Business Not Growing? Take a Look at Your Calendar

busyBusy is the new black. We are almost hilariously competing with each other for how much busier we are compared to the next gal. Last time I looked though, busy certainly didn’t translate into leads or sales. As a small business marketing coach, I gave this idea some thought and here are some key things you need to be watching out for:

What Are You So Busy With?

Your calendar is actually a crystal ball for your business performance in the coming months. Whenever a client complains that the phones aren’t ringing, I have to remind them that 3 months ago they were swamped with that big project and swimming in working IN the business which meant that all time for marketing was cut down to a big fat zero.

Look to see what percentage of your calendar is made up of working IN the business vs. working ON it? I can predict your future sales by looking at this ratio.

Face Time Much?

If your calendar shows that the majority of your time with prospects is face to face rather than through passive means like social media or your newsletter, this is also a very big indicator of your upcoming sales. My clients experience the biggest and fastest shifts in their business when they spend actual real-time with their potential clients, whether on the phone, in a networking meeting or having coffee with them.

Say Ohmmm

Your calendar is also the place you can see if you have that much sought-after balance for your life. If your calendar is jam-packed with business tasks from 8am to 10pm, 6 days a week, what I’ve learned is that something in your life is suffering. Unfortunately if you’re incapable or unwilling to shift that imbalance, no amount of meditating (ohm) or exercising is going to help. So get down to the real issue of why you’re allowing that imbalance. Is it fear that if you don’t work hard, you’ll starve? Is it in avoidance of something uncomfortable in your family relationships? Do the work on yourself to become self-aware then take a look at revising your calendar.

When your calendar reflects a balance between doing your job and marketing your job, when it’s balanced with a good hefty dose of fun and family, then you will see your business results surge.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

The Beatles were right – you can’t buy love

beatlesA lot of small businesses are pouring dollars into campaigns to win the hearts, minds and wallets of their clients. I’m here to make a bold statement (as I am known to make) that often, they are wasting their money.

You Can’t Make People Love You           

In high school, I always wanted to be friends with the ‘cool’ kids. I bought them lunch, told them racy stories or just clowned around trying to win their approval and friendship. Strangely enough, the people I attracted were much different from the ones I thought I wanted to attract.  The lesson was that friendships can’t be bought or coerced. Attraction has to happen on its own.

Businesses Need Client Love

As a small business owner with a tight marketing budget, I knew that I couldn’t spend enough money, buy enough ad space, or send enough flyers to my potential customers to buy their love. All that marketing spending would buy me would be AWARENESS not love.

All around me, I see businesses spending their marketing dollars on ways to make people aware of them. The critical thing they don’t get is that awareness doesn’t equal love.

To Know You Is To Love You

Now, granted once I get to know you, I might fall in love with your message and your personality but the critical piece that’s missing is that small businesses are expecting their awareness campaigns to buy them immediate liking, trust and buy-in. This just doesn’t happen.

How potential clients truly get to know you is to get an experience of how you help them with their pain.

For example, I coach at conferences. I publicly speak about my clients’ pain and their results. I blog about my thoughts and opinions. I send newsletters about my life, my work and my heart.

If you want your clients and potential clients to fall in love with you—just remember you can’t buy their love. You need to show yourself and allow them to get to know you. Then, you will be in their hearts and minds forever.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

5 Signs That You Are Living In The Dark Ages

I’ve been having lots of short phone chats with people I meet while networking, on social media or with people who’ve been e-introduced to me. In some cases, I have to really shake my head at the mindset that greets me. Here are some hints that you might also be living in the dark ages…

1. You Connect With Someone Only Because You Think They’ll Become A Client

When did every date become a marriage proposal? How do people expect every interaction to yield money? How archaic is the thinking that unless I’m going to buy from you that you are not interested in a single word I have to say? Sheesh

2. You Are Perfect (Or Think You Are)

Not open to hearing about how others are doing it? Success stories in your industry are automatically tuned out by your senses? I understand, of course I would too if I were perfect. It’s too bad there are so few of us in this world, am I right?

3. You Don’t Care About Me

If you’re spending 90% of the conversation, oh no–make that 100% talking about you and never once think to ask about my business, then I’m going to start getting the idea that you just don’t give a hoot about me. You also don’t give a hoot about helping me or connecting me with a potential partner or client or anything.

4. Your Sales Suck But You Say You’re Really Busy

Authenticity and transparency are the new black. On one hand there are clear indicators that you’re not doing so hot and on the other you’re bragging about a marathon of non ending work. Which is it my friend?

5. You Refuse Any Help

You refuse resources, partnerships or any other type of help because, yeah I forgot, you are perfect and you’re already really busy.

If you, as a small business owner are exhibiting any of these signs, I beg you to get yourself checked out and get a cromagnonitis stat. Drag yourself and your business into the new age of marketing. Give instead of ask. Listen instead of talk. Collaborate instead of sell.

Getting off my probably PMS driven soap box now.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Building Your Brand on Twitter

As a brand marketing coach, I am always interested in learning new ways to use my brand to enhance my presence on any client touch point. One such touch point is Twitter. Are you doing these things (some of them are admittedly no-brainers) to enhance and build your brand on this marketing vehicle?

1. Use your brand name as your Twitter name. 
(Many companies) use a cute Twitter name that isn’t related to their brand name.

2. Use your logo as your Twitter picture. 
Some companies don’t use their logo for some reason.

3. Send Tweets that provide useful information to customers and prospects.
Always add a link to more information on your website.

4. Send Tweets to new blog posts or videos.
You can also send Tweets to older blog posts and videos that are still relevant.

5. You should Tweet 10 to 20 times a day to keep your brand name in the Twitter stream.
You can schedule the Tweets that have links to valuable content and complement that with five to 10 personalized Tweets where you are interacting with other Twitter users.

6. Create a persona for your Twitter presence so people will get to know your brand.
Investopedia defines brand personality as “A set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name.”

via Building Your Brand on Twitter.

Your brand personality is a living, breathing part of your business. You need to shout it out to the world to differentiate yourself from thousands of others who make their living doing what you do. Use every touch point that you can to make yourself memorable and different. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in the enviable position of never having to market yourself again.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Project a Successful Image: 7 Ways

In my world of marketing my own business, image is everything. It is the packaging to your product. It is the first impression and sometimes only impression someone will have of your business. Projecting a successful one takes some planning. Check out these tips below:

1. Look Good for Any Occasion

Always dress one notch higher than what’s expected. If dress is business casual, put on a suit.

2. Write and Speak Correctly

Improve your grammar, spelling, and especially, your diction. If English is your second language, you’ll need to work harder.

3. Master the Art of Intelligent Conversation

Be up on current events. Be a lifelong learner. Take courses, read books, listen to interesting pod-casts.

4. Be Charitable

Give your time, energy, and wisdom to people around you as well as those in dire need.

5. Be Organized

You are judged on little things like timely response to messages and email. Showing up late disrespects others and makes you look careless or worse, indifferent.

6. Make People Feel Important

When face-to-face, have a firm handshake, make eye contact, and show respect by being present.

7. Spend Time with Successful People

Build a circle of people you respect and admire, and you too will be respected and admired by the people important to you.

via Project a Successful Image: 7 Ways.

At the end of the day, as the song goes: All you need is love. Love for yourself, respect for others and for how you treat them and yourself. My favorite author Robert Holden says “if your definition of success doesn’t have the word love in it, then you need a new definition” and I couldn’t agree more.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

3 Things You Wish People Would Say While Networking

Businessman with Food Stuck in his TeethAs a small business growth coach, I find myself at networking meetings 2-3 times a week. These are some of the things I wish for in my head for someone to sometimes say…

1. Excuse me, you have something black in your teeth

This one killed me as I got into my car one night after a networking event with 60 men and women and spotted myself in the mirror. I do regular washroom visits to check now but come on—couldn’t one person have taken pity and told me?

2. I’m not really into what you do
Sometimes when there’s no match, there’s no match. The person you meet doesn’t need your services. I wish they would just be straight and try to help with something else you need instead, like if you’re looking for a VA or to buy some IT consulting or a husband.

3. My biz is in big trouble and I don’t have a clue what to do
At times I’ve felt that people are in deep marketing pain and they need me desperately as a branding coach but are not willing to ask what it takes to get my help.  I’ve even had people pump me for brainstorming ideas for marketing their business while I’m struggling with peeling a shrimp with my teeth, but it doesn’t faze them.  I’d much rather you came clean and set up an appointment to talk about hiring me instead.

So if the next time you see me at a networking event and the above thoughts are crossing through your head, I give you full permission to say it to my face.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Why Shorter Is Sweeter (& Always More Efficient)

English: Danny DeVito at the 2010 Comic Con in...

English: Danny DeVito at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m only 5’3″ so naturally I would subscribe to the notion that shorter is sweeter but even as a small business coach I think this idea is key to good communication. A client sent a sell sheet she’d made for a new program she was offering. It was pages and pages long. I kept scrolling and it went on. She said she’d learned it in a special online selling workshop. I don’t know much about the workshop but I know that as a consumer I didn’t have the time to read all that. As a marketer, I know that consumers of our information are bombarded by millions of other similar messages. The trick to getting the attention is to be short, interesting and relevant. Below are other tips to help you get more eyeballs and ears faster:

Get to the point. Now.  In a voicemail, just state your name, quickly explain your reason for calling and give the person a call-to-action.

Three is a magic number. Narrow everything down to the three most important points. Usually, once the top three points are listed, I realize the other info is extraneous or redundant anyway.

Use bullets. Tell the reader up front what the message is about and outline your points with bullets consisting of concise phrases, not complete sentences. Finally, close with a call-to-action — whatever it is you want the reader to do next.

Keep meetings focused. We’ve all suffered through endless meetings in which someone talks and talks and very little gets communicated. Make sure everyone is clear about the meeting goals and keep the time under 30 minutes to maintain a sense of urgency and focus.

via Why Shorter Is Sweeter (& Always More Efficient).

If you’ve been wondering how to increase your newsletter open rates or how to improve your ROI on your offers, take another look at how you’ve been presenting your stuff. Get real, get short and get going!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!