I love Talmar Anderson, owner of Reston, Virginia based Personal Business Administrators. I don’t just love her because she is smart and sassy (and truthfully her personality reminds me a bit of my own.) I love her because she created a really smart program. So often we think of great ideas for moving our business forward and we put them on a back burner waiting for some future date before we start. (I could start my class but I will wait until I have the right website, the right client, the right shoes.) That isn’t Talmar. This interview is a bit longer than normal because I think what she has to say is so great! I bet you will agree.
The perspective I’m coming at for this interview is web presence and I would love if you would just open up the interview by telling me a little bit about your web strategy.
Well, I would tell you that my web strategy first came from a very limited place. Historically (for the past 15 years), I worked predominantly with law firms and truly, because of a lot of regulations within the industry, web sites were really just used for credibility. I still believe a number of companies use websites for that, just to prove who they are. So if Erika was to say, ‘Oh you have to talk to Jane the lawyer, they would go to the website and say, ‘yep, that’s what I need, I’ll call her.’ And so, I started my business not understanding that there were infinite possibilities in which you could use your web presence to try to drive your business.
It took me a little while to figure out where I was going and what I wanted to do. But fundamentally, what I am doing with my web presence is trying to drive awareness of my expertise, myself and what I can do to help companies. So, I’m doing that on a couple of different points. I had a business model that I started with two years ago that I completely changed in the past 6 months. That meant I had to go to my website and change it. Like a lot of small businesses, I had a very limited budget, so I’ve been doing it with a little help from friends, and a little bit from trade and paying for what I can to try to make it a little more concise and consistent because truthfully, 3 months ago the website suggested I did an entirely different thing than I offer my clients. So I wanted to get that in line, and that’s one step that I feel like I’m much closer to achieving.
So now I’m trying to build the expertise side by really getting as much online as possible. And one of the ways I wanted to do that was through a webinar and teleconference at once. I was looking around for something that would allow people to login and see me, but would also allow others to be able to call in if they were on the road. The idea behind the premise was to allow anyone who had a quick business question that they didn’t know who to point it to, or they weren’t working with a consultant or a coach, I would give them a place to go. I started this 4 months ago called Ahaaaaa Moments with Talmar Anderson. It’s an hourish long free, what I like to call, “telewebinar,” because you can either call in or login like a webinar and see me. I will talk about any type of business topic that people are willing to ask. It could be a suggestion about a type of software they want to use, it could be what a profit loss statement is and why they should care about it, people asking me questions about where they could go for website registration or marketing tools. So [my telewebinar] has really made this conversation place and I was really challenged trying to find a place to do the video aspect. A friend recommended Go To Webinar.
How many people usually come on at one time?
Well, the site that I am currently using is go-webinars and they allow me to have up to 100 participants at a time.
People that are logging on seem to really enjoy it, and I was told quickly to get my video presence out there, that I should be trying to really work on for my web strategy and people being able to see me (even though I can’t see them, seems to help on the engagement factor on the call and allow people to have follow-up questions that are led from the first questions.
I can imagine how helpful that is for people who are attending just to hear other people’s questions. When are they?
They are the first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 EST. You just need to register so you get the access code. Registration also allows you to ask a question or write down a topic that you are interested in. But within the call itself, I allow people to IM me and ask questions… There’s a really interesting thing called Polls and you allow everyone to vote [on topics] and it creates this visual screen for them that allows a way to take back control of the call. It is a lot of moving parts…
A big part of my motivation is addressing that isolationism that Her Corner tries to do, or just the principle my business is built on, which is the idea that running a business is hard and it takes a lot of time and if you don’t have someone to ask that question to, what are you supposed to do? You can’t always go home to your husband or ask your mother or father especially if they weren’t business owners. You really have to be on the web so that people can find you.
This ‘Ahaaaaa’ moment call is what interested me so much, aside from your effervescent and fabulous personality; this made me really intrigued to talk to you. I know you haven’t been doing this long but has it led to business track as yet?
Not yet. I have not closed a new client off of it yet. The interesting thing is my exisiting pipeline has been taking advantage of it. And I’m certain there is an argument for giving too much information. But I take it as further solidifying that I am the person they want to go to…My sales cycle is really long, 2-6 months for clients, so I’m not disappointed yet. I don’t feel there are any ROI issues where I’m throwing in the towel yet. If in 6 months I’m not getting serious qualified leads from it, whether it’s new people or my pipeline further coming to bear a little faster (my ideal), then I might relook at it. But it’s a great content generator, which you know is a huge driver for businesses right now. If you don’t have content out there for businesses to find, it’s harder to find you. It’s given me insight into what business owners are talking about. So if the first 6 months are more just research with how to get in touch with my clients, I think the benefit has already been proven to me…If the only thing was to close to clients, I think that there could be a secondary market that could drive it just as much as converting my clients.
I really like this idea that ‘yeah you can measure positive good in lots and lots of different ways’.
I think so. Four months is really just not enough time to measure anything. I launched in the summer, and my personal drive is once I’ve got the idea I want to get it going and I want action. Getting it out there faster and tweaking it is infinitely better than waiting for the perfect moment. You have to just get it out there, try it, take action! Let it correct itself. Yes, the idea is clients, but I’m finding huge content from it.
I agree with you on a fundamental basis and I would just add why you’re right. Once you’ve built your content up, that’s when you can go far and wide with this idea.
That’s my goal, far and wide. I’ve had people from Arizona, Florida and I think maybe in this next one someone from South Carolina or Georgia.
How are you using the content you derive from your telewebinar?
Well, so far I have audio recordings and I am looking for someone to transcribe it for me. The first one I really drove the content, and it was about putting myself out there and explaining what it was. I have prepared enough to have this great content, so my hope is to take that first audio and create a white paper off of it and link the two together so you can hear it or read it. Then I’m going to continue to post these audio recordings so people can call up and use them, as they would like. And that’s going to be a free thing I put out there. It’s an opportunity for them to turn it on in the background and see if there are any questions that are relevant. I’m encouraging people to listen in to see how much they’re going through is exactly what someone else is going through. They also cringe at the idea of metrics for improving profitability and they just don’t know how to hire the right person for certain positions. Frustration is at the root of a lot of my phone calls.
Why not put it YouTube and your website?
That’s exactly what I’m going to do!
I am still learning. My second one was good, but not as great as I would have liked. I let a caller go for a long time to get to the root of the issue. I am trying to be gentle and resolve things in a few minutes. I’m gentle with my clients but certainly far more direct when someone is paying me. On the phone calls, I feel the need to guide people to finding the revolution more on their own, which is not my tendency. That’s been a challenge…I think it’s a confidence thing for me, I’ve only done it a couple of times, and I think I just need to put my boot where I need to go a little faster.
I know that I find the problem with a phone call is that you don’t have the time to reflect.
Again, it’s free and recorded so I don’t want to say, “Hey this is your mistake and let me tell you the three things you could have done better.” I’ll say, “Did you try this? Or this?” I’ll know the answer before I ask. People get this frustrated because they didn’t do their homework. In that first minute of conversation, I’m trying to be the kinder and gentle Talmar.
I’ve always been of the mind; you can’t give too much away. So many small businesses really shy away from the idea of giving information thinking that people are going to patch together their free offerings. How did you come to right side of this?
A main motivator for this phone call was a way to point to the, ‘I just have a quick question.’ I was spending a lot of time going to coffees and giving people ideas and so many new relationships, but it wasn’t strong time management. They weren’t buying right then and probably 85% of the time I knew that. I wanted a place I could point them and control the environment because as this grows, I will be more limited with time that I offer people. That will drive the opportunity for if you want to, I am available for consultations and the sales side of it. I’ve really gotten away from ‘let’s have a coffee’. I love to talk to people because I know the answer and I can help them in tremendous amounts of ways, but I do struggle with the “when do I stop” so I’m not devaluing myself and my services. It is an easier line now that I have this: “Well you know, I apologize I don’t have time in my schedule, but I always have my ‘Ahaaa moments’ and you should feel free to call up and ask a question anytime!”
Learn more about Talmar Anderson by visiting her website, by following her on Twitter, or better yet, by calling into Ahaaaaa Moments with Talmar Anderson on Tuesday, October 1… TOMORROW… at 10:30. Interested in joining? Send an email to Talmar at firstname.lastname@example.org for the access code.