OR…..How Do You Get Admission to a Club Requiring You Already Have Been Inside?
TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER IS GLENN ZIMMERMAN, FORMER NBC NEWS REPORTER AND ANCHOR AND CURRENTLY CEO, CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF STORYTELLING AT MAD BEAR PRODUCTIONS. (See bio below)
Let’s say you’ve just developed a nifty hospital service. Now, suppose a hospital is considering using your services. BUT… they want to see other hospitals in your resume or portfolio. Which you don’t have. Later you hear that they went with a similar (more expensive, less innovative) service from one of the big guys. And that’s when it hits you. Developing something new is the fun part. Selling it… is the real challenge.
It is not that IBM (or any large company) is necessarily the best solution for a client or even has the most interesting offering. It is all about the audience.
For businesses like mine, the audience would be a VP of marketing at a company or an executive at an advertising agency. They do not want to fail.
Notice I did not say “they want to succeed” because success in this context is not even the opposite of failure. The potential of success may not even factor into the thought process.
In this context, failure means sticking their necks out by partnering with a smaller company and risking their jobs if it goes badly.
On the other hand, if they chose to partner with a larger vendor (like an IBM) and the offering does not work out. Their boss would likely be more understanding because they clearly were not the first to take the leap (or at least that is what I’ve heard over and over again from people on the inside).
At the core of the problem is the question (and title of this article): How do you get admission to a club requiring you already have been inside?
You don’t even have to stay in the club long. Just slip in long enough to be noticed sipping some Dom or Remy in order to make your audience comfortable with you.
Let’s take the club analogy literally for an instant. If you want to get into some “swanky nightclub” (I don’t even know if that term is even used anymore), it probably would make sense to get to know the doorman. Not that Iʼm clubbinʼ much these days. Not that clubbinʼ was ever my thing (all right maybe for a little while in my early 20ʼs) but you get the point.
The doorman is the gatekeeper of the club!
If you do not have the corporate portfolio and are not “big enough” to make an impression on brand manager “X” … you are S.O.L. (thatʼs Sadly Out of Luck… Iʼm a dad now… I donʼt curse), unless you know someone who has access to open that door for you.
What I have found especially interesting is you never know who will end up connecting you with whom. So, that is why I am all about meeting people of kinds (it is truly fun for me) and in the process breaking down doors with a personal introduction to either the doorman or someone on the inside.
Also, this is where some social media tools (especially LinkedIn for me) is extraordinarily effective. You have the ability to engage the exact person you are looking for with a pretty high degree of success. For a nice range of strategies, go to www.mashable.com and then in the search window type LinkedIn. A slew of great resources will come up.
Once you get the ear of your audience online, it is crucial that you make the transition to the real world. Whatever works best for you: phone, Skype or a cup of coffee.
Now whether or not any of these connections turn into sales is probably an article for another day… maybe Iʼll call it “C-L-O-S-I-N-G spells the ultimate form of R-E-L-I-E-F.”
Glenn Zimmerman directs the storytelling at Mad Bear Productions (www.madbearproductions.com), a unique video marketing company he co-founded that helps businesses find and share their stories online.
For more than 14 years, he honed his storytelling craft as a television news reporter and anchor. Whether it was at NBC’s flagship station in New York (WNBC-TV) or the number one station in Detroit (WXYZ-TV); Glenn brought a sense of creativity, intelligence and excitement to every story. In his career, he covered the highest of highs to the lowest of lows life has to offer but always understood what about a story was memorable. He has interviewed presidents, models, athletes, actors, musicians, and everyone in between. As a reporter, he has been honored with an Emmy and numerous other awards and accolades for his storytelling and investigative reporting.
Glenn has a BA from Boston University in International Relations and an MS from Syracuse University in Mass Communications.