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There are times in our life when we trip on our own ego.

The very thing that serves as our body armor against rejection, tough markets and tougher sales cycles . . . can simply get in our way.

I believe it gets in our way when we are too proud to allow ourselves to become vulnerable.

Vulnerable enough:

To ask others for help when we don’t understand something

To ask other Jedi how they achieved their results.

To tell our ego to go wait in the car so we can receive the lesson.

To ask for forgiveness when we screw up (not just business folks, our personal life too)

To understand that there are things in life that are beyond you or I going it alone that require Spiritual GPS

And perhaps the ultimate act of vulnerability is to acknowledge that something just flat out scares the sh*t out you!

Today, I will be at Sloan Kettering with a loved one while she has (outpatient) surgery.

And while things were caught early enough, and I will wear my tough guy exterior on my sleeve for her . . .

I will allow myself to be vulnerable enough to reach deep down in my faith and also ask you to do the same on her behalf.

And  before you dismiss this as a warm and fuzzy “Castain took a wuss pill today” rant . . .  there is a serious lesson in all this.

There is a time, when all of us need to acknowledge our own limitations and . . .

be vulnerable enough to reach our hands outward . . .

with a willingness to reach them upward!

Peace!

Related Post: I Hope This Saves Someone’s Life


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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Martin Luther King

inConcert will be closed in recognition of Martin Luther King Day.

inConcert Web Solutions will be closed tomorrow, January 17,  in recognition of Martin Luther King Day. Our office will reopen on Tuesday, January 18. All website maintenance requests and website changes that are requested within this time period will be completed upon our reopening in the order that they were received.

Enjoy the long weekend!


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1)    People Have Names Please Use Them. I see this with mostly internal emails but I fear that we might be also becoming lax with our client relationships. Dale Carnegie said it best when he said: “The sweetest sound, in any language is the sound of one’s name” and if that’s not enough, that “Band Camp” girl in American Pie kept asking Jason Biggs “What’s my name (b word deleted)” You can’t ever let that happen to you in email . . . just sayin!

2)    Easy On The Cliches Heavy On the Triggers: Its far more compelling to begin your email with a reference to a trigger event (something going on in their world where you can offer a solution to help them embrace opportunity or avoid pain) Think about that next time you want to begin with “My name is Paul Castain and I’m with” or the always lame “ABC company is a full service . . . “ Their favorite subject isn’t you or your clichés.

3)    Virtual Ball Breaking: Don’t ever use an unrelated email to respond and break your teammate’s stones about an unrelated issue. You are basically encouraging them to remove you from their distribution list. PS It’s freakin lazy too! Oh, and why are you doing this through email?

4)    Ask a question at the end of your email to increase your response rate.

5)    Higher Response Rates Through Social Networking Sites: Did you know that (according to a study published by Epsilon) emails sent through social networks have a 24% higher open rate than traditional email?

6)    Don’t Be Deceptive: Things like Putting a “Re” in the subject line to make it look like you have emailed each other before isn’t cool nor is referencing a discussion that you know damn well never happened.

7)    How About An Email Makeover Meeting?: You can do this with your sales team, other sales reps, your mastermind group. Have everyone bring their emails and you all critique them, mark them up and most of all . . . rip each other off!

8)     Utilizing Your “PS” As Free Ad Space: Lot’s of cool things you can use the “PS” for. One way is to use it as a way for you not to get pigeonholed into being a vendor for only one type of product or service. The best way for you to do this is to have them “Ask you about” something as in “Ask me about how our new TPS Reports save you time and money” “Ask me about how you can get double digit response rates” Etc. The other thing you can do (and not a bad idea since you want to mix it up a bit) is to cross pollinate your blogging efforts, or that white paper, open house, free webinar etc. The key to leveraging this technique is in changing out your message 1-2 times per month so you train their eye to continually check your “PS” Why bother looking if it’s always the same.

9)    Understand That Email Is Safe! Don’t ever cling to email as a substitute for real time interaction. If you aren’t actually speaking with your clients and prospects on a regular basis . . . someone else is!

10)  Understand That Email Is Also Not So Safe: Ron McMillan Author of Crucial Conversations Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High says that we lose the rich stew of nonverbal information such as voice tone, facial expressions and eye gaze. Since email by definition is merely the words itself, then its more easily misunderstood then an actual conversation.

11)  Celebrate Internal Wins and Inspire Competition: Sales Managers, this ones for you bro chocho. Why not send out a congrats ccing the entire sales team every time a new account comes in or (depending on your sales cycle) every time a sale is made. Note: Obviously this would be a pain in the butt if you deal in mucho transactions, otherwise this recognizes performance and inspires fun competition. Oh, and it costs nothing to implement! Yep . . . I dig “Free” too!

12)  Virtual Slacking: Have you ever emailed someone who was literally 20-30 feet away? Was it really necessary? If it wasn’t then hang your head and know that I’m hanging my head too. Let’s make it a point to get back to “human”!

13) My Unfiltered Thoughts On “Reply All”

14)   Inspire Internal Email Chatter By Doing This: Instead of sending an intro email to just your prospect, send it to several people at the 30,000 foot level. I can  hear you now saying “I already cc the head honcho” Well, that’s your mistake, because cc’ing the head honcho makes it look like you were trying to get “cute”. It can also get you an immediate “See ya” from your prospect. A better way to execute the strategy is to put all the recipients on the “To” line. Doing this does several things. First, it gives you an out if someone gets cranky. You can say “I didn’t know who to send it to so I figured I would send it to your executive team” The next thing it does can be simply magical. It can create “internal chatter” It might get brought up at the next senior meeting, it might get forwarded to the true decision maker with a note encouraging them to take your meeting etc. And just for the heck of it, I’m thinking since more and more decisions are being made by committee these days, perhaps it speaks to that too! I have to admit that this was inspired by an awesome book I read several years ago by Michael Boylan called The Power To Get In. Only they didn’t have email back then. I suddenly feel old, someone hold me.

And one more for the road gang!

According to the latest report from Radicati Group, there are 247 billion emails sent worldwide each day. Our average decision maker probably gets 100+ of those.

What does that mean for you . . .

Lots of opportunity for you to get lost in the sauce!

So with that in mind . . .

Think about how you will be more compelling with not just your emails . . .

Be more compelling with ALL your messaging!

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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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A few years back, I facilitated a leadership retreat for a group of executives at this awesome lodge they rented from a very wealthy man.

I could go on and on telling you about all the details of his beautiful 12,000 square foot home, but something else struck me.

There were pictures all over his home that chronicled the life of a man who was totally digging his life.

There were pictures of him hunting all over the world.

Chilling with friends

Chilling with family

Playing his guitar (he got an “ata boy” from me on that one)

And now the left hook . . .

I was told that the reason he was so happy was that he chose to live his life

after losing one of his children to childhood cancer!

Although this was a devastating hit to his family . . .

They chose to honor their child

By living!

It really made me think. . . .

If someone who lost their child, chose to honor that child, by living . . .

Then perhaps we can honor life . . .

By living it!

It’s Friday, the year is still young . . . and we have another chance to get it all right!

What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner – Colette


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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When ordering print materials there are many things to consider; things that may have never crossed your mind until your printer asks you what you prefer. Here are a few things that you should determine before asking for a quote from your printer.

  1. Quantity: Sounds like a no-brainer right? But you wouldn’t believe how many times a client requests a quote without giving specific quantities. Many people think, “Well, why does the quantity matter? I want to know the price before I decide on a quantity.” Quantity is important for an accurate quote because the higher the quantity the lower the price per unit. For example, if you plan on ordering brochures as you need them and you decide to order 250 today and then in a month order another 250, it would probably be a wise decision to order 500 the first time around because you will actually be saving money. If you are unsure about the exact quantity, give us a few different quantities to quote on (e.g. 100, 250, 500, and 1000).
  2. Ink Colors: This can be a bit confusing to some people who are not familiar with the printing process. First let’s talk about Full Color Process printing. Without getting too technical; process printing basically uses 4 inks to create all colors that your document uses. These ink colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. See the image below to see what I mean.
    CMYK

    Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black mix together at different densities to create a full color image during full color printing.

    Process Printing is used when your document has full color imagery or has a variety of colors used throughout the artwork. Results may very slightly from project to project when using process printing. In contrast, spot color printing uses only the inks you specify, these inks are chosen from a swatch booklet called the Pantone Matching System (PMS). Pantone colors are premixed inks which will give you the same result every time they are used. Most companies assign pantone colors to their logos to keep a consistent color throughout all of their branding. Spot colors are often used on items such as business cards, letterhead and monotone artwork. Though you can use many spot colors on one piece, it is more cost effective to use either one or two spot colors when printing your pieces. If you have more than that, we suggest going to full color process printing.

  3. Flat Size vs. Finish Size: Many printed pieces such as brochures or greeting cards start off as one size (flat size) and then get folded to their final size (finish size). Here is an example: If you want to print a batch of standard, tri-fold brochures your flat vs. finish size specs might look like this “Flat Size: 8.5″ x 11″ Finish Size: 8.5″ x 3.66″” This lets them know that there will be some extra work after the piece is printed whether it be cutting, folding, etc. (in this case, folding only).
  4. Flat size VS finish size

    The flat size of a standard trifold brochure would be 8.5"x11" and it's finish size would be 8.5"x3.66".

  5. Stock Color: In many cases your paper stock will just be white, but there are those times when you might want a different color for a special project or you might prefer to have your stationery and business cards on colored stock. Make sure you let them know what color you are looking for. Most printers have sample books that you can look through to get a better idea of what you are looking for, just stop by and ask if you can take a look. Also be aware that different stock manufacturing companies call their stock colors different things. For example, if your printer uses Neenah Paper, they might call a paper color “ivory” when Carnival Paper might call it “off white”. If you are unsure, ask for your printer to send you a sample or ask to look at their sample books.
  6. Stock Weight: This is where most people get a little lost, and by no fault of their own. If you are not familiar with the printing process, stock weight can be a little tricky to wrap your head around. There are many different weights of different types of paper, but we will just list the most common types used:
    • 20# Text – standard copy and flyer stock
    • 100# Text – standard brochure stock
    • 14 pt Cover – premium business card stock
    • 24# Text – standard letterhead stock
    • 100# Cover – standard cover stock
  7. Stock Finish: There are a couple options when your stock is finished. You can either leave it uncoated (for items such as copies and letterhead) or you can have them put a coating over the piece. If you decide to coat your printed items, you can either request an Aqueous Coating or a UV Coating. Aqueous coating is a water-based coating that protects the piece from things such as smudging, fingerprints, etc. Aqueous coating gives you some gloss quality (offering a glossier finish on lesser grade papers), it will not yellow with age, and since it is water-based, it is environmentally friendly. If you want a high gloss piece, you will want to go with a UV Coating. Be aware that if you choose to go with a coating, you will not be able to write on the piece.
  8. Finishing Options: After your piece has been printed and coated, it might need more work depending on the type of project you’re printing. If you are ordering something like greeting cards, you will probably need to get them scored and folded. Scoring basically means that the printer will make an impression into the paper along the fold line to ensure accurate folding without the paper buckling. If you are ordering something like an 8 page booklet, you might need to get them saddle-stitched. This means that they will staple the pages together down the middle of the fold (similar to some CD booklets). Other finishing options include drilling holes, mounting, die cut, etc.
  9. Turnaround: Finally you will need to let your printer know when you need the piece completed by. Ask your printer what their normal turnaround time is to determine whether you will need to ask for a rush order or not. Be aware that rush fees can get a little pricey so a good rule of thumb to avoid this is to not wait until last minute!

Though there is so much more behind the printing process, these are the basic things you should be thinking about when you send a job to your printer (or graphic designer). If you do not know what you should do in regards to any of these printing specifications, you can always ask your printer or graphic designer for suggestions. Remember, developing a quote takes time. Try to give your printer at least 48 hours before you need the quote. We hope you found this article on printing specifications useful. Next time you request a quote or send a job to print, your printer will be impressed when you provide them with all of this information from the get-go.


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Once upon a time a little boy was finishing up his purchase at the local candy store. He turned to the store owner and asked “Mr. Matthews may I please use your phone?” Mr. Matthews smiled at the little boy, who was one of his regulars and handed him his phone.

The little boy quickly punched in the phone number and had the following conversation “Mrs. Donavan you don’t know me but I pass your house each day on my way to school. I mow many of the lawns in the neighborhood and was wondering if I could mow yours as well?” Mrs. Donavan politely replied “Oh thank you anyway but we are quite happy with the service we are getting now”

Somewhat disappointed, Johnny countered with  a compelling offer. “That’s fine Mrs. Donavan and what if I were to beat whatever price you are paying by .00 per week?” “I’m sorry but we aren’t looking for a lower price” replied Mrs. Donavan. “Well, I suppose I could throw in a once a month trim of the hedges and weeding your garden on top of the .00 discount” Mrs. Donavan simply thanked the boy for his kind offer and wished him a good day.

The candy store owner, having heard this, said “Nice try kid. I’m proud of ya for giving it your best shot” The little boy smiled and said “Oh I’m not finished yet. Watch this”!

He immediately called Mrs Donavan back and said “Mrs Donavan, I’m so sorry for being a pest but what if I were to offer you the .00 discount, the weeding of the garden, the trimming of the hedges and I wash your car for you every other week?” “I’m afraid the answer is still no young man. Not if you were to give me the world and charge me next to nothing! I’m quite happy and I have no intention of switching” The little boy smiled and almost seemed moved by her response. With a softened voice he simply said “Now that’s what I like to hear. You don’t have to worry about me calling again.”

Mr. Matthews was amazed at how happy the little boy was with what he witnessed to be a rejection. “Young man; I really admire your spirit! That woman must have told you No at least 3 times and yet you are happier than when you first made the call. Keep up that attitude and you will be a great success someday” The little boy’s smile grew bigger and said “Oh I already am a success” Somewhat confused Mr. Matthews asked “But how could you possibly be a success at your young age?”

“I know because that was my customer and I was simply calling to see how I was doing”!

Can your relationships stand the test of persistent, low balling competitors?

Is it even a relationship or is it merely a series of transactions?

Silly, warm and fuzzy question coming atcha in 3,2, 1 . . .

Do your clients know that you love them?

Seriously. . .

Do they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are grateful to the point of renaming your children after them?

But that’s silly talk isn’t it? Nobody gives a damn whether you and I appreciate them or not, right? That my friends may be common sense but it is in no way, shape or form commonly practiced!

If it were, then you and I would be out of a job  because there would simply be no new opportunities!

Think about that today as you take care of your customers . . .

And be sure to think about that the next time you hesitate to call that prospect

that you think has no need for you!

Today’s News: Our Linkedin group just hit 18,000 members! To join us click here To get involved in one of our infomercial free discussions, click here and for mucho sales opportunities,  click here


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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My freezer is equipped with the latest technology.

It has this advanced tracking system that knows just when, and just how to throw stuff out when I open the door so it lands on my toe.

I opened it up this morning and felt kind of like George Bailey when he goes to run up the stairs and the top of the banister keeps coming off.

This time it hurt and I might have yelled some profanities that would make even the toughest of us New Yawkers blush and then something rather interesting happened . . .

I had a flashback.

To a time when there wasn’t enough food in that freezer to fall out.

I immediately became grateful.

Not for the direct hit to my toe, but for the lesson in gratitude.

Kind of made me think of something.

That client that might piss you off is there because you have a client

That job . . . because you have a job

That person in your life that you argue with . . . because they’re in your life

And so on.

Just a thought and a reminder to make gratitude an item on your daily things to do.

Meanwhile, I have a toe to nurse :)


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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So I’m sitting at home thinking to myself “Self, you have several blog posts and tips you’ve put out on how to use the phone more effectively. How cool would it be if you put those bad boys into a Free (no strings attached) E-Book and let everyone download it?”

So if you would be so kind as to click HERE it will magically whisk you away to the land of phone tips and my way cool E-Book.

Rock on!

Facebook

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Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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In this week’s podcast we talk about 6 ways for you to strengthen your social network.

1) Embrace a Relationship Nurturing Mindset. Why you should consider an attitude of giving, unconditionally and without a scorecard. I suggest an awesome book on the subject too!

2) Begin Your Relationships With Impact: If you and I are connection #2000, how do we begin the process of standing out? How to create a dialog from the word “Go”

3) Become Visible and Give Relentlessly: If everyone has a story and wants to be heard, how can we leverage that? How to look for and leverage “Social Cues”, that is things that can serve as a conversation starter. 3 kick ass ways for you to become a valuable matchmaker.

4) Expand & Cross Pollinate: The importance of connecting on multiple platforms. I offer two nifty ways for you to create new places for you to interact with your network.

5) Transition Virtual to Real Time: Relationships are so much more valuable when we move them off our computer screens. I offer several suggestions on how to this.

6) Continue to Nurture . . . with the understanding that things change and just because things don’t transition today, doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow.  I offer a valuable Plan B.

I have some great content lined up for you if you will scroll down and have a listen. Now if you are not in the mood to further your growth this weekend, no worries. My suggestion would be to download this podcast on I-Tunes and allow me to be your educational companion during your drive time this week!

And before you scroll down to this week’s podcast, I wanted to let you know that we have launched our Facebook Fan Page and would love for you to join us! We have a handy dandy Facebook badge located conveniently underneath the podcast player. Please make sure that you “Like” us so we can continue to interact.

Download this episode (right click and save)

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Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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So when it comes to your personal brand, what’s your main thing?

In other words:

What do you want to be known for?

Be Synonymous with?

Stand for?

Excel at?

Your difference?

Now I’d like to continue peppering you with branding questions but there’s a really important question. It’s a question that might reveal a “silent killer” of sorts.

Are you Dis’n your main thing?

Just to be clear and to enable us all to attack this from the same perspective . . .

A “dis’n of the main thing” occurs when you do things that take you away from keeping the main thing, the main thing!

For example . . .

Your main thing is “dis’d” when you don’t show up enough to position yourself. You know, you only jump on Linkedin or Facebook when you feel like it. You blog or write articles on no particular schedule, you show up at networking events sporadically and you have no plan to continually demonstrate brand “YOU”

By the way, advertisers know that repetition is the key to the subconscious. You need to start leveraging that my friend.

Your main thing is “dis’d” on Twitter when you go over the top with the live tweeting of sports events  and the whole foursquare “I just dethrowned so and so as the king of pain in the ass at my local thing a ma jig” Don’t get me wrong folks, I still stand by my philosophy that everyone has a story and wants to be heard, but go over the top with this stuff and you “dis” the main thing! And let’s be honest, who the hell has a main thing of tweeting every football play the moment they are seen on the old flat screen?

Getting political, religious or just dicky will dis that main thing every time!

Also, when you take the 6 judgments of brand (how you look, how you act, what you say, how you say it, where you say it and with whom you say it) and you are incongruent, you “dis” that main thing big time! In other words, brand “YOU” needs to never contradict across those 6 judgments!

And perhaps the biggest “dis” to the main thing, is when you can’t clearly articulate your main thing at all and you think all this stuff just happens.

Remember, if you’re confused as to your “main thing”, your audience probably is to.

Want to dominate in your space this year?

Define your main thing!

Execute on your main thing

And . . .

Continually obsess, improve and adjust that main thing.

Just make sure you don’t dis it somewhere in the process!

Happy Branding :)

Related Post: The Personal Branding Checkup

Today’s News: We actually have a discussion going on right now, in our Sales Playbook Linkedin group on the topic of branding called What is brand? Hope you’ll stop by and help us give the joint atmosphere :)


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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