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Cindy King’s Weekly Business Article Review – May 3, 2010

After almost a month’s absence here is another review of the business articles I enjoyed reading on BizSugar over the past week.  As usual I’m sharing the links with some of the thoughts they inspired related to international business.

How to improve your communication skills

Like this article? Sweet here.

In international business you always need to work on improving your cross-cultural communication skills. This is why I enjoy reading articles on improving communication skills.  This article raises some great points… but they don’t work in all cultures. Unfortunately the differences would take too long to cover here.

But this article is a good read for non-native English speakers who want to improve their English language communication. And it can serve as a comparison tool when honing your communication with cultures where these tactics do not have the same results.

What do you think of these tips?

Why Strategic Opportunity Reviews Fail

Like this article? Sweet here.

Do you want to develop your international business? Then I recommend reading this article by S. Anthony Iannarino.  It applies particularly well to international clients too.

It’s crucial to find the right balance when carrying out strategic opportunity reviews for international clients.

What do you find the most difficult to do, focusing on your strengths or addressing the concerns of your international clients?

The Quest for Customer Engagement: Are You Overlooking Opportunities?

Like this article? Sweet here.

Skip Anderson raises some great points about cultivating customer engagement. Different cultures respond to different triggers and you’ll need to adjust your tactics for your international clients.

But Skip gives us some tips on how to incite stronger customer engagement and these can also be a good starting point when reflecting on how to get more international customer engagement.

What are you doing to cultivate engagement from your international customers?

I Can’t Find C-Level Executives on Linkedin

Like this article? Sweet here.

The main reason why I liked this article by Bill Rice is it moves you into the type of strategic networking you can use online to build your international business network.

I particularly like Bill’s last suggestion of looking in different places and the advice to not make assumptions.  You can go very far in developing a network valuable for you international business… if you network strategically and apply some basic cross-cultural communication skills.

Does LinkedIn help you develop international connections?

1 Fantastic Technique to Generate New Business

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Sarah Mitchell reminds us of the value of regularly commenting on other blogs.  This is a simple thing to do and it’s easy to underestimate it’s value.

I often get requests from small businesses about how to start building their international network online and most of them have not even spent the time on the simple things.  This is why I appreciate Sarah’s reminder of how doing the simple things can bring in clients over time.

How often do you comment on other blogs?

5 Keys to Get Your Head in the Marketing Game

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And in this article Walt Goshert reminds us of the importance of marketing. I liked reading this article for the same reason as reading Sarah Mitchell’s article above.

Too many of the people who contact me are only interested in getting the international sale.  And they don’t realize the need to adjust their marketing to their different international audiences.

How much time do you invest in marketing to your international markets?

10 Reasons Not To Ignore Your Blog For Facebook

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Lisa Barone makes some great points all businesses must remember as the pull to create a strong Facebook presence gets stronger with the ever increasing market reach.  After all Facebook is also strong in many countries across the globe.

This article also reminds us of the need to think strategically about where we invest our time online.  Many different factors come into play when your web communication has to connect with people in different countries.

Is your business on Facebook, and if so, where is your central communication hub?

Cindy King is a cross-cultural marketer helping businesses develop globally with international social media. Follow Cindy on Twitter @CindyKing

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  • Great post Elaine! You know my advise already… select your platforms and network online!! This is becoming a fantastic way to leverage all the effort you make offline.
    The problem that you outline is very true. I’m amazed at the amount of people in business that I met that are literally “waiting” until things get better (does that mean, so the phone rings so you can just take orders?). Innovation is paramount.
    One of the keys of this game is: how much can I do so at one point others help me bring business? Your business network, your community is absolutely everything. The more you interact and share useful content, stay in touch, help them, the more everybody else in that community will remember perfectly who you are, what you do and possible even the name of your company… That’s exactly what you need in order to ignite quality word of mouth 🙂

  • “Innovation is paramount” – agree Fred, a buzz word that is doing the rounds and coupled with “creativity” makes up the qualities of an entrepreneur.
    I don’t believe everyone HAS to be an entrepreneur to run a successful business, but they must have the ability to go out there and sell their wares.
    So what you are saying is we need to develop on our existing relationships, and pour energy into building new relationships, not just building paying customers/clients? So they become advocates of our businesses?
    Now that’s “quality word of mouth” indeed 🙂

  • Superb analogy Elaine. Fair play. You really do need to go out there and ask for business (a.k.a marketing!) and promoting your business at all times in as many avenues as is practical. There is so much choice out there that you need to be active in going after your target customers otherwise someone else will grab them first. Sure isn’t this why even really successful businesses still market?

  • I agree about marketing – but is Marketing more about brand awareness, or knowing that you exist?
    I spent a lot of time making contacts and friends at network meetings, and after a while, realised I never once indicated I was actually looking for clients. So i think that those of us who are not natural sellers, need to make more of an effort to promote and sell our wares, going beyond talking about ourselves.
    Does that make sense?

    Love your last comment about “really successful businesses still market” – we should never stop 🙂
    Thank you for interacting Barney, much appreciated!

  • lol Elaine, I simply love the analogy. Great title! Can I suggest that there is always more to be learnt from hearing “no” than hearing “yes” Asking for business should never be a big deal, qualification and timing are the key skills here. Ask before time, you will hear no, ask a non-genuine prospect, you will hear no. The only other reason for no is that something happens in between that has changed the situation or circumstance. Most businesses and people hear lots of nos because they are poor at researching, prospecting, qualifying, analysis, selling and timing. Closing (asking for the biz) is actually by far the easiest to do. In other words, get the other bits right and it is the natural rather then unnatural conclusion,

  • Yes, of course you can suggest there is more to learn from the NO’s. (The quality of our YES depends on how many times we say NO).
    If asking for business should not be a big deal, then that leaves half the country with a big problem. I understand your comment about closing the sale, but I am referring to even before that stage – how we can attract business from the outset.
    Thanks for your insight and tips about research and analysis, I am off now to do a bit of my own research…

  • Half the country have a big problem cause they are selling (I use the term loosely) the same products to a much smaller market in the same way. In many cases, its not that they have a bad business, it’s that they are unable or unwilling to make the changes to be successful in this market. Innovation is the key strategy so start by asking yourself, what have I done that was innovative in the last 12 months. For a great many Irish businesses, the closest they have come to innovation is cutting costs, I mean come on! So business WAS easy, get over it! we have lulled ourselves into thinking that it should always be. In a general sense, there now exists about as much creativity as in an old boot, we desperately need a radical change of direction, to get off our arses and make it happen. We have a lazy systems and inept leaders, let’s start by kicking them out, find the talent and get the show on the road (for real this time)

  • PS: I am sure you will appreciate that my rant is not aimed directly at you but rather “the glass half empty” and the “poor me” brigade. Unfortunately however they are unlikely to see it as I am pretty sure they are unaware of the existence of BT 🙂

  • Great post Elaine and you’re so right. When it gets down to it, people should be asking themselves what have they done this week to bring in business, and how many people have they asked for business this week…and every week!! Love the analogy.

  • HI Elaine. What you are saying indeed makes sense on the sales side. I think through our networking at events we are effectively “marketing”ourselves – even if we don’t mention that we are looking for clients. Marketing is about awareness as you say – and networking raises that awareness. But yes, in relation to those of us who are not natural sellers – we need to be more forthcoming about “selling” – I know for a fact that I find it an uncomfortable cloth to wear ::)

  • Anonymous

    Great Post Elaine

    I guess fear of rejection and fear of cold calling are major reasons why we don’t ask for business. Unfortunately rejection is part of the course BUT cold calling doesn’t always have to be.

    My attitude to asking for Biz is SWSWSW – Some Will, Some Won’t, So What!! When I get a “NO” I tell myself I am no worse off and that I am actually one rejection closer to that important “YES”.

    How do I ask for business?

    My strategy is to make myself visible so that my customers find me and I go the extra mile to deliver so that happy customers tell other customers.

    By the way – fear of rejection didn’t deter me from asking my wife to marry but rather fear of bankruptcy 🙂


  • Thanks a lot Paul,
    Its a topic close to my heart, as I consistently struggle with selling myself, and my services. Give me someone else’s ability to sell, or a “thing”, and I’ll make a good effort. It’s an area that I must continually focus on to improve (and perfect lol). Am doing well this week, so far!

  • Well well well, I am sure your wife forgives you 😉
    I like your strategy, thanks for sharing.
    I love your acronym – SWSWSW – and your attitude towards NO, so practical, and I could nearly convince myself that rejection is consistently bringing me closer to a YES.
    Cheers, I am in a great mood today, but now beaming from ear to ear 🙂

  • “what have I done that was innovative in the last 12 months” – every business should ask themselves this question, instead of getting caught up in the proverbial “headlights”.
    I agree that organisations had become complacent, and their inability to innovate or change direction, means that they are not in existence today. Ironic that nature has the ability to wheedle out the weak, such a natural process really.
    I take your points Niall, as you have great insight into what sales professionals are doing on the ground to improve things. I take it from your comment, too many are refusing to take on their difficulties or challenges, and are using the blame game a little too quickly.
    The “poor me” brigades will find themselves out of clients soon enough, leaving the space for talent and innovation to shine through. And you and I are there to encourage them to get the “show on the road” and further inspire them to read Bloggertone 😉

  • Hi Cindy, great to have you back 🙂 I loved Lisa’s “10 Reasons Not To Ignore Your Blog For Facebook” & looking forward to catching up on your other suggestions. Thanks, Niall

  • Hi Cindy. Another fine selection as always. The one about commenting on other peoples blogs to generate new business definitely rings true. It’s certainly driving traffic to my site. Thanks for sharing.

  • Yes i will marry . Yes i will marry the ideas you have. Yes I have learnt few things today.Yes I agree I would avoid clients who had refused me business when I had visited then few times. I will visit them again.You have infused confidence in me.And thanks to all of you for giving good insight.Love you all.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Elaine, I was directed here by Niall Devitt as I’ve recently written about the similarities between the honeymoon period and customer relationships—-we’ve got a theme going 🙂

    To me, getting a no means one of two things a) the prospect doesn’t need what we can provide them with at the moment or b) we haven’t communicated how we can help properly- the prospect needs to see the benefits of doing business with you or you can forget it! That’s why I always suggest asking as many questions as possible, figuring out what the problem is and only then let the prospect know how you can help. A superb sales trainer, Dermot McConkey, says it’s always about WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) and I think it should be a mantra when out looking for business, you need to answer that question for your prospects!

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