How To Pick Your Brand Name

One of the most common questions I get asked by startups or new companies is ‘what should I choose as my brand name’. For most entrepreneurs, it’s like naming a baby with far reaching consequences and a thousand unforeseen implications.

  • Here’s what I tell them: First figure out your niche. That means who your ideal client is and what area you’re an expert in. Don’t guess this, learn how to research this strategically.
  • Then figure out the words that your ideal client is googling to search for you online. Find out what words they use to describe the pain that they’re in.
  • Then use those words in your brand name. The best brand names are simple and short English words that represent something about what you do, such as Staples or ToysRus.
  • For example, when a marketing consultant client niched in helping small food manufacturers get and stay listed in grocery stores, we picked the name ‘Food Distribution Guy’. When a financial planner client niched in Divorcing Women, her brand name became Divorcing Woman. One of the most successful brand names and url for a business I know is called Stenographers.com. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

So you see, it all starts with figuring out your niche, and what words your ideal clients are using. It’s not really ever about what you think is cute or relevant or sexy, it’s always about them.

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

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

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