I’ve always felt very comfortable walking up to strangers and starting a conversation. Since I was very little, my CEO father took me to business meetings with him and forced me to walk up to his friends and say hello – most often, I had never met these people before. Sometimes he would go with me, but usually he would just point to someone, and say “now I want you to go walk up to Mr. so and so and introduce yourself. Shake his hand and make sure to say your full name.” Memories of this go back to when I was five or six. I remember being very nervous but it always ended well and made my dad happy, which was obviously why I kept doing it. I hold on to a number of memories like this one, being in professional settings with my dad when I was younger. Whenever my dad introduced me to someone, he always followed the introduction with the detail of where they were from, and what they did for a living – sometimes he would even remember something about the person’s kids or recent news in the person’s life. He has a notably exceptional ability to remember nearly everyone he’s met as well as a detail about them, and this was always well received by those he was introducing me to. Over the years, meeting what seems like thousands of people when I was with my dad meant that I had many opportunities to sit back and observe my dad interact with someone, or watch someone before I met them.Sometimes, my dad would tell me to watch someone from across the room, and “read” them. He would ask me later that day what I observed, and teach me things about that person’s personality from what I told him of their demeanor, body language, and sometimes attire. I’m sure my dad wonders where all of that training went when I started dating, somehow early on in my dating life, those skills didn’t transfer. What all of those experiences did do for me was make it feel natural to approach people, and be able to have a conversation with nearly anyone. It helped me to feel like everyone I met was a friend, with no pressure to accomplish anything during the conversation other than learn more about each other and have a good time. I learned the value of humor and letting your own personality come through. People know when someone isn’t being genuine, is trying to put on a façade or is only saying things to get what they want. This is my advice – be yourself, be interested in getting to know the person you’re talking to, not the reason they are at the meeting, conference, etc. Make your sales pitch or your business need second after getting to know the person, and you’ll find greater success. Not sure how to start a conversation, or what to say to keep it going? Here are some tips from Fast Company
Tags: people skills, networking
General | Marketing | Randomness
It was an early morning, but Jason drank enough coffee to deliver a fantastic presentation to members of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce around the idea of product and service trials.
Jason enlightened the audience to the main components of a successful trial program, which stemmed from his own experience with a seed company’s garden planner web app. Sometimes trials aren’t what you think they would be – specifically for service companies who don’t have the ability to let customers try their services.
Jason’s own experience, as mentioned, was with a seed company. He didn’t get seeds to plant, but instead free trial access to their web-based garden planning application. Simply put your garden dimensions in to this application, choose which vegetables to plant, and drag the areas you would like them to grow. The application will tell you how much of each to buy, when to plant, fertilize, harvest and how to prepare for the next season of growing.
So why not seeds? Seeds still require too much from the customer – or as Jason described, the barrier to entry is still too high. Seeds require the customer to know when and how to plant them, prepare a place in their garden, and then harvest them – all on their own. With the garden planner, the customer feels empowered with their how-to sheet from the seed company, a list of things to buy, and how to do it. Nearly foolproof.
Now on to more…
It may seem a no-brainer for a company who produces products to offer trials – it’s easy to download trial software, take a power tool for 30 days to try on projects at home – but the service industry should also have a stake in this kind of offering.
Trials have long been a stable and justifiable way for companies to win the favor of potential customers. Costco floods its stores with tasting stations, auto-dealerships let you take test drives, and software companies give free trials or limited versions of their products – all popular and rewarding ways to get new customers.
So how do you trial something that isn’t tangible, something that is a service versus a product? You can’t possibly try insurance out, and then decide in a week if you like it or not. No one is going to expect to be able to give a bank some of their money and see how it goes for a month.
So what if trying out a service didn’t actually mean trying the service itself. What is it about a service that you are really interested in? It’s the knowledge, the know-how and the expertise of those performing it. I don’t do my own investing or banking, because I have no idea how to do it, and would do poorly at it. I don’t fix my own roof because it’s dangerous and I don’t have the tools, or any idea if it would actually work.
Service trials are successful when the one interested in the trial is given just some piece of the intellectual store behind what makes a service good. This can be done when the service provider writes a whitepaper containing proof, evidence or how-to behind what they do.
It’s not enough information so that the customer could then go execute the service themselves – and they wouldn’t have the experience to do so anyway – but enough to get the customer interested, and to feel like they have been informed and guided by an expert – you – the person they will go to for the actual job they need done.
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Welcome, GeekWire Readers!
If you were to look up “Exsilio,” maybe just to learn how to pronounce it, you’d also find the definition of the Greek word meaning “leap forward, or bound ahead.” The company is as unique as their name; since Exsilio started in Irvine, CA, their continual innovation keeps them at the top of the competition, with strong growth year over year.
We believe our work speaks for itself, and with 80% of our business from past clients, we think that’s pretty good backup.
Since 2006, when we opened our first office in Irvine, CA with just four employees, we have continued to grow in every one of our departments. We’re proud that our turnover is very low, keeping the quality of our work high, with employees who are dedicated and loyal to us and our clients.
While our story is not unique, we believe it’s rare, and we invite you to experience the difference of working with a company who cares as much as you do – about your bottom line, your deadlines, your stakeholders, and your business in the years to come.
Read more about us
In our latest venture outside the office and the land of code and Expression Studio, we have teamed with the Irvine Chamber of Commerce to bring "Legends and Leaders" to the Orange County business community. In its second year, Legends and Leaders is an extradordinary event showcasing standouts in corporate Orange County. Four times this year, we will meet for lunch with an individual who has been uniquely successful in his or her industry. Last month, we met and learned from Wing Lam, co-founder and CEO of Wahoo's Fish Taco, a large and extremely popular chain of fresh fish taco restaurants with locations from California to New York. Meeting Wing was an incredible experience, as someone who is a pillar of the Irvine business community, dedicated to philanthropy, and gives a fresh perspective on corporate culture and marketing a business.
Wing's vibrant personality, long hair and beard, flip flops and board shorts fit right in with his natural sense for what customers want. Wing has had huge success driving marketing and advertising for Wahoo's by listening to his customers and going with his gut.
It was a great pleasure to meet Wing, hear his story, and be inspired by his approach to business. Stay tuned for May's Legends and Leaders special guest and a recap of the lunchtime presentation.
Learn more about Wing Lam
Tags: Wing Lam, Legends and Leaders, Irvine Chamber of Commerce
About five years ago, when I was a budding account executive in advertising, my boss at the time told me that I could benefit from re-evaluating my use of exclamation points. He was SO right. I was a major abuser and over-user.
Since then, I've noticed the unnecessary use of exclamation points grow and grow—in business communications and in my personal conversations—among men and women.
Exclamation points have their place, they were invented to show emotion in an otherwise flat medium—words on paper. Exclamation points convey excitement, anger or extreme passion, and are usually visualized with someone talking quickly and a high pitched voice—yelling, screaming, shouting—all of those things warrant exclamation points.
However; most often, I see exclamation points being used in very common email communications where, if said out loud, the tone would never be used the same as it is conveyed through email. People do not normally talk with exclamations at the end of every sentence, so why is it happening on paper? It's my opinion that over using exclamation points can damage the writer's credibility and can even make them sound ditzy.
Bottom line, if you’re excited about something, use your words, don’t abuse the exclamation point – keep it for something that really warrants the tone that you’re conveying.
Tags: Punctuation, Writing Style, Tone, Voice
General | Randomness
Let's help the Make a Wish Foundation change a child's life for the better! For every view of our funny holiday video, Exsilio will donate a small amount to the Make a Wish Foundation with the goal of raising $10,000 by January 31st. Come back every day to contribute more money, and don't forget to share with your family and friends.
Tags: Charity, giving back
Creative | General
Over the past six years, in which I’ve worked full time in various marketing and advertising capacities, I’ve learned how important accuracy is—often through failure.
When I managed community events for the Seattle Seahawks, I learned how important it was to communicate accurately the specific time in which an event would take place—in case, perhaps, it was to be told to a news station who would then put it in the newspaper, which may have caused a few hundred people to show up late to an event.
As an account executive at a major global advertising agency, I learned that whatever my response was to a client needed to be extremely accurate; many times those answers were taken as absolute truth and expectations were set based on what I said. At the time I thought I was too junior for anyone to really take my opinions to heart—I learned quickly that client communications were not typically the place for opinion.
Across the different projects I work on at Exsilio, my respect for accuracy has only grown—handling client budgets, large campaigns with high public visibility, and growing the awareness of Exsilio.
So, why is it so hard to be accurate? I don’t think anyone tries to avoid accuracy; it’s just not often given enough attention. Accuracy is lost when time is not taken to obtain a correct answer instead of giving an opinion or guessing; it’s compromised when attention is not paid to the importance of a particular line item or email reply; it’s disregarded when the responsible party no longer has passion or interest for the topic and careless answers are given.
The consequences from not taking time to be accurate is far worse than dedicating an additional few steps or few minutes to be on point—ultimately, efficiencies can be gained from taking that extra time and getting it right the first time.
Over this past weekend, our gracious owners took the entire staff and their significant others on the annual Exsilio cruise. This year, we sailed aboard the Carnival Paradise to Ensenada, Mexico. The trip included a formal dinner, a baby tiger, local sightseeing, an on-board scavenger hunt, and usual bonding activities.
Some of the famous towel animals:
Docking in Mexico:
Formal dinner night, group picture:
Exsilio Homepage | General
This post is not about sharks.
Watching various shows on Discovery's Shark Week made me think about why the Discovery Channel chose to focus on sharks for an entire week; does their Neilsen data suggest that more of their viewers watch "shark" based programming? How many new, loyal viewers do they gain each year after Shark Week?
There's no doubt it's an ingenious move; reach viewers who may not typically watch the Discovery Channel by highlighting a topic that invokes various emotions; fear, fascination or interest in gaining new knowledge.
According to Neilsen data, this year's Shark Week kicked off with over 3 million viewers watching the opening segment, Great White Invasion, taking the No. 3 spot for that evening's primetime cable lineup. The next show, Jaws Come Home, ranked No. 1 with another 3 million viewers in the 18-49 age group.
What is it about this type of programming that draws so many eyes? It's actually a spin on where the news media has been going for years; higlighting tragic events, extreme individuals or groups of people (think Sarah Palin or Jersey Shore), and generally bringing attention to the smallest but most unique/extreme people and events.
There is something innate in the human race that makes us curious and fascinated with events that are different from our "normal" lives. The Holocaust, terrorists, gangs, celebrities, politicians, and of course, Jaws.
If we do at all, how do marketers use this angle constructively? What examples have you seen of campaigns or products being sold via controversy or off-beat tactics?
Tags: marketing strategy
Exsilio Homepage | Marketing
In Douglas Cret's most recent FastCompany article, "Curating The Instant Deal With Millions Of Mini CEOs And CMOs," Exsilio Marketing Manager Jason Bennett is featured for his specialty in analytics consulting.
Way to go, Jason!
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