“You Want to Talk to Me? Really? Me?”

In a rather puzzled tone, those were the exact words I heard expressed by a publisher at the end of a recruiting conference call recently. After a rather pleasant 30-minute conversation, where she had agreed to join a client’s affiliate program, this young woman bluntly asked, “Why did you want to talk to me about all this?” And when I replied, “I prefer to speak to my affiliates one-on-one, and get to know them,” she then answered, with a smile in her tone, “Now that’s different.”

I recall when I first came on board with JEBCommerce, Jamie Birch, the CEO, emphasized the importance of revenue (must keep this train moving) but to also be keenly aware that the underlying current of the organization was relationship, and when I heard him say that, inside I felt myself holler, FINALLY! Yes, if you’ve read my previous post – I will gladly plead guilty – I’m obsessed with relationship, communication, human interaction, and a deep interest to bring people to the table for face-to-face conversation no matter the reason even if it is over a conference line or Skype. My laptop screen boldly reads: Less Email. More Dancing!

Why would I want to talk to an affiliate? One of the many reasons I love what I do is the variety of the ‘stories’ I come across as I research potential publishers for my clients. Once that home page loads and all those fabulous photos and monikers begin scrolling by asking me to buy this or love that, I hit the ‘About’ page. I want to know the motivating story that made that mom, traveler, agency, twin brothers, ex-model, attorney decide to invest the time in creating an online presence.

On that ‘About’ page, I learn:

  • Why a mother, whose baby had trouble falling asleep, designed the miracle sleeper.
  • Why an international businessman turned his emails to family and friends about airlines, hotels, restaurants, and excursions into a full-time gig.
  • How a former convicted felon, with no resources for gym equipment got creative and became a YouTube sensation.
  • How two moms focused on discovering community events for their own children become the ‘go to’ resource for all Northeastern stay-at-home mothers.

This stuff is gold!

And I know that ‘About’ page is just the beginning, and there has to be more to the story. That is why at the end of every single recruiting email I generate I make the ultimate request in this technology-driven world – a conversation. Don’t roll your eyes. An email can only go so far. Why is it that we can cover more in a 15-minute conversation than can ever be conveyed in 15 emails? Why? Because we love to talk about ourselves, what we’ve done, and what we plan to do. And for me personally, I want to hear it. It’s during that interaction that we feed off each other’s energy, and connections are made.

When I get that, ‘Yes, let’s schedule a conference call’ from a potential publisher, I gather Team JEB for the purpose of showcasing our client but I also prepare for the opportunity to fill in the details that make up that Publisher’s ‘About’ page.

It’s during that conversation that I find out about a Publisher’s:

  • Skepticism and apprehension of the affiliate arena.
  • Desire to learn more about Nexus and how it affects their website.
  • Ambition to pursue collaborations that may be ‘out of the box.’
  • Anticipated book launch and convention appearances on the national scene.
  • New home purchase and relocation due to their recent marriage.

So much more is learned when an actual conversation takes place. Our tone expresses interest so we joke and laugh. One response naturally leads into another question where we unexpectedly discover the similarities within our world. Excitement and anticipation regarding past challenges or future successes just around the corner can be tangibly felt when we talk to each other. Opportunities and options that may not have been contemplated suddenly emerge, and everyone on that call soon realizes — damn…we may have something really good here. Really good!

In my line of work, I utilize the most modern of gadgets, dabble in time-saving software, push the limits of storage on my laptop, and ask my boss for the moon every week in order to seek out just the right affiliate for my client. But at the end of the day, I measure success by the number of mommy bloggers, Latin cooks, fitness gurus, and travel junkies I am able to speak to personally on the phone. I have a rule that I cannot get off the phone until I know something about that person that is not written anywhere on their website.

There. Now you know WHY I want to talk to you. And you. And that other guy standing over there.