When My Angry Reader Confronted Me At A Conference

confrontationI had one of the most interesting confrontations of my life at last week’s Canadian Association of Professional Speaker’s Conference. It was really illuminating and I’d like to share it with my fellow business owners who dare to blog, speak and in general share their honest personal opinion on the state of the business that they are in.

Speaking Gig

As my virgin run at this conference, I was thrilled to have gotten a speaking slot. Imagine, my first time at a Speaker’s conference AND I get to speak to professional speakers. My speech was about a fave topic of mine lately: your money mindset. In the 12 minutes that I was allotted, I talked about my humble beginnings, and my limiting beliefs. I talked about my shame and fears. I exposed myself (as I often do) to share my failures and my fumbles.  This humanized me to a very special member of the audience. I was to find out why very shortly.

An Admirer Approaches Me

A gentleman who had been in my audience later approached me in the lobby, telling me how much he’d enjoyed my talk. He also said he wanted to talk to me further. Now alarm bells weren’t ringing at that time because like any business owner who speaks to sell, I often get people wanting to talk to me about how I can help their own business after hearing me on stage. This gentleman was soft-spoken, respectful and from his earlier musical talent show using an odd-looking instrument, a very interesting person. I was happy to talk to him.

I Have A Confession

Then he revealed that he had a confession. He said that he had signed up for my newsletter and had read my last blog titled ‘5 Ways I Can Tell That You’re NOT Serious About Your BusinessHe said that he hadn’t even gotten past the first point before he was boiling mad at me for saying what I did in the article. He then told me of how he’d seen me come in to the conference room the day before and had chosen to ignore me deliberately because of the ill-feelings he was harboring towards me. However, he still wanted to see me speak in person and came to hear me speak that day. That’s when he realized that what was triggering him was HIS own limiting beliefs.

Dare To Tell

I can’t tell you how much I admire this gentleman. It took guts. I was blown away by his courage and honesty. These two things are not often encountered in today’s world. This at first nerve-wracking but later touching experience was literally the best thing to happen to me at that conference all weekend.

What Triggers Us

My new friend and I parted on this one thought in agreement: what triggers us is always what is stopping us. I now know why I used to cringe when speakers started circulating their sales sheets. I know why my heart used to pound out of my chest when it came time to quote my prices (which were a mere fraction of what they are today!). I understand why it was so hard for me to believe that I could make my dreams come true.

I hope this story teaches you something as valuable as it did to me. Speak your truth, always. When the student is ready, the teacher will show up.

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 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

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

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

10 Terrible Excuses Not To Market Your Small Business

excuseAs a small biz marketing guru, I’ve heard them all. They have one thing in common: They are all excuses that are holding you back from your dreams. They are false beliefs you picked up somewhere from your family, your culture, the media, a bad experience..you name it. I can go on.

Here are the ones that I’ve heard most often. See if you can spot yourself in one.

1. I Have No Time

I once heard a quote that said ‘Time is a created thing. When you want to, you find it.’ I couldn’t agree more.

2. No Money

The way that I marketed my business when I first started my coaching practice almost 3 years ago was practically for free. I went networking at low-cost events and got on the phone to book myself in as a speaker in front of crowds I wanted to penetrate. In addition, through social media, I could reach almost anyone I wanted to and did. You will never have enough money if you make this one an excuse.

3. No Connections

Didn’t I just mention social media? Not only that, but when you reach out to your own friends and family and give them a clear picture of your ideal client and ask for their help in meeting them, you will be surprised at how many connections you truly have.

4. Don’t Like To Network

I used to be against networking. I bit the bullet and kept going to the same events that my ideal clients go to. Over and over and over again. Now, I’m surprised if I don’t know at least 10 people at ANY event I go to. The very first ones I used to go to, I’d ask the organizers’ help in getting introduced around. In others, I’d find one accommodating soul at the buffet and ask if they knew anyone and ask to be introduced. The rest is history.

5. Don’t Know What To Do To Market

If you’re truly clueless about whether you should be networking or advertising, then get some help. There are thousands of business coaching programs available at every price point. If you’re starting from zero, you need help. Stop wasting your time with this excuse and learn what to do.

6. Can’t Market Until My New Product Launch

Or until I finish my new certification or until my lease is up or until etc etc. This is a time-honored delay tactic and the granddaddy of all excuses. It’s a false belief that what you offer isn’t enough until you get something to complete you. Even if your entire business is the new product, you still don’t have to wait for the launch to start marketing. Ever heard of teaser campaigns?

7. It’s Icky To Self-Promote

This is a huge excuse and an honest to goodness belief that a lot of my clients have. Do the work to flip that belief (see my post on Dr.Joe Dispenza’s work to help you) or you’ll go bankrupt fast. If you didn’t self promote, you would continue to be the best kept secret in town and help no more than a handful of people in the world. Is that what you were born for? Surely your destiny can’t be meant to have you playing so small?

8. I’m No Good At It

I’m no good at beach volleyball, snowboarding, scuba diving, running, speaking French at cocktail parties, keeping my opinions to myself..and I can go on and on. I do it anyway and guess what..the more I do it, the better I get. Ditch your excuse and get out there.

9. I Have A Young Family

Oh, this doozy was mine for ages. I didn’t want to leave my 5-year-old at home and go out networking or travel out-of-town to large conferences and speaking gigs. Well, some wise women (one being Sandra Yancey) had me changing my perspective about this and I began to see it as simply the excuse that it was. I’m not like the George Clooney Up In The Air character where he was gone 300 days of the year. I only venture out-of-town once a month for a few days. The networking also isn’t so bad because I get to see him during the day.

10. I Need To Make Money So I Have To Work IN The Biz

Well, this is perhaps the biggest place to hide for entrepreneurs-their work. I have clients who build their businesses with me and get so busy with client work that they literally drop our marketing work entirely. I get a call from them during their dead season a few months later asking to start the work up again. Biz growth is a mean mistress. Unless you build it into your busy life all the time, she will not want you back easily.

I hope you were NOT able to recognize yourself in this list. Maybe there are even a few excuses I’ve missed. Let me know..I always love a good chuckle.

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

What My Superhero Power Would Be

picnicmanWhen I found out that a multimillionaire, multi-talented serial entrepreneur named Tina Roth Eisenberg credits her success with her ability to answer one single question, I was intrigued. The question was:

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

What The Successful Said

She said that almost all the successful people she met were able to answer this question instantly. For example according to the Inc. magazine article, John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.” Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog by reading 12-15 books a week, said “doggedness.” Eisenberg’s own superpower? Enthusiasm.

What I Said

I really loved this question because it made me realize that my own answer is the focus of my business and it’s simply this:

To enable people to overcome their childhood crap around money (which translates to their ability to market and sell themselves).

Yup, this is my life mission.

Your Focus

If you think about what your greatest mission in life and in your business is, then wouldn’t you naturally want that to be your superpower?

For example, a client who is a financial advisor recently decided to become ‘the business tax deductions expert’. Imagine a superhero looking at your finances and finding missing deductions to hand you unexpected savings out of the blue! How about another client who helps women get over hot flashes through simple dietary changes? That’s a superpower any woman would love.

If you don’t have a niche, you probably haven’t met me or haven’t had the pleasure to speak to me about this topic that’s my personal frustration with businesses I meet. I try not to cringe every time someone tells me that they work with everyone and do everything.

I want to convince every one I meet from every industry and every walk of life that indeed, life is sweeter when your business has a focus (a niche) and you can’t become a superhero if you don’t have one main strength. Otherwise the Xmen franchise would star a single hero and wouldn’t that be boring to watch?

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

Funny Thing Happened At The Airport

packages

What happens when a small business coach who has just spent her last week writing and talking about how important it is to stop selling services by the hour and products by the unit goes on vacation? Her work follows her to the airport of course!

As I was contemplating exchanging my Canadian dollars to US, I noticed a very prominent sign in the exchange booth window. Much to my disbelief, even a currency exchange bureau was offering PACKAGES to customers. The title on the sign pretty much said it all: exchange more, save more. I got so excited about this sign because it was just one more proof about why it’s essential to package your products and services and stop quoting by the single unit.

Here are some arguments about why this is such a good idea:

Simplicity Sells

In this world of what my favorite coach Sam Horne calls Infobesity-information obesity where we’re swimming in too much information  we kind of blank out when it comes to absorbing most of the messages that surround us. Simplicity is key to getting your message across in a concise way in your business. Why shouldn’t your actual offer, the most critical part of your selling and marketing process be just that simple? Presenting your offerings in the form of packages just makes it that much easier to process, understand and remember what options there are to work with you.

We Live In A World Of Packages

Everywhere you go, from retail stores to high level service providers, everyone is offering packages. We have become a consumer who understands and deals in packs. Why should your business buck this trend and try to peddle your wares by the single unit and invite comparisons and calculations that are sure to come up short in the eyes of your consumer?

Ditch the solo act and get onto the package deals. Then make sure to sweeten your packs with added bonuses and extras and get creative about providing things that your competitors don’t.

You Can Give More Value

If you were to simply sell your products or services as a stand-alone, that’s all you’d be selling. Instead, you’re now providing bigger and better value by offering cross services, complimentary products and bonuses that don’t take much for you to offer but can add tremendous value to the whole pack of what you’re selling. Remember a package offering is larger than the sum of its parts. Sold separately each part wouldn’t be as valuable but put together cleverly by you and designed based on your clients’ needs, they provide true value.

Makes Choosing Simpler

It’s already difficult to decide to buy, why not make it easier to choose. Your client’s buying decision can only be enhanced by simply organized, high value and high impact packages that are offered 2 or 3 at a time. People love choices and you want to make sure that they’re not making a choice between buying and not buying but rather between your packages. You influence and control the decision when you offer packages.

If you still insist that you work in an industry where selling in packs isn’t feasible, look no further than an exchange office at the airport and think about the money you’re leaving on the table by refusing to reshape your offerings.

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