Tag Archives: short code

Sales tips from a guy who hates to sell. You gotta believe.


I used to see a career coach who told me that in order to get to where I wanted to be, I had to start from the bottom.

While I waited for folks to get on board and agree that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread – and pay me handsomely for my opinions and presence – I had to get a job.

And since I was transitioning from law to tech, I should use my gift of gab in an area that he thought would be a natural fit: sales.

The thing about his advice, while 100% accurate – I can sell – was the fact that I hate selling.

Well hate may be a bit strong.

I dislike it greatly.

And it’s not the act of selling that I dislike. I am a hunter.

It’s the things I have to sell that I generally dislike.

It wasn’t always this way.

When I was in high school I worked at Macy’s in the ladies shoe department as a shoe salesman.

Selling was a cinch.

To be clear, shoes sell themselves to women.

All I did was shuttle different sizes back and forth from the stock room until my client decided which pair (or pairs as was often the case) she wanted.

I’d ring her up, bag her goodies and she was off to shop some more, or to her car with the balance of her shopping spree.

Sure, I was masterful at upselling.

Transitioning a patron from a low priced item, say some 9 West black slingback pumps, to a higher prices one, like an elegant pair of Via Spiga heels that just arrived, was my forte.

But for the most part, I didn’t have to hard sell (or upsell) anyone.

Fast forward to 2008, the heyday of mobile marketing and SMS, when I worked for one of the three largest mobile aggregators selling mobile marketing to brands eager to get into texting.

The services sold themselves, and I simply guided green content creators through the short code acquisition mobile marketing campaign activation wireless carrier gauntlet.

In the process of demonstrating my expertise, I also upsold premium services and our platform, which allowed brands to publish their own compliant mobile ready campaigns.

As a captive audience, who had already taken the plunge to embrace the brave new world of mobile, selling (and upselling) was like shooting fish in a barrel.

But here is where my love affair with selling abruptly turned for the worse.

You see, my third sales or “business development” role was with an app development firm.

It was here that I understood that sales was not for me.

While I fully believed in the future of mobile, and was prepared to assail anyone who would listen with the wonders of developing mobile applications with us, my heart wasn’t in it.

I didn’t believe what I was selling.

Or rather, the thing that I was selling didn’t sell itself.

As a salesman, you can sell anything.

If you’ve got a silver tongue (as I did) a freezing man will buy ice from you.

And if you’ve got something that sells itself (or you believe that you do), the world is your oyster.

You can flit in and out of offices, meetings, conferences and presentations with a self assuredness that allows you to throw caution to the wind.

I’ve got it, you want it. Now, what will you pay me for it?

Selling was simple.

As was prospecting.

Lead generation was never an issue as we were on the leading edge of new technology.

Apps were everything.

Simply say the word “apps” and folks were rapt with attention.

And I sold lots of apps.

But then the company didn’t deliver.

Project after project became trapped in a bottleneck.

Features that were sold as standard became “premium” or required “custom development,” and I started to see the wizard’s cape showing behind the screen.

And that was it. I learned that I wasn’t built to sell just anything.

Actually, what I really learned was that I excelled at selling what I believed in.

Before the veil was pulled back, I would have sold anything to anyone.

After I saw the wizard, I became increasingly selective about what I’d co-sign, pitch or promote.

This isn’t really a “proper” tips post, but to stay true to it’s title, here are a few tips for being better at sales.

  1. If you need a script, don’t sell it. If you need a guide to sell, it’s not for you.
  2. If you wouldn’t buy it, don’t sell it. It’s hard pushing something you wouldn’t take/use yourself.
  3. If you agree with buyers’ objections, don’t sell it. When you find yourself agreeing with all the objections a potential buyer has for not buying in, you shouldn’t be selling it in the first place.

In the final analysis that’s the key: sell only what you believe in.

Because then selling comes naturally.

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Filed under advocacy

QR Codes or SnapTags: What’s Better For Your Brand?

Which is better?

A few days ago, I wrote a post about the different tools brands could use for mobile engagement of their audiences.

Two of those tools, QR codes and SnapTags, generated a slight buzz, and I thought I’d explore them a bit deeper today.

Kris was definitely not checking for QR codes.

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen or heard all about QR codes.

They’re those strange looking blocks with squiggly lines and boxes inside of them.

They’re on magazines, in subways, on business cards, the sides of soda cans, on posters, even in commercials and television programs.

If you’ve got a QR code reader on your mobile phone, you can snap a QR code, and unlock a text message, a picture or be navigated to a static web page, video or trigger an mp3.

SnapTags are a little more sophisticated than they’re less aesthetic cousin.

SnapTags are rings, with visual information aligned in a pattern of bars and breaks, that impacts what content is accessed by a compatible reader app.

What makes SnapTags unique is the fact that each tag also has a unique short code, enabling people without smart phones to send and receive text messages which will connect them with the associated campaign.

Both QR Codes and SnapTags accomplish essentially the same thing: navigating the user to a particular destination or piece of content.

So which is better?

To hear Spyderlynk tell it, SnapTags are better.

Among the reasons they give for why, include:

Better looking. Why have a blurry blog of blocks, when you can promote your complete logo (in a ring)?

Easier to use. Unlike QR Codes, which require a QR code reader, SnapTags work with any camera phone that can send and receive texts.

Web not required. SnapTags work whether you have an internet connection or not. If you can send and receive a text, you can still take advantage of SnapTags.

Comprehensive analytics. Because SnapTags can be triggered in multiple ways, you can generate and track layered analytics.

SnapTag's self-serving diagram.

Despite their superior looks, ease of use and utility with or without an internet connection, SnapTags do have their drawbacks.

For one, they’re not free. In order to create a SnapTag and utilize it, you’ve got to pay Spyderlynk to set up a campaign for you.

Since they don’t publish their prices on their website, we can assume it’s not cheap.

QR Codes, on the other hand, are free, and don’t require any elaborate set up to enable.

A second shortcoming is the fact that SnapTags are proprietary. You can only create a SnapTag through Spyderlynk, and (presumably) every new campaign requires a new ring.

QR Codes aren’t quite ‘open-source’ but there are a number of free QR Code generators, and you can create as many different codes for as many different campaigns as you can dream up.

Finally, SnapTags are relatively new and not particularly widespread. While several major campaigns have used SnapTags (Neutrogena, Coors Light, Toyota), there’s no rush on them quite yet.

QR Codes have been around for several years, and although they are not the dominant standard, they are very well recognized and heavily used.

I, for one, think SnapTags are pretty fresh. The multiple things you can do, the aesthetic appeal, the ability to maximize the full breadth of mobile marketing, truly make it a marketers playground.

If you’re thinking about jumping in to mobile marketing, and don’t know whether QR Codes or SnapTags are right for you, try them both out and decide for yourself.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll see if I can help you decide!

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Filed under branding, mobile, opinion

Mobile Giving. Fundraising the SMS way!

I’ve recently been in discussions with a number of not-for-profits, who weren’t aware of the fact that they could use mobile for fundraising.

Red Cross raised million for Japan from text donations.

With organizations like Yele and the Red Cross generating millions of dollars in response to the catastrophies in Haiti and Japan, it’s clear that mobile donations work.

Wyclef Jean's Yele organization raised $11 million for Haiti following the quake.

Being a self-styled mobile veteran, I take for granted the fact that some of the things that I know are not common knowledge.

Mobile Giving Foundation let's approved 501c3 organizations raise money through mobile.

The Mobile Giving Foundation is one such example.

MGF (in mobile parlance) is an organization that (and this is directly from their website) “was founded in 2007 by veterans of the wireless industry who wanted to harness the immense power of wireless communications to empower non-profit organizations. The concept was simple: give the 250 million American wireless users a single “Mobile Giving Channel” over which they could receive and respond to appeals from worthy causes.”

In layman’s terms, MGF gives not-for-profit companies the ability to accept donations from contributors who donate directly from their mobile devices.

Now, you must know, if you were to set up your own short code to have people give you money for your cause, the carriers would take anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of every dollar you raised.

And that’s after you’ve forked over $500 a month for a short code, at least $1,500 a month for a connection to a Tier 1 aggregator (that connects you to the majority of wireless carriers) and another, say $1,500 a month for the web interface (from an application service provider) that let’s you configure and manage your mobile giving campaign.

Whew! That’s a mouthful! And at about $3,500 a month, that’s also quite a hit on the pockets as well!

Mobile Giving Foundation makes the process of receiving mobile donations simple(r).

But with MGF, all that is eliminated.

To make the process of getting your not-for-profit hooked up with the ability to accept mobile donations, I’ve provided a little instructional to help you out.

1.  Determine whether your organization is qualified to accept mobile donations. Answer these three questions: (i) Are you a bonafide 501c3 organization” (ii) Did your company raise $500,000 in your last fiscal year? (iii) Is your company at least one (1) year old? If the answer to any one of these three questions is “No” stop here. You can’t accept mobile donations. But if you answered “yes” to all three questions (and even if you didn’t but are curious) keep reading.

2.  Determine which Application Service Provider (ASP) you want to use. The ASP is the middleman between the Mobile Giving Foundation and your organization. Select ASPs have been approved by the MGF to provide the platform and expertise to help not-for-profits set and an manage their mobile giving campaigns. You’ve got to sign a contract with an ASP before you’ll get the application for MGF to process. No ASP, no MGF. No MGF, no mobile donations. Each ASP charges a fee for the use of their platform, and each donation received. These fees are typically nominal, but it pays to shop around.

3.  Submit your application to MGF. Once you’ve selected your ASP, signed the contract, and completed the application with MGF, you’ve got to submit it to them to review and process. They’ll review your application, confirm your 501c3 status, examine your financial records, and ensure you comply with the balance of the criteria they’ve established for qualifying organizations. The process takes about two weeks, after which (if everything comes up roses) you’re eligible to begin accepting mobile donations.

Once you get MGF's seal of approval, you're set!

Once you are vetted by MGF you’ll be able to accept donations simply by having folks text your designated keyword to a short code. The carriers will collect the money and pay MGF, who will pay the ASP (after MGF takes their cut), and the ASP will pay you (after the ASP takes their cut).

Now the process I’ve outlined isn’t a walk in the park, but any stretch of the imagination. If you fail to meet even one of the criteria I’ve outlined, you will be rejected.

But for those organizations who satisfy this threshold, mobile giving is a way to increase both engagement (you can send messaging afterwards – as long as you disclose it to the donor prior to sending them messages) and revenues.

If you want to learn more, feel free to drop me a line or visit www.


Filed under branding, mobile, technology