Secrets of Showcase Marketing

Hi, Everyone!

I was chatting with one of your fellow professionals about Showcase Marketing and thought I’d share an article I wrote with all of you:

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Successful Showcase Marketing:
Selling Your Services by Giving Them Away

On the surface, showcase marketing seems simple enough: create a free event with you as the star, book a room at a great conference venue, include a magnificent meal and fill the room with qualified prospects. Who wouldn’t want to attend?

Unfortunately, that strategy usually results in a very expensive and very empty room – and a very discouraged presenter.

What’s the problem? Actually, there are several worth noting:

1) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T about holding a one-time event. The chances that all of the prospects you want to meet can make the appointed date and time fit into their schedules is remote – and many of those who say they are available will have something come up at the last minute that prevents them from attending. Instead, by positioning your showcases as an ongoing series of monthly events, you have a much greater chance of your prospects actually attending. The reason though, isn’t just because they have multiple opportunities to attend. The fact is that offering a SERIES seems more legitimate to a skeptical buying public than a one-shot event – and that may encourage them to attend sooner.

2) Successful showcase marketing isn’t about offering a SHOWCASE. No one wants to go to a “showcase,” and referring to your event as such scares people away. The people you are targeting have probably attended “showcases” before and found out they were really just introductory samples and sales pitches. Instead, give your event a title that attracts people. Our Certified MasterStream Instructors and Certified ChangeWorks Analysts offer “A Day of Learning” for their business communities, and that title puts the emphasis where it really belongs – on the ATTENDEES and on EDUCATION.

3) Successful showcase marketing isn’t about YOU. I do hate to burst your bubbles, but unless you hold celebrity status, you alone are NOT a powerful enough attraction to fill your room. Instead, position yourself as the primary SPONSOR of a free event that is being provided FOR members of your business community BY members of your business community. Make your event as inclusive as possible by seeking additional corporate sponsors (obviously NOT your direct competitors).

These sponsors may provide you with space for your event, funding to cover the costs of handouts and refreshments, increased exposure by marketing the event to their own clients and prospects, or simply enhance your credibility by association with their good names. There’s a reason why chambers of commerce always have multiple sponsors for every event – and why you should as well.

4) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T about SELLING your services – it’s about increasing your EXPOSURE. The purpose of the event is to let as many people as possible know that you exist. The media isn’t likely to give a single-shot showcase any free publicity – after all, marketing such events is what their advertising solutions are all about! But an ongoing series of free educational programs sponsored by the business community IS newsworthy – and that means it is more likely to make it into their calendar of events and perhaps become the subject of an article or interview. Add a fundraising element in the name of a local charity and your series becomes even more attractive to both your prospects and the media.

5) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T about FILLING a ROOM. Although you’d certainly love to have a standing-room-only crowd, the real power of showcase marketing has very little to do with who actually shows up. Its greatest power is that it gives you a solid reason to contact your prospects on an ongoing basis – and effectively eliminates the pain associated with making traditional cold calls. Instead, short and simple service calls are made to inform your prospects of a free event and invite them to attend. As you contact them month after month, your prospects get to know you better and trust you more and that increases the chances that they will eventually participate. Even if they never attend, sooner or later they will ask you about what you really do – and that opens the door for you to discuss how you may be of service.

6) Successful showcase marketing ISN’T a SPECIAL EVENT. Make showcase marketing the CORE of your business strategy and many things become easier. Rather than making different sorts of outbound marketing calls, invitation calls are all you have to do. Rather than explaining your programs and services to prospects one at a time, route them into your showcases. Use your showcases as subject matter for your newsletters, articles and email broadcasts. Instead of feeling obligated to provide free guidance to friends and business associates who cannot afford to hire you, encourage them to attend your showcase every month. Increase your scope of impact by inviting groups who are often ignored, like business college students who may well be your prospects of the future.

Positioned and promoted properly, showcase marketing CAN be your best bet in building your business – but a well executed strategy brings you far more that money. Most people in the human development industry were drawn to the work because they wanted to have meaningful impact on people’s lives – to change the world. Achieving that objective meshes more with showcase marketing than any other approach.

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How many of you have tried your hand at something akin to Showcase Marketing — and how did things turn out for you?

Post a comment and let us know!

-T-

Events for 2/1 thru 2/5/2010

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s what’s on the schedule for next week.

“Building a Career that Matters” Webinar Series —

Monday, February 1st from 11AM to 12PM EST. This series explores 25 problem areas human development professionals face in building their practices. This week, we’ll explore “Problem Area #5: Building a Non-Leveraged Business.” During this session, we’ll examine over a dozen ways to expand your business building on the resources and accomplishments you’ve already amassed. This series is offered as a service to our professional community and is WIDE OPEN to ANY and ALL human development pros, regardless of their affiliation with ChangeWorks — so PLEASE spread the word.  Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/648354907

“ChangeWorks Forum” —

Monday, February 1st from 3PM to 4PM EST. I’ve been asked to review the process for profiling an industry to identify sources of tension suitable for marketing purposes.  ANy of you who are having challenges with business development should plan to attend. This series is open to ALL graduates and current students of the ChangeWorks program.  Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/845456891

“ChangeWorks Analyst Training” —

Tuesday, February 2nd from 12PM to 1PM EST, we will begin our discussions of the “ChangeCube.” Please remember to print out, cut out and assemble your ChangeCube prior to the call. This series is open to ALL ChangeWorks professionals who completed their Practitioner training prior to December 31, 2009. Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/434263643

“MasterStream Sales Training — Session 4” —

Wednesday, February 3rd from 5PM to 7PM, we’ll hold the fourth session in our 6-week MasterStream Precision Sales Techniques webinar series.  The call is open exclusively to members of the SILVER and GOLD Team as well as students who have paid a fee to attend.  For more information about enrollment, please give Linda a call at 704-987-6500. Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/565561507

“Gold Team Teleconference” —

Thursday, February 4th from 11AM to 12PM, we’ll hold our Gold Team teleconference.  This week, we will unveil and explore our new, re-branded website — the Tension Management Institute. The call is open exclusively to members of the Gold Team. Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/110087026

As always, our webinars are recorded for those of you who are unable to attend the live call.

-T-

ChangeWorks & Cultural Typologies

Hi, Everyone!

Daniel Latch has written a great article comparing the ChangeGrid and the Model of Cultural Typologies proposed by Terrance Deal and Allan Kennedy.

With his permission, I share it here with all of you!

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Organizational Culture: Deal and Kennedy + ChangeGrid
by: Daniel Latch

Organizational culture is “the way things get done around here.” — Deal and Kennedy

Background:

I was reminded of this quote recently when an associate suggested that the Deal and Kennedy Model of Cultural Typologies (DKMCT) is too limited. Let’s see if this model integrates with the ChangeGrid. If so it represents a dynamic new tool for fans of the DKMCT and perhaps new insights for the ChangeGrid.

In their classic 1982 book, “Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life,” Terrence Deal and Allan Kennedy proposed one of the first models of organizational culture. When the book was published, it had many supporters, although there were also many who felt the idea of corporate culture would be just a passing fad. Now that we are in the next century, the notion of corporate culture is widely accepted as important a business concept as financial control and employee satisfaction.

Deal and Kennedy measured organizations on two dimensions:

Feedback — Rapid means zero response time, instantaneous, cybernetic.

Risk — The degree of uncertainty in the organization’s activities.

Using these parameters, they suggested four organizational culture typologies. These are shown below rotated 45 degrees clockwise to match the ChangeGrid. The culture labels are overlaid on the tension lines and axis measures for both systems are shown for reference.

Overlay of the Cultural Model on the ChangeGrid

A quick review of the ChangeGrid adjective map shows each zone contains a plethora of good matches for the cultural typologies and the business environments that embrace them. It is notable that a central 2×2 block in each zone provides a laudable set of culturally accurate descriptors. The evidence suggests greater discrimination of the cultural types awaits the vigorous researcher. The juxtaposition of culture with the ChangeGrid leads to the potential to see each culture overlaid entirely on a separate ChangeGrid, quadrupling the available intelligence.

The Tough-Guy Macho Culture applies to driven cultures such as financial brokerages, police units, surgeons, and pro sports. This zone features moderate to quick feedback and rewards and moderate to high risk.

Adjective Map terms from the central 2×2 matrix in the outgrid zone:

UpGrid:  assertive, decisive, direct, fast

DownGrid:  determined, entrepreneurial, insightful

InGrid:  brave, independent,

OutGrid:  aggressive, demanding, dominating, forceful, relentless

Please check your Adjective Map for the descriptive fit on the cultural types described below and comment back your discoveries.

The Work Hard/Play Hard Culture is typical of fast paced or large organizations which strive for high quality customer service. These may include direct sales organizations, theme restaurants, and software companies. Such cultures are often characterized by high energy team meetings, jargon and buzzwords. Risks are few (uncertainty is low), allowing immediate error reduction and problems solving in an environment of moderate to rapid feedback on performance. Some of the descriptors sound like restaurant themes and others like pre-IPO company self-promotional hype.

The Bet your Company Cultures are typically involved in development or exploration projects which take years to come to fruition: these include public works and other mega-construction projects, energy prospecting, and hi-tech military arms manufacturing and research and development. Big stakes are at risk when changes are made but it may be years before the results are known, a very slow feedback and reward cycle, indeed. Be assured you will find plenty of descriptions that fit the bill of organizations high on science and technology.

The Process Culture is often associated with bureaucracies, banks, insurance companies and the like. There is little or no feedback and people become bogged down with how things are done rather than with what is to be achieved. Seemingly overly conservative and cautious and bogged down in red tape, process controls prevent errors to produce consistent results and weed out those who fail to conform or fall in line. Some of the descriptors read like movie stereotypes for the industries that fall into this cultural type.

Since the ChangeGrid zones match the DKMCT cultures so well, what about the measures upon which the two systems are based? The DKMCT vertical axis of feedback and reward is actually measuring a resource which mitigates the difficulty of higher levels of challenge. The message is that greater challenge requires faster feedback to stay on course. In the ChangeGrid model, resources fall under the heading of ability. For Deal and Kennedy, this particular resource serves to shape culture: for the ChangeGrid it serves to inform behavior to produce performance. Anything that meets a need or requirement for the success of a challenge is a resource. As with any resource, demand may or may not vary with respect to the level of challenge or risk.

Not surprisingly, increasing feedback and rewards is an upgrid maneuver as is boosting accountability through more frequent reports or more immediate feedback on reports submitted. This investigation serves as a reminder of the importance of optimizing systems of feedback and rewards.

Risk is the horizontal axis measure that defines the Deal and Kennedy cultural types. Risk is synonymous with uncertainty: the greater the uncertainty the greater the risk. If risk is the challenge, ability is the answer. Ability, the ChangeGrid horizontal axis measure, mitigates risk by reducing uncertainty through research and discovery, extensive planning, process controls, and continuous quality checks. As risk rises ability must rise to meet the requirements or wrong decisions and catastrophic failure may result. Risk acceptance, risk tolerance, tolerance for ambiguity: These are all resources that contribute to the ability to work in an environment filled with uncertainty; therefore, risk resolves into an ability to tolerate the conditions of the culture.

The findings of this investigation support fully integrating the Deal and Kennedy model of cultural typologies with the ChangeGrid. We discovered a strong correlation between every part of the Dean and Kennedy model of cultural typologies and the ChangeGrid. Further studies are needed to further validate the significance of these findings. This integration produces an array of possibilities for work and research in organizational culture using the ChangeGrid. The 40:1 improvement in resolution this integration provides suggests the users of the DKMCT can benefit greatly from learning more about the ChangeGrid and the ChangeWorks system.

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So what do all of you think of Daniel’s article?

-T-

The ChangeCube

Hi, Everyone!

On today’s ChangeWorks Analyst webinar, we’ll begin taking a closer look at the “ChangeCube” — a 3-dimensional model of the interaction of the three factors we explore: Ability, Challenge and Importance.

Here’s a link to a little “crafts project” — assembling your own ChangeCube:

ChangeCubeExterior

Print it out on heavy paper or card stock.  Cut out the pieces — and don’t chop off the tabs!  Fold along the lines. Fit the two pieces together and then tape the edges of the cube.

FYI — the tabs meet up with other tabs (people originally used a glue stick instead of tape) and the open edges will turn the top of the cube into a “lid” — something else goes INSIDE of the cube in a later lesson.

On next week’s ChangeWorks Analyst call, we’ll explore the ChangeCube in detail. Please plan to join in.

-T-

Why Sales Reps Don’t Sell More

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s an article I wrote a couple of years ago exploring the reasons why sales professionals don’t sell as much as their managers want them to.

I thought you might find it interesting!

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“Why Sales Representatives Don’t Sell More”

Are your sales representatives selling as much as you’d like? There are only two answers to that question —and BOTH can signal grave danger ahead.

If you said “YES” – or if ANY of your sales management team members even THINK the answer is “YES” – then, on behalf of the shareholders of your company, “PLEASE RESIGN, you are NOT doing the job.”

The central task of every manager is to entertain a healthy DIS-satisfaction for things the way they are — to follow and foster the belief that nothing IS or EVER WILL BE good enough and instill that belief in every individual in their charge. The capabilities of your team members — and the capacity of your company — are far from tapped out – and your job is to seek out, identify, develop and exploit those capabilities in pushing the limits of that capacity to greater and greater levels. You know you’re on the right track when your sales representatives say, “No matter how much I sell you always want more!”

If you said “NO” you can keep your job – but there’s still a serious problem.

In fact, if your sales representatives aren’t meeting the numbers you need them to meet, then one or a combination of the following five scenarios is the cause:

1) There’s something wrong with your product or service.

If there is something wrong with your product or service, you obviously need to figure out what it is and fix it. Unfortunately, between now and the time things are repaired, a great deal of unproductive tension will rise both inside and outside of your company. It is of paramount importance that while this is going on, your sales representatives diligently monitor and manage the level of productive tension experienced by everyone impacted by the problem. Add to this the extreme challenge of managing their own levels of productive tension and you have a recipe for disaster. If your customers, prospects, sales representatives and internal staff are ALL too far UpGrid to function productively, your sales results WILL come to a screeching halt.

2) There’s something wrong with your marketplace.

Regardless of whether the challenge is increased competition, a depressed economy, seasonal slumps, a community crisis or any one of countless factors impacting your marketplace there is STILL abundant opportunity for businesses to thrive IF the sales representatives understand that this is an issue of tension management. In these situations, the productive tension your prospects and customers had previously experienced is subordinated by the unproductive tension they’re experiencing about the current state of the marketplace. If your sales representatives don’t know how to reduce that unproductive tension and increase productive tension regarding your products or services, no one will be buying or selling anything.

3) There’s something wrong with your industry.

As was the case with the marketplace, problems with your entire industry present a similar challenge and require the same approach in remedying the situation. Technology? Legislation? Scandal? War? These situations are just a fraction of the things that can and will happen — and all of them have a detrimental impact on everyone’s level of productive tension. To combat the chaos and stop your business from becoming part of the collateral damage, your sales representatives must master the art of tension management.

4) There’s something wrong with your sales representatives.

If there’s something wrong with your sales representatives, then one or both of two things is true: they CAN’T sell and/or they WON’T sell. If the problem is one of ABILITY, you need to take a serious look at four things: knowledge, sales skills, professional experience and support resources. Do they need to understand more about your products and services and the needs within the marketplace? Are the sales skills they’ve been taught truly effective or have they abandoned the training they received? Do they lack experience in dealing with the client situations they encounter? Do they have access to the support they need to do what they’re expected to do? If the problem is one of WILLINGNESS, you need to identify the source of their resistance. Is the problem a lack of desire? Are emotions of anger and fear stopping them? Is there an effective accountability system in place?

5) There’s something wrong with your sales managers.

As was the case with your sales representatives, if there’s something wrong with your sales managers, then one or both of two things is true: they CAN’T manage and/or they WON’T manage.

More often than not, the problem here is one of ability. The vast majority of sales managers have never received any formal training in management, so they lack skills. That in turn makes the sales representatives question the value of their manager, so respect is compromised.

The worst of all scenarios, though is the sales manager who WON’T do what they were hired to do — and while the prognosis is poor, you must still identify the source of their resistance in order to prevent the same scenario from happening again. Is it a matter of burnout? Unrealistic expectations? A lack of support? Or have they lost faith in their upper management team? What’s the remedy?

Once you’ve identified why your sales representatives aren’t selling more, the answer will be a combination of sales and leadership skills training. No matter what challenges a company faces, skills training is the cornerstone of the solution. The only thing that will fix a bad economy is SALES and the only thing that will prevent another bad economy is LEADERSHIP.

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If any of you would be interested in learning some of the skills we teach in the MasterStream Management program, let me know and I’ll put it in the schedule for the Gold Team ongoing educational webinars.

-T-

Events for 1/25 thru 1/29/2010

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s what’s on the schedule for next week.

“Building a Career that Matters” Webinar Series —

Monday, January 25th from 11AM to 12PM EST. This series explores 25 problem areas human development professionals face in building their practices. This week, we’ll explore “Problem Area #4: Client Population by Default.” During this session, we’ll look at where your existing client base has actually come from — default or design — and how it compares to the client base of your dreams. This series is offered as a service to our professional community and is WIDE OPEN to ANY and ALL human development pros, regardless of their affiliation with ChangeWorks — so PLEASE spread the word.  Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/853080091

“ChangeWorks Forum” —

Monday, January 25th from 3PM to 4PM EST. This week, we’ll look at VERY unusual ChangeGrids — and discuss a variety of ways to use the ChangeGrid to get the business you’re looking for. We’ll also announce the commencement of the “2010 ChangeWorks Reliability and Heuristic Study” and let you know how you can help in the research. This series is open to ALL graduates and current students of the ChangeWorks program.  Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/357210834

“ChangeWorks Analyst Training” —

Tuesday, January 26th from 12PM to 1PM EST, we will continue our exploration of Advanced Trends on the ChangeGrid, focusing on “radial” trends. We’ll then move on to a bit of a crafts project — the creation of a physical model of the “ChangeCube.” It will be both fun and eye-opening. This series is open to ALL ChangeWorks professionals who completed their Practitioner training prior to December 31, 2009. Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/293284618

“MasterStream Sales Training — Session 3” —

Wednesday, January 27th from 5PM to 7PM, we’ll hold the third session in our 6-week MasterStream Precision Sales Techniques webinar series.  The call is open exclusively to members of the SILVER and GOLD Team as well as students who have paid a fee to attend.  For more information about enrollment, please give Linda a call at 704-987-6500. Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/126980874

“Gold Team Teleconference” —

Thursday, January 21st from 11AM to 12PM, we’ll hold our Gold Team teleconference.  This week we continue our discussion on using the “94-Step Planner” as a tool for building proposals and developing marketing materials. The call is open exclusively to members of the Gold Team.  Handouts for this program can be found of the Gold Team’s homepage.  Click the following link to register:

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/811345571

As always, our webinars are recorded for those of you who are unable to attend the live call.

-T-

Updated Support Packages

Hi, Everyone!

We recently updated the list of services we provide in each of the support packages we offer — and have posted the full descriptions under the “Support Packages” link in the upper navigation bar of this blog.

We’re here to help you get full value from ChangeWorks and the support package you’ve chosen — so if you have any questions about the services you’re entitled to, just give us a call at 704-987-6500.

-T-