Saint Yourself Scratching Others’ Backs

Almost every small business I meet gets most of their clients from referrals. However, almost all of them agree that they’re not getting enough clients.

Well, I’m here to help speed up your lead pipeline. There are 5 ways that I get referrals that I think you might find useful.

The first way to get a referral is through your existing clients. They think you’re the cat’s meow because hellooooooooo-they’re already working with you! Your clients’ success is a cause for celebration and what better way to celebrate than to suggest they tell others about how well they’re doing?

The second way to get referrals is to niche properly. In other words, when people actually understand and are able to remember exactly who you help and what you help them do, you will get more referrals.

The third way to get referrals is to send a thousand thank yous. When you do get referrals, recognize them in some significant way. Nobody HAS to refer you or remember your name or even take the trouble of forwarding your information to anyone. They do so because they believe you can help their friend. Don’t take it for granted.

The fourth way to get referrals is to Do Onto Others. This is a version of ‘you scratch my back and –well you get the idea…’ in reverse. You MAKE it your business to help those who have connections to your ideal clients and everybody wins. Remember never to expect anything in return and almost Saint yourself referring your heart off to everyone else. I guarantee you will get more referrals if you give more referrals.

The fifth and last way I get referrals is to actually have a cross referral program which tells ideal joint venture partners up front that I can actually provide them with a gift for thinking of me to refer to first. The last bit of advice about referrals is about follow-up. If you aren’t following up your referrals properly, you’re missing an obvious opportunity but you’re also letting down your referring partner. So pull up your follow-up socks and don’t forget to wine, dine and drop a line to your referrals.

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

The Internet Is Not Going To Save Your Business

funny-superheroes-3There are so many of us out there, so called marketing experts. I dare you to ask any one of us WHY we’re doing something and if they say ‘it’s expected in this industry’ or ‘it’s the latest and greatest technology’, then I say they can’t help you. However, if they have a great, customer driven reason for every single thing they are doing to help your business, then you should save that person’s card.

Here are some of the things that I see my clients expecting to save their business:

The Internet Is Not Your Saviour

I once had a client who built a whole marketing plan by doing great market research and refused to implement it because it was too hard to go to targeted networking events, and too hard to get speaking engagements at targeted venues and associations. She then upped and unbeknownst to me, hired an SEO specialist without even giving him the benefit of our target market, our research around keywords or any of the work we’d done to date. Half a year later, she’s still waiting for clients to come begging from her website to throw money at her to help them.

The internet isn’t going to save your business. Garbage in, garbage out. If you don’t know your strategy or do the research around keywords, you might as well not bother hiring an expert for anything online.

Social Media Isn’t The Next Best Thing To Sliced Bread

When I meet businesses spending a fortune on social media without doing the strategic work first to figure out who they should be connected to, what topics they need to blog about and how to actually drive sales from their social media streams, I get frustrated. After spending more than a few bucks on these ventures, so do these businesses. Social media is only one small piece of the puzzle. Unless you’ve got a solid direction for your business and a good idea of who exactly is your ideal golden target client, you will continue to waste time and money on this newfangled marketing tool.

Advertising Online or Off Won’t Flood You With Clients

Similar to clients who spend their brains out on SEO and social media and their website design, I see clients who dump all their funds into ads. The refrain I often hear is ‘I have no time to do face to face marketing so this does send a few people my way’. When you do the math, you are investing in a losing proposition. The reason most business owners don’t have or make the time for marketing is because they sorely need plans, systems and processes in place to get them to spend their hours more productively. Advertising rarely if ever is able to make up for those things that are missing in a business.

So please please please heed my advice and don’t skip actually investing in your strategy with someone who actually knows why you’re doing every piece of your plan and why you spend each dime to grow your business. “Just because” simply isn’t good enough anymore.

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

Love What People Criticize You Most For

self love dogAfter years of going to the I Can Do It! conference, I walked away from this year’s with this amazing insight. Ready for it?

Think about what people most often criticize you for. Most likely it’s what you beat yourself up the most for. Maybe it’s perfectionism, maybe it’s being too passive, maybe it’s giving too much, or talking too much. I learned at this weekend’s conference that that’s the exact thing that you’re supposed to embrace and love about yourself the most.

Here’s why…

Dying To Discover The Truth

I’ve been a fan of Anita Moorjani of the dying from cancer and coming back and writing a book fame. In her talk at the conference, she talked about the lessons that she learned while she was floating out there. The main thing that she learned was that we are exactly the way we’re supposed to be. No more, no less. It’s our reason for being here. Otherwise everyone would be the same. She said that people are miserable, living someone else’s expectations. And finally she said that we have to love that very trait that people criticize the most because it is the essence of who we are.

Why Do It

When Anita talked about how her lemon sized tumors along her lymphatic system spontaneously healed after her near death experience, she did it by simply loving who she was and recognizing the beauty in her own person. She said that nobody else’s opinion, expertise or thoughts about her or even her health mattered. Doctors doubted her healing so they kept dripping poisonous chemo into her even though the tumors had shrunk 70% within days. Didn’t matter what the doctors said or did to her, she knew she’d be ok. She just knew it.

Not loving who you are at your core robs you of the ability to heal, to cope and ultimately it inhibits your life. It even stops you from being able to fully love and accept others. Think about a world where you start to praise your spouse’s faults. How would your life change? How would theirs?

How To Do It

In the 2 years since I’ve had my coaching practice, I’ve often been accused of being too aggressive, too direct and too forward. I had come to terms with most of this but hearing Anita’s message really clinched it for me. I have been telling everyone I meet, all my clients and the audiences I speak to about this “new” thing. I catch myself slipping into self-criticism and I replace it with loving thoughts about why it’s so cool to be those very things that I used to hate about myself. I feel so relived. I can’t even describe the freedom. Even if I do change those so-called undesirable traits about myself, I’ll be changed because of loving my imperfections. As another amazing speaker Robert Holden put it, criticism doesn’t help. Love helps.

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

Why Refusing To BE Your Brand Is Hurting You

Notice: If you have dangly parts, you may choose to stop reading this post because it’s mostly about women but chances are you have women in your life or sometimes feel like they do so go ahead, take a look.

dovecamerashyHappy International Women’s Day. It’s been a tough job being a woman through history. Today, it’s easier but a whopping 82%* of all Canadian women still hide or feel uncomfortable when they’re taking a picture. Here’s another sad statistic: 6 out of every 10* woman in the world has stopped doing something they love because they felt bad about how they looked.

So is it any wonder that every day, I meet successful, competent and smart women who refuse to use themselves in their marketing? Those who don’t want to use their own picture as their web banner. Those who feel too insecure to write their own thoughts or express their own expertise.  No, it’s not surprising but here’s why if you’re in that boat, you need to change and change fast.

Why Are We Scared?

An economy professor recently made the claim that if every woman in North America stopped using beauty or weight loss products for only a week, the Health and Beauty industry would collapse in the same way that the airline industry collapsed post 9-11.  That means that there are a lot of people depending on us feeling pretty bad about ourselves. So think about the years of messages you consumed that it took to get YOU to feel inadequate and unworthy of standing up to claim who you are. If you don’t feel desirable, how could you want your picture to be plastered all over your marketing?

Vulnerable Is Weak

The reason so many business owner women refuse to put their personal story, their true thoughts and character on display for everyone to see in their marketing is that it makes them vulnerable. Vulnerable to rejection and ridicule. Vulnerable to loss of income, clients and friends. However, research shows that the opposite of vulnerability which is perfectionism- is correlated with depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis or missed opportunities. What are you willing to do now to step out into your own authenticity?

“We Have To Be Women We Want Our Daughters To Be”–Brene Brown

The true case for becoming your brand in your business isn’t just because it will attract the kind of clients you’d love to work with. It isn’t because you’ll make more money and feel better about yourself. It’s really about modeling for the future generations. And although I have a son, not a daughter it still holds true that I want him to see me speak my shameful moments, be at peace with my true personality and live in the reality of my true thoughts while refusing to be perfect. What are you teaching your children by refusing to show up in your own business as who you truly are?

Show up to the world and in your marketing as who you really are and I guarantee you’ll be happier for 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

*Dove research, 2012

When Somebody Pooped in The Waterslide

waterslide

What happens when (hopefully) a baby poops in a giant indoor water slide? Well, we had the misfortune of finding out this past weekend when we took our 4-year-old to one. While waiting in an insanely long line up of other freezing parents and hyped up children, all of a sudden red lights started flashing and sirens went off. Sure enough, somebody had violated the ‘no-pooping in the water slide’ rule and everyone was escorted off the structure.

What ensued gave me great fodder for this blog and taught me a few things about what to do when someone took a proverbial dump in my business and what I could do to prepare better for it.

Anticipate The Poop

We all have different kinds of Poop in our businesses. Times when clients don’t agree with you, times when you have slower sales periods, times when you can’t get supply. Poopy times when things are tough.

For example, when my client Ann (not her real name) told me about her dispute with a client, I asked her if she had a process for handling this. Had she made notes of their conversations, had she kept records of her recommendations? Ann’s answer was a nervous ‘no’. If that client had turned around and tried to sue her or demand a refund claiming dissatisfaction, Ann would’ve been ill prepared for that eventuality. Think of the possible sources of weakness for your business and anticipate them as possible outcomes of your every day life. I guarantee when poo hits your fan, you’ll feel better.

Have a Plan To Get Through The Poop

When somebody pooped on the water slides, we had to wait a good 40 minutes for the water to be drained out and fresh (freezing) water to be pumped back in. This was not a good plan to get through the Poop. We were wet, shivering and my 4 year old was most definitely not impressed. What kind of plan do you have to get through your Poop? What’s your contingency when resources dwindle? Does your cash flow allow for a sales slow down? Do you have plans and processes in place with your clients if your delivery is interrupted? If you have no plan, then your clients and customers might be left shivering in their bathing suits (not really, just giving you a visual there to make a point)..

Turn the Poop into Poopular

If the water slide had given us a voucher for a free pop (haha) at their nearby restaurant or coupons for a discount for the next day or brought in extra towels or had instigated a new form of playtime using existing staff who was just standing around, I guarantee we would’ve congratulated the pooping toddler. Instead, we were resentful and left soon thereafter. We don’t have any recent plans to return there.

What can you do in your business to turn the situation around and become even more popular (you won’t believe that autocorrect just corrected what I really meant to write there!) with your clients? If you screw up, can you over deliver on your contract? If supplies run out, can you extend their payment terms? If you disappoint your clients in any way, can you give a value added bonus? You can’t control the pooping but you can control how you react to 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