The Thrill of Victory! The Agony of Defeat!

copyright 2010 Jim Lockman/Click!

“The thrill of victory! The agony of defeat!” For many years I heard those words made famous by Jim McKay and ABC’s Wide World of Sports. What a dichotomy!

I love the Olympics! I hate the Olympics!

There is nothing more exciting and exhilarating than watching men and women who have trained almost non-stop for four years, competing in sporting events, many of which are over in a matter of minutes.

The dedication required for such achievement depresses me! When I see all of the discipline and focus required to compete at this level, I realize nothing in my life has received that kind of attention. I have been dedicated to many people and things in my lifetime, including my family, friends, photography and my relationship with God. But sometimes I don’t show up or take a break from my responsibilities even if it is for a short period. I don’t always give my best to things I deem important in my life. Olympians don’t have that luxury.

NBC has done an exemplary job covering the Olympics. They have boiled down hours and hours of events at many different locations to cover the most popular competitions. They seem to get better at this each time the Olympics occur.

What about the competition I want to see? And what if figure skating makes me nauseous? With all the technology available today and cable’s ability to carry many signals at one time, why can’t I push a button on my remote and watch the event I enjoy. Go curling! I might even be interested in paying a surcharge for the ability to watch the specific competitions I desire on my time schedule.

Watching America do so well in this Olympics has been exciting! Canada has been a gracious host. It seems like going over to visit a cousin or a next door neighbor. NBC has provided detailed background information on each athlete and has done an excellent job of reporting the personal drama associated with each participant.

We cried with Joannie Rochette after she completed her routine, remembering the sudden loss of her mother. We held our breaths as the skiers stood once again after terrible falls on the alpine course. We were tremendously sad when speedskater Sven Kramer of the Netherlands made a careless mistake and threw away an Olympic gold medal. And the death of Georgia’s entry in the luge competition made me want to cancel the Olympics and rethink the dangers involved in some of these sports.

copyright 2010 Arden Cagle/Click!

From a photographer’s perspective, watching the Olympics has been spectacular. Add to that the still images that are in magazines and on the internet. If you Google “Olympic photos 2010” you will find many sites with photo albums including NBC’s site and “The Los Angeles Times”, to name a few. One of my favorite events to watch is the “ski jumping.” For a few moments these men and women seem to be gliding through the air like a bird. Media coverage has been so dramatic with great camera angles, backlighting and rich blue skies. But the most dramatic photos I’ve seen so far are ski cross and downhill slalom.

Dmitry Lovetsky / Associated Press / February 23, 2010

But I still hate it! Those photos should have been mine!

Go on a date!

copyright 2010 Arden Cagle/Click!

A lot of money is spent on mass mailings and advertising to bring products to the marketplace. It makes a lot of sense if you are selling toothpaste or some product that appeals to the masses. But what if you are selling creative services or some niche market product?

Go on a date!

Targeted marketing is the least expensive and most direct method of reaching your prospective customer and it is a lot like going on a date.

(1) Pick out someone you want to go out with. The field is plentiful. Potential dates are everywhere. Something is attracting you to this person. In business you are attracted to those you know need your services or products. Once they are on your radar you’re ready to begin your marketing process.

(2) Find out everything you can about them. Where do they like to hang out? What activities are they involved in? Where do they live? What is their favorite food? In business, research is vital in finding out as much as possible about the company you want to serve.

(3) Mingle at social events. Find out where your targeted date hangs out. What activities is he or she involved in? Do they go to theatrical shows or museums?  Involvement in professional organizations and cultural and civic activities fosters opportunities to “rub elbows” with business people you are wanting to court.

(4) Find someone to introduce you. When you have discovered all you can about a potential date, you may find you have one or more mutual friends. So it is in business. You may have friends or associates who can introduce you to a potential business client. Ask your business associates and friends who they know. Most likely someone knows a contact at this business. Facebook has really helped facilitate meeting potential business partners. I never cease to be amazed how many of my Facebook friends know people I know or want to know.

(5) Meet this special person. Until now you have been mainly “checking out” your potential date. If you have found someone to make an introduction, find a place to meet. If you are going it alone, attend an event or activity your target is attending. Many deals are made over a drink or in a casual setting. Meeting a potential business associate puts a face with a name. Knowing someone is better than knowing about someone.

(6) Have a cup of coffee. As important as being introduced or meeting is, finding a way to talk alone is key. Whether it is slipping into a quiet room to talk or setting a time to grab a cup of coffee, this is where relationships begin to develop. You are not talking business here; you are just getting acquainted. Ask questions to find out what this person is really like.

(7) Send  a note. After meeting your “date” send him or her a short note.   It should express your pleasure in meeting them and contain a hint of expectation for a later encounter. As a business person, you are networking in hopes of building a working relationship that will grow over time.

(8) Call for your first date. After some time has passed (so you don’t look too anxious), it’s time to call and ask for that first date. Make it simple: dinner and a movie, some cultural event or activity of mutual interest. Keep expectations low. On a business date, set up a meeting at your prospect’s business, then introduce your product or service. This is not the time to worry about closing; it is merely an opportunity to  communicate what you sell or what you do. As important as your presentation is , finding out your potential customer’s wants and needs is more important.

(9) Send flowers. As this relationship begins to grow, it is important to respond to each encounter with a note, flowers, e-mail or some form of response. In a sense, it is conversation coupling words with tokens of affection. Even if you do not visit this business person regularly, it is vital to keep in touch. Find ways to surprise by sending a special occasion card, forwarding blogs, e-mails or articles you think would be interesting, or just making a phone call once in a while to see how they’re doing.

(10) Nurture the relationship. Relationships either move forward or backwards. Dating is important. Don’t smother your date by being a pest. But if you are out of sight, you are out of mind. As a marketing professional, your success depends on staying before your clients. When you have a chance, court your customers. Take them to lunch. Get to know them better to understand their pressures and how you might help alleviate them. “Customers for life” is your ultimate goal. Invest your time and energy building a relationship that will continue to grow.

(11)  You have to kiss sometime! In business relationships, eventually you have to close the deal. You have to ask for the sell. You are not necessarily asking that your customer buy your product immediately, but you are asking for a commitment from the client to purchase from you when the need arises. A kiss is part of a  natural progression in a relationship from a casual acquaintance to an endearing friendship.

Start dating!

In the spotlight.

copyright 2010 Jim Lockman/Click!

Sometimes photos of speakers can be pretty boring. Photographers are waiting for some exciting hand gesture or something besides a speaker with his mouth open. Look for angles to make the photo more interesting. Look for design elements and color in the background to add interest to your picture.

copyright 2010 Jim Lockman/Click!

Meetings and conferences are using more video for speaker support and larger venues are using video of the speaker to help everyone see the lecture more easily. Use the video in the background in your photos to add interest.

Stop and smell the roses!

copyright 2010 Jim Lockman/Click!

I love the rockers at the airport! In the midst of people scurrying to catch their flights, change planes or hurrying to meet their loved ones, there’s a place to stop and take a load off. I could be at Grandma’s house rocking on the front porch sipping iced tea. We need to learn how to relax.

I just read a blog by Scott Bourne about the need to kick back and shoot photos for fun. He learned this from a pelican flying around at the beach. Click here to read his blog.

Fishing for customers?

copyright 2010 Jim Lockman/Click!

Talking to a friend this weekend , he remarked that he needed to “get out and do more.” I thought he was talking about finding more creative ideas of adventures outside of the home. He has a young child and one on the way and like many of us gets trapped into an evening being entertained by the tube and Facebook.

When I questioned him, his response was that he wasn’t looking for things to do. He was looking “to see and be seen.” This friend is looking for new employment possibilities and realizes networking is one of the best ways “to discover and be discovered.”

Whether you are looking for a job or seeking new markets for your products or services,  word-of-mouth is one of the most effective means of spreading your message. This is another reason social media has great potential in the business world.

I am on the board of directors of a non-profit corporation. Recently, I realized that I don’t even know who some of the other board members are. If I don’t know them, it is pretty certain they don’t know me or what it is I do when I’m not sitting in a meeting.

Bob Janet, a sales consultant, gives out yard sticks at his meetings with the inscription, “The three-foot rule: Everyone within three feet of you must know who you are and  how you can solve their problems.”

Begin today to build new relationships and let those who come into contact with you  know who you are and what you do. The more you practice this simple step, the more opportunities will come your way.

Business cards are cheap. Even though business cards are not as important as the were in the past, they provide a vehicle to “give and get” contact information. Be sure to write vital information on the back of the card to remind you where and how you met your new contact. A handwritten note or e-mail sent later will help cement you in this person’s mind. Even if he does not use or need your services, how many people does he know? Always ask people to keep you in mind when a need arises or someone they know needs help.

Over the past four months, I have met with a printing salesman four times.  Every time I ask for his business card, he doesn’t have one with him.  He either left them at his office or ran out. During this time he even started a new business and I still don’t have a card!

In the past I had this problem. Now I carry little card cases everywhere I go. All of my  jackets and sport coats have card cases. There are cards in the glove compartments of my cars.  All of my camera cases carry business cards. And many of my associates have extra cards to give out when someone needs me.

It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.

 Bob Burg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Share the love!

This eliminates the wait at the airport, but you still have to take off your shoes. Link

Seth Godin asks the question, “Who will save the newspapers and book publishing?” Link

copyright 2010 Jim Lockman/Click!

Share the Love. Scott Bourne shares the struggles he had with becoming a photographer and the need to encourage people to pursue their dreams. Link

Thought for today: