Business of Security Podcast – Give People What They Want for Free

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In this podcast I’ll be sharing my feedback on the ASIS expo, from which I just returned and a pretty hard hitting, tough love kind of business talk on giving people what they want for free.

ASIS, or A-S-I-S, stands for the American Society for Industrial Security, and for the last 60 years the society has held a Expo. This year’s was in Atlanta, this is my second ASIS in Atlanta the first was a couple months after the summer Olympics in 1996. Over the last 20 years I’ve attended probably about 6 ASIS expos and as technology has grown in our personal life so as it in the products and tools for security. The last ASIS expo I went to previous to this one was in 2011 in Florida, and this one, seemed a bit smaller in attendance and the amount of booths. Most of the expo was made up of cameras and mobility of those cameras. The next biggest section was gates – for people and vehicles.; the rest was a hodge-podge of companies ranging from EP services and training to 5.11 tactical clothing. Insurance companies and universities like AMU, Texas A&M, Brandeis. But despite all the technology, data and apps it all comes down to handshakes, introductions and exchanging of business cards to network, tell your story, and share information.

A bit of advice for any conference – before you even set one foot into the hall – especially one the size of ASIS – do your homework on what businesses are going to be there and what value can you bring to them and vice versa. ASIS had an app just for the expo so it made it easier to plan your route and write in some notes. Make sure you know what your going to say before you meet folks who represent that business.

The most important takeaway from any expo, convention, conference, etc. is follow up with those that you met. Send them a simple email. In that email, remind them who you are and what you talked about. Give them your contact information. When should you follow up – as soon as possible.

There is much more that goes on at ASIS other than the expo check out asisonline.org for more information.The next expo will be in Anaheim CA.

free or discount concept with word key or keyboardOn to the main topic of today – Giving people what they want

Of course by people I mean your market – clients, colleagues, potential clients.

How do you know what they want? You ask!

Ask them through the ways you communicate with them. Email, social media, newsletters, magazines. Use a feedback form, or a small survey online, or print it and mail it back to you. Hearing from your customers supplies you with what they need, what their issues are; along with other demographics like business type, line of work, and location.

Organize this data and find commonalities. Find ways in which you can create content that will help solve your clients current and potential problems and other issues based on your knowledge and experience.

Then share this valuable useful content with your market freely and without any expectations to get in return. Sharing your knowledge on relevant subjects does 4 things: keeps your business top of mind; builds trust with your market; grows your business as the content is shared through word of mouth on social media networks; and separates you from your competitors.

What kind of content is considered valuable? Guy Kawasaki, a former evangelist at Apple, shared that there are three forms of value:

  • information,
  • analysis, and
  • assistance.

Information is defined as what just happened. It’s the important things you should know about. Analysis explains the information. Assistance explains how your company can help clients avoid dangerous situations. These types of value should be unique to you and your brand and should have a positive influence.

Examples of value might be: industry news; how you solved a problem; your perspectives on a particular product or service; a safety checklist; or a how-to on a new product or service.

Stand out as a real human being who has faced and overcome challenges. Tell a real story from your heart, from your gut, a life lesson.

How do you share it? Through social media, email newsletters, white papers, blog posts, videos, podcasts, interviews and more. Some of you reading this will think that you are not a writer. You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway – just give it a try. A typical article on the Web is roughly 500-800 words. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Although I have talked mostly about sharing content for free – you can also share your time and resources for free. Take time to talk to your clients, potential clients and colleagues – whether it is through email, on the phone or in person. Be accessible and available for questions, feedback, and give honest answers. Make connections even with your competitors. For example a competitor has put together a small seminar and asked you if you’d like to speak at it for free. If you’re available why not? Each connection gives you the opportunity to share your story, your brand, and what makes you, you.

Creating valuable useful content built on strategic goals , on a consistent basis, and marketing it correctly – takes time and energy and money – but it is very worth your investment as it will build your business, increase brand awareness, build trust among your market and will make you an authority on content topics.

That’s a wrap. Thanks for listening. I’d love to hear from you. You can send your comments to lawrence.snow@gmail.com or call and leave a message on the show’s hotline – 1-781-369-5185. For show notes and to read more about the business of security go to larrysnow.me. I’ll see you in the next episode where I’ll be sharing a few tips on Twitter.

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