The art of online stalking and other great ideas!
I had a great opportunity to speak on a distinguished panel last week for a Business and Economic Summit put on by the New Landings Job Club here in Kansas City (and before you ask, I don’t know why I was on the distinguished panel either…). 😉
This wasn’t just any panel discussion, not only were there
10 9+1 sharp panelists – there were 400+ in attendance and focused for 2+ hours!
The purpose of the discussion was to talk about what’s going on in Kansas city with jobs, the economy and what job seekers should be doing and looking for as they work to get into their next opportunity.
There was a lot of great discussion (it was primarily a Q&A format) and I believe the job seekers got a lot of great ideas and good advice…what was interesting to me was how much of that great information and advice also applied to business owners.
We talked about the importance of stalking (done the right way), relationships, professionalism…lots of great points – here are the highlights that I took away:
(photo by Jesse757)
Relationships…I sound like a broken record
I talk a lot about the importance of building relationships because people do business with people that they Know, Like and Trust. One of the central themes for the evening was a strong confirmation of that fact. Brad Justice – Owner of Team Office made this point very strongly: whether you’re looking for a job, looking to collaborate with a partner or sign a prospect up for business it all starts with building a genuine relationship.
It takes time…you can’t rush relationships. It takes effort and a sincere desire to help and connect with someone. It’s work, but the fact of the matter is most jobs aren’t found through job postings and business isn’t done without some kind of connection.
Another common theme was the importance of adding value. Chuck Vanasse, CEO of Prio, Inc. made a great point about the best way to make a positive impression on somehow when you’re meeting with them…is to simply ask:
“What can I do to help you?”
Approaching anyone with a genuine interest in adding value, solving real problems and helping them will quickly put you at the top of their list – from a job perspective or from a potential client perspective.
Things are looking up…really
We’re not out of the woods just yet when it comes to economy, but the Kansas City metro is doing better than a lot of areas and in some pockets, things are actually going quite well. This was more than just a gut feeling – Andrew Nave – an economic developer with Overland Park has real data that shows we’re on the upswing and overall it painted a fairly bright picture.
Michael Rapken – the COO of Genesis 10 Consulting reinforced that positive message with the discussion on his company’s growth (and focus on finding quality local resources to work with). There are opportunities out there.
You’ve got to have Passion and a positive focus
Jon Schramm – owner of The Purple Guys did a great job describing his company and one of the things that sets them apart (besides wearing purple). They’ve had great success which he attributes (in part) to having a lot of passion about what they do and why they do it – I love their concise Mission, Vision and Values page.
Elizabeth Allen – owner of Marketsmartz was the moderator for this whole event and she covered a lot of great points, but the one that stuck most with me was her message about the importance of getting excited about what you do and keeping a positive approach…even when times are tough.
Stay Educated, Stay Fresh
The world is changing – arguably there’s been more changes in technology and how people live in the last 10 years (internet and mobile) than we’ve had in the previous 100 years! But if you want to be successful and stay successful you’ve got to keep learning. Sam Atieh – CEO of the American College of Technology is seeing his clients / students really benefit in tangible ways from going back to school…or even just getting the training needed to stay up on things.
David Longstreet – the President and Owner of Longstreet Consulting took the idea even a bit farther with a great point about how you’re only as old or out of date as you think you are. To back that up, he shared the story of getting a cool new tattoo as a way to celebrate his 50th birthday. Take some chances, do things that you have always wanted to do!
The easy way out would be to check out on all of the changes…social media is for kids!…what’s with all of these new-fangled mobile devices, I just want to make a call? But if you go down that path, not only are you missing out on some amazing things that are going on, but you’re also putting yourself at the back of the line when it comes to business and opportunities (there is a real impact for not participating in what’s going on in the world). Get excited about learning what’s possible!
Get Found Online…but be professional!
You might have noticed that everyone who was on the panel is not only really successful, but every one of them has a Linkedin Profile and most of them are using Linkedin in a big way. (Coincidence? I don’t think so).
What ever you do for your business or your job, people are looking for you. Can they find you?
If you’re interviewing for a job or meeting with a prospective client, it’s almost certain they are going to look you up on Google, LinkedIn and Facebook…do you know what they’ll find?
As Marquita Miller – owner of Five Start Tax and Business Solutions pointed out…it’s important to be out there, but it’s equally important to be professional about it. She used a great example about the mistake of posing with a bottle of Grey Goose on your profile picture. That is almost a guarantee that you’re not going to get that interview…or the follow-up sale
meeting! (nothing wrong with Grey Goose, but you know what she means!).
The Art of Stalking
Finally – Don Jalbert, VP Sales and Marketing with CTI Solutions had some great advice about sales and prospecting. The best way to build a relationship and add value is to get know a lot about your prospects (whether it’s the hiring manager or a prospective client). Online tools like LinkedIn give you an amazing amount of information including telling you people that you know in common…who could introduce you.
Friendly stalking (he doesn’t advocate hanging out around their house), gives you the chance to learn what your target’s interests are, where they went to school, what they’ve worked on in the past, what they write about and who they know. In short – it’s immensely valuable information…if you take the time.
All in all, it was a very good night – lots of great discussion from very smart people and a lot of positive interaction – it was a lot of fun. I’d love to hear other thoughts – if you were in attendance, please leave a comment below and let me know what you got out of the evening.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach