Friday, May 27, 2011

Cowboy Wisdom Radio Interview Highlights

I was recently asked to do an interview for a fun radio show called Cowboy Wisdom. Here are a few thoughts and some of the information that I shared with their listeners...
While I was thinking about this interview and the prior conversation I had with the host, Bob, I thought of the name of the show and what the meaning behind Cowboy Wisdom is. When we think of a Cowboy/Cowgirl, we think of a rugged, can-do, gets stuff done, fall off the saddle and get right back up again and ride hard till you get the job done kind of person, right?
When I thought about this, I thought I might need to rebrand myself to be, “The Cowgirl’s Common Sense Approach to Marketing and Business”!
The Main Question I Always Get Asked Is: What is it that I do?
·         I give advice, consultation and planning strategy based upon experience having spent 1/3 of my career in marketing, 1/3 in operations and 1/3 in general/executive management – I’ve seen a lot work well and a lot fail – but what I know beyond a doubt is that most “best practice” can be applied across all industries and types of businesses. Utilizing what I know, I help leaders start, transform and turn-around their businesses.
 What are the Common Things that I See Across Various Businesses?
·         One thing I see too little of is the understanding that there are no new ideas – just new ways of accomplishing them! – Examples: Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOM) has been around since BC. Now, we use it with different tools and applications and call it Social Media Marketing – The amazing thing to me is that people are now stumbling upon the realization that there could be negative ramifications to utilizing Social Media – “someone may say something bad about me” – well, let me remind you'all (see there is that cowgirl coming out already!) that the age old adage for Word Of Mouth marketing was that a happy customer would tell 1-3 people about their experience and to the contrary, an unhappy customer would tell 10 or more ---- The same rules apply in Social Media and it should not be a surprise to anyone. Utilizing this technique (WOM or SM) is under-valued and under-appreciated for its power – Good or Bad. It requires careful thought before launching into it. And, it definitely requires a seasoned professional
·         Common Sense Isn’t Common Enough! When developing a marketing plan or a business plan – do your homework! Who really buys/needs what you are selling? What problem does it solve? Many businesses get stuck in the mindset of who they want to sell to vs. who will and does buy what they are selling. When I walk them through the dollars and cents of selling to who they want to sell to—often the numbers won’t sustain their business – when we look at who NEEDS and BUYS their product, the numbers add up and if they adjust to the new reality -  they succeed.

What One Thing Every Business Can Do To Improve Their Business Today?
·         Customer Retention  Management or CRM – It is as simple as providing your customer(s) and prospects with products and services, emphasis on service, above and beyond how anyone else provides them.
What Is the Most Overlooked and Under-Utilized Tool by Businesses Across the Board?
·         They don’t pay attention to trends and data. We all know, that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. (If you don’t know that, turn on Dr. Phil – he says it almost every day! LOL.) I cannot tell you how many clients I ask the primary question: “Who is your customer?” and they give me an answer that does not match what the tends and data history of who their real customer is. Another of the easiest ways to increase sales is to identify prospective customers who look like, behave like and spend like your current customers. Makes sense, right? It is so logical. But, you’d be surprised that so many businesses don’t do it because they think they know who their customer is and they don’t. I’ve disproven people over and over again. And, once we identify the real customer, we can turn the business around and grow it.
Hope some of these things can help you. I’ll write more about what I shared with the Cowboy Wisdom audience later…. Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Build an MLM Business Now to Provide Income in Retirement

I was recently asked this question by Catherine. In her case, she is in the beauty business, but the concepts apply to any MLM and even to Craft Businesses. Here’s what I told her:
Dear Catherine,
Here are a few ideas that I hope can help. If you have ANY questions, please let me know!

Your approach should start local, grass roots and VERY personal. I recommend you look for any opportunity where you currently belong to a group, association, church, etc. and seek out what advertising options they have. Usually they have a bulletin or newsletter and ads are relatively inexpensive. Remember to think,”I’m building my business so it is great income when I retire in 3 years”. Don’t be short sited --- you are in this to win it—by the time you retire!
Write a blog. You can do it free on many sites like blogspot
Topics should be relevant and targeted towards “hot” topics like aging, green/chemical free items, etc.
Some blog topics might be:
• Top 10 beauty products as rated by my customers
• Why sell beauty products in this economy?
• Why sell beauty products at my age?
• Age defying products for the Cougar in all of us!
• What do you buy the man who has everything?
• Another baby shower? What to buy as a gift?
• Another wedding shower? What to buy as a gift?
• New mom? Great supplemental income idea!
(I can offer more if you need them – Also, NOT to plug me, but my biz does ghost writing and can do articles for about $30 a piece. So if writing is tough—we can get you covered. But I suggest you go for it yourself. Everyone has stories and people like to read about things that are real—so choose topics of real experiences with products/customers. Then post a link to your new blog on Facebook and Twitter and send a link to your existing customers.)

Get a sign or many made for your car. If you can, get several with different messages to keep it fresh and interesting. You can get them pretty inexpensive at:

Get signage for your yard (if you are allowed) at Vista Print – again get many if you can to keep them fresh- think: products per season, sales, best product, extra income job available, etc.
Advertise for reps on Craigslist under “jobs”- hit new mothers, retiring people, etc.

Keep using Facebook and tell stories from products that customers bought and liked or bought gifts that were a ‘hit’ and then add a link to the product on your site.
Mention targeted messages on Facebook and Twitter about age defying, lipstick that lasts all day – you know the common “women issues—tell people how to address them. Think of yourself as providing solutions, not selling products.
Target women your age – they will relate to you the best - what issues do they have? Solve them with your products and/or by offering them a job!

Advertise in Penny Saver – usually inexpensive

Join or go to any/all community events where women are. (Recent studies still show that women make 50%+ of the purchase decisions in households.)
Offer to give a free speech on the issues facing aging women and how your products or becoming a rep can help them. Tell them your story of starting this to help build over the next three years so you have some additional retirement income. Plant ideas for people!

Get in with local realtor(s) - ask them for new home sales info. Be the ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ with a free gift and a discount off their first purchase.
Join the Chamber of Commerce
Search the internet for posted beauty problems and find blogs that you can answer questions to and always include your link to the solution.

Do a free lunch or cocktail party and have your top sellers or best “solution” products on display for sale/order. Have cards set by each product for people to read about why the product is so great. If you have a quote about the product from a current customer, even better—put that on the card. (If you are going to place orders versus sell that night—have little cards made up that they can pick up with the product name and number on it and come to you to order (also put your website on the card in case they want to order from home!!) With this approach it is a party- but it also doesn’t have that “pressure feel” to it—remember the plastic container parties of the past where you felt pressured? This allows people to have a cocktail and mill around and chat and look at fun items – this is really a good idea around holidays.

I hope that helps a little! Let me know if any of these work or not! If they do – great. If not, tell me and I’ll give you some more ideas.
Some of this is trial and error but the things I want you to ALWAYS be thinking are: Is this (wherever you are right now) an opportunity to give my card, talk about a product, place an ad, etc.
Also, establish yourself as the local beauty products expert. Invite questions from people.
If these ideas work—help others (who are NOT) in your region ;)

Good luck and let me know how it goes!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Give the poor interviewee a break!

A question was recently posted on a networking site about what an executive candidate should wear to an interview with a company that does not follow a dress code. Here was my answer and I hope some of you take my "give the poor interviewee a break" suggestion to heart!

This really "depends". I don't think there is a one size fits all for this situation. As with all interviews, do your research. If you can, reach out to someone in the company and ask for their advice - (use LI to find them !) do it – definitely. (You may also build an advocate in the company in the process!)
In my case, when I was a GM, managing developers and client services staff, we wore biz casual on M-Th and casual on Fridays. If clients were around, we wore business attire. (Although, when we got to know our clients very well- we told them to wear jeans in the office if our meeting was on Friday and they all did – and LOVED that we invited them too!)
My instructions to anyone in the company who was hiring/interviewing was to spell out the expectation for people before the interview. It just was one small way that we could put a candidate to ease a bit. I’d rather they be concerned with expressing their aptitude and rehearsing the “interview questions” and boning up on our industry, clients and business than what type of clothing to wear. I always paid attention too. If I specifically told them we would all be in jeans due it being Friday and told them they could do the same, I noticed those who didn’t. It said something to me that the GM invited them to be casual and they disregarded it or didn’t listen. Now, I never expected them to show up in flip flops and a torn and stained shirt with their jeans but if we were all in jeans—they could be too! I found it interesting to see how they would ‘adjust’ to this…..Those who did it tastefully i.e.; some type of jacket, a shirt or smart t-shirt and jeans with a belt and good, clean shoes, always won out with me.
This is an age old question and it has always amazed me that hiring managers and HR professionals do not cover this when setting up an interview. C’mon folks, let’s put this question to bed and just set the expectation. Give the poor interviewee a break!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I hope some of these answers are helping you. Many are reading and I appreciate everyone's support. 

Please click the "follow" button on the right of the page. You can follow anonymously if you prefer and you will not receive SPAM - only notices of my new blogs!

Thank you and please write in with questions.  I'm so very happy when I can help you.

Wishing you good business,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Guerilla Marketing- Dead or Mainstream?

In a stimulating discussion this week with the very bright staff of a thriving, hip, contemporary and much needed company called, Good Clean Love ( ), we were exploring marketing concepts.  Our discussion was part Marketing, part PR and part Social Media. Basically it was a great information gathering and exchange session.
At one point in the discussion, someone said something like, “Wow - so real guerilla tactics”. I immediately responded, “Oh yeah – any tie in you can create- I recommend you create it.”
Since then I have been contemplating the term, Guerrilla Marketing. I haven’t heard anyone use the term recently and the latest, good, article I read on it goes back to 2006. (I recommend it: ) In the article, Jason Voiovich provides a solid and simplistic reason why this tactic works. And, in my experience with my clients, it still works. So why are we not talking about it?
Have we all just switched our terminology to SM or do others disagree with me and think GM is dead? I tend to think that it has just melded into the mainstream tactics so it is not the “buzz word” it once was. Or, as we all saw, did some (bad) agencies go to un-relatable extremes and waste companies valuable marketing dollars on GM so now it is a forbidden term?  Visions of some very pricey tv commercials come to mind that were just horrid and missed the mark. Plus, I would be hard pressed to call tv ads “Guerilla Marketing”, but some agencies “went there” – unfortunately.
Well, regardless of whether some think GM is dead or not, I still use it and I get good results with it. I think a good simple message created or tagged onto another good message evokes emotion. And in marketing, when you get them to emote about whatever you are promoting --- you have their hearts and ears and their wallets and WOM are soon to follow.
So, give it a whirl….dust off your Guerilla Marketing for Dummies (or the equivalent book) and give GM another try. You just might catch yourself catching someone’s emotions……. And then their wallet ;)

BTW-- I hope some of these answers are helping you. Many are reading and I appreciate your support. . Please click the "follow" button on the right of the page. You can follow anonymously if you prefer and you will not receive SPAM - only notices of my new blogs! Thank you and please write in with questions.  I'm so very happy when I can help you.