The Name Badge Does Not Sell Your Business

Blank name tagAt the close of a large entrepreneur event, a small business owner came up to the registration desk and offered a suggestion. He felt like his name badge should have more than a name. He wanted a badge filled with all his information: name, company, title, website, email and phone. Then, he would talk to more people and more people would talk to him.

In an effort to help himself, he went ahead and scribbled all his identifying details in fine print below his name. Unfortunately, his details were written so small it required someone to lift his badge up close to read it.

In his view, his networking experience was hindered by only having a name to identify himself and others. The name-only tag “forced” him to have a conversation, instead of oddly reading someone’s detailed badge to self-select whether he should engage them.

My empathetic response, “I understand how you might feel more information on the badges could help you. I appreciate your suggestion. I do feel that you can open more doors, when you directly talk to people. Perhaps we have a different view of the value of these type of events and networking.”

My non-empathetic response, “Your name doesn’t open doors. It won’t sell you or your business. Your story, your enthusiasm and your passion are what engages others. It’s awkward to read someone’s name and then turn away. Then again, maybe we have a different view on what sells you and your business.”

What was not revealed to him was that it was intentional to only have a name on each badge. Why? To provide an everyone the opportunity to connect, share and learn. A convenience for each attendee to have an open door to sell themselves, their solutions and their business. Written words never sell. Written words affirm. It is the verbal story, the questions, the conversation that closes the deal. It is the interaction that really matters. It is looking someone in the eye and asking, “What do you do?” The name on your badge only facilitates an easier way to start the conversation.

No matter how many words you use to invite someone into to your lair, the offer is only as good as what you have identified through an engaging dialogue. A conversation. A two-way exchange. It answers, what can you do for me and what can I do for you? Value is created by the time you invest to ask, listen and qualify. It is the ongoing assessment that takes place during the conversation that defines opportunity. The number of conversations you have helps you measure the success or failure of your valuable time spent at an event or networking.

Business owners sometimes feel if they are equipped with mountains of content, leave behinds and written justification, the buyer will sell themselves.  In fact, written content is just an invitation. Invite to learn more. Invite to perk interest. Collateral and content does not sell a product or service. Collateral documents and illustrates. People are best for selling goods and services.

Networking and events give you a formalized occasion to have a dialogue. To learn and share. Those that will not talk to you because of your name-only tag are short sighted and often losing the opportunity to learn the real value of you, your offerings and your ideas. Conversation requires a back-and-forth tailoring of information that can be customized to your address your precise needs.  We only buy what we need. The listener is always waiting for you to make it about them. In their mind, they are waiting for you to tell them how you help them or solve their problems.

Less information on a name badge gives you the polite excuse to inquire, “Tell me what you do.” A badge or name tag should never give you reason why not to engage. Ask. Inquire. Question. That is how you benefit from any event. Do not hide behind a 3 x 4 card hanging around your neck. Use it as a chance to address the person by their name. “Jim, what is your reason for attending the event today?”  “Mary, are you an entrepreneur?”  This provides you the best opportunity to qualify, inquire, learn and discern if the person has something to offer you and you have something to offer them.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare

By Jamie Glass, President and CMO of Artful Thinkers, follow: @jglass8 @artfulthinkers

The event noted in this post was the Innovation Arizona Summit 2013.  Read more about the event here.

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The Transition Queen

Next Exit to the Future

Transitioning has become a way of life for many career professionals. This is especially true if you target leadership roles and consulting opportunities in the land of start-ups and working with entrepreneurs.

Some of the negatives of transitioning are summed up in lack of financial security, less control of outcomes and a life full of constant change for you and your loved ones.

The positives of transitions are the experience gained, the continuous learning from success and failures and of course the valuable connections and colleagues who become life-long partners in your professional journey.

For me, transitioning is what I expect and what I know.  It is my way of life.

Coming out of college, it was always suggested that you find a “good” job and stick with it. You ride the elevator up to the top, upgrading your positions and taking on more responsibilities along the way. There are many people that like that steady climb or even like to take a job and find sanctuary in the stability of staying put.

I soon learned that riding on the same elevator for very long did not provide me a lot of challenge and was difficult for a pure opportunist.  My ascent to leadership was early in my career.  I was fortunate.  It was my belief the more responsibility you gained riding up the chain of command, the more commitment you had to affect change, push for progress and even disrupt the “norms” of cultural beliefs and thinking.

I also learned that if you push too hard for improvements or change, you might soon find a transition in your near future.  It is disruptive and challenging to businesses, big and small.

Why have I anointed myself the Transition Queen? It is my career path and my journey.  It is also my value proposition.  I have seen, experienced and learned more through multiple transitions of which most people never see in a lifetime.  Transitions from mergers, transitions from completing multiple C-level consulting projects as a business owner and transitions in roles that hit the proverbial end of the road for me — I have experienced them all.

The first decade of my transitions were emotional and met with uncertainty. Today, I wear my transitions as badges of honor. I get to do more, learn more, meet more people, find new ways to make a difference. I realize now that transitions are opportunities to grow and face new challenges.

My honorary Transition Queen title is worthy of the rich experience and expertise gained along the way. Working in multiple industries, driving change in big and small organizations and finding solutions to meet consumer and business needs are immeasurable when collectively stored in one person.

Stacking Up Experience and Expertise

My problem solving skills are keener, my view of what can be done is brighter. I am confident I can help.  I am certain more can be done.  I have worn multiple leadership hats and I know there is always a similar process and methodology that can be applied to increase market share, grow revenues, commercialize products and create solid infrastructure.  

I relish the transition.  I seek it and sometimes even push for it to happen, or as I say to achieve my “self-fulfilling prophecy” to move on.  My ability to help others move faster and achieve more is my driver.  A motivator.  It is my life blood.  Change yes, change now, absolutely.  In the end, I have come to accept I am The Transition Queen.  

Now, on to the next big thing!