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Critical Connections was written especially for people like you, small business owners, the self-employed, as well as those providing professional and personal services. Critical Connections delivers answers to your burning marketing questions. As a marketing consultant, I’m always asked: Where do I begin? How do I deal with the anxiety coming from creating and implementing a marketing plan? What do I really need to know about social media? How do I get the best marketing bang for the buck?

Loaded with tips, tactics, quizzes, real life-stories and examples, Critical Connections helps you create a customized marketing plan. It is part workbook and part self-help and resource guide, wrapped into one book written to involve you in every step of building your marketing plan. The strategies and tactics presented are particularly helpful if you depend on referrals to build your business.

Evan Leepson, MBA

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The book is available at Amazon and through Paramount Market Publishing, however, I would greatly appreciate it if you buy it here through my website. To buy Critical Connections from me, just click on the picture of the book below.

Evan Leepson

I recently published Critical Connections: The Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Your Business Through Referral Marketing. Critical Connections is workbook and resource guide for small businesses and professional and personal service providers.

I have more than 30 years experience creating and implementing effective marketing programs. As a business and marketing consultant, I’ve facilitated successful strategic marketing plans for my clients through extensive business analysis, and market assessments. I’ve leveraged my expertise to generate creative and results-oriented solutions.

My consultative offerings include:

    • Developing and implementing marketing strategies for small businesses.
    • Delivering customer/client retention training programs
    • Advising senior management on marketing strategies and customer service.
    • Facilitating strategic planning efforts – from plan development to implementation.
    • Conducted feasibility studies, developed new business, strategic and marketing plans, and managed process improvement engagements.

I taught Organizational Behavior & Leadership at the Keller Graduate School of Management. I was a Senior Consultant at GE Healthcare’s Performance Solutions where I drew up scores of marketing plans for healthcare clients. In that capacity, I diagnosed client needs, managed marketing project teams.

As a marketing consultant, I continue to conduct marketing consulting services through seminars such as:

    • Developing Effective Marketing Strategies
    • Building or Transforming Your Private Psychotherapy Practice
    • Retaining Fitness Center Clients
    • Marketing as Customer Service
    • Creating Content-Driven Marketing Strategies
    • Understanding Customer Needs
    • Staff Retention Strategies for Small Business Owners
    • Marketing for Service Professionals

I conduct marketing workshops for the Maryland Women’s Business Center and am a judge at the StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition in Maryland.

I earned my M.B.A. from Averett University, and an M.S.W. and B.A. from West Virginia University.

Explore the Book

In Chapter 1, The Marketer’s Dilemma, you’ll follow Nicole’s futile attempts at figuring out how to build her business. I’m sure you’ll identify with some or all of Nicole’s struggles. I’ll present an innovative approach to marketing that is tailored to the needs of small business owners and those who provide professional and personal services.

Chapter 2, Write It Down and Say It Out Loud, starts with creating a vision of your business. I’ll challenge you to examine your personal psychological issues preventing you from being successful at marketing. You’ll go through an exercise to generate practical ways to overcome these challenges.

Chapter 3, Face Your Fears, addresses two fears preventing you from becoming successful at marketing: fear of selling and fear of setting and discussing fees. You’ll be asked a series of questions aimed at confronting your negative internal forces and then be challenged to “try something new”. You’ll learn the three most common blocks to marketing success.

Chapter 4, Networking for Introverts, is a guide for those of you who are shy. You’ll learn how to thrive when attending a networking event. You’ll be asked to take the Are You an Introvert quiz and develop your personalized Networking Plan of Action. Also, you’ll discover six networking strategies applicable to both introverts and extroverts.

What Do You Say in and Out of an Elevator? is the title of Chapter 5. You’ll learn two different types of sales or communication pitches: one for referrers and one for customers. You’ll have the opportunity to craft both speeches.

Chapter 6, Know Your Customer, delves into the world of how to understand and identify your customers wants and needs as they pertain to the product or service you provide.

Chapter 7, Talk is Not Cheap, reveals secret weapons used to enhance your communication and sales skills. You’ll learn how to counter objections in sales situations. There is a special section called “How to Ask a Good Question (or two)”. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of using jargon and learn how to turn jargon into common words. You’ll also be introduced to the Jargon Police.

In Chapter 8, Managing Strategic Relationships, you’ll learn about this new definition of marketing. The chapter goes into detail and discusses the role of referral sources in building a business. You are asked to identify referral sources who are in a position to refer customers or clients and identify primary and secondary consumer markets.

We’ll discuss how, why and when to use traditional marketing and promotional strategies in Chapter 9, Tools of the Trade 1: Traditional Methods. You’ll learn how to avoid making three of the most damaging marketing mistakes. You’ll will take a deep dive and explore the world of traditional marketing, advertising, and promotional tactics: print, written, broadcast, and in-person methods. A comprehensive list of these tactics is presented.

Chapter 10, Tools of the Trade 2: Electronic Marketing Platforms is prefaced with a caveat: the Internet is changing daily. Online marketing strategies that work today, might not work tomorrow. A three-step strategy to create an online or social media presence is presented. The features and benefits of the latest electronic and social media vehicles are described. Social media and social networking (and branding) are discussed in terms of how to build a business. You’ll enjoy taking the Are You a Social Media Marketing Luddite? quiz.

You’ll follow the marketing adventures of three entrepreneurs in Chapter 11, A Tale of Two Clothiers.

In Chapter 12, you’ll read the advice of three marketing experts who discuss social media, web development and how to work with creative professionals.

Chapter 13, Putting It All Together, takes you through the final steps of creating your marketing plan. The pieces of the marketing plan created throughout the book are now ready for you to synthesize. We’ll be using an innovative technique to determine how to get the best bang for your marketing buck.


I was looking for a marketing book that would have less marketing theory and more practical strategies. I was not looking for a ‘social media for idiots’ book. I definitely
found what I needed in Leepson’s book.

The content of this book is great! The author encourages people to use their strengths rather than try to overcome one’s weaknesses. I learned a lot from the book and recommend it highly. I use the ideas in my business every day.

This is a fantastically useful book for anyone who is trying to build a small business from scratch. The book is organized like a workbook with lots of easy to understand tips and quizzes. It does a particularly good job at tackling marketing fundamentals while adding a 21st century spin.

The book covers marketing plans, networking, elevator pitches, strategic relationships, social media, and website development.

Excellent resource to anyone wishing to market their business effectively. I only wish this had been written when I started my practice! Despite getting it years later, I found validation that I had followed best practices and currently have a thriving practice!

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Evan Leepson, MBA


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