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

100 Days Of Rejection Therapy

rejectionAll day, everyday I teach small business owners to stop being afraid of something. Stop being afraid of calling strangers, of public speaking, of networking, of increasing their prices, of asking for coffee dates and of course, the big one, of asking for the sale.

When I read this article about a startup entrepreneur named Jia Jiang who was crushed when he couldn’t get funding for his startup and how he turned it into a challenge to get over his FEAR of rejection, I couldn’t believe my eyes. He decided that the fear was actually worse than the asking. To desensitize himself and get over the fear, he took a challenge to get rejected 100 days in a row. He then videotaped each rejection and put it on his blog post. http://www.entresting.com/blog/100-days-of-rejection-therapy/

Jia only had 3 criteria for his challenges: 1. Ethical (no lying or marriage-undermining) 2. Legal 3. Doesn’t defy the law of physics

Some of his more interesting rejection challenges that he filmed were:

Rejection 34: Find a Job in One Day

Rejection 35: Ask a Girl Out to Dinner

Rejection 38: Challenge a CEO to a Staring Contest

Rejection 100 – Interview President Obama (which he’s still waiting for)

He became a sort of cult hero because people who felt the bitter agony of the fear of rejection were asking him to take on a rejection challenge (like asking a girl out to dinner) that they were deathly afraid of.

What could you do in your business if you were desensitized to rejection? I let my imagination run free here. If you weren’t afraid of rejection, you would:

1. Triple Your Prices Overnight Without Changing A Single Thing In Your Offer

The belief that we will starve if we ‘price ourselves out of the market’ is such a false one as I’ve seen in the past year. It’s probably the single biggest rejection that people fear.

2. Ask More People For Coffee

If you could double the number of coffee dates you have with people you can potentially help, do you think that might increase the number of clients you get?

3. Public Speak More And To Bigger Crowds

If you could get over the fear of rejection on masse where the fear of ‘what if they ask me something I don’t know’, ‘what if there’s a jerk in the audience who embarrasses me’, ‘what if I freeze up and don’t remember what I know’, then you’ll be raking in hundreds of more clients.

4. Make a Million Dollars Without Neglecting Your Family

If you got over just the ASSUMPTION of massive success equaling the rejection of your loved ones, where do you think your business could go?

5. Be Your True Silly Self

If you were not afraid of rejection or humiliation from your business peers and clients, would you be sillier and let out your fun side more? Would you be rolling more with laughter or wear red lipstick or thigh high boots? The sad truth is that you would be even more successful in business if you did.

What’s going to be your rejection challenge for this week?

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

How Michael E. Gerber Apologized To Me

michaelgerber

I was at the Art of Small Business yesterday, a conference with a $349 ticket that had famous speakers like Brett Wilson (Dragon’s Den) and Michael E. Gerber (The E-Myth books). I learned quite a few things I want to share with my own peeps and even got an apology from the great Gerber himself. Here’s what I learned:

You Can Reach Anyone, Even A Celebrity

When I tweeted about Michael Gerber heckling people and joked that I was afraid to visit the washroom for fear of being assaulted, I never expected that he would see my comment. Low and behold, the same night I saw his apology. I’ve met numerous high profile, hard to reach people on Twitter because 1. it’s not as populated as LinkedIn or Facebook and 2. when you keep tweeting about a person using their handle and keep doing it, they take notice. If you’re trying to reach someone important, what are you waiting for?

Age Equals Power

When Michael Gerber got up and said he’d do the exact opposite of every previous speaker (which meant all of them) on stage, he wasn’t kidding. He refused to give a how-to list (although he did end up having a list). He refused to be nice, heckling people getting up to leave the audience during his speech. He proudly stated his age-77. Now the man definitely had a style and he had confidence. Every time he’d say something controversial, he’d state “I’ve been around”. So yes, I learned that if I’m still public speaking at 77, I can pull off all that and more on stage.

Millionaires Neglect Their Families

The most interesting part of Brett Wilson’s talk for me was when he recounted the story of how he’d work harder, the more his marriage fell apart. He talked about how his priorities were money and big cars while his own children didn’t know him. He said he needed lots of therapy and reworking his life to find his new normal. A man in the audience stood up and asked ‘is it possible to be a millionaire and have a great family life’ and Brett’s answer was pretty much ‘no’. Interesting…

Paid Speakers Also Sell From The Stage

I know from talking to promoters that these celebrities were getting paid between $10K and $25K for their 1 hour speaking engagement. What was also interesting to me was how they were selling a product or a service while they were also getting paid to speak. Jonathan Fields offered a free mind map download with a link to his website. Most others offered to stick around for questions. Others had book signings. I once heard Marcus Buckingham say that he only made $25K on stage but at the end of the hour long talk, that he’d sold $250K worth of training while doing it. Mark my words: Public Speaking is the best way to build any business.

Free Tickets Are The New Black

After determining that none the 30 or so friends that I ran into at the event had paid for their supposed $349 ticket, I was onto the organizers’ game. The event was simply a paid vehicle for sponsors Visa, KPMG and UPS to gather and market to 250 small business owners. It’s brilliant really. How much better was their reach than TV advertising? How much could they interact with the small biz owners one on one rather than be PVR’d off their screen? Clever, very clever.

So if you’re trying to grow your small biz, learn from the masters like I did and next thing you know, you’ll be holding your own event and apologizing to someone in your audience!

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

How I Was Lied To For A Sale-Genius Strategy Or Corrupt?

lie to sell

The ‘gifts’ we bought from Jamaica

Ever tell a lie to sell something? Well, what if that were your ENTIRE sales and marketing strategy?

Let me explain…Just about everybody in the free world knows that I was recently vacationing in sunny Jamaica. Here’s what happened on our way back from the touristic Dunn’s River Falls.

Giving Is Receiving

Both my husband and I were greeted by two different vendors on different corners as we entered the falls. My vendor high-fived my 4-year-old and immediately grabbed a wooden turtle as a ‘gift’ and started carving his name ‘LOGAN’ on the back to gift to him. He then started carving my name on another turtle as another ‘gift’. When I refused to take them, he said ‘help an honest man make a living, give me a little tip, a little something’. Well, I ended up giving him $15 for those two ugly turtles. My husband was ‘gifted’ 2 scary looking statuettes with our respective names carved in the back for the bargain price of $20!

Genius Strategy?

The marketing coach in me never sleeps (or vacations) so when I noticed 2 other vendors ‘gifting’ us their trinkets, I started noticing a strategy. Then I took note. I actually interviewed the next guy who came up to us and asked him about his close rate (success rate of sale). He said it was 60%. I was floored. I asked about the 40% who refused to buy and how they salvaged the trinket after personalizing it. They said that they just scraped the name off and polished the wood back up again like new. I certainly learned something new that day.

What’s Good About Lying?

I learned that even in a developed market like ours where I help clients sell and market their services, I teach them the same thing as what these poor, uneducated men from a developing country have learned by experience-you have to give something of value to gain the trust of a potential client and then you have the chance to ask for something back.

I argued with myself whether it was a good strategy to lie to sell me 4 total trinkets that have served as nothing but a memory of an interesting sales strategy and fodder for this blog. I would’ve preferred to buy something that I actually wanted instead of being stuck with these atrocious finds. However, I have to admire the ingenuity and the value of giving first before receiving.

What are you giving of value to your clients that builds trust between you before asking for anything of them at all?

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

Is Your Web Presence Getting You More Customers?

You think you’re a hot shot online? Think again, in  ‘s Inc Magazine article, study findings show that customers think a lot less of your business than you think they do. Here are the stats:

A recent study by Web.com found that small businesses underestimated the opportunity they have to build relationships with customers via the web and also overestimated their positive presence online.

Only 50 percent of consumers surveyed reported that small businesses meet or exceed their expectations in terms of a web and social media presence–something most businesses owners don’t realize. Of the small business decision-makers who were surveyed, 61 percent rated their websites positively, while only 46 percent of consumers shared the same view.

http://www.inc.com/abigail-tracy/small-businesses-missing-out-on-social-media.html

The big reason for the disconnect between what consumers think of a small business’ online presence and what the small business decision makers think of their presence is the expectations each group has around web presence. I can’t stress talking to your clients enough. Ask them all day, every day what they think of you, your presence and  your industry. Find out what’s happening in their minds, then change your marketing to fit their reality, not yours.

You’ll be the wealthiest small business owner if you base your entire marketing, including online presence on your CONSUMERS’ insights.

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