Voice of Lakewood’s B2B Expo


voice-b2b-expoBy Shloimy Blau

Offer the broadest selection. The cheapest prices. Launch a massive advertising campaign to explain your advantages. And encourage satisfied customers to refer their friends.

If you think that the above describes a winning business formula, you are certainly not alone. You – and your countless like-minded peers – may also learn a thing or two at The Voice of Lakewood‘s B2B Expo, which promises to shatter lots of conventional wisdom…

The Stars Line Up

On Wednesday, August 28th, Lake Terrace Hall will be a gold mine for businessmen and entrepreneurs. Cosponsored by entities such as TD Bank, Jivetel Communications, Banquest Payment Systems, and Smartpay, the B2B will showcase dozens of valuable businesses and offer prime networking opportunities with businesspeople in all fields.

The expo’s highlights are addresses by prestigious, highly entertaining figures who have enthralled audiences across the globe with their savvy business advice. More than pizzazz, these speakers will serve tons of practical advice that everyone in the business world can use to help them envision brighter days ahead.

“Aspirin is easier to sell than vitamins,” says Jon (Yaakov) Goldman, who will deliver the event’s first interactive seminar between 1:30 and 3:00 p.m. “Fewer people may need it, but those that do are a lot hungrier for it.”

When it comes to business, Mr. Goldman is as colorful and comprehensive an individual as you’ll find. Born into a family of successful advertisers and marketers, the CEO of Brand Launcher and author of Secret of the Watermelon won Harvard University’s Achievement Award as a student for creating the world’s largest student run advertising and PR agency. Jon’s success was in large part due to how he helped promote the college’s bookstore: by allowing frustrated students to hammer junker cars after returning their books (once that course was completed).

After graduating Harvard, Jon was determined to learn more about the world, traveling throughout Europe and the Middle East. His final leg on the journey was Israel, where he became a baal teshuvah and learned in yeshivah for several years. Mr. Goldman is currently an upstanding member of the Baltimore community and a daily attendee at the local Dirshu Kollel.

After selling his share in a promotions company that ranked #24 in the nation amongst 20,000 peers, Mr. Goldman undertook various successful business ventures and shared his secrets with many businesses of all sizes, helping them rev up any stagnant components. He has interacted with quite a few Lakewood businessmen over the years and is eager to address his greatest Lakewood audience ever at the B2B event.

“It is a common strategy to focus on beating competitors’ prices,” he explains, “but that is the worst possible strategy. That is, in essence, a race to the bottom.”

In his address, Mr. Goldman will explain all the elements of his legendary “One Page Plan.” The plan helps businesses identify the “hungry fish” that desire their products or services and the “irresistible bait” to get them to choose you – without nickeling and diming over price. A key component of the plan is Mr. Goldman’s “tripod of persuasion” to help perfect the most effective message and select the optimal medium to deliver it.

The thinly framed entrepreneur will forever be associated with a large, luscious watermelon due to his constant reference to that fruit in his business advice. Unlike most fruit, a watermelon cannot be consumed until it is cut open to the core. This message of empowerment – that the business owner at the center of the venture is the key to a business’ success – dominates Mr. Goldman’s talks. More than just the title of his bestselling book – which has been translated into numerous languages and sold worldwide – a full watermelon actually accompanied some of Mr. Goldman’s mailings to clients over the years.

None of those who received a Jon Goldman watermelon will ever forget the accompanying message. And that is precisely the point. “Every business needs a ‘big zig’ to help its message stand out amongst the 3,300 messages an average businessman sees a day,” Mr. Goldman explains, “and I love sharing the secrets to doing that.”

Hitting the Point

The diverse group of attendees and booths at the B2B event will no doubt have lots of food for thought to share with each other. The schedule will include a full four hours – from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. – allotted to networking. During that time, world-renowned advertising guru Chanina Katz will deliver a workshop on how to get into a consumer’s mind. In addition to his popular weekly column in this publication, Mr. Katz drew hundreds of attendees for his seminar at The Voice‘s business seminar event this winter.

Mr. Katz has advised clients as prestigious as Colgate-Palmolive, RJ Reynolds, Hilton, Midas and Home Depot, and won numerous awards. A key to Mr. Katz’s marketing success is his grasp of the complex process a consumer undergoes as he or she decides on a purchase. “Whether purchasing a car or a chocolate bar, a consumer reaches a decision based on a variety of factors, from both logical and emotional perspectives,” he explains. “If you understand the process, you can make your message compatible with it.”

Contrary to the common assumption that businessmen see success when they “create” a need or desire, Mr. Katz sees it most effective to work with the mechanics already there – and work it well. “People tend to look at the surface, and do not have the discipline to look at what motivates a consumer in each situation,” he says. “If you don’t look beneath the surface, it is like driving a dark windy road, with no lights, directions or GPS system.”

The B2B’s “dessert” will come in the form of an hour-long workshop delivered by entrepreneur and lecturer Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a born-and-bred New Jerseyan with infectious enthusiasm and wit. He began his first business at age 24 and is now onto his third highly successful venture. Mike is the author of two popular business advice books – The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and The Pumpkin Plan – both sold around the world in various languages. He is now a highly sought-after speaker, who is regularly featured in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and MSNBC.

But Mike’s good fortune did not come instantly. After launching his first venture, a computer networking company, he struggled to break out from the pack. Uniquely curious and imaginative, Mr. Michalowicz set out to study pumpkin farming, of all things, to help him along. “What I discovered was fascinating,” he says. “The difference between growing an ordinary pumpkin on the market and one that weighs a ton is not that great.”

Farmers who grow “colossal” pumpkins – the ones that make it into the news and record books – merely do a few “little” things that change the entire outcome. For starters, instead of focusing on growing as many pumpkins as possible, the farmer’s focus is on maximizing the individual pumpkins. Additionally, instead of saturating the soil with water, the farmer works to “quench” it with lighter, but more frequent, spritzes. “In business, too, you must focus on the one thing that makes you best speak to the market,” he explains. “Don’t hit the market so hard, so fast, that it may not last – just patiently and thoughtfully cultivate your business.”

One piece of conventional wisdom that Mike particularly loves sharing his distaste for is referrals. Telling a happy customer to “please tell your friends and associates about your experience,” or offering them an incentive to bring new customers may be very tempting, but Mike Michalowicz won’t be recommending that anytime soon. “What you’re really doing in that case,” he says, “is telling the customer that you want them to give you more than just payment for your product or service. That leaves a bad taste.”

Instead, Mike contends that the secret to growing a colossal, high-quality customer base is by standing out so starkly, that customers will be self-motivated to rave to their friends and associates. Moreover, building relationships with a customer’s associates can be effectively accomplished by framing the quest in terms of the customer’s best interest. “Say, ‘I want to serve you even better. Please let me speak to your top vendors and clients to understand how your business works,'” he advises. “If you do that – bingo! – you’re now in with some potential new hi-level clients.”

Of all the places he’s been to – and all the people he’s met – over the years, Mike admits that he hasn’t yet had any significant interactions with the Lakewood community. He nevertheless knows that we are from the more intriguing, colossal pumpkins in his home state. “I’m fired up for the B2B,” he tells The Voice.

Although he’ll be fresh off the plane after addressing an event in San Francisco that morning, you can be assured that Mike’s fire will be there for all to see.

For more information about the B2B, or to reserve a booth, please call (732)901-5746 or email expo@thevoiceoflakewood.com.

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