Is Your Business Caught In a Social Media Bubble?

First thing first, what do I mean when I say bubble? Well, with a background in economics, when I say bubble, I am referring to the same concept as any other bubble you may have heard of, particularly regarding asset prices. A bubble is simply when something carries a perceived, nominal value, which exceeds its “real valuation,” based on fundamental valuation formulas and techniques. Now, of course, I am not speaking about the monetary valuation of social media companies. On the other hand, I am talking about the perceived benefit social media has on businesses.

Before I go any further, let me just make it clear that I don’t have the slightest doubt that social media is essential for businesses in order to build an online presence. But what if the value we put on our social media account is actually much higher than what our social media accounts are actually worth?

Who Interacts on Social Media

I wanted to push out an experiment where I simply posted a question in a lot of different business related hashtags on the platforms Instagram and Twitter. The question was very simple – “What makes you follow someone on Twitter/Instagram?”

Instagram Case Study example
Example of Instagram Case Study

I urged people to reply or comment with their response, hoping to have a solid idea of what really makes a business follow another business account’s social media profile. The reason this was interesting to me is that most of what I do is in the B2B sector, so any marketing efforts usually go to getting other businesses interested and not the end-consumer. I believe social media towards end-consumers and businesses are two different planets.

What I found was something I had suspected for a long time; lots of likes, retweets and even comments and follows, yet not a single response to my question. Of course, I am no major influencer, but I’d still expect a few helpful souls who’d like to share their point of view. Even with my added incentive of promising to follow back whoever helped me in my study, I saw no activity. In fact, with all the likes I got, it felt like when you post a status to your friends on Facebook, asking for advice/help, and people start liking. I never quite understood that!

I tried another question on Twitter, just to see. Low and behold, in only 2 hours I had likes and retweets, but no replies.

Twitter Example
Example of question asked on Twitter

So What’s Going On?

I’m sure you’ve figured out parts of it already, but just in case, this is what happens when in 2017 everyone wants automation. Those who kill it on Social Medias, whether Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you name it – are those who manually interact and show their businesses to people. Having automated posts, schedules or procedures can be great for saving time and costs, but you will never be crowned ruler of the social medias with any of these tools.

What I Mean by Automation

There are a few different kinds of automation. I’ll just look at a few to give you an idea.

Follow/Unfollow

This is a service where you have a script of some sort which is built to automatically follow and unfollow accounts in selected hashtags, with hopes they will follow you back. An example of this is “Influx Social” where you can whitelist users you never want to unfollow and then just let the software do its thing.

Like and Comment

Other aspects of Influx Social and similar sofwares is that they will like and comment posts in certain hashtags on your behalf. I am near certain this is the source of several of my likes. This could be useful to try and interact with an audience, the problem arises in not being in control of what posts are liked/commented on. An example is if you’ve pre-set a comment “Love it!” and the comment is posted on someone post on breaking news of a terrorist attack. Yea… You may want to reconsider that one!

Zombiescrollers

First off, I’ll be coining this term. This is not a software automation, but I’ll be calling it an automation nevertheless. This is a category of social media enthusiasts who do not stop to look, think about or read any posts, they have just learned where to click to like/follow and scroll through as many posts as they can, liking them and hoping you follow back. If this is your current strategy, save some time and go for the software!

Zombiescrollers social media
Guess which one of these should be you on Social Media?

All in All

Social media can be an incredible tool for businesses, but I do believe we may give it a bit more praise than it deserves in the business to business sphere. Mostly because all businesses think in similar ways – how to increase efficiency, which most often means “How can this be automated.” If you have 1000 B2B companies trying to sell to each other, with 100% of them having automated their social media, just waiting for the leads to roll in, then you have 1000 companies who engage, get followers and pump out posts, all being administered by some lonely server in a data center far from us.

If there ever was a takeaway from this, it would be to actually take the time to build a real presence. I get annoyed when I follow someone and they send me a “Thanks for the follow! Check out my company at annoyingcompany.com!” Simply because it no longer makes you stand out. We can boil this down to the ancient principle of quality over quantity. If you have limited amount of time to spend on social media, make it worthwhile. Interact with the user and their content, meaning the content they actually post, not a generic “Cool” just to try and get them to come back to you. We are in a social media bubble because so many companies are online, but instead of creating a valuable space of excellent content and meaningful interaction, their only goal nowadays is adding to their following. Because the more followers the better. But is it really so?

Please tell me what you think in the comments!

Why a Woman Can Never Be a Businessman

It’s March the 8th and the International Women’s day. Thus I felt the need, as many others, to share my views and opinions to honor the women of our time as well as those from the past (and even those in the future). Yes, that’s right – honor them. If you read the title of the blog post, felt some rage build up, cracking your knuckles as you got ready to read this post and write a response to my generally chauvinistic views, then I salute you. The world needs more people like you, as it shows you care about twisted views towards women which still exist to a great extent.

If you smiled when you saw the title and clicked to see someone finally agree to your opinions about women, then sorry – that’s just not what you’re going to get. To be honest, your ego will likely take a pretty big hit if you read on, so I’d suggest you just stop here.

loading

Now, where were we…

Right, so for what I wanted to write about, exactly what my title says; why a woman can never be a businessman. The title might suggest I am saying “why a woman can never be at a man’s level in business,” when what I actually mean is “women will always be one step ahead of men in business, simply because their (women’s) way of thinking and connecting dots are far superior to ours (men).” I’ll elaborate on this in the summary, so feel free to skip down there right away.

In other words, I would like to take today to write about some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from female influencers so far into adulthood. So here we go…

3 Things Women Have Taught Me

Having done sports growing up, worked as an instructor in the Air Force, gone to college in America with more sports, worked in New York, San Francisco and London, I can assure you that female authorities have crossed my path many times. Just as with male authorities, some were great, some I didn’t like and some I hated until I realized, years later, that they were actually quite right…

Overcoming Difficulties

If you’ve ever been part of a minority, picked on in school, felt frozen out of society, then you’ll know what I am about to talk about. Because I have personally never seen anyone tougher than the women I am honored to know (and those I do not), who have gone through bootcamp, followed by years in the military, without a penis.

Having been an Air Force instructor, despite only being in the Air Force for 2 years, I’ve seen most of what it had to offer; grown men fall to their knees, cry, completely lose it in anger, beg, give up and just disappearing completely from their own mind. A lot of this applied to me as well when I was a student at the officers academy. Yet, I have never seen this in women. Not once… I’ve had arguments with other guys my size about not wanting to carry a small metal canister to boil water in (150 grams in weight, I’d think), on top of the 50 kg (110 lbs) we already had. Never seen this quarrel come up between women.

This doesn’t even begin the cover the open, and even weirdly accepted, harassment including jokes, patronizing and the constant “oh look, she’s trying, how cute.” No, I saw women power through this every year, despite often being only 1 or 2 in a troop of 24. It’s as if they managed to harness the negative energy and use it to get them through the day. Because they kicked ass day in and day out, and though I am no longer there, I can assure you they continue to do so.

Female Soldier with child

Patience

Over to a completely different area. The regular working environment in the private sector. Though much more accepting to women overall, the men vs women attitude generally comes down to individual company culture. When I worked in NYC I was working in a company which wasn’t openly undermining women in any way, but when you took a look at their executives you’d see a 100% male population.

Personally, I am the type of guy used to get upset, raise my voice and march into someone’s office if I felt I was being treated unfairly. However, as you can imagine, this never really yielded any positive results. That was until I met a handful of women who seemed to share the most amazing sense of patience. They all spoke about being patient in the same way, without ever having met one another. Their lessons had all been learned the hard way. Trying to stand up to someone, and similar to the Air Force example, instead of being taken seriously, receiving a “it’s so cute when they get angry” (or similar).

Their patience and silence in crucial moment was surely more intimidating than any decibel my voice could ever reach. Playing it cool also had a clear impact on their authority; keeping the cards close to their chest was terrifying to those around. They could no longer be “read” and “predicted.” If you were getting away with something, it was because the women let you get away with it, and you knew it. You also knew that if you stepped too far off the line of acceptance, playing too close to the edge, there would be a woman there who had taken your **** for way too long, ready to push you over.

(But you know what, even then, they wouldn’t, because by that time, the women had already won and everyone knew it. How’s THAT for patience.)

Forgiveness

During my time in a business environment, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered petty competitions basically revolving around measuring… you get the point. It’s something that happened years ago, but is still going on. Kind of like the two neighboring families who fought for generations until no one really knew why. It’s because men carry grudges. They carry them with them at all times, not because something was hurtful, but because even a grudge becomes a competition in a man’s head! “I can’t believe he did that to me. How can I do him one up back?”

Some of the most successful female leaders I’ve met have not only taught me, but shown me how much more powerful it is to forgive. Forgive, right and left. Forgive anything from a petty comment to the worst time someone screwed you over. But you do not forget.

Women are absolute masters of this and because of men’s caveman, competitive instinct, it’s something which just doesn’t fall natural for us, and it severely weakens us in any arena!

William golding on women

Summary

I am not writing this post to attack men. I’d be attacking myself, and I don’t like attacking myself! Do I think all men are sexist chauvinists who catcalls on a daily basis? of course not. Do I think men can never be as successful as women in business? no, of course they can.

What I am saying is, ladies, that after having worked around the world in business settings, I thank and salute you because you will never be a businessman, in the typical sense of the word. Because “businessman” is currently used interchangeably and it simply does not do the beautiful women of our world justice. Women and their natural instincts are simply superior to the instincts of a man. I’d even bet some of the most successful male entrepreneurs who have ever lived would agree with me when I say, we would all be much better off if we learned a thing or two from our female counterpart. So for this day, I’d like my contribution to be a small advocacy of making the term “Business” as synonymous to businesswomen as it is for businessmen.

Before I end this post, despite the length, I have to honor the two women who have had the greatest impact on my life to date, my mother, Nina and beautiful girlfriend, Tonia. Without you I would have been living under a bridge somewhere! Not just today, but every day I live I dedicate to you with love and care! Thank you!

Tonia Pontiki

Tonia

 Kent smiling and enjoying a beer

Meee!

Nina Helle

Mamabear

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Am I way off? Should I tone it down? Or am I not being harsh enough?

Let me know! And don’t forget to #BeBoldForChange

Perception Is Everything

One of the most fundamental necessities Becama helps companies to understand when prospecting, negotiating, selling or in any way communicating with a potential buyer is that everything falls on their perception. Far too many companies out there focus on a pitch or product presentation which looks amazing to the provider, but without ever considering for differences in perception. Different perception can be a result of differences in culture, values, experiences… just about anything, and if you can learn to learn and adjust to your prospect’s perception you’ll be the most dangerous salesperson on the force.

pexels-photo-29594.jpg

So what does it mean, “perception is everything?” Well, from my experience, it simply means that it’s never about what you say or do, but about what your prospect(s) understand. For instance, when Becama helps companies develop their business and improve their lead capturing and conversions, I work with all industries, from tradesmen working with their hands, to financial institutions working with computers and software. As you can imagine, when talking to managers and founders of these companies, their personalities tend to differ greatly from one another. I can assure you, if I attempt to sell Becama’s services and expertise to every single company in the exact same way, I’d be digging a deep hole for myself. I have to take into consideration how each individual will perceive what I am saying or presenting.

Take this image for example. I took this during a vacation. Imagine you are the one lying in the hammock. What do you see? Why are you there? How are you feeling? What time of day is it? Where in the world is it?  Think as much as you can about the circumstances of the image.

Kent In El Salvador

Your perception of this image will dictate how you feel about and interpret it. The image is actually from when I visited a dear friend in El Salvador over spring break, 2014, during my college times. Though you may have seen something completely different. Please do let me know what you saw in the comments below.

When I talk to a tradesman, I talk about physical, simple changes which can be implemented such that you can see the changes made. This could be something as simple as adding a contact form to a website, having a visible phone number, or even just a brief introduction to social media marketing. However, looking at a tech company, all of a sudden technical improvements are much more interesting. This includes adding code for online chat support, email automation to decrease time spent emailing people, newsletter design and social media automation or even as far as their digital structure and search engine optimization.

In conclusion, the subject of perception is massive and I will be writing much more about it, but in short; what someone is willing to spend falls on their perceived value of what you are selling. The more you can influence and increase your prospect’s perceived value, the more you can charge for your product or service. The next time you pitch to someone, make sure to do a bit of research; what industries are they familiar with? What are their background? Do you have any common ground to leverage? Any specific analogies to other companies just like theirs?

If you have any questions or comments on my brief introduction to bending perception, by all means, feel free to leave a comment below. Have any questions you’d like me to elaborate on? Comment or contact me and I’ll be happy to write a blog post explaining my take on what you might be going through.

“How Dare You Reach Out to a CEO?”

If you’ve ever been in sales where part of your job is “bringing in new business” (as you’ll see any job description tell you), then the headline of this blog is something you’ve either told yourself or heard from others in some form or another. CEO, Board Member, Executive – you name it. The larger the company, the more taboo it is to try and dig up the CEOs contact information. The reasons vary; CEOs don’t have time for this, their information is impossible to find, they have people checking and filtering their emails and so on. Well… I’m here to tell you this is simply not the case. To show you why, let me break down the three reasons above with a specific example for each based on my own experience.

time-management

CEOs Don’t Have Time For You

Though an understandable point of view, don’t you find this a bit counter intuitive? Certainly, if you’re selling encyclopedias to anyone willing to listen, this falls true, but in that case Becama’s blog is not for you. However, if you do your homework and find prospects where you are convinced you can provide value to their business, why wouldn’t a CEO have time for you? Whether the CEO started the company or not, isn’t the whole reason someone occupies the position of Chief Executive Officer that they’re considered the most equipped to lead their respective company to prosperity?

While doing work for a client, I once reached out to the CEO of one of Northern Europe’s largest banks. I did my usual research, found and verified the email address and started sending emails. I knew I had value to provide and saw from day one my emails were opened (let me know if you want more information on email tracking). A couple of follow-ups later I heard back from one of the top-executives. She had received my details from the CEO and they were interested in learning more.

In short, if you provide value, even CEOs of large companies have time for you. That’s what they are there for. Whether you hear back from them directly or not, they will at least consider what you are proposing, if you do so correctly.

confused

Their Information is Impossible to Find

Yes and no. Their information is certainly not impossible to find, though if you want to target someone like Tim Cook or any other CEOs of global companies who are seen a lot in the media, you’d probably struggle to find the correct email address. Otherwise, executives and managers are just as, if not even more dependent on their emails as you are, which means they need to have an address which people recognize and are able to use. Sometimes you can get lucky with these free CEO email websites, but more often than not you won’t. However, there are certain hacks which can be used to figure all of these things out, which Becama offers, so get in touch if you’d like the latest on how to find the people you are looking for (sorry, had to insert a little plug for our prospecting guide here).

When digging around for direct sellers, I decided to try and reach out to one of the largest multi-level marketing companies in the world. One of those where they play around with both the left and the right side of the @ in their email format. However, after doing some research it turns out, though a different format than most others, the CEOs actual email address was as normal as can be, provided you find the right email domain, for which a website didn’t exist. It might require some work, but it’s not impossible!

spam-emails

CEOs Have A Team Filtering Out Irrelevant Emails

This one is just about never the case. Large companies like Barclays will have a “CEO’s Office” where there is someone in charge of filtering some emails, but the accounts they monitor is not the CEO’s “direct line” if you will. They are looking for any relevant emails which may have been sent to one of the distractions. If you are good enough to dig out the direct line, you can reach just about anyone.

Another important point here is that the individual who is filtering the incoming emails will be trained to quickly dispose of irrelevant ones, but is still obligated to actually look at any personal looking emails in order to determine their relevancy. This means, if you can optimize your email and personalise to a point where it catches their interest, then you may be able to get them to report your email directly to the CEO as one of the relevant ones. Lastly, this requires you to follow up more than once, I can assure you! Have a look at my post which explains why you need to make sure you’re not coming off as someone trying to sell for a bit of extra juice on this topic.

As en example here, I actually did reach out to Jes Staley many moons ago, now CEO of Barclays. After 3-4 follow-ups I got in touch with his office and things became interesting from there. Goes to show with the right email templates and optimization, your reach is endless.

In Summary

I hope by now you’ve realised I used CEOs as an extreme. These points are applicable to several levels of management, anything from directors and department heads, to mid-level managers; both in the public and private sector.

Never be afraid or think they don’t have time for you. Managers are managers for a reason, they (usually) are good at what they do. Which means, if you are genuine about providing them with value, they will listen.

Until next time! Please leave any questions or comments in the section below and I’ll do my best to answer.

Selling Anything to Anyone

Hi everyone! My name is Kent Vorland, director and founder of Becama Holdings, or just Becama in trading. I’ve spent the last years as in sales an marketing, working on Wall Street, in San Francisco and now in London. I’ve been dealing with clients on all levels from all over the world, and I want you to be able to do the same by sharing my experiences. In our blog I will be writing about what my headline tells you – how to sell anything to anyone. By “selling” I am not only talking about what to say when you are cold calling a prospect, but a much larger spectrum. Selling is not confined to a transaction of money for a product or service. Selling is getting an idea through. For instance when deciding which restaurant to choose for Valentine’s day, or selling your argument in a debate. If you’re an actor getting into a role, paid or not, you need to “sell it!” Every aspect of your performance, from the words that come out of your mouth to the colour of your shoes.

Classy Outfit Is always the best

Tip: Perception decides on impression, but staying professional and classy gets you a long way with most people.

Let’s take schools as an example. Have you ever thought about what makes the class clown so funny you smile even when they’re just answering the teacher’s question? Or why the best liked teachers are so well liked? These roles tend to display similar characteristics, no matter what school or class you look at. One could go as far as to say they are “selling” their personalities to fit in these roles! The beauty of selling is that no matter what you’re selling or to whom, there are universal factors and applications. Many find it hard to believe that sometimes you need to sell a company in the same way you sell lemonade. Or you need to reach out to someone you’ve never met, in the same way you would reach out to an old friend. But it’s true, and I want to teach you how to apply these same principles to your life, private and professional.

Don’t forget to sign up to this blog to get updated every time we touch on a new subject or explain new techniques for you to use in your everyday selling. If you have any questions, comments or something you’d like to hear our take on, please feel free to contact us or comment on this blog.

See you soon and good selling!