Monday, March 30, 2009

Keep Pushing!

We had another breakthrough today on the phone. It occurred during the fourth phone call, in trying to set up a presentation for us to:
  • provide a community service
  • reach our core client base
  • eat cookies (by providing refreshments)
Boy, did I get the runaround. First I lightheartedly suggested we talk about XYZ. She told me all the people already had XYZ. Then I suggested ABC, to which she said "not really."

Every time she started explaining why we couldn't do it, I took deep breathes and thought "How am I going to get her on my side?"

Finally, my last ditch effort was to ask her what she thought people would like to hear about. Ahha! She had two ideas which were perfect, both of which we have experience talking about.

Lesson: instead of sighing and saying, "Okay, thanks anyway" when she turned me down, I kept trying to think how I could work with her so that we could have a mutually beneficial relationship. Victory!

Never, never, never, never give up.
- Winston Churchill

Friday, March 27, 2009

The First (Glorious) Check

Payday is here boys and girls! We got our first check from our fantastic clients.

They are happy with our service, thrilled that we are working for them. What could be better?

Money is not the more important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.
Unknown (but well said!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Conversation Starters--How to Break The Ice

Often times I'm at events by myself. Or I'm there early, waiting for the people I'm meeting to show up. These are good opportunities to break the ice with people I don't know. But it can be challenging. First, it's hard to tap the glass around a married or romantically involved couple. An alternative is to join a "quad," but it can be risky because you're at the mercy of their conversation (if the topic is sports, I'll be woefully unprepared).

Hence I try to pinpoint other people out on a limb, flying solo. But even then, the standard "So, what do you do?" gets crusty. At Networking Insight, the author offers ten topics to start a good conversation.

Below are my top 3 that lead to more than just yes or no:
  • "That is such a nice shawl/pin/dress you are wearing, where did you get that?"
  • "Is this going to be a good party or what?" or "Did you come to this event last year? How was it?"
  • The tried and true, "Hi, how are you today?"
Sharing is caring. What's your best opening line? The worst? Most interesting?

Informal conversation is probably the oldest mechanism by which opinions on products and brands are developed, expressed, and spread.
~ Johan Arndt

Thursday, March 19, 2009

From Headache to Adrenoline Rush

Yesterday I went to one of my weekly networking meetings. I got there early with the intention of networking before the program began. Unfortunately, there were very few people who arrived early, and they had already broken up into "huddles" where three or four of them lean in real close and have intense discussions. They're probably talking about March Madness.

So I swaggered over to the buffet and loaded up my plate. I decided to sit at a table of people whom I did not know. Uh oh. I sit down and meet a lawyer ("L"), and a small business owner ("SBO"). I introduce myself with a big smile and explain I'm one of the new members. L starts going on and on about how we don't need anymore lawyers in the group. SBO just smiles, helplessly. L continues to berate the fact that there are so many in the legal profession as part of this organization.

I ask L how long he's been in practice. He tells me 30 years. At this point, with a headache already starting between my eyes, I couldn't help myeslf, so I light-heartedly suggested, "You know, some of you all should retire! Let the newbies get our feet wet!" SBO bursts into laughter, noting my charm. L is not very amused.

I start feeling head-achey. Is this what this club is going to be like? People that are annoyed that I even joined? I can't believe we're paying money for this. Wait, thank you Lord, someone I know has just walked in! I jump up and rush to him, then shamelessly beg him to come join my table. He obliges, much to my relief.

Now that I have one fun person to talk to and my headache has melted away, I decide to redriect myself. Maybe L is having a bad day, but I will not let this opportunity pass me by. So I make a mental checklist of things to do:
  • Talk to that lady over there.
  • Join that club within the club.
  • Volunteer to help in this capacity.
  • Talk to other person about one other thing.
After the meeting adjourns, I jump up and relay around the room to catch all these people before they leave. Success! I get to everything on my list, and then some.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You've Got (Direct) Mail

Things are going along swimingly here. Our one client is perfect. But, no rest for the weary, we have to keep pounding the pavement and beating back the bushes to get that second and third client.

As many of you know, print advertising is prohibitively priced at this point. For example, there is a small local newspaper that we'd love to run ads in. However, I almost snorted diet soda through my nose when they told me their rates. That's a few clients down the road we figure.

Next idea: direct mail. We can order full color postcards from VistaPrint. They cost about $0.34 each for 500. Or $0.25 each for 1,000. I'm a big Costco fan, so I'm jazzed about getting 1,000. One thousand cards! If we can't get 1 client from 1,000 cards, we need to change professions, right? We don't plan to purchase mailing lists either. We have our ways to use technology to save on that cost.

Anyone have experience or tips regarding direct mailing? We realize it doesn't usually have an excellent success rate, but it's what we can afford right now. Thoughts? Opinions? Are we nuts?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Drumroll Please....

Today we signed an engagement letter with our first client! It's not the one mentioned from our last blog post, but a couple we met yesterday when we gave a presentation. Looks as though it will deal with elements of insurance law, contract law, and even a tad of landlord/tenant law. We are really excited!

We celebrated with lunch at one of our favorite burger joints, Hi Life Burgers. Sharing a Diet Coke, (remember folks, we haven't gotten paid yet) it was difficult to raise our one "glass" to toast our good fortune. To improvise, Paul proudly held up his bean burrito and gently taped it against the Styrofoam cup as I shouted "Salud!"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Probate?

We recently got a referral for a probate case. It's full of sticky issues and very complicated. But good, clean cases are not falling from trees in this economy, and we have the time to handle it. So we're going for it. This afternoon we're meeting the family and hope to move quickly to get things started. Wish us luck!

I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman.
~ Dan Castellaneta