Shama Hyder:

The other thing that I think is interesting is when someone says, “Do you have experience in my industry?” But I’m different. I have a niche audience. Our industry is different. And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how different it is. At the end of the day, you are selling to people.

Shama Hyder:

Hi, there. It’s Shama Hyder. Boy, it’s been a long day it seems like, full of client meetings and just tons of back-to-back stuff. And a topic keeps coming up, and I really thought I should address this because it’s just something that I hear so often. It may have been something that you’ve thought about, too. Every now and again, someone will ask me, “Well, Shama, do you guys have experience in our industry?” And … insert industry here. Do you have experience in education, in transportation, in manufacturing, technology? Whatever it is, right?

Shama Hyder:

It’s an interesting question, because I’ve been running Zen Media now … our marketing and PR firm for … boy, almost over a decade. So, 12 years. Every once in a while, I get this question. The funny thing is that in almost 12 years of being in business, I’ve worked with pretty much every industry that you can think of. I think at this point, I’d be hard pressed to find a single industry that I haven’t had experience in. That we haven’t done something cool in. Everything from politics, to manufacturing, to software. If it’s out there, chances are at some point we’ve done something in it.

Shama Hyder:

What’s exciting to me, and what [inaudible 00:01:41] is that the principles of marketing, stuff that makes things memorable, this concept of moments, and moment-based marketing, and whether it’s a new product launch, or something exciting, or companies trying to get funding, or they’re just trying to get better known in their industry … Whatever it is. It all starts with sort of this awareness, demand [gen 00:02:00] piece of it.

Shama Hyder:

The way you go about this is exactly the same across industries. I know people love to say, “But I’m different. I have a niche audience, or our industry is different.” And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how different it is. At the end of the day, you are selling to people. Yes. Even if you’re a B2B … especially if you’re B2B. And we work with so many business-to-business customers. I always find that interesting, because at the end of the day, it’s still an individual buying your product or services, right? Sometimes … usually these days for B2B, it’s usually groups of people making that purchasing decision. But it always does come back to being human and you’re connecting with another human being.

Shama Hyder:

Now, the tactics may vary, right? For certain clients, we may approach LinkedIn. For other clients, we might look at Facebook, or Twitter, or TikTok. Of course you’ve got different places and platforms, but really the idea of marketing … to find meaningful, unique, differentiated concepts, to get people talking about it, to make sure that you tell the story in the right way, to get people to connect with someone’s brand … These things are rather universal and they surpass industry.

Shama Hyder:

The other thing that I think is interesting is when someone says, “Do you have experience in my industry?” A lot of times I want to stop and remind them that, “Well, we do. But honestly, you know more about your industry.” No one is going to know as much about a particular industry as someone who’s been in that industry for 20, 30 years. Now, we have a client in manufacturing who’s been doing this for 40 years. There’s no way I would know more about manufacturing than he does. We have another client who is a software as a service, a SaaS business, and this is his third SAS company. I mean, he understands this model better than anybody else.

Shama Hyder:

But here’s the problem with going with someone who just works in your industry. And while there’s pros, if you really feel like that’s very important, and they’ve got to understand the industry, and you feel like they can understand the industry better than you, then that may be one way to go. But what I find interesting is if you go with someone who knows a ton about your industry, often it’s like breathing in your own exhaust. All right? Because if you know a ton about your industry, and they know a ton about your industry, great. Where’s the new blood? Where’s the innovation? Where’s the creativity?

Shama Hyder:

What I find fascinating is I have colleagues, and I know other folks who run agencies. Very successful ones. I mean, they have my respect … where they only work with one industry. In some ways it’s like a factory, right? Things go in, they understand the industry, things come out, they do a good job. But for me, I feel like our best success has come when we cross-pollinate. When we have a client in the automotive industry that we look at and say, “This is so interesting. How can we take this over here and apply it to what our client in healthcare is doing?” Or, “Boy, this technology company, this AI company is really being creative. How can we pull from that? What can we learn from here that we can then apply to our hospitality client over here?”

Shama Hyder:

Our best successes, believe it or not, have come from that sort of innovation and cross-pollination. While it’s a good idea … and it sounds good paper. Because when you go to your boss and your boss says, “Well, do they have experience in our industry?” I think it’s easy to say, “Yes. Boy, they sure do. That’s all they do.” I think the challenge is that, again, you’re probably reading the same books. You’re talking to the same people. You’re you already have the industry experience. What you want when you’re really looking to market, and be innovative, and reach audiences.

Shama Hyder:

Because let’s face it. If you’re reaching out to someone, it’s to help you accomplish something that haven’t been able to do yourself, whether because you lack resources, or time, or a myriad of reasons. But really, the bottom line is you want their expertise. You want their creativity. I find that because we work with so many industries … and honestly I’ve shied away from picking just one industry, because the team does the best work when we work with multiple industries. When we’re able to find those gemstones.

Shama Hyder:

There’s not a single industry that we haven’t done work in yet. That happens when you work over a decade in an industry. You work with lots of different companies, lots of different types of people. But really, I find that our continuous success, that secret sauce of why certain campaigns … like 80% of our campaigns go viral in their industry. I think it’s because of that very reason. That we’re able to pull from other industries, other learnings. And our knowledge base or resource base is so broad that we can take our strategies, we can take our big picture, and then we can pull from the client.

Shama Hyder:

The funny thing is that I was talking to a client today and they said, “Boy, you really asked some great questions.” And I said, “Thank you. That’s the highest compliment someone can pay me.” Because I feel like if I ask the right questions, I can elicit the information I need. I can then take that, we can layer what we do best, and that’s where that marketing magic sort of happens. Next time you start thinking you really need someone who understands your industry, perhaps step back and think about: what is it that you’re really looking for? Are you looking for results, or are you looking for someone who can match your industry knowledge? Do you want to ace trivia together, or do you want to make money? Do you want to drive marketing results? Do you want to have that success? That’s my two bit for you today in terms of: should you work with someone who specializes in your industry, or should you look a little bit broader?

Shama Hyder:

Hi, there. This is Shama Hyder again. Thank you so much for watching my videos. I super appreciate it. Please share it if you find this information valuable. Do comment. I love hearing from you. And be sure to subscribe, that way you don’t miss a single thing.

Shama Hyder:

Hey guys. Shama Hyder here. Today I want to talk to you about failure. Why do people fail? And I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Of course, thought about my own failures. And I’ve come up with three reasons that I think people fail, and these are the three things that you really need to watch out for. And the three most important things that you need to fix if you are looking to succeed and not fail at absolutely anything.

Shama Hyder:

This applies to relationships, to businesses, to life in general. So the first thing that I’ve noticed is that people are scared of the unknown. You and I, we’re scared of the unknown. As human beings, we crave the familiar. It’s why you see people stay in horrible relationships or often, just mediocre relationships, where they’re not happy, but who knows what’s out there? And you’ve heard this. You’ve probably heard this from friends, you’ve heard this from family members, where people are just thinking, “Man, I don’t know what else is out there.” Maybe you’ve done this yourself, where you’re so scared of the unknown, you’d rather stick with the familiar. And this is a very common mistake.

Shama Hyder:

People will go through terrible jobs for the longest of years because they’re so scared. It’s the old adage, the devil you know better than the devil you don’t. And while these little cliches and things can make us feel better for a minute, the truth is that when we stick with the familiar, we’re denying ourselves the opportunity for better. And it is a very challenging thing because it’s hard to break patterns. And trust me, I’m a Taurus. I feel like I should get a tee shirt that says, trust me, I’m a Taurus, which you really should. Trust me, I’m a Taurus. This idea that change is hard.

Shama Hyder:

It is hard. It’s really hard when things are okay. When they’re not terrible, but they’re not great. That’s when we really feel stuck. And a lot of times that’s where you kind of have to up the pain. You have to make something feel so uncomfortable that you were forced to change, where it just becomes unbearable. And rather than waiting for that sort of tipping point, sometimes you can create it for yourself. You can make it so the snacks in your house, for example, are just so hard to go find, that you’d rather give up. By the way, the opposite of this is making it really easy to go to the gym. If you have your shoes right there, your outfit, you make it easier. You commit to going with a friend. But honestly, unless you do these things, the fear of the unknown stops most of us. And it may be stopping you.

Shama Hyder:

The second thing that I find, which is really true, is a fear of rejection. And this is tough because let’s face it. We’ve all been rejected. I’ve been rejected. I’ve been rejected by people, I’ve been rejected by institutions, I’ve been rejected by prospects. I’ve also been quite successful in many endeavors. I love my husband, I have a very successful marriage, I have really successful friendships and a very successful business. But part of this really came about because I had to be afraid of not being afraid of rejection, because to have the life that you really want, whether it’s in business, whether it’s personal life, you have to put yourself out there. You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.

Shama Hyder:

And look at the first one. We want what’s familiar. We don’t want to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. And a rejection can feel hard. And not just because it’s this feeling that we have. But if you look at human history, we come from tribes, we come from a very tribal society. In fact, I was reading a biography of Dante. Yes, guys, this is what I like to do for fun.

Shama Hyder:

So in this biography of Dante. He was an amazing poet for those of you who don’t know, and wrote about heaven and hell and the divine comedy. And so, Dante’s this guy who essentially made Florence famous in the 13th century. And he’s this amazing poet, he’s this amazing writer. And then they banish him, because it’s back in the old days and they have politics and all this stuff. So he gets political, something happens and he gets cast out.

Shama Hyder:

So he gets cast out, and it honestly is one of the toughest parts of his life. So for 20 years, his city, Florence, which he really holds in his heart as this wonderful city who he loves almost as a person, this city has cast him out. And for 20 years, he wanders from Paris to what might be currently Oxford and so forth. And he dies in Ravenna, away from his beloved, [inaudible 00:05:12], away from his Florence. And rejection in that way, it can be brutal, and he writes about this.

Shama Hyder:

And you see this in writers who’ve been cast out, you see this in humanity in general. When we, as a society, cast someone outside, it hurts. We have these fears. People have these fears and they’re well founded. But the thing is, these fears were meant to keep us alive. They were meant to keep us as part of a functioning part of society. But they’re not healthy when you apply them at the micro level, because for any level of success, you’re going to get rejected. If you’re not hearing a ton of nos, honestly, you’re not taking enough chances. And I say this as someone who still finds rejection very hard, because I put so much into whatever I do.

Shama Hyder:

In fact, just this week alone, we had a prospect that decided to go with a different agency, and it hit me hard because I thought, oh man, we could have really helped these guys. But in business, you win some, you lose some; hopefully you lose less than you win. That’s winning. But then I move on. Because the thing is, I’ve got so many other things going on, that that one loss doesn’t define us. And I feel grateful that I’m in a place in my career and we built a company we’re I don’t feel like, oh man, we needed that business. I’m looking at this from a perspective of, we could have helped them so much. And what could we have been done better that they would have given us that opportunity, that we could have really killed it for them?

Shama Hyder:

And the thing is, you can’t convince everyone. Not everyone will like you, not everybody will want to date you, not everybody will want to do business with you. And that is totally okay. In fact, it really helps to get rejected a little bit earlier in life when you’re younger. I think for me, being an immigrant, and I’ve done a lot of videos, by the way, around my immigrant journey, so you could definitely check them out, being an immigrant and being a kid who had a weird accent in Texas in the 90s, and having to kind of deal with that, you get rejected a lot. And I think I just built more resilience because of that. Because it was like, I’m this poor little brown kid who had this accent, who didn’t fit in, who the other kids didn’t want to play with, whatever.

Shama Hyder:

I mean, if you get rejected as a kid, I think that you can actually build that muscle faster. And I just didn’t care. I just found other friends who would play with me, I found other activities I could excel at. So I think it’s very important to get over that fear of rejection. And sadly, one of the only ways to do it is just go through rejection. Put yourself out there more, where you are getting rejected, where you can learn from that, and say, “You know what? I’m still here. I’m okay.” And that makes you stronger.

Shama Hyder:

So the first is people want what’s familiar. They’re scared of the unknown. The second reason for failure is people are honestly scared of rejection. And the third one I think is really interesting. It’s our language. It’s the way we talk to ourselves. And I don’t think people realize how negative self language tends to be, and it is the worst thing you could be doing to yourself. And see where I used the word, the worst thing you could be doing yourself? It’s so true.

Shama Hyder:

Language, and how we speak to ourself, is powerful. When you say things like, “Oh, my life is over. Oh, I hate this. Oh my God, I’m so exhausted. I could just drop dead.” One of the things that I caught myself saying was, “Oh, I’m so slammed.” And every time I said I’m so slammed, I thought, I don’t like that word. Who likes the feeling of being slammed? And it was, of course, referring to my schedule. But every time I said it, I reinforced that. It reinforced that feeling until physically, I was feeling quite drained. I was feeling quite exhausted.

Shama Hyder:

And I started changing that language. I started looking for other ways to explain that, yes, I was abundantly busy. Things that felt good to me. So many times the things we say to ourselves, because let’s face it, we’re not very nice to ourselves. “Oh, I’m such an idiot. Oh man, I’m such a loser.” Sometimes we do it because we think it makes someone else like us. Rejection. We don’t want to be rejected. We don’t want to seem like we’re too cool, or we think too much of ourselves, or whatever it is. But it’s very important to watch this language because your words become the house you live in, and the house you live in becomes your destiny.

Shama Hyder:

Guys, I don’t say this lightly. It’s very important. Certain things in my life, when they felt like they were going off track, I started switching my language first and then the results followed. I said I just can’t talk to myself like this. Very easy to talk harshly to yourself. And it’s funny because now I have a little boy, I have a little 10 month old, and I look at him and I say, “Boy, would I ever say that to my son? Would I ever say something that harsh to my son?” And if that answer is absolutely not, then I won’t say it to myself.

Shama Hyder:

So three things, guys, if you don’t want to fail. Embrace the unknown. Start tapping into that adventure spirit of yours. The familiar is what we are defaulted to. We always want what’s familiar, but it’s not always for the best. So work to get yourself out of that comfort zone. Two, when you get yourself out of that comfort zone, you will be rejected. It will happen, and it’ll be okay. What you’ll find is the more you’re rejected, and as you’re building that resilience muscle, you’ll get over those things faster. And the faster you get over it, the faster new opportunities will open, the less you’ll sit there crying about whatever didn’t happen.

Shama Hyder:

And the third is your language. Be careful about how you talk to yourself. I know there’s a lot of conversation about allyship right now. As a woman of color myself, I’ve thought about these things in different contexts. But here’s what I don’t see a lot of people talking about. It’s very important to also be an ally for yourself. Use your voice, not just when you talk to the outside world, but how you talk to yourself. Because when no one is listening, and what you’re saying to yourself, that’s what matters. The things that you say to yourself when no one is listening, that matters perhaps more than anything else. And I so, so want you guys to succeed. All right. Leave me a comment. Let me know what you think. Let me know if you want more videos like this. Catch you soon.

Shama Hyder:

Hi there. This is Shama Hyder again. Thank you so much for watching my videos. I super appreciate it. Please share if you find this information valuable. Do comment. I love hearing from you. And be sure to subscribe. That way, you don’t miss a single thing.

Shama Hyder:

Let’s talk about digital selling close before you convince. 64% of buyers have already decided on which company they’re going to do business with before they ever speak to a sales rep. Their mind is pretty much made up. Hello everyone, this is Shama Hyder and you are watching the Forbes8 E-Summit. Thank you so much for being here. These are crucial times that we’re living in. There might be a lot of uncertainty right now for many of you, and please know that you are not alone.

Shama Hyder:

A lot of entrepreneurs are facing similar challenges. We’re all in this together. And really our hope for this summit is for you to be able to walk away, having a little more resilience within and with the tools and tactics shared with you here, the strategy shared with you here, that you can take back to your businesses and that you can ride out this wave and come out on the other side a lot stronger for it. So, let’s dive right into it.

Shama Hyder:

Let’s talk about digital selling close before you convince. And what do I mean by that? So here’s the deal, 64% of buyers have already decided on which company they’re going to do business with before they ever speak to a sales rep, that’s right. 64% of your buyers have already decided, your prospects have already decided exactly who they’re going to be working with. Before they even reach out, their mind is pretty much made up.

Shama Hyder:

And so that might be surprising to many of you. But if you really think about it, think about when you make your own purchases, whether they’re B to B or B to C, chances are you’ve had exposure to the company. Maybe a colleague told you about them. If you’ve done your own Google searches, something already has created an impression in your mind. And you’re much more likely to do what’s considered confirmation bias or go out there and find aha, I was right. This is the good company for me. I wasn’t sure about these guys and everything that they do is just proving that instinct that I have.

Shama Hyder:

So really, if you were in business today, your job is to get them to close before you even convince them, before they’ve even actually landed on your website, done business with you. And of course, in this very digital age today where things are fairly remote, this is stuff we have to think about even more. So, I want to share with you three strategies that I think can make a big difference when it comes to how you do business and really your digital sales.

Shama Hyder:

The first thing I want to talk to you about is the importance of customer focus. Now, bear with me. When I see customer focus, you may be thinking, oh, put your customers first. While, that is important and it’s never been more important than right now, there’s actually a bigger definition I want to get you thinking about. And here’s this, the idea of customer focus, isn’t so much what your customers are doing or how you can serve them better. While these are important considerations, the way I’m framing customer focus is to think about this, the idea that your customer’s doing business with you allows them to say something about their brand, right?

Shama Hyder:

So when I was in graduate school, I did my thesis on Twitter. That’s right, Twitter, the social network, which has 365 million users today. Well, it had 2000 when I did my thesis, and I really wanted to look at why you people use social media. I’m sure you might’ve wondered that. Well, when I did my research and I really dug in, I discovered something. I found that people use social media, not to connect with others or to have a sense of community, while that’s important, it’s secondary. The primary reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity.

Shama Hyder:

Think about that, to showcase their own identity. So as you’re really thinking about your brand right now, and I hope you are, because this is a great time to step back and think about what are you putting out into the marketplace. What is your offering? As you think about that, I want you to start going from the question of what does our brand say about us to what does doing business with us, allow our customers to say about themselves, right?

Shama Hyder:

Here’s the other thing I want you to think about. In a B to C transaction, a customer’s really trying to avoid regret. They don’t want to buy something and look at it tomorrow and say, oh man, wish I hadn’t gotten that. In B to B sales, what they’re trying to avoid is blame, right? If I get this and my boss finds out and it didn’t work, am I going to get fired? That’s a bigger question. So B to C and B to B sales look slightly different when it comes to that. So really important to understand what are customers buying from you, are the buying a lack of regret, are the buying a lack of blame? So that’s the first category.

Shama Hyder:

And then you get deeper into it, especially in these very crucial and critical times, it’s important to understand your customer better than ever before. This is where trust and preference are going to play an absolutely key role in how you do business and who buys from you, right? Because in great times, trust is nice, preference is of course preferred, but in crucial times, in times where economic conditions get particularly challenging, the trust and preference factor matters more than ever before.

Shama Hyder:

Think about even the environment right now, a lot of people are pivoting from working with certain companies or trusting certain institutions because they feel like, I don’t know if they’re going to be able to weather the storm and perhaps rightly so. Meanwhile, they’re looking to companies where they feel they can really put their trust and have that preferred outlet, right? That preferred choice. So customer focus becomes very important when you look at digital sales.

Shama Hyder:

I also want you to think about ETC, education, transparency, and choices. You can’t outbeat your competitors the usual ways, but you can out educate your competitors. There are no trade secrets anymore. It’s very important that you are, two, transparent with your customers about what’s happening. If what’s happening today is affecting you, I urge you to be transparent about it, share. You will be perceived as strong when you come out the other side. Very important to maintain transparency in how you’re doing business, how you’re coping with this, honestly, crisis for many of us, right?

Shama Hyder:

And then C, choices. Give your prospects choices. When you’re in sales and any good sales person will tell you this, when you send those emails out and they’re not responding, what do you do? You pick up the phone, right? You have lots of choices in how you connect with your prospects. This is not any different than that. You want to make sure that you’re giving your prospects plenty of choices to be able to connect with you. Education, transparency, choices and that is all of what falls under the customer focus umbrella. This is how you get the focus from on your company and where you’re offering to what your customers absolutely need.

Shama Hyder:

The second strategy I have for you is focus in on your analytics. That’s right, agility through analytics. If you’ve been someone who’s ignored numbers, or not really into the data thing, well, here’s your chance to turn that around. Very important that you are keeping a close eye on your analytics. Did you know that 99% of the content your company creates actually is wasted? That’s right? Only less than 1% of content gets the majority of views online. And if you’re in a niche, it doesn’t matter, you’re know not looking for quantity, right? But you are looking for quality. So, it still matters because you want to make sure that your content is getting in front of the right people at the right time.

Shama Hyder:

So analytics become more important than ever before. Of course, you don’t have to go out and buy expensive analytics software. Google analytics does a great job. If you haven’t taken a look at your Google analytics in awhile, now’s a great chance to do that. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, all offer an inherent analytics that you can take a look at that help you dive in and better understand what is being offered, where your traffic is coming from, how well are they converting? This is a great time to optimize your conversions, to make sure your messaging is very much on point, that your sales is aligned with marketing. If there was ever a time to do it, it is absolutely now.

Shama Hyder:

The third strategy I want to share with you is a little meta, but it’s this, it’s video. For the foreseeable future and for really a long time to come, video is going to loom large. Find a way to utilize video to be able to connect with your customers, your clients for referrals, and to close those prospects. Absolutely crucial. And there’s some great, by the way, a lot of great video recording software right now, they are offering it to entrepreneurs at discounted rates, they’re giving away longer trial periods. So if you’ve ever thought about trying out video, this is your chance.

Shama Hyder:

In fact, did you know that 66% of people who watch a video end up buying something? That’s way more than any other type of advertising. And while the majority of people will finish watching up to a 30 minute commercial video clip, only 24% will finish reading an article. Think about this. Have you ever watched an infomercial? Let’s face it. We all have, right? And the crazy thing is, we know they’re trying to sell us something. It is an ad, they tell you that, it’s an infomercial. Yet there you are completely transfixed until someone walks into the room, and says, “What are you watching?” And you say, “I don’t know, but these knives though, right?” Or [inaudible 00:09:54] really does get that clean.

Shama Hyder:

Happens all the time. This is the power of video and I hope you’re utilizing it. LinkedIn, by the way, is a great platform. If you are in the B2B world, you should absolutely be leveraging videos on LinkedIn to connect with your prospects. Remember education, transparency, choices, this is how you win the digital sales game because your prospects are honestly closed before they ever even get to you, before they come to your site. Before they come out and want to talk to you. These are very, very important things to keep in mind.

Shama Hyder:

Now, I know I said I’d share three strategies, but let’s share a bonus strategy. I want to give you this bonus strategy because right now is the perfect time to actually implement this, to see an uptake in your sales, in your leads, in traffic. I hope that as soon as this summit is finished, you will go out there and you will put this into motion because it really is the most low hanging fruit right now when it comes to digital sales. And that is, curation. That’s right, curation.

Shama Hyder:

Well, a lot of people focus on creating content and there’s definitely a place for that, like video that we talked about, curation is often ignored part of the equation, but it can be just as powerful if not more. I’ll give you a great example, think of Pinterest. If you really think about Pinterest, it’s a social networking site, but more than that, it’s really just a filter, isn’t it? For people to be able to share content.

Shama Hyder:

So you’re interested in recipes, let’s say of healthy items to cook for dinner. Well, there’s a Pinterest board for that. You’re interested in exploring how to redo your bathroom, there’s a Pinterest board for that. You’re just looking for some great motivational quotes, well, there’s a Pinterest board for that. There’s no reason you can’t implement the Pinterest board strategy in your business. In fact, I highly recommend it.

Shama Hyder:

So, to give you a couple of examples. We’re working with a client in the education space right now, and they’ve created a great resource section on their site that’s curating all the resources, their customers, their clients, which happen to be school districts and educators can use during the COVID-19 crisis. So, they have free tools listed, they have articles listed, they have trackers on there. They’re really creating this content hub to educate and help their customers. This is what I would love to see you do. What can you really create and offer your customers? What can you curate that would be of interest right now?

Shama Hyder:

Remember, this is the time guys to not play the short game in sales, because we all know that, there’s a short game in sales and then there’s a long game. If there was ever a time to play the long game in sales, it’s absolutely now. Remember, the majority of your customers who buy from you, your prospects, they’ve already decided whether they’re going to do business with you or not before the ever come to your website. Your job is to close first and convince later. And the way you close first is through the strategies that I’ve shared with you. I promise if you implement them, you’ll see a difference.

Shama Hyder:

Got questions, have comments? Send me a message on Twitter, use the #FORBES8SUMMIt and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have. So let’s go over those strategies real quick, shall we? Number one, customer focus, quite crucial. Don’t ask what does our brand say about us, ask, what is doing business with us, especially right now, allow our customers to say about themselves. Do they feel safer? Do they feel like they’re supporting community in some way? Do they feel like they’re giving back? Do they feel good about doing business with us? What does it allow them to say about themselves.

Shama Hyder:

Two, analytics. Dig in, this is a time for data. Look at where your traffic is coming from. Look at how you’re converting. If you’re not converting as well as you should, well, this is the time to up those conversions because every bit of traffic that you get becomes a lot more valuable, important thing to remember. The third strategy we discussed, video. I know quite meta of me, but it’s extremely powerful.

Shama Hyder:

If you’re in B2B, I hope you’re also exploring LinkedIn videos, live streaming, greatly to connect with your audience, to connect with those prospects and close before you convince. It’s a great strategy. And if you haven’t already, I hope this is the time where you’re integrating that. And don’t forget the bonus strategy of content curation. If you haven’t already curated a great resource section on your site that really speaks to your customers, that gives them the tools and strategies and tactics they need right now, you’re missing a gigantic opportunity.

Shama Hyder:

So I hope that these strategies have been useful for you. Please send your questions. You can tweet all the speakers here, including myself, happy to answer your questions, #FORBES8SUMMIT.

Speaker 1:

Here with Shama Hyder and we are at South by Interactive 2009. And we’re going to talk a little bit about video blogs. I understand you recently into the video blogs and getting more in depth with video blogs-

Shama Hyder:

Right.

Speaker 1:

… So tell me a little bit about that.

Shama Hyder:

I just started a web TV show, which is a video blog in other words, called the Shama.TV, S-H-A-M-A.TV. And it’s been really exciting because I think video is the one place where you can get very interactive-

Speaker 1:

Right.

Shama Hyder:

… With your audience. When I did my blog on my business site, but then always stick to very professional topics and people don’t really get to see who you are when you’re writing about such professional topics. So I did a video blog so I could connect with my audience at a deeper level, and it’s been fabulous.

Shama Hyder:

And I think across the board though, people are more engaged by video than they are by reading. You obviously have people who would prefer to read than do video. But the statistics are that 64% of people will finish watching a video clip. Whereas 24% will actually finish reading an article.

Shama Hyder:

But remember this was about eight years ago. When if you really think about social media technology, the digital age, all of this is still so new. Think about this, eight years ago our iPhones didn’t exist as we know them today. There was no Instagram. There’s no Snapchat. There’s no Spotify. You just think about how far we’ve come in those years alone. So I think technology as we talk about it has really come leaps forward in just the last less than a decade, if you will.

Shama Hyder:

So we graduated from the University of Texas and I thought that I would go out there and get a, what? What are you supposed to get when you graduate? A job. Right? You’re supposed to go get a job? Except there was one problem when I got out to go get a job. Not only did jobs not exist, but the industry didn’t exist because eight years ago when you said social media, people said, what? And people asked me things like what’s Twitter, right? Or Facebook is something my 13 year old uses. Remember, this is very, very early days of social media. So this was the start of an industry, the start of an entirely new technology age, if you will.

Shama Hyder:

So I had two choices, I guess I could be unemployed or I could be self-employed. So I decided to be an entrepreneur, I started my own social media digital PR agency, arguably one of the first social media agencies in the world, because it’s really easy to be the first when there’s not anyone else doing what you’re doing. And so of course we’ve come such a long way, but today I’m sharing some of that with you, lessons I’ve learned academically, but also building my own company.

Shama Hyder:

The importance of building your reputation online before you need it. And if you think about the corner office, [inaudible 00:02:55] it used to be the corner office, it would be the glass door, the assistant when you walked in. And today, that really has shifted online. What that first impression is when I type in your company’s name into Google or Yahoo or Bing, what do I find? That’s my first impression. That’s your corner office. And so how are you proactively building that reputation so when people seek you out, and that really should be the goal of a good business branding and marketing, is that people are now seeking you out, what’s that impression and what are you doing to proactively cultivate a positive digital footprint?

Shama Hyder:

The other way to look at it is people get scared when they have something negative online, whether it’s a negative review or just one bad piece of press. And it’s because they have nothing good to counteract that.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Shama Hyder:

They haven’t really proactively built something. And so, obviously when things like that happen it’s the only thing out there that they [inaudible 00:03:43] to find them.

Shama Hyder:

Anytime I share something I think, is there value here? So even if I say, hey guys, just finished speaking at this event, I’ll share something that I thought was particularly interesting from that event.

Speaker 4:

Okay.

Shama Hyder:

Or a question that I got. So everything that I share I try to ask myself before I do, is this providing value? Did this help anybody’s day get easier in some way? Or is it just… I’ve never been a fan of adding to the noise-

Speaker 4:

Right.

Shama Hyder:

… On the internet. And I certainly never want to be the cause of that.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, there’s a lot of great female brands and brands in general, but here’s the other thing I’ll say. I think sometimes when we talk about putting your brand out there, I feel like there’s this myth that it has to be loud, right? And you really have to be out there to shine. And I just don’t think that’s true. I think what’s really important is that you’re providing value. That’s what’s really important. And you do resonate with your audience, with your tribe, and that’s going to look very different for based on who your audience is.

Shama Hyder:

One of my colleagues and I guess slash in some ways competitors, right? Is Gary Vaynerchuk. We both run digital agencies. We both got an early start. We’ve spoken at a lot of the same conferences. But we have completely different personalities. And our audiences, like people who resonate with him standing on stage saying the F word is not my… That’s not my audience, it’s not my style. So it’s hard. Like I would never pretend to be someone that I’m not just so I could be loud or bigger. It works for him because that’s who he is. And I think it’s really important to find what works for you because it’s who you are.

Shama Hyder:

I was talking to this female engineer and she said, I’m thinking about writing my perspective, on LinkedIn specifically, about kind of stories from a perspective of a female engineer, especially in Silicon Valley. And I told her, that’s a great idea, why don’t you do that? And she said, I just don’t know if it would be valuable. And I said, yeah, absolutely it would be valuable because only you have your perspective, your lens, and that is valuable. And this is the other thing, what you write, what you share, doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, right? This isn’t about how many people can you get to follow or like or retweet. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s how can you get the attention of the right people.

Shama Hyder:

It’s true what they say, your first million is the hardest. It’s much easier to make the second and the third because you can build on it, right? Compounding interest is very real. But your first million is challenging, especially if you start from nothing. So when I started Zen Media, I started it with $1,500 and I was 22 years old, 23, didn’t know anything about the business world. And it was a lot of learning quickly. It’s not the money that’s the exciting part at the end of the day. It’s who you become on that journey. As cliche as it sounds, it’s really important because to make a million dollars and as good as it felt, much better was looking back and seeing, wow, really having developed a lot of skills because to go from zero to a million or even 1500 bucks to a million requires a lot.

Shama Hyder:

Hey, everybody. It’s Shama Hyder. And today, I want to talk about a topic that comes up often oddly enough, especially from young people. So when I keynoted in the past at schools and so forth, someone in the audience inevitably will ask, “Have you made your first million? Or “What’s it like making your first million?” And it’s true, I made my first million by the time I was 25 and it was something I never thought I would achieve or even expected to achieve because I came to this country when I was nine years old. I was an immigrant. My parents were both blue collar workers. It was beyond my wildest dreams. And there’s certain things I’ve learned along the way. And it’s funny because I think that it’s true what they say, your first million is the hardest. It’s much easier to make the second and the third, because you can build on it, right? Compounding interest is very real.

Shama Hyder:

But your first million is challenging, especially if you start from nothing. So when I started Zen Media, I started it with $1,500. Some of you might have read that story or heard me talk about it in other venues. I started with $1,500 and I was 22 years old, 23, didn’t know anything about the business world. And it was a lot of learning very quickly. And what I find interesting is I talked to other people who also ever met that threshold is that it’s not the money that’s the exciting part at the end of the day. It’s who you become on that journey. As cliche as it sounds, it’s really important because to make a million dollars in an ethical, fair way, now there’s lots of new scam ways. There’s lot of illegal. I’m not talking about any of that.

Shama Hyder:

I’m talking about legit, good, honest, hard work, building it brick by brick, bone by bone, tears, sweat, all of it, to building a business. And so when you were doing it that way, which entrepreneurship to me is so much fun and you’re starting from nothing. So I went from nothing when I was 22, 23 to a million dollars at 25, and in fact, Business Week at that year named me one of the Top 25 Under 25 Entrepreneurs in North America. It was quite an exciting moment, but we’ll save that story for another time and I’ll share with you guys if you’d like to hear it about our tipping point. But getting that first million, as good as it felt, much better was looking back and seeing, wow, really having developed a lot of skills.

Shama Hyder:

Because to go from zero to a million or even 1500 bucks to a million requires a lot. You’ve got to learn how to communicate, how to negotiate, how to sell, how to provide value, because when you’re doing it in an ethical, solid way, and you’re wanting to run a legit enterprise, the key thing you have to realize is your value is completely dependent on the value that you add to other people, right? I’m going to repeat this because it’s so important. If you want to be a millionaire or you have any kind of goal, the value that the market puts on you as a business, as someone offering a service, is in direct correlation to the value that you bring to the marketplace. All right.

Shama Hyder:

So another way to think about this is I had to create $10 million worth of value, at least for the market to think that I, my business, was worth a million dollars. Let that sink in for a second because I think it’s important. I had to add $10 million worth of value to the marketplace. It helped other businesses make that much, if not more. But really, add that much value. When you add that much value, the market rewards you, right? The market rewards you, but you getting a percentage of the value that you’ve created. So if I went into a business and said, “Listen, you guys are doing 10 million of revenue a year. I think with these cool strategies and really enhancing your digital, you could be doing 50 million.” Right? Would that be exciting? And what do you think most companies say, “Yes, that’d be great. That would be amazing growth. We’d love to go from 10 to 50 million.”

Shama Hyder:

And so when you’re doing things like that, it’s only natural then for your market to reward you based on the value that you bring to the table. And so this is actually called… Yeah, this is really this idea around… And Alan Weiss coined it a while back in his consulting work, value-based selling, but it really applies here too because it gets to the heart of… The amount you charge is directly proportional to the value that you bring. And I want to say that again, the amount you charge, the amount someone pays you should be in direct proportion to the value that you bring. And so obviously, when you’re working at a greater scale and you can create more value, you get paid more.

Shama Hyder:

This is the funny thing. People think being a millionaire is all about creating something and getting it out there. You really have to keep supplying demand in mind too. There has to be a demand for what you’re offering and then you have to make your supply. So you have to make your offering so exciting that it stands out in suppliers. A great book I like which I recommend highly is Blue Ocean Strategy, which really talks about how you construct your own blue ocean. So in a red ocean, there’s lots of sharks, right? So think about when I started Zen Media, we were doing digital marketing, PR, new media. The sharks were advertising agencies. That’s the red ocean. It’s already very crowded. If I came out and said, “I’m going to start another advertising agency.” There’s too much supply there. And then yes, there’s demand but it’s very competitive.

Shama Hyder:

What I did when I entered the market, was I created something new, right? Zen Media was one of the first social media agencies out there. It just didn’t exist quite yet. I did my thesis on Twitter when it had 2000 people. So very, very early days. And you guys can follow me @Shama on Twitter. And in case you’re wondering, that’s how I have my first name as my Twittering handle is because I was one of the earliest users. And so creating that sort of blue ocean, creating value where it doesn’t exist. So to go to our companies, go to clients or customers and say, “Hey, we can help you in this realm. Right? We can help you with your digital.”

Shama Hyder:

In a time where really nobody was doing it, or didn’t fully understand it, we were the first to really make a dent in that space. And hence, the market rewarded us accordingly. So I will just reiterate, it’s not about the amount of money. I also think that it’s important to have a why, the why you want to get there. For me, I never thought about like a set a goal like, “Oh, I need to get to a million.” I think it was happening. It was really cool, but it was a byproduct. When you do have a goal, I think it’s important to make sure that you understanding your motivating factors and you’re motivated by something that’s deeper than impressing people.

Shama Hyder:

I was talking to a young man last week, who is starting a new company, is very excited about it. And one of the questions he kept asking me as we were discussing this was, “How quickly can I monetize this? How quickly can I make money?” And I said, “Do you mind me asking why it is that you want to make money so quickly, you want to jump to the end zone so quickly? And he said, “Well, so I can show my parents that this can be a success and that they won’t force me to go to college.” And I thought, “Well, isn’t that interesting?” It’s very hard to accomplish what you want to accomplish when it’s predicated on showing someone something, when the whole point of his accomplishment was to show his parents, to prove something to someone else. I don’t find that that has enough staying power to get you to your goals.

Shama Hyder:

And here’s the funny thing, even if he accomplishes this, let’s say he shows his parents this, or whoever he wants to impress, it’s very likely that they could turn around and say, “Ah, yes, but can you sustain it for five years?” “Ah, but this is still a fad.” I mean there are people out there who still think the internet is a fad. They think social media is a fad. There’s all sorts of people who believe all sorts of things.

Shama Hyder:

And I find that rather than trying to change people’s beliefs, it’s much better to stay in your lane to do your best and to prioritize sort of your own goals, your own happiness, not to the detriment of others, but to be really motivated by what you want for why you want it, right? To perhaps serve society, to maybe give back to your community. Whatever it is, I find that that kind of motivation helps you get success in the millions, if that’s what you want, a heck a lot easier. All right, guys. Hope you enjoyed this. Check out a ton more videos over here. I’ve been creating a lot more content for you. Hope you enjoy it. Leave me a comment or a question if you have one and don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks so much for watching.

Shama Hyder:

Hey everybody. It’s Shama Hyder here and I’m joined by my dog, so he might be in and out of this video.

Shama Hyder:

This is Koda Bear, he has interrupted our filming. Ow, Koda. Koda is a Samoyed puppy. They’re also called Sammies and he is 10 weeks old. Say hi. Say hi, Koda. Why are you interrupting mommy? Mommy’s trying to film. Mommy’s trying to film, that’s right. Hello.

Shama Hyder:

Can you wave a paw, good boy? Ow, that hurts. Ouch. Owie, owie. Puppy kisses.

Shama Hyder:

Let’s talk about advice. That’s right, the importance of asking for advice, but more importantly, how important it is to get your advice from the right sources. So, last week I was talking to a young woman who started her business recently, and she’s found that her mom has had a lot of advice to give her. I talked to her and I said, “Well, does your mom run a business?” She said, “No, my mom’s been an employee, she’s rather risk-averse. My mom’s very happy, she has lots of hobbies, but she’s never been entrepreneurial.” Nothing wrong with that, great.

Shama Hyder:

As I’m talking to her, I asked her, “What are your other hobbies?” She said, “Well, I love to bake,” which is great. I got to talking with her and she said this was another passion she shared with her mother. She also told me, along the conversations we’re having, that she was very close to her father as well. I asked her, “Is your dad a baker?” She said, “No, he doesn’t bake at all. He has zero interest in being in the kitchen or baking.” I said, “Okay, well, that’s interesting.”

Shama Hyder:

Then I said, “Let me ask you something. Do you ever bake and do you ever run across a substitution question?” We’ve all been there. Can you substitute baking powder for something else? Or do I really need this to be unsweetened or can I use bittersweet chocolate? So when you’re baking or you’re cooking, oftentimes these questions come up and I said, “Well, so then you obviously called your dad, right, for advice.” She said, “Oh, well, I would never do that. My dad doesn’t know anything about baking, he’s never baked, so he couldn’t possibly help me, even if he wanted to.”

Shama Hyder:

Huh? Well, let’s think about that for a second. This is what I put forth out to her. If you wouldn’t go to your dad with a baking question because he is not a baker, why would you then go to your mom with entrepreneurial questions when she’s not a business owner or entrepreneur? Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with getting feedback or opinions if you enjoy that. If you want to use people that you’re close to and you like bouncing ideas off of folks, great. But just know that when you ask for advice from people, they are going to give you advice from their own lens, right? Everyone has their own unique lens of looking at the world.

Shama Hyder:

If you ask advice from someone who has never owned a business, who’s never operated a business, whose paradigm is one of safety and security, again, nothing wrong with that, but that’s their paradigm. They prioritize safety and security over many other things. That isn’t ideal for when you are starting a business, what you really want is advice from someone who’s been there, done that, right?

Shama Hyder:

It’s nice, I think, sometimes to get advice where we feel like … two things happen when you’re asking for advice. One, you often go to your closest source. So oftentimes that happens to be family or friends, and so we turn to them because we feel a certain comfort level and we say, “Hey, you’re close.” It’s proximity. So we often gather advice through proximity, which is perfectly fine for something mundane, right? Like, “Hey, which restaurant should I check out?” If you’re not really a foodie and not looking for the best, you might just turn to your closest friend or a person in your community and ask someone you’re comfortable with.

Shama Hyder:

Two, what happens is we often ask for advice from people that we feel know us best, right? So, it is more personalization. So, well, knowing me, do you think I would do well at X, Y, Z or knowing me, do you think I would enjoy this? Now that’s not such a bad thing, because it lets someone weigh in, someone who might have outside perspective, right? Has a real good sense, maybe known you from when you were a kid or friends who have … that’s when you turn to your friend and say, “Should I be dating this person?” They say, “Oh, it’s a terrible idea, that’s not a great fit for you.” Whatever it may be.

Shama Hyder:

So, often we do advice in two ways. We either do proximity, whoever’s closest, or we look for people that we feel comfortable with or we feel like maybe they know us a little bit, maybe they have a little bit of history that can help guide our decisions. But here’s what I want to tell you. This is the lazy way to get advice, okay? Don’t get advice from people who haven’t been there and done that. This is the simplest thing I can tell you.

Shama Hyder:

When I’m looking at a new Apple device, when I’m looking at what iPhone I should get or what laptop I should upgrade to, I don’t just ask anybody, I go to my friend who I know loves Apple, who keeps up with all the hardware, all the technology, the friend that knows, right, which lens is going to be great, who can really speak to the specs.

Shama Hyder:

Now, I assume that he already has some sense of me. So he knows what I do for a living, he knows I used a laptop for work, I’m not a big gamer or whatever it may be. So you can still have the personalization aspect, but it’s much more important to ask for advice from people who know what they’re talking about and have done what you want to do. Absolutely crucial.

Shama Hyder:

The other day I was talking to someone who was weighing whether they should go to college or not. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” I said, “Well, how have you been figuring this out? How have you been deciding?” He said, “Well, I’ve been talking to a lot of people in my family,” and I said, “Oh, okay, that’s neat. Where have they gone the school?” He said, “Well, most of my family hasn’t gone to college.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “I’m asking them and they seemed to have done okay without it.”

Shama Hyder:

Now again, I’m not saying that you should go to college or shouldn’t, it’s a very personal decision. But you can’t really make that decision until you’ve spoken to people who’ve been to college, who have not been to college. That’s where you can get a really good sense and overview, right, in academia, in any type of research, you want a big enough sample size.

Shama Hyder:

So when you’re making certain decisions, a good sample size is important. Getting multiple people’s perspective, and then you’re the lens that decides what’s best for you. But if you only have one group of people and they all share a narrative, it becomes even more challenging. So next time you want advice and you’re really tempted to ask your cousin or your friend or your parents, because you think they know you best or really it’s because they’re close by, it’s the proximity error. Step back and think about who could you be asking that really knows, right, that’s been there, done that?

Shama Hyder:

If you’re looking to create a company and you’re looking to hire, you don’t want to ask someone who’s never hired before, you want to ask people who’ve done hiring, who’ve learned from their mistakes. If you are looking to run a marketing campaign, don’t talk to someone who’s never executed a marketing campaign before. You want to talk to someone who really understands what it takes to drive visibility, what it’s like, which tactics to use. Very important that you find someone in that vertical with that given expertise when you’re looking for advice.

Shama Hyder:

So that is my advice to you, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have questions, leave them in the comments, I’d love to answer. Advice I know is a tricky thing and we all feel like we want to get advice from the people we love. The other side to that of course, is one of the things I tend not to do, except in this type of forum, which is give unsolicited advice. In fact, most of the questions I answer here come from clients asking me questions or young people that I mentor, or things that I see that I want to address on a bigger level.

Shama Hyder:

It’s very important that when someone comes to you, that you’re not giving them unsolicited advice either, or when someone does come to me, I always tend to say it and phrase it this way, say, “Listen, I may be wrong.” A little bit of humility goes a long way. I don’t have all the answers, but in my humble experience of however many years or having run thousands of marketing campaigns, here’s what I can tell you for sure. So it works both ways.

Shama Hyder:

Hope you enjoyed this piece of advice. Leave a comment, definitely catch more of my videos. I hope you enjoyed them. Subscribe to the channel, and if you’re really feeling generous, tell a friend. Until next time.