Are you familiar with the Trough Cycle*?
Opportunity abounds. You’re awash with ideas. Each one promises greater success and more money.
You embrace each with enthusiasm. If the expected return is not immediate, passion diminishes and energy drops.
You emerge as the endorphins of the next opportunity light up your brain with its potential. The trough cycle starts over.
While some of this effort passes for learning and experience, much can be wasted over time and distance.
How much time have you left to squander?
What would you barter your time for if you had a chance? How about working successfully as an expression of what you love doing?
“Influence comes from being an accessible, visible, remarkable person in the centre of your industry,” according to Glen Carlson, founder of the Key Person of Influence program**.
Attending this one day seminar recently, I was struck by the idea that it’s mastering the art of barter, the act of reciprocity, that ensures mutual success.
The starting premise of this presentation was that key people of influence unsurprisingly barter with other key people of influence. The exchanged benefits might result in abundant wealth, but do not in themselves necessarily include an exchange of cash.
What is barter but an exchange of products/services of value for others of equal value including money? Money is after all just a set of numbers with a pre-agreed value which you can use to barter for goods or services which have the same nominated value.
KPI’s five point program starts with the Pitch. Presented by Ian Elliot, ex CEO of George Pattison Advertising Australia and author of Stop Bitching, Start Pitching, it’s to be expected that he was a master of this act of barter.
The secret of a great pitch
“To understand before you start to be understood”, Ian said. He added that the pitching process involves determining your value proposition, crafting your pitch, creating a brand and unlocking your hidden helpers, (your staff and customers – they’ve got all your answers, but you have to ask them).
It’s marketing lore that offline, you’ve only the time of a short elevator ride to barter your value proposition for a business card or an agreement to accept a call.
Not so different online, if you consider the typical bounce rate of visitors to a landing page.
If however, you’ve done the work beforehand, then success at pitching your excellent free information for permission to keep in contact, is far more likely.
Add to that fantastic service in everything you do. Suddenly, you’re no longer servicing for satisfaction, you’re bartering for advocacy. And that’s the key to building your community both on and offline.
The idea’s economy
In the ideas’ economy today, we are the ‘first settlers’ claiming the title deeds to our ideas by publishing them, says Andrew Griffith, international author of the 101 series of business books. Andrew presented on the second P of the KPI program, Publishing.
Publish, publish, publish
By consistently publishing posts and articles, tweets and comments we barter our ideas in return for attention, authority and advocacy.
Andrew urged us to take the next step and publish a book. As a published author, he suggested, you become an opportunity magnet. He said there has never been a better time to publish.
If you have completely understood your niche and your position in it and your book is true to your core values, a book can be a remarkable leveraging tool.
And key to the next step, creating product.
Income follows assets
Pitching opens doors, publishing builds your credibility, and creating a product turns your skill sets into an asset. That was Mark Johnstone’s mantra as he delivered the third P of the KPI program, Product.
He’s CEO of Shirlaws international, a world class business advisory firm.
I’d like to posit the idea that this too is barter. A reciprocal agreement with yourself and your business to reward your effort to this point by creating assets.
Trading money for a valuable service or product remains an act of barter too. The question is how well you do it. Mastering this form of barter means you have been successful at pitching and publishing. You’ve built a trusted community who cannot get enough of you and what you have to offer and so when you finally ask, they pay.
Mark concluded with a noteworthy comment which was the perfect segwe to the next presenter.
“Your intellectual property is your personal Google algorithm.”
“You need to be Googleable!”
That’s how Kylie Bartlett, the WebCeleb and a social media whizz, started her presentation on the fourth P, Profile.
Kylie, something of a human dynamo, had quite a few memorable statements of advice to add:
‘If your not online, you don’t exist.’
‘You are who Google says you are.’
‘Micro business is the new black.’
‘Don’t write social media cheques your business can’t cash.’
‘Don’t look like a work in progress, have everything in stock.’
‘Customers are now your marketers.’
‘Repetition creates reputation.’
‘The breakthrough deal will come through Google.’
What’s the ultimate online barter?
What this suggests is that the ultimate online barter is excellent, consistent valuable content which builds a community of avid followers in exchange for Google’s recognition.
With Google onside, you have authority, influence, and traffic plus peer and community acknowledgment. Kylies’ closing comment summed it up: “Content and community is the new currency.”
Unpack it. Pitch it, publish, productise and profile it and then partner with others.
There’s no such thing as a selfmade millionaire. It’s a team sport according to Daniel Priestly, author of Key Person of Influence.
Daniel completed the presentation on the fifth P, Partners. “You can’t add your way to wealth” he said, “you can only play the multiply game”.
So you have perfected the pitch, published a string of books, productised your skills and have a popular profile online.
Do you think you have something of value to barter? You bet.
Are there other suppliers in ‘the magic triangle’ Daniel spoke about: brands, distributors and products who might want to partner with you to increase their reach, profile, improve their brand, sell more products.
Someone woke up today, he said, who has the missing piece for your business.
It was a compelling note to complete the presentation.
Philanthropic acts of barter
At the end of the day, we learned that the modest price of our tickets had secured 137 children access to life-saving water through the program B1G1.com. Additional purchases made on the day by some of the attendees amounting to $10,000 was donated to the Hunger Program. Both philanthropic acts of barter.
It put me in mind of KasCare, the charity we co-founded with my aunt in South Africa to warm and comfort some of the 1.9 million children orphaned and vulnerable HIV/AIDS and poverty. How does barter work here I wondered?
Well, we went out to the world of knitters and asked them simply toknit or crochet an 8″ square to send to South Africa where they would be made into blankets for the children.
In exchange, we would make sure the blankets were given with their love, to the children most in need and send them photographs of these children with their blankets.
The response was overwhelming. So we created a community in which the stitchers could encourage and teach each other, exchange patterns and creative ideas, enjoy challenges, and spread the word about this little known human crisis. In return, the community poured squares, hats, jumpers and toys into South Africa, 306,000 squares and over 40,000 knitted items at last count.
Is this not a perfect demonstration of barter? A value exchange that benefits all parties.
Thank you for the inspiration offered by all the KPI presenters for this article on Barter.
This is a Word Carnival post, hosted by Tea Silvestre, the Word Chef.
* inspired by Seth Godin’s book, The Dip.
** At the time of writing and publishing this article, I had no interest in the KPI program outside of having attended the one day seminar and been inspired by the synergy between barter and their 5 step program. As of today, I’ve made the decision to attend the 30 week Key Person of Influence incubator program. While I look forward to sharing with you what I learn along the way, there is no commercial gain attached to this post.