Long Distance Learning
Ernest F. Oriente and Judy Feld are virtual partners in Coaching Success TeleForums(tm), the first example of their trademarked SmartMatch Alliances. They work with their clients by telephone and E-mail, specializing in global distance learning, serving groups of executives, professionals and individuals who are geographically dispersed. They have appeared more than 3000 times in business and trade publications and their free Coaching Success Newsletter(tm) has subscribers in 70 countries. They have appeared in a wide variety of leading magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Fast Company, The LA Times, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Self Employed America, Financial Times, and Working Woman.
From Gutenberg to Gates, Communication is the Key
Authors Achieve Success with SmartMatch AlliancesMany of us have experienced the futility of marketing in today's competitive business climate, facing dilemmas such as these:
* "How am I supposed to go out and get new business when all I have time to do is work on the business I already have?"
* "Marketing is so expensive...and poor results don't help! I mailed 10,000 brochures and received no responses."
* "I'm struggling to find solid strategies for adding new subscribers to my E-newsletter while respecting standards of 'Netiquette' and privacy."
A new book, SmartMatch Alliances: Achieve Extraordinary Business Growth and Success!, provides an alternative solution to the frustration of low-impact, high-priced sales and marketing efforts. The process is simple, inexpensive - and effective.
The book's authors, Judy Feld and Ernest F. Oriente are professional business coaches, each with a passion for helping people realize their dreams. Since founding their private coaching businesses in 1995, they have worked with individual clients and companies around the world. As the result of working and coaching in six different niche areas, they contribute monthly to over 200 publications, websites and newsletters that serve these industries and professions. In August of 2001 they decided it was time to convert this wealth of material into a book.
The pair realized they needed to do a book for a few different reasons. First, they knew they were on to something new and important - their SmartMatch concept and TeleForum model were proving to be very effective for building their own alliances -- and helping their clients do the same. Content would be no problem, as they had the material in the form of their monthly articles and newsletters. Finally, they wanted to add some passive income to their existing, active income streams. A book was the logical solution.
They knew it wouldn't be an easy task, and even though they had lots of material, it would require an expert and passionate editor to shape it. Because they are two authors with two different writing styles, they needed a third party who could synthesize their thoughts, materials and ideas into one consistent style.
"We also wanted a turn-key relationship with an organization who would coordinate the writing, production and printing, much the way a person hires a General Contractor to build their dream home. The contractor guides the sub-contractors, manages the workflow, anticipates upcoming problems, makes suggestions, and has quality vendor relationships and a reputation for producing a quality product. Enter Nikki Stahl and Jenkins Group, who managed the book production and connected Oriente and Feld with editor Diana Morris. "It was exciting to work with Judy and Ernest, and to watch Diana sculpt their ideas into a book format," says Stahl. "Their vision for the book was clear throughout the project, and that helped them through the numerous decisions they had to make. Their passion is genuine and refreshing, and these feelings come through in their book, creating an essence of childlike enthusiasm and enjoyment that is rarely seen in this genre."
"Both Diana and Nikki really understood our book's message and our coaching business -- which meant they were able to ask us the right questions -- and to push, pull, and stretch us to places we didn't even know existed," says Oriente. "Diana is brilliant. While we are both powerful communicators and writers, Diana is a quantum level above us. We had great fun working together -- and fun is certainly key."
How did the SmartMatch Alliances concept come about? Oriente and Feld had created their businesses in a quest for independence, autonomy, and creativity. Each had drawn on their corporate experiences, entrepreneurial spirit, and enthusiasm, and in the early years they had succeeded...to a point. Then they asked, "What's next?"
"Together, we created TeleForums(tm), our highly profitable, signature approach to using teleconference technology to upskill eager entrepreneurs, business owners, and enterprising corporate employees on how to be more successful in every aspect of their careers and professions. We coach them to create strategic alliances that expand their businesses and increase their success," they write.
"Can you imagine what it's like to find a new way to partner and learn from like-minded people and companies in your profession, industry, niches, and specialties? A method of establishing a strong, memorable brand for yourself, your company, your products, and your services -- one in which the only limits are your own imagination, creativity, and energy? Our work and our lives changed -- permanently. Once we stepped through and entered the world of strategic alliances, new vistas opened before us. Since then we've never made a cold call or directly solicited business for our coaching services. And we have eliminated commuting from our lives, and added unlimited vacation opportunity...need we say more?" According to the authors, SmartMatch Alliances are:
* Win-win. Each alliance partner benefits and thrives.
* Low- to no-risk. Usually, alliance partners don't spend money unless they're making money, or as we like to say...revenues first...expenses second!
* Easy to develop. The simpler, the better.
* High leverage. A small investment of time and effort yields big results.
* Low- or no-cost. Partners substitute creative thinking for big money.
* Flexible. Solid alliances are easy-in, easy-out, and easy-to-revise.
* Just-in-time. No inventory to build and store, no extra resources needed...no hassles!
* Profitable. Some solid business math: great leverage + high visibility = big profits.
* Fun. And why not?
Oriente and Feld begin their book by evoking an image from the year 1450, of Johannes Guttenberg enjoying himself at a local wine festival outside his hometown of Mainz, Germany, and noticing the mechanics of a wine press. Guttenberg eventually combined the wine press design with techniques used in coin punching to produce the first machine-printed page. This technology ushered in the era of mass communication, and the world was never the same again, as the printing press allowed published works to spread throughout the land, connecting people with each other and letting them share information for mutual benefit.
Now fast forward 550+ years, to the second communication revolution -- the era of the World Wide Web -- and the idea that community has changed from your neighbors next door to your neighbors in the next hemisphere. We all benefit from instant access to unlimited information online, quickly and inexpensively.
Oriente and Feld explain how this revolution -- quite clearly the defining event of this millennium thus far -- is about making information universally available faster than ever before. But, it's below the surface that the real revolution is occurring, according to the authors. "Just as with the printing press, the vehicle that enables information to be disseminated faster than ever -- the Web -- also enables us to create new communities and more intimate business relationships with a more focused marketing approach than ever before."
While the SmartMatch Alliance concept is new to today's business owners and managers who cut their teeth on "beating the competition" or "going it alone," alliances have been around in one form or another for a long time. Webster's Dictionary defines an alliance as "an association to further the common interests of its members." You help me, I help you, and we both get something we want. Win-win.
"Our working definition of a SmartMatch Alliance is 'an arrangement between two or more businesses to exchange something of equal value with the aim of increasing the visibility, sales, and profits of each alliance partner,'" says Feld.
"The operative words are 'exchange' and 'equal value.' Both concepts are essential to understanding the Exchange of Value or EOV, a fundamental principle behind SmartMatch Alliances. For example, writers, speakers, and coaches have a hidden EOV. Writing and communication skills are a wonderful way to launch a strategic alliance, which in exchange, will give the writer increased visibility and exposure, which leads to more book sales and other income streams."
"One of the concepts we discuss in the book is working within your 'PINS' - your profession, industry, niche, and specialties. The basis of SmartMatch marketing is taking the time to read everything you can lay your hands on about trends and developments in your current and target PINS: How are other businesses handling the same competitive and business pressures you're facing? New opportunities? New threats? What impact will these events and changes have on your goals, your alliances, and your future? Watch for the changes that are shaping the future of your industry, the marketplace, and the world of business. Who's succeeding today and why? Search the Internet for companies with websites that serve your PINS and register for their E-newsletters, subscribe to their E-mail discussion lists.
"We're confident about success for the book because we have wonderful professional alliances, great visibility in our PINS, and we have a huge newsletter subscriber list. Also, we are going to apply the principles of SmatchMatch Alliances for the marketing of our book."
In addition to the book there will be a SmatchMatch Alliance Journal, which is a workbook-like companion product to the book. The journal will be delivered electronically and priced separately -- and will be offered "free" as an incentive for those who order the book in 2002 omit or buy it during upcoming conferences.
Another powerful marketing tool the pair will utilize to promote their book is their website -- www.CoachingSuccess.com -- where they offer a "free" AllianceWizard TeleForum, on the second Tuesday of each month. Participants on these teleconference calls can learn more about the principles of SmartMatch Alliances -- and hopefully buy the book as well.