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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Relationship Farming: Dealing With The Weeds

By Terry L. Brock

Relationship Marketing is most important for successful marketers and businesspeople. You are marketing yourself no matter what kind of job or position you hold. It is the mark of successful people to rise above limitations and inhibiting factors which would hold back less successful followers.

Weeds inhibit growth in farming. They grow around your crops and sap energy and life from the growing plant. It is a regular part of farming to eradicate the weeds and in Relationship Farming you have to apply the same principles to grow your business.

There are what I call “weedy people” out there. You know who I’m talking about. These are the people that try to sap your energy, your time, your money and all the good that you do. Some do it consciously trying to harm you. Most will do it without even thinking about how they are hurting you. That is why you, as a successful Relationship Farmer, have to be on the lookout for those who would inhibit your success.

It is most important to be careful when doing your Relationship Farming weeding. Those who are weeds today can become viable paying customers later on (I know, the analogy breaks down here). A good rule of thumb I’ve found is to always treat everyone professionally and graciously, no matter who they are and what they’ve done. Even if they are a weed, you remain professional in all your own actions and words.

Here are some steps that can help as you encounter weeds in your own Relationship Farming:

1.Identify The Weeds Early. If a weed grows for a long time, it saps the poor growing plant of vital nutrients. Have a built-in “early detection system” to ID the weeds in your business. Watch for those that are takers and don’t believe in value-for-value relationship. If all they want to do it take, you don’t want to hang around them. The sooner you can ID this by their words, their willingness to work with you on even small items and be kind, the better off you’ll be.

2.Always Be Professional. When you find the weedy people, remember it is imperative for you as a successful businessperson to never stoop to the level of name-calling, and belittling the person. Too much is done today attacking the person, not the action. This ad hominem (or “arguing to the man”) approach doesn’t solve the problem. It only creates friction. Focus on the solution--- not cutting down the person--- and you’ll achieve much more success.

3.Eradicate Weeds From Your Business. When you identify time-wasters, profit-takers and others who only hurt your business, do what you can to eliminate them. Much like in firing an employee, it is best to identify the person who “should be encouraged to be successful somewhere else” and help that person move along. Don’t waste your most precious resource--- time--- with people who drain you of your time, money and efforts.

A farmer has to diligently cultivate the soil and watch out for weeds which sap the life of plants. Proper spraying can help prevent weeds from growing. It is critical to have proper plans for your business and your mind-set on how to deal with weeds when you see them.

Be a good Relationship Farmer and prepare in advance for weeds. It will help your harvest be stronger and much richer.

Camtasia Studio 5 For Relationship Marketing And More

One of the tools that can help you in your Relationship Marketing (and Relationship Farming) is Camtasia Studio from Techsmith. The company recently released version 5 (CS5) and it has improved on an already good program.

The interface seems tighter and better managed. It flows even smoother than in previous versions in my experience working with it. One of the best features I have seen is what they call “Smart Focus.” It allows the software to automatically zoom in on those areas where you need a sharper focus.

Let’s say you’re showing someone how to use a special Excel spreadsheet and you want to focus on how you calculated a particular formula. With CS5, you can create the movie of how to do it (with your voice explaining it as you go) and position your cursor on the area where you want to focus. You won’t see anything happen while doing the recording, but in the editing, CS5 automatically inserts a zoom onto that area of the screen. This makes the process easier for those creating the movie and much easier to follow for those viewing it.

You can produce videos for the Net, for CD and for iPod distribution. You could send marketing messages to potential buyers through this system. CS5 is worthy of serious consideration for professional marketers and businesspeople. Consider it a valuable tool in your Relationship Farming Toolshed.

(Camtastia Studio 5, $299.95, Free 30-day Trial at

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Relationship Marketing In A
“No Brand Loyalty” World

By Terry L. Brock

There is a trend that has become standard now with young adults that relates to you in your marketing. It used to be that we were loyal to a particular brand. I remember my college roommate, Charlie Gunkel, talking about his loyalty to a particular retail chain. “I’m a K-Mart man” he would proudly say. For a lot of us college students, on a tight budget, K-Mart offered (at least at that time) a sense of quality, value and even belonging.

My, how times have changed.

Today many consumers are quick to move to the “new, new thing” and embrace a hot new gadget, trend, website, etc. Our friends at K-Mart long ago slipped as people embraced Walmart and other competitors. Yet, in the midst of that certain loyalties do exist and that is where Relationship Marketing .pays off in a big way for you in your business.

A recent survey by the Grocery Manufacturers of America indicated that 49% of participants said a familiar brand name was the first or second most important element when making a purchase in the supermarket. The survey also indicated that 76% of Americans in all demographic groups consider a product’s brand before making their purchase.

This is very interesting for you and me as we provide services. It would seem that a certain amount of brand loyalty still does exist --- at least in some cases. Think of the young adult female who prefers a certain dress shop or brand. Think of the consumers looking for bargains who gravitate to their favorite warehouse store because of the perceived quality and lower prices.

Yes, buyers can move quickly with today’s technology but if there is a strong, mutually beneficial and profitable relationship, Business to Business (B2B) will experience loyalty. Price will not trump relationships if the relationship is strong enough. That relationship is the key.

Think of the loyalty that some have to Starbucks, Apple or Southwest Airlines. Starbucks and Apple are noted for having higher prices. But they both provide an experience as part of their Relationship Marketing. Higher margins are possible with stronger relationships. Successful companies provide an experience more than just a product.

Southwest Airlines is famous for their no-frills approach. Yes, their prices are good but not always the best. I’ve found that their prices are sometimes a bit higher but I still lean towards Southwest. I know they have a simple rapid rewards program so I get free flights more often with them than other airlines. I also like their on-time performance. For me and others, that is most important. Some people have a brand image of Southwest as crowded and prefer assigned seats. For those that have a positive brand image of Southwest in their mind this is not a barrier.

So what can you and I draw from this in our businesses? Here are some important principles:

1. Get Loyalty Early With Enormous Value. To get attention and have people notice you, do a “loss leader” in your service. This doesn’t mean necessarily reducing price but it means going the extra mile (or two miles) to gain initial business. Let them have a “WOW!” experience to get to know you. Provide that extra, or as they would say in Louisiana, the “Lagniappe” to get them on board. Giving that little extra builds loyalty.

2. Consistency Is King. Once you’ve got their attention you can’t slack off on the job. You can’t coast. You’re riding a bicycle uphill --- there is no resting. Yes, you might have done well yesterday, or last week, even last quarter. But it’s like the old football coach would say, “It ain’t whatcha’ done, it’s whatcha done lately that counts.” Make sure you continue to add that “WOW!” to the customer experience. Winston Marsh, a marketing guru from Australia, has said for years we have to “Make the customer say ‘WOW!’.” This “WOW-creation” must be consistently practiced. How is your “WOW! Manufacturing” lately?

3. Commit To Continual Renewal. Refresh. Rejuvenate. Rekindle. By continually refreshing and rejuvenating both physically and mentally, you stay alive and young. Yes, it bucks the trend of sitting and taking it easy. However, if you keep moving forward and renewing, you’ll always have life and continued growth. Constantly study new trends in the market. Just because you studied marketing---or whatever--- in school doesn’t mean you have an “inoculation” to future study in that or other topics. The world can quickly pass you by with new trends and new innovations.

The bad news is it doesn’t matter what you did before. The good news is you can recreate yourself and build brand loyalty anew. Think of each day as a new beginning. This is how relationships work. It is how Relationship Marketing works. Constantly be on the lookout to find new, creative, innovative ways to make your customers say “WOW!”

Maybe if companies like K-Mart practice innovation and making customers say “WOW!” they can bring back old customers and bring in new---even in the Internet Age. In an age of “No Brand Loyalty” you can build it by creating a “WOW!” experience consistently.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Here's my video of the recent Space Shuttle Launch. This was for STS-120, Discovery which launched Tuesday, October 23, 2007. Not only do you see the launch, but you get to see some of the "inside" profile of Kennedy Space Center. And of course you get to think about how all this relates to Relationship Marketing.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Relationship Marketing with Video: An Interview with Troy Stein of Techsmith

Here's an interview I had recently about using video with Marketing and Relationship Marketing. I visited with Troy Stein, the Product Manager for Camtasia at the Techsmith offices in Michigan. You'll find this informative and instructional for what you're doing in your own business.

First, here's the URL you can use to watch it on YouTube or to pass along to others:

Next, here's the video so you can watch it right here. Enjoy!


Frustration with Microsoft Vista

My Frustration With Microsoft’s Vista
(And I Don’t Even Have It!)

By Terry L. Brock

Relationship Marketing is about working with customers, clients, buyers (however we refer to that wonderful group of people that pay our bills!) and meeting their needs. This means being considerate, listening, etc. All those good sales skills are vitally important.

But it also extends to producing, as much as possible, a hassle-free, warm and inviting experience. How could we define that? Well, think of people that use a particular product and say they “love” it. I’d have to say that about my iPod which I’ve had for a year now. I use it every day whether I’m on airplanes, walking around my neighborhood, cleaning my condo or wherever I am. I love it!

Think of the many people that talk about a car they “love.” Money becomes a secondary factor. You don’t hear people talk about something they love just because it is cheap. The product has to meet basic emotional needs.

That leads me to the frustration I’ve been going through lately with Vista, the new Windows Operating System (OS). I don’t even have it! I’m using Windows XP on my Dell computer which I love. It has been a great computer for two years and I have no complaints. One of the best features is the support I’ve received personally from Dell. Yes, I paid for the Gold plan which puts me into a special track when I call, but I understand how the world works. When you pay more, you deserve better service.

Right now I need a new computer. I need a lighter weight computer with more power for the video I produce. I’m lusting over the Dell M1330 (I know we’re getting intimate here as I share my lusts with you!). However, when I spoke with the people at Dell they told me it is only available with the Vista OS. I’ve heard horror stories about how Vista causes problems, the drivers aren’t there, etc.

Hold your nasty email messages for a moment. YOU might have had good experience but in general, the industry has had major problems with Vista. New drivers have to be loaded, new updates have to be installed, etc. etc. Maybe you’re like me and you just want to get a computer that works and you don’t have 1,000 years to spend figuring it out!

I’ve even been tempted to look at the Mac world. I know, I know. All the Mac users will tell me how easy it is. Hey, Chinese is easy if you’re born in and grow up in Shanghai. My experience with Mac has not been all that good. Years ago I spent over $8,000 on a new Mac only to be frustrated with the lack of support from Apple and the difficult (for this Windows user) system. However, if I have to learn a new OS, I’m open to a Macbook Pro for my video and audio production particularly.

So, why did Microsoft have to release a version that is so radically different that it causes huge problems? I remember one highly tech-savvy person told me he had to “upgrade” from Vista to XP after trying over and over to get it to work. This is a guy who knows software intimately and is in the upper one percentile of technical knowledge! His people working with him in a high tech company had the same hassles with Vista. If they can’t figure it, how can mere mortals like you and me?

Relationship Marketing is about the details and helping customers to have a good experience. They should fall in love with your product. Yes, I know that many who use the Mac use the word, “love” a lot---and it gets my attention. With the 1-2 punch of Macs doing better than ever in the marketplace and Vista being such a pain, this die-hard Dell customer is seriously considering jumping over to “the dark side of the Force.”

However, what can this lesson teach you and me in our business as we engage in Relationship Marketing? We need to not just smile, be nice, listen, care, etc. etc. for customers. These are the very important “soft skills.” They are vital. I’m not putting them down. However, there is also a “hard skills” side of the equation in Relationship Marketing. That means that you have to produce products that people fall in love with and tell their friends how much they love those products.

I could be wrong, but I don’t hear a lot of people saying how much they “love” Vista. I have heard that a lot about Macs. And yes, if I do go with Vista and that Dell M1330 that I’m lusting for, I might grow to like it. If I can reach “like” that will be positive. We’ll have to wait on the “love” part.

Look at your product line. How many of your products generate “love” in the hearts of those wonderful buyers who pay your bills? How many “love” the service that you give? How many are raving fans about what you do and will pay extra just to have you and your products? Even better--- what can you do to add the “love” to your products and services? These questions involve both sales and engineering considerations and are good material for your next company meeting.

Wish me well. As of this writing, I don’t know how it will turn out. I could go with the Dell and tolerate the pain of moving to Vista, I could move to the Mac world and pay the price of new software, etc. (yes, even with the Windows-emulating programs, it will take a while to fully digest the new way of doing things), or I could go with another computer.

Think about your products and work towards “love” as a goal. Besides, I somehow think that Relationships should involve love!

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Are Internet Marketers Today’s Used Car Salesmen?

By Terry L. Brock

Are you as disgusted as I am with all the hype about Internet Marketing? It seems that every day there is another flashy piece of email touting a “New Break-through in Reaching Customers” and making money.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a die-hard advocate of free market, libertarian “Do whatever you want as long as you don’t harm anyone else” marketing and lifestyle. Everyone has a right to sell their products and services. But the way many of today’s internet marketers are coming across it is nothing short of appalling. It doesn’t make good business sense either. More on that later.

Yesterday the term “used car salesman” conjured up a host of negative images about cigar-chomping, derby hat-wearing unscrupulous salespeople who would say anything and do anything to get your money. Quality of merchandise? Ha! They didn’t’ care. All that mattered was getting the car off the lot and money out of your wallet into their cash registers.

Today we’re swamped with lots of offers that promise riches and more if you purchase the stuff that some are touting. Then the stuff turns out to be junk once you’ve bought it.

There are many genuine, good products. I’ve purchased many and am glad for it. What I object to---and I’m sure you can relate to this--- is the hype associated with a less than reputable attitude and product that many have in the Internet Marketing world. I have had the experience of meeting several well-known Internet marketers. It is interesting how their stage presence differs from their in-person appearance. On stage, they are laughing, using planned one-liners that are sure to get a laugh and stories that are told as true---but you really have to wonder about their veracity.

When you get these “gurus” aside to talk with them one-on-one as real human beings, they fall apart. They have relied so much on the stage presence that they don’t know how to relate to real human beings. They look at you askance with that “distant” look as if they are trying to size you up for how much money they can extract from you. We would all be wise to be more skeptical of those offers we hear until we have a chance to check out the people behind the products. Like Warren Buffet advocates, learn about the management before you buy a company’s stock.

Relationship Marketing is about connecting with prospects and customers as people first. Meet people where they are as human beings with needs, concerns and feelings. Business comes from connecting with people and meeting their needs.

I think of one well-known Internet Marketer whom I’ve known for several years. He is all smiles and happy persona on the platform. However, whenever we meet face-to-face (and it has been several times) this person is very cold, distant and short. Many others have expressed the same feelings about this person. I’ve also met other Internet Marketers with that same “distant” attitude in person but “plastic happy” attitude on stage and in their email.

Well, here’s a way you can benefit from that. Find out what they are doing and do the exact opposite by being kind, genuine and real. You will know that you’re connecting as a real human being. As a side benefit this becomes a marketing advantage over the sleazy hype-based Internet Marketers. Demonstrate genuine, sincere appreciation for others and show that you care. As you do this, in a world filled with the hype-driven and money-focused people you will stand out favorably.

It is a balance. Business is not about a giant love-fest. However, showing real concern for others, asking questions about them and listening really do matter. Here’s a good technique to separate the chaff from the wheat: Notice how often someone asks about you and what you’ve going through. Then pay attention to how they follow-up. Was their question just a polite “How are you?” when they really didn’t care how you are? Here’s another important test that relates to business: When you see this “new, wonder product” advertised that is going to increase your business, bring traffic to your website and maybe polish your shoes, do they provide a way for you to connect with the guru personally? Can you get through to a live human being or is it just a box of stuff you’re buying? If not, your money might be better spent with the right person that can help you one-on-one through direct coaching.

There is a place for mass-market advertising. Books are a great example. I love buying and reading great books. With a great book, I get to spend hours with a person I admire who is communicating an important message to me---all for relatively little cost. I don’t expect to have intimate interaction with the author in most cases. However, if I’m spending over $100 on a product, I expect to have some connection directly with a real human being.

You and I can help to curb the abuse in the “Used Car Salesman” approach we see too often in Internet Marketing. It is simple to do but not easy.

Care. The old saying is still true: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. As you practice this and implement it in your business, you’ll help others, feel better about yourself and even have a strong business advantage. And you won’t have to buy any dilapidated, used cars.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.