December Seminar..Don't Miss This One!

Learn 5 Keys To Google SEO, Social Media, Branding Your Business and Email Marketing

Now more than ever YOU can make a larger impact on your company’s marketing efforts.  Not too long ago you were forced to find your customers and prospects through expensive mass media like Newspaper, Yellow Pages and TV.

Now you can create your own Radio Station!  Yes, you can OWN your own radio station.  Through the online tools available today you can use your Website, Email & Social Media to own the marketing medium.  By having your own means of getting the word out you’re able to market your company more, spend less and MAKE MORE PROFIT!

BUT, you need a compelling value proposition, a well branded company, a strategic plan and more importantly attainable goals to help you reach your maximum potential.

This 4-Hour seminar will help you create a plan for 2013 that will put you on the path to OWNING your own radio station!  Through 4 sessions, you’ll not only find out what it takes to do this, but you’ll leave with 5 goals -IN WRITING – for each topic.

These three local marketing and sales experts with a combined 100+ years of experience will make it easy to improve your marketing with actionable information on these important topics.

  • Matt Plapp of Driven Media Solutions
  • Kirk Carter of Web4Marketing
  • Duane Plapp of Total Revenue Coaching

Get Found! Your road map to Google and other search engines

  • The importance of Google + Local (AKA Google Places)
  • Create PERFECT pages for your website
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Building
  • Driving qualified traffic through Google AdWords

Start Building Your Radio Station

  • Properly creating your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn & YouTube
  • What, When & Why…Creating a daily/weekly posting schedule
  • Your reach and how to grow it
  • Goals, where are you now and where should you be by 2014
  • Understanding some of the features on Facebook & LinkedIn

Create A Lasting Brand…Becoming Relavant To Your Customers

  • Finding your target market
  • Massage your message
  • Identifying your #1 way to increase sales..THROUGH YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS!  Creating brand ambassadors.
  • Developing the right relationships
  • Creating and keeping your image

What’s Free, Something Everyone Has With Them 99% Of The Time & Is A Great Way To Advertise Your Company…EMAIL MARKETING

  • Creating and building your list
  • Understanding how to get your emails open, read and acted on.
  • Making email your #1 marketing tool
  • When to send
  • Branding and NOT Spamming


I hope your emails stop, or your phone dies

Brennan Scanlon - Executive Director BNI Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
Brennan Scanlon - Executive Director BNI Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

If constantly flowing water can erode rock and create the Grand Canyon, then imagine what constantly flowing emails can do to you.

I was in Baltimore for a speaking engagement recently. I decided to stay a couple of extra days, rented a car, and traveled with my wife to Washington DC. I had never been. The morning we left, I noticed that my emails were no longer coming to my Blackberry. I called Kathie at my office, she stated that my email server was at capacity and she needed to back up and empty my trash folder. “Might take a little while”, she said. Like Linus reluctant to let go of his blanket, I went on with my day. Out of touch.

While in Washington we went to the White House. We went to the Lincoln Memorial. Then, we found ourselves at the Vietnam Memorial. I walked slowly along looking at all the names on the great wall. Every three steps I took represented another thousand men who died for our nation. We then made our way to the World War II Memorial. It took me at least 40 minutes to make my way around. I read stories of heroism, and quotes from Truman and Roosevelt. After an afternoon of honoring all those men and women who gave their lives so that I can live the life I enjoy, I reached into my pocket. I pulled out my phone, and still no emails.

I hope your emails stop, or your phone dies. At least temporarily. Mine did, and for those few hours, it was the best thing that happened to me in a long time. Vision, perspective, and inspiration can only come when your mind is clear from distraction. Later that evening, my emails came in. There were 72. Half were junk, and the rest I returned in the 30 minutes.

On any other day, I would have been thumbing through my phone. With each scroll and click, I would has stepped past another quote and another soldier not being revered or remembered. The tempo of life is at a new, unsurpassed pace. Information flows faster than ever. However, the information can be too much to absorb, and too easy to send. We are becoming victims of our own technology, and unless we learn how to manage it, it will overtake us. The world is changing. Don’t let it change you from being some who can stop, turn off, and pay attention to what truly matters.

Brennan Scanlon is a Referral Institute Franchise owner as well as an Executive Director for BNI, Business Network Int’l ( SW Ohio & No. KY Region. He has been ranked in the Top 10% of BNI Directors nationally for the last two consecutive years, this ranking resulting in performance reviews submitted by BNI members.  Most recently, Brennan has been inducted into BNI’s Founder’s Circle 2008-2009 as nominated by his peers and approved by BNI’s Founder, Dr. Ivan Misner.

How Much Are You Risking To Theft?

I recently attended a  fraud prevention seminar at The Cintas Center hosted by US Bank.  The speaker was  Frank Abagnale (the movie “Catch Me If You Can” was based of his life) and he was great.  It was eye opening to hear how much money is stolen every year from consumers and small businesses.  In fact, most of the theft within small businesses is from an employee that you’d never expect.  I’ve not taken this many notes at an event in a long time and I’m going to be putting up some of his links and suggestions.   Below you’ll find my top 10 take-aways from this event, and I’ll warn you, you’re probably not doing ANY OF THESE.  He had every business owner in attendance wondering if they had money missing.

Frank -AbagnaleThe 1 word you’ll hear throughout this is “Opportunity”.  Frank says that is the biggest reason for theft.

1.  Bank Statements – Have ALL company bank statements mailed to your home.  WHY, because this takes away the Opportunity for your accounting department to alter the statements and hide something they may be doing behind your back.  In fact, this is a major issue with many small businesses.  An underpaid accounting clerk thinks they are owed something, are they taking it from you?

2.  If they steal, or should I say WHEN they steal from you – There is 1 branch of the US Government that no one wants calling them, the IRS.  Many times it’s hard to prosecute a theft by an employee or vendor.  If all else fails and you can’t get your money back, send them a 1099.  Take the write-0ff and let the IRS deal with them.  Frank said that this threat alone will have them calling to arrange a payment plan.

3.  Fake Money – Most employees don’t know how to recognize fake money.  PH pens don’t work all the time and can easily be tricked.   If you are in a cash business, your cashier should have a magnifying glass and know what to look for on the different bills.  For example, the $100 bill has “United States of America” on Benjamin Franklin’s jacket.  You would only see this detail with a magnifying glass.  This is just 1 of many items that fake bills won’t have.

4.  Shredders – You should be shredding EVERYTHING, but only with the Micro Shredders.  The most popular Strip Cut and Cross Cut shredders are easily put back together.  In his presentation Frank showed how the FBI pieced together numerous garbage bags on shredded documents to find out exactly what they needed to know.  With Micro Shredders, it”s impossible.

5. Your Checks – I was amazed at how easy it was for a check to be changed.  He took a check that had just been printed with a ink jet printer (what he said is commonly used).  He applied a piece of scotch tape and put it over the payee and with a few presses, it lifted off the payee, which he then entered his name.  He talked about how this happened to a national magazine that ended up printing a story on check fraud because of this.  They sent a subscriber a refund check of $33.33.  Someone took that check and forged it to a different person for $333,000.33.  It worked, the guy was off with the cash 4 days later and the magazine didn’t catch it until the next month.  There is only 1 check that is FRAUD PROOF, it’s Abagnale Super Business Check, it’s a must see.

6. Your Pen – Yes your pen that you sign checks with.  The ONLY pen (according to Frank) that is permanent is the Black Uni-Ball 207 Gel.  Believe it or not this inexpensive pen found at any office supply store is the only pen will leave the ink on permanently.  No chemical wash or scotch tape trick will take it off.

7. Positive Pay – This is a system that banks Cash Management Departments have that allows you to send them a file each day with the checks written that day (must be done before checks are cashed).  When the checks are presented for processing, it automatically matches the information you supplied.  It compares the account number, the check number, dollar amount and sometimes the payee name on the check.  If all components don’t match exactly it becomes an “exception item.”  The bank then contacts the customer to determine each exception item’s authenticity.  If there is an issue and something fraudulent is exposed then the check is returned unpaid.

8. Wire Transfers – This is one of the easiest ways to lose a LOT OF MONEY.  Wire instructions contain all the information necessary to draft against a bank account.  To avoid this scam, set up a separate account that is used exclusively for incoming credits.  Place the account on “no check activity” and make it a “Zero Balance Account” (ZBA).  This will save you from any major headaches.

9. Copy Machine Hard Drives – Most copy machines have a hard drive that stores EVERY IMAGE that you’ve ever copied.  If  you ever get rid of your machine you want to remove the hard drive.  Frank talked about a time when they went to random dealer of used machines and pulled the hard drive from a few machines and they found many items that these companies would not have wanted in the wrong hands.

10. Know Who To Look For – More than 80% of occupational fraud cases, and 95% of their resulting losses, come from six departments:  accounting, operations, upper management, sales, customer service, and purchasing.  Two-thirds are male and they cause twice as many losses as females.  More than half of all cases are committed by people 31-to-45, but the greatest losses come from 60+ upper management.   86% of perpetrators were first-time offenders making background checks less effective.  What this also means is that you probably have what you think is a good relationship with this person.  This is why you have your bank statements mailed to your home.

If you get a chance visit Franks website,  And i you ever get invited to hear him speak I highly recommend you attend.

Golf Networking Night!

Join me and other business professionals from around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky at “TGI Friday’s Golf Networking Nights” presented by BNI.

Are You Special?

Micheal Davis - Speaking CPR
Micheal Davis - Speaking CPR

Why is it that most speakers never make a deep connection with their audiences?  Even those that are polished presenters, terrific story tellers, or humorous speakers? Unfortunately, they fail to touch their audiences because they’re too busy building themselves up.

When most speakers tell their stories, what do they tend to talk about?  Their successes.  Business success!  Financial success!  Personal success!  Unfortunately, in building themselves up, they are also building a wall between themselves and their audience.

Why?  Because when you tell them how ‘great you are’, they may think “That’s nice for you, but that couldn’t work for me“, or “Well, you’re just special“.  Are you coming across as ‘special’ to your audiences?

Why do most presenters share their victories first? Because they don’t understand that telling others about your failures, your fears, and your frustrations is a way to make audience members feel like you.  When you share those negative experiences, the audience may think, “Wow, I’m not the only one that’s happened to“, or “Glad that didn’t happen to me!”  They’ll realize that you’re just as human as they are.

Am I saying not to tell about your success?  No.  Once you’ve shared your difficulties, the audience is ready to hear about your success.  They want to know the strategies or techniques you used to overcome your challenges.  When you share this information, you offer them a valuable gift… Hope.  In addition to changing the way people Think, Feel or Act, the greatest benefit you can offer is hope.

Although it is natural to think that you will connect with people by telling them about how you’ve succeeded, the fact is that people will gravitate more quickly to you when you tell them about your struggles.  You’ll help them understand they are not alone, or that there IS hope.  Your best chance of connecting with the people sitting in front of you is to bare your soul, and resist the temptation to be special.

Micheal Davis is the President and Founder of Speaking CPR.  If you are looking for an excellent motivational speaker or you’d like help becoming a better presenter contact Michael at (513) 315-6825

A Strike can Still Be a Hit, Stay Engaged…

Brennan Scanlon - Executive Director BNI Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
Brennan Scanlon - Executive Director BNI Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky

A Strike can Still Be a Hit, Stay Engaged with Your “No’s” & “Not Right Now’s”

By: Brennan Scanlon
Sales people have a nasty little habit of moving quickly from prospect to prospect, appointment to appointment.  Sales books and CD sets have told us this for decades.  It’s a numbers game.  Every no gets you closer to a yes!  I get it, and of course there is truth to that.  However, allow me to challenge your thinking by making this statement;  A strike out with a prospect can still be a hit for your referral partners and then can become a home run for you!
Patty is a City Administrator  I called on last year and after 3 long months courting her as a client….I struck out.  Most sales people would leave her far behind in their rear view mirror, but I did not.  Sure, I invested 3 months and walked away without a sale, but I managed to develop something even more valuable.  A relationship.  In fact, over the next several months I went back to see Patty.  Not alone of course, I brought my referral partners with me.  One of which was a payroll provider who has since closed a deal with Patty.  Next I introduced a referral partner who sells ink cartridges to city’s at 70% of the cost of the big box office supply chains.   Am I now the guy who will help save the city thousands on toner cartridges?  Yep, that’s me.  The next time Patty is in need of my service who do you think she’ll reach out to.  You guessed it.  Also, have I also scored points toward future referrals from my payroll and ink cartridge referral partners?  You bet.
Traditional selling would tell you to leave Patty in the dust, but the best net workers realize that if you treat enough “Patty’s” like a person in need & not a closed door, you can have dramatic success in the future.  Now, your homework assignment, take a look at the last 10 prospects you did not close.  Call your top 3 referral partners and tell them who they are.  Then, set some appointments and take the show on the road.   You’ll be glad you did.

Brennan Scanlon is a Referral Institute Franchise owner as well as an Executive Director for BNI, Business Network Int’l ( SW Ohio & No. KY Region. He has been ranked in the Top 10% of BNI Directors nationally for the last two consecutive years, this ranking resulting in performance reviews submitted by BNI members.  Most recently, Brennan has been inducted into BNI’s Founder’s Circle 2008-2009 as nominated by his peers and approved by BNI’s Founder, Dr. Ivan Misner.

But, I'm not getting any referrals…

Duane Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Referral Marketing Expert
Duane Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Referral Marketing Expert

by Duane Plapp

What are the three most common mistakes BNI members make every week?
Ever hear I don’t get referrals from BNI?
Here are 3 of the most common reasons WHY?
1-      They don’t network – The first fifteen minutes of a BNI meeting is meant for networking, it’s not a buffer to get there late. Because the meeting starts fifteen minutes after the start time people think that is the time which allows me to get there late.  Wrong, this is the time to network and set up one to ones and start creating relationships.  It’s not the time to answer emails.  I was at a meeting the other day and one of the members was sitting with his computer and answering emails. He was not talking to anyone and when asked a question he said “I’m too busy”.  When you come to BNI, be prepared to ONLY work on BNI.
2-      They sell not educate – The goal of your BNI meeting is to educate your sales team so you can tickle their brain to create referrals.  You’re telling them who would be a good referral, why and what you can do for them.  Don’t stand in front of everyone and try and sell the people in the room your services, they will buy from you after you’ve build a great relationship.  You get to see them every week and at 1-to-1’s, they’re not going anywhere.  Everyone knows 250 to 300 contacts, you just need to figure out how to make 1 of those stick out.  Your fellow BNI members are your sales team and the more you treat them that way the more referrals you will obtain.
3-       1-to-1’s – These seem to be a foreign subject t some members.  In order to create referrals, you need to develop strong relationships with your sales team.  The better the relationship, the better the referral.  Good referrals are in direct correlation to relationships.  The stronger the relationship is, the more often you are thought of by your referral partners.  The more you are on their mind, guess what…MORE REFERRALS!
STOP SAYING I AM NOT GETTING REFERRALS, because it’s all YOUR FAULT. You’re not emerged in the basic concepts of referral marketing.  You have to network, educate and develop strong relationships to make it happen.

Duane Plapp is a professional business coach with The Referral Institute Cincinnati.  Duane can help you create “Referrals For Life”.  If you’re interested in learning more about referral marketing you can contact Duane at or 859-240-6428

This one is for Sales People and Sales Managers…

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

Why do companies teach cold calling and not referral marketing?
I have worked for 2 broadcasting companies in my professional career and all they EVER talked about was cold calling, the #’s of calls made, call reports, BLAH BLAH BLAH. They never focused on quality, just raw numbers. I always did a great job for my customers and had many loyal customers. But I never received referrals from anyone. I always heard the speakers at sales seminars talk about asking for referrals, but it all seemed to be the big mystery for me. Instead we were told about the great results the other sales people got from COLD CALLING. It was a numbers game I was told, you call 100 to get 5 meetings and close 2 deals.
Then in the fall of 2008 a close friend of mine, Brennan Scanlon, starting talking to me about referral marketing and how to sell without cold calling. I honestly thought he was out of his mind. I had heard of this mystery thing called a “referral” for many years. I had seen many referrals in our retail business, but I had never had much luck with B-2-B sales referrals. Brennan introduced me to BNI (Business Network International). I joined a chapter and attended the meetings, but still nothing. Then after about 2 months Brennan took me under his wing and started mentoring me about being a GREAT Referral Partner. We started attending referral marketing classes hosted by The Referral Institute of Cincinnati and within a month I had a plan and training on how to GIVE referrals, how to educate referral sources, how to motivate my referral sources and how to create a target market (for referral marketing). Everything I had learned had nothing to do with getting referrals for me, rather how to help others. I was encouraged to get involved with charities, alumni associations and chambers to GIVE to others. I was taught if I gave to everyone else first, I would eventually get it back times ten!
I started doing all of it. I was volunteering, I was passing high level referrals and taking referral partners on meetings with me and promoting them in my marketing. I was doing whatever I could to help professionals who were in my target market. These were people who called on the same level of decision makers I did. I was helping them grow their business and guess what happened…IT WORKED.
Within 60 days my phone was ringing. These same people were now giving me referrals, HIGH LEVEL referrals. Many closed deals. All I had to do was show up and be the great marketing person they had told their clients about. It’s been almost 2 years now since I’ve made depended on cold calls for appointments. I’ve made less than 5-6 cold calls in the past years, and my business is through the roof. In fact I’ve not called anyone but my clients, friends and referral partners in 3 months. No more dealing with business owners who don’t appreciate what you have to offer, no more 100 calls for 5 appointments. Now I make 5 calls and get 5 appointments and close 4 deals.
WHY is this not taught instead of cold calling? Since I’ve started my referral marketing plan I have TRIED VERY HARD to include some of my former colleagues in broadcasting. I’ve hand delivered numerous closed deals to them. Guess what they say, “Thanks for the lead”!!!! What, lead, that’s a closed piece of business. That’s called a REFERRAL and you shouldn’t be thanking me, you should be trying to find a way to get me a great referral. Because if we are both happy, then we both will keep giving each other referrals and everyone can stop cold calling. But if we don’t help each other, one of us will get sick of helping the other and move on.
But the sad part is NONE of them understand it. Just like many other professionals, they are so focused on making money for themselves that they don’t make time to help others. They are hammered by sales managers that cold calling is the way to go. I don’t fault most of them, but the system that most companies put in place. Most sales managers just don’t get it and in turn their sales people waste ¾’s of their week on useless worn out sales practices. The sales managers think they have great relationships with past clients. They typically don’t, they have long term clients because of their products and service but many of them will turn on a dime when price becomes an issue or someone comes along who talks faster.


Not sold on not cold calling? I receive 3-5 referrals per week.  I have personally earned over $100,000 in the past 12 months off referrals. It’s changed my life. My customers are more loyal, the retention is much higher than I’ve ever experienced and I spend 90% of my time building my business instead of on a phone at a desk.
It took me 12 years to understand and a “Sales Intervention” by Brennan.  I can’t wait for the next 30 years of referrals! The question is when will you realize it?  Maybe we need a class in college for referral marketing?

Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at