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Category Archives: Cool Card Stories

Realtors and “The Big Fish”

Thanks to everyone for all the great feedback and interest in the last edition of “Take Note” and the Purple Cow theory!

It is gratifying to know that the information people learn from this newsletter is providing value, and that many are implementing this concept with their own clients and customers, which is: “Appreciation wins over self-promotion every time.”

While normally there is only a “teeny weeny” bit of self-promotion in my newsletters, the last edition — which profiled SendOutCards as a relationship building tool — had a read rate almost 25% higher than any other issue throughout the past 18 months. And those issues had high read rates of their own.

That seems to prove that there is real interest by people in implementing this concept into their own businesses.

And, since there were so many questions asking how various professions and businesses successfully use the unique tool SendOutCards provides, today’s edition will be focused on Realtors.

Okay … so why would a Realtor use SendOutCards, when Brokers provide tools of their own to their agents? And what’s up with the Big Fish piece?

Okay … so what does a “Big Fish” have to do with Realtors? Promise it will tie in before you’re done reading!

First, here is a short YouTube video of a successful Broker in Ohio — in real estate for many years — that will set the stage.  Don’t personally know this man, but agree with what he has to say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUxcDZ2Jm0Y

And, for added info — since so many have also questioned how the heck these card are created — here’s a short YouTube trip through the 50,000 square foot SendOutCards facility in Salt Lake City, the mammoth (as long as a room!) Xerox iGen printers used, and why we are the #1 mailer of first class mail in the country.

The Postal Service even considers SendOutCards a Post Office, because of the shear number of stamps kept on site.  A little known, but cool fact to throw in here, I thought.

Watch how 4 Million cards and gifts were sent out — in December of 2010 alone — projected to at least triple this holiday season. Yes, that’s a capital “M” for millions. Not a misprint.

Keep in mind:  All different cards. All sent to different people.  Or one card sent to a bunch of people. Being printed at multiple cards per second. And YOU never touch a thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2ZLBrXSMgw. Pretty cool, eh?

And, of course, even though this is one of my shorter issues content wise, it wouldn’t be complete without a great card story with pictures, would it?

So here’s the BIG (8½” x 11″) card that was sent by a good friend and fellow team member, Mike Broski, to a client who Mike wanted to continue to build a relationship with. A client who likes to fish.

Mike is a sales professional, although not in Real Estate. But this cool card still works to prove a point.

This client of Mike’s had gone fishing, and apparently had caught a great big fish. Sorry, am not a fisherman (or “fisher person” I guess would be more politically correct), so I have no idea what this big fish is. I would guess a marlin. But it is definitely BIG!

Through networking channels, Mike was able to find pictures of his client, and this honker of a fish.

So, a BIG CARD was created, to go along with the BIG FISH. The front of the card is just one of the 15,000 standard cards on the site. There are too many cool cards to mention. 150 categories of them.

A calendar graphic was pulled inside the card in seconds, along with all the fishy pictures, and even the client’s favorite brand of whiskey.

So how cool is this!?

Notice that there is NO mention of doing more business together, or promoting Mike’s company, why they are better, specials they were having, etc., etc. or any other sales-y message ANYWHERE in this card.

Reaching out without an agenda. This was simply a card of congratulations on a great accomplishment. Nothing more. The card was sent to his client, along with a box of brownies.

Mike reports a subtle shift in how this client now interacts with him, since that card and gift was received.

Think Mike’s client will ever forget how he felt when he opened up that card, and saw those pictures?  And that dose of chocolate didn’t hurt either.

So, if you’re a Realtor and looking for referrals … think of that buyer who just bought a house from you. You send them a card like this with pictures of THEIR family everywhere (not yours or your Broker’s) which you took the day of their final walk through.  People like to see pictures of themselves and their families.

Thus the tie in of Realtors and the BIG FISH. Sneaky eh?

But effective in proving a point: What will your buyers think when they open a card like that?  Where will that card go and for how long?  How about on the refrigerator for months to come?

People don’t throw these cards away. It has pictures of their family. And also has YOUR name, for everyone to see, and for the homeowner to say “Look what my Realtor did!”

Who will your buyers show this card to?  Everyone: Family, friends, new neighbors and co-workers.  You have now gone into their circle of influence effortlessly, from your home or office, in a very unique, fun way.

Take a few pictures of your next buyer in their new home. Email me, or give me a call at 315-374-0779, and we’ll do a great BIG card together … my treat.

Worthwhile to do?  You decide. Call me. Then we’ll talk FSBOs.

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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Cool Card Stories

 

Permission to Delete!

People are inundated with information these days. (Ever count the commercials going by as you DVR pass them?!  It’s scary.)  Let’s not even talk about the amount of email that comes through that we never read.  More and more each day.

What’s this mean for businesses out there in the jungle today? That there is a massive shift to referral marketing according to Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine.

So what would make someone do business with you?  Return your phone call? Answer your email? What do YOU do to stand out from the rest?  What’s YOUR “Purple Cow”?

Huh?

Okay … My short and skinny definition of Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” theory: If you’re driving, and seeing lots of cows grazing by the side of the road, for miles and miles, eventually do you even notice them any more? Ho hum. Same old same old. BUT if you drove by a Purple Cow? What would you do??  Would it get your attention? Absolutely.

According to Seth Godin, could your “Purple Cow” be something as simple as sending personal greeting cards in the mail, and gifts? Yep.

Want more proof you need to set yourself apart? Dr. Ivan Misner, PhD., Founder of BNI International, in his best selling book on networking, “The “29% Solution”, refers to the sending of cards and notes of great importance, and why: It makes you memorable.

People like doing business with those they know, like, trust … and remember.

Look on page 113 of Dr. Misner’s book. There is a company referenced by name, that helps people do just that: set themselves apart through the sending of personal cards and notes.   And Yep … it’s SendOutCards.  Dr. Misner recommends SendOutCards in print, in his national best seller.

Ever thought about getting a SendOutCards account, but the price of entry was a challenge?

It is no more.

As of the end of May, 2011, SendOutCards has completely removed the barrier to entry for people who want to use this powerful site to help them in building relationships, and help gain future business to boot.

Our company listened to customers, reps in the field, and focus groups: Two years of information gathering. And implemented what they learned.

Now, for only $9.80 a month, you can have complete access to the site, including the amazing PicturePlus 2.0 program where you can make cards out of pictures. The $9.80 gives you 10 greeting cards a month:  so about a buck a card. Plus the stamp.  A real stamp. Placed for you on a real envelope. Sent in the US mail for you. Yet you never touch anything.  Send more cards if you need to, any time, for the same cost.

Want even more bells and whistles? How about cards in your own handwriting, with your own signature (even download your handwriting font and signature onto your PC too, for use in other programs like Word) and the wholesale cost of everything you are sending? Available too.

If you are thinking this sounds like a great idea … it is.  You can even get a license to re-market the site if you want to. Might as well get paid for what you are going to be doing once you start to use this: tell everyone you know about it.

It’s already what you do now for things you really like, isn’t it?

In as little as 15 seconds, you can send a thank you card, in the mail, to someone you just talked to on the phone, thanking them for their time. Take a picture of that client the next time you close a deal. Send them a card with their picture in it, with you both smiling. Who does that?

It’s fun. Think you’ll stand out?

Costs you $.50 more to add that picture or even multiple pictures, graphics and logos. That’s only $1.50 a card.  Upload your business card. Be creative. It’s easy.

Mail all your holiday cards to hundreds of people in seconds.  Pictures of your staff or family. Unbelievable picture and card quality. Hands down. No question. Ask anyone who has ever seen these cards.

Online contact management system: group people any way you want, to mail to them in seconds.

If you leave your company, or switch: your contacts easily go WITH you. Their yours, because it’s YOUR site.

Send personalized postcards to family and friends from your hotel room while on vacation, with that beautiful ocean view as a backdrop — your own family front and center.

Ask Linda at the Tech Garden: I sent her a card with a picture of her son and herself inside a card, after we met  2 weeks ago at an event they held. Took me 5 minutes to do.  She’s going to be sending her Mom a card every week, with a picture of something her family or kids did that week.

Ask Bridget or Linda at The Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles who use the site, among other things, for thanking business clients who use the meeting rooms at their unbelievably beautiful facility.

Ask Steve Roberts of Syracuse Business Services who uses the system more creatively than almost anyone I know (even me!!) to secure appointments, ensure phone call backs, and set his business apart. And, he recommends the SendOutCards site to his own clients as part of helping them to grow their own businesses, which is his specialty. “It’s a no brainer.” Steve’s words.

Ask Susan Acker of Keller Williams Realty in Fayetteville, who has an unbelievable eye for creating beautiful cards for her clients who buy new houses … and for all kinds of other reasons.  She says this site becomes addicting very quickly, and it SO does! Susan was a teacher for 30 years.

Remember birthdays of anyone you want, and send a card — on time.  The site reminds you two weeks ahead via email. Never EVER feel guilty again for forgetting a birthday or anniversary. Never again pay for a card that cost you $5  (or more), sits on your kitchen counter, and was never mailed. (Strike a cord there?)  Even have a gift sent along with your card … like a box of to-die-for brownies or an American Exress gift card. All done for you.

Do this for yourself, your business, your family, your friends. There’s absolutely no reason why not to now.

And of course, one of my favorite cards had to be included here!  Hello to my Canadian team member Catherine, and her beautiful spaniels, who I met at “Corvettes on the Beach” in Sylvan Beach last July! (We are doing the show together this year!)



Interested? Give me a call. (315) 374-0779.  You can be all set up, using this site, sending cards, in as little as 10 minutes. Make someone’s day, and your own, by putting this small daily habit into practice. Let me help you so it GETS DONE!

Send a card a day, for a month. Just because. Watch how you feel, and what others feed back to you.

Will give you a 100% guarantee: You will NEVER be sorry you did.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2011 in Cool Card Stories

 

Capturing the Moments in Life

Today’s “Take Note” is about one of my favorite subjects … taking pictures. Now, while I am just am amateur at this picture taking thing — and the trusty Coolpix camera is never far away — I must admit I have been just plain lucky in some of the shots I’ve captured.

But there are other people though, who love to view life through the lens of a camera, watching for those precious moments that can slip away in the blink of an eye, unless captured on film.

One of those is my friend, Caity Bom, of Caitlyn Bom Photography, http://www.caitlynbom.com.

Caity didn’t start out life wanting to be a photographer.  She had moved to Pittsburg in 2009 to attend college, and started taking pictures as something to do in her spare time. Her Dad had liked to shoot pictures too, so you could say it was in the genes.

But it wasn’t until Caity was up early one morning doing a random sunrise shoot, when she first felt the calming place she was brought to, by looking through the lens of her camera.

It was her “ah ha” moment, and she’s had a camera in hand ever since.

Caity instinctively knew the pictures she was taking were special. So, the natural next step was to place some of them on the internet, and see where that would lead. A young woman in a photography group Caity joined saw the pictures, and was getting married. She asked Caity to take pictures of the wedding at the last minute, since there was an issue with the photographer the bride-to-be had hired months before.

Stress level for Caity? Up.  Photograph a wedding? Caity had never done that before. There’s a timeline as to what happens throughout that special day.  The photographer has to be aware of everything, and is expected to capture it all. She wondered if she could do it. Rising to the challenge, outside her comfort zone (isn’t that where we all grow?) she accepted the first job, and captured her most favorite images yet.

Also in 2009, Caity’s website was #1 on Google for those searching “Syracuse wedding photos”. That one chance happening lead Caity to 20 more weddings throughout 2010.

That’s what I call “meant to be”.

Caity also does family portraits, but not in the posed, standard setting people think of. She prefers natural, outside settings where she captures people having fun together, the innocence of a child picking up a flower — even chasing the family dog if there is one!  Well, dogs ARE members of our families too, aren’t they!?   (We pet people understand this.)

Caity gets into the moment and becomes part of the scene she is seeing through her lens. When I first saw a book of her photography, it brought chills up my arms as I looked at what she captured.

She instinctively recognizes those moments — the looks on faces, the kids smiling at their parents, laughing at butterflies, playing in the grass, the sun shining just right: Snapshots of life.

Of course, I had to make a card to send to her, showcasing some of the great pictures she shared with me.

And here it is! A happy family on the front. Brides inside!

I’ve been creating cards with the SendOutCards site for a number of years now. Have never used professional pictures until now. Even I was impressed with the way this turned out!! And it only took minutes to do!

When it came in the mail yesterday, it was a “Wow” moment for me. My favorite is the bridesmaids on the bridge, and the looks on their faces.

Caity also does what is one of the newest forms of photography called “boudoir photography”. Am sure this is wonderful for many, but not a service I personally will be partaking of with a 40+ year old body that is suddenly very aware of the gravitational pull of the earth. Although, (sigh)  it wasn’t too long ago when someone thought my daughter and I were sisters.  I was quite pleased, but Melanie, a 20 something year old at the time … not so much.

Once Melanie has her first baby, which she tells me she needs to do soon, since she’s running behind the curve (says who?!), Caity will be the one I call. Caity also specializes in “pregnancy photos” I’ll call them (for lack of a better term!) — photos that are gaining in popularity these days with expecting moms.  She can, over the years, photograph the entire cycle of a family’s life: engagement, marriage, pregnancy, birth, birthdays, school, college, graduation, wedding, grandchildren.

It is a special privilege for me to profile such a wonderful and talented young woman. I sincerely believe that as time goes on, she will become one of the most sought after photographers in our area.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Cool Card Stories

 

What the heck is a QR code?!

Technology is amazing these days isn’t it?  If we need to know just about anything, we fire up the ole PC or Mac, and find our answers on the Internet in seconds.

Or, we can use our smart phones (Hmmm … does that make the rest dumb ones?) and find that answer while we are waiting for coffee at the Dunkin Doughnuts drive-through.

We can even watch the latest American Idol episode if we missed it, and evaluate Steven Tyler’s latest outfit.  (Not!)

Today’s “Take Note” is going to be all about this great technology called the “QR” code:  What is it, and some really cool thing people can do with YouTube videos already available online, or those we create with our own cameras!

So…what the heck IS a QR Code??

It wasn’t long ago when I was asking myself that same question.

A “QR” code is short for “Quick Response”.  QR codes function as mobile shortcuts to websites and videos. To me, it looks like a little box with black and white patterns and lines inside it.

There’s my technical definition.

Apparently very common in Japan, QR codes are now moving quickly into our part of the globe, as one of the next big techno things. And here’s why:  When you look in magazines (like the current edition of People), you’ll see a few ads for products like Splenda, Alpo, and even American Idol,  with QR codes on the page. In the next year, these little codes will start appearing everywhere!

When this code is scanned using the camera on a smart phone that has a free QR reader app downloaded on it, “POOF”… a video pops onto the phone and plays.

What will this technology do?

My favorite (non-SendOutCards!) example so far is Realtors. QR codes can be placed on FOR SALE signs in front of houses for sale. These codes can be linked to videos showing a virtual tour of a house.  So, anyone driving by — who knows the technology — can jump from their car, scan the QR code on the sign with their smart phone, and immediately see a tour of the house they’re sitting in front of.  Then decide whether or not to bother the Realtor.

Pretty cool, eh?

To access this technology for us regular folk, you first download a QR reader onto your smart phone. There are all kinds of free apps. Since I have an iphone, that’s the one I’ll mention here.

For me, I like one or two choices — for anything.  Like paint colors or tile for a bathroom floor. As my sister Nancy knows, I don’t function well with a store full of colors featuring 100 shades of white.

So the one app I heard about  — which is free — worked for me on many levels. It’s called “Inigma”.  I downloaded this reader from the app store via my phone, and viola … it actually appeared!

What now? Well, I went out and bought the current issue of People. Found the Alpo advertisement with the QR code on the page, which miraculously scanned the first time I tried it. Just waved the camera on my phone over the code and it did its thing!   Took me to a cute video of dogs running around, with the apparent subliminal message being these canines obviously have a great deal of energy from eating Alpo.  I have cats, so I wouldn’t know.

But … for me, first goal accomplished!

Next task?  How to get a video I took on my camera, of my kitties, uploaded to YouTube.

Once I shot the 30 second video of them with my trusty Coolpix camera, I took that little SD card out, popped it into the computer, clicked around a little with the mouse, and up went the video onto YouTube.  (It’s easy to create your own YouTube account!).  This little “url”, or path name, for my kitty video, was miraculously created.

Yes! The final goal was in sight!

Since my technical ability is sometimes limited to the “power on” button of most new hi-tech gadgets that come into our home, I was now impressed at this extreme progress made without multiple, frustrating calls to customer support centers as is usually my MO.

A problem existed however. The video itself was just … well … not good.  Kitties didn’t do what I wanted them to do, which was to look at me, or at least glance my way as I was meowing, and making noises to get them to look at the camera. They were content to sit there and clean.

Once I gave up, I, of course, forgot to turn off the camera, so there are upside down views of the desk, chair and floor.

But the video WAS now on YouTube. I had that url and was ready to place my kitty video — via a QR code I was about to create —  into, what else?? A greeting card!

Yep, SendOutCards is one of the first companies in the country to offer this QR video technology to the consumer.

Since I wanted a sample card to show people my techno prowess, here’s what happened next:  I chose a pre-designed birthday card from the 15,000 cards on the SendOutCards site.  Once inside the card, with the click of a mouse, I pasted the YouTube url into a special place on the SendOutCards site. A QR code was automatically generated, and now available to place into the card — just like a picture.  Then, I dragged and dropped an instructional graphic into the card to help people know what to do, and …

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

How’s that for technology?

And … believe it or not, you can scan the QR code you see here, right from your computer screen via your smart phone, and you’ll see a video.  It will NOT, however, be my kitty video. Am too embarrassed for people to hear me actually meowing.

So what I did was make another QR code out of a YouTube video link sent to me (Thank you Susan!!) and uploaded that into the sample birthday card.

It shows … well … I’m not going to tell you!  You’ll have to take a few minutes, upload a QR reader app to your phone, and scan the code!    What you will see IS very cool. (My only comment on this video: some people have WAY too much time on their hands.)

What kinds of things are people going to be able to do with greeting cards and this technology? To name just a few, how about:

Parents sending cards to grandparents with their grandchildren on a video
Save the Date announcements for weddings (Meet the bride and groom!)
Thank you cards for wedding, birthday and holiday gifts
Marketing tools in any industry
Executives sending heartfelt messages of appreciation to valued employees
New baby – greeting card announcement with pictures AND video!!
Family or class reunion (embarrassing moments captured forever)
Fundraising (We need your help!)

So there is my version of this new technology.

If anyone has a fun YouTube video they want to put into a card and send to some unsuspecting soul … send it on me!!

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Cool Card Stories

 

Earthtones Coffee House and the REALLY BIG Card

It’s fun to write about new local businesses, and the stories that are behind them. And of course, readers now expect my unique humor to be infused into the stories I write about them.

Oh, the pressure, the pressure.

Luckily, Earthtones Coffee House in Cicero offers not only a cool story on how it came into existence in our town, but also Earthtones’ owner, Pat Newton, is the kind of guy who always makes our weekly networking meetings — CNY Connects II — interesting and humorous. So I can also have some fun with here with one itsy bitsy tall guy/short guy joke a little later on.

But I digress …

Pat has always wanted to own a coffee house, and put his own unique touches in it. So when the original Earthtones location in Rochester, New York — where Pat was the manager — closed in 2010, Pat purchased the rights to the brand name, and everything that was in the original location, and to Cicero, New York he came.

Pat knew what he wanted to do, and worked closely with the Lakeshore Plaza property management team headed by Joe Scripa of Keller Williams Realty, to make his dream a reality. With a lot of hard work, and a little luck, Earthtones opened in early 2011.

One of the many great things about Earthtones is that it’s a warm, friendly place, decorated with style. There are all kinds of great coffees available, as well as specialty sandwiches like Paninis — which are my favorite — and awesome hot chocolate, different than any I have tasted. And of course, all kinds of pastries and goodies to make my clothes fit that much tighter.

Earthtones is a family affair too. Pat’s mom, Rita, works behind the counter, and also handles all the bookkeeping stuff, which Pat gratefully allows her to do, since he would rather be schmoozing with the customers and building rapport as he does so well.

There’s also a meeting room in the back of the facility, which Pat rents out for business meetings, parties, local singing acts, and all kinds of events. This was part of Pat’s vision: providing the local community with a meeting room where you can hold a meeting — and also get a great cup of coffee.

For my part in helping Pat gain exposure for the coffee house, I took pictures of Pat and Rita behind the counter and sent them a really cool card to hang on their wall, congratulating them on their new venture. I actually found a card on the SendOutCards site with the word “coffee” spelled out in coffee beans.

Okay. That was cool. And here’s the card Pat received in the mail:

Coffee 1

Coffee 2
There are two REALLY cool things about this card.

What are they you ask? Okay. Twist my arm and I’ll tell you.

One is the inset picture on the left side of the top panel. Guess who that really TALL guy is at the counter opposite Pat? Yes, it’s Mike, the “Scary Cat” guy!! (Now you’ll HAVE to read that story!)

The short dude behind the Earthtones counter is Pat. We have a great deal of fun teasing Pat to stand up during our networking meetings — when we give our 1 minute “elevator speech” to tell everyone what we each do — since Pat is the same size whether he sits on one of the bar chairs, or stands. We love you Pat!

And the second cool thing is the picture on the bottom panel, where the calendar is. That’s a picture of our networking group. Since January and February had already gone by, I figured I would pop a picture of all our faces there for Pat to remember from now to eternity.

Okay … there’s a third REALLY cool thing I must mention.

This is not just a regular size greeting card. No sir-eee. Even though it looks the same size as all the other cards you have seen pictured in this e-newsletter, this card is

BIG … REALLY, REALLY BIG.

BIG as in an 8 ½x 11 piece of paper big. Yep, Really. You can now do HUGE cards like these, right from the SendOutCards site. This card took 10 minutes to do. Found the coffee card from the over 15,000 standard cards on the site. Pulled in the pictures off my computer and placed them into the card; the other graphics (including calendars) are found right on the SendOutCards site. See the little coffee cup graphic I added in the lower right hand side of the card?? And one of the best parts: this customized, cool calendar card cost only about $6 to create and have mailed out for me, including postage.

Whatever your imagination can come up with, you can do with this site. And it keeps getting better and better, making it easy and quick to create powerful impressions.

So, stop by Earthtones. Have a cup of specialty coffee, a sandwich and a pastry for the road — and look for that BIG card on the wall.

And of course, as always, if you want to try this cool site out, send a free card on me!

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Cool Card Stories

 

Hafner’s Jo-li-me Fresh Garden Café

It is always my pleasure to promote local businesses in the area. And as a member of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Ambassador’s Group, we recognize local businesses who are celebrating milestones — whether it is a grand opening, a new addition, or a 50 year anniversary.

Last week, on Monday January 24th, a group of Ambassadors met to present a Certificate to Lisa and John Caveny on the opening of their new café, Jo-Li-Me (pronounced “joe-lah-mae”), named after John, Lisa and their daughter Megan. That’s cool. Jo-Li-Me Cafe

Everyone in the area knows where Hafner’s Garden Center is in North Syracuse. The huge greenhouses are hard to miss. And the grounds there are nothing short of awesome, especially in the spring when everything in Upstate New York feels reborn after our long winters — a wonderful part of the changing of the seasons.

SO many of us are SO ready for THIS winter to be SO OVER! Bring on the green grass and flowers!

On this particular day, we walked into a bright beautiful, peaceful space created out of a portion of one of the greenhouses. That in itself was pretty cool. Even more unique was the story behind the beautiful wooden tables and enormous beams that have a home in this space.

John and his family wanted to save a piece of their family’s heritage to bring with them to this new venture. And, there are companies out there that specialize in deconstruction. Who knew??

So the beams from a barn on the original Hafner property — dating back in the mid-1800s — were pulled by Rob Englert of D-Build, a local company who specializes in deconstruction.

Once pulled out, local cabinet fabricator, Chris Clemans of CabFab, transformed the beams into the tables located throughout the café. Some of the beams were placed overhead, which gives the space a majestic class.

The soup and sandwich some of us had there was pretty darn good too — made with fresh ingredients that come right from the greenhouses. Another unique aspect of this new café.

The goal of Jo-Li-Me, John explained, is to help make Chuck Hafner’s Garden Center a destination. Customers can come and stay for a few hours, starting out by having something to eat in the café, then walking through the seemingly endless array of beautiful plants and shrubs. And returning to the café — or the ice cream stand that is packed throughout the summer — to get something for the road.

There will be seasonal plants displayed throughout the café all year long. John explained that since the greenhouses are made of special glass — and since the café is part of one of the actual greenhouses containing this glass — the plants that make the transition from the growing area of the huge complex to the café are not “stressed”, and remain strong, lush and beautiful for a long time.

Of course, I took lots of pictures before and after we presented John and Lisa with their Certificate. And later that day, I created a special card for them — complete with smiling employees — celebrating the opening.


It’s fun to celebrate events like this. Ordinary people creating something extraordinary.

Do you have a special picture you would like to send someone in a card? Maybe for Valentine’s Day? Visit my website. You can pick out a card from one of the 15,000 on the site, pull up your picture inside (or even make your own card out of multiple pictures) and have it sent out for you, (through the US mail — NOT an e-card!) without ever touching a stamp, piece of paper, or envelope.

Make their day!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Cool Card Stories

 

The Gold in Networking

So let’s talk about my networking experience at “The Lodge” at Welch Allyn back in September of last year.

What IS the Lodge? I really had no idea. I knew Welch Allyn was a huge, well known manufacturing facility in Skaneateles, a quaint little town to the southwest of Syracuse with one of the most beautiful lakes around. And that there apparently is a lodge of some sort associated with this company.

Also knew that a local women’s group, WomenTies, http://www.WomenTies.com — founded by master networker Tracy Hibbinbothem — was holding a networking event there. And that I had been wrestling for weeks on whether or not to go. So much else to do that day. But something told me to JUST DO IT. That little voice that I listen to more now than I ever did. So, I registered the day before, and drove to the event the next day.

The Lodge turned out to be truly AWESOME place. A first class banquet and meeting facility — and then some. When I walked in, I found myself overlooking an enormous open room with a birds-eye view of almost the entire facility. Huge with wooden beams, 3-story ceilings, floor to ceiling fireplace, a baby grand piano and bar in the room and a wall of windows that spanned the entire back of the building, overlooking an enormous deck and lake. Absolutely breathtaking.

They hold weddings, retirement parties, bridal showers, birthdays, meetings, luncheons, retreats, and any other type of gathering you can think of there. Apparently very well known, although not to me until that day.

The Lodge was pretty darn impressive, as was the networking event! With close to 100 women there, I was snapping lots of pictures. As I was networking, I struck up a conversation with Chris, one of the staff helping out that day, and he told me all about the facility. The conversation evolved, and he asked what I did. So I pulled out some of my cool 3-panel picture greeting cards chock full of pictures and explained how businesses use this unique and fun service, and how it could be a valuable tool for the Lodge.

When he looked at the cards, he decided right then I needed to talk to Paula Knight, the Wedding and Event Coordinator, and left to get her business card. The business connection was made, and the “gold” created.

Since then, I’ve followed up by — you guessed it — sending them gorgeous cards showcasing their amazing event and thanking them for checking out SendOutCards.

The card image above, were included in the initial card I created to show Paula Knight and Bridgette, the Sales Manager, how cool SendOutCards is, using actual pictures from the WomenTIES event they hosted. As you can see, it was a real high quality, classy event!

After showing Paula and Bridgette a demo of SendOutCards, I sent the card below with a photo of them sitting in front of the huge fireplace, in order to thank them for their time.

The result? The Lodge will now be using SendOutCards as one of their tools to thank their clients, and for a host of other future uses — all designed to build relationships within their own sphere of clients, guests, and potential clients.

Networking at its finest. It is what I am doing right now, promoting this wonderful place to the circle of people who read my newsletter. The credibility this brings, when a connection like this is made, is priceless.

Networking does take time. And perseverance. But it’s a skill that can be learned by anyone. And when a result like this happens, from a chance meeting, to something that builds credibility for everyone involved, it’s a win-win on many levels.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Cool Card Stories