Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 Reggae Marathon Experience

Chris Morales, Reggae Marathon
I've been a part of Reggae Marathon since 2009 when I ran my first full Marathon.  2019 made it 11 consecutive years of making the trip to Negril, Jamaica for the annual weekend vacation and running event.  Back in 2009, that never crossed my mind.  I had a special reason for Reggae Marathon that was a one-off!  But then something special happened...

That day in 2009 it had rained the night before.  The morning dawned with bright sunny skies and above average humidity.  Truth:  It was brutally hot!  I had a 4 1/2 hour target time to finish but by the time I hit the half way point, I knew that wouldn't happen.  And out on the course there was no way to communicate that back to Sally who was waiting for me at the Finish at Long Bay Beach Park.  Or so I thought...

That morning Sally connected with Diane Ellis, Sponsorship Director of Reggae Marathon.  Diane found a chair and umbrella for Sally so that she would have some respite from the blazing sun.  I didn't know that of course and on top of the challenge of finishing, worried about how Sally was fairing as the minutes ticked off past my target time.

Diane came to the rescue again when she shared my progress via the timing mats that I crossed way out on the course.  That gave her an approximate time, and a bit of relief that I was actually still making progress.

As I came to the finish chute, another surprise:  Bob Moore, a runner from Washington, DC who we had met at our hotel only days before was there holding a Canadian Flag for me to carry across the finish!  He had waited after he finished his 10K race for over 4 hours to catch my finish!  

Reggae Marathon Finisher Medal, 2019I was on the course 5hours and 26 minutes that day.  I finished well after the majority of finishers had left and were already relaxing at their resorts.  The coconuts and beer were long gone.  

There was no music.  Only Reggae Marathon volunteers handing my my finisher medal and bottled water.  Diane standing beside Sally giving her encouragement and support.  Our recent American friends sticking around to hand me a Canadian flag.

Chris Morales, Reggae Marathon

Today we talk about the excitement of the music, the fresh cut coconut and the cold beer as being the Reggae Marathon Experience.  Truth:  It's the people.  The friends we met that day are still friends 11 years on.  My Reggae Marathon Experience has kept me coming back year after year to meet up with friends I only see in person once a year.  

Over the years there have been 3 people who have become special:  Navin, Larry and Dan.  We called ourselves the 4 Musketeers.  Every year we waited for the last finisher in order to have a group picture celebrating another successful finish.  

Chris Morales, Reggae MarathonSadly Dan passed away in Negril in 2018 while in Jamaica for his 7th Reggae Marathon.  And in 2019 Navin was not able to make it.  Larry and I still got together for our photo...dedicated to both Navin and Dan.  This is the photo from 2018 when Dan's passing was fresh and very raw for all of us.  It still is a year later!  But what keeps us going is a love of running...and Reggae Marathon!

The Experience is about people.  Old friends reunited, new friends made;  friendships celebrated!  That Experience will live with me forever!

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Sports Marketing Tourism Still Growing

Sports Marketing tourism is still growing globally.  Reggae Marathon, the experience I am most closely related to, runners from over 40 countries made their way to Jamaica to participate in the 2019 event.  That is an increase in over 10% in one year.  The three things that stand out:
  1. Runners come for the experience.  For most it's a warm weather destination where they can escape winter at home, have a great vacation and run in a well executed event.
  2. Local culture is important.  At Reggae Marathon we take a bus tour to visit a number of off-the-beaten path bars and restaurants.  Some are in people's homes!  Definitely get to experience a bit more of the local culture on these excursions.
  3. Digital Media, particularly the 3 biggest Social Media channels, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter extend and expand the experience.  Participating runners share their photos and stories using specific hashtags and that in turn exposes the event to more people.  And so on...
For more, here are ten future trends in sport tourism:

Until next time...

Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What it really is like inside an Advertising Agency

What's it really like inside an Advertising Agency?  Well...drinking for starters.  That was my first impression at my first Agency when 10 minutes into my interview, the VP asked if I wanted a drink.  And he wasn't offering water!

The truth about what goes on inside an Advertising Agency is somewhat more mundane.  It's a business first:  It produces advertising at a cost (communication marketing 'stuff') and sells at a markup with enough profit to keep the shareholders happy.  On the surface it looks glamorous.  Until you're 3 days into a location shoot with costs spiraling and the client is freaking out. 

Back in the day 'The Agency' was the keeper of the Strategy.  We asked the questions, analyzed the data from both quantitative and qualitative research, came up with brand positioning and developed marketing, communication and advertising plans.  And of course the advertising.  Even within the world of 'Digital', not much has changed.  Maybe the players have but the song remains the same...

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Listen to Learn

One of the most frustrating things about listening is when we list to respond, not to learn!  In my Professional Selling class at George Brown College we talk about 'active listening'.  This is where we ask questions to learn and turn off the response urge.  It takes practice.  I share stories of times when I've listened to respond versus listening to learn and the results of each.  In almost all cases when I've listened to learn, I come up with better solutions because my mind isn't working to formulate a response.  I'm not a psychologist and don't know the science behind this I just know it works!

Listening to learn involves asking better questions.  The ones that get the person talking about their needs.  Questions with yes/no answers...go good!

A business conversation is not a social conversation!  No matter how much you and your prospect/customer want to talk about family and the kids (and yes there is a time and place for that), these are business questions:  What are you looking for in the product or service?;  How will this improve your process?;  How will this reduce cost?  These are they types of questions that elicit detailed responses...they tell you what your prospect values most...what's most beneficial to them.

At the end of the day, people buy solutions that work for them.  Actively listening to learn what those are is what we should practice doing.

Until next time...

Chris Morales 
Chris Morales, Toronto

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Marketing 101: Awareness, Consideration, Preference

Back in the day as a newbie account guy a really smart Creative Director sat me down for a lesson on Marketing:  "You've got to get the consumer to become aware of you before they will consider you...only then will they grow to prefer you".  Great advice then and even more critical today with the myriad ways that consumers learn about new products.  Here's a great way to look at the process:

At the end of the day brands are looking for ways to keep a customer coming back for more...all while telling their friends...and so on...

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Canada, Marketing

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Pros and Cons of Social Media

We sure love the pros:  Easy to have an opinion, even easier to comment on someone else's post.  The cons are a drag though:  Every post becomes the most important post in the world, People pile on just to be seen as being part of the story.  Still though, for business owners the pros outweigh the cons:  Social Media Marketing is a cost-effective way to promote and grow your business.  Just keep in mind some of these cons:

Until next time... 

Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Canada

Thursday, November 14, 2019

5 Elements of the Sales Process

It looks great on paper the sales process.  In the real world it's somewhat more fluid...dare I say chaotic!  Despite your best laid plans, leads, suspects, prospects and customers don't behave in a linear manner.  It's's reality!  Use a CRM to keep on top of all activities of the sales process is one piece of advice I give frequently.  The other is to be ready to overcome objections...the obstacles to closing the sale and keeping your customers happy!

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Seven Steps of Personal Selling

At my first sales job back in the day, here's what I got from my Sales Manager:  Here's the phone book...those are your get out there and sell!"

In some industries things haven't changed.  But there is hope, especially with all the information on prospects that is available now via simple Google searches.

I teach a course at a Toronto Community College to adults looking to improve their personal selling skills.  Many are not professional sales people...they want to learn how to apply professional selling in their business lives:  to get jobs, promotions, new jobs!  The principles are basic and they apply to everyone.  Here are seven steps of personal selling that I believe in and teach:

None of these are more important than the other.  You will fail if you short-circuit the process.  As you gain experience you will learn how to adjust your pace based on the situation...and the needs of the person you are selling t!

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto
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Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Art of Personal Branding

What do you stand for?  Do prospective employers and or clients know what you do?  More importantly, what you can do for them?

Branding 101:  The value of your brand is determined by your customers!  How they perceive what value they get from you and your services.  This applies to businesses and individual.  Build your brand from that starting point.

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Is the Art of Selling Dead?

Is science overtaking the art of selling? It depends...

On the Art side, being personable, listening, asking questions, improvising are all top skills.  Learning your prospect's needs and working to fill them with value-added solutions is the name of the game. 

On the Science side, response times, lead management, CRM systems power the selling process.  Using an integrated contact approach involving email, text and phone along with a more guided approach makes it more clinical.  

No, the art of selling is not dead...and it is not going to be replaced by science.  Professional Sales people today combine art and science to prospect for new customers and 'sell to' current ones.  For more, check out this infographic:

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Professional Selling, Toronto

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ignore these 8 Sales Tips at your Peril

"Not listening" is my number 1.  Truly hearing what your prospect needs is one of the most effective ways to secure a long-term customer. That's the bulls eye of professional selling. Find out what your customer really needs before trying to 'sell them' a solution.  Check out the rest of these sales tips:  

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Canada, Marketing, Sales

Thursday, October 10, 2019

How to succeed in the digital age of selling

The computers haven't eliminated the sales rep yet.  And in a world where trust and reputation are increasingly important, professional sales people are even more valuable...both to their companies and to their customers!  This line stands out from the infographic below:   

"All things being equal, relationships win
All things being unequal, relationships still win!

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Guide for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs...Solo Entrepreneurs...Small Business Owners...Call it what you will, here's a guide to help with the day-to-day:

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Apps to earn money in the Gig Economy

There really is an app for that!

I've been intrigued by the Gig Economy.  It's a term that is thrown around freely and often without much thought.  It sounds cool!  The reality is very different.  I've been in the Gig Economy since the recession of 2008.  That was when some full-time jobs turned into 'Fixed-term-Contracts'; when having a 'Side hustle' became necessary for many.  Technology, especially mobility plays a big part in the Gig Economy and of course there is an app for almost everything.  I found this chart interesting and informative in layout out the top 150 apps and websites designed specifically for the Gig Economy:

 Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Work with the World's Happiest Marathon

Right now there is a unique opportunity to work with the World's Happiest Marathon, the Reggae Marathon running event is Negril, Jamaica.  Full details are available here:  Wanted Social Media Manager.

I've been going to Reggae Marathon every year for the past 10 years.  This December will by my 11th consecutive event.  I've run all three race events, the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. Along the way I've made some great friends and had some great experiences:  The Love Bus Bar hopping tour is one of the highlights!

Now it's time to pass on the baton.  And it's your opportunity to become the Reggae Marathon Social Media Manager!  Between now and October 30, 2019, Reggae Marathon is running a blog writing contest to find and select the next Social Media Manager.  Guidelines for entering and deadline dates are included in this blog post:  Wanted, Social Media Manager

So if you love to run, like and use Social Media this could be for you!  And you never know what the next 11 years of your life will bring!

Until next time...

Chris Morales Toronto

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Do's and Dont's of Social Selling

Social Selling sounds like the Silver Bullet.  Set up your LinkedIn profile, sit back and wait for the leads to roll in.  It's not like that.  Leveraging LinkedIn, one of the most influential Social networks for Social Selling requires going beyond the basics of Header Image, Professional Head shot and Headline and Summary.  You need to create content that will be interesting and relevant to your target prospects.  At the least you need to share content that will get you noticed.  There are things to do and things not to do.  Here are some guidelines:

With time and effort you will generate leads...but like in all professional selling, you won't close sales without engaging in person.

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, September 5, 2019

And now for my next trick

How to teach like a pro, Chris Morales
I've been mulling about what to write about next.  More factoids about marketing seemed dry.  Sharing my point of view on professional selling...well, you'll have to wait until next January when I teach that course again at George Brown College.  

I settled on sharing the content of my book, How to Teach Like a Pro.  The book with illustrations and valuable links is available for sale on Amazon.  If you've ever wanted the inside track on what it takes to succeed as an instructor of Continuing Education courses, check it out.  

In the meantime though, you can get a look at the content in the upcoming weeks on the blog at this link, How to Teach Like a Pro.  Chapter 1 is available now at this link, How to Teach Like a Pro, Foreword, Chapter 1

Thanks to Barry Kuntz of Black Isle Group for his guidance...he's the person that got me started!

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, How to teach like a pro

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Motion Creates Emotion

'Motion creates emotion'.  I could have borrowed that from my love of running.  On those days when I have no motivation, the act of moving from a walk to a run hurts for about a minute before I settle into a nice run.  The elation I feel after was worth the pain.  Motion does create emotion!

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Branding Exercise Concluded - Now What?

The 8 week exercise to improve my Online Profile concluded last week.  Now what?

I confess to feeling a bit empty since all my online profiles are running on autopilot.  Oh I check in with my BrandYourself account regularly to see what's happening.  And it's good!

Chris Morales Toronto
Moving forward it's constant monitoring, updating my various online profiles with new content and staying vigilant for anything negative that could affect the positive results to-date.

One important activity that will launch in the upcoming weeks is my video series on how to teach like a pro.  In this series I'll be sharing my insights, tips and suggestions from my teaching at George Brown College over the past 3 years.  

Managing your online profile is never really over.  And it requires effort.  That's life in the digital age...or at least since you did your first Google Search!

Until next time...
Chris Morales Toronto

Monday, August 19, 2019

Feedback on a Training Workshop

I'm looking for your feedback on a training workshop.  It's designed for solo entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business quickly.  The survey below only takes a minute...thank you for participating!

Create your own user feedback survey 

Chris Morales
Chris Morales Toronto

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 8 Update

Here we are at Week 8, the final week of the exercise to improve my online profile.  And...results are looking good!

Chris Morales Toronto

Reputation results have stabilized in the 'Good' range.  I'm pleased with that.  I didn't want to be a slave to the algorithm and am please to only have to spend about 10 minutes every couple of days on maintenance.  The highlights of the activities that led to this result include:
  1. Optimized LinkedIn Profile:  Headline and Summary.  Packed with relevant keywords that speak to the benefits I deliver:  Chris Morales LinkedIn
  2. BrandYourself Profile.  This was key.  It's a user-friendly service that walked me through optimizing all of my online profiles:  Twitter, LinkedIn, Personal Website, Facebook.  I definitely recommend this service.

Chris Morales Toronto
My Page One Search results have stabilized with the top 3 now showing 'Chris Morales' correctly.  I still have some work to do with images.  That activity will begin shortly and will be ongoing.  I'll share the results of those strategies and tactics in future blog posts.  If you want more information, contact me directly.

Chris Morales Toronto

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 7 Update

I got distracted this past week.  My plan had been to focus on getting my images to show up on the Search page.  I started out OK but quickly ran into a roadblock:  I didn't have enough places on the web where I could post my image.  I tagged all the images I could find (and could get access to) but it just wasn't enough to get my images to show up for 'Chris Morales' images already being served up.

A setback yes but not all was lost.  A chance conversation with a Social Media Marketing expert led me down another path. One that could be even more effective in improving page 1 ranking for 'Chris Morales'.  

He suggested creating and posting more content.  His rationale was that Google loves new and relevant.  And it turns out that I have a treasure trove of relevant content currently hiding behind firewalls.  It's time to dig up and open the chest!

The source of this content is the book I wrote and published last December on Kindle, How To Teach Like A Pro.

The strategy to help improve ranking is to share the content of the book directly on multiple online platforms.  I've got three:
  1. My YouTube Channel
  2. How To Teach Like A Pro website
  3. Blog on Chris Morales website 
Starting next week I'll be posting a video on my YouTube Channel with content from How To Teach Like A Pro.  I'll continue until I've published and shared the entire contents of the book.  So if you've ever wanted to learn the ins-and-outs of teaching at a Community College, make sure to tune in!

Chris Morales

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 6 Update

When I started 6 weeks ago my reputation score was 350...'Poor'.  Now 6 weeks in it's up to 591 and showing 'Good'.  Yes I've fallen for the online reputation game but in the process I've cleaned up and focused my online profile to highlight more of the things I want to focus on.  

Chris Morales

In first page rankings, 'Chris Morales' is now solidly on Page 1 above the fold.  Images are still now where they should be...this will be the focus moving forward.

For the next week the focus is on Images...getting them to show in Google searches.  The strategy is to upload more images and alt tag each one with my name, 'Chris Morales'.

Chris Morales
Chris Morales

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 5 Update

As I rolled through week 4 I got some tips on how to further improve my Chris Morales Online Profile.  Thanks Mike!  He suggested I focus for the next few weeks on tagging my public/online photographs with alt tags, Chris Morales.  That will be the focus for the upcoming week.

Since last week, I've moved to Premium on both LinkedIn and BrandYourself.  I've experienced a positive lift in exposure on LinkedIn and seen my reputation move from 'Average' to 'Fair' on BrandYourself...both positive. For next week I'll continue curating my online reputation on BrandYourself with the goal of moving from 'Fair' to 'Good'

Chris Morales
Chris Morales