Thursday, August 30, 2012

Networking or Sweatworking?

Networking or Sweatworking?
I believe that networking works.

Yes, I can give you examples of how networking helped boost my career and my business.

No, networking is not a quick fix.

Yes, networking can be frustrating - even when you are doing the right things. It's more frustrating when you are doing the wrong things, and even more frustrating when you are not sure if you are doing the right things.

What are the most common mistakes in networking?

The myth is in thinking that networking is an event.

The reality is that networking is a process.

Perhaps you have attended a networking event and witnessed "Mr. Power Networker" in action. He runs around the room distributing his business card like a cheap flyer. He shakes as many hands as he can grab, while spewing his 30-second commercial like manure. Then he quickly pounces on the next victim.

This misguided networker is not networking - he is sweatworking. He is sweating as he works the room. He believes that he is doing good - because he believes in the mantra - "no pain, no gain". He knows this is painful and sweaty work - he just doesn't realize how much pain he might be inflicting on others. After the event he sweats by the phone and wonders why nobody calls.

Networking is only one part of your marketing. Your networking must fit with all of your other marketing activities and there must be synergy among the different marketing activities. Don't try to adopt a networking persona that is incongruent with your other marketing activities. Your message must be consistent.

Networking is a strategic process. To be more successful at networking you must formulate and follow a plan. Any good strategic plan includes goal definition, systematic processes, resource allocation and skill development. Remember to measure results along with inputs and make necessary course corrections.

A good network can give you a strategic advantage over your competition. Yes, networking takes time and patience. Any new process or skill set is slow at first. Once you reach that sweet spot on the learning curve your results take off.

Yes, you will still attend some networking events. But you will be more strategic in choosing which to attend and you will make better use of your time. Consider each networking event that you attend a personal marketing event just for you. Prepare for that event. Set goals for each event. Draw a simple plan for the event. Rehearse your lines. After the event review your performance, measure results and learn from what actually happened. Follow up with your contacts. Then start preparing for your next networking event.

When you follow a good networking system you will be better rewarded for your efforts. The only sweating you will do is sweating over the details. Yes, it is important to sweat the small stuff because it is the small stuff that will give you the edge from your networking process. You will net more and sweat less.

Want more tips for practical networking? Get your copy of "Your Guide to Networking Success"

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Promote Brand YOU! Video Interview on Full Potential

How to Promote and Make Brand YOU Stand Out
- George Torok interviewed by James Rick, host of The Full Potential Show

Enjoy this enthusiastic video interview on the Full Potential Show to:

  • Discover the key principle to building stronger relationships.
  • Learn the strongest way to build a stronger personal brand.
  • Hear why you should not worry about your weaknesses.
  • And much more...

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shoestring Marketing: Where to Save and Where Not

Cutting Marketing Costs
Time to save money on your marketing? How can you do that and still get effective results? First, avoid five big mistakes that many make. Then use the nine techniques waiting for you below.

In your attempt to save costs don't cut in these areas:

Never try to save money by cutting the value of your product to your customer. If you reduce value they will expect a corresponding price reduction at the very least.

Never sacrifice quality to save money. Be clear on what quality means to your customers. The best definition of quality is 'meeting expectations'. Your customers got quality if they got what they expected. Quality is neither about price nor cost. Saturn, Toyota and Rolls Royce are all quality cars.

Never try to save money by making your customers wait longer. They will never have more time.

Cheapest deal
Going cheap is not a good way to save money. Cheap looks and feels cheap. Don't send your marketing messages that feel cheap. Instead pick your marketing channels and hunt for the best deal - not the cheapest. There is no point in printing your business cards on the cheapest paper.

Core benefit
Never trim from the core benefit of your product in your attempt to save money. Whatever the main reason they buy your product - don't you dare reduce that. That is like cutting bone.

How to Save
You can use these methods to help you save money on your marketing:

The oldest form of commerce - trade food for animal hides. You can try two approaches to barter. You can trade directly with your supplier or customer. For example you might trade some of your product with a publisher for ad space in their publication. The drawback to this form of barter is that you both must want and need what the other has. You might barter the whole amount or have a mixed deal of cash and barter.

Another form of barter is through one of the many barter companies. They form a relationship with many companies. Any one of the barter group can buy your product with their barter dollars. You can then spend those barter dollars with some other member of the barter group to buy what you need.

If you are part of a larger group such as a franchise you can get advertising subsidy from your franchiser to help you promote their name and your business. Grocery stores and bookstores also use this technique to get money from their suppliers to allocate premium shelf space to those who pay for it. If you sell or distribute for a manufacturer you might be able to arrange co-op support from them.

Ask customers
This is so simple that many overlook it. Ask your customers what they've noticed that you could eliminate that has no significant value to them. For example I noticed my local bank renovating the branch every few years. That added zero value to me. I wish they would stop it.

Buy when others are not
Buy your marketing services when demand is low. Most printers are very slow in July and August. If you offer to buy at that time you might get a lower price, faster service or even more value.
A company president was planning a national conference in a prime location. He asked a big hotel, "When is your slowest week of the year?" He then offered to book that week for his conference and asked for a deal. He got it and they got the business.

Share a promotion with another company that also markets to your customers. You can split the costs of your promotion. You can offer to promote their product at your business while they do the same for you. You can offer your product as a prize in their contest promotion. You might trade referrals or give testimonials for each other.

Work with a charity
You could donate time, product or resources to a charity. They might recognize you in their signage, printed material or with a nice letter. When you work with a charity you benefit from the goodwill you create among your customers and the community. You might also get some free media coverage in the process.

You can get more from your marketing if you just negotiate with your suppliers and customers. Negotiation is a skill not a talent so it can be learned and honed. Read a few good books and take a course on negotiation to become a superior negotiator. You will learn the different gambits, styles and strategies of negotiating.

Be creative
Look for unusual promotions in other industries and find a way to make it work for you. Being creative does not mean being original. Borrow ideas from around you. The best way to get creative ideas about your business is to talk to people who know nothing about your business. For how to generate more creative ideas try using SCAMPER as described in "Secrets of Power Marketing" and at

Offer something more important than money
You might save on your marketing by offering your suppliers and customers something that they value more than money. What could that be? Depending on their situation it could be using your name as a reference, access to information, exposure to new markets, referrals, new technology, time to relax, etc..

Spend carefully and be creative in stretching your shoestring marketing budget.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter

Monday, August 20, 2012

Passion Billboard Advertising - So What?

This billboard caught my attention with the word "Passion".

That's a powerful attention grabbing word.

And then I was confused.

What are they selling? What are the benefits? Why should I care?

Bracelets? Is this a jewellery store? What is the name of the store?

There was a split second of interest followed by confusion and frustration.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter

Friday, August 17, 2012

Build Credibility, Value and Trust on a Shoestring

Marketing on a Shoestring
Setting priorities in your business? Your first job is to sell. Selling is - writing the orders; receiving the cash; feeding the beast. If you don't sell, the beast, (your business), will die. The impact of selling is immediate. You may love it, but it is a beast. You need to feed it and control it.

Your second priority is marketing. Marketing is taming and grooming the beast. Marketing is everything that makes it easier to sell. Marketing is about sending messages - and everything you do or don't do sends a message. You are responsible for these messages because they impact the perception of your credibility, value and trust. The impact of marketing is long term. The best time to start marketing was yesterday. The next best time is today.

Use these low-budget techniques to build credibility, value and trust on a shoestring.

Be a guest speaker for community groups, schools and associations.
You most want to speak in front of prospects. But sometimes you need to take side steps to get there. Check the directories at the library to find associations that might have prospects for you. Then contact the local chapters to offer a no-charge seminar or speech. Don't tell them you speak for free even though you do. Instead tell them that you normally charge, (pick a number), but agree to waive your fee as a first time offer.

The presentation must be of value and interest to the audience. It can't be an infomercial. Provide a handout with key points from your talk. Include information about your services along with your contact numbers and website on the handout. Ensure your introducer reads the introduction you prepare that establishes your expertise and what you do. But don't stand up there and sell - instead market by using examples of how you helped previous clients. Ask for a list of all attendees. If they refuse, collect everyone's business card for a draw. Give away a book, one of your products or 30 minutes of your service. It is more important to collect business cards than to give yours away.

After your presentation ask the organizer to refer you to speak at other associations or other chapters of the same association. Other groups you might speak to are Rotary, chambers of commerce, and various networking clubs. You don't need to be a member to be a guest speaker.

Prepare and rehearse your presentation. To become a better speaker read the book, "Secrets of Power Presentations", by Peter Urs Bender, You could take a seminar on presentation skills or hire a speech coach. You can find both plus tons of free presentation guidelines and tips at

Another alternative is to join Toastmasters. It is a non-profit association that teaches presentations skills in a peer coaching club environment. Find a local Toastmasters club by visiting

Volunteer for a charity, community cause or association.
Budget your time wisely and volunteer for a cause or group in which you strongly support. If you do, then you will work willingly and passionately. You will feel good about your contribution. Others see you at your best. They have the opportunity to know you and like you. And we would rather do business with people we know and like. By volunteering on a committee or charity you contact others who share your beliefs. And we like others who are like us. After working together as volunteers it is easier to discuss business opportunities. In this way you may discover new customers and suppliers. You might also find partners for cross promotion or referrals.

The bonus payoff from volunteering is positive media exposure. This might include photos and interviews that may result from your impact. You could join an established cause or you could simply organize your own event. A dentist donated one day of his service to give free fillings to children of single mothers just before Christmas. He received front-page coverage.

Write and publish articles
We grant tremendous respect to those who have published works. Write a book and that is an invaluable credibility tool. Case in point: before I wrote my book, Secrets of Power Marketing, with Peter Urs Bender I was a nobody. After, I was an overnight marketing guru. I say 'overnight' because it took two years to write and lots of promotion. Nothing in business happens overnight, neither success nor failure.

You can and should start with something simpler than a book - articles that highlight your expertise. The simplest article to write is a tips list. It could be 'Three steps to prepare for ______'; 'Five questions to ask when buying ________'; 'Seven ways to save money on your __________'; or 'Ten tips for improving your _________'.

The most important step in writing is to start. The second most important step is to edit and rewrite. Forget about writing excellent copy the first time. I would be so disappointed with myself to find out you can write perfect copy the first time.

Where do you publish? You most want to be seen in the publications your prospects read. These might be trade and association magazines. Members tend to read them cover-to-cover. Of course it is wonderful to appear in a national business publication. Copy your articles and send them to your clients and prospects. Post them on your website and on the wall of your office - for visitors to admire and for you to be reminded that you are an expert.

Feed, tame and groom the beast and it will be your friend.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Who is Sandpiper? What do they do? Why Would you Care?

Sandpiper Billboard Ad
Another billboard advertisement gone bad - this time from Sandpiper.

This billboard is one of the worst that I've seen recently.

The first test is to catch attention. There is nothing - text or image wise  - to catch attention of vehicle drivers.

Take the test. Scan it for three seconds. What did you see?

My eyes did a left to right and back a few times. Nothing grabbed my attention and nothing was memorable. What is this sign about? Who cares? That's the reaction of most drivers as they pass this sign.

The next test is "What is the message?"

Go ahead and scan it again  What are the benefits? What are the features? Who are they talking to?

If you have 30 seconds you might notice the phrase "Trust Sandpiper to comfort your nest".

What does that mean?????

Let's run down to Sandpiper and give them our money because we want to comfort our nest.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bill Board Advertising - Balaclava Wearing Salesmen

Bill Board Advertising mistakes
Remember the 3 to 5 second rule. When you are driving along the road a bill board advertisement only has about 3 to 5 seconds to catch your attention, offer a solution and call to action.

When you are driving there's a lot of competition for your attention.

So glance at this billboard with the guy in the balaclava.

What's the first thing that comes to your mind? Perhaps it's terrorist. The image is so compelling that your eyes will probably focus on it for a few seconds. Then your eyes might jump to the words "Don't Sign" and you might be wondering what is this about.

My eyes bounced between the image of the guy in the balaclava and the words "Don't Sign" a few times.

This sign caught my attention BUT I don't know the message or what I should do.

For sure I will be looking for guys in balaclavas at my door - but I don't know why.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Bill Board Advertisement - Fighting for Customers

Bill Board Adversiting Mistakes
Who is Bill Board Advertising aimed at? People in cars and mostly car drivers.

When I say cars let's include SUVs, pick-up trucks and vans.

That means the main target for bill board advertisements are vehicle drivers.

Those people might be sipping the coffee that they just picked up at the drive-through. They might be stressing about the other guy who just cut them off. They might be lost in the tunes blasting from their CD player. They might be engrossed in the talk show on their radio. They might be arguing with their spouse or lecturing the kids in the back seat.

Hopefully they might be checking their sight-lines (front, back and sides) for other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Unfortunately, too many will be engaged in phone calls or texting.

We know one thing for sure - they are not searching for the next bill board.

Yet, it seems to me that many bill board advertisers ignore reality in favour of their own sense of self importance. They create or accept an advertisement that was created to talk to a buyer relaxing in the easy chair with nothing else to think about except your ad.

Look at the above bill board advertisement for three seconds. What do you see? Where did your eyes go? What message did you capture?

A bill board needs to first grab attention, offer a solution and then direct the action - all in about 3 to 5 seconds.

Grab Attention?

What might grab your attention on this sign? The word "Fighting". Who might be attracted to the word "Fighting"? The first thing that came to my mind was Mixed Martial Arts. The next thing was people who are angry.

The image on the right side is a suit of armour but it is difficult to see. The image is made more difficult because there is no head. Why is there no head on this knight? My eyes bounced between the word Fighting and the image a few times while trying to distinguish the message.

Once I realised that it was a suit of armour I wondered if the advertisement was for the dinner jousting program. You watch armoured knights on horseback enact a medieval joust while you enjoy a sumptuous meal. I've heard of it.

By the time the five seconds elapsed the impact was lost.

I later walked past this sign to take this photo and I had time to study this bill board. I think the ad is for a law firm. I think the target audience is accident victims. The text reads "Fighting honourably for accident victims. I wonder if accident victims really care about how honourably the law firm acts. I think they want their money.

In the Olympic spirit, on a scale of 0 to 10 I would give this bill board advertisement a two.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter