When You Have Someone’s Attention: Don’t Waste It!

A couple quick thoughts at the end of the week.

Humans are no longer limited by a lack of information.  We’ve never had more Wikipedia articles, Google search results, emails, updates, and every other way we get information when we need it.

We even have Siri or other artificial intelligence like Big Blue to do the work for us.

Information is not the problem.

 

We are now limited by the amount of attention we have available.

When you earn someone’s attention, you shouldn’t waste it.  It’s precious!

 

Does your page respect people’s time?

  • Do you dominate Facebook with a ton of trivial posts?  We only have so much time and you’re wasting it.  We will unfollow or hide you.
  • Why are our comments awaiting moderation on your blog? You have a spam filter.
  • Are you deleting Facebook comments that are unfavorable to your brand?  You are asking for trouble.  Comments will go somewhere.
  • We won’t do business with you if you ignore questions or comments on your page.

 

Why are your customers waiting?

  • I spent 3 hours on the phone with AT&T yesterday.  Now I’m switching to Verizon.
  • My favorite grocery store has no parking.  I now have a new favorite.
  • Sam’s Club always has 10 people in every line.  I’m not renewing my membership.

 

How are you one on one?

  • Are you constantly checking your phone?
  • Are you dragging the conversation down by spend too much time on meaningless stuff?
  • Are you actually listening?
  • Do you spam your contacts with unnecessary emails or other deferred communication?
  • Do you say stuff just for the sake of saying it?

 

For the sake of humanity, we must stop.

 

The developed world is out of time.  Relationships are suffering.  People are overwhelmed.

If you want to keep people’s attention in the Attention Era, you must respect it.

It starts by not wasting it.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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5 Ways Leaders and Companies Can Use Transparency to Win

After my Transparency Favors the Strong post, I got several requests to share ways that companies and leaders could win the race to transparency.

Smart leaders realize that hiding relevant information is just not a good idea anymore.

Customers, employees, shareholders, board members, and other stakeholders in your organization are okay with mistakes. They’re not okay with dishonesty or shady practices.

We live in a world dominated by social media, which allows people to share, discuss, and learn about you, your company, it’s products, and the way you do business.

Even if you wanted to, you can’t hide the truth without actually kidnapping, killing people or turning off the internet. Regardless, if you have to hide it, you probably should change business models or jobs.

Here are five ways your company can win the race to transparency:

1) Blog about what you do

Be honest.  Be open.  Be vulnerable.  Share your feelings.  Companies should act like people so that people can relate to them.  No one relates to perfection.

Here are two examples of transparency in action:

Michael D. Harris Jr. at Ardynn PR is writing 365 posts this year while sharing the wins, losses, and ideas coming out of his growing real estate PR firm.  He’s even gone so far as to discuss his own foreclosure crisis.  Here’s one example of his blog posts.

Mike Cox does a daily video blog every business day where he blows the lid off the secretive mortgage industry and it’s pricing.  Since he leads a group of mortgage loan officers, you’d think giving away pricing info would hurt him, right?  Wrong.  He’s building trust and an avid subscriber base that is hungry for honesty and transparency. Check out Rates in Motion.

2) Be transparent on your “About Us” page

Take advantage of the times when people want to learn more about your company. Write something personal, warm, and right to the point of why you’re in business.

People don’t care about stats until they understand your spirit, goals, and direction.

Robert Jones is writing a series of blog posts about successful “About Us” pages and I highly recommend you read some of his stuff.  It’s amazing.  Here’s the first one in the series, and it features 8pmWarrior.com.

Here’s another example of a fairly transparent “About Us” page.

3) Monitor social media platforms

Monitoring what people say about you should be automated.

The first thing you should do is set up Google Alerts for your brand, company name, and yourself.  Then, when you notice someone is talking about you, move to step 4 below.

Besides Google Alerts, here are some other monitoring tools I use:

4) Interact on social media platforms

Once you know where you’re being talked about, it’s time to engage.

I highly recommend you follow the lead of the Klout.com team and take a candid approach to responding.  Don’t ignore the obvious.  Answer questions and keep it pleasant.  People will say a lot of dumb things, but it’s your job to engage them in a way that makes friends out of skeptics.

Here’s a case where Joe Fernandez (Klout.com CEO) and Megan Berry (Marketing) are monitored and engaged in an intelligent way on a fairly negative blog post.  Check it this blog post.

Other examples of transparent interaction on social media:

One note on Engagement (more to come in a future post)…don’t automatically reply to anyone for any reason unless you are transparent about the fact that it is automated.  It will kill your ability to truly connect.

5) Admit mistakes and offer to fix them first

This is one of the reasons that transparency favors the strong.

The better you are at doing your job, the less expensive transparency is.  This is why some companies face an almost impossible task.  They can’t sell their flawed services in a transparent way, so they get less sales to improve their flawed services.

It’s a death spiral.

I’ll never forget when Best Buy gave me a $100 gift card when Blu Ray officially beat out HD-DVD and my new player from Best Buy was rendered obsolete.  They didn’t have to do anything.  However, they invested some money and made a friend for life.  It’s always worth it to deal with negative situations proactively.

On the other hand, you probably remember when Apple’s iPhone 4 came out with reception issues because our hands were interfering with the antenna (the death grip problem).  I couldn’t believe that they denied the issue when almost everyone I know said there were issues.  Finally, after a media circus, Apple finally gave us iPhone cases to fix the issue they denied having.  This was my first negative experience with Apple and one that killed the myth that they were somehow superhuman.

Summary

Transparency is the new Quality.  Everyone expects it.  If your industry or company is not usually transparent, you may want to be like Mike Cox or consider trying a different line of work.  If you plan on truly leading people, you must be human.  You must be transparent.

If you believe in yourself, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Transparency favors the strong.

Have a transparent night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Why Don’t You Know?

I always get a kick out of  comments like these in response to failure:
  • “I didn’t know that people don’t use phone books anymore.”
  • “I didn’t know that direct mail was a waste of money.”
  • “I didn’t know that spammers get 1 response to every 12 million emails they send.”

In the Post-Information Age (Attention Age), I am convinced that the “I didn’t know” excuse is obsolete.  With all the information out there, it’s hard for me to accept it anymore.  If you don’t know something, search it on Bing, ask on Quora, or poll your social network.

So why do so many still use that excuse?

Because they don’t care enough.  They may care, but not enough to spend their evenings reading, learning, and getting with the times.

During my years of leadership and consulting, I can’t believe how many times I had to beg people to follow the advice they paid me for.  I would provide reports, research, 3rd party support, and on and on and on and on….all to motivate them to make a change for the better.

You’ve probably had similar experiences.

The funny thing is that most of what I know anymore I learned from people like you, online, for free.  I don’t generally preach things that aren’t backed up.  I’m just not smart enough to be the first one to think of anything.

So why do people ignore good advice and then claim they “didn’t know” it was wrong?

In some cases, I think it’s easier to “not know” than it is to face the reality of an ever changing world.  It’s a lot of work to be the best. However, instead of saying “I didn’t know”, they should just say “I didn’t care”.

It’s much more accurate these days.

If you’re reading this blog (or any blog), I doubt you’re one of the “don’t knowers” I’m referring to.  If you have any ideas for the group on helping people “know”, please leave your thoughts below.

Have a learning night,

Aaron@Biebert
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