Why I Give Everything Away For Free

generosityI can’t stop talking about this man. (no, not the Godfather!) Last week, when I heard marketing legend Gary Vee saying that he believed in giving everything he knew away for FREE to anyone and everyone he met, I was blown away. I have been saying the same thing to my clients for years!

Here are the reasons why we do it:

They Won’t Implement It By Themselves

As Gary so eloquently expresses himself: “Even if I tell you everything, I  know you won’t do s*** with that info!” When I heard him say that, I almost fell off my seat laughing because while I’d often thought this, I had never heard it put exactly that way. This is sooo true. Think about how your life would be different if you implemented every book, talk show advice, guru-how-to that you’ve ever gotten your hands on. The hardest part is accountability and the motivation for consistent implementation.

Information Is Everywhere Anyway

Have you met my friend Dr.Google? He’ll heal your body, your marriage and your marketing problems. His close cousin Dr.Youtube even gives you videos so you won’t feel so alone while you’re solving your problems. When you’ve got 2 Dr’s like this in your posse, who needs anything else? All your issues are resolved instantly, right? Unfortunately the more information that is out there, the harder it is to make a decision about what to do about our problems. Yes, all information is now available for free but who will help you customize it to your particular pain? Better yet, who will walk you through the fear of actually doing what needs to be done?

When You Give, You Get

In his famous book Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook Gary Vee talks about using marketing platforms like social media to give give give value first before you ask for anything from your audience. The theory being that the ratio of giving to asking should be heavier by a large margin on the giving. Why do you think free seminars give you valuable information first and then add a sliver of time to ask for a sale at the end?

I Don’t Work For Free

When you have an abundance mentality (there’s plenty of everything for everyone under every circumstance) you don’t see giving away everything you know for free as an insult to your sense of value. You see it as an investment in a relationship with your audience who then start to see you as a trusted resource. After all, when an Unresolved Pain Point meets a trustworthy and valuable Saviour, it’s called Marketing Magic (which is slightly but not too different from Magic Mike!)

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Be Contrary: DON’T Ask For The Sale

don't ask for saleAt the start of my coaching career 10 years ago, I had paid a slew of biz dev folks to teach me how to get clients. They agreed on one thing: You can’t get a sale unless you ask for it. I always found this really difficult, coming from an immigrant background where I was uncomfortable about asking for money from anyone at any time in my life.  Not only was it uncomfortable but it wasn’t working. I would be doing hundreds of hours of free coaching and ask for the bloody sale and I never got it. Most people said they loved me but couldn’t afford it or had to ask their boss or husband or dog. You get the picture.

Low and behold, when I scared myself silly and started spending the big bucks (the amount of a small car as I often like to say) on getting trained in how the big boys close sales, I discovered an incredible truth: All the sales gurus were wrong-the real gurus NEVER ask for the sale. Well, you might be asking yourself how exactly do I get clients without asking for the sale. Read on and be comforted. If you do what I tell you to, you never have to ask for a sale again as long as you live.

Step 1: Be A Specialist

I can’t say it enough times, if you’re a jack of all trades, you are master of none. Even if you do something specific like Video Production, be a specialist in an aspect of that like Green Screen rentals or Website Intro Videos or Training Videos or Interview Videos. Find a need and niche in it. Without a focus, nobody will truly understand how you can help them.

Step 2: Always Hang With The Same Crowd Who’s In Pain

There is a specific group of people who you can help the most with their pain, who will pay you the highest fees and that you have more access to than others through your networks. Find these people and get into their face, their life, their networks and the media they consume. Become the air that they breathe around your specialty.

Step 3: Ask About Their Pain

When I won a mobile massage at a charity, the masseuse and I got to talking about her business. I asked about the pain that I help with–“how do you market to get new business?”. Even though my face was pressed into a massage chair, I still could hear her pain and could talk to her about it.

Step 4: Ask For Permission To Share

The next thing I asked the masseuse (who was really great by the way!) was permission to share how I help clients in her kind of pain. She was delighted and of course said yes! Then I proceeded to outline in 3 or 4 steps how I help. Voila!

Step 5: Ask If This Would Help Them

When I asked my masseuse this question, she really did think (and I knew) I could help her. She vehemently shook her head up and down and said YES, it would definitely help to have that done to my marketing.

Step 6: Shut Up

Then I just buried my face into the massage chair and kept on enjoying the rub down. I let her process what we could create together. As she was leaving, she asked me how much it would cost to work with me.

There you have it folks, the anatomy of how I get people to ask ME to work with them instead of me having to ask THEM for the sale.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Shocking New Data: 42% Of Startups Fail Due To Lack Of Market Need

failureHow’s this for a doozy?

A new study from a research firm called CB Insights revealed that almost HALF of the 125 startups they looked at died 20 months after starting. The main reason for their knockout was because there was NO need for the product or service they sold.

Why Is This Happening

All day, every day, I help small business owners research their own business viability and the proof of existence for their specific niche. Sadly mostly in Canada, I meet a lot of resistance about both niching and researching. Niching is uncomfortable because to some, it’s pigeon-holing themselves. Researching is uncomfortable because it actually involves talking to strangers and near-strangers. If you’re a business owner and you don’t do the upfront work to ask the right questions of the right people, then you might just end up part of the statistic.

Hoping For Your Market To Find You

I often talk about the woman I met while networking, who became a Grief Coach after going through her own mother’s painful death. After 2 years of trying desperately to grow her business, she discovered that most people get grief counseling (similar to coaching) for free through their church or other hospice programs. Like most businesses, she didn’t know that she was supposed to strategically confirm that there was indeed, a paying market for her services. Without first identifying several target groups and having several different products or services to offer them, you can’t systematically and strategically vet them.

How To Beat The Odds

My biggest advice to any new business is to find a good coach. Not any coach. Someone who is just a few steps ahead of you and who has demonstrated success in your own industry. The next step is to implement everything they tell you to do. That’s how I doubled my 20-year corporate pay cheque, 2 years after launching my own small biz. My other advice of course, is to talk to your potential clients. Let the market dictate your niche and your services. Don’t let your pride, ego, assumptions, fears, dreams and passions do it.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

5 Ways I Get Over Rejection

rejection2Anyone who sells anything knows the sting of rejection in business. As a business growth coach, I have certainly never been immune to it. Here are some Jedi mind tricks I use to stay on top of my game while being rejected.

1. Hire Help To Get Better

When I wanted to increase my close rate, I went out and hired a high-priced, top-level sales coach. He taught me how to change both my inner and my outer conversation around money and rejection. Now, I do the same for my clients. When you’re getting rejected too much, you’ve got to get help.

2. It’s Not You, It’s Me

When someone says ‘no thank you’, I’ve learned to recognize that for that moment in time, there’s just no fit. Either they’re too scared or I’m not what they need for now. I’ve learned not to take it personally.

3. Recognize The Insidious Soft No

It took me a lot of training to recognize that anything other than a YES is a soft no. “I need time”, “I have a project to finish first”, “Gotta ask my partner”, “Have to think about it”, “I’m not ready yet” etc. As my sales guru idol James MacNeil says, if it’s not a YES, it’s a NO. Learn to become comfortable both hearing it and saying it.

4. The Grateful Mantra

I start every morning and end each night by mentally listing everything I’m grateful for. It really relaxes me and puts me into the right frame of mind to succeed. Gratitude has all sorts of physiological, chemical and mental benefits that I don’t even fully know about. All I do know is that it works to combat rejection-fatigue that’s just a natural part of doing business.

5. Visualize

I’ve written previously about how I get help from my future self to make more money. I do this through visualizing what my future successful self would be saying to me about where I am right now. It’s very powerful to imagine an outcome that’s different from my current reality. Every great leader did this. Gandhi, Mandela, Dr.Martin Luther King. Why not take a page from their book?

Rejection for me is the beginning of a sales conversation. It’s when I uncover the true objections and get down to the real thoughts of a prospect. Sometimes it’s the right fit, other times it’s not and that’s ok. So up your game in what you do and how you sell it but also be mentally resilient when it comes to rejection. You will need that strength if you’re going to beat the bankruptcy stats in the years to come!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

5 Things I Learned About Business While Shark Diving

sharkdiving

Sitting on the ocean floor during the shark dive

Yes, I was crazy enough to go shark diving. Not in those cages either. I actually jumped into a water infested with fins. It was unnerving to say the least but there were lots of other divers already in the water so it seemed harmless. As in everything I do in my life, everything comes back to how it applies to small business.

Here are some things I learned about my own small business that day…

1. Prepare Yourself

Before the big ‘shark dive’ portion of the live-aboard dive trip I took, we had briefing after briefing about what to do and what not to do. Stay away from the food they lower to the ocean floor. (A guy actually lost a limb when a piece of food floated his way). Don’t make sudden moves etc. In business, I often find that people just throw themselves out there. Sometimes with little to no preparation for their mind or skill set. Unfortunately statistically speaking, they end up shark bait to their competitors.

2. Watch Your Surroundings Constantly

As part of the briefing, we were told that if a shark is swimming erratically and speeds up while swimming towards you, you’re in trouble. There’s not much you can do at that point. However, we did learn to be extra vigilant of our surroundings because the sharks were literally everywhere-in front, behind, and on top of us as we sat in a circle at the bottom of the ocean. It’s actually not a bad metaphor for the business world. Are you out networking with your competitors? Are you attending their seminars or webinars? Watch your surroundings in business constantly. Or you might get attacked.

3. Watch Yourself Constantly

One of the biggest things I had to watch out for was my air consumption because I was breathing heavier due to my elevated heart rate. Cut me some slack here, I was literally swimming with sharks during their feeding! Still, I had to be extra aware of my air flow and keep an eye on my tank supply. In business, your cash flow is your oxygen. During times of crisis you use more of it and need to keep a constant eye on it because as in the ocean, there’s no life without air.

4. Stick To Someone Bigger Than You

I was so paranoid about getting bitten by a shark that I picked the most heavyset, enormously overweight dive buddy on the entire boat. He was easily 4 times my size. I figured even a hungry shark might be intimidated by that size. I mean, if you were a shark, would you eat a steak your own size? I stuck to him like glue. Of course, he did get stuck while passing between two reefs but we were well-trained to calmly back out and untangle our gear from the reefs. Similarly in business, I pay extraordinary amounts of money to walk with the giants of my industry standing next to me. My coaches have been responsible for doubling and tripling my income in the three years since I started my business. Stick to someone bigger than you, always.

5. Have Fun

All the while I was calculating and analyzing and listening to my own heavy breathing in my mask during the shark dive, I was exhilarated. I was doing something most people wouldn’t even dare to dream of doing. I felt brave and alive. Every time I meet miserable people who work for someone else, I feel the same exhilaration for having had the guts to leave that life and work for myself. Just as in the shark dive, I sometimes have to remind myself that the journey of an entrepreneur is scary but it is a ton of fun.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

How Joan Rivers Can Help Your Biz

joanrivers

The late great comedian Joan Rivers once said “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.”  As a small business growth coach, I have to ask…what if you could succeed by saying what everyone else is thinking about your industry and your clients?

What You Can Learn From Joan

If you were to dare to step into your own thoughts as publicly as Joan did in marketing your own business, what would you do differently?

This is a passionate topic for me because every day I see successful, smart and wonderful business women hide themselves behind stock imagery, silence and generic thoughts. Their businesses are suffering for it.

Tell Your Stories of Shame

Joan Rivers was even authentic when she was inauthentic (“I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”)

A former client and now good friend was telling me the story of how she got fired by a crazy boss who reprimanded her for having a stapler on her desk in a ‘clean-desk policy’ office. Imagine how much more relevant her work as a Standards expert would be if she related that story in her blogs or keynotes?

What makes you think you’re the only one who has suffered shame, humiliation and learned from your mistakes? Why not expose your truth so you can connect deeper with and help more people?

Show Yourself

Ok, I don’t mean SHOW yourself inappropriately but people want to see your picture. They want at the minimum to see your profile picture. Then use your About page or your social media posts or your newsletter to show them your life. I frequently show pictures of my family and my clients and the events I go to.

Show your values. Tell your clients and community what your deeply held beliefs are. People I have never met approach me like friends at networking events and tell me they follow my work and life. I find that the highest open rates and click rates on my newsletters are when they contain personal stories. I even had a stranger (who was on my mailing list) give me bedwetting tips for my 4-year-old because he’d read my story about it. Wow!

Be Afraid But Do It Anyway

Joan said “I’ve learned: When you get older, who cares? I don’t mince words, I don’t hold back. What are you gonna do to me? Fire me? It’s been done. Threaten to commit suicide? Done. Take away my show? Done! Not invite to me to the Vanity Fair party? I’ve never been invited! If I ever saw the invitation, I’d use it as toilet paper.”

The true sign of courage they say, is not when you do something brave and you’re not afraid but it’s when you’re peeing your pants and do it anyway. Each time I invest in even more expensive levels of coaching, each time I travel internationally to do a trade show, each time I speak in front of a new crowd of people, I leave my comfort at home. I have embraced being afraid and doing it anyway.

Everyday when I speak to unsuccessful entrepreneurs, they are so keenly aware that what’s stopping their success are their fears. It’s when they let those fears stop them from doing what needs to be done that they get into trouble.

Joan wasn’t afraid of anything. I personally will miss this gutsy lady. Anyone who bravely stands up to criticism and keeps on going earns my undying respect.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Are You Credentialed to Death and Starving?

credentialledThis blog’s been inside me for a long time. I myself was on my way to being credentialed up the wazoo and still had no clients. If this is you, then maybe you’ll be able to make the change you need. That’s all I ever hope for when I write these things.

I Don’t Know Enough

The Credentialed-To-Death consultant/coach/engineer, (you name it) is sure about one thing: that they need  more letters behind their names, more accreditation and to obtain more certifications. They do this partly because they like learning but mostly because they delude themselves that they’ll get more or bigger clients this way.

I was that person once. When contemplating leaving a decade-long corporate career, I didn’t know how to make the jump into self-employment so I went out and got a coaching certificate. Then, I went and got another one and another one. Each subsequent one got more expensive and more involved and yes, it taught me more but none of it actually got me any clients.

Investing in the Wrong Thing

To help more people or to make more money, what most people in the Credentialed-To-Death camp don’t know is that it actually doesn’t work that way. Knowing more about your subject matter isn’t the same as knowing more about selling and marketing your subject matter. It astounds me that every time I meet a coach or a consultant who is starving for new clients, they are gearing up to spend another chunk of significant cash on yet another certification course or another program that is not about getting clients.

Unfortunately as I found out, if you can’t get them, you can’t SERVE them. So if you’ve launched your business in the hopes of helping people, you are an unknown entity to them until you sell and market yourself.

Somewhere, (probably in your childhood) someone taught you that it’s sleazy to sell but honorable to learn. Look inside yourself to find the source of your patterns. Awareness of your patterns makes you more powerful.

End Of Rant

So if you’re suffering from the Credentialed-To-Death-but-Starving-for-Clients syndrome, stop the cycle now and start investing in giving some serious care and attention to actually GETTING the clients.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk