What Makes a High Quality Marketing Team?

I grew up in a Bluefield, West Virginia; small coal mining town on the West Virginia/Virginia border. A place where you did not lock your car or your front door and when you passed someone on the road you knew them, and a warm greeting was normal behavior. Growing up as a triplet and one of five kids in a small three-bedroom house, the finer things in life were not at our fingertips. The boys slept in bunk beds until our teenage years, and we were happy to do so. Never once did I ever think about or worry about what I was laying on. I never knew “thread count” was even a thing until much later in life.

Did you know that your sheets are numbered? The best in class is an Egyptian cotton linen with a thread count of 1,500. On amazon you can buy these sheets for $134.99. Conversely, you can purchase a lower end 300 thread count sheet set for around $40. Until my wife introduced me to this game changing experience, I had no idea that sheets even had thread counts. What I can tell you as a consumer without any hesitation or containment…is that Egyptian cotton sheets are a real thing, and they are amazing! No, this is not going to turn into a native article for a sheet manufacturer.  

There is a very common question that marketing people ask companies today: what keeps you up at night? This takes on an entirely new meaning if you were to answer it by saying, I think it is my 300-thread count sheets. I didn’t realize what I was missing and how great a night’s sleep could be. This also holds true for many companies that do not realize what they’re missing with a 300-marketing thread count until they have tried a 1,500-marketing thread count. For example, we recently were having a conversation with a prospect that has been in business for almost 40 years. We asked a lot of questions about how they were monitoring the performance of their ongoing advertising campaigns. Much to our surprise, this company had never conducted these evaluations with their big media campaigns to make sure they were getting what was agreed upon and paid for. In our digital and big media world today, everything is accountable and trackable. There should be active auditing and assessments with every campaign through its media partners 24/7/365. If these in-depth analyses were not part of your marketing strategy, you would never know they exist. 

At 3 Bridges Consulting we pride ourselves on providing a 1,500 score on service, value, results, and accountability. In addition, if we do not have the right solution or answer we will recommend and connect you with a company that does. It all starts with a free consulting session about your past, current and future marketing wants/needs. 

So, when you are lying in bed tonight ask yourself what is my current marketing agency’s thread count?  If the answer is less than 1,500, you and your company deserve a better answer which will result in a better night’s sleep.  

9 Tips to Outstanding Initial Prospect Meetings

There's a big mystery in my house... what happened to the other sock?

Over the last few years after folding laundry, there was always a sock or two that did not have a partner. I started to save and collect these individual socks in hopes that someday we would find their mate. It rarely happened! So, I started asking questions. I interrogated every family member with their answers eventually leading me to numerous successful reunions. I would no longer have to send my daughter to school with two socks that “looked alike” (do not try it, it does not work) or buy packs and packs of new socks.  Read on to learn my additional theory on the case of the missing socks. 

As the best life lessons typically do, this brought me back to the business world. Are you doing proper investigative work with your tactics of questioning?  Are you going into meetings knowing the company’s issues and problems in advance so you can directly position your line of questions around that issue/problem?

If these phrases ever come out of your mouth… just put a sock in it.

  1. I want to learn more about your business.
  2. I want to find out your pain points and what keeps you up at night.

No one wants to tell a stranger what keeps them up at night and where their pain points lie…would you tell a stranger? They also do not have time to “tell you about their business.” With today’s technology, you should already know about their business and come prepared to that initial meeting with the base knowledge to conduct deeper questioning.

At 3BC, we focus on using meaningful and deliberate tactics to be more curious in our questioning. Decision makers come in a variety of personality types: direct/assertive, friendly/jovial, defensive/combative, and maybe even someone who is a little bit of everything above. It is 100% up to you to set the tone and climate during the meeting; it is not their personality type that is going to make a sales appointment a success or a failure. When it comes to asking the questions that are going to produce effective answers, there are a few tactics we have learned over the years that can help: 

[iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number” title=”Ask one question at a time.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-2″ title=”Get to the point with one sentence questions.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-3″ title=”Stop talking… genuinely and actively listen to and care about their answer (even if you disagree).” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-4″ title=”Do not show up and throw up… product puking is not allowed… resist the urge.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-5″ title=”Ask real questions, not advice disguised as a question.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-6″ title=”Always ask follow-up questions. Examples: “Why do you feel that way?” “If we did that, what do you think would happen?”” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-7″ title=”Most trainers teach you to ask questions that you already know the answer to. I disagree. Ask questions about things you do not know, a sincere curiosity.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-8″ title=”Have planned pauses, it will give you and the client time to think.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox][iconbox type=”11″ icon=”bk-number-9″ title=”Do not chime in with your own opinion; you’re gathering information for a future recommendation.” t_color=”#000000″][/iconbox]

If you have truly created a meeting setting of curiosity and discovery, you and your prospect will feel and appreciate it. Active listening is extremely important. You’re either doing it or you’re not, but the good news is that it can be developed with practice. This will put you one step closer to being truly curious and an elite manager or seller. 

Now back to the unsolved mystery. Through my questioning, I have found the answers (socks) in my daughter’s soccer bag, behind her dirty clothes hamper, and stuck in a pair of pants. But there is still one suspect that I have not been able to use my tactical line of questioning on. I truly believe that this character below could hold the rest of the answers to the missing sock epidemic in my household.  Her name is Ginger, she just looks guilty right?

Please comment back to 3 Bridges Consulting on what questioning tactics have worked for you with man, women, child, animal, or prospect. Follow us on LinkedIn at 3 Bridges Consulting to get access to all of our blog content.

The Pace of Innovation in a Digital Age

I remember back to when my son was roughly four years old and we were in the garage cleaning out some old boxes. He reached into a box and pulled out a cassette tape. With his huge brown eyes looking at me he asked, “Will this hurt me?” My first response was going to be, if it’s Duran Duran….then yes. I replied “no, it plays music.” I then had to do a show and tell after I found a cassette player, which proved to be an even greater challenge than cleaning out the garage.

The world of mobile everything is upon us – companies are integrating, aligning, and providing advanced modern mobile learning software that distributes content, communication, and daily performance management all in one solution.

The format battles and changes over the last decades have included LP to eight-track to cassette, MiniDisc to CD, Beta to VHS, DVD to HD-DVD to Blu-Ray disc, magnetic tape to floppy discs and zip drives to DVD-ROM. My now 15 and 13 year olds will only know about these formats through a thing called the internet. They will continue to grow up in a world where physical storage of information is as outdated as rotary-dial telephones and mimeograph machines (for those who remember what those were!)

The world of mobile everything is upon us – companies are integrating, aligning, and providing advanced modern mobile learning software that distributes content, communication, and daily performance management all in one solution. In addition, marketing engagement platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, Instagram, TikTok, Lasso, Steemit, and Reddit, to name a few, make it easy to broadcast your message and accelerate favorable decisions for your brand, products or service offerings.

If simplicity is truly the essence of happiness, the world should be a much happier place with the personal and professional technology that awaits us. 5G just arrived and the whispers have already started about 6G. What will 7G feel like?  

Comment your favorite advanced technology solutions that your kids have not heard of yet.

My current favorite is a patented visual audio (podcast) company and a live virtual life-skills simulator training by an Avatar powered by AI.

Follow us on LinkedIn at 3 Bridges Consulting for more blog content.

Looking for Work? Here’s How to Land the Job.

It was the summer of 1992, I was a sales intern at WVVA-NBC TV in Bluefield, West Virginia. Equipped with the lessons learned from Dad – if you do not ask, you do not get – I negotiated the first paid sales internship ever at the local TV station. I remembered reading an article just prior that talked about the extremely high hiring percentage after the completion of a successful internship. That was my goal. One year later, two weeks prior to my college graduation, that goal became a reality. I graduated on a Saturday and went to work that Monday as an Account Executive in the TV business. 

Retention rates for interns-turned-full-time-employees are high. How high? 62.4% after five years compared to 48.1% for hires that came with no internship experience whatsoever.  

A new movement is gaining traction among college students due to COVID-19. Larger numbers than ever are taking online classes and/or opting out a year. Coupling that with the current unemployment rates, there is a huge employment pool available. All companies of every size should be thinking about a fall internship program (paid and unpaid). The talent has never been greater or deeper. Even in the current climate, the opportunity remains for companies to take on virtual/remote interns. While not the traditional, in-person work environment, virtual internships allow potential full-time employment candidates to demonstrate their ability to work independently and solve problems. Although some may be focused on only finding a temporary internship, employers often have more long-term goals in mind and are looking to use this time and the training it takes to build on its future workforce. 

Source: College Mogul

Hiring interns as full-time employees is not just a great recruiting hack, it also impacts a company’s bottom line. That is obviously incredibly important right now. According to College Mogul, employers stand to save between $10,000 and $50,000 in tangible and intangible cost by hiring an intern as a full-time employee. In addition, one of the biggest cost-savers of converting interns into full-time hires is the all-important stat of retention rate. Retention rates for interns-turned-full-time-employees are high. How high? 62.4% after five years compared to 48.1% for hires that came with no internship experience whatsoever.  

It is well known that most employers first consider their internship pool of candidates when looking to fill full-time positions within the company. Internships are, in a sense, a way to interview and train the next set of new hires for the organization. What better way to know how a person is going to perform and fit into an organization than to have them already doing work for the company in the form of an internship?

Tell us about one of your greatest internship success stories. We look forward to sharing your success!

As my dad taught me at a young age, if you do not ask you do not get. We’re growing at 3 Bridges Consulting and looking to add to our elite staff! If you’re interested in a fall/winter internship, please reach out.