Monday, March 30, 2015

You Only Need to be Slightly Better than the Competition

On a Sunday motorcycle ride my bike suffered a flat tire. I wasn’t hurt and the bike wasn’t damaged. Fortunately I was close to a mall. The Canadian Tire store in that mall wasn’t able to repair the flat but the service manager allowed me to store my bike in the shop over the weekend. That was an unexpected friendly gesture. Storing the bike inside was much better than leaving the bike in the parking lot over the weekend.

motorcycle flat tire
On Monday I started calling motorcycle shops to arrange pick up and repair. I was surprised at the responses.

The first shop was less than a mile from the Canadian Tire store. The person who answered the phone said,

 “Nah, I’m booked solid and everyone’s screaming for their bike. I have to turn you down. I don’t want your business.”

Wow. That was a brutal rejection that I didn’t expect. I won’t call them again and I can only imagine why people might be screaming.

The second shop was closest to my home. The person responded with,  

“I’m busy today. Call me tomorrow.”

I wondered, “Why can’t you take my call now? Why should I call you back tomorrow?”

By the time I called the third shop my expectations were greatly diminished. The person said, “I can pick it up tomorrow.”

Wow! That sounded promising. Tomorrow was the best promise I’d heard so far. Then he added that he might not examine the bike until Thursday. The bike might not be available until Saturday. That was the best promise yet. I told him that I’m a weekend rider so Saturday or Sunday was good.

A Few Questions
Why were the people at the first two shops so negative? Why did no one ask me about my expectations? Is that a symptom of the industry or simply bad retail service?

Tuesday morning I waited for the service truck at the arranged time. Fifteen minutes after the scheduled pick-up time I called the shop to check the status. The shop person didn’t apologize for the lateness. Instead she said that the truck should be there soon. The person picking up my bike was 30 minutes late. He didn’t apologize either.

It looks like there is room for motorcycle shops to improve their attitude and customer service. Naturally attitude and customer service have much in common.

It’s curious that the friendliest person was the service manager at the Canadian Tire store. He had no immediate gain from me. They don’t repair motorcycles nor do they sell motorcycle accessories. They specialize in automotive, house and garden.

I will remember the snubs and the kind gesture.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to Fail with Linkedin Messaging

Linkedin messaging gone wrong
Sending messages on Linkedin can be a productive way to build your network and explore opportunities but don’t send a message like the one below.

You might have received a message similar to this one. Hopefully you didn’t send one like it. Review it and notice the mistakes, so you can avoid them.


I am a candidate referee to employers and recruiters. I came across your profile as we share a few Linkedin groups and would like to network with you for possible opportunities.

I would like to offer a no-fee CV/Resume Evaluation. This Evaluation will outline the effectiveness on your current resume/cv with suggested improvements.

If you would like to enjoy this, just email your resume to us at @email


The message is as I received it. The only thing I changed was the email address to avoid embarrassment for the sender.

What’s wrong with this message? A few flaws might be obvious. A few other mistakes I need to explain.

First, the Easily Evident Errors

The message wasn’t personal. It’s doesn’t address me. It only says “Hello” but not my name. That suggests that this was simply cut and paste. The sender didn’t sign off with her name. The message ended with the email address.

It’s all about the sender not about the receiver. The first three sentences start with the word “I”.

There’s nothing to indicate that the sender looked at my profile. What skill set or experience of mine interested her? Why did she reach out to me?

Also, I don’t know what a “candidate referee” is. Do you wear a striped shirt? Do you call people offside? If I was the referee, I would send you to the penalty box for this offensive message.

Next, Truth and Credibility

If she checked my profile as she suggested she would have noticed that I’m a business owner and have been for 19 years. I’m not part of her target audience. I have no interest in writing a CV or resume. I’m not looking for a job. I’m building my business.

The message states that we “share a few Linkedin groups”. That’s not true. We share one. In my books, that was a lie.

I looked at her portfolio and noticed that it was lame. Naturally I wondered, “How would a person who can’t write her own Linkedin portfolio offer advice to job seekers on their resume?”

Here is the Summary from her Linkedin Portfolio…

“Liaise with insurance companies for new staffs, resignation staff, renovation, expats’ home, new outlet opening & office insurance coverage as well as all insurance in regards to the events.”

It was plagued with grammatical errors. It was vague and confusing.

If she looked at my portfolio she would have noticed that it is robust. It identifies my target audience, clarifies benefits and has proof in terms of recommendations and testimonials. It includes videos, photos and links to articles and media appearances. If she was smart she might have asked for my advice.

I sent her a quick message back saying, “Thanks but no thanks.” There has been no further contact.

I imagine that she will attract the market that she deserves – desperate people. Perhaps she should list the subject line as “Are you desperate for a job?” That would be honest and might capture the attention of people she appears to be attracting.

Best Lessons for You

  1. Don’t lie.
  2. Identify your target audience and talk individually to them.
  3. If you want to offer your expertise – demonstrate it first.

Should you use Linkedin messaging to connect? Yes. But first do your homework and connect personally.

George Torok

PS: Feel free to message me on Linkedin but please read the above first.

PPS: If you recognize yourself as the author of this message then please enjoy this free evaluation and suggested improvements.

View George Torok | Power Marketing's profile on LinkedIn

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

Sunday, March 08, 2015

7 Reasons We Might Not Accept your Linkedin Request

It’s not me – it’s you!

Do you want to improve your success at building your list of Linkedin contacts?

Perhaps you reached out and asked me (or someone else) to link with you on Linkedin. Why didn’t we accept? At one time I believed that it was wonderful to accept every connection request and reach out to as many people as possible.

Remember how excited we once were to hear “You’ve got mail.”? Most of us don’t feel that way anymore.

I accept that Linkedin is about connecting, networking and selling oneself. I’m comfortable with that. You might be selling yourself to get your next job. You might be selling yourself as a recruitment specialist. Those two roles were the original thrust of Linkedin.

But Linkedin and its use has evolved and you might be selling your professional services or your products.

I believe that Linkedin is a marketplace for people, services and goods. That’s the only reason I participate. Some of you might have a product or service that I’m interested in. More importantly to me, I expect that some of you might be interested in buying my services or referring me to an interested party.

One of the traps of social media is to believe that more means better. More contacts, followers, likes and comments… Justin Bieber isn’t the standard that you should chase.

The reality is that we don’t need more. We need better. The quality of those numbers might be more important than the magnitude.

Here are some of the criteria that might prevent me (or others) from accepting your invitation:

No Photo
If you couldn’t be bothered to add your photo then why should we bother to connect with you? For all we know you might not be human. A photo of your dog or cat does nothing unless you’re a veterinarian. An image of your logo or product is also impersonal. Linkedin is a forum for personal contact.

You Have Less than 200 Contacts
Numbers still count. How will your anemic list of 65 contacts help me? If you have less than 200 contacts then that doesn’t demonstrate influence. It feels like you’re trying to mooch off my list.

Vague or Weak Description
Your portfolio is vague or slim. We read it but can’t figure out what you do or what your expertise is. You spewed a pile of clichés that turned us off. You made claims that are not believable because they reek of absolutes and ridiculous promises.

Standard Connection Message
This by itself isn’t a connection killer. If you simply clicked on the standard Linkedin message “I’d like to add you to my network” I’m ambivalent. You haven’t given me a reason to connect. On the other hand if you wrote a personal message instead of the standard lazy message you are almost guaranteed that I’ll accept your invitation.

Do you want a guarantee that I’ll accept your connection request? Tell me what attracted you to connect. Tell me how you might help me. Tell me why I should connect with you.

Poor Grammar and Word Choice
If after reading your portfolio I see that English isn’t your first language I will forgive simple grammar and syntax errors.  I’m looking at the phrasing of your invitation and your portfolio and what you might offer. Several spelling errors will repel me.

You vs Me
If your portfolio is all about you – that is a turn-off. It’s okay to describe your accomplishments. But be sure to present your accomplishments in terms of how you helped your clients or employers. Is your portfolio a crass plea for a job? Or is it an offer of value? Convincing testimonials from employers, colleagues or clients can boost your credibility.

Your Tagline
This is your opportunity to capture attention because it displays immediately after your name. The most common default is to show the title of your current job. That’s boring but does help to stick a label on you for the recruiters and HR drones if that’s who you want to attract.

The best option is to describe your promise in the tagline. Why should people connect, hire or work with you? Avoid the clichés. That simply shows that you are unimaginative and no different from the mob.

The worst option is to list your status as:  “Currently looking for new opportunity”,
“On Sabbatical” or “Hoping to land my first job”. My reaction is “don’t call me”.

If you want to build a more profitable network on Linkedin make your portfolio attractive to new prospects. Convert if from a “job obituary” to an attractive invitation.

Before you send your “invite to connect” messages read the portfolio of your prospect and write them a personal invite that feels attractive to them.

George Torok
Co-author of the bestselling, Secrets of Power Marketing

View George Torok | Power Marketing's profile on LinkedIn

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