Month: July 2014

July 23, 2014

The Keys to Successful Networking

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The concept of networking can make some people apprehensive, as many feel awkward or uncomfortable with getting to know others, and putting themselves and their businesses out there. Networking is certainly a skill that takes time to build and hone, and comes much easier to some than others. However, networking is a vital step towards taking you and your business to the next level.

A crucial first step is to clearly define what your goals are. Are you looking to find potential new clients? Or perhaps a mentor in a field related to yours? Or maybe you are looking for training and education opportunities? What is it you hope to gain out of such a relationship? Identifying exactly what your ideal networking outcome would be will help make the process feel more focused.

Some people find the occasions to speak about themselves and their business intimidating, while others revel in the chance to tell others what it is they do. Practice a short, 60-second presentation about yourself. This is commonly referred to as an “elevator speech,” which is a quick overview of what it is you are trying to sell—which in this case would be yourself. Identify what your best skills are, your knowledge, your unique experience, and what it is you offer. It’s important to be considerate of other people’s time, so be as concise with your speech as possible.

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Identifying your market is just as important as expressing what you do. When starting out in a new industry, some feel they don’t know anyone, and have a tough time defining their network. Start small, with friends and family and through social spheres of influence. Attend meetings of organizations in your field of interest or a hobby you hold, and get involved. A network should come from a place of sincerity. Don’t join a group or look to connect with a community where you don’t hold genuine interest.

Be proactive in your schedule and stay organized by tracking your networking. The business cards and contact information you acquire should go into a simple spreadsheet or online contact organizer. It’s always good to start this kind of tracking early, as you might begin to feel overwhelmed as you receive more and more cards and contact information.

Networking is an ongoing dedication. Even after you’ve exchanged contact information with a potential client it’s vital to conduct occasional check-ins to keep yourself on their radar. This will also show that you are willing to stay in touch over an extended period of time, not just when you need or want something from them.

One of the best pieces of advice about networking is that successfully creating lasting connections comes from being true to oneself. Many introverts feel they need to pretend to act like an extrovert in a networking situation. The same goes for extroverts who feel they need to be an enhanced version of themselves. While everyone needs to make an effort to be more outgoing than normal during professional networking opportunities, don’t be artificial. Be your authentic self, and the people you truly connect with will follow.

July 22, 2014

Cydcor Reviews ‘Buckley: The Right Word’

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Here is Cydcor’s review of Buckley: The Right Word by William F. Buckley, Jr.

About “Buckley: The Right Word”: This unique book is assembled and edited by Samuel S. Vaughn, and drawn from the works of William F. Buckley, Jr. It is a greatly entertaining book to those who enjoy the finer points of the English language. It also explores areas such as diction, speaking styles, as well as the most common abuses of language.

Why Cydcor recommends this to future leaders: The clear, erudite use of language that Buckley employs when discussing the art of writing, past columns, belles-lettres, and more should be an inspiration to anyone who enjoys fine writing. Whether one enjoys Buckley because of his reputation as a political commentator, or admires his writing style, or if one simply aspires to be a better writer, this book from one of the modern masters of linguistics is a true must-have.

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Our favorite part: Throughout this collection of his belles-lettres, Buckley’s wit shines through. While some might deem Buckley “funny,” we know from this book that Buckley would have much more appreciated the word “witty.”

One section that expresses Buckley’s wit particularly well is as follows:

“The next liturgical ceremony conducted primarily for my benefit, since I have no plans to be beatified or remarried, will be my funeral; and it is a source of great consolation to me that, at that event, I shall be quite dead, and will not need to listen to the accepted replacement for the noble old Latin liturgy. Meanwhile, I am practicing yoga so that at church on Sundays I can develop the power to tune out everything I hear, while attempting, athwart the general calisthenics, to commune with my Maker, and ask Him to forgive me my own sins, and implore him, second, not to forgive the people who ruined the mass.”

Another great part of “Buckley: The Right Word” is Buckley’s series of letters from some of his readers. These letters provide insights towards the personality of Buckley and also show his unforgiving grasp of the English language.

July 16, 2014

Creating Your Sales Pipeline

Pipeline management has become a major focus to organizations and salespeople throughout the years. This renewed focus has quickly highlighted problems that might have been hidden during ‘boom’ markets a few years ago, such as accuracy and a streamlined system. Cydcor is committed to examining these problems and finding solutions.

When polled, 44% of senior sales professionals found that a major cause of frustration at their workplace stemmed from stalled opportunities. So what part or parts of a sales pipeline can create a problem for you when trying to close a sale?

Some think of a pipeline as a bunch of steps put together in order to create a progress toward the end goal of achieving a sale. In fact, a truly efficient ‘pipeline’ should be more of a series of strategies that are redefined, modified and tailored to each individual client.

There are three critical factors when establishing your pipeline: Identifying an account’s budget, the length of the sales cycle, and who the key-decision makers are. If you or your team does not manage to establish these three pieces of information, you might find yourself writing proposals for leads that aren’t qualified, or being overtly optimistic about a closing date or budget available.

Coach yourself and your team on the language you use when speaking to clients. Collecting the information is key, however how you ask for it can sound professional or pushy, depending on your language.

Asking someone “Are you a decision maker?” can lead to an alienated customer. Instead, try a softer approach, such as “We understand that a purchase such as this can go through an executive team for a decision. The process will go smoother for everyone if we can gather some information.”

Additionally, prospective clients can often be reluctant on giving a firm number when asked for their budget. Offer a range of prices, such as, “Typically an account often falls between $X and $X amount. Where are you most comfortable?”

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A sales number metric that often gets over looked, is how often it takes you or your team to respond to a customer. Data indicates that leads receiving a call-back within two minutes or less were four times as likely to convert. Start measuring response times for your new leads, as sales representatives often prioritize follow-ups over any new leads.

If you can begin to combine all these factors then not only will have you have shown yourself or your team members the problems, you will be able to come up with solutions and give yourself the competitive advantage.

July 15, 2014

Cydcor Reviews ‘The Victory Lab’ by Sasha Issenberg

The worldwide leader in outsourced sales solutions, Cydcor provides clients with proven sales and marketing strategies that get results.

Here is Cydcor’s review of The Victory Lab by Sasha Issenberg.

About The Victory Lab: This is an insider’s account of how database marketing and psychology has caused political campaigns to gradually become more science than art in recent years. Issenberg introduces us to groundbreaking ideas that were the works of such iconoclasts such as Todd Rogers, Mark Grebner and Ken Strasma.

Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders because: Victory Lab takes a look at many of the key players involved in political campaigns, going back to many presidencies. We learn much about one in particular: Hal Malchow, one of the most prominent pioneers of political direct marketing in fundraising, voter contact mail, micro-targeting and Internet.

This book isn’t just for those who are into politics; it’s for any reader that loves books about what make people make the choices they do. The author does a great job of straddling the center of politics – showing no favoritism to either side, something that can be very hard authors to do these days.

Our favorite part: The Victory Lab takes everything you thought you knew about presidential elections and turns it upside-down. The argument of Sasha Issenberg is that elections have become not so much about convincing the public you have a winning argument, but rather micro-targeting the voters. Finding the low-information voters and determining exactly what they needed to hear to vote for a given candidate.

By using the science of behavioral economics, expert campaigners have found ways to determine why certain voters do or do not make it to the polls, and to adjust their message accordingly based on the voter they are trying to reach.

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July 11, 2014

How to Make Your Own Luck

Cydcor-LuckA quote by Carl Zuckmayer says, “One-half is luck; the other half is discipline—and that’s the most important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck.”

Luck doesn’t just happen, and it’s Cydcor is a firm believer that it’s entirely possible to create your own. There are many events that happen over the course of an individual’s life that they have nothing to do with—both negative and positive occurrences.

The concept of ‘luck’ is truly about being at the right time and the right place. But how can you be sure you are?

Those who are successful project an appearance of being positive. When someone is positive, others want to be around him or her. What does ‘be positive’ really mean? Radiate appreciativeness and share your knowledge and friendship with others. Everyone has insecurities, and spending time with those who are negative only exacerbates them.

The more effort you put into creating a positive, professional relationship, the more opportunities will be presented to you. Others will see you have a ‘can-do’ attitude and will turn to you for help. People want to work with those who provide solutions and aren’t bogged down by negative frustrations.

Things are also not as black and white as they appear. Try to keep an open mind and make sure your vision isn’t narrow when it comes to what you feel is possible or impossible. You can miss out on opportunities if you have tunnel vision.

Create your own luck by setting yourself up for opportunities!

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July 9, 2014

Cydcor Reviews ‘In Good Company’

Here is Cydcor’s review of In Good Company by Don Cohen and Laurence Prusak.

About In Good CompanyIn Good Company criticizes the agency theory that disregards social capital by emphasizing the free agency of employees who act in the interests of the organization only if it is in their financial interests.

The book is short and light reading, using largely anecdotal evidence to support its arguments. For managers considering telecommuting, hoteling, the reduction of business travel, or other efforts to gain efficiency should read this book. The authors conclude by stating that whatever the form of future organizations, they will require the nurture of “trust, community, connection, conversation and loyalty” to work effectively.

Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders because: In Good Company helps organizational leaders understand the social capital phenomenon. It is an excellent work for those who care about the quality of organizational life and the ability to do great things at work with your team. The authors do a great job of showing how a number of important companies, including HP and 3M, take the matter of social capital very seriously and make investments in building and nurturing it.

We suggest this book for thinkers who favor a more techno-centric approach. In Good Company digs into the profound social aspects of work, knowledge sharing, and learning, and offers a heavy dose of reality in its discussion of the “the challenge of virtuality.”

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Our favorite part: “Social capital consists of the stock of active connections among people, the trust, mutual understanding, and shared values and behaviors that bind the members of human networks and communities and make cooperative action possible.”

The authors argue for hiring and encouraging people who fit the values and culture of the organization, and creating an environment in which social capital will build. To do this, companies should actively take steps that build trust, networks, and communication through making appropriate spaces and time available, and help people learn through effective storytelling.

The benefits of this approach will result in better knowledge sharing, lower transaction costs, lower turnover of key employees, better coherence of action due to organizational stability, and more shared understanding.

July 8, 2014

Tips for Increasing Your Productivity

Cydcor-ProductivityProductivity is an ability that can be continuously improved upon. Staying productive in the workplace can sometimes be a challenge, and effective productivity is the combination of smart planning and focused efforts. Here are Cydcor’s tips for increasing your work productivity.

Delegation: Learning to trust your colleagues in helping you complete work is an ability that some struggle with. However, everyone will need help every once in a while; be it covering for you while you are on vacation, handling an emergency situation, or taking on a task simply too large to handle alone.

Communication is important. Be sure to tell your team member or co-worker the key goals of your project or work being handled with a client. Also be sure to give them all the resources available, along with relevant contact information and documents.

Lists: Despite our best intentions, many to-do items can get lost in the fray of our everyday lives. Writing things down and creating lists is a great way to manage and check-off tasks that have been completed.

For larger tasks, break them down into multiple, smaller tasks. For example, writing a ten-page document can be pared down to creating two pages a day up to its deadline.

One of the most satisfying aspects of creating a to-do list is crossing off things when they are done.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and gives you a visualization of progress for tasks both large and small.

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Breaks: Studies have shown that spending more than eight hours a day at a desk without moving around much is detrimental to one’s energy level and focus. Productivity is not measured by the number of hours sitting at your desk, but by how much work you get done.

Many recommend getting up every hour for a ten-minute break to walk, stretch and drink some water and socialize with your co-workers.

Goals: Set ambitious, yet realistic goals. Create goals both in your professional and personal lives. One of biggest reasons why people don’t succeed with their goals is because they didn’t set a deadline. Goals should be specific, measurable, and they should be written down. It is also good to get feedback about the goals in order to refine them.