Stop Hiding Behind False Ethics Because You’re Uncomfortable

hidingI spent a day with the Sales Master James MacNeil this weekend and what he said resounded so well with my own thoughts that I can’t stop quoting him to my clients.

Here’s the story:

James was training bank tellers who were on the verge of quitting. These people resented being turned into sales reps by their bank who was rolling out giant and uncomfortable selling initiatives for their front line staff. Prior to the training, James was told he could not change the tellers’ minds about selling. He disagreed and challenged them to a test.

Selling versus Serving

The reason why the tellers were up in arms in the first place was because they considered themselves people who were interested in Serving as opposed to being like people in the Sales Department who were interested in Taking. This delineation in their mind was sorely challenged when they admitted to James that almost with every client, they noticed when funds were being mishandled. Time after time, instances would come up where the tellers could have stepped in to introduce a product or a service to help but didn’t because–are you ready?–they weren’t in SALES.

I’m Not Sales-y

When the mere word of Sales conjures pictures of a the devil in your mind and equates to taking something away from people rather than helping them, you will naturally refuse to sell. It’s that simple. What James said to the tellers at that point was very powerful. He said: Stop hiding behind the false ethic that Selling is Bad, simply because you’re uncomfortable with it and don’t know how to do it. Strangely enough, when put this way, they admitted that that’s exactly what they had been doing. Refusing to Serve because of their own fears and prejudices. There are so many business owners I meet who are in the same situation.

Hiding

When you hide behind ethic, nobody can win an argument with you. But when you hide behind THIS ethic- that sales is bad, not only do you lose but those you could’ve helped also lose.

Life Is A Pot Luck

Famed author and speaker T. Harv Eker tells us that life is a potluck and that we each brought something to this world when we were born. Some of us brought math gifts, others brought music, others brought teaching and so on. Whatever you were brought on this earth for, is being wasted since you are hiding behind false ethics around selling.

Integrity In Selling

I loved James’ definition of Ethical Selling: It’s helping others make informed decisions in their own best interest. What are you doing to inform those you can help? And if you are hiding, what will it take for you to stop doing so to bring more of your gift to the world?

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

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

Are You Letting Your Competitors Decide Your Marketing?

competitionNothing in the world gets me as fired up as small businesses doing something to market their business because they’ve seen their competitors doing it. It happens so often that it’s like some deeply buried, embarrassing secret of all entrepreneurs.

Why A Copy Cat?

The major reason why I see this happening is because small business owners don’t really HAVE a business strategy or a plan that goes along with it. They not only don’t have it, they don’t really even know HOW to get one. They guess at their own target client profile. They rarely have a focus on what 1 thing they’re an expert in. They are unsure about where to go out and find clients. They are simply coasting by while doing what I sarcastically call the-trial-and-error marketing.

When you don’t know how to market your business, the best resource is to do what someone else is doing. Isn’t it? Wrong!

Competition Who?

In my world, if you are very focused on an ideal target group of clients and have a crystal clear expertise to offer to them. You don’t truly have competition. In addition, if you’ve differentiated your brand by virtue of using your own personality to put a stamp on your marketing and your business, there is simply no other business exactly like you.

When you have done the work to get the right strategy and plan in place, you are in a class of your own. That’s when you can stop looking at others for your own plan of action and blaze your own trail so others who don’t know what they’re doing can follow.

Be An Original

The number one way I know to be successful in this sea of competitors is to be different. You don’t have to be a creative genius to decide how to do that. Just be yourself and reject the tried and true way. Do it your way instead. Put some thought, get some help, ask your customers HOW to be different and how to continually generate customer centric marketing. What you focus on grows. When all you think about is being An Original, there is nothing that can stop you.

What About Tried And True Wisdom?

I want to point out that until you figure out your own way to do things, by all means adopt the commonly established rules of marketing. For example, offer an irresistible download on your homepage to collect lead information, blog often, public speak. You can do all those things but do them in line with your own niche, your own plan and in fitting with your own brand. That STILL doesn’t mean you should let your competitors dictate your web design, your ad copy or your marketing plan.

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