Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"This Frenchman walks into a bar..."

Every now and then, I like to turn over this space to the musings and pontifications of friends, colleagues and clients on the art, the science…the alchemy…of marketing. From their personal perspectives.

Welcome to the post-Super Bowl, pre-Spring Training edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Philippe Le Baron is the founder and president of LB4G Consulting, Inc., dedicated to sales productivity through realizing the potential of sales managers and their teams.

Philippe has over 20 years experience in consulting, sales, sales management and sales productivity management on behalf of American corporate business throughout Europe.

During this time, the French businessman has designed his own programs and workshops,addressing business cultures as diverse as the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, and Austria.

To adapt his consultative approach to everyone, Philippe developed a global-ready methodology that he has brought to America. http://www.lb4gconsulting.com/

So what approach is Philippe taking these days to help get the message out on his business?

How about…Stand-Up Comedy!

“When I arrived in Charlotte from France about two years ago my sales productivity services were as new to the area as my accent was.

“As I built my American operations locally, I went to market with networking, surface mailing, email marketing, web presence, brochures, flyers, cold calling, you name it. Since my business is very much based on an ‘education’ sale, as opposed to a pure ‘pain’ sale, I quickly realized that earning significant mind share was not easily achieved unless I could quickly talk to a lot of people at the same time to maximize ‘education’ effectiveness.

“Workshops, seminars, talks became my main route to market, and I got my first referrals from these interactions. It also helped me position my services faster to an audience I had not anticipated – the small business owners market.

“Last summer I pushed the exercise to its limits. Willing to develop myself further, and in the search for the best "Toastmaster"-type training I could find, I was attracted by a workshop run by the International House in Charlotte, titled 8 Weeks to Become a Stand-Up Comedian. My initial sense was ‘Let's try this – if I can do it, I can give any public speech anywhere.’

“This took me a little further past my comfort zone than I had anticipated, but I have now performed six times at such Charlotte area venues as International House, Matthews Comedy Zone, Alive in NODA. It also has opened new horizons for my business. Not that I intend to make a living from this (even though I did earn a few bucks from my last performance), but I get called on now for corporate presentations and kickoffs, where the experience as a stand up is actually a plus to my ‘serious business’ pitch. After all, sales people and sales managers can always use a little humor to help them look at themselves, and embrace change faster.

“Last but not least, I found that there were similarities between stand-up and sales management: there is an art piece to it, and there is a science piece to it. And there is actually a process to making people laugh (as one who was schooled as an engineer, I love processes).

“There is a setup: a topic, an attitude and a premise that will, when worded right, lead to a joke that should get laughs...if you are funny (that's the art piece). The same way great sales managers blend their art of managing sales people with the science of sales force productivity.

“I now use both skills and content to resonate with my target audience. It does get my name out there too. It stretches one to new levels. And if by standing in front of an audience you are not otherwise scared s*#%-less – pardon my French – it can be fun too...”

Join us again the first Tuesday of next month for more shtick from Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin

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