Affiliate Summit Losers Will Never Listen

Well, it has now been two weeks since the last Affiliate Summit and it has become increasingly evident to me that most just don’t get it. My aim is not to come across as a hater or disgruntled – but it continues to amaze me how companies continue to attend these shows but as it comes to follow up or closing a deal – they have a LOT to learn.

A case in point – I came across this company that specialized in Custom Installer and Toolbar Software and definitely seemed there were some synergies for us to do some serious business. Wouldn’t you know it – on my ride back to DC, I sent a detailed email summarizing our meeting, discussed our synergies and possible next steps. We do fairly well in this vertical so one would think they would be eager to respond….NOT. I don’t know if it was my cologne, my knowledge (or lack thereof about the vertical) or what but two weeks later and still no response. I am fairly certain there is no race/discrimination issue as that was an INDIAN owned company. 🙂 Oh well!!

Do you come across anything like this at the shows? If so – share your comments below will ya?

I can go on and on about other follow up fail examples but I would like to provide some quick pointers on how best to take advantage and work the next conference.

 1) WHAT’S IN A NAME: Take the time to look at a person’s name tag and who they are with. Connect that with their face and take notes on point of discussion on the business card. And to those of you attending – please wear the name tag with the name showing, kind of defeats the purpose of going to the “trade show” in the first place don’t you think?

2) PITCH THIS: Have a 60 second elevator pitch prepared about your company so you do not ramble on and on pointlessly. If there is not a fit – have the common courtesy to let them know so you do not waste their time and they yours. This may be hard when you are talking to some hired guns/talent/booth babes – but we are all grownups. Move on.

3) DON’T CALL ME, I WILL CALL YOU: This is a personal favorite of mine – when you are talking to someone, please have the decency to turn off your cell or put it on vibrate. Nothing says “I would love to do business with you” when you ask the person to hold so you can answer your phone from your best bud at the bar.

4) HAVE FUN: People are attracted to other people enjoying themselves. A little sense of humor will go a long way to help break the ice and will help others remember you a lot quicker. Don’t be surprised if you see me dressed in my Elvis suit at the next show shaking my turban! Why thank you – thank you very much.

 5) FOLLOW UP:  Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. This is THE most critically important step of attending a conference and making new contacts – so you can conduct new BUSINESS. I know you are extremely busy because you have a thousand cards to follow up on and by the time you get back to me it may be a few weeks and even then it will take your secretary another week to coordinate a time for us to talk because we know your schedule is booked solid every moment of the day that you barely have a chance to breathe – I get that. Again – NOT. You have time to do 10 FB updates an hour; you have time to talk to me. You have time to Tweet how much you got wasted the night before – you have time to talk to me. I think you get my point.

I personally use what they refer to as the TAP method. Be TIMELY, APPROPRIATE and PERSISTENT. Trust me – it pays off. Also – there is a new App from Linkedin , called Card Munch which is absolutely amazing at helping you upload and sort your contacts. I approve this App.

Did you find these tips helpful? Let me know below….thank you, thank you very much!

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Ricky Ahuja

A serial entrepreneur, Ricky Ahuja has been known and well respected for his strong acumen as an online marketer and social media expert. . His previous agency was ranked in the Top 10 on 2012 list of the “Top 10 Networks” and was most recently nominated as a Top 20 Ad Network on Blue Book survey by Revenue Performance. He is now the Director at Nutryst and working closely with John Crestani and Steve Lowry to build the leading Nutra only network.

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  1. Ricky, you simply assume that everyone MUST do business with you.

    Perhaps another lesson is “move on”, especially if someone doesn’t follow up or chooses to Tweet instead of doing business with you?

    1. There is absolutely no assumption here Anthony, there is a certain etiquette in business that even if you do not care to do business with someone, you have the decency to perhaps let them know.

      The only assumption on my part may be that we are all professional adults – cough cough.

      1. Ricky,

        I doubt if you have decency to let people know if you cant do business with them after a few initial email exchnages. Why do you look surprised. 😀

        1. LOL – call me persistent maybe? I tend to exhaust all resources before moving on, sorry that’s how I have been raised. Has worked out rather well for me.

          1. Right call until they die, and then call again just to make sure. We have told many and do this daily that we don’t think they will be a fit, or we will have to pass etc… thanks for reaching out, but this isn’t an initiative of our currently. Wheel spinning is a pain in the ass.

              1. No your spamming garbage. If your network was so great you wouldn’t need to spam and write these egotistical articles.

                1. Wow MK – not even sure where to start with you. I could go on and not waste my time with your snide comment, but because I like to see closure on everything – here is what I have to say:

                  1) your grammar leaves a lot to be desired
                  2) let me see, there are articles by other CEO types so they must all be spam also

                  I have seen your comments in other articles so I am guessing you have nothing better to do than troll and make idiotic comments that have absolutely ZERO relevance or value.

                  If you do not like these articles – very simple, need not subscribe to them. If you need help finding the unsub button – let me know.

                2. MK, who the fuck are you? A troll perhaps. Better yet, I could give a crap.

                  This has nothing to do with ego, it is merely what happens after and at these shows. Notice the article didn’t make any claims about bling bling etc. How is being asked to write an article spam? Your statement is truly superfluous, unwarranted and a waste of key strokes…

  2. I could not agree more. Courtesy, sincerity, and professionalism go a far way. If you are thinking about the next meeting while in a current one, then dont waste my time-or yours for that matter. Little things become a big investment.

    Kevin S Cowen
    VP, US Operations

    1. “Courtesy, sincerity, and professionalism go a far way. If you are thinking about the next meeting while in a current one, then dont waste my time-or yours for that matter. Little things become a big investment.” SO TRUE!

      If they’re not interested or too busy, should have the professionalism/courtesy to say ‘we’re just overwhelmed right now, the timing is not right, but keep us in mind down the road.’ How hard is that?

      Excellent insights & posting — Works re: any level/type of business. Thanks.

  3. Lemme interject. Ricky writes articles that help people grow their business. He is also in the business of marketing, as is this publication.

  4. So I should not have to say this, which is probably why Ricky didn’t mention it in his article, but hands down the most important part of following up is leaving your name and your company’s name, as well as your contact number.

    Had a sales rep follow up with me. He let me know that I had met him at his table in New York (As if I only visited just one table in NY) and that we should chat about some offer I had wanted to push out (B2B offer for http://wwwKozzi.com).

    He had so many opportunities to tell me who he was or where he was calling from in his phone message but FAILED. I still don’t know who called! When your boss spends thousands to send you to represent his/her company and to make sales… the least you could do is tell people where you are calling from!

    1. Elissa – I think I am going to stop assuming that these are basic fundamentals of doing business and that everyone should know and follow. Thanks for pointing that out – I have experienced the same thing.

  5. There’s a way of letting people down easy. By pointing to this “etiquette”, you think that out of 500 daily e-mails, every single one must be replied to.

    A. That’s never the case, otherwise company owners would ONLY read and respond to mails and never do anything.

    B. There is a point in not replying. It’s equivalent to your “cough, cough”. The thing is, not everyone takes the hint. Everyone likes to think they’re popular, for example you only reacted positively to responses from people who supported your article. You didn’t like one bit being called names or hearing that what you said is false/doesn’t matter. Sometimes, when the rejection reason isn’t going to be pleasant for you to hear (not necessarily because you’re from India), people won’t come out and say it. It’s a cultural thing, which is considered more polite than flat out saying it( You’re implying it by NOT responding to an e-mail saying “Hey, didn’t hear from you in a month and this is my 3rd e-mail to you”).

    C. Persistence is fine, OCD is a mental issue. Fighting a lost battle instead of focusing on important prospects (of which there’s never a shortage) is choosing incorrectly from the “important/urgent” matrix. Here’s a link – http://sidsavara.com/personal-development/nerdy-productivity-coveys-time-management-matrix-illustrated-with-xkcd-comics

    D. I consider following up to reject people after they’ve not got multiple hints to be in quadrant 4 from the above link, i.e. as important as playing “trivia”. You may consider otherwise, being a man with ample time on his hands.

    1. Anthony – you raise some valid points, good on you mate. The whole point about these articles is to raise awareness about my findings and views – you or anyone else do not have to agree to them one bit, that’s what makes this country/industry great.

  6. Ricky followed up with me right away, I want to get back to him, and maybe run a few offers through him; but still struggling with having to actually do work and not enjoy the summer in LA.

  7. “My aim is not to come across as a hater or disgruntled”

    We have all experienced things that make us feel a little ‘disgruntled’. Let it all out, no need to censor for this reader. If done in taste, a colorful rant can be amusing and informative.

    Can you elaborate on the toolbar/bundle stuff?

  8. I’ve been in the industry since 1998 ( http://www.cyberbounty.com Mobile Ad Platform ) so I’ve been to a lot of shows and sent/received a lot of emails.

    My personal opinion is that there are an increasing number of people who do have issues with follow ups, people I know we can do business with, which would benefit both parties, we had very positive conversations yet they don’t go anywhere after the show.

    I choose to email everybody, even if there is no immediate business, opportunities grow sometimes, or they need a clearler understanding of our model and once they do it can turn into business, or that person knows somebody that might be of value and we get a referral. Personally I think it’s also just good etiquette. I reply to all my emails, even if it’s a thanks, but there are no opportunities right now.

    I think there’s a mix of issues related to lack of replies.

    I am sure that some emails genuinely don’t make it the recipient – failed delivery, spam bins, then you have the people who just don’t reply, there is time to reply to all your emails, and you should.

    It does seem like there is a mission at the shows to create as many contacts as humanly possible regardless of whether there is any business to be done, do people do it to show their boss that they did well at the show? Look at all the cards I have? If there is no business to be done, just say it, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’ll save us both some time!

    To add to this, I do think there are way, way too many exhibitors that are just placing warm bodies there, people who just don’t know what they are doing, train your staff! Nothing is more off putting that a person that sounds like they are reading from a script because they learned a few words like CPA and ROI.

    While I am yapping on, there is one thing that does annoy me, if I am talking to you, don’t drift off into the clouds, staring into the sky and then tell me sorry you forgot what you were saying, or what were we discussing, because you partied way too hard the night before and you are half alseep. The conventions are about business first and foremost, enjoy the parties, but get the priorities right. Sorry to all the young folk out there, there are some hard working ones out there, but it does always seems to be the fresh out of college guys.

    Btw Ricky, it’s nothing to do with you being India, there are just too many unprofessional people entering the arena.

    OK, old man rant over

    1. Mark – very well articulated.

      It almost seems a generational thing to me…I may be dating myself here but like another commenter suggested – they may not be there to do business at all but to just party. In that case I do not expect them to get back in touch with me – but I would have certainly appreciated them not wasting my time.

  9. I always say, “You have to question the premise”. Here Ricky is supposing that you understand people and come to the show as a capable and interested canvasser in the first place.

    In this case, who can say whether this particular individual even takes their job seriously? Of course, there is also the real possibility that they don’t want to do business with you. In that case, your instincts should be keen enough to tell you the difference.

    First Rule of Sales: It is NEVER about you.

    Let’s assume you listen well and can quickly establish rapport. You get their attention because you present your offer in terms of the benefits to THEM. Doing so, you convey a certain personal credibility that separates you from other sales people. It makes it plainly clear that the real “value-add” is in doing business with you.

    Because all of this must take place in a short time, your parting words should make it very clear that you will call shortly after the show.

    Assuming you’ve done this, but the person blows you off repeatedly, it may well be a warning that this person may not be the right contact for you. It might also be that a company that tolerates this kind of behavior isn’t worthy of your further time.

    As an old Marine, I say, you can either move on or move UP. Call the president or CEO; they are the chief sales person of their company. It won’t take you long to know which way the wind is blowing. You might be pleasantly surprised.

    There is always room for intelligent and effective follow up. People get busy and it is sometimes difficult being heard at any level. Doing so assumes you can succinctly validate your offer’s worthiness on its merits and from their point of view.

    In the end, it is your personal credibility and sales professionalism that make people remember you and want to do business with you. These people will always pick up the phone.

    1. Jim – all very valid and credible points.

      You have to understand I have been going to these shows for years and years and for the most part my schedule is pretty booked solid. It is these by the way run ins that have often brought in an incredible amount of business for myself and my ventures.

      For the most part – I consider myself a very good judge of character and have yet to be “blown off”.

      At the end of the day it is all about choices, you make yours and I make mine and hopefully it is a productive one for both parties.

      Just an update to one of my comments above – the installer/bundler has gotten in touch as they were away due to a personal reason and no lack of desire to do business.

      All the best and hope to catch up with you at one of the upcoming shows.

      1. Ricky – to be honest, I was kind of waxing larger than your particular circumstance. I would be unable to comment on your sensibilities, but with your time on the block, I have no doubt you spend you time in a most propitious manner.

        I was actually drawn to comment because of the meaningful commentary drawn from Mark Kasser.

        Thought provoking article and worthy of the robust replies that it has garnered.

        Thanks, keep the intellectual wheels turning.

        Look forward, likewise, to meeting you.


    1. Affiliate Manager, you and Ricky are talking about 2 different things entirely.

      Frankly a non-responsive affiliate manager is unforgivable.

      Online, everything must be available 24/7. If I launch a campaign, I can pause it with 1 click. If there’s any occurrence, I know I can get support in the middle of the night.

      If you’re already that fed up with answering to people, perhaps consider changing careers.

      Although, and this has been proven time and again, some CPA networks built a name for being rudely non-responsive to create an “aura” of exclusivity.

      The biggest network didn’t take this low road though, take Zanox, CJ, Linkshare, Tradedoubler or even LinkConnector for example.

  10. Ricky, I do have to agree, there is most definitely a generational issue here. I’m not going to tar all the young ‘kids’ out there, because there are some that do work very hard and do a good job, but generally speaking from my own personal experiences, there is an issue with the young folk that have joined the industry. I am sure it is not just related to our industry, it’s an attitude that is projected from young people these days.

    Some try to project themselves as professional, know it all, but they don’t seem to realize they are talking to somebody that got into tech when they were just a twinkle in their dads eye, and they just can’t pull it off.

    If we get to the point of actually trying to do business with these companies/people some of the questions I get asked and the level of comprehension is terribly poor in too many cases. At the end of the day companies can’t survive long term if they continue to employ people of this caliber, there are good companies out there that we choose to work with.

    We are at the point now that we’ve started to make a list of companies that employ these types of people where we have hit such brick walls and we just won’t make further attempts to work with them. I am sure I am not the only person doing this.

    It’s just so frustrating to try to explain a basic concept of tracking links for instance to somebody over and over again, things they should know, they don’t.

    I love the parties as much as the next guy, but some of these people need to slow it down if they can’t function at their work the next day.

    Personally I’d like to see sponsored events that allow us to network more, maybe a dinner with some background music, am I being boring? It costs a lot of time and money to get to these shows, I want to do business! But as a CEO I pick up the tab, most of the people we’re talking about are employees don’t seem to care as much, so that never helps.

    Wow. I actually sound like an old fart.. “The youth of today….”

  11. Honestly, I think a lot of it may be people overextending themselves and trying to take on too much. Some people just shut down when there are too many inputs. Most choose to deal with the highest priorities first. It depends on your role and what your current company goals are.

    Still, a reply is always cordial and only takes a few moments. It doesn’t go unnoticed. And there is nothing worse than running into that person at ASE that you never replied to months earlier when they sent you a follow-up from ASW.

    I am starting to learn to set expectations. I will often schedule follow-up calls for a few months later, when I am ready to take on that initiative or when it is a fit for our company.

  12. It’s a certain type of business etiquette that only the high performance business man or women does when it comes to communicating effectively. If a person can’t call you back to tell you yay or nay first of all they don’t have any respect for themselves, they are ignorant and they won’t be doing business for very long simple as that..

    Too many individuals in the internet marketing industry think that common courtesy and business etiquette don’t apply to them. Nice article Ricky!

    1. Imagine if you were having a conversation with somebody and they decided to just stop listening and walk away in the middle of that conversation, would that be acceptable? Of course not.

      In my book, it’s not acceptable to not have the professional courtesy to reply to an email regardless of whether there is opportunity or not.

      I guess this is why 14 years later people ENJOY working with me, because I treat them with the respect I would expect if I were in their shoes.

      There is a generation thing going on here and I am afraid it’s the way of the world, but I would hope that most of these companies will not survive long term

  13. Mark – once again you raise a very valid point and I think a lot of these values truly come with education and higher learning or even mentor-ship from someone learned.

    In this day of bling bling and quick money and quick rewards, most people just don’t get it nor do they give a damn.

    The question now is – how do we form a group or a network if you will of people who get it and conduct business with them and not waste time with the others?

  14. Very relevant article, Ricky. I enjoyed the TAP acronym, I will have to add that to my little bag of tricks.

    I will definitely say that I am guilty from time to time on letting a few people slip through the cracks here and there, but I try to organize myself after shows, or even better…let people know on the spot if there doesn’t seem to be a fit.

    I think sometimes on the floor, or in a meeting, some people feel too bad to say to someone directly that it’s not going to work. To which, I 100% agree is generational. It’s much easier on my generation’s conscience to not have the face to face conflict and instead hide behind their computer. :/

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