end goal in mind.

And so it happened today, or yesterday really, as I write this in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The start of the week, and a jam packed day, the kind of day with clarity, activity and excitement every entrepreneur dreams of. Baboom. Our press releases were read, noted, and the media were on their way. A photo session was scheduled, as well as plans for an upcoming interview for Let’s make You Shine, and the Make Money Monday Tour. All this, at today’s MMM stop, the Coffee Break Café in Quincy.

Wow.

Even more Wow, was that a young business owner from Canton, came to see me at the Tour stop, and just happening to be there, had photos taken too, with the Patriot Ledger. Tina Prisco, from Te Salon came to meet me for free business advice, got an hour’s worth of ideas, and just by chance, got unexpected added value to promote her salon. That’s what I call great timing.

One person can start a business, but it takes a team to grow a business. That’s tweetable.

Tina, listen in.

Sales, writing, consulting, social media, payroll, technical work, PR, joint ventures, public speaking gigs, newsletters, interview series, and I could go on, take time. Lots of it. The life of an entrepreneur, and the many hats we wear, and the many who wear those hats, work best when pieces fit like a puzzle.

I am grateful to my team who help lay out the pieces to the puzzle, and strategize where to put them.

I am grateful for their expertise, because I’m only one person.

It takes one person to start a business, but a team, a great team like mine, to grow a business.

Don’t force the pieces of a puzzle to fit. Each has its place, and reason to be there.

You can be an expert, but not of everything.

Share the wealth. Let everyone shine.

There’s such pride in a finished puzzle.

Milton, MA…Business and Life Strategist, Robin Samora, recently interviewed celebrity photographer, Nikki Incandela from La Jolla, California on her monthly interview series.  The title was Put Some Pizzazz in Your Picture: What Your Image Says About You.

Nikki spoke about the importance of images in your personal branding. “With the prominence of Facebook and other social media, consistent branding is very important for your on-line presence and distinguishes you in the marketplace,” she said.  Nikki also offered some pointers on the different ways to use your image in your marketing and collateral, and shared her vast experience about being comfortable in front of a camera, style, and how to have an image that “attracts business.”

“A bad image can follow you for years,” said Nikki, “but a great image makes you confident and empowers you in your professional and personal life.  You have about four seconds to create an impression to say who you are as a person.”

“Nikki incorporates an important lesson I’m offering,” said Robin.  “No risk, no reward. Go for it. Don’t wait for someone to discover you. Put yourself out there and celebrate your brand – and  pretend it’s bigger than it is. If you do what it takes, you’ll grow into your new shoes. Nikki works at her public image using networking, social media, and she is a fabulous photographer,” continues Robin. “She also aligns herself with who she is, and where she wants to go!”

Incandela, who started as a fashion designer, was just at the Oscars not only to shoot the most glamorous Hollywood stars as they came down the runway but also had an opportunity to get fitted for a couture dress to wear at the gala event.

“Nikki and I have been working together informally for a couple of years,” said Robin, “but recently – she made a decision to make it big. I see fireworks in what she’s doing. It’s a combination of her inner flame, talent, and doing what she loves. Nothing makes me happier.”

About Robin Samora

Robin’s career began in advertising and then transitioned to media buying in the film industry. She owned two restaurants, became a Major League Baseball licensee, and worked in cable television as an Event and Promotions Manager – with major networks such as ESPN, HGTV, CNN, and MTV.  Robin eventually started her own company in 2002, Partner Promotions, a

Brand Ambassador firm for Fortune 500 companies like Comcast, Tivo, and NBC, marketing products and services – one-on-one in the retail sector, at business events, and in the community.

Wanting to utilize her talents, and years of coaching experience, Robin realized she loved working one on one, with clients, entrepreneurs and small businesses – not just major corporations.  She couldn’t help but notice that she would attract people who wanted to talk, and ask her advice. It became clear to her and those who sought Robin out for her insight, wisdom and advice — that she would be a “calm voice of reason, in a storm,” and provide a path for “next steps” to get recognized and promoted in the marketplace.

With years of business knowledge under her belt, Robin launched — Let’s Make You Shine a business and life strategy company for entrepreneurs who want to boost their bottom line, get attention and stand out in the marketplace. Now, Robin takes great pleasure in teaching others how to realize their dreams and potential, while also making a difference.

Let’s Make You Shine has been created with more than two decades in business development, operations and execution, sales and marketing, and extensive professional training. It’s Robin’s mission to help her clients make more profit, share their gifts and passion with the world, and get recognized for who they really are.