It took me quite a bit of time to complete this post, because all the pieces fell into place last week at CES. I interviewed Chris Brogan in mid December for the Search Exchange conference @SearchExchange, and ran into him at CES with some other folks. I broke up this post with the Q&A, my thoughts, and some pointers.
Robert: What things can you attribute to your success?
Chris: Helping people and having a platform/community to do it.
MyThoughts – I have done mortgages for a long time, and I used to frequent forums just to answer questions and/or help people with their questions. After building myself in that community, a lot of people would see that I had X amount of posts, and would consider me to be a ‘SR member’. I used to receive a lot of mortgage leads this way, and the rule of thumb here is “Help Others to Help Yourself”. I recently did this at Webproworld, and received 2 consultation calls from 1 thread. I didn’t offer my services…they just PMed me.
Lesson – Help others, and expect nothing back. Frequent forums, blogs, twitter, and other types of websites in your niche where interactions can occur between you and potential clients AND onlookers. Someone is always watching. You can do this on twitter by searching for keywords on search.twitter.com and spending time answering questions! (great way to build followers)
Robert: What are one of the first things you notice when you meet another business professional?
Chris: All their teeth (LOL, I guess he doesn’t get along with football players). Do they talk about themselves or talk about others.
MyThoughts – I received a lot of inquiries from other states, and I couldn’t help them since I was only mortgage licensed in a few states. I would find out what city/state they were in, and would find a local mortgage professional to help them out. Within time the extra started to payoff, and I started to receive leads from professionals in other states.
Lesson – Build a network with business professionals in your area and other states. LinkedIn is great in recommending others, and keeping in contact with people you have worked with. Think of others, and they will start thinking of you!
Robert: What’s the next social media platform you see people using?
Chris: BrightKite or location based social platforms
MyThoughts – I was recently chatting with Robbie Hodge @Taldir at CES about his use and success with FourSquare. Robbie sells consumer electronic products, and was telling me how he checks in everytime he goes to work. Within time the tweets from FourSquare paid off. A lot of people didn’t know what he did for a living, but the FourSquare tweets helped his followers take notice. This program can help you promote your business ‘indirectly’ by tweeting your whereabouts. Robbie mentioned that he received 2 sales within a short period of time of using FourSquare. He also uses it whenever he goes out to eat which is basically free advertisement for the establishment he’s visiting.
While at CES I met @AyaZook (Bing’s Product Manager), and he showed me Bing’s new product called Twitter Maps. Very Cool. Not only can you see where the profile is located, you can also see where a Tweet was originated. Now if Robbie tweets that he’s at some restaurant, I’ll know if he really is there…or just promoting them.
Lesson – Starting using location based apps so potential clients can see where you are, and may even stop by your place of business! If you own a business, you can promote specials like “Come to ABC Business and check in to Foursquare to receive free appetizer”. Customer gets free appetizer, and ABC Business gets YOU to tell your friends about ABC Business.
Robert: In your book Trusted Agents you speak about Joe Pistone aka Donnie Brasco hooking up with Lefty. If Lefty was on the web, how would you hook up with him? Who are the Lefty’s on the web?
Chris: Be Helpful…Give to get. Treat them like equals.
Thoughts – One of the biggest dilemnas we have in our online/offline business is getting to the heavy hitters. They’re usually busy or won’t talk to you if you’re not important. Donnie Brasco worked his way up the mob, and learned the favorite spots of where the mobsters were hanging out. Twitter is a favorite spot for a lot of the heavy hitters which can provide fast/easy communication without going through hoops.
Lesson – Learn the online spots AND offline spots where the heavy hitters like to hangout. Chris mentioned @RShotel a Social Media Hub located in New York.
Lesson2 – If you can’t get the heavy hitter to respond to you on Twitter, then find out who they will respond to. Chris Brogan responds to a lot of people through twitter…even through Direct Messages. If he didn’t respond to anyone, I would go after his buddies like Kristopher Smith @croncast who was introduced to me at CES by Chris Brogan. When the heavy hitters see you interacting with their circle, you’re more than likely going to receive a response from them.
Robert: Why follow so many people or why shouldn’t you follow so many people?
Chris: Underfollow you’re the elitist, overfollow you’re a spammer, 1 to 1 ratio and you’re reciprocal.
Chris: Stay away from getting hacked
Thoughts – Getting hacked is a pain because you may ruin your chances with building business online. If you can’t protect your password info, then why should a client trust you with their information?