Jerry Gitchel

Jerry Gitchel

That was then, this is now. The distance between then and now could be as little as 24 hours. I taught a course at University of North Florida for the Small Business Resource Network here in Jacksonville a few months ago. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn just before the class. Not soon after LinkedIn put on a new face. Users immediately started falling out of their chairs, including me. Time to pick ourselves up and get back into the LinkedIn game.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Ugly - I'm not a fan of the new profile look. Those who view your profile have to dig deeper to discover the real you. Most of your profile is hidden. 

The Bad - the new "See More' link transforms your profile into an iceberg. You'll need to pay more attention to the top of your profile. I recommend including a call to action "Click to See More".

The Good - One of LinkedIn's most valuable and least visible features is advanced search. I'm happy to say it's still there and just as valuable. Now it's really hidden, not to mention cryptic. Click in the search box at the top, then scroll all the way to the bottom and click, "Search for people with filters". To be clear, you are not looking for people who have filters, you'll be using filters to find the right people. 

My best advice is to block out an hour to explore the new user interface. LinkedIn is a valuable tool, but I'd be careful not to point it at any qualified prospect until you've had some time to become familiar with this upgrade. Use the link below to access some valuable tips from Viveka von Rosen at Linked at Linked Into Business.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 08:16

The Digital Disruption Initiative

When business leaders become aware of a company-wide business challenge, it appears small on the horizon. As it moves closer, the problem grows. Eventually, it will grow large enough to engulf leaders, organizations, even entire industries. Such is the visual that comes to mind when the term digital disruption enters a conversation or business meeting. Kodak, Sears, Kmart were crushed, simply because they took their eye off the event horizon. Instagram, AirBnB, Lyft, Zappos soared. Not only did they see what was coming, they took action to meet the challenge lurking on their horizon. Why is important to your organization? As a leader, you have not only the responsibility but the opportunity to choose your future. Win or lose, it's up to you.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 05:33

Launching Your Digital Disruption

Just speaking the phrase digital disruption out loud make business leaders queasy. The want to cover their ears, denounce the messenger, run the other way. Except there is nowhere to hide. Even worse, times running out for established companies who have hoped to dodge the digital bullet. All industries either are or will be affected. 

In KPMG Internationals latest edition of their CEO Outlook Summit, a majority of the 1,300 CEO who responded present two key finding. The first is the next three years will deliver the greatest disruption to business we have ever seen. the second is that organizations can choose to disrupt their organizations or be disrupted by a small group of kids in a garage. 

Whether you get your news in print, from a media site or in your social feed, sometime today you' hear about digital winners or losers. Lately, it is more about losers than winners.   

Where to Start

With all the choices of platforms, programs, and Apps it's easy to become overwhelmed. Use the list below to find a starting point that fits your operations and culture.

  • Look for the clipboards. Rarely do they contain handwritten information. A closer look reveals computer generated forms. The overhead, effort and time involved in printing, distribute, inputing data, and process the results require brute force. Replacing clipboard with tablets eliminates effort, cost and produces better results in a fraction of time requires for manual processing.
  • Extend the process outlined above target procedures that are hampered by bottlenecks. If a technology asset is underperforming, an investment in staff training will increase the value the asset. Eliminate any technology that is in search of a reason for being.
  • Measuring business performance is a well-defined element of successful management. The lack of a digital performance measurement standard creates an opportunity to hold your technology investment to a higher standard. Measure your tech investment to a revenue and profitability benchmark. Web traffic and clickthroughs are a poor standard of financial performance.   

Despite decades of hype and a bouquet full of rosy performance projections, technology is limited to a very short list of ways it can be used to create value for your organization. Connect the dots between highest use and what you're attempting to accomplish.

  • Extend Your Reach - Growing your customer base to new or under-served markets can be accomplished via social engagement, event management, and online publishing.
  • Build a Community - Using social media to demonstrate your commitment to those you serve best creates fiercely loyal customers and transforms them into brand advocates.
  • Speed - The Internet has built an expectation of instant gratification. Responding to prospects and loyal customer in real-time is the new standard for customer satisfaction. 
  • Mass Marketing to Individuals - At no time in history have so many known so much about everyone on the planet. Leverage big data to build a personal relationship with every customer.

Digital disruption is real. It'a happening now and the pace is quickening. By the year 2020, all industries will feel the impact. While they all will survive, the same can't be said for all of the organizations within these industries. Denying digital disruption is not a strategy for survival, let alone growth. For more than a quarter

Denying the existence of digital disruption is not a strategy for survival, let alone growth. For more than a quarter-century the experts at Leverage Unlimited and guided clients through revolutions and evolutions.

Call the number below when you're ready to make your technology work.

Jerry Gitchel, CEO
Leverage Unlimited

904-566-8325

 

Monday, 13 March 2017 19:48

Ready, Set, Start?

Quick, stop typing for a second. Is this the first App or program you opened today? Are you working at a desk or on your mobile? How you start your day has a lot to do with how you will finish. I hear from many successful business executives that email is the worst place to start. But where is the best place to start?
 
My trusted advisor, Frances Fisher, VP of the Jacksonville Chapter of SCORE, starts with her calendar. Not just to review her appointments, but to schedule them, with herself. 
 
I love making To-Do lists. I’m never at a loss for something to do. Frances shared with me that the quickest way to get from To-Do to Done is to schedule a task on your calendar. Adding a task to your calendar is faster, decreases the effort while increasing the likelihood of completion. 
 
She suggests breaking tasks down into a duration of 20 minutes each. Using her system I've found I can always fit in one more task in between meetings. I could never figure out why she always arrived early to our meetings. Arriving 20 minutes early creates a window of opportunity to complete another task from your To-Do list, not to mention how impressive it is that you always show up early. 
Friday, 10 March 2017 06:43

Chatbot Infestation?

Can't find enough information on the Internet? Do you find yourself craving, even more, knowledge? The what you need is a Chat Bot. In a Forbes.com article published last May, 10 Facebook Messenger Bots You Need To Try Right Now II found two very interesting approaches that may be of interest to marketers. If you, like me are a frequent flowers purchaser, 1-800 Flowers is a Facebook Messenger Bot that's even easier to use than their mobile site. Although I haven't found all of my faviorite news sites, the WSJ bot keeps me informed.

Here in Jacksonville I can think of my own top 10 companies that could profit from a chatbot of their own. How about you? 

Monday, 06 March 2017 14:45

How to Pin a Tweet

Sometimes the quick tips are the best. If Twitter is one of your favorite tools, here is a trick you can use to create digital leverage. The biggest challenge of twitter is the tweets go by so fast! What if you could pin your very best tweet to the top of your feed to expose it to more visitors? It's a simple process and takes longer to talk about than setup. This is brought to you by, Social Quant. How to Pin a Tweet and Why You Absolutely Should.

 

Sales professionals expect to hear, "They are not in." during a prospecting call. I did not expect to hear, "His phone doesn't work very well." when I called to speak with a referral contact last Friday. I followed with, "Not a problem, may I leave a voicemail?" I really didn't expect to hear, "I'm not sure if it's working". I can't reveal the name of the organization. All I can share is I was referred by the top executive at one of their other locations. I was attempting to connect with one of the partners.

In the digital age your organization as three opportunities to make a good first impression. The first is social media. Digital PR is where discovery happens. The second is when then respond to your Call To Action and accept your invitation to, "Visit our website". The third is when you answer the phone.

In my experience, organizations make a huge investment in the first two and zero investment in the third. I worked with a similar organization a few years ago. We identified voice communications as their primary challenge. We ditched their investment in a high-priced online lead generation platform. Instead, we developed a solid voice answer/announce platform. They doubled their sales in 5 weeks.

What impression does your voice answering system leave with prospects, customers, partners? Not sure? If your system includes a recorded message, put your customer hat on, give yourself a call, and listen carefully. If your phone as a live person at the other end, ask a friend or associate to play secret shopper and share their experience with you.  

You can go to considerable expense to invest in your digital presence. If connecting by phone is your ultimate goal, invest in making a great first impression.

Resources

Will you be my secret shopper? Give me a call at 904-566-8325. Listen to my announcement. Leave me a message with a tech question and I will return your call promptly, I promise. 

 

Friday, 03 March 2017 05:51

Got Contacts? Here is What's Next

It takes more than money in the bank to create prosperity. You have to spend it, invest it, spread it all around. The same is true of your contact database. Building a big database is impressive. It becomes valuable only once you start using it. Documenting phone calls by entering what you discussed, what was decided, what's next. Your database increases in value each time you tag a contact by their location, interests hobbies. 

In my experience, clients are reluctant to invest time adding contacts to their databases due to lack of perceived value. Don't blame your database. The yield you receive from your contact list comes from your ability to cultivate relationships through engagement.  Here are five actions you can take today to turn your contacts into gold. Each of them start with opening your contact list:

  • Scroll through your list until you find a former great client. Give them a call for no reason at all. Record what you discussed and more importantly, what you learned.
  • If your CRM platform allows, search for someone you have yet to engage, a contact with no record of interaction. Compose a reconnect email, introduce yourself, state why you are reaching out, invite them to reconnect.
  • Create value for those you serve best by Googling their topic of expertise. When you find a post of value, sent an email that includes the link. Document the link and schedule a follow-up call to confirm if it was helpful.
  • Share an attitude of gratitude moment with someone you know. Send a hand-written thank you card. Add an entry to document your action. For extra credit, snap a photo of the completed card and attach to their contact record.
  • If your CRM platform allows, search for local contacts and send them a personalized invitation for an after-work get together. 

Digital Daily Office Hours

What am I most excited about Today? Office Hours! You are invited to stop by my office later today via Live Video to chat about technology and get answers to your burning tech questions. No agenda or formal presentation, just an open channel to create value by connecting with those I serve best. Won't you join us?

Office Hours

1-2 pm Eastern 3/3/17

Via Zoom Cloud Conferencing

Visit: https://zoom.us/j/3217348168

New to Zoom?

Office hours is an easy way to get started with live video conferencing.

On your desk

  • Visit Zoom.us
  • Open a free account
  • Download the software
  • Join us

On your mobile or tablet

  • Download the App
  • Open a free account
  • Join us

 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 09:49

You Really Like Me [on Facebook]

Getting folks to like your Facebook page requires them to take a leap of faith. It is a long journey with scant chance of success. It starts with giving them directions to your page, then helping them find the Like button. For those of you who would love to increase the size of your social following, here's a thought. What if you could simply display a Like button on your webpage? 

 What's not to like about a Facebook Like button you can publish to your website? It eliminates the need for fans to visit your Facebook page and wander around looking for the Like button. All that is required is to add some code to a page on your site. The button that appears makes your page easy to follow. 

I would add one more step to help your visitors accept your invitation. Consider adding an explanation above the button. Something simple like, "Use the button below to like our Facebook Page to receive our updates, news, and event information directly to your Facebook feed."

How to Add a Facebook Like Button

Use the resource links below to all the details. There's even a video tutorial:

[Edtors Note] Every few years I return to the subject of the value of blogging. In this updated report I'm happy to say that blogging creates more value each year. I hope you enjoy this classic.

I once again returned to a Wired Magazine article by Paul Boutin touting the death of Blogging, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004. Based on the needs and standards mentioned in the article, I agree with the "Blogs are Dead" pronouncement. It's the standards I don't agree with, or should I say, no longer agree with. 

The idea that a blog is the best way to publish your personal memoirs is certainly dead, but that's not its contemporary purpose. As mentioned in the article, blogs have evolved into a convenient and useful way to publish long-form content. I have to laugh at the idea that blog posts are now considered long form. Twitter's 140 character limit has certainly redefined the meaning of long form. The most valuable function of your blog is its ability to build the trust of those you serve best. Before prospects pick up the phone, they need to develop a relationship with you and your brand. 

As a dyed in the wool historic preservationist, I still see blogs as useful. Not as a historic relic, but as a candidate for adaptive reuse. By placing your blog closer to your web site, (similar graphic design, menu placement and such) I see not only a continued usefulness but a bright future as well. 

The word blog may disappear, but I believe the publishing structure will endure. In fact, I intend to expand my use of blogs to accomplish the following specific goals: 

  • Newsletter Blog – The greatest benefit? Automated article archiving.

  • What's New Blog – When integrated into an existing website, it creates a quick and easy way to update your content.

  • Individual Topic Blog – Creates a global platform for your favorite topic.

  • Event Blog – Used within a limited time-frame, allows you to connect and interact with attendees before, during and after an event.

  • Public Relations Blog – Compare the page layout of a blog to an online media room, and you'll have a clear reason to use a blog to post and archive your press releases. 

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other similar sites offer a robust platform for online expression, but what happens when they grow up and get replaced with younger, sexier technology?

If I were you, I'd keep your blog, but perhaps invest in a face-lift or at least a banner tuck. One of the best ways to extend a blog's usefulness is to connect it to your other online channels. This blog is published using Joomla and allows me to connect to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other service I choose.

Mardi Gras

Look closely at the featured photo and you will see our Mardi Gras beads. Before you head out to your Bal Masque this evening, study up on your Mardi Gras Lingo.

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