Why You’re Not Getting Clients From Social Media

Yes, you’ve been posting articles on LinkedIn. You’ve said YES to every invite on Facebook and Twitter. You have done your job so how come social media isn’t doing its job and bringing you new clients? I think I might know the answer to that one. If you follow my work you can probably guess what I’m going to say: Your social media isn’t working because you might not have the right business strategy.

A business strategy is just a fancy way of saying WHO you help and WHAT you help them with. A communication strategy is figuring out where to intercept these ideal clients and telling them HOW you help them over and over and over again. For example, if your market research tells you that you have to target CEO’s of multinational corporations, research shows that 53% don’t even participate in social media. In that case, your communication strategy shouldn’t be heavy on social media presence.

  • So the first order of action is to figure out what we in marketing call your niche (your ideal client target and your specialty).
  • Then you ask your niche what social media platform and groups they are consuming either as an observer or active participant.
  • Then you ask them what their number one pain point with respect to your specialty they are suffering from.
  • Then you post videos and blogs and quotes and articles from other trusted sources in the groups and streams your target clients are involved in, always about solutions to their pain point.

And voila, all of a sudden, your ideal clients think you’re an expert, a celebrity and a go-to guru for their problems in the area of your specialty. Then when they see you speaking at a conference, meet you at a trade show or run into you while networking, they will know, like and trust you already. The rest, as they say will be history and you’ll watch your sales grow and grow.

What has been your experience in how social media has gotten you clients?

Would love your input on this post and if you 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 Verbal Diarrhea Elevator Pitch

verbaldiarrheaCome on, admit it. You’ve heard it or done it. I know I have…The verbal diarrhea that happens when someone has to introduce themselves to a group of peers or prospects. The explanation that drones on and on about what someone does for a living, leaving the listeners perplexed and exhausted. And those are the people who are actually listening to the intro. Most actually have checked out after 5 seconds and are dreaming of their upcoming beach vacation or the hot checkout clerk who helped them at Wal-Mart.

Let’s examine this strange phenomenon more closely and talk about why this odd circumstance happens with a lot of small business owners:

Nerves

Ok, it’s nerve-wracking to have a whole lot of eyeballs on you, listening and judging you. I get that. However, if you’re in business for yourself, you’re pretty much going to have to get over it and do your thing. At least you can spend the time and effort to do it well so that even if you are wetting yourself in fear, you end up getting clients out of the ordeal.

You Don’t Really Know

If I had a dollar for every time I think this happens…. When a business owner has a verbal-diarrhea-elevator-pitch-moment, it’s usually because they either don’t have a niche (a focused target and specialty) or they have multiple ones that they can’t decide between. Do the strategic research and find out where your business needs to focus on before you try to introduce what it is that you do. Clarity gets remembered. Confused minds don’t buy or refer.

You Get Into The ‘How’

Most people are simple and linear creatures. When they ask you what you do for a living, they’d like to hear something that they already have a category in their head for, like a dentist or a therapist or a consultant etc. When business owners are unclear about how their ideal clients categorize what they do,  they try to compensate by getting into the HOW of what they do. They think that by adding more information, that people will better understand what they do.

For example, is it better for an elevator pitch to say ‘I’m a financial advisor and I help divorcing women to navigate the settlement negotiation’ or ‘I’m a resilience activator who helps divorcing women through the settlement negotiation by setting goals, managing relationships and providing financial planning while supporting them through their journey of divorce.’ In my opinion, the ‘how’ version is too long. The elevator pitch is just the teaser to let your audience know if they’re your ideal client. If they are, don’t worry, they’ll ask you to go into more details about how you help.

You Throw in Your ‘Why’

I badly teed off a seminar leader who was making the room full of business women stand up and tell their ‘why they do what they do’ as part of their elevator pitch. I simply stated that in my experience, and in my experience through my clients, that getting into ‘I am a leadership coach who helps IT companies because when I was at ABC Inc, I got unfairly fired etc.’ would actually be an ineffective way to do that initial intro because it was too long and would lose the audience engagement. The seminar leader staunchly stated that she didn’t agree but you should’ve heard how long some of those ‘why’ stories were. I simply couldn’t see how any audience would stay engaged in this particular sort of verbal diarrhea. An Elevator Pitch in my mind is simply to establish 2 things: what business is this person in and can he/she help me or someone I know. Anything over and above that belongs in a deeper conversation.

So don’t be an elevator pitch chump and capture way more interest and dazzle with your concise and distinct self-intro. Believe me, you’ll feel the results almost immediately when people approach you after your intro to ask more about what you do.

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

Can Your Sex Life Cost You Clients?

jianghomeshi

A week after being rocked by the Parliament shooting, popular CBC host Jian Ghomeshi was fired over sex allegations about his involvement in rough play in the bedroom. He subsequently wrote a Facebook manifesto where he declared that all acts were consensual and that respecting different sexual tastes were part of human rights.

As a huge proponent of being yourself as part of your brand, I got to thinking about ‘how much info is too much info’ when you’re sharing it as part of your personal and business brand? I mean, can you lose your business (or job) for being too open about your life?

Here are a few thoughts I came up with for those who are struggling to communicate their personal brand:

Who Do You Help

If your clients are mostly corporate or religious, is it ok to come out and reveal that you enjoy the occasional use of whips and chains in your private life? Just like with celebrities, you will appeal to a certain kind of corporation and a certain kind of client, simply because you’re edgy and honest. If you will lose 100% of your clients because of your disclosure, then you’d better have market intelligence that says that there is a viable niche of clients who will hire you for being edgy before you spill the beans. You can’t expect everyone to be on board (sadly) and can’t blame them for not being a fit with your brand.

Why Do It

When it seems like a risky proposition and potentially embarrassing to boot, why would you want all your dirty laundry to hang out as part of your marketing platform? Because it actually helps people who are in the same situation connect better with you. It humanizes you and makes you more accessible. Most people are walking through life pretending to think and do things because it’s the accepted norm. When you stand up and say ‘I’m different’, you earn trust and respect.

Who Does It Hurt

Provided that you are prepared to lose a few clients and friends, if your TMI (too much info) isn’t harmful to children, small pets and or isn’t illegal, then it’s harmful NOT to reveal your true thoughts in life (and in your marketing). Near-death-experiencer-turned-novelist Anita Moorjani states that we are born with the exact character, thoughts and wishes that we’re supposed to have to fulfill our destiny. The name of her book Dying To Be Me, beautifully illustrates this hard lesson that she literally had to die to learn.

How To Start

Well, you could have a jilted angry ex expose you like in poor Jian’s case or you could start to express your views by slowly introducing it in conversations with your business networks and see how they react. Sadly, the majority of my clients who refuse to show up in their marketing don’t even have as exciting lives or divisive thoughts as a Dominatrix. They simply choose silence over saying or writing anything that can be remotely controversial.

Unfortunately in marketing, agreement with everyone is equal to being invisible. So to answer the blog’s question: can your sex life lose you clients? No, not the right ones.

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

I’m Against Cold Calling But If You Insist On It, Here’s How

telemarketerI consider myself a bit of an expert on cold calling. Why is that you say? Because I practically cut my baby teeth on it. It was literally my first summer job–telemarketing. At the tender age of 15, I started first by selling ad space in a business directory in Montreal (using very BAD French). Then I progressed to peddling light bulbs and ultimately my telemarketing career peaked at its glory when I started selling cemetery property. It is a good (but gruesome) business. After all, what other service can you think of where literally EVERYONE needs it?

Through it all, I learned a lot about how to sell on the phone. Now I use my experiences in helping my small business coaching clients get new leads.  Here are my pearls of wisdom that were honed by trials, errors and sometimes horrors through the years.

Don’t Do It

When I was a telemarketer, they gave us the phone book as our leads. Basically prospects needed to have a pulse and live in the city. Today, there’s social media and the internet and so many more resources to define your target. LinkedIn allows you to even write directly to the exact position and title of the exact company you want to work for. So when such a sophisticated world of communication exists, why would you go back to the stone ages? I know lots of people still do it but the ROI in my experience doesn’t justify the means. It’s for people who DON’T KNOW any other way or who don’t have a clearly defined niche.

Warm It Up

When I teach my clients to cold call, I help them warm it up first. I ask them to reach out to their networks and e-introduce them to their target audience. I make them go on the company website or YouTube channel to find anything relevant to a recent award, ad, news-something to engage the conversation. Kind of like “I’m calling because I saw your recent acceptance speech at the HR awards on YouTube and wanted to find out more about what you do”. This immediately sets you apart. I always enjoy speaking to reps who cold call me but who have done their research. They say a word about my videos or my book or ask me a question about my niching workshops-all info widely available to anyone who cares to spend 10 minutes on my website. So do the work and warm up that cold call. You’ll get a lot further with it.

Give Them Value

The only reason you should ever cold call anyone is if you’ve got something to help them with a need that you KNOW they have. For example, my clients who have to resort to (or prefer to) cold call offer a free consult or a ticket to a lunch and learn or a free download that addresses a relevant industry issue. The entire reason for the call has to be an invitation to give access to a solution.

Cut It Short

After quickly finding out if there’s interest in the solution and resource that you’re offering on the call, either end the call by thanking and asking if they know of anyone else in that pain or by booking the next time you’ll be seeing them. Don’t blather on, don’t take up too much time and be concise.

If you refuse to join the new world and want to default back to cold calling, please be my guest but if you implement these suggestions, you might just get better results and start to get better leads.

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