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    ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Greetings

    It’s holiday season once again. The time of year we make our gift lists and, most of us, send holiday greetings. Whether you typically send cards from the office or cards from your family, it’s a good idea to sort through your contacts and organize to whom you’ll send which type. We send all sorts of greetings—cards, emails, texts, and now the list includes DMs, Snapchats, and many more.

    And we send these holiday greetings for various reasons: to say “thank you,” to say “thinking of you,” and even to say “hope you’ll keep us in mind for your business needs in the future.” This is also the perfect time of year to say a special thank you to those of your contacts who have given you a personal referral (or two, or three!) and thus have made a positive impact on your livelihood. In our case, we try to reach out to our friends and those in the Vipor Plus community who have told friends, family, and colleagues about us—or given us an app store review. (hint, hint)

    Whatever your reason, whatever holiday you’re celebrating, take some time this season to sort through your networks, business and personal, and give a bit of thought to the type of greetings you will send. Vipor Plus makes it easy to create temporary Orbits, like these: Christmas email, Christmas card, Christmas text, Christmas party invite. Once you’ve organized by communication method, you can give even more consideration into the type of message you’ll send each group.

    To some, a simple mass email wishing them “Happy Holidays” (or Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa) will be appreciated, perhaps even reciprocated. Maybe you were in their mass email list. For others, say a sub-selection of your Christmas email Orbit, you’ll want to send a personalized message.

    Whatever you do, avoid unintentional mass communications that show the contact information to other recipients. Without naming any names, I can say from personal experience, that an individual who does this, and on behalf of their organization no less, makes themself and the company look bad.

    You can also use Vipor Plus to create an Orbit for all the people who send YOU a card. Then next year, you’ll have a ready-made list of folks that you don’t want to forget! The same can apply for referrals. You can create a custom field named “Referred” and populate it throughout the year. A simple report will include your contacts for whom that field is populated. Next holiday season, it’ll be primed and ready for you to acknowledge all of your supporters!

    Vipor Plus will record any way you reach out (when you use the app to communicate, that is), so you can see year after year all of the holiday greetings you’ve exchanged.

    I, along with Mike Muhney and the rest of the Vipor Plus team, would like to extend our warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season to you and yours! We wouldn’t be here without you and for that we are truly thankful.

    Written by Kari Gates

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    Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

    I’ve focused on the area of relationship management for a long time. In fact, as the Co-inventor of ACT! Software, acknowledged as the catalyst of the entire CRM industry, I am a pioneer in the field. Since then, a lot has changed. There are more ways of connecting than ever before.  Continue Reading

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    Data Is a Commodity—Your Relationships Shouldn’t Be

    Despite the commoditization of so much in our lives, relationships shouldn’t be categorized in such a way. People want to be recognized, and uniquely so. The prevalence of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, has enabled us to express ourselves online like never before. Isn’t it great that people are so willing to share more personal information about themselves? They provide us with a means to learn more about them as a result. More than ever before we’re able to gain knowledge about a person, and as such obtain a better baseline of who they really are. But having their information is one thing, what we do with it is another.

    Filling that gap between public (or pseudo public) information and the information we gather in person separates an acquaintance from something more meaningful. Filling that gap also distinguishes us from others, especially in contrast to our competition where the relationships are in their early stages from a professional perspective. After all, that same competition has access to the same information and therein lies your opportunity for a more meaningful and closer relationship. Toward this end, let me share three insights with you that are sure to help:

    1. Knowing the data is vastly different from knowing how to use the data.

    As I already pointed out, relationships will never progress solely based upon knowing information people post or share about themselves on social media sites. Whether or not someone likes to cook or whether they have traveled to a certain locale may be a starting point to a conversation, but it’s the connection two people make when exchanging information that drives toward a stronger connection. Consider how inspiring, motivating and encouraging it can be to read a great autobiography. You’ve gained information and insight the author chose to share, but do they feel connected to you as a reader? Most certainly not. Even when a conversation is dominated by one person sharing information with the other, when done in-person, both parties are more in tune with what is being shared and how it is being received.

    2. The data is most beneficial when it’s used to create a unique connection.

    Perceive the user-provided data as a starting point, not an end point. Fundamentally, what people share expresses their interests and passions. To form a mutual connection, there must be more than knowledge of their interest. Asking someone to elaborate on an experience or interest can be a great ice-breaker to a new acquaintance, but when you have something to add or share to the exchange, it is no longer only about them. It becomes a mutually beneficial exchange.

    3. Use the data you have as a springboard, not a hammock.

    Having an interest in others such that you investigated their posts has to go beyond that initial “share” in order to form a lasting connection. How? It’s simple! Get them to talk about themselves pertinent to something you already know about them. For example, it’s one thing to know that someone likes international traveling. You may like it too, even if you’ve yet to experience it. Regardless, express your interest in their interest and ask them where they’ve been, what they enjoyed about it, if they would recommend going there, and if so, what to see and do. It helps them “open up,” and more precisely it causes them to warm up to you. When people open up to others, the path to greater relationship value exists.

    Use technology and the streams of information about people as a springboard, not a hammock. Don’t be lazy in your effort to really get to know others. Take the initiative to you share more than a mutual interest. Consider what you have to offer, either personally or professionally. Your sphere of resources and influence, in other words your “network,” can set you apart from all the others vying for attention.

    Social media is mostly public media. Even the data you collect personally is still only data until you use it in a meaningful way. To do so, be genuine: Genuinely interested in what you can provide to others. Genuinely concerned that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Genuinely true to who you are as well. Data may be a commodity, but a person shouldn’t be.

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    The Shore of Opportunity…or Destruction

    Every entrepreneur and business owner out there knows this truth: Customers are the lifeblood of success. It is probably fair to say that there is a mental awareness of this but all too often we become complacent to this truth. Finding and keeping customers can mean the difference between handicapping your business, growing it, or risking losing it altogether. Continue Reading

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