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November 30, 2005

sbs show #6….come and get it!

that’s right kiddos, sbs show #6 was finally released today.

the vlad & your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy were joined by 2 members of the royal flush gang, mark “king” stanfill and peter “ace” gallagher.

believe me when i tell you…this was hands-down the most fun we have had recording an episode yet.

but seriously, beyond the bit of knuckleheading around…this episode has some excellent material about getting the very best tech support response you can, either for yourself or your customers.

and if it doesn’t quite sink in after listening to the entire podcast, let me spell out the most important thing you can do to get better tech support from nearly any vendor…

remember that you are talking to another human…with a life, and people who love them. treat that person with a bit of decency, even if you’re having a major issue on your end, and you’ll always get fantastic support.

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November 27, 2005

sbs show #6…get your questions in now!

later today, vlad & i will be joined in the studio by the royal flush gang, which regular visitors to the funcave know is the codename given to our good buddies from the sbs product support services team who put together the weekly inside sbs podcast.

in other words…

rfg has returned, and is in the sbs show hizzouse!

sharing the mic with us will be:

  • mark stanfill
  • peter gallagher
  • damian leibaschoff

we’ll be talking about troubleshooting issues with your sbs box…and this is your chance to stump the best of the best! so call the show with your worst, most hair-raising questions:

  • dial 1+(407) 965-2945
  • briefly…and clearly…state your name and your question in 25 seconds or less
  • after that, say whatever you want…it will most likely get cut anyway

time’s a’wasting! so call in your questions now!

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November 27, 2005

anatomy of a truck event 7: you like me! you really like me!

the list of folks i need to thank is long, but i’ll try to make it brief…

ms folks:

  • alison, the first blue badge to offer and talk to me about the truck.
  • neal, who shepherded our request and got the ball rolling.
  • ms. sharla, who gets yet another shoutout for being so very helpful in getting the truck logistics all coordinated, and for being especially patient while i asked question after question.
  • lauren, who gave us lots of great ideas for both our event and the one in huntsville.
  • george, who made sure the truck made it there on-time, and in one piece.
  • mitchel, who knows his stuff, and who was supportive of us above-and-beyond the call throughout the day.

our folks:

  • our shareholders, for having enough faith in us to invite their best clients to our event.
  • amy, who made sure the coffee got brewed…even after i sloshed water on the outlet strip…and that everything else looked great.

and…most of all:

  • amy “mastermind” luby, who was the very first person to ever cheerlead the idea of a truck event to me, and without whose input i’d never have been able to make this thing work!

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November 27, 2005

anatomy of a truck event 5: secret of our success

our truck event was a riproaring success, by most of the ways we can measure it.

out of 100 invitations, we had roughly 80~90 people through the truck that day.

of the folks through the truck, we were able to mine 10 hot to warm leads with either new prospects or existing clients.

we also identified another dozen with pain points that we hope to address with them, and turn those into lead opportunities as well.

the ms folks couldn’t believe those results, given that it was…

  • a home-grown event
  • held in our own backyard
  • not piggybacking on anything else
  • happening the week of thanksgiving

not only that, but the folks that did come through were all very good contacts, either existing clients or prospects for our consulting services that, quite frankly, were impressed…their own words…that we had such a tight relationship with microsoft and could get this kind of resource to our city.

so..how did we do it?

two words…phone calls

that’s right…you heard me.

phone calls are the absolute key!

you see…i had wanted all the invitees to be contacted before the invitation cards were sent out…

first, so they’d know to be expecting the invitation card and wouldn’t just toss it in the trash upon receipt.

second, and perhaps more importantly…because a personal phone call inviting you to something makes that invitation take on a whole new dimension. it also offers a chance to make an initial connection before the event, when things are more relaxed, rather than during the hustle and bustle of folks coming and going.

it’s best if the folks who are going to be presenting are the ones making the calls. second-best would be folks who will be working the event outside.
anyone else…is better than nothing, but not by much.

time being in short supply that it was, i wasn’t able to make all those calls.

but i did make followup calls, which was a very good thing.

in several cases, i discovered the folks had never received the invitation card. or may have thrown it out. or couldn’t remember having seen it. no matter what the reason…in those cases, my call was the only thing that got them there.

after reviewing the attendance rate of folks who had received calls versus those who had not…the difference was staggering.

fully 80~90% of the folks who received calls came to the event.
only 10~15% of the folks who did not receive calls came to the event.

so…make the calls.

it’s worth the effort!

on to part 6

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November 27, 2005

anatomy of a truck event 4: stuff that takes care of itself…almost

with everything else i had to decide about the goings-on inside the truck, there were also the decisions about what type of stuff, if anything, we should have outside the truck.

remember…for home-grown events, you as the host are totally responsible for any and all associated costs.

to help keep things simple for our event, it was decided to just have basic refreshments:

  • coffee, hot chocolate, soft drinks & water
  • cookies

of course, even basic refreshments still meant things like:

  • cups
  • napkins
  • coolers
  • ice
  • coffee pots
  • cream, sugar & stir sticks
  • electricity

besides refreshments, we planned to distribute:

  • marketing collateral/brochures
  • giveaway mousepads
  • our business cards

and…we needed a way to collect one of the following for our major giveaway:

  • client and prospect business cards
  • fill-in cards

also…i wanted to be sure and have some kind of cover no matter what direction the weather took. finally, there always needs to be some branded signage hanging for folks to see.

all of which required:

  • a tent
  • boat anchors…to keep the aformentioned tent from suddenly taking flight
  • long extension cords
  • outlet strip
  • tables
  • table skirt
  • locked comment/card box
  • index cards
  • pen
  • chairs
  • banner
  • foamboard sign
  • plastic hooks
  • fishing line

of course, all this was ably handled by amy, also known as cher by regular visitors to the funcave.

so…from my perspective…this stuff did seem to take care of itself!

except for…the issue of staffing.

obviously, we had at least 1 of our folks in the truck at all times. sometimes 2, depending on the crowd, even tho it was nigh impossible to show more than 1 thing at a time in the truck we had. we also had someone at the table outside at all times.

for lunch, amy ordered box lunches for all our folks working the event, and one for each for the microsoft folks. that made it much easier on them, since they didn’t have to try to find a decent place to eat in a strange town, and helped keep the coverage on the truck high during lunchtime, since that was a fairly popular time for folks to come visit.

on to part 5

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