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Vertical Drivers is your resource for creative content, professional do’s and don’ts, and so much more! Each month content will be added to provide you with helpful tips and tricks.

March

Networking events can be intimidating. You’re surrounded by strangers, you don’t know anyone and the conversation feels forced. But networking events can be one of your most valuable tools in getting your foot in the door or building relationships with potential partners, when done effectively. Let’s dive into how you can maximize your networking time and make sure you leave an event feeling satisfied and accomplished.

 

Make New Connections

Since you may find yourself at an event where you don’t know many people, it’s easy to find a familiar face and spend time speaking to them for an extended period of time. It’s comfortable, it’s someone you know, it’s fun. I get that, and completely understand.

But what if you spent the time meeting people for the first time? It’s not always easy, but letting your friend know that you’ll catch up with them at a later date and spending your time shaking new hands can maximize your time. I promise your friend won’t be offended.

 

Practice a confident introduction

First impressions matter. So practice in the mirror or with a friend how to say hello with a smile and a firm handshake. Say naturally, “Hi, I’m _____, what’s your name?” and just like that, you’ve broken the ice.

I promise you, if this sounds scary to approach a stranger, know that everyone who is attending a networking event is there to meet new people, and many are just as nervous as you are. So, do them a favor by being the one to initiate the conversation, and they will feel grateful immediately.

 

Preparation is Key

Before attending an event, do some research on who will be there, what topics are likely to come up, and what conversations you should be ready to have (or avoid). This will help ensure that when you arrive at the event, you don't feel like a deer in headlights.

Additionally, make sure that you have plenty of business cards on hand so that if someone wants to get in touch with you afterwards they can do so easily.

 

Set realistic goals

Showing up and thinking you have to meet as many people as possible would stress anyone out.

Instead, set a more thoughtful expectation to meet 3–5 people and engage in a longer conversation with each.

Quality is more valuable than quantity.

This will allow you to have great conversations with a few people, instead of exhausting yourself by flitting from one to the next (and as a result, barely leaving an impression).

 

Be Authentic

The key to any successful relationship is authenticity; this is especially true when it comes to networking. People will remember those who show their true selves instead of trying too hard or putting on a facade. Be yourself and don't shy away from showing off your personality.

People will appreciate your honesty and confidence more than anything else. Plus, it's much easier for someone to think of ways they can help you if they're able to get a good sense of who you are as a person rather than just another face in the room.

 

LISTEN

When talking to your new contacts, listen to what they have to say. Taking an interest in other people's stories will only further strengthen any relationships or partnerships formed during the event

Genuinely caring about their responses, whether business related or not, is the key. Ask them about a recent trip their family took or what they did last weekend. No, it’s not business related, but people do business with people. Be “people.”

 

Final Thoughts

Of all of these tips on networking events, the most important is to genuinely care about the individuals that you’re meeting. Who are they, what do they like, what are their goals? Finding answers to these questions and caring about the responses will help you to leave a lasting impression.

There are multiple events this month, so take these tips and use them to maximize your time at one (or all) of them.

 

February

In today’s competitive market, it can be difficult for a business to stand out and make an impact. With so many competitors vying for attention and for customers, how can you ensure that your brand resonates?

What you want to do is reach a point where your audience is looking for you specifically when they need your services, rather than asking Google or Alexa or Siri.

This month, we’ll discuss five effective steps that business owners and leaders can take to build a brand that stands out from the crowd.

Start From The Inside-Out, With Company Culture

When it comes to building a successful brand, the foundation of success lies within the company itself. Building a strong culture starts with creating an environment that is conducive to creativity and collaboration. Establishing core values and setting expectations will help create an atmosphere where employees feel respected and valued.

This will have a positive effect on customer service and engagement as well as employee morale, which are both key components of any successful business.

Understand Your Competitors and How You're Different

It is important to understand what makes your business unique in order to stand out from the competition. Take the time to research your competitors:

  • What services do they offer?
  • What is their pricing structure?
  • What methods do they use to engage customers?

Once you have done this research, you will be better equipped to showcase what sets your brand apart from others in the industry.

Create Brand Engagement By Exceeding Customer Expectations

Engaging with customers is essential when it comes to building a successful brand. Customers want companies that go above and beyond their expectations, so strive for excellence, of course.

Keeping up with customer feedback is important; use surveys or reviews as opportunities for improvement or even just listen when clients share stories about their experiences with your service. Going the extra mile not only builds customer loyalty but also sets you apart from other businesses in your industry.

Develop Content That Connects With Your Audience

It’s important for brands to create content that speaks directly to their target audience; content should be engaging and informative while still being authentic and relatable.

Content marketing allows businesses of all sizes to reach large audiences without having a large budget; utilizing social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc., allows companies to reach thousands of people quickly and easily while still staying true to their brand identity.

Furthermore, content has the power to build relationships between brands and consumers; if done correctly, content can help establish trust between potential customers while providing them with valuable information about products or services offered by the company.

Be Authentic And Consistent 

When it comes down to it, authenticity is key when building a successful brand.

Consumers want companies that are genuine—brands that are honest about their intentions as well as transparent about product/service quality standards—so stay true-to-form. Additionally, consistency across all channels (website design/layout/functionality) helps strengthen recognition among potential customers; if they know what type of experience they will receive each time they interact with your company then they are more likely stay loyal over time!

Next Steps

Standing out in a crowded industry requires dedication and hard work but these five steps provide entrepreneurs and business owners with actionable strategies that can be used right away.

Start today by focusing internally, and working outbound on the additional steps. If you’re in an industry that crowded with competitors, this will help you to build a brand that resonates and that your audience ultimately will start asking for.

January

If you visit any business website, you’ll always see something about how they’re the best. They have the best deals, the best products, the happiest customers, the highest quality… You get the picture.

If they want you to buy something, of course they’re going to persuade you that they’re the best.

But, does it really matter what they say?
The ugly truth is…
No one cares how great YOU say you are.
If you want to convince people, you need social proof.
Social proof is what other people are saying about a business, person, service, or product.

There are five common types of social proof, so let’s take a look at each of them this month, and learn how you can implement these into your marketing strategies.

Expert Social Proof
Expert social proof is when an expert in a particular field endorses a product or service. This could be in the form of a written testimonial, video testimonial, or even just a quote from an expert on your website or social media channels.

The benefit of using expert social proof is that it gives your target audience some third-party validation from someone they trust. After all, if an expert in your field says your product or service is good, then chances are it probably is.

This could also be in the form of an interview on a podcast, being quoted in an article, or being interviewed on TV. You could also submit guest blog posts to well-known industry publications. If you’re not able to get interviewed or quoted, there are still some things you can do.

Influencer Social Proof
We already know that influencer marketing works. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and 70% of teens say that they trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. Furthermore, 70% of people say that they trust recommendations from people they don’t know.

So, when fine-tuning your marketing strategy, don’t leave influencers out. Having a brand social media presence is important – but so is generating social proof with the help of influencers.

User Social Proof
User social proof is when regular people sing your praises. This could be in the form of online reviews, testimonials, or case studies. Feature customer photos and videos on your website or social media accounts. (Make sure to get permission from the people in the photos first).

Crowd Social Proof
Crowd social proof is when you show that lots of people are using and enjoying your product or service. A great way to do this is by displaying how many users you have on your website or how many times your app has been downloaded on the app store.
Certification Social Proof
Certification social proof is when an expert organization endorses your product or service. This type of social proof can give potential customers confidence that they are making a good purchase decision. Think about awards or certifications that your organization has received. Those are perfect examples of certification social proof, so make sure to let your audience know about these and begin building trust with them.

Final Thoughts
All types of businesses can use social proof to increase sales, donations, contracts and engagement levels. Whether you’re choosing one or all of them, it’s important to get started sharing that content with your audience in 2023.

December

Setting and Achieving Your Goals for the New Year!

Each year, I take some time off to do two things. First, to reflect on the last twelve months and be grateful for what I (and our agency) have achieved. And secondly, to make a plan and set goals for the upcoming year.

December is the perfect time to start thinking about setting goals for the upcoming year. But all too often, our good intentions fall by the wayside and we find ourselves in the same place come the following December.

If you're determined to make this year different, read on for some tips on setting and achieving your goals.

One of the best ways to set goals is to use the SMART system. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Let's break down each of these elements so you can apply them to your own goals.

 

Specific
Your goal should be specific enough that you know exactly what you need to do to achieve it. For example, "I want to double my income" is a better goal than "I want to make more money." The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to measure your progress and ultimately achieve success.

 

Measurable
Along the same lines, your goal should also be measurable. This means that you should be able to track your progress along the way so you know how close you are to achieving your goal. For example, "I want to increase my website's traffic by 50% within 6 months" is a measurable goal.

One of the best ways to set and achieve your goals is to reverse engineer them. This means breaking down your big-picture goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, if your goal is to double your revenue next year, you can break that down into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily goals.

For example, let's say your goal is to bring in $100,000 in revenue next year. That comes out to roughly $8,333 per month. But that's still a pretty big number, so let's break it down even further. $8,333 per month comes out to $2,083 per week. And $2,083 per week comes out to $292 per day.

Now that's a much more manageable number! And it's a number you can actually take action on. Each day, you can ask yourself what you can do to bring in an extra $292 in revenue. Over the course of a month or a year, those daily actions will add up and help you achieve your big-picture goal.

So, if each new sale is $500 of income, and you know that you sell one out of every three people you pitch, no know that you need to pitch twelve sales prospects each week. Twelve pitches would equal four sales and four sales will get you the $2k you need each week.

 

Achievable
It's important to set goals that challenge you but are still achievable. If your goal is too easy, you're not likely to see much motivation in achieving it.

On the other hand, if your goal is impossible, you'll likely get discouraged and give up before you even get started. Striking the right balance between challenging and achievable is key.

 

Relevant
Make sure your goal is relevant to your overall mission and vision. There's no point in achieving a goal that doesn't align with what you're trying to accomplish in your business. For example, if your business' mission is to 'help people live healthier lives,' then a relevant goal might be 'increase sales of our healthy food products by 10%.'

 

Time-Based
Set a deadline for yourself so that you have a sense of urgency around achieving your goal.

Without a timeline, it's easy to procrastinate and push off achieving your goal until next month...or next year. Having a timeline will help keep you accountable and on track.

Set reminder or use Siri to remember to check and track your progress. Or, connect with a colleague or friend and ask they help to hold you accountable.

 

Final Thoughts
December is the perfect time of year to start setting goals for the upcoming 12 months. But all too often, our good intentions fall by the wayside and we find ourselves doing the same thing the following year, but with no actual results. If you're determined to make this year different and actually achieve your goals, follow the SMART system: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

By taking the time now to reverse engineer your goals into actionable steps, you'll be well on your way to a successful 2023. Good luck 🚀

November

Attending a Networking Event? Here's How to Make the Perfect Follow up!

There is plenty of advice for how to get the best results from networking events, but you
rarely hear details about ‘follow-up after the event’. When is a good time to follow-up?
What method should be used?

According to research by top sales experts, only 2% of sales happen on the first contact.
This stat means that if you’re not following up with your leads, you’re definitely missing out
on a lot of potential business opportunities.

Email is a quick and easy way to continue the conversation with someone you’ve just met.
But crafting an effective follow-up email can be tricky. Here are some tips on how to write
a follow-up email that will make a lasting impression.

First things first... Click here to keep reading!

October

12 Questions to Help You Write an Engaging Bio for LinkedIn

Are you trying to write your own bio?
If so, you’ve probably discovered how hard it is to give your bio a personal touch—without
making it sound like a personals ad—while still making contacts feel like they’re in good,
competent, professional hands.

You might not realize it, but your LinkedIn summary section is one of the most important
parts of your profile.

Why? Because after the headline, the summary is the first thing visitors read when they
check out your profile on LinkedIn.

Think of your summary as an elevator pitch – you only have a few seconds to present
yourself, so you need to make it count. When done well, it can grab people’s attention and
get them excited about knowing you, learning from you, or working with you.

How many of us compress our lives into 400 words or less in a real-life conversation? Only
the most annoying ones, that’s who. It seems that bio-speak has practically developed into
its own language.

On the other hand, no one wants to read a huge chunk of text. So, break up your LinkedIn
summary by using elements of readability, like short paragraphs, bullet points, and even appropriate emojis.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bio that sounded like an actual person wrote it—rather than
the Terminator?

The following 12 questions are designed to... Click here to keep reading!

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