andrew maxwell

Where’s My Job?

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November 18  |  wttc our news  |   Andrew Maxwell

Where's my job?

If you’re like me, you keep hearing how the economy is on the mend. Yet, it always seems to be followed by weak job performance.

So the question is – if the economy is improving, then where are all the jobs?

Well there may be good news on the horizon. In a recent CNNMoney.com article, it was reported that the number of employers planning to hire workers over the next six months exceeded the number expecting job cuts for the first time since the recession began in December 2007.

As with most recessions, we see people leaving more traditional jobs for the self-employed business model.  Unfortunately, many people are forced to do this as there are just no jobs available. Is this a good or bad thing? We don’t know. But it does make for increased competition among the self-employed.

So, how do you approach prospects now that there may be increased competition?

In an earlier blog post I covered how to sell in a recession. Today, I’d like to explore how to stand out in a competitive economic climate.

Technology – It’s very important to keep abreast of the latest technologies, especially those that might assist you in your job. You don’t have to keep up on all the latest tricks and tools, but you should be aware of technologies that are changing your industry. Look for innovations that allow you to better perform the tasks at hand while saving time in the process. New technology doesn’t have to come at a huge expense.  With today’s open source technology, new software is available at little to no cost.

Get Noticed – This doesn’t mean you have to be “out of character” by being someone that you’re not. There are simple but effective ways to get noticed. Rather than give out a traditional business card,  why not try provide your contact information on hand written Post-It notes.  They are inexpensive, come in a variety of colors and sizes, and best of all your contacts will (literally) have your info at their finger tips.   At WTTC.com, we’ve given away calendar strips with our information for the past several years. They’re inexpensive and people can stick them to their computers or laptops.  People ask us when we’re sending them out. By the way, I rarely (if ever) get a business card request.

Of course, social networking is another good way to get noticed.  Make sure you do your homework first — and that means “listening” and “lurking” to get a feel for the conversation — and your contacts will grow.

Follow-Up. Follow-Up. Follow-Up – This is often the number one reason why sales are lost. With today’s technology, there’s really no reason for not following-up. There are many Web-based CRM (client relationship management) software applications out there to choose from. Determine what you’re needs are and then invest some time and research in finding a good CRM … then use it!

My final word.

Keep your head-up as all signs suggest that the worst is behind us.  It’s going to take perseverance and discipline, but it will pay off.

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Missing The Water Cooler Moments?

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October 29  |  wttc our news  |   Andrew Maxwell

WTTC - Water Cooler Moments

With more and more people taking the entrepreneurial jump (some by choice, some not) there are more independent planners now working from home.

While home offices certainly have their advantages, commuting and dress codes immediately come to mind, many people find they miss the interaction that they once had in an office setting.

Even without an office to call ‘home’, networking can still be both fun and informative. With the advent of social media, it has become easy to maintain and even build relationships without resorting to more traditional or formal means.

But just because there’s social media, doesn’t mean people are using it as effectively as they could. One common mistake is treating the social media channel as just another way to promote business.  Don’t get me wrong, we all like to get business referrals. But, starting out a conversation by jumping into a pitch is a definite turnoff.

Instead, approach a social media conversation the same way you would approach a real world conversation. After all, you wouldn’t enter a room and begin telling complete strangers what you do and how much you charge.

Take the time to set up your channels and approach networking in a “social” way (there are plenty of resources out there on this – some of which I will cover in future posts).  Ask lots of questions, find common interests, and socialize a bit.  The business referrals will come.

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Five Tips For Selling in a Recession

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September 15  |  meeting and event planning resources  |   Andrew Maxwell

WTTC Selling During a Recession

An issue that is currently top of mind for many businesses in the meetings, incentives, conventions and events industry is how to attract new business sales during tough economic times. Just do a Google search for “selling in a recession” and you get over 21 million returns, a statistic that is indicative of the level of anxiety that is out there.

To work against this rising tide of recessionary selling, it is best to take small steps and focus on things that require more of you — and less of your pocketbook.

* Are you losing business to competitors who are undercutting your bids?  A lot of people react to this by discounting the discount … just to get the business. Instead of this “glass half empty” approach, why not consider offering something of additional value such as a meet-and-greet service.  Something like this doesn’t cost much but makes a big impact by adding a personal touch.

* Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. To attract customers you need to know where they go (online) and what they read. Don’t simply place an ad because the price is right.  While a medium like craigslist is very attractive, you might want to ask yourself if your potential customers are actually going there to look for the type of services you offer.  Instead, try and focus on industry-specific sites or “meeting places” as well as other networking sites like LinkedIn where you are sure to get the attention of your target market.

* While the Internet is a marvelous place to find information and to network (case in point being that you’re reading my WTTC.com blog right now), don’t discount in-person meetings.  Supplement your time on line with good old fashioned face-to-face networking for a winning solution. Many social networking sites also list upcoming meetings and events. Meetup.com is also a good resource for finding groups that you’d like to connect with – in person.

* Volunteering is another way to make friend and influence people. More and more professionals are finding ways to combine their volunteer efforts with networking opportunities.  You never know who you’re going to meet while volunteering but chances are there will be lots of like-minded professionals out there doing the same thing as you.  It’s a win-win situation; you get the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile while at the same time getting to know potential clients on a personal level – and in business that’s half the battle won.

* If you’re a virtual assistant, consider sub-contracting for multinational VA businesses.  You receive work and remain independent and the multinational enjoys all the benefits without the employer-employee related costs.

* Most importantly –don’t give up!  Stay focused and determined.  Think back to when you were just starting out and that excitement that you felt at building a business.  Those prospects are still out there and demand for your services is very much alive.  Like so many small and independent business owners today – you just have to stay determined and get creative!

Andrew Maxwell is a partner at WTTC.com – The Meeting Planner’s Best Resource. You can reach him at andrewm@wttc.com.

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