It’s slowly dawning on business people – when everyone is checking out everything online, the same surely will happen to me as a person. But why are they not bothered about it yet? As always, business people will consider ‘will I lose any business from it?’ I’m sure you will, but let’s stay positive: how about gaining new business?
Let’s face it: we have all become part of a reputation economy and Google is the new background check. Even for you as a person. So when your online presence is not in sync with your off-line-me or simply not appealing enough, sorry, no investment or alas, no job offer. VC’s and Hiring Managers move on to a better candidate.
We increasingly are invited to speak about this new phenomena and how to harness yourselve against it. We usually start by telling attendees to google their own name first. And then imagine yourself before an important meeting, say as a hiring manager, or a start-up investor – would you do business with ‘you’? Because who is this person applying for the job in real life? What is happening outside his or her polished LinkedIn profile? Does he have any hobbies or other personal interest? Who in fact are we dealing with? No answers, or at best, a blurred image can mean no next step.
Checking a name on LinkedIn can be too direct and obvious, so Google as most popular search option is used without you even being aware. Google page 1 with the 10 hits are offering a quick snap shot of what a person stands for. It can generally produce three options: 1.You are not present at all – do you really exist? 2.You have a pretty blurred image – no, totally not you. 3.You are in sync with your other profiles. When a choice can be made between candidates, who would you prefer?
People like to do business with people. Not just with good looking profiles or shining images. Make sure you are represented well online. If you don’t do it, social media and Google as search indexer will do it for you. Better get ahead.
As most people know, the fancy term ‘elevator pitch’ stems from the use of elevators in the US. Tall buildings with sometimes 50+ stories where people huddle together to get to their office floors. Imagine you would literally bump into the person you are desperately trying to contact? Could you give him or her your pitch in 1 minute while going up?
Lots of sales trainings are gearing toward that 1 minute pitch. Also handy to use for cold calls on the phone: “Can I have one minute of your time?” Who would deny you that 1 minute? But first you need to get your prospect actually pick up the phone. Voicemails are mostly dead-ends and don’t forget those gatekeepers telling you ‘he is in a meeting’. Meaning, he doesn’t have time to talk to you because he doesn’t know you. ‘First send us an email what it’s all about’. You know that won’t work either, but what are your alternatives as sales rep these days?
Traditional sales people are struggling to generate new leads in order to get meetings for a demo, qualify leads and start sales conversations. All traditional roads seem to be closing for them. My advice: in stead of cold calling, start meeting your prospects where they gather and start getting used to Social Selling. It might take more than 1 minute though.
Your prospects are all using social media to gather information online. So, make sure you find them where they are searching. Offer them good pieces of advice, cheat sheets, white papers, case studies etc. It’s already been researched and clearly showing that sales reps using social networks are simply selling more.
Let’s explore the best social media platforms in another blog. Stay tuned!
I started updating my podcast list beginning this year. Then I decided to publish my favorite top 10 in February. Picking up my good habit was ignited mostly because I wanted to understand more of the dramatically changed American political constellation. And how to use new social media tools.
Ever since I picked up new podcasts, my previous top 10 of podcasts proved just too large. There was no way I could listen to them all during the week. So. I’ve reduced the list to really interesting and daily podcasts and it’s a Top 5 now.
Another important criteria is the length of the average podcast. Anything between 20-30 minutes proves to be ideal. I tend to listen to the podcasts over lunch or during a commute. A 60 minute podcasts all tend to start slow and make you use the 10sec forward button. So, this is what I listen to now regularly. Hope it brings new inspiration to you as well!
- The Daily (EN) – NYT, Michael Barbaro (daily, 20min) “this moment demands an explanation”
- The Fizzle Show (EN) – Business Talk Show (weekly, 60min) “Creating your own new business”
- The Moth (EN) – “true stories, told live and without notes” (weekly, 50min)
- SocialMediaMarketing (EN) – Michael Stelzner, “Tips and techniques for creating great content” (weekly, 45min)
- How I Built This (EN) – NPR (weekly, 40min) “interviews with innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists”
I recently re-painted my office interior and used the opportunity to also clean my workspace. Some of the clutter om my desk distracted me during office work and now was the time to make a big sweep. Post-it notes, business cards, magazines, foreign coins, notepads, etc. I even changed the position of my desk clock.
I always thought a clear desk equals a clear mind. And on the opposite, a messy desk representing a messy mind. But on the other hand, I also realize the little things around me are giving fond memories. Of my family, great travel destinations, things accomplished. My desk is where I spend most of my business time, so it should make me feel warm, home and welcome.
I also know of people who just love chaos and a messy desk helps them to think more clearly. Something to do with visual and mental clutter. I read somewhere that famous thinkers and writers such as Albert Einstein and Roald Dahl have been notorious for their untidy desks. So, it’s not that clear cut after all. Apparently, visual and mental clutter in fact forces people to focus and think more clearly.
Reading about the different schools of thought, I found a Japanese formula, originally developed to create more productive factories. But proving very useful for office spaces too! The 5-S method, based on five Japanese words starting with an S. 1) ‘Seiri’ or sort/sorting. Do I really need this here? 2) ‘Seiton’ or set in order. Eliminate what you don’t need. 3)’Seiso’ or shine. Clean every object. 4) ‘Seiketsu’ or standardize. Process your way of working. 5) ‘Shitsuke’ or sustain. Being committed to being aware of what is going on.
Concluding, it’s not the same for everyone. Some people flourish on chaos and get inspired by it, while others need a clean environment to think clearly. Maybe the Japanese ‘seiso’ is a good start for all of us – just clean your desk and make it shine!
There are mainly two reasons why players can get irritated during a game: having either a lousy or a very good referee. They sometimes hope for the first so they can air their daily frustrations, but pray for the latter in order to fully focus on their own performance.
The good referee sometimes wonders why he is criticized from scratch. It can get him totally out of his balance sometimes. Even when he recognizes the small nasty fouls and clearly shows he can’t be fooled. Especially when he is in great condition, concentrated on each game no matter the league level, and equal and fair in his decisions.
I tell myself often I should ignore players’ comments, knowing I’m a good ref. But last weekend I got the official word from a player: sorry ref, you are just doing a very good ref job. We are getting irritated because you figured us out, recognizing the little fouls which other refs just let go. Please accept our apologies.
I was flabbergasted. But satisfied at the same time. I should stick to my game plan and stay focused.
It’s almost done with football indoors, or ‘futsal’ as we call it these days. Same goes for outdoor football (soccer) by the way. And you would guess problems with player passes would not play up anymore.
Well, not in my game last night. I did the usual field check and asked coaches to point me the player on my screen. It started with the away coach who had a question: “What to do when you spot new players in the opponent’s team?” Well, for me as ref, nothing else than checking the passes, which I’m going to do now. Keep you posted.
The home coach had only three players on his digital form which he sent to my app (the minimum required to play). Oh, sorry ref, can you add four more, I had some admin problems at home. Sure, I can. Just tell me their names. Of the four he wanted to add, only two showed up in the system. Ehhhm, that’s strange, they played all season and suddenly they are not recognized. We tried again, checked the spelling of their surnames. Nothing.
Walking back and forth, coach telling me (and the parents watching) it’s all my problem, my app, the futsal association etc. Delaying the game start with eventually 20 minutes, I forced them to make up their minds. They were about to cancel the game because they didn’t feel like playing with five (normal team but no subs) against a strong team they lost against last time. Well coach, it’s either walking away and get fined or playing and losing again. Not my decision. He wisely decided to play. And lost 2-12. What a loser.
If you didn’t know already – we are living in a reputation economy. And Google has become the new background check. Everyone is googling, all the time – to find information, opinions, background info, but also checking out people. Did you know that 80% of people will google you before they decide to meet you? Asking themselves: Who is the person I’m meeting? What makes him or her tick? What does he or she do outside their job? Where are they heading for in life?
Questions that Google can easily answer by showing what’s being posted online. On all social media channels, just recently or maybe some time back. If nothing fresh is being posted, this keeps popping up and you might not like it. Basically, you are who Google says you are. My question to you: is your online reputation in line with you are?
The index (10 hits each page) is based on available online content and is taken from websites and blogs, but also articles, news and social media posts. And this picture drawn on Google page 1 will determine whether people choose to do business with you, or go elsewhere. You might never know why you missed the much needed investment, got skipped for the new job or that board position you pitched for. It’s just inevitable: Google has become the first stage of the background check and the first elimination point.
My advice would be to start producing new, or re-purposing older, content. This will help to get your ‘online-me’ in sync with your ‘offline-me’. Uploading good content (including photos and videos) improves your chances of being found online. And remember that in order to rank on search engines, you need to have fresh content that is relevant to your audience. Google not only indexes your page based on keywords, but also the relevancy of a page’s semantic relevance and back links to credible websites.
Key to all this: a strong online reputation will help generate more business opportunities. And who doesn’t want that?
I had a relatively easy game last Saturday, reffing two teams in the Dutch U15 national pro youth league. Interesting to know: the home team are the only amateur club playing in this competition. The guests from the north were so smart to mumble during meet&greet that this might be changed soon and only professional clubs would be allowed to play from next year. Big frowns all around me.
The game itself was ‘do or die’ for the guest team. Losing this game would bring them closer to relegation and their opponents were just ranked above them, hence a true 6 points game. A game packed with scouts all around the pitch. Several of the home team players were offered contracts to play for pro-teams from next season, I was told. At the start of the game, I told both captains I would keep a close eye on holding and pushing, but would prefer to play advantage in order to keep the game rolling.
As a result, I was shouting ‘play on’ almost every 5 minutes of the game, whenever possible, and tried to keep the number of free kicks to a minimum. No comments or complaints from any player as they knew when a foul was committed, hearing me shout ‘play on’. After several verbal warnings for holding, I had to eventually issue two yellow cards for it, one to each team. Quite a logical outcome of having been tolerant, but with a clear limit.
Big was my surprise, though, when I returned to the admin area to register the subs, yellow cards and 0-0 score. The away couch told me he didn’t like my strict refereeing with the many free kicks. My mouth dropped. Was he talking about another game perhaps? Nope, my game. I told him I had never in my career played on advantage so often. And I didn’t share his game experience at all. “Well, we are all allowed to have our opinions, can’t we ref?” he ended the short conversation. I left it there, realizing he must have been very disappointed to have made the 2x2hr drive for a useless 0-0 draw. Somebody had to be blamed. I happened to be me. As usual.
It happens once in a while, especially at indoor games: players behaving like they are on steroids.
Nr11 of the guest team last night behaved as if he had taken a pile of cafeine pills. A popular performance enhancing substance among football players. Not illegal because it’s easily confused with drinking 3 cups of coffee.
The away team played brilliant futsal and dominated the game. They are heading for promotion to the highest Dutch futsal league. Nr11 got his first warning after 8 mins. I was secretary for this game so had to control him on his penalty seat for 2 mins. Fuming over “the low quality referee” while he had just hit an opponent on the attack.
In 2nd half it became quite tense when nr11 was suddenly screaming with pain and dropping to the floor. In an effort to get the ball, his direct opponent touched him on the shoulder. I could see it from less than 10m distance. Even his team mates were taking a step back. No support for what seemed to be a ridiculous piece of acting. The ref told him to get up and act normal, which made him scream even louder. Everyone around him looked in utter disbelief.
A 2nd yellow for acting and unsporting behavior would mean expulsion and 5mins time penalty. I saw the ref taking his time while nr11 was crawling on the floor. Eventually, his coach would speak the magic words: sub! He was told to sit on the bench and cool down.
The aspirant champions scored some more amazing goals and won the game easily. I had a quick chat with the center ref before my own game would start. He admitted considering a 2nd yellow but feared the outcome of that. I was disappointed. A higher raking ref with no guts. Time for me to step up. Bring them on, you futsal-on-steroids-players.
What if customers, before they decide meeting you, first check you out on Google and LinkedIn. What will they find? Just a brief summary of who you are, because ‘the rest will be added in a personal meeting’? What if potential clients decide it’s too vague and pick your competitor in stead? You will never know.
In order to become more visible and authentic, consider two important issues. First, all online content, from web and ad copy to social media and print materials, everything that’s published about you and your brand will become your brand. You are your own Personal Brand. Just because your company isn’t a media publication doesn’t mean people can’t go there for advice and insight. They will. All the time.
Secondly, in order to create a better and strong online reputation, you should start producing bits of content. Present all aspects about your personality, or have someone interview you. Talk about where you came from, what you do right now and how you envision the future. Cover all dimensions of your life, not just your business. You are more than just your job!
Produce this content (text and preferably also video) on WordPress and distribute it through social media. People will pick it up, read it and by doing so link back to you. This will help you perform well in search and Google will eventually present your ‘online-you’ more in sync with your ‘offline-you’.
And remember: ‘no news’ in search does not mean ‘good news’ on Google page 1. Start the digital clean-up today and build yourself a strong online reputation. It will ultimately generate more business opportunities.