SMART Growth Marketing on Lead Conversion: Advertising vs. Starting a Conversation

SMART Growth Marketing on Lead Conversion: Advertising vs. Starting a Conversation

September 13 is the second Wednesday of the month, which means my friends Darien Hill and Jody Layne from SMART Growth Marketing will be joining me on The Writestream at 11 AM Eastern.

Selling is about relationships. But, how do you build a relationship with someone you’ve never met? And, convince them that your product or service is the answer to their needs? It’s not easy. However, with the right attitude about your marketing, it can be done. Spend time with Darien Hill & Jody Layne from SMART Growth Marketing and learn the secrets to building amazing relationships with total strangers that can lead to customers for life!

During the episode, Darien and Jody will explain the difference between advertising and starting a conversation, and share their tips for how to convert your leads into happy clients. To listen by phone and/or ask a question on the air, please dial (347) 945-7246. Stream the episode here.

About Darien Hill

Darien is passionate about inspiring individuals to unleash their inner champion.  He was born in the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua. In 1996 he received a track and field scholarship to Murray State University in Kentucky, where he received  his degree in marketing.

Darien loves to help small businesses and organizations tell their story in a unique way and to inspire their customers to action.   He has trained over 100 banking professionas from companies such as Suntrust Bank, BMO Harris & BB&T on how to leverage social media to increase customer acquisition. He is a highly sought after speaker and has been featured on Central Florida News 13 as a social media correspondent.

 

 

About Jody Layne

Jody Layne loves people and loves to talk. Her passion is working with clients and brainstorming what will work best for them. She also loves to teach what she knows. After 25 years as a professional marketer, Jody has worked in lots of mediums, but it is the SMART marketing concept that she loves best.  She believes that consumers don’t want to be sold to anymore.  They know what they need and when they are ready to buy, they will do their own research.  The products and services that are most relevant and the companies that provide the most value will be the ones that win the sale.  Jody has presented her ideas to a number of groups over the years and loves to work with businesses who understand the value of marketing.  She also owns a software company with her husband, is a marathon runner and she is a mom to the coolest 13 year old ever.

UPDATE: Missed the live episode? Click to listen.

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Hacksaw Ridge is a True Story of Heroism and Conviction

Last night, I finally had an opportunity to watch Hacksaw Ridge, a Mel Gibson film based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector during World War II, who served his country without a weapon:

HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss [Andrew Garfield] who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Featuring an exceptionally talented cast, with Andrew Garfield in the role of Desmond Doss, the film portrays the horrors of war and its effect on everyday people in multiple ways. Desmond’s father, who harbors resentment and bitterness over losing his buddies in World War I, directs his anger in violent ways toward his wife and sons; Desmond’s mother, who deals with her husband’s cruelty with grace and strength while protecting her sons; and Desmond himself, who recognizes the call to fight evil and protect freedom, but stands strong in his convictions to do it in his own way.

He almost never gets his chance, thanks to unforgiving higher-ups within the military. Even members of his own unit scorn his aversion to guns and doubt his usefulness in the “hell-fire of war.” Among other things, he endures physical abuse, serves time in a military prison, and misses his own wedding before he is cleared to accompany his unit to Hacksaw Ridge, where he earns their respect through his unyielding acts of courage, which result in 75 lives saved.

Gibson does not sugar-coat the atrocities of war, even when justified – his graphic portrayal of blood, guts and severed limbs makes you feel as if you’re right there in the middle of the battle. In one scene, when the enemy comes out waving a white flag in what turns out to be an act of deception, you can almost feel the conflicted emotions of the American soldiers in the seconds before they realize they must return fire. It provides a stark contrast to another scene in which Desmond shows mercy toward a severely wounded enemy soldier who regards him with suspicion. One of the most poignant scenes in the film comes when Desmond’s former nemesis, now in awe of the man he once considered a coward, asks for his forgiveness.

With all of the insanity currently unfolding in our country, Hacksaw Ridge was a great escape, even if it pulls no punches about the brutality of conflict and the existence of evil. Above all, it celebrates true heroism and a man who refused to let anyone interfere with his calling to serve. Desmond didn’t organize an anti-war protest, nor did he ridicule or spit upon the men who took up arms in the defense of the United States Constitution. He saw clearly the distinction between good and evil, and held firm to his mission to serve in way that was compatible with his conscience. He stands out among The Greatest Generation.

 

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Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger Evokes Nostalgia for a Bygone Era in Professional Sports

Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger Evokes Nostalgia for a Bygone Era in Professional Sports

When my brother Mark announced his plan to take us to see Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger, I had no idea what to expect. Although a lifelong Eagles fan, my earliest memories of the team begin in the 1970’s with players like Tom Dempsey, Harold Carmichael, and Roman Gabriel…when the Dallas Cowboys ruled and loyal fans suffered through consecutive losing seasons until Dick Vermeil came along and turned the Eagles into winners, beginning with the 1978-79 season. The one characterized by the Miracle at the Meadowlands, culminating in a 9-7 record. Winners!

I had heard about older players and the 1960 championship from my parents and brothers, but it didn’t mean much to me until I attended Didinger’s one-act play, featuring just four excellent actors. Performed at Theatre Exile, it tells the uplifting and heart-warming story of a Philly boy (Didinger) who loved his Philadelphia Eagles, and in particular, his idol Tommy McDonald. Their personal relationship begins one summer day in Hershey, during the Didinger family’s annual Eagles training camp vacation, when after patiently waiting outside the locker room for an autograph, young Ray meets his favorite Eagle. Tommy McDonald graciously engages the boy in conversation and asks him to hold his helmet as they walk together toward the field. It’s the start of a lifelong connection, though McDonald won’t realize it until decades later.

We follow Ray through his career as a Philly sportswriter and commentator, which reunites him with McDonald in the 1980’s and culminates in McDonald at last being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1998. At the end of the performance, I learned something new about my own family when my dad raised his hand during the Q & A to tell the story of how he took care of McDonald when he was a resident doctor at Misericordia Hospital in West Philly.

More than anything, Tommy and Me made me nostalgic for the days when professional athletes were connected to their fans and played mostly for the love of the game. What a refreshing tribute to a bygone era in professional sports. Many thanks to the cast, writers, and crew for the fun, interactive conversation with the audience at the end of the performance. I’m so thankful I was still “up north” to see it.

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Thank you Don Prince and The 11th Hour Trauma Retreat

In early 2016, I agreed to ghostwrite a book for a retired fire lieutenant, which became a Writestream Publishing LLC release on May 31, 2016. Entitled, To Guard My Every Neighbor: Inside the Fire by Lieutenant Keith Schneider, part of the book’s purpose was to call attention to the problem of PTSD in first responders. Working closely with Keith and gaining a full understanding of the life of a firefighter (along with police, paramedics and 911 call center employees) opened my eyes. Although I knew about PTSD in military veterans, I had no idea that those who serve their local communities in uniform also suffered from it.

Through my efforts to promote the book, I made a contact with a man named Don Prince, via the HOW Foundation of South Florida, with whom one of my best friends, Theresa Bonnie, had a close contact: Executive Director Sarah Crane. Sarah connected me with Don, whose information I passed along to Keith as a resource and possible partner in book promotion.

As much as I love what I do, which offers me the convenience of working from home, at times it feels as if I’m in a vacuum — social media, Skype and other methods of communication aside. I know I am on purpose and never doubt that I’m on the right path, but it’s always nice to receive what we call in Tasha Chen’s community, “evidence.”

Yesterday, I received the best possible evidence when Don Prince contacted me “out of the blue” with this welcome message:

I wanted to share with you that because of your introduction to Keith he referred my name and number to a firefighter who was struggling and needed help up in his area. We were able to get him into a trauma retreat a few weeks ago and he had an amazing transformation and experience in those five days… You never know how you are able to someone just by a simple introduction.

I replied:

Don, thank you for letting me know! I believe seemingly small gestures can lead to amazing outcomes, and this is another wonderful example of that. I am so happy for the firefighter and grateful to you for your dedication in assisting him and others who need it!

To which he responded with an answer that made my day:

It is an amazing feeling… to be honest because of all this you probably saved his life in the big picture. I don’t think he was going to hold on much longer.

We never know what a seemingly small action can lead to. In this case, I followed a lead with the intention to promote a book and raise awareness about a critical issue for first responders…and received the best possible feedback on my work.

The man in question who needed help is now creating magnificent photos like this one to help with his healing.

Here’s a bit about Don Prince from his bio on the 11th Hour Retreat website:

Don is a person in long term recovery from many years of an alcohol addiction. He is an International Master of Addiction Coaching (IMAC) and a Nationally Certified Advanced Clinical Intervention Professional (NCACIP). He is the father of two amazing children, a husband and has an unparalleled passion for helping others to achieve their dreams and goals in order to excel in life and prosper.

He has been instrumental in opening a select few recovery related businesses and organizations, most recently co-founding the 11th Hour Retreat, in addition to co-founding a first responder specific addiction treatment facility that was exclusive to public safety professionals, opened a hair salon in Delray Beach, Florida which hired stylists in recovery and gave them a new start in a safe working environment and started a recovery coaching and intervention practice that has grown to reach those in need from coast to coast.

And the mission of The 11th Hour Trauma Retreat:

The 11th Hour Trauma Retreat is an intensive PTSD/Trauma resolution therapy program specifically designed to help first responders, veterans and their families who have been affected by trauma.

The 11th Hour program was developed to jumpstart the healing process so that those suffering from trauma can reclaim their lives, continue in their careers, and most importantly, reconnect with families and loved ones without feeling isolation or shame. Feel free to browse around the site and explore the therapy services that the 11th hour offers.

For more information, visit their website: www.11thHourRetreat.org. Contact them here.

Thank you, first to Keith, for his courage in sharing his own personal journey via his book, To Guard My Every Neighbor: Inside the Fire, and to Don, for all of his work on behalf of first responders, veterans and their families dealing with the effects of PTSD. I’m also grateful to Don for letting me know about this man’s successful treatment. I don’t know who he is, and most likely never will, but I’m grateful he is now on the path to recovery and that one simple gesture led to an “amazing transformation.” It’s the best evidence of all.

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