Kiss goodbye to scraping by

Kiss goodbye to scraping by

The successful entrepreneur has the same number of hours in the day as the not-so-successful entrepreneur.

The difference being a successful entrepreneur maximises those hours and works less overall by being laser focused.

She knows her peak energy times, her routines, and the productivity tools that work best for her in order to create her own plan for success.

The importance of scheduling

Managing time is the biggest struggle an entrepreneur has to face.

Studies show it takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to get back to where it was before an interruption.

If you’re faced with frequent interruptions and urgent last-minute tasks, you can easily be busy all day without making any progress on high-priority projects and goals.

The successful entrepreneur schedules her time properly and avoids being constantly interrupted.

She makes time for her professional and her personal goals so her work-life balance doesn’t suffer.

A coherent business marketing strategy

The successful entrepreneur knows her skills and her abilities are her most valuable assets.

She is a specialist, not a generalist.

She has a clear understanding of the people for whom she can produce the best results, and she is fully aware of their greatest needs and desires.

She works hard to establish a unique image and market positioning that differentiates her from the other players in her market, and she markets only to those who fit her stringent criteria.

Confidence has no competition

The successful entrepreneurial woman is confident and authentic.

She doesn’t shy away from self promotion.

She knows that business won’t come to her, that she has to go out and get it.

She has an opinion and she is willing to stand tall and put herself in the game.

She is excited about spreading her message to the marketplace in a way that’s compelling, focused and makes total sense.

She joyfully steps out into the world exactly as she is and she knows how to connect with the right type of people.

Are you ready to kiss goodbye to just getting by?

All of us are capable of becoming a woman who is clear and confident in her message, fully set up to attract and receive ideal clients and be laser focused in her work day.

We have to dig deep and realise that we are deserving of the abundance we crave.

We are entitled to be well rewarded for our efforts.

It’s up to us to step into our inner power and worthiness and create the life we know we deserve.

The secret to selling yourself

The secret to selling yourself

Did your upbringing teach you to be modest rather than flaunt your talents and abilities?

If so, you may find the idea of selling yourself repellent or somewhat embarrassing.

As a service provider the success of your business depends on how confident, powerful and sincere you are at selling yourself, your professional services and leading authentic client conversations.

There is nothing more frustrating than being exceedingly good at what you do but totally inept at being able to convey this in a convincing way.

If you have a negative mindset or a dislike of selling this will have a powerful effect on your confidence, credibility and trustworthiness with your clients.

Don’t let your dislike of sales and selling get in the way of growing your business.

Don’t overlook the fact that selling is a skill and it must be learned.

It is essential that you know how to sell yourself and your ideas

Does being good at selling mean you have to be good at controlling, convincing or manipulating others?

Definitely not!

Quite the contrary.

 

  • Being good at selling means you are quickly able to convey honesty, credibility, trust and high value.
  • Being good at selling means you are self-assured when it comes to communicating your expertise and discussing your fees.
  • Being good at selling means you are able to talk about your services in a way that inspires and motivates people to take action and say yes to working with you.

 

Make Yourself Irresistible

If you want to realise your potential and achieve fulfilment it pays to learn how to make yourself irresistible to others.

To make yourself irresistible to others you first have to believe that YOU are valuable and special.

You need to radiate self-confidence and a sense that you appreciate and care for yourself.

When others see these qualities in you, they will perceive that this is how THEY will be treated.

Get Off Planet Me

When you are comfortable in your own skin you won’t worry about how others judge you.

You won’t worry about the effect you are creating.

You won’t feel the need to prove yourself.

Your feelings of self-consciousness will dissipate.

You will feel enthusiastic about life.

You will want to create deep and meaningful connections with people.

You will find it easy to take the emphasis off you and shine the limelight on others.

We all know people like to feel valued and appreciated.

By showing a genuine interest in others you will demonstrate that you care.

You will make people feel good about themselves.

And in turn they will feel good about being around you.

People who are attracted to you will value your advice and your opinions.

They will allow themselves to be influenced by you.

Become A Lifelong Student Of Self Development

Make an investment in yourself.

Become a lifelong student of self-development.

Successful people practice self-development.

The legendary entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it best: “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development.”

Learn to play to your signature strengths

Learn to play to your signature strengths

To grow a successful business you have to become irresistibly magnetic.

You do that by being unique, different, compelling.

By focusing your efforts on the things you do well naturally.

Become an expert in what you do well instead of being a generalist that does a little bit of everything in a so-so fashion.

Playing to your biggest natural strengths will energise you and give you more satisfaction.

You’ll fire on all cylinders and time will fly by because you are doing what you love.

So how do you identify your natural strengths?

Well, let’s start off by identifying your weaknesses.

That’s the easy bit!

What are your weaknesses?

A weakness is any activity that leaves you feeling weak, an activity that bores you, frustrates you or drains you.

It’s an activity you dread, something you just cannot wait to be over and done with.

A lot of business owners I know hate bookkeeping.

But, like it or not, the state of your business books may very well determine whether your business lives or dies.

Personally, bookkeeping sucks the life out of me.

So what do I do?

I outsource that work because my time is better spent doing the things I enjoy that maximise my results and success.

We are all human and recognise our weaknesses.

The trick is to minimise them and maneuver around them so you are in control.

What are your personal strengths?

Everyone has strengths they are born with but few people have spent enough time or effort to truly understand what it is they are great at or have the potential to be great at.

Your strengths are a mixture of your talents, knowledge and “skills”.

“Skills” don’t come naturally, they are the strengths you’ve worked hard over time to acquire.

Using your strengths focuses on doing more of what you are naturally good at rather than what you are just “capable of doing”.

High achievers spend most of their time using their strengths.

They focus on developing their strengths and managing their weaknesses.

They may not have more strengths than the average individual, but they have learned to utilise them better and to apply them to new situations.

Play to your signature strengths

Your signature strength is an area of gifting where your skill intersects your passion.

This means it’s not enough to be really good at something, you must have some love and/or enjoyment of it too.

Otherwise, it’s just a “skill” or a “capability” you have that isn’t reliably fun for you to use.

Orientating yourself around your signature strengths instead of around your skills will completely change the game on how you provide services that fit who you truly are.

You’ll know when something is a signature strength because it feels more like play than work.

You will enjoy the process

You will have a sense of energy and engagement

You will often lose your sense of time because you are so engrossed in the task

You will show high levels of performance

You would be willing to pay to engage in the activity

You want to do things that use your strengths even when you are tired or stressed

Playing to your signature strengths will get superior results in your work compared to someone whose time and activities are not well as well aligned.

Playing to your signature strengths will help you shoot for the stars!

How to build instant rapport

How to build instant rapport

We know that people do business with those they know, like and trust.

The ability to build instant rapport is an essential ingredient for the success of any business.

You have but a moment to make a great first impression.

To put your prospective customer at ease.

To gain their trust and confidence.

Remember that rapport is not a conscious decision.

It happens at the level of the unconscious mind.

To be successful in developing rapport it’s important from the outset to engage in a warm and enjoyable exchange with your prospect.

I am gregarious by nature and using humour is my usual approach.

I’m always mindful of the mood of my prospect and the circumstances and I will temper my attitude to suit the occasion.

Assume You Already Have Rapport

Usually when I first meet someone I try to gauge how familiar I can be with them without coming across as brash or intrusive.

I really enjoy meeting new people.

I like to treat them as if I already know and trust them.

I hope that this will send out subconscious signals encouraging them to accept me in the same way.

This behaviour comes naturally to me and is consistent in my dealings with everyone.

It is important that the style of approach you embrace comes naturally to you, that it suits your personality.

To do otherwise would be pretentious and insincere, and people will sense this.

Face-to-Face Vs Telephone

Meeting face-to-face means greeting someone with good eye contact and a genuine easy smile.

Whereas over the phone you need to tune into their personality and respond appropriately to their tone of voice.

It takes practice.

Whatever the case, it’s about being naturally inquisitive and using good listening skills.

You should encourage your prospect in an undemanding way to disclose key information all the while gently guiding the conversation in the direction you would like it to go.

Use your powers of persuasion but keep in mind that people don’t like to be sold to.

They prefer to buy something because it meets a need or solves a problem.

Style of Communication

Learn to mirror the other person by matching the characteristics of their voice, including their tone, pitch, speed and volume.

Pay particular attention to their preferred style of communication.

Normally we converse using all three styles but each of us has a preference.

If you adjust your preferred style to match that of your prospect you will do better.

 

  • Visual communicator

You will notice that the visual communicator tends to use language like “I get the picture” or “I see what you mean”.

When speaking they will primarily look up or up and to the side as they process answers to your questions.

Generally they are fast talkers because it is a lot quicker to put visual memories into words.

 

  • Auditory communicator

An auditory communicator might use the phrase “I hear what you are saying” or “sounds good”.

Mostly they will move their eyes left to right or right to left (from ear to ear) as they have the need to hear what they are saying.

Usually these people speak at a moderate speed.

 

  • Kinaesthetic communicator

If your prospect prefers to engage using his kinaesthetic senses he could very well say something like “I get the feeling that” or “do you know what I mean?”

While talking they have the tendency to look down and to the right as they need to feel what they are saying.

Typically they will be slow talkers because it takes longer to feel a response and then to get it out.

Body Language

A very important way to make your prospect feel calm and relaxed is to match his body language, such as the way he stands or sits, his facial expressions and the gestures he makes.

But be careful … you don’t want to make it obvious!

Acknowledge & Approve

Be sure to acknowledge and approve of what your prospects have to say during the course of your conversation with them.

They will feel reassured knowing you are actively listening, that you value and respect their point of view.

With practice you will master these skills.

You know you have succeeded in creating a feeling of comfort and closeness when someone asks “I feel like I know you. Have we met before?”

How to cultivate influential referrals

How to cultivate influential referrals

The Best Source Of New Business.

 

Customer referrals are the most persuasive form of advertising.

The best source of new business is a referral from a satisfied customer.

A referral is a mark of respect and appreciation from someone who has experienced the benefits of doing business with you.

A customer who is prepared to give you a referral is likely to become a lifetime supporter of you and your business.

Referrals are even more powerful when they come from a trusted friend or acquaintance because you know that person has your best interests at heart.

The popularity of social media is evidence that services and products are chosen based upon the recommendation of others.

You Need To Earn Your Referrals

To have satisfied customers you need to provide products and/or services of high quality and deliver exemplary customer service.

To cultivate raving fans and influential referrals you need to go the extra mile and outperform your customers’ expectations.

You need to develop friendship, trust and positive relationships with your customers in order to drive loyalty to you and your business.

Customers want to feel comfortable and secure when giving you a referral as they are putting their reputation and their image on the line.

Ask For Referrals

Your best customers will usually be ready and willing to give you referrals.

All you have to do is ask!

But timing is essential.

It’s far too aggressive to ask for a referral immediately following a transaction with your customer unless you are absolutely certain they are delighted with your business.

Generally it’s wise to give them the opportunity to experience your service or product and provide follow-up support before asking for referrals.

When you give willingly to your customers it is likely they will want to return the favour.

When asking your customers for referrals you need to assure them that their referrals will be treated with the greatest of respect.

Advise them of the steps you intend to take when handling their referrals.

Remember to keep them updated and to show your appreciation for their support and contribution.

Keep in mind that not all customers are referral candidates.

Focus on those that are ecstatic about your business and make sure their network is the type of client you want.

Types Of Referrals

The best type of referral will come from your customers because they can vouch first-hand for the quality of your product or service.

But don’t forget to prospect other influential people such as those individuals or businesses that provide complimentary products or services within your industry or profession including your suppliers and third party service providers such as consultants, accountants, etc.

Be Proactive

Seek out opportunities for cross promotions and joint ventures using endorsements from other well respected people.

Nurture and build your relationships with your influential advocates and make the referrals go both ways.

Demonstrate your value and willingness to help your customers by referring people to them and their businesses.

Track And Manage Your Referrals

You can track and manage your referrals using a system as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as sophisticated as a CRM database.

Be sure to thank your customers for their referrals on a regular basis.

Send a personalised thank you note or message for each referral you receive.

If you have customers who are particularly generous and forthcoming with their referrals you might care to reward them with something special such as discounts on your products or services, introductory discounted offers to JV partners or dinner and entertainment vouchers, etc.

Why are the smartest people not the most successful?

Why are the smartest people not the most successful?

The smartest people in the world tend not to be so successful when it comes to business.

Why is that?

Because they overthink things

They spend a lot of their time immersed in thought and that is the reason they hardly ever get much work done.

They analyse rather than problem solve.

They’re continually searching for a better solution, when a ‘good enough’ solution would have done.

They end up knowing so much that they don’t know where to begin.

Entrepreneurs are solution obsessed.

Entrepreneurs prefer to spend their time experimenting with solutions and measuring outcomes.

They overvalue qualifications and degrees

Education can be a valuable tool that allows you to focus on the right things when undertaking a new venture.

But you don’t need a degree to get ahead in life as an entrepreneur.

Resilience and self-belief are an entrepreneur’s most precious commodities.

Your customers don’t care about how many qualifications you have.

They care only about the results you can help them achieve.

They avoid risk

Academics move slowly, deliberately and cautiously.

They are used to working within an environment of shrinking resources and a culture of constraint.

They seldom venture outside the scope of their duties.

Whereas entrepreneurs move fast.

They thrive on risk and consider all the possibilities.

They’re willing to get down in the trenches and do whatever it takes.

They focus on patterns

Smart people observe patterns and calculate probabilities as part of their research.

If most businesses fail, the probability is high that theirs will fail, so why bother trying?

Entrepreneurs concentrate on the small percentage of businesses that are highly successful, and they focus on how to be one of the few who succeed.

They loathe promotion

Smart people believe they should quietly do good work, submit to the review of others, and let that work speak for itself.

Entrepreneurs love the solutions they offer.

They’re constantly promoting their programs because of the transformations that occur as a result.

There is no shame in their game!

Do you have an academic or an entrepreneurial mindset?

Are you able to move quickly, experiment without prior analysis, create without constraint, and love the idea of promotion?

Do less achieve more

Do less achieve more

If you’re a solopreneur it makes perfect sense to charge a premium for your services and to work with less clients.

Doesn’t it?

After all there is only one of you!

I  mean you can only work with so many people at one time and remain effective, right?

You don’t want to push yourself too hard, spread yourself too thin and risk burnout.

The transition from “average clients” to “high-end clients” over the past few years has transformed my business and my lifestyle.

Attracting high end clients will make a huge difference in the profitability of your business

When you master the art of attracting high-end clients into your business you’ll have more money, more time and more satisfaction that the work you are doing really does make a difference.

Premium prices attract quality clients

High end clients don’t care about the cost of your services as long as they can be certain they will get superior quality.

The experience of working together is one of partnership and possibility. Work doesn’t feel like work. It’s more like play.

High end clients are ideal clients

Ideal clients don’t resist you.

They’ve paid a premium to work with you and they are invested in their outcome.

They co-operate with you as you work together to make significant changes in their businesses and lives.

Remember that high-end clients are not looking for quick fixes.

They want quality.

They want you to connect with them in a deep and meaningful way.

Show them that they are unique and special.

High end clients are long-term clients

By working closely with your clients you will get to know and understand their needs so much better.

You’ll be able to do more that will make a long lasting impact.

And when you charge premium prices, you will gladly give better service, because you’ll feel you are being valued for what you are worth.

Stop trying to be like someone else

Stop trying to be like someone else

As at December 2017 it was estimated that there are 7.6 billion people living in this great big world of ours.

But there will only ever be one YOU!

You truly are a unique, gifted, and special individual.

That is an absolute fact.

Of course, as humans, we share the usual bits and pieces that most of us have in common, such as body parts, like a head, a heart, a brain, and so on.

We may even resemble each other in appearance, have similar traits and behaviours, but that is where the similarity ends.

It’s our life experiences that make us the person we are.

The way we grew up and what we learned in childhood makes us different from everyone else.

And the skills we’ve learned along the way, things as simple as caring for a pet, learning to play a musical instrument, building a cubby house, planting a veggie patch, and so on.

It’s the combination of everything you’ve learned and all the various things you’ve done up till now that makes you totally different from anybody else on this planet.

Some people may share similar talents and abilities but no-one is, or ever will be, identical to you.

No-one knows you better than yourself

Whether you believe it or not, no-one knows you better than you know yourself.

Everyone has an opinion on how best to run your life.

And everyone has an opinion on how best to run your business (and I say this despite this being the business I’m in).

Just remember the advice someone else gives you will be based on their life experiences, their thoughts, their opinions, and their emotions.

Not yours.

Reveal the real you

Since you are unique, dare to be your own person.

Have the courage to live true to yourself, not according to what others think or expect of you.

We need to be true to ourselves to be happy.

Do not aspire to become the person or the business leader you admire most at the expense of hiding behind the mask of fakery and deception.

Though it is helpful to learn from others’ experiences, skills and style, you do not want to lose your sense of self and set your sights on becoming their clone.

They are not the embodiment of success that you should aspire to become.

They are simply talented, successful people who’ve developed a strong professional identity that serves them well in their business.

Your goal is to take the best of what you learn from others and determine how to adapt and apply it in a way that suits and furthers your unique values, qualities and skills.

Keep in mind that customers have a very accurate built-in BS detector that can see through fake or forced behavior from a mile away.

Be a true, authentic, and real individual, and you will do well in life and in business.

Simplify your business

Simplify your business

There’s an old business rule that 20 percent of your customers produce 80 percent of your sales.

And it’s true.

Not all customers are created equal.

Far from it.

That being the case, why would you chase after customers who pay you the minimum amount of money and waste the maximum amount of your time?

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

There has to be a better way to do business.

Well there is!

Your goal should be to zero in on those 20 percent of customers who are essential for your prosperity.

Weed out your rotten clients

You know the ones.

The ones that take you away from servicing your most lucrative 20 percent.

And how do you do that?

Simple.

By raising your fees.

If you really want to see rotten clients run for the hills … raise your fees!

You might be thinking, “I can’t afford to lose any customers, so I’ll just focus on growing relationships with my best clients.”

But how will you have time to do the work needed to grow those good relationships if you keep those rotten clients?

Make maximum money with minimum clients

Raising your fees will attract your ideal clients into your business.

You’ll wind up making more money and working a lot less.

When people are willing to pay for the service you worked so hard to create, you will feel validated.

You’ll do your best work and you’ll form a special bond with your clients.

There is no better feeling than working with someone who is truly invested in their own outcome.

They hold a special place in your heart.

I have clients who pay me multiple six figures to produce the results I provide.

Customers with whom I have built strong, long-lasting relationships.

Customers I brought on board with 6 months contracts that my business is still working with 5 years later.

And you can too.

You are in the problem solving business

Remember you are in the problem solving business.

Not the “I want to sell you something” business.

You just have to be able to provide deep and and meaningful transformations.

Then zero in on those customers who value the quality you provide and want your best work.

Stop being a people pleaser

Stop being a people pleaser

Trying to please everyone is downright dangerous.

Impossible in fact.

If you want to succeed in business you cannot afford to be a people pleaser.

Experience has shown me that being a people pleaser isn’t beneficial to my life or business.

It means I base my value on other people’s perceptions of me.

I used to say “Yes” when I should have yelled “No” …  and taken off in the other direction!

Over the years I have learned to make better choices and better decisions.

Let me explain.

When I first started out in business in my early 20’s I was not as selective as I am today.

I’d pretty much bring on board anyone who was willing to work with me.

And I prided myself in providing each and everyone of them with a high level of attention in order to produce the results they wanted.

It was definitely worth the effort with those clients who valued my input and paid my fees without question.

However, the problem with being a people-pleaser is that sometimes you get taken advantage of (well almost always you get taken advantage of, actually).

You get a client who sees how badly you wish to please them and they just keep asking for more and more.

In the beginning all of my clients were easy to deal with, but as time went by my willingness to exceed their expectations had trained some of them to squeeze as much work out of me as possible.

And at no extra cost, of course.

And they wanted it like yesterday!

I ran myself ragged trying to keep up with their demands.

Eventually it came to a point where it was actually impossible to meet their expectations and it got very ugly, very fast.

Their reaction to saying “No” after having been a Yes Woman for so long was much worse than if I’d set the proper expectations from the start.

How do you combat the negative side effects of people-pleasing?

In the service-based industry your success is based on producing quality work in a timely manner.

By all means bend over backwards to exceed the expectations of clients who pay you what such work deserves.

You want to foster positive relationships with those kind of people, and work on growing them.

But when you come across impossible clients you have to learn to recognise those bloodsuckers and repel them from your business.

No one wants to be a servant or lose money on projects, right?

Know when to say “No”

Make sure you set boundaries and expectations with every client you bring into your business.

Whether at the screening stage or even in the middle of a project you need to learn to say “No”.

A simple “No” is the perfect solution to impossible clients.

If they ask for something beyond the scope of the project and you don’t think it is feasible, you have to say “No”.

Regardless of what all the motivation quotes may tell you, “No” is the most important word in business.

And yes, it is possible to be generous without being a doormat.

Your time is your most precious, non-renewable resource.

You need to learn to spend it wisely.

How do you avoid burnout?

How do you avoid burnout?

Entrepreneurship can be a rich and rewarding experience.

Having the freedom to set your own schedule and create your own rules makes you feel confident and in control of your life.

Most entrepreneurs I know are creative individuals with a huge appetite for productivity.

They’re ready and willing to go the extra mile to keep their clients happy, to help them get the results they truly want.

But after months or years of continuous effort it’s only natural for you to find yourself feeling exhausted, even frustrated.

The sacrifices and the commitment needed to turn a dream into a reality makes the entrepreneur a prime candidate for burnout.

So, how do you avoid burnout?

Set realistic expectations

Many entrepreneurs set super high expectations because we idealise the ‘perfect’ outcome.

We assume that the expectations we set for ourselves and our businesses are reasonable and easily attainable.

Yet many of them are anything but.

It’s unrealistic to expect ourselves day after day to have the same level of high energy that’s needed to meet lofty goals.

We cannot expect ourselves to always be fearless and deal with difficult times like a to-do list.

There are bound to be times when for some reason or another we feel below par, even uninspired.

Times when we are sent on a course or in a direction different from the planned or intended one.

A strong work ethic and a sense of urgency is ideal, but we must learn to cut ourselves some slack.

One way of achieving this is to take our big goals and break them down into bite-sized steps.

That way we’ll know, even on those days when we’re moving more slowly than usual, that we’re still heading in the right direction and, if we stay on track, we will eventually get there.

Create a daily routine that works best for you

When I first started out in business I committed myself to mimicking the standard workday as much as possible.

I took an hour for lunch at midday and continued to work through any creative blocks until the clock hit 5.

Mornings were never ideal for me.

I knew I put in my best work when the sun was over the yardarm.

So I decided to experiment.

I began to schedule my day around my natural creative flow.

I found I was more productive.

And as a result, more successful.

I believe your individual success depends on finding the custom-fitted daily routine that works best for you.

When do you operate at your best – early in the day, in the afternoon or evening, or maybe you’re a night owl?

For best results match your patterns of activity to your individual circadian rhythms, ie. your internal biological clock.

Don’t make the mistake of chasing the wrong resource: hours in the day.

Working more is never the answer.

Schedule some “Me” time

Every high-achieving woman I have ever met has had one thing in common – a passion.

Being passionate about your work and committed to your goals can suck you into a culture that forces you to work far too many hours a day and too many days a week.

Generally women find it easy to switch mental focus when doing simple tasks, allowing them to do multiple things at once.

And that’s great, but the downside is the brain’s ability to make multiple decisions can easily tire it out, making it a less-effective decision maker.

Try not to take on too much.

Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Be sure to take breaks away from your work and other responsibilities by spending time relaxing on your own to reduce stress and restore your energy.

Biggest challenge for startups

Biggest challenge for startups

Getting customers

The people we know go into business with the intention of using their expertise to produce outstanding results for their clients.

Many overlook how difficult it is to acquire new customers.

They tend to shy away from self-promotion.

Of course without regular clients a business is sure to fail.

Preventing failure requires you to undergo a fundamental mind shift.

Your real role is sales, and your success depends on it.

The remedy?

As much as you may loathe the idea of selling and prefer to spend your time on service delivery, you must accept that you need to focus your efforts and energies on getting clients.

At least until you have enough customers to sustain the business.

Then put in place a reliable plan for continued client acquisition.

Unfortunately the amount of time, effort and energy required for these activities is far greater than most new business owners anticipate.

But they are key to the business surviving and thriving.

More often than not when a small business owner struggles or fails it’s not their skills or technical expertise that caused their failure.

It’s their inability to set in place a proven sales and marketing plan.

The worst case scenario is waiting until that first source of new business dries up and due to a shortage of work, you have to lower your rates and take on any client just to pay the bills.

If you’re like the service business owners we know, you have very unique needs and challenges with respect to your marketing and sales strategy.

You want to fill your business with clients you love who respect your time, value, and expertise.

Clients who are willing to pay you what you are worth.

We’ll put together a focused sales and marketing plan that helps you have the time of your life building a profitable, sustainable business, and developing repeat customers who love what you do.

Don’t let fear-based thoughts hold you back from achieving your dreams

Don’t let fear-based thoughts hold you back from achieving your dreams

Successful entrepreneurial women commit wholeheartedly to their mission, vision, and purpose.

They never, ever give up.

For them the pain of living a life of regrets would be harder to endure than chasing after their dream and failing.

Learn to accept failure

The road to success is paved with potholes and setbacks.

At times you’re going to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted.

You’d better steel yourself for rejection, criticism, and failure.

Failure is delay, not defeat.

It’s a temporary detour, not a dead end.

Your failure does not define you.

Your response does.

Sometimes setbacks are opportunities in disguise.

They are your best teachers!

Don’t make speed the name of the game.

Don’t become so focused on the finish line that you fail to find joy in the journey.

Tame your inner critic

You know that nagging voice inside your head that acts as judge and executioner when doubt creeps in?

If you let her, she will cloud your judgement, create limiting beliefs and try to throw you off course.

All top performers hear mental chatter but what separates them from the rest is their ability to deal with it.

Become mindful of her existence.

Give the bitch a name and tell her who’s in charge before she starts wailing like a banshee.

Stop judging yourself for having fear – it’s normal!

Successful women know the importance of taking calculated risks, but they are not fearless.

They look at their fear through rational eyes.

They’ve trained themselves to take action in spite of their fear.

Don’t let your fear get in the way of your dreams.

Instead use your fear to propel yourself forward, to help you step outside what is familiar, cosy and comfortable.

Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens.

Start by taking baby steps.

You’ll find the more steps you take, the smaller your feeling of fear will become.

Take Action!

  • Don’t overthink
  • Don’t overanalyse
  • Get out of your own head and just do it!

 

You need more drama in your life, truly!

You need more drama in your life, truly!

I don’t know about you, but when life is coasting along smoothly I tend to get a little complacent.

A bit of drama every now and then shakes things up, in a good way.

It puts me on my toes.

Gives me the edge I’m looking for.

Some of my most creative moments have come to me in the middle of a crisis.

Have you noticed how the human spirit thrives on drama?

We often hear people saying they don’t need that sort of drama in their lives, yet regularly they tune into soppy soap operas with tragic cliffhangers and enjoy watching movies filled with crime, suspense and horror.

Ok, I’ll admit to my sick, shameful soap opera addiction.

I’ve been obsessively devouring episodes of “The Bold and the Beautiful” since it first went to air in 1987.

People function at their best in the midst of a dramatic situation

For those of you who live in Australia, like me, you know we experience a range of natural disasters including bushfires, floods, and severe storms.

These events cause great financial hardship for individuals and communities and can result in loss of life.

I was an insurance investigator involved in the assessment of property losses in the aftermath of the Ash Wednesday bushfires that swept across Victoria (and South Australia) in 1983 – the deadliest in Australian history until Black Saturday in 2009.

We lost 21 lives that Wednesday night.

A dozen volunteer firefighters were among those killed.

In near 40 degrees Celsius heat and strong winds, strangers rallied together offering hugs and rugs, prayers and shelter, even the shirts off their backs to help others who’d lost everything including the clothes they stood up in.

There was no competition.

No jealousy.

No comparison.

No judgment.

Just an unbiased willingness to get to work and do something awesome.

As a human race, we do drama really well.

Have you noticed how well you manage when there’s a lot going on?

I remember when my livelihood depended on closing a substantial property deal some 1,700 kms away from home.

I had to get up at 3:00 am with next to no sleep the night before, pack a travel bag, prepare school lunches, get my daughters up, dressed and breakfasted (my youngest whinging and resisting all the way), summon a taxi, do the before-school-hours-drop-off and get to the airport through heavy traffic in pouring rain, then sit in a stuffy plane on the tarmac for an unstated amount of time due to a weather delay, knowing full well I stood little chance of making it to my appointment on time.

It almost did my head in.

Finally, when I met up with my client at a coffee shop in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, I was surprised with how cool and relaxed I was and how well I had my shit together.

Sure, I was late.

I was wet.

But he was later.

And he was wetter.

The two of us?

We totally hit it off!

It was a business match made in heaven.

The transaction was a lay down misère.

When faced with a seemingly impossible deadline did you manage to meet your target?

You know that feeling – you’re utterly exhausted yet amazingly exhilarated because, against all odds, you finished your project not only ahead of schedule but within budget?

On those occasions when you’ve had to deal with something painful, like an illness or injury to a loved one, did you suddenly feel like your priorities were snapped into perspective?

Did you see the best of yourself come out?

As I see it, we actually need drama in our lives

People, we are made for drama!

We function well in stressful situations.

We do brilliant stuff under pressure.

It brings out the absolute best in us.

Lack of drama can bring out the worst in us.

The problem is when there’s no drama going on, when our lives are stale, comfortable, boring even, we feel the need to create some drama.

Unfortunately, that can bring out the worst in us.

Before we know it we’re making mountains out of molehills.

We’re picking fights with loved ones for no good reason.

We’re adopting self-sabotaging behaviours, like getting ourselves well and truly stuck in the compare and despair trap where jealousy rears its fiercely ugly head.

Our mean girl shows up for her finest hour, taking centre stage and hurling her best ever insults, like …

“You are a complete fraud. You know it. Your customers know it. The whole world knows it!  You and your miserable business are doomed to failure.”

Whoa!

We’ve got to stop throwing ourselves under the bus, just because life is too damned boring and we crave a bit of excitement!

The solution?

Don’t allow your life to get to the stage where it becomes samey.

Switch gears often.

Dare yourself to do something daring.

That’s right.

Not just different, but D-A-R-I-N-G!

Take on a new hobby or interest outside of your business.

Practice self-love, self-acceptance.

Most of all, get out of your head and start focusing on the happiness of others through random acts of kindness.

How a hug or a handshake can destroy your business

How a hug or a handshake can destroy your business

“Hello. Of course I trust you!”

 

Starting work with a new client can be an exciting experience.

But what if the relationship goes wrong and the paperwork isn’t in order?

Over the years I’ve been burned, especially when I worked on a commission basis only.

Don’t get me wrong, most of my clients have been delightful people to work with, and excellent payers.

Unfortunately, despite the best-laid plans, I’ve had my day in court.

Even though I was successful in winning a six-figure judgement I ended up with nothing because the client pulled a smart move and the company went belly up.

These days I ask for payment upfront, or for a good faith deposit to show that my customer has the intention of completing the deal.

Do yourself a favour.

Before you commit to a business relationship, protect yourself by creating a contract your client will sign.
After all, this is your livelihood at stake.

Types of contracts

A contract can be anything from an email to a very simple one-page document or a 100 page agreement (depending on the subject matter), or a verbal promise, or simply a hug or a handshake deal.

Whatever form it takes, even a quote on a scrap of paper, if you agree to provide a service for money, and your customer is promising to pay you for it, you have entered into a contract.

And the agreement you’ve made is legally binding.

But beware!

There are definite benefits in having a written contract.

Benefits of a written contract

Most important it provides proof of what was agreed between you and your customer.

It will help to prevent any misunderstandings or disputes down the track by making the agreement clear from the outset.

It will give you security and peace of mind knowing you have work for a particular period of time and precisely how much you will be paid for your services.

It should specify how either party can end the contract before the work is completed and, if applicable, set out the full terms and conditions of any penalties, refunds or guarantees.

Risks of not having a written contract

If your contract is not in writing you may have to rely on each other’s word, or memory.

Misunderstandings happen all the time.

If the matter should proceed to litigation the court may not be able to enforce the contract because there is no proof of its existence or its terms.

Verbal contracts

Verbal contracts work well only if there are no disputes.

At the very least, you should write down the main points that you agreed to, and avoid relying on memory alone.

And make sure you keep any paperwork or communication associated with your agreement, like emails, text messages, etc.

Get advice

If you need advice or assistance in drawing up a contract for your services, speak with your business adviser or mentor.

How to nurture your natural sales gift

How to nurture your natural sales gift

I have been in professional selling for most of my career and I love it.

I enjoy interacting with people and helping my customers achieve a far better state of affairs in their businesses.

Contrary to long-held beliefs, selling does not involve manipulation – talking people into buying something they don’t want.

No way!

It’s about using your ideas persuasively.

In contrast to manipulation, persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest.

It’s about treating them well and showing them respect.

It’s about understanding their needs, finding solutions to their problems, and providing real value.

Consumers are more aware now

Consumers are far more aware than they used to be.

They are better researchers.

They can source a product and/or service immediately, and find reviews and recommendations from friends and experts at the drop of a hat.

They are accustomed to making a decision based on the information they have gathered.

In most cases their buying decision is pretty much made before they even choose to engage with a salesperson.

More than ever before selling is all about building rapport, about how well you transfer your beliefs to your prospective customer.

You need to be completely authentic in what you have to say because if you’re not, they will see straight through you and you will encounter resistance.

Selling is a natural and innate gift

We are all born with a natural ability to sell.

We use selling skills in order to receive attention and to get what we want.

Babies cry.

Toddlers throw tantrums.

As adults, I’d like to think we’re a little more sophisticated in the way we communicate our needs to others 🙂

The truth is that throughout our lives we will never stop selling and communicating with people.

People really do buy people, not products

Over the years I’ve met many people who have the innate ability to build instant rapport with total strangers.

Like a new car salesperson I once knew named Brad.

I know… many people have a negative perception of car salesmen.

But Brad was a really nice guy, and a super sales star.

He had customers lined up, waiting to deal with him.

Not only did he know what he was talking about, he truly cared about his customers and he connected with them in a deep and meaningful way.

He worked hard on getting them the best deal possible and he was great when it came to after sales service.

He promised his customers he had their back and he’d be there whenever they needed him.

And true to his word, he followed through.

I used to see him negotiating with staff behind the counter in the service department on behalf of his customers when I took my car in for scheduled maintenance.

Brad’s customers were repeat customers.

They came back to him time and again.

He’d been known to sign deals where people paid more for their new car than they would have if they’d gone through another dealership, just because they wanted to deal with Brad.

Allow your natural ability to shine through

You have what it takes to be authentic and trustworthy.

You know how to make connections with people and share your beliefs.

Now you have to allow that natural ability to shine through.

Don’t focus your attention on making the sale.

Instead believe in the positive difference you can make in your customer’s world.

Concentrate your efforts on making deep and meaningful connections with your customers, and on building long-term relationships based on providing value.

If you can master these skills, there is every chance you can become a truly remarkable salesperson, just like Brad.

How to avoid getting bogged down as an entrepreneur

How to avoid getting bogged down as an entrepreneur

I’ve met a lot of people over the years who wanted to go solo and who struggled with just getting started.

Many, when they summoned up the courage to take that first leap into entrepreneurship, found success did not always come as easily as they’d hoped.

It’s really important to keep in mind that progress is more important than perfection.

Don’t allow yourself to get so bogged down in the pursuit of perfection that you lose track of where you are or where you’re going.

Stay focused and keep moving forward.

If you feel yourself spinning out of control, watch out for these four roadblocks that send a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs down into the ditch.

Make a plan

Put together a business plan.

Keep it simple, straightforward.

It doesn’t have to be a massive book of instructions.

Do the groundwork.

Start off by researching the type of business you want to start.

Decide on whose business you’d like to emulate.

Find out more about them, their market and their customers.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel –  do not waste your precious time or effort in creating something that already exists.

Find a mentor

Do yourself a favour … don’t go it alone.

Finding a mentor is one of the most powerful assets you can have in life and in business.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely affair.

You will reach your destination a lot quicker if you have a trusted ally to help you navigate your way through the maze of bumps and potholes.

Always be marketing

From the flagfall design a way for getting the word out and creating awareness of your business.

Do not wait until your first source of business dries up before you get the help you need.

You have to keep the pipeline filled or you run the risk of falling prey to the feast and famine phenomenon.

Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset

As an entrepreneur you need to say goodbye to your old 9-5 mindset.

One of the main reasons many of us become entrepreneurs is for more flexibility.

However, hard work and perseverance is required, especially in the early stages.

Success will require sacrifice, so you need to prioritise your time and your responsibilities.

Do not drive yourself too hard.

To operate at peak performance you need to take care of yourself mentally and physically.

Be sure to take time out regularly to boost and replenish your energy.

Commit unconditionally

As soon as you set off on your entrepreneurial journey commit fully to making it happen, no matter what gets thrown into your path.

You must have the passion and the drive to turn your dream into a reality if you stand any chance of being successful.

Building strategic alliances

Building strategic alliances

Finding the right strategic alliance or joint venture can transform your business quickly by helping you get …

 

  1. immediate access to well qualified prospects
  2. create more revenue
  3. build your brand

The best type of joint venture is done with a company that has a non-competing product in an aligned niche.

Let me tell you about an experience I had with one of my joint ventures …

I have a passion for property and a fair bit of experience and success in buying and selling houses for personal gain.

Many years ago I decided to obtain the formal qualification I needed to sell and compete in the open market.

I didn’t want to join a local real estate agent.

I had no interest in trying to offload less than appealing money pits at premium prices to unsuspecting home buyers.

I wanted to deal with people who were keen to create wealth through property investment.

And do it the right way.

I signed on with residential and commercial property developers to sell their projects off-the-plan.

Developments included home units, townhouses, individual homes and offices in prime capital city locations on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

Quality built constructions with fixed price contracts, no progress payments, building guarantees and completion times.

Projects ideally suited to the investor seeking income and growth opportunities, taxation savings, increased wealth and no cash outlay.

I was keen to avoid spending a fortune on marketing materials or wearing myself ragged trying to reach as many new customers as possible, one at a time.

I knew my ideal candidates did business with financial intermediaries like accountants, financial planners, insurance agents, real estate agents, property managers, mortgage brokers and lending institutions.

It made good sense for me to build strategic alliances with these sorts of businesses.

It involved far less effort on my part as I had to convince one person only to like and trust me instead of a multitude.

And because these types of businesses had customers who already knew and trusted them it was likely they would trust the integrity of the opportunities that were presented to them.

Consequently I met up with Frank, an enterprising and dynamic financial planner in his early thirties.

He’d been in business for about 8 years and during that time he’d built up a reasonably large and loyal customer base for a one-man show.

Frank and I hit it off straightaway.

He was charming and very enthusiastic.

He viewed our joint venture as an opportunity to add value to his existing service offering and generate a new revenue stream for his business.

It was a win/win situation for both of us

We worked out what we considered to be a viable marketing campaign.

Frank sent out an email to each qualified client to introduce my services and invite them to take part in a complimentary consultation.

I followed up Frank’s emails with phone calls to set up appointments at his office on the city fringe, or in the comfort of their own home.

I assured Frank’s clients that although the consultation was tailored to suit their specific circumstances its purpose was educational and there was no obligation on their part to take the matter any further.

The response was outstanding.

Frank and I worked alongside each other at our meetings, taking each client meticulously through their own personal investment analysis.

We explained fully all the benefits and pitfalls associated with investing in property, how negative, positive and neutral gearing works, and we compared projected outcomes with other financial products.

We focused on having fun as we interacted with his clients, with no regard to the outcome.

Our campaign resulted in a number of successful property transactions and referrals from Frank’s very satisfied customers.

I am certain a large part of our success was due to our relaxed, straightforward style and our contagious enthusiasm.

Perhaps you‘re a business owner with assets that another business would love to share with their audience?

One of the triggers that should lead you to consider looking for suitable strategic partnerships is if you’re getting frequent enquiries from customers or clients for complementary products or services.

It obviously enhances your value to customers if you can offer them a more complete range under one roof.

Get your strategy right, do your homework, and the right partnerships for your business will deliver outstanding results!

Dump the duds

Dump the duds

Several years ago I met with a prospective client who’d just relocated with his family from interstate.

He had an established business, a great product, and a very impressive past projects portfolio.

He was a referral from a valued associate.

Unfortunately he did not fit my ideal client profile.

Nonetheless, I was confident I could rustle up enough work to get him off to a flying start at his new location, so against my better judgement I decided to reach out and work with him.

We struck a deal on a commission only basis.

Customer deposits would fund the cost of his materials.

I would be paid 50% of his net profits once the jobs were completed and monies were received in full.

There were no out-of-pocket expenses to retain my services.

No payment unless I produced results.

A definite “win” situation … for him

We backed up our agreement with a written contract.

I did my research and located a neighbouring area emerging as an industrial hotspot.

After a couple of days of pounding the pavement in mid-February’s subtropical humidity I brought back sufficient work to keep him and his assistant busy for the next six to eight weeks.

He was rapt.

Everything was coming along swimmingly.

That is until the workshop picked up pace and projects got into full swing.

Then it all started to go south.

His equipment broke down.

His so-called “useless” offsider went walkabout.

Deliveries were short.

Customers were difficult.

His had issues with his kids.

He had issues with his wife.

He was about to go under.

There was a lot at stake for both of us so …

I threw him a lifeline!

I dropped what I was doing and raced around to pick up materials from suppliers, placate his now rattled customers and renegotiate contracts.

Against all odds we managed to sidestep an impending disaster.

When the jobs were finally completed to everyone’s satisfaction we were both exhausted.

Don’t know why but as settlement day drew close I had a gut feeling he would not be forthcoming with commissions.

Ta-dahh!

Always trust your gut.

He wanted to renege on our deal.

In his view it wasn’t fair he had to share half his profit pie when he was the one who’d done all the hard yakka!

Forget about the fact there’d be no pie if it wasn’t for me.

I managed to get most of what was owing.

Eventually.

Begrudgingly.

Despite my best efforts we did not part on friendly terms.

His final remittance advice came via email with an attachment.

It was a Trojan virus.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

If you currently work with clients who are less than ideal, do yourself a favour and dump them.

Do not prostitute your integrity

Partner only with like-minded people who truly value your time and expertise.

People who appreciate the results you help them to achieve.

People who are only too happy to pay you what you are worth.

Focus on what you do best

Focus on what you do best

…that’s your competitive advantage.

 

To be successful you need to think about opportunities from your customers’ perspective as much as from your own perspective.

It’s idealistic to believe you can just follow your passion and success will follow.

With thorough research however, you may be able to combine your passions, strengths and talents into a profitable business model.

Know your strengths

Your strengths are ultimately the keys to your success.

Your greatest strength is usually what you’re best at and what you enjoy doing most.

Successful people have one thing in common – they focus on their strengths, and manage around their weaknesses.

Find your perfect business

You want to come up with a business concept that is relevant in today’s market.

And if you’re like many of the women we know, you want to run a business that more than simply matches your skills and your interests.

You want to engage in work that satisfies your soul, one that connects you with your ideal clients in a very powerful and positive way.

You don’t have to create something from scratch.

You can model what others are doing well and just do it better.

Become irresistible!

Being around someone who is passionate, energetic and high-spirited is contagious.

It makes customers feel good about themselves and about doing business with you.

It causes them to burst through their own lethargy and disinterest.

It encourages them to believe and to take action.

When you love what you do (even with all its challenges, setbacks and difficulties) and you articulate that clearly and confidently, you and your business will shine.

Your right people will find you, and love working with you.

Energetic and high-spirited people make great coaches and motivators.

They often care deeply for others and do everything they can to help them succeed.

Be your authentic self and you’ll have no competition

Be your authentic self and you’ll have no competition

So what is authenticity?

 

To live authentically you need to be in a place of alignment where everything you say and do feels right.

You have to stay true to who you are, what you do and who you serve.

We live in an age where sincerity and unique self-expression are held in high regard.

An age where we need to forge deeper connections with people and, to achieve that, we have to be convincingly honest and authentic.

Finding your authentic self is the key to happiness

To be authentic means to find the key to happiness and success within one’s self, not within society.

It can be difficult being true to who we are when the world dictates how we should live our lives.

What you think of me is none of my business

To be authentic, you have to stop putting other’s needs ahead of your own, and you have to stop compromising your dreams to please others.

It takes courage, honesty, and a desire to be free of other’s opinions.

You are too unique to compare yourself with others

The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion.

Deep down we’re all a bit insecure about our own worth and so we look around us for a frame of reference to assess how well we’re doing in work, wealth, love and life.

Take into account that we are all just human beings at different stages in our lives, that nobody is perfect, and that nobody is living a trouble-free life.

Your gifts, your talents, your contributions and your value are entirely unique to you and your purpose in this world.
They can never be properly compared to anyone else.

Learn from others’ experiences and be inspired by them, but stay true to who you are and navigate your own path.

Will the real YOU please stand up!

To create meaningful, long-term business building relationships you need to come across as real, confident and trustworthy.

Don’t try to be somebody you’re not because it doesn’t work.

Embrace your true personality type.

Stay focused on your message and your clients’ needs.

Your professional strengths will shine through when you are coming from a place of authenticity.

Build quality relationships with the right people

Build quality relationships with the right people

Successful people realise that the only reason they are where they are is because of the loyalty of their customers.

So it’s up to you to get to know your customers so well that you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.

Attract your ideal customers

Of course you want to work with people you like and who treat you with respect so you need to attract customers who energise and inspire you, people who value your effort and expertise and who are willing to pay you what you are worth.

You will be happier, more energetic and more productive if you do.

The truth is you are the company you keep.

It’s important to choose your clients with as much care as you choose your friends.

Get rid of negative people

You’re never going to be able to please everyone, so don’t make your life more difficult than it needs to be by dealing with people who are troublesome or possess characteristics or behaviours you despise.

It’s a known fact that customers are twice more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences, so it pays to be very selective about who you let into your business.

Conserve your time and energy and avoid burnout by getting comfortable with setting boundaries and saying no.

Set up a filtering system

Decide what filters you want to run your perfect clients through.

Get specific.

The economic status of a client is certainly a factor to consider, but there are many others.

What are their values?

With whom do they associate?

Make a list of their personal characteristics.

Also, what particular traits do they have in common with each other.

This will help you identify who you will and will not work with.

In time you will become recognised and sought out as a specialist in your field because you are producing specific results for a specific group of people.

The more specialised you become, the more successful you will become.

When a woman believes in herself she has the first secret of success

When a woman believes in herself she has the first secret of success

A truly confident woman is tuned into her intuition.

She allows her gut instinct to guide her.

She takes calculated risks and accepts full responsibility for her behaviour and her decisions.

She celebrates her individuality and lives her life on purpose without fear of judgement or rejection.

Build emotional resilience

Life is full of unpredictable events.

Sooner or later we are going to get thrown a curveball.

No matter how prepared we think we are, misfortune and setbacks will test our ability to respond proactively and resourcefully to change or adversity.

To build emotional resilience we need to be aware of how we react in difficult situations.

Worrying won’t change anything.

By focusing on solutions rather than problems we will feel more in control, which brings less stress.

Become a lifelong learner

Successful people believe that education and learning never ends, that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

They focus on self -improvement instead of worrying about how smart they are.

In this ever-changing world it’s important to stay current, competitive and up to date.

Make sure you set time aside on a regular basis to educate yourself on new concepts and ideas.

Take charge of your life

Live your life by design, don’t leave it to chance.

Write a life plan.

Display images and text of all your hopes and dreams for your future on a vision board or better still, on an action board.

This will inspire and encourage you to keep moving forwards. It will give you the energy to get things done when the going gets tough.

Set bold but realistic goals

Think BIG but don’t set unrealistically high goals for yourself.

If you fail to achieve them your self-belief will plummet.

Demanding too much, too fast, is how goals, especially big audacious ones, die.

Break down your goals into bite-size pieces and set daily tasks and routines so they become more easily achievable.

Celebrate each milestone, then set an even higher goal and push yourself further.

The whole process is incremental. You gradually aim higher, and with each step forward you become more confident and sure of your actions.

The most important thing a woman wears is her confidence

The most important thing a woman wears is her confidence

Women are more risk averse than men.

 

It may come as no surprise to learn that women are genetically wired to be risk averse and, as a rule, we tend to shy away from boasting about our achievements and abilities.

Also, we are inclined to be perfectionists, and highly self-critical.

The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired.

We can learn to become good self-promoters.

Traits of a confident woman

A confident woman feels positive about what she can do.

She doesn’t worry about what she cannot do because she is open to learning.

She doesn’t waste her time concentrating on her weaknesses.

Instead she focuses on developing and maximising her strengths.

A confident woman refuses to live in fear.

She doesn’t waste time comparing herself to others, or pondering on “if onlys” and “what ifs”.

She is happy to stretch herself, to step out of her comfort zone.

To break away from other people’s expectations.

Above all else a confident woman is bold, honest and forthright in her dealings with people.

She has an opinion, and she is never afraid to let her true feelings be known.

She learns to cope with criticism and to not take it personally.

Hormones have many important effects on a woman’s health

Of course hormones play a crucial role in the health and well-being of a woman throughout her life, and when levels fluctuate this can impact on our mood, our energy levels and our self-esteem, with sometimes devastating effects.

To be our absolute best self and achieve sustainable success we need a good head, a good heart, and we must develop a holistic approach to take care of our entire well-being, encompassing mind, body, and spirit.

Take care of your biggest asset, YOU

You owe it to yourself, your family, your friends, your clients and your customers to take care of your biggest asset, YOU.

Looking after yourself will allow you to better care for others.

These are exciting times

Women are leaping into entrepreneurialism and business ownership like never before.

It is reported that women today own more than a third of Australia’s small businesses, amounting to a 46 per cent increase in the number of female business operators in the country over the past two decades, while globally women run just over 30 per cent of all small businesses.

The secret to success

The secret to success

Do you know the missing link between a promising entrepreneur and a successful one?

It’s mentoring

As you start out on your entrepreneurial journey you’re going to be focused on developing the skills and strategies needed to set up a profitable, long-term sustainable business.

But don’t lose sight of how important it is to get expert advice on how you can best achieve the goals you have set for yourself and your business.

There are numerous things that can go wrong as you’re learning to fly solo.

It’s tough trying to figure everything out all on your own.

You’ll need help.

From the most modest of small business owners to public names and industry leaders, the one thing that underpins all of their success is the use of a business mentor.

In fact statistics show that 97% of people who do not use a mentor, fail in their business.

So, who makes a good mentor?

Listening and understanding is important but it’s also about giving specific tailored advice.

You want a confident mentor who has expertise in the skills you lack.

Someone who has successfully navigated the road you intend to travel, where actual work and hustle was required to succeed.

Someone with whom you share a deep and meaningful connection.

Someone who can assure you that you are not alone in facing your day-to-day challenges.

A good mentor is direct yet supportive

The best mentor will offer practical, timely advice and encourage you to take action.

It’s important for you and your mentor to always be straightforward with each other, and to maintain a sense of urgency.

As an entrepreneur you have limited time to get your company off the ground and reach profitability and long-term growth.

Your mentor should be able to identify quickly any mistakes you are making and let you know how to fix them and move forward with minimal interruption.

Mentoring is a complement to the training we provide to our valued clients.

Training is the “how to” stuff we teach that’s all about marketing, lead generation, sales techniques, etc.

Mentoring is much more about coaching and counselling.

It’s about dealing with frustration, giving constructive criticism, handling disappointment, etc.

Being women we understand the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face when starting a business.

How to succeed as a woman entrepreneur

How to succeed as a woman entrepreneur

An important key to success is self-confidence.

You must be confident in yourself and in your ability to succeed.

You owe it to yourself, your business, your loved ones, your clients, to work on your biggest asset … YOU.

It may come as no surprise to learn that studies reveal men and women act and make decisions differently.

That men are genetically wired to be more confident, more risk taking, whereas women are more risk averse.

That men tend to overestimate their abilities and performance, whereas women tend to underestimate both, even though essentially there is no difference in the quality of their performances.

Of course men do doubt themselves sometimes, but they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do.
That’s the bad news for women in the gender stakes.

The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired.

Here are some strategies you can employ straightaway to help you not just build, but radiate warmth and self-confidence.

Think positive

Your outlook towards the world colours your thinking.

Negative thoughts damage your self-esteem.

Feeling badly about yourself places you at greater risk of being depressed and dissatisfied with your life.

If you are experiencing frustration you need to convert that negative energy into positive determination.

Understand YOU

Get to know who you are as a person.

Become aware of your strengths and your weaknesses.

That way you can focus on those areas that need the most attention.

Manage your fear and anxiety of the unknown

Almost everybody worries about what will happen in the future.

The prospect of not knowing if something good or bad will happen to you can produce a lot of fear and anxiety.

A lack of self-confidence is simply a surplus of fear.

You don’t feel confident in your abilities because you fear the outcome.

To build self-confidence you need to pinpoint exactly what it is you fear.

With this knowledge you can begin the process of overcoming it.

Preparation is key

Insecurity arises from being unprepared.

Don’t waste time talking yourself into “feeling” confident.

Instead be more productive.

Get busy getting prepared.

The better you know your stuff, the more confident you will feel.

Set aside time to think through all the possible things that could happen and how you would respond to them.

It’s a matter of directing your attention away from anxiety and toward the actions you need to take.

Take action!

Doing nothing and just thinking about it will only make things worse.

You have to actually get up, go out there and do something.

Expand your comfort zone and try to take things one step at a time.

Practice present-moment gratitude

As you move through your day, pause every now and then to reflect on what you have achieved so far.

If you fall short of your deadlines resist the urge to pick out your flaws.

Do not beat yourself up.

Accept the fact that you are only human, and in being human you are bound to make mistakes.

Don’t fear failure

Failure is a natural part of life.

Life is too short to let fear make big decisions for you.

It is not easy to overcome the fear of failure, but once you build up the confidence to not let fear hold you back, you will achieve so much more.

Becoming a lifelong student of personal development has helped me to overcome many of life’s challenges.

Some people get sold quickly

Some people get sold quickly

Don’t go ignoring signals from your prospective customers that they are ready to sign on the dotted line while you’re still in the middle of your presentation.

It’s possible on occasion to come across a lay down misère.

We’re conditioned to believe that people need to be in full possession of the facts before they make a buying decision.
Not always so.

Some people get sold quickly.

Perhaps your prospect has already shopped around extensively

Maybe he’s spoken with providers of similar services.

With your competitors.

Most are not forthcoming with that information.

It’s the way they like to play the game.

With an ace up their sleeve.

An advantage you don’t know about.

But if you ask the right questions and listen carefully to their responses it should become apparent to you at what stage they’re at in the buying cycle.

It could be they know precisely what they’re looking for and you’ve reached the part in your presentation where you’ve addressed the issue they were worried about.

Since you’ve dispelled their fears they are ready to commit to come on board with you.

So many sales people are compelled to get to the end of their presentation that they block out everything until they’re done.

They believe that getting through the entire sales pitch is necessary to clinch the deal.

A good salesperson is always on the lookout for subtle buying signals and nonverbal cues that indicate when to start the conversation that would lead to a closed sale.

You’ve got to pay attention to your prospect’s behaviour at all times

Like a change in their tone of speech.

Their bodily movements.

The way they look at you.

Or you just might miss a buying signal.

And finish up talking them out of the sale!

The proud new business owner is so focused on making a good impression it’s easy to become oblivious to what’s going on around her.

Why do people buy?

Why do people buy?

Do you know the number one reason why your customers buy from you?

It stands to reason that in order to be successful in sales or business the focus has to be on solving customers’ problems.

The more problems you solve the more successful you will become.

Being proficient at what you do is obviously important.

Having sales skills is helpful.

However, whenever a customer is presented with what seems to be a level playing field between competing service providers they are always attracted to the person or the company that possesses …

“Yes” energy

“Yes” energy is that intrinsic mixture of vibrancy, enthusiasm and optimism that naturally exudes from someone who is highly confident.

Someone who believes anything is possible.

It’s communicated in the way you present yourself.

The manner in which you depict your services in your marketing and sales campaigns and materials.

Being around people who possess “yes” energy is contagious

It makes customers feel good about themselves and about doing business with you.

It causes them to burst through their own lethargy and disinterest.

It encourages them to believe and to take action.

If you employ “Yes” energy in your business you will connect and engage with your customers at the highest and most satisfying levels.

You will form long lasting meaningful relationships with people who come back again and again to do business with you.

The most important time to tap into your “Yes” energy is when you are engaged in prospecting for new business.

How else will you be able to excite and enthuse your potential customer to do business with you unless you are operating at your highest energy level?

Your positive energy will serve you well.

It will help surround you with like-minded people you want to enlist as your ideal customers.

And it will dispel the naysayers, the type of people you do not want to do business with anyway.

Think you cannot sell yourself?

“Yes” energy is not pretentious or exaggerated.

It’s not about being “salesy” or pushy.

It’s you operating at your highest energy level.

When you are physically and mentally in the zone it won’t feel painful or embarrassing when it comes to “selling yourself”.

It won’t matter to you whether or not people like you or buy your service.

You’ll manage to easily put things into perspective.

You’ll accept that rejection is part of the process.

It’s not personal.

Its only business.

Set yourself free!

Say goodbye to that negative all-or-nothing mentality responsible for depleting your enthusiasm and producing less than satisfactory results.

By altering your thoughts, your behaviour and your posture you can stand tall in your own power.

You will want to take bold actions.

You will embrace risky ideas.

Start seeing the forest rather than focusing on the trees.

The super confident you will find it easy to build rapport with strangers.

You’ll enjoy your interactions with people.

They’ll feel natural and effortless.

Regardless of the outcome.

Remember to leave people with a warm and fuzzy feeling for having met you even when they have no need for your service.

Because you can bet they will call upon you if and when they do!

 

You have to fail to succeed

You have to fail to succeed

I’ll say it again … You have to fail to succeed.

When you read that phrase does your mind conjure up the idea of failure as the end result?

Or do you look upon failure as a means to success?

If you want to overcome the fear of making mistakes you need to …

View failure as the path to success

Having some fear of making mistakes can be a good thing.

It can help to improve your performance.

But excessive fear can cause problems.

I am an ex-convent school girl (yes, I’ve heard all the jokes).

When I was young, making a mistake was considered a sin.

Let’s face it If you treat your mistakes like sins, what chance do you have of achieving success?

And like many people who fear making mistakes, I had a tendency towards perfectionism.

That’s either a blessing or a curse, depending upon your point of view.

So for me failure was not an option.

When it happened, it felt like the end of the world.

I remember sitting up in bed with my schoolbooks at night-time and rewriting my homework until it was picture perfect at gone 3 in the morning (my mother still reminds me to this day).

Nuns ran our school and they blasted us with religion but we did get an insanely good education.

I have a lot to be grateful for.

I learned heaps about self-discipline and self-control.

But as I grew up overcoming the fear of failure didn’t come easily.

I was a work in progress for a quite a while.

The good news is when I went into business for myself, I learned there is an upside of being a perfectionist.

I found I had no problem in over-delivering on value because of the incredibly high standards I set for myself.

Ok, I call myself a “perfectionist”, but in a light-hearted, positive manner.

Fortunately for me it’s no longer an obsession.

I don’t drive myself crazy trying to always reach an unattainable goal.

I’ve learned to accept that sometimes good enough really is good enough.

The cold, hard truth about making mistakes

You have to make mistakes if you’re going to get ahead in business.

You need to be always experimenting with different ideas and strategies to see what works and what doesn’t.

If you don’t make mistakes you’re just not making as much progress as you could.

Building a business is a fascinating journey.

You get to learn so much about yourself.

The dawning of each day brings new challenges to deal with, new technology to learn, and new boundaries to burn.

You have to accept that doing your best is the best you can do.

When you make a mistake, be prepared to take accountability for it.

Owning your mistakes will make you powerful.

 

Worried about your competition?

Worried about your competition?

Of course you need to know what your competitors are doing especially when you are on the hunt for new business.

You want to know exactly what you are up against.

And it’s helpful to understand what may entice your existing customers to jump ship, if they were that way inclined.

But don’t spin your wheels worrying about what your competition has done or could do to your business.

This is such a waste of your energy.

Instead focus on your strengths

When I first started up in business I knew I needed to decide on my area of innovation, namely quality or price or convenience.

It stands to reason that no-one can actually be a leader in all three areas at the same time.

As a service provider you cannot deliver a premium service at record speed at rock bottom prices.

When you start out you may feel the pressure to deliver in all three areas so you can get a foothold in the market and outshine your competition, but ultimately this is a recipe for disaster.

What is your area of innovation?

So what is it you want to be known for?

Do you have a commitment to excellence, something that you feel is lacking in your industry?

Perhaps you’d like to be known for your fast turnaround?

Or maybe you are able to produce your offering at a cheaper price than your competitors?

Remember you cannot combine these attributes.

You are sure to fail in at least one or more areas and in the process cause irreparable damage to your reputation.

Let alone drive yourself crazy and send yourself broke!

So what makes you unique?

Your area of innovation is just one piece of your unique offering.

What makes you stand out from your competitors is your biggest strength, the thing you do exceptionally well and that you enjoy doing the most.

Your area of innovation combined with your biggest strength plus your technique and experience is what makes you incomparable.

Become a leader, not a follower

You should focus on how you can offer something that is truly distinctive, something your ideal customers really want and need.

You want to concentrate your efforts on being innovative, on becoming a leader within your industry, not a follower.

Innovation should be proactive, not reactive.

Make your foe your friend!

Times have changed.

You don’t need to be at war with the competition.

They don’t have to be your enemy.

Do yourself a favour and get rid of that scarcity mentality.

Acquire an abundance mindset!

Competition in itself is not such a bad thing.

It’s an indicator that there are plenty of customers out there who are in need of your services.

And there’s enough to go around.

Find some common ground with your competitors.

It’s all about collaborating with each other to collectively get more customers.

I’ve personally assisted several service providers form strategic alliances.

Even though they worked within the same industry they had distinctive preferences for the type of work they performed and the sort of customers they preferred to work with.

Their services were complimentary.

By joining forces and working alongside each other they shared the load and both prospered.

Of course it’s important before you create a joint venture to ensure it will deliver results without hurting your own profits.

You both need to have similar values and expectations.

So make sure you do your homework before you jump into any kind of partnership with a competitor.

Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people

Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people

As you set out on your entrepreneurial journey it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that’s required to get to the stage where you can begin to make money from your business.

And it takes a lot of sacrifices and strength to build an empire while running a family, especially if your support network isn’t strong.

If you are a one-woman show, don’t isolate yourself.

Don’t go it alone.

Reach out and connect with like-minded people.

Find mentors, role models, a coach or an accountability partner.

It will cut your journey in half.

Choosing mentors

Only you know what your goals, desires, dreams and aspirations are and what type of person or people can help you get there.

Ideally you want someone who has successfully navigated the road you intend to travel, where actual work and hustle was required to succeed.

Someone with whom you share a deep and meaningful connection.

Someone who can assure you that you are not alone in facing your day-to-day challenges.

The best mentor will offer practical, timely advice and encourage you to take action.

It’s important for you and your mentor to always be straightforward with each other, and to maintain a fierce openness to learning and a sense of urgency.

Seek out joint ventures

Finding the right strategic alliance or joint venture can transform your business quickly by helping you get immediate access to well qualified prospects.

It will help to create more revenue while building your brand.

The best type of joint venture is done with a company or with someone who has a non-competing product and/or service offering in an aligned niche.

Outsource

As soon as you are able, outsource those tasks and activities in your business and your life that take your time away from important work, or steal your joy.

Your time is better spent doing things that create revenue and provide personal fulfilment.

Ask for the sale, then shut up!

Ask for the sale, then shut up!

The most important aspect of selling is asking probing questions and listening carefully to the answers.

The sound of your prospect’s voice is more useful to you than the sound of your own.

Without doubt the single most critical time to listen is when you ask your prospect a closing question.

Then you must remain silent and wait.

The answer might not come straightaway.

Your prospect may want to mull things over before making a decision.

The waiting could feel uncomfortable for you

It might seem like an eternity.

But you must resist the temptation to jump in.

Do not assume your prospective customer is wrangling with the usual objections you come up against.

Like price for instance.

Chances are you could be way off base.

If you jump to the conclusion that your prospect thinks the price is too high and you blurt out a discount, you can bet if price wasn’t the issue …  it sure is now!

By breaking your client’s concentration you run the risk of destroying your credibility.

Your client may question whether they are getting your best offer.

Whether you have their best interests at heart.

You need to muster up the courage and the concentration to stay silent.

Give your prospect time to think things over, to process their decision.

The time they take to make their decision won’t seem as difficult or as long to them as it does to you.

Pay particular attention to their body language

Often their body language gives clues as to their train of thought.

An answer will usually arrive after a minute or two.

If the answer is yes.

Great!

If not, and you are confronted with an objection, address the objection in the appropriate manner and ask another closing question.

Then shut up and wait again for the response.

Continue with this process until you receive a definitive answer.

Contrary to popular belief, having the gift of the gab does not make a good salesperson.

Struggling with self-promotion?

Struggling with self-promotion?

Many service based entrepreneurs and small business owners I know struggle with self-promotion.

It seems a lot of people feel that selling is about being manipulative, or overly persuasive, or forcing someone to purchase something that’s not going to be of any benefit to them.

When I first got into selling I read a lot of books about sales techniques.

But it wasn’t until I got out there and started putting things into practice I really learned, mostly through my mistakes.

Many of the old-fashioned high pressure sales tactics I’d studied were not successful.

I ditched what wasn’t working for me and I focused on providing solutions for my customer, adding value, and building sustainable trustworthy relationships and my sales multiplied.

Selling is not about taking advantage of other people

It’s about creating value for them.

The secret to success is about finding a way to help people get a result they cannot get without you.

That’s what makes you special, unique, valuable.

In today’s market consumers are better informed than ever before.

They don’t have to rely on you for advice.

They can easily access all the information they want for free over the internet.

You need to be somebody worth doing business with.

There is no greater value proposition than a consultant who has the ability to deliver value.

Be straightforward in your dealings with people and give them the opportunity to get to know and like you for who you really are.

As a service professional you need to get your mindset right.

You have to accept that selling is part of your role and part of what you need to do in your business on a regular basis.

With practice and time it will get easier.

The fear of rejection

When you first start out you might find yourself procrastinating when it comes to prospecting for business.

It could be that the fear of rejection is holding you back.

The fear of rejection is the leading cause of poor performance for many business owners.

The ability to handle negative responses and carry on in spite of it plays a great part in your happiness and well-being.

Rejection is never a pleasant thing to experience in any walk of life, but in the sales environment rejection is a daily occurrence.

It doesn’t matter how well you target your marketing you are still going to be met with a lot of “no’s”.

When you are engaged in the process of seeking out new clients it can be tough absorbing one “no” after another.

It’s hard to find comfort in the knowledge that you’re sure to get a lot of “no’s” before you get a “yes”, and that you shouldn’t take rejection personally.

It can be very difficult to stay motivated.

You need to grow a thicker skin, be persistent and stay motivated!

Understand your fear

You have to understand your fear.

Your fear comes from the risk of losing opportunities and the income it provides.

More especially the effect that loss of income will have upon your dignity, your lifestyle, your family, and so on.

You need to put your fear into perspective.

Stop looking at the whole picture.

Break things down into bite-sized pieces.

Start by figuring out your actual numbers.

What is the true value of each closing attempt and each sales activity in your business?

If it comes down to the cost of a phone call and just 10 minutes of your time, it’s not such a big deal now, is it?

The desire to be liked

Everyone wants to be liked and valued.

But in business as in life you won’t like everyone and not everyone will like you.

Don’t squash yourself in any way to gain others’ approval.

This is a certain recipe for frustration and creative constipation.

Be honest in the way you portray yourself.

You want to draw to you people who appreciate you for what you have to offer and for who you really are.

When you give up the desire to be liked, your power comes forward.

Be courageous.

Put yourself out there.

Spread the word about you and your services without regard to whether or not you are well received.

Overcome perfectionist tendencies

If you tend to strive for excellence you will probably feel the need to make sure your offer is polished to perfection before you put it out there.

It’s good to have high standards.

But don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis or the big confidence zapper, compare and despair syndrome.

Perfectionism can be downright harmful.

An all-or-nothing mentality can hold you back from gaining pleasure in what you do and stop you from making any progress.

It’s right up there with other characteristics that contribute to underachievement like procrastination, fear of failure, and workaholism.

You want to enjoy your business journey.

Don’t fixate on the destination.

You’re certain to take a few wrong turns along your path to success, but having clearly defined goals and a proven sales and marketing plan will help to keep you on track.

Handling objections

Handling objections

Objections will inevitably arise during the selling process.

No matter how good your presentation or your service offering, you are likely to be faced with objections, concerns or the necessity for additional information.

Whatever you do, don’t dread objections.

If you dread objections you are sure to make a mess of your response and this could cause you to fail.

Be prepared

The best way to handle objections is to be well prepared.

Write down a list of all the objections you feel you are likely to come up against during your presentation and then think ahead and plan how best to deal with them.

The ability to anticipate an objection is important.

But more important is developing the skills necessary to overcome your prospect’s concerns.

No matter how thorough you are, there will always be a time when a prospect will come up with an objection you have not considered previously.

Beware the test!

Tell me you haven’t done this yourself.

Many business people are well practiced at throwing out objections.

Sometimes it’s simply a test applied by the prospect to every sales approach.

If you give up and walk away at the first or second hurdle it is proof to your prospect that you had nothing of value to offer.

Welcome objections

When you welcome objections you are communicating to your prospects that their needs are important to you and they will be addressed.

Objections are signals that your prospect may be considering your service offering and that more knowledge is required before making a buying decision.

It gives you the opportunity to better understand your prospect’s needs and to give greater emphasis to the benefits of doing business with you.

Do not allow yourself to lose focus by trying to figure out how best to respond to your customer’s objection.

Many prospects tend to raise objections simply to disguise their real concern.

You must tune in to your prospects and listen carefully to what they have to say.

You need to use good questioning techniques to uncover the real reason that is stopping your prospect from making that commitment to sign on as your customer.

As you answer each objection do so with total conviction, and make sure you receive your prospect’s acceptance of your response.

There is no point in moving forward unless the objection has been dealt with to their complete satisfaction.

Be intuitive

Remember that most of the time people tend to buy based on their emotions, not reason.

This can be true even for purchases that might seem totally rational, like a new office chair or computer.

It’s important to try and figure out what emotional need you can tap into to make the sale.

Case histories/testimonials

Now may be a good time to draw on similar challenges faced by your previous customers.

Perhaps you can tell a story or deliver proof through a testimonial of how working with you has produced results similar to those your prospect is keen to achieve.

Honesty is the best policy

Sometimes you may find you simply cannot overcome an objection.

It happens.

If so, honesty is always the best policy.

Do not exaggerate the facts to win the sale.

It is always better to admit you don’t appear to be a good fit and walk away with your integrity intact.

Remember, don’t try to win, try to help.

That way you will build trust and keep the door open for future business.

Types of objections

The most common types of objections that salespeople come up against are:

Scepticism

If your prospect seems sceptical about your ability to deliver it may be because you have promised too much too soon.

Maybe you have underestimated the importance of their particular situation.

Or perhaps you have failed to gain rapport and, as a result, you are not on the same page.

Misunderstanding

It’s possible you have not adequately defined your prospect’s needs.

You must understand their situation and how best you can offer the solutions necessary to close the sale.

You also need to fully appreciate your prospects’s desired outcome and provide detailed examples as to how they will benefit from your service offering.

Be very specific with your answers.

 Stalling

This may seem obvious but from the outset make sure you are dealing with the decision maker.

If your prospect mentions that he wants to get other proposals, see if you can determine what his criteria is and what kind of information he is looking for.

This may be your prospect’s first foray into the market place for a service provider in your particular industry type.

If so, try to be the last provider to present, that way you will know exactly what you are competing against.

 

Culling unprofitable clients

Culling unprofitable clients

If you’re like most service based entrepreneurs and small business owners I know you’d rather be doing something you enjoy, the reason you went into business in the first place, than to be filling the sales funnel and spreading the word.

But in order to be in a better place next year than you are today you know you need to get out of your comfort zone and work on growing your business.

Try looking at the business through your customers’ eyes.

Because when you’re in charge of the day-to-day operations it can be so easy to focus on your needs and how your business can best serve you.

Sometimes all the experience and talent in the world is not enough to keep your customers from wandering off to your competitors.

If this is happening to you then maybe it’s time to take a long, hard look at yourself and your processes.

Remember that customers want great experiences, so see if you can work on delivering something memorable.

Make yourself emotionally attractive

Perhaps your work doesn’t bring you the fulfilment and the joy it once did because dealing with difficult clients leaves you feeling weary and careworn at the end of the working day?

Is it possible it’s beginning to show in your attitude?

In order to produce positive emotions in other people you need to be happy, feel good and be personable in your dealings with them.

Perhaps you need to work on becoming more emotionally attractive?

People tend to remember how you made them feel rather than what you did for them.

If you are generous in your attitude towards your customers you’ll find they will respond favourably by becoming loyal to you and by marketing your business to their circle of influence, without you even asking.

You know that certain attitudes or outcomes lead to or create more of the same attitudes or outcomes, so practice a little give-and-take with your customers.

Attract your ideal customers

If you desire to work with people you like and who treat you with respect, you need to attract clients who energize and inspire you, people who value your effort and expertise and who are willing to pay you what you are worth.

When you work with clients you love you will truly enjoy the work you are doing.

You will be happier, more energetic and more productive.

This will drive you to produce even better results and, in the process, attract better quality clients into your business.
The truth is you are the company you keep.

It is important to choose your clients with as much care as you choose your friends.

Get rid of negative people

I enjoy helping my clients prune their current list of less than ideal customers that leave them feeling empty and drained or frustrated.

You owe it to yourself to do the same.

It’s true that you’re never going to be able to please everyone.

At the same time you don’t want to make your life more difficult than it needs to be by dealing with clients who possess characteristics or behaviours you despise.

Set up a filtering system

Decide what filters you want to run your perfect clients through.

Get specific.

The economic status of a client is certainly a factor to consider, but there are many others.

What are their values?

With whom do they associate?

Make a list of their personal characteristics.

Also, what particular traits do they have in common with each other.

This will help you identify with whom you will and will not work with in the future.

In time it will help you to become recognised and sought out as a specialist in your field because you are producing specific results for a specific group of people.

And the more specialised you become, the more successful you will become.

Low quality versus high end clients

Low quality versus high end clients

Have you ever been tempted to lower your fees in order to undercut your competition and win more business?

Beware!

Lower Fees Will Attract Low Quality Clients

Low quality clients are more focused on price than they are on results.

Clients more focused on price than results are more difficult to work with.

They cost more.

They tend to require the most support.

They’re demanding.

They’re hard to please.

They constantly complain.

They’re never satisfied.

They give less commitment.

They tend to take no responsibility for their own outcomes.

They tend to blame you and your service for anything that goes wrong.

You’ll never get good referrals or glowing testimonials from low quality clients.

Lowering Your Fees Drives Away Your Ideal Clients!

Lowering your fees will repel the clients you most want to work with; those who value your time, your expertise, and who are willing to pay you what you are worth.

When a client is more concerned with what they will receive than what it will cost, they rarely go for the “cheap” option.

High end clients care much less about the cost and much more about the value.

When high end clients see low fees they automatically assume that the service must be lacking in value.

Keep in mind that the size of a client’s commitment is always equal to the size of their investment.

If you take on clients for low fees you can expect to have collection issues on a regular basis, whereas high paying clients usually pay on time.

Transform Your Business & Your Income

It doesn’t take a lot more work to attract high end clients.

When you master the art of attracting high end clients, you will transform your whole business.

You will have more money, more time, and get more satisfaction in the work you do.

High end clients are ideal clients.

They are clients you can really make a difference with and clients with whom you love to work.

They remain loyal.

They become long-term clients.

They understand the value you offer and are willing to pay you more than the average client.

From my own personal experience working in partnership with my ideal clients doesn’t feel like work.

It’s fun and productive!

Ideal clients don’t resist you.

They co-operate with you as you work with them to make significant changes in their businesses and produce high level results.

Developing meaningful relationships with long term clients gives you the opportunity to get to know and better understand their needs.

Are you ready to attract better quality clients into your business?

What customers really want

What customers really want

If customers could diagnose and solve their own problems they would.

They seek out assistance because they’re stuck and they need help.

There are a number of reasons a customer will choose one service provider over another.

They want someone who is willing to work with them to achieve a mutual goal by being responsive to their concerns.

Ideally they want you to become integral to their success.

Customers do not like being sold to, but they expect you to have confidence in your ability to achieve the results they need.

They expect you to listen intently to their issues.

Customers understand that every business decision entails risk and they want your help to minimise that risk.

They want to know the pitfalls and what steps you can take to make sure these problems won’t occur.

They expect you to craft a compelling solution.

Consultative and solution selling have always been key to a service provider’s success

Customers expect you to be thorough and straightforward.

They want things explained to them in plain, simple language.

They expect you to be all-inclusive when describing your services.

Last minute surprises like upgrades or add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale can be irritating.

More than anything customers want to know they can trust you.

You need to prove to your customer that buying from you is the right decision for them.

The 5 most important things a customer wants

1. Value for money

Many customers regard “value for money” as being more important than price.

A significant factor in a customer’s decision making is pricing and competitiveness from a value perspective.

 

 2. Customer service

Customers expect to receive more than just standard customer service.They want to feel important and supported at every stage of the sales cycle.

More emphasis needs to be placed on the overall customer “experience”.

 

3. Reliability

Customers want to know you are reliable; that you will keep the promises you make to them.

Broken promises could have a devastating effect upon you and your business.

 

 4. Quality

The quality of your service needs to be consistent.

The link to price and value is essential.

You owe it to yourself and your customers to remain as good as or better than others of a comparable nature.

 

 5.  Ease of doing business

Customers want to obtain quick and easy access to your products and/or service offerings.

They want simplified, successful interactions that reduce the touch-points required to complete a task.

 

5 signs a client is not a good fit

5 signs a client is not a good fit

A new business owner can get so caught up in making a great first impression that she may overlook any signs that her prospective client is not a good fit for her business.

Don’t make the mistake of being so keen to get your foot in the door that you think you can somehow work it all out during your meeting.

This is seldom a recipe for success.

Sign #1: Your prospect cannot define their specific challenges

From the outset you should know what challenges your prospect is facing.

Your purpose is to match your value to your customer needs.

You must know whether it is possible you’ll make a good fit before you schedule an initial consultation.

Without this knowledge the meeting could turn out to be a complete waste of time for you, and your prospect.

Sign #2: Your prospect is more focused on asking questions than answering them

In an effort to establish whether you can work together to produce the desired outcome, you, as the service provider, should be the one gathering information and asking most of the questions, then listening actively to your prospect’s responses.

It’s normal to be asked a few questions but, if you leave the meeting feeling like you have been put through the wringer, most probably you will never hear from your prospect again.

Sign #3: You sense your prospect is “shopping around”

If your prospect starts to drop the names of other businesses who offer similar services to yours, this is a sign that he or she is shopping around.

Of course you expect them to compare service providers, but if they have been shopping around for ages and still not made a decision, this is a warning sign for how they do business.

One of the biggest challenges you will face working in the service industry is indecisive customers.

Customers who are indecisive about taking a service or a product you have to offer have the potential to turn into headache clients.

They tend to overanalyse everything and hold up progress on your efforts.

Sign #4: Your prospect doesn’t seem serious about making a commitment

After you’ve been in business a while you will see there is a pretty clear process that results in a signed contract and the commencement of services.

A really big warning sign of a problem client is one who has no idea of when they would like to start their project.

They are just testing the waters to see whether or not your services will give them the answer they are looking for.

You want to work with clients who have already gone through this process and are ready and determined to get their show on the road.

They have a clear start date in mind.

Sign #5: What they need is not what you provide

The final warning sign to watch out for is when your gut tells you that your services are not the answer to their problems.

There may be many reasons why this is the case.

Perhaps you cannot quite put your finger on it, but trust your instincts and be honest with them.

Perhaps you might be able to point them in the right direction but, whatever you do, do not take on a client who is not a good match.

Be discerning.

You want to enrol into your business clients who hold similar values to you.

Clients who are easy to work with, and for whom you know you can produce outstanding results.

What is the key to your success?

What is the key to your success?

According to research, happiness is the key to success.

Happiness is not a “feelgood” luxury, but is essential to our well-being.

Being happier is more likely to make you financially better off, reduce stress levels and increase life expectancy.

Happiness comes from having a healthy, positive state of mind, and from spending your time doing what you enjoy doing most.

Doing well in business comes from being particularly good at what you enjoy doing most.

The key to success in business is to understand where your greatest talent lies, and figure out how to build a business around it.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel (unless you want to!)

Just look for ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

But more than anything else make sure that you and your business idea are a match made in heaven.

If not, you probably won’t make a success of it even if the idea proves to be financially viable.

That’s because following your passion has been scientifically proven to make you happier.

Passion produces positive energy.

And positive energy attracts wealth.

Wealth – like happiness, confidence and love – starts from within.

Integrating your passion with your business provides sustainable motivation and the grit to weather the inevitable ups and downs of your entrepreneurial journey.

Just like life, business is a journey, not a destination.

You want to enjoy your journey, not waste your time and money building something that might not work out for you.

The last thing you want is to spend your days slogging away at something you don’t like just to make ends meet.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there who have been wildly successful in business, even though they have spent a lifetime of misery from having played it safe, rather than taking the chance to do something that makes their heart sing!

(I’ve come across quite a few of those miserable sods along my journey.)

Don’t be that person.

What is it that makes you truly happy?

Ask yourself what is it that motivates you?

In what way do you want to contribute to make things better?

What do you want to achieve for yourself and your loved ones?

What do you value most, spiritually, emotionally and materially?

How to control your fear of rejection

How to control your fear of rejection

The desire to be liked, whether right or wrong, will not get you ahead in business.

Having self-confidence, being assertive and asking directly for what you want are the qualities that will make you successful.

The bitter truth is that no matter how hard you try, there will always be people out there who do not like you.

You may as well get comfortable with ruffling feathers and rattling cages because rejection is predictable.

Whatever you do, try not to take rejection personally because it’s not personal, it’s just business.

Patterns of self-talk

I’ve learned that the way I react to things, whether appropriate or inappropriate, is directly linked to the things I tell myself.

While rejection is often highly inconvenient and annoying, it’s my self-talk that creates either a positive, a neutral or a negative reaction.

When I first started out in business I was young and naive.

I was still trying to figure out who I was and how I fitted into the grand scheme of things.

Even so I was persistent and determined to succeed.

Unfortunately disapproval was all around me and it was a difficult pill to swallow.

In private I’d well up with tears, anger and hostility if my carefully thought out ideas and proposals got rejected.

It would eat away at me and sometimes ruin the rest of my day.

I knew I had to figure out a better way of coping or I’d go nuts.

So I read a lot of self-improvement books and I learned to change my self-talk.

Instead of telling myself I was worthless and it was the end of the world if others disapproved of me, I thanked the universe for giving me a sign that my prospect was not a good fit.

That we were not meant to do business together.

That there were plenty more fish in the sea.

The effect was liberating.

I found myself taking on a devil may care attitude towards my prospecting.

I enjoyed the process more and stopped worrying about the outcome.

I treated meetings as an opportunity to get to know each other rather than “You have to buy from me NOW or else!”

Above all I appreciated the importance of making a lasting impression, of leaving the door wide open long after I’d closed it behind me.

How did I change my thinking?

Well, it was a process.

Not something I was able to achieve overnight.

But, with practice, I was able to think negative irrational beliefs with less intensity and to experience them as a fleeting thought, rather than a continuous one.

By disputing my negative thoughts vigorously and repeatedly I began to see how foolish and self-defeating they were and, as a result, I became less affected by them.

When I stopped creating unnecessary emotional turmoil with “over-awfulisations” I noticed a more neutral viewpoint beginning to develop.

Every now and then I am guilty of slipping back into my old ways of thinking, but at least I have the tools to help me quickly change my emotional response.

Are you able to instantly put your life and problems into perspective?

If so, well done!

If not, I hope you found this story somewhat insightful or at least entertaining.

How to become a sales star

How to become a sales star

Selling is a learned skill

No matter what you’ve heard, there’s no such thing as a natural born salesperson.

Top salespeople become that way by applying themselves with drive and determination to learn everything they can about their chosen career.

The idea that a person should do well in sales simply because he or she has the “gift of the gab” or could “talk the leg off a chair” is just not true.

During my journey I’ve completed many sales and marketing and professional development courses and attended countless seminars and workshops.

I have read with enthusiasm every self-help book and listened to every tape and CD I could lay my hands on.

These days I gain inspiration from top leadership gurus through electronic versions of their best sellers, private coaching, mentoring programs, and webinars.

But nothing beats real life experience, and I have had and still get plenty of that!

A sales star’s toolkit

To be successful at selling it helps to be a people person and someone who enjoys the art of conversation.

To have an optimistic outlook and be able to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions.

All normal functioning and productive members of society should fit the bill!

The most useful tools in an effective salesperson’s kit should include:

 

  • being solutions orientated – always focus on how your offering best solves the customer’s problem and/or best satisfies their want/need;
  • asking the right sorts of questions – painstaking enquiries will uncover any objections the customer may have for not moving forward;
  • being an exceptionally good listener – truly empathise with your customer’s point of view, encourage them to consider their objections and help them find the answers they need;
  • possessing good powers of persuasion – keep in mind that few people are capable of being convinced, the majority of us allow ourselves to be persuaded!

 The winning traits of a sales star

What separates a fairly good salesperson from a sales star?

It’s their exceptional ability at overcoming objections.

Salespeople who have yet to perfect their skills manage to get through their presentation OK but they tend to freeze when confronted with an objection from the customer.

Mistakenly they might take it personally, feel deflated and go on the defensive.

A sales star simply acknowledges that an objection is merely a request for more information.

The sales star will quiz the customer to ferret out any objections or roadblocks they expect to encounter that could stand between a sale or a no sale in an effort to steer the meeting to its desired outcome.

It makes sense that every customer wants to have any concerns cleared up before they make a decision to purchase.

A lot of times if you craft your questions carefully you may have the customer answering their own objections, allowing the sales process to naturally move forward.

Personally I have encountered as many as eight objections before hearing my first “yes”.

I welcome the no’s because each “no” brings me closer to the “yes”!

And in the process I get to better understand my client’s needs.

Sure, I have to work harder for the sale.

But in my experience having to work hard for the sale results in a better customer relationship than a lay down misère.

Interplay with a prospective customer is fun!

Interplay involves asking lots of questions.

Questions create involvement.

Involvement leads to a deeper association.

And a deeper association creates customer loyalty, quality referrals, and outstanding testimonials.

How to sell on value not price

How to sell on value not price

I always compete on value.

I refuse to compete on price.

You can too.

When things are tough customers often look for bargains and discounts, but they also want quality and certainty.

Most customers recognize when it comes to quality, you seldom get more than you pay for.

But for some there’s always hope!

A lot of people have come to expect discounts as part of the sales process.

Generally they have no problem asking for them.

Your prospective customers are often anxious about paying more than they need to.

So they shop around for the best price.

But often selling on price alone comes at a huge cost for the business owner.

There is no doubt that a decent discount on your service offering will lead to quick sales and help you get customers through the door.

It may be tempting to employ these methods when you’re starting out, perhaps just until you get a foothold in the market.

But the problem is customers who come to you this way will most probably expect discounts before purchasing from you in the future.

And you may find it difficult to raise your prices without the risk of losing them to your competitors.

Then it’s back to square one!

Every industry is becoming more competitive and customers are becoming more discerning.

It’s challenging for business owners in today’s economy to find a way to defeat the competition without slashing prices.

But you need to learn how to sell to people on value, not price.

Don’t Make Yourself Vulnerable To Your Competitors

Lowering your prices to get that deal may seem enticing but it can be catastrophic to your bottom line.

What might seem like a small compromise in order to win business may have serious consequences for you in the long run.

By lowering your prices you are weakening your business.

It will slow your growth and make you susceptible to attack by your competitors.

There are different strategies involved in pricing that don’t always involve cutting prices.

But they do involve being more competitive.

Discounting your services to prospective customers sends the message that you don’t feel totally confident about your offering, that you think the value isn’t there.

Make a Compelling Promise That Is Benefit-Driven

To successfully compete on value, you do need to know everything possible about your target customer and your market.

Make sure you do your homework.

Research your industry and your competition so you can price your offering accordingly.

If today’s customers are to pay more, they must get more.

There are lots of ways to create value for your customers.

The very best way to defeat your competition is to get the best possible match between the strengths of your offering and your customer’s needs.

Consider positioning yourself in the marketplace to fill a gap, a customer need that is not yet being addressed.

Focus on providing a solution to a problem rather than offering the cheapest price.

And, in order to keep your customers from straying be sure to promise and deliver exemplary customer service.

Keep in mind that people are willing to pay more if they think they are getting special or significant value.

And if you present to them in just the right way.

One Last Word On Discounting

If you want to sell your services more profitably to more people you must resist the temptation to discount.

Begin to focus on value.

Remember chances are no matter how much you discount your service it will most likely never be the lowest-priced offering in your industry.

A fact that can actually benefit you in your sales efforts.

After all, everyone is familiar with the saying, “You get no more than you pay for”.

The upshot is if you can demonstrate to your prospects that the value of your service is greater than the price you’re asking, you won’t need to worry about slashing your prices or bargain basement competitors.

How to sell anything

How to sell anything

With just about everything you do in life, your ability to sell will play a huge role in your success.

Having sales skills will teach you about connecting with people, how to get them on board with an idea.

How to negotiate and how to close a deal.

I have put all these skills to very good use in my career and you can too.

There are some basic concepts you must come to grips with in order to succeed.

Once you’ve learned these methods you need to practice them.

Then integrate your newly acquired skills into your personality, into your speech pattern, so they become uniquely yours.

Do your homework

You need to know your customer as well as you possibly can.

Do your research and assemble as much information as possible about them, their needs, their expectations, and so on.

Get a feeling for where they fit in their particular market.

What makes them stand out from their competitors?

Make a list of all the possible questions and objections you think they may throw at you.

Be very well prepared in advance of your first meeting.

It is essential also to have some in-depth knowledge about your competitors and their product or service offering so you are at the ready for what you could be up against.

From experience I know how impressed a client can be with the fact that you know almost as much about their business as they do.

It’s a compliment to them.

It demonstrates you care.

Use good questioning and listening skills

At your face-to-face meeting or during your telephone conversation remember it is all about the client.

It’s not about you.

Be inquisitive.

Ask pertinent questions.

Encourage your client to open up.

Make sure you pay attention to the things that really and truly matter to them, the things that elicit a strong emotional response or reaction.

Gather together all the information you can to help you present your service offering in a fashion that they will find most appealing.

Make a genuine connection

The very best relationships involve a genuine connection between people.

Make an effort to connect with your prospective client in a deep and meaningful way.

Express yourself in a manner that resonates with them.

Where appropriate use humour and anecdotes to spark their interest.

My favourite way of interacting with another person is to “mirror” some of their movements, facial expressions, or words.

This creates a powerful sense of familiarity, comfort and trust.

It is particularly useful in face-to-face encounters, but over time I have managed to hone this skill in my other methods of communication.

Being in possession of all the necessary details about your prospective client’s business you should know precisely what they are looking for and how to overcome their concerns and meet their needs.

Describe the benefits you can provide by relating case studies that show off specific outcomes you have achieved for your other clients.

People like to hear about ideas, features and performance.

Their emotional connection to your stories and the people you have served is what they will remember most.

Ultimately that is what will motivate them to jump on board with you.

Partner with your client

Even though you may be sitting on opposite sides of the boardroom table you must, from the very outset, adopt the mindset that you are working alongside (not for) your prospective customer.

Take the approach that this is a partnership with a mutual objective.

A win/win proposition where you provide your expertise and in turn the client rewards you for having helped them achieve a common purpose.

It is essential for you to prove to your customer that you have a vested interest in producing outstanding results for them.

When you are able to convince your customer that you have a genuine desire and ability to do everything necessary to make them successful, you will win deals.

Developing your personal brand

Developing your personal brand

The best way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to develop a personal brand.

It is key to your success.

You need to clearly define and communicate who you are and who you serve.

In this way you will attract your most ideal clients.

Clients who understand and who get you.

It will also help to repel those who don’t get you, those you’d rather not do business with anyway.

Personal branding is much more than what your website, your business cards and your marketing materials look like.

It is an expression of your individuality, your values and your mission.

What is unique about you?

Your purpose is to make yourself known for your talents and skills and boldly express yourself in an authentic way that makes you truly memorable.

You want to do this with colour, style and personality that compliment who you are and what you stand for.

And in a way that is cohesive with your target market.

When it comes to putting together your personal brand you must be self-expressed and completely candid.

You want to create something that is fearless and passionate.

You want to demonstrate that you have total belief in yourself and what you have to offer.

Your message doesn’t have to be madly unique, just deeply meaningful to you and to the people you are meant to serve.

When you are fully self-expressed you will feel at ease about promoting yourself.

Your confidence will soar because you’ll feel on purpose, comfortable in your own skin.

Creating your personal brand

There are three components to your personal brand …

 

The people you serve and the results you help them achieve

When you present yourself to potential clients the first thing they are going to consider is whether you are the right person for their needs, whether you help others in their specific situation.

You will be able to greatly assist them in their decision making if you can provide case studies and social proof.

What motivates you to do what you do.

People want to know you are emotionally invested in your work.

They will want to know if they can connect with you on an emotional, philosophical or even spiritual level.

And those who resonate with your “why” will be almost magnetically attracted to you.

 

Your tagline

Your tagline should be about 10 to 20 words in length – one or two sentences is sufficient.

It should be stated in clear terms and easily understandable.

It needs to be a statement that captures who you are.

Not so much a factual claim but an emotional reason for people to want to be around you.

It should capture the essence of who you are.

You want your tagline to give you that competitive edge, to represent that defining moment that eliminates any doubt people may have about doing business with you, the moment that turns your prospect into a devoted customer.

Used effectively your brand message is a powerful tool.

Usually it is developed and evolves over time.

Building relationships of trust

Building relationships of trust

It is essential for the professional service provider to build relationships based on trust.

How good you are at what you is of no consequence if a potential client doesn’t trust you.

All sales start with a simple conversation.

From the outset you need to show genuine interest in your prospective customers.

You need to be natural and authentic in your dealings with them.

Don’t pretend to be anything other than the real you.

You want them to like you for who you really are.

Make sure you maintain good eye contact and, above all else, remember it’s all about them.

It’s always all about them.

It’s not about you.

Undoubtedly your potential clients want to know you are skillful and experienced in what you do and that you are suitably qualified to help them.

But more than that they want to know you truly care, that they are important to you and you have their best interests at heart. 

Make strong emotional connections

Making a strong emotional connection with people is the first step in developing a relationship with your potential client.

Step back and take a different perspective.

Don’t look at turning prospects into customers.

Look at turning strangers into friends.

Then turning friends into customers.

Get to understand what it is they are looking for.

You want to be clear on what they think they need to solve their problems or help them reach their goals.

You must appreciate and acknowledge what’s relevant to your customer, not what you think is relevant to them.

Being in possession of these facts will help you to establish whether what you have to offer will be of any real benefit to them.

It will give you the opportunity to present your offering in a way that is most attractive to them and best fulfils their needs and wants. 

Why should they choose you?

Work on presenting to your potential customers what it is that’s unique about you.

Why they should regard you as a credible authority in your field.

You must be comfortable with self-promotion.

If you are hesitant or awkward in your delivery your customers will interpret your discomfort as deceit. 

It’s time to blow your own trumpet!

Keep in mind that no-one will ever believe more in you or what you have to offer than yourself!

It’s up to you convince and to reassure people that they have made the right choice, that you are the right person to help them.

They expect, want, and need to hear this from you.

This is not bragging.

Bragging is when you compare yourself to others and assert your superiority.

What you are doing is declaring your strengths, your skills and your expertise in a sincere and professional manner. 

Engaging with your clients

Most potential clients need to get to know you and trust you over time.

Aggressive one-step selling antagonizes customers.

No-one likes to be sold to.

You need to work out the way in which you prefer to interact and engage with your customers so you win their friendship and their respect. 

The sales cycle

There’s a series of stages a client moves through when deciding whether to purchase your products or services.

The number of stages depends very much on the type of business you have and how you’ve set up your sales and marketing funnel.

At each stage of the process your goal is to prove that your solutions work and to deliver on the promises you make.

In the process you want to increase your client’s trust factor and move ever closer to establishing a solid working relationship.

To run a successful business you need to generate continuous sales leads and have lots of people filtering through your funnel at different stages.

What works for many service providers is to make a compelling offer.

An offer that has no barrier to entry.

An offer that carries no risk.

This gives your prospects the opportunity to sample your services and decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue to do business with you.

Whether they become your client may well depend on where they are in the buying cycle and whether working with you was a pleasant experience.

If their experience was productive and enjoyable but they were not yet ready to purchase, you may very likely see them in the future when the timing is right.

Get testimonials that sell

Get testimonials that sell

Storytelling is the new hotness in marketing.

And compelling real life stories from satisfied customers showcasing results you’ve helped them to achieve are far more convincing than any other kind of marketing.

Detailed stories from your customers provide imagery and emotion that no amount of paid advertising could ever accomplish.

Glowing third party endorsements will entice even the most sceptical prospects to come on board because they are authentic accounts of transformations brought about as a direct consequence of having worked with you.

How do you get powerful testimonials?

In my experience devoted customers are only too happy to provide you with testimonials, but when it comes to putting them together they often find themselves at a loss for words.

Use this as an opportunity to help them structure their testimonials so they tell powerful transformation stories.

Stories that are very easy to follow.

Stories that are well tempered and not overly biased.

Stories that put pay to the key objections you often come up against in your service industry.

The best way to obtain transformation stories from your customers is to ask them a very specific set of questions.

Questions that provide you with responses that fall into a neat and pleasant storyline that is both straightforward and interesting to read.

Your questions should include:

* what problem your customer needed to solve when they first came to you

* what reservations they may have had about doing business with you or with someone in your specific service industry

* how you managed to allay their fears

* what it was that convinced them to come on board with you

* what outcome you helped them to achieve and how it made them feel having gained that result

* what their overall opinion is of you and the service you provide

 

You want their stories to unfold in the most effective way.

You want each story to be unique, personal, touching and specifically linked to a particular objection.

At the beginning of a testimonial it is a good idea to address any fears or scepticism your customer may have had concerning your service offering and how you managed to help them overcome their doubts.

This tends to give the testimonial power and depth.

Bring your testimonials to life by including an appropriate photo of your customer together with their name and their location, with their permission of course.

If they’re in business themselves, add a link to their website and promote their business.

If there is a physical or material “before and after” view you helped your customers achieve you want to display those images so your prospective clients can witness that transformation with their very own eyes.

Compliments from your customers can be very flattering, but you want to make sure their words are not too sugary.

Your prospective customers may find this off-putting.

Testimonial formats

Written testimonials accompanied by photographs in printed and electronic format are great, but don’t overlook the fact that videos are an incredibly powerful way to deliver a testimonial.

Nothing quite measures up to a testimonial presented by someone who looks directly into the eyes of your customer and speaks from their heart.

Don’t let customers walk all over you

Don’t let customers walk all over you

When I first started out in my early 20’s I wasn’t as particular as I am today about the clients I brought on board.

I was primarily focused on establishing myself and building a reputation.

I busted a gut trying to keep my new clients happy and my enemies at bay by over-delivering on #hashtag #everydamnthing.

Nothing was too much trouble for this multi-tasked go-getter.

Over time the care and attention I lavished on my clients took its toll.

I was exhausted, highly stressed, and more emotional than usual (and that’s saying something).

I became aware that I had attracted into my business people who were only too willing to take advantage of me.

Quit being so eager to please!

You know that a disproportionate number of people-pleasers happen to be women?

Hmmm.

Believe me, in business you cannot afford to be a people-pleaser.

You will run yourself ragged for little to no reward.

I learned early on that customers can be incredulously over-demanding.

Some assume you’ll do anything to win their business and, if you let them, they’ll walk all over you and wipe their feet.

Back in those days it was a man’s world.

Some of my clients were old enough to be my father, even my grandfather.

Don’t get me wrong, I could hold my own, but a few really tried to impose on me.

Like the prospect who begged me to negotiate payment of an invoice with a delinquent customer so he could afford to retain my services.

Like the day I was asked to pick up urgently needed materials enroute to an appointment at my client’s office when the depot was located way across the other side of town through peak hour traffic.

Like the time a client handed me a wad of banknotes and said “Lunch is on me today”,  followed by “Could you pick up a decent birthday gift for the wife?”

“You’re a woman, you’d have a better idea than me as to what she’d like.”

I asked myself What the hell is going on here?

I was being treated more like an office assistant or a dutiful daughter than a sales and marketing consultant.

I’m a professional business woman, not a go-to girl!

I began to decline excessive requests on my precious time in the nicest way possible.

My valued clients had no problem with this because they respected me and I was getting them the results they wanted.

The cheapskates and the time-wasters bailed because there was always some other mug out there willing to do more for less.

Maintain professional boundaries

I was determined never again to go out of my way to do something beyond my contractual obligations to be nice just for the sake of being nice.

From then on when prospecting for new clients, if a potential customer seemed a bit suss, showed any sign of being a user, I’d pull the pin.

It just wasn’t worth the risk.

My advice is to set boundaries from the get-go and never ever take on more than you should in the hope it will cement the relationship you have with your client.

Because 9 times out of 10 it won’t.

Being too obliging is sure to get you into trouble.

It will cost you time.

It will cost you money.

It will take you away from the clients who treat you the way you deserve, the ones who are worthy of your care and attention.

The last thing you want to do is to make your life more difficult than it needs to be by filling your business with over-demanding customers who make your skin crawl and hurt your bottom line.

Am I expert enough?

Am I expert enough?

Do you find yourself finally deciding what it is you want to share with the world and then, just as you are about to muster up the courage to step out into the arena, self-doubt begins to rear its ugly head?

Do you start looking around and comparing yourself, your background and your experience with others in your field and decide that you just don’t quite measure up?

Then you find yourself sinking back into what feels safe and familiar and end up ditching that brilliant idea of yours because you feel that your background and experience just doesn’t add up?

The consequences of comparison

We’re all guilty at some time or another of comparing ourselves to others who are more accomplished than we are, of using their success as a measuring stick.

I think it boils down to the fact that, deep down, we’re all a bit insecure about our own worth and so we look around us for a frame of reference to assess how well we’re doing.

While this can be helpful in motivating us to stretch and improve ourselves, it often leaves us feeling like we’re just not good enough.

Avoid the pitfalls of comparison

If we are ever to experience the sweet taste of success we must stop engaging in such futile acts of self-sabotage.

Accept that everyone is at a different stage in their entrepreneurial journey.

Some are starting out.

Some are on the road.

Some are reaching their destination.

As long as you have the experience or the knowledge with what you are trying to do or teach, you are at least one step ahead of your prospective customers, and you have a solution to their problem, you’re good to go.

Once you’ve done the groundwork, step out.

Be brave!

How to get ahead as a newbie

How to get ahead as a newbie

When you’re the new kid on the block it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.

So, what separates a professional from an inexperienced newcomer?

Having worked with many entrepreneurs and business owners over the years I have noticed there are essentially 4 proven ways to set yourself up for success.

 #1  Get clear on who your ideal customer is

Aim at a small target and you are far more likely to make a direct hit.

You need to effectively understand the person or group of people for whom you can produce the best results.

Your key is to find this very narrow group, with very specific demographics or very specific problems or needs and create raving fans.

Do not make the mistake many new business owners make of aiming at a wide audience and trying to please everyone.

You will end up wasting a lot of your marketing dollars and taking on customers who become major headaches.

From the very beginning you need to specialise, not generalise.

#2  Know who your competitors are

When you are starting your business from the ground up it is really important to know who you are competing against.

You can learn so much from finding out what is working for your competitors and what is not.

In the process you could find new opportunities and untapped markets for your product or service.

#3  Understand your offering inside out

You must be able to express and/or demonstrate to your prospects with accuracy and precision what problems your service can solve and what improvements you can make to their lives.

And, most important of all, why doing business with you is more beneficial than doing business with your competitors.

#4  Deliver exceptional customer service

Connect with your customers on a personal level and show them you truly care.

It can be the difference between a customer forgetting about you the moment their transaction is over, and that same person returning to become a loyal customer for life.

These are proven ways to establish credibility quickly and build that all important know-like-trust factor with your potential audience.

Strengthen your success muscles

Strengthen your success muscles

In today’s business world you cannot afford to play it safe if you want to be successful.

You have to be willing to take risks.

If you want to achieve your biggest dreams and wildest ambitions you have to learn how to strengthen your success muscles, develop courage.

Stepping outside your comfort zone is going to cause you some anxiety, but it’s a great way to grow courage.

Doing something you don’t normally do, however small to start with, will help you cope with the unexpected, which is where fear often originates from.

Doubt and failure are ever present in business.

Dare to accept failure as part of your entrepreneurial journey because failure will be your greatest educator.

Through failure comes humility, and humility allows understanding and perspective.

Without failure, you cannot fully understand yourself or develop as a business person.

Embrace your fear and try not to hesitate.

The longer you give yourself to come up with excuses for not being courageous, the more likely it is that you will become paralysed and spend too much time worrying about hypothetical negative outcomes.

About taking risks …

In my early days, brimming with youthful enthusiasm, I took an “all or nothing” approach toward risk.

Sometimes things worked out in my favour.

Other times not so much.

I have to admit everything I did back then was based on gut instinct alone.

I still trust my gut first and foremost, but no longer do I put everything on the line and run the risk of going out in a blaze of attempted glory.

I learned the difference between being a risk taker and a calculated risk taker.

The difference between failure and success.

I learned how to balance the pros and cons and develop methods for taking smart risks to improve my business and to minimise my losses.

What is “the worst thing that could happen?”

I am comfortable with entertaining the possibility of failure.

In business failure is always an option.

I don’t expect failure but if things should go awry, I am prepared.

I always have a Plan B.

I’m only too willing to admit I still suffer the occasional setback.

That’s the nature of business.

I like to manage risk, not avoid it.

I love introducing new products and services into my business that make my life and the lives of my staff and clients easier and better.

Of course innovation carries risk.

There are rewards in risk, even if the reward is the exhilarating experience of the risk itself.

Is it time you stopped overthinking it, and starting risking it?

It’s never too late to start something new

It’s never too late to start something new

There are many reasons today why women in their 50’s, 60s and even their 70s, want to work.

Full retirement may sound very attractive to some, but for others it signifies a time when they cease to be a productive part of the community and this can have a profound effect on their self-esteem and general well-being.

More women in their senior years are enjoying good health, and are keen to continue to use their minds and skills at a high level.

More are single.

And more, due to a late divorce or relationship breakdown, are finding themselves on their own and with limited retirement savings.

Although things are slowly improving, older women in the workforce face a double standard.

They’re pressured to look young and attractive but rejected on the grounds of being “over-qualified.”

One option is to start your own business.

But, despite a lifetime of experience, many women lack the confidence to take the plunge.

Chances are you’ve learned a thing or two about life and business that will be helpful to others.

Is it time you changed direction?

If the path you’re on isn’t working for you anymore, take the time to evaluate your situation.

Explore your distinct and creative alternatives.

Age really has very little bearing on whether you’re going to be successful or not.

It all comes down to your determination and your willingness to give it your all.

If you’re letting your age stop you from pursuing your dreams of entrepreneurship, don’t!

Quite a number of entrepreneurs don’t even think about launching their own business until they are well into their 40s, 50s and even 60’s.

What you may lack in youthful energy comes back multiplied in experience.

Embrace change!

Decide to be adventurous.

Put in the time to get to know yourself and decide what you really want to accomplish.

Do you want to make a substantial income?

Do you want to share your passion with the world?

There is no limit to the number of small business ideas for women over 60.

Now is the time of your life to do the things that you love.

If you can build a successful business around your passions, so much the better!

As women we celebrate the tremendous gifts each of us has to offer to enrich the lives of others.

Getting past the gatekeeper

Getting past the gatekeeper

Many receptionists, personal assistants, even general members of staff are instructed by management to protect them from interruptions.

To ward off unsolicited phone calls and visitors.

If you have no other choice but to ring the office number to connect with a prospective client more than likely at some stage you will run into a roadblock.

Aka the gatekeeper.

Do not view the gatekeeper as the enemy.

They’re only doing their job.

It’s important to sound important

If the gatekeeper believes you are important, they will treat you differently.

They won’t risk offending you by asking too many questions.

Sound confident, but relaxed and natural.

Ask for the boss by his or her first name so it sounds like a personal call.

Give your first and last name only like that’s all they need to put you through.

Do not state where you’re calling from.

This will imply that the boss needs prompting.

That he doesn’t really know you at all.

Remember your goal is not to inform the gatekeeper.

It’s to bypass the gatekeeper and get to the decision maker.

If the gatekeeper asks you to reveal the purpose of your call, whatever you do, do not launch into your pitch!

If you start selling the gatekeeper, you’re playing a loser’s game.

It will give them the opportunity they’ve been waiting for, to tell you the boss would not be interested in what you have to offer and to get you off the phone.

Check your facts

Use your conversation with the gatekeeper as an opportunity to check your facts.

Ensure that the person you want to speak with is indeed the decision maker.

If the gatekeeper appears to be particularly authoritative it may be worth your time and effort to identify the role she plays.

Uncover whether or not she has the expertise to answer your questions.

Chances are she could be a strong influence in the purchase decision and you will likely have to work through her.

If it’s apparent she’s not involved in making decisions you may want to find out if anybody else is charged with that responsibility.

If so, that person could be readily accessible and willing to give you a listening and a clear pathway to the boss.

Create rapport

Always engage the gatekeeper so they have a positive and friendly attitude towards you.

Building rapport might make them want to help you the next time you call.

Other ways to get past the gatekeeper could be to say you’re touching base regarding a prior conversation.

That you’re following up on information you sent through and you need to discuss it before the close of business.

Or, as a last resort, that you’re returning the boss’s call.

If you employ these tactics be well prepared to deal with any fallout, or you could land yourself in hot water!

If your call goes to voicemail don’t bother leaving a message.

No matter how captivating your message may be, it’s unlikely your call will be returned.

It’s always best to try again later or to find out when the boss will be available and arrange to call him back at a more suitable time.

Always stay in control of the situation.

Never relinquish ownership of the next contact!

Always ask for the business

Always ask for the business

I remember one particular occasion years ago when I was running early for an appointment I was sitting in the foyer outside my client’s office.

The door swung open and my client walked out behind with a well-dressed young man in his early twenties.

As he moved towards me, he was rolling his eyes and smacking a brochure.

“Not a bad product.”

“Probably would have bought the bloody thing if he’d asked me to.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling your services or an appointment, whenever you deliver a presentation in person or over the phone, at the end of it …

Always ask for the sale!

Asking for the sale is the characteristic of a confident, proactive, and professional salesperson.

Once you have established your prospect has a need and you know you have the solution ask for the business.

Simply say “Let’s do business together.”

Not asking for the sale sends a message to the customer that you have a lack of confidence in the value of the product you represent and that you don’t really care whether or not they buy.

Who could blame the client if they lost interest in you and what you had to offer?

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you to remember the importance of asking for the sale.

If you have done a good job explaining all the benefits of your service offering you have every right to ask your prospect if they would like the opportunity to enjoy those benefits by becoming your customer.

Your prospect knows your purpose in meeting with them is to try and sell them something.

When you have done your presentation it is your duty to follow through by asking for the business.

You cannot leave the customer in a quandary

You cannot leave the customer wondering what on earth the point of your meeting was all about.

They have better things to do with their time than just listen to you prattle on without reaching a satisfactory outcome.

If you truly believe in yourself and your service offering you want to make sure you meet the needs of as many prospective customers as possible.

Asking for the sale will help you determine this.

It gives you the opportunity to deal with any concerns or objections you need to overcome in order to get the definitive answer you must have to either take them on board or move on to the next potential customer.

The bottom line is there’s absolutely no point in convincing a customer to work with you if you don’t ask for the business.

Never end your meeting with a wimpish “So, I’ll leave it with you” (like this young salesman did).

Tie up your loose ends.

Ask for the sale!

You are not being pushy.

Remember that selling is a process of matching the needs of your customer with the benefits of your service.

And that process is not finished until you ask for the sale!

New to cold calling?

New to cold calling?

If you’re a new business owner you’ve probably never made a cold call in your life.

Maybe when you started out your customers came through networking with other professionals and/or referrals from trusted friends and associates.

But now that first line of business has dried up you know you need to do something drastic if you are to stay in business.

Your quickest and best option is to prospect for new business over the phone.

Get the right mindset

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself blocked and immobilised by call reluctance.

Call reluctance is real and rampant among new and seasoned business owners.

Before you even think about picking up the phone you must dispel any negative beliefs you have about cold calling.

You don’t want to ruin your chances before you get started.

Your mind is the greatest soap-opera scriptwriter in history and it will probably run through scenarios like …

“People hate cold callers”

“No-one will want to speak with me”

“They’re too busy”

“They’ll just hang up”.

You are not a mind reader!

You have to lift yourself out of your funk and stop second guessing yourself.

It’s worth noting that despite the fact that cold calling gets a bum rap, it’s still one of the most popular strategies businesses employ when seeking growth.

You must have self belief

Of course to be successful in anything you need to believe in yourself.

You need to believe that your service offering is of great value.

You must adopt the attitude that you are doing your prospect a favour by calling and giving them valuable information about the benefits you provide.

There is no doubt you will meet with resistance.

It’s par for the course.

Prepare yourself for rejection but don’t expect it.

And when it happens whatever you do, do not take it personally.

If you get rejected, it’s important to know why.

But don’t mull it over for too long.

Just learn from it then dust yourself off, pick up the phone and make your next call.

The best way to get over your disappointment is to take immediate decisive action.

You don’t have to love cold calling

Not many people do.

But feeling neutral about the process is good.

Neutral is a place where you can function.

Another thing to keep in mind is that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no way”.

It may be your prospect needs more information before making an informed decision.

Don’t simply assume you are defeated when you hear “no”.

Find out the reason.

It could be an obstacle you are easily able to overcome.

When you lose an opportunity try to find out why before you end your call.

It will help you to improve your service offering and/or your presentation so you can do better next time.

Create a targeted list

You should have a targeted list of people to call.

If you don’t, you will have to figure out who is most likely to need what you are selling.

You must know who your target market is so you don’t waste your time making contact with people who are not likely to become your customers.

Do your homework.

Make sure before you pick up the phone that you have a list of researched, targeted, and qualified prospects.

This will increase your chances of having a productive conversation with someone who has a need for your service offering.

If you don’t have a contact name or title, don’t be afraid to aim high.

Ring the company and ask for the business owner or the CEO.

Get used to dealing with companies at their highest level.

Odds are if you capture the interest of the business owner you have a very good chance of getting in the door through his or her subordinate.

Prepare a script

When you are starting out you really do need to have a written script.

You must be prepared.

You need a formula to follow, a reference point to return to, in case your conversation wanders off course.

Make sure you write your script in spoken English and make it sound conversational.

Do not read it word for word.

You want to sound natural, at ease.

It’s helpful to write down every single question or objection you think you might hear so you are prepared with a well-considered response.

Add to your list any new ones as you come across them.

Practice makes perfect

It pays to practice.

Read your script through several times then record it.

Play it back to yourself.

Notice the inflection in your voice.

Do you sound bright and friendly?

Do you sound genuine and confident?

Ask a friend or colleague to play devil’s advocate.

Get them to give you a run for your money.

The aim of the game is by the time you get on the phone to play for real you want to have your act together.

You want to sound spontaneous and conversational.

Do you have sales personality?

Do you have sales personality?

In sales, product knowledge is important.

So is sales ability.

But what’s most important is your personality.

In fact your personality determines as much as 80% of your sales success!

You need to be “in the zone”

To perform at your very best you need to be mentally fit.

You need to feel good and be happy.

If you’re feeling under par or stressed your prospective customer will sense your discomfort, your desperation.

This will not inspire trust.

Personally speaking I avoid making cold calls or prospecting for new business unless I’m on top of my game.

Until I have managed to get myself in the zone.

Top performing sales people know how to get in the zone.

They have high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.

You need to be solutions orientated

If you are to be successful in sales you need to take 100% responsibility for yourself and your results.

You cannot afford to play the blame game.

You need to be solutions orientated, focused on the solution not the problem.

And you need to have staying power.

The ability to continue despite disappointment and setbacks.

Persistent action over a period of time is what leads to success.

You need to have self belief

You need to believe in yourself.

And you need to believe in the value of your product or service to your customer.

No-one will ever believe in what you are selling more than you!

If you do not have complete faith in what you are presenting to your prospective customer you will never be successful in a competitive market.

You need to show you care

You need to learn how to read your prospect.

Observe their body language, tune in to their tone of voice, use appropriate questioning techniques and practice good listening skills.

To build a relationship with your prospective customer you need to inquire in a caring way so that they are willing to share what’s most important with you.

You will then know how to present your product or service in a way that will benefit them best.

Strategies are great, but the real secret is when you truly care you will be naturally curious.

You questions will be automatic and sincere and you’ll get to learn the truth of the matter.

It’s always best to strive to understand the person you are dealing with.

To learn to connect with people in a deep and meaningful way.

Meaningful conversations have a great effect on moods and relationships and they are as effective in business with creating trust as they are in social circles.

Forget the fluff and hype.

Intelligent people see through the mask of inauthenticity.

Don’t be tempted to put on airs and graces.

Just be yourself.

You need to have empathy

If you’re a coach or a student of psychology you may be familiar with the concept called lines of development, that all of us have developed our skills at different levels.

For instance, someone may be a great business person but not particularly good when it comes to parenting advice.

Or someone may be a whiz when it comes to finances but lousy at sales and marketing.

And vice versa.

There is a human tendency to pass judgement on others, to either place someone above you where you admire them, below you where you look down on them, or equal where you presume they are the same as you.

To get to know someone you have to be a detective.

I worked as a private detective for a number of years and I tend to get to know people through a process of elimination.

If you learn to understand your client’s lines of development, his or her strengths and weaknesses, you will know how best to structure your services to meet their particular needs.

And you can work on making the relationship reciprocal.

Is there a better way to build commitment, trust and longevity with your clients?

Continual self-improvement is integral to one’s success in sales.

Do yourself a favour and become a lifelong student of personal development.

It pays!

Mastering the cold call

Mastering the cold call

Personally, I love cold calling!

But let’s face it, not many people do.

And even more people loathe getting cold calls.

But they are a necessary part of doing business.

It’s vital if you are to be successful that you overcome your reluctance to pick up the phone and prospect for new business.

You need to learn how to master the cold call.

Do You Suffer From Call Reluctance?

Do you put off making cold calls?

Do you agonise over what to say and how to say it?

Does the thought of being met with rejection or an objection fill you with fear and anxiety?

If so, you need to reset your expectations.

Treat your first contact with a prospective customer as an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business.

To find out if they have a need for your services and whether you’d make a good fit.

Make this call all about your customer, not about you.

Connect and engage in a way that makes your customer feel you understand their issues.

Until you establish whether or not they have a need for what you have to offer there’s no point in trying to take things any further.

When you adopt this attitude and you receive a no you’ll be able to thank the person for not wasting your time and move on.

It won’t feel personal, because it’s not personal.

It’s just business.

Too many people launch into a sales presentation prematurely then become disheartened needlessly when they are met with rejection.

This is completely avoidable if you employ the above strategy.

Make Your Sales Call Conversational

The truth is a sales conversation should be between two people, talking normally and acting naturally.

When you are being yourself your prospective customer is more likely to let down their guard and listen to what you have to say.

When I prospect for business I use a script as a guide.

I weave it loosely into my conversation, mainly to keep me on point.

And I always have at hand a list of responses to the objections I expect to encounter.

The thing is you need to be prepared in case you come across a prospect who is ready and willing to move forward during your first conversation with them.

I recommend the use of a script.

But whatever you do, do not read it word for word.

You will sound robotic.

You will come across as a telemarketer who flaunts their products to every prospect, regardless of need, in the hope of making a quick sale.

This is sure to antagonise your prospect and result in a “not interested” or a hang up.

Resist The Temptation To Wing It

Another thing.

If your prospect asks you a question for which you have no answer, resist the temptation to wing it.

Believe me, honesty is always the best policy.

Just admit you don’t have the answer but assure them you will get it.

I actually like it when this happens.

It gives me a reason to get back in touch with my prospect and this time it’s a friendly warm call, not a cold one.

Done Well, Cold Calling Works Like A Charm

But with the wrong approach it is an absolute waste of time and energy.

Remember you have just a few seconds to grab a person’s attention and make an impression so make sure your approach is fresh and your opening is strong and convincing.

It may seem obvious but check to make certain from the outset you are speaking with the decision maker.

And don’t bother with small talk.

Get straight down to business.

Your potential customers want to engage in genuine conversation that is both productive and beneficial.

Likewise you want them to know you’re a busy professional who’s got better things to do than waste your time.

Good luck!

And remember, it’s not what you sell … it’s how you sell it.

How to qualify your sales leads

How to qualify your sales leads

Do you loathe selling?

I speak with many entrepreneurs and small business owners who are really passionate about their business, but selling is not their favourite task.

They find self-promotion awkward and embarrassing.

Selling is absolutely critical to the success of any business.

If you have an aversion to sales you’d better get over it fast!

A critical part of the selling process is qualifying your sales leads.

Build a profile of your ideal customer

Start by building a profile of your ideal customer.

You know what you do well and who will get the most benefit from your services.

Knowing the characteristics of your most profitable and regular clients will help you to identify those traits in potential clients.

Over time you will become practiced at noticing whether or not a new contact will be of value to you and this will help you to ask the right questions to confirm this.

Don’t waste your time chasing the wrong people

You’ve got better things to do than waste your time and effort chasing after people who are unlikely to do business with you.

People who are serious about using your services generally ask a lot of questions as they try to fit your offering into their scenario.

If their questions are vague or general in nature, they’re probably not interested.

If there are too many objections, excuses or time management issues they may never move forward.

A word of caution…

If these types of prospects ever do come on board they have the potential to turn into major headaches!

Ask, then stop talking and listen

The process of qualifying prospects involves asking lots of open-ended relevant questions.

It requires very good listening skills on your part.

Don’t make the mistake of launching into a pitch about how good your service is in the hope you’ll convince the prospective buyer that they will want to do business with you.

Your job is to uncover your prospects’ needs, their motivations, and their most important issues.

You want to be able to identify and solve problems that create real value.

Even if you’ve been in business for a long time and you think you’ve heard it all don’t be tempted to simply assume you know what your prospects’ needs are.

Let them tell you, rather than you telling them.

Most people love to talk about themselves and are willing to share information about their current situation, their challenges, their likes and dislikes.

All they need is a little encouragement.

Differentiate yourself from your competitors

What sets you apart from your competition?

What makes your service unique or special?

You need to communicate this to your prospective customer.

If you don’t the only thing left to compete on is price.

And when you compete on price, everybody loses.

Give your qualified prospects good reasons to do business with you rather than with someone else.

The promise of customer service second to none is always well regarded, as long as you follow through!

Telemarketing versus telesales

Telemarketing versus telesales

Telemarketing and telesales are separate activities.

It is important to know the difference so you can make best use of these strategies in your business. 

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is used to generate interest in your product or service.

It’s a cost effective way to professionally present your business to prospective customers, identify excellent potential opportunities and obtain a reliable source of data.

Use telemarketing to provide exemplary service to your existing customers, obtain compelling and useful testimonials and seek new business through influential referrals.

Conduct surveys to reveal buying trends, uncover your strengths and weaknesses and those of other vendors.

This will help you define your point of difference so you can tweak your product or service offering to better position yourself in the marketplace to meet customer demand and outshine your competitors. 

Telesales

Telesales is used to convert into sales the opportunities obtained through your telemarketing efforts.

It is particularly effective when you have comprehensive data and full contact details of prospective clients.

The entire selling process is carried out during the one telephone call including the payment transaction.

Telesales can be used to renew contact with your existing and past customers.

It’s easier to sell a secondary or supplementary product to someone who has purchased from you previously as the buyer and seller relationship is already established.

It pays to practice good contact database management.

This will enable you to target prospective customers who have enquired about your product or service in the past but not purchased, or those identified as potential customers in earlier marketing campaigns.

Qualities of a great telemarketing and telesales consultant are…

 

  • Product knowledge

An effective telemarketer needs to have a thorough understanding of your product or service offering in order to confidently engage in a persuasive discussion with a prospective customer and give correct and detailed answers to all their questions.

 

  • Customer knowledge

Research and analysis of the prospective customer is key to offering solutions best suited to meet their needs or concerns.

 

  • Upbeat personality

We know that prospects prefer to do business with those they like and trust.

Effective telemarketers always come across as friendly and courteous while sounding professional and authoritative.

Their dialogue needs to be engaging and even if the prospect fails to meet the criteria, it is the telemarketer’s duty to leave a positive impression.

 

  • Good questioning techniques and listening skills

Telemarketers need to understand their prospect’s perspective in order to come up with a solution that best fits their needs and budget.

This requires the use of effective techniques and sharp listening skills.

 

  • Excellent verbal communication

Decision makers expect to receive calls from trustworthy sales and marketing experts.

Telemarketers need to be clear communicators, have a good vocabulary and an educated tone that inspires confidence.

 

  • Correct timing

Knowing when to make contact with a prospect, when to push for a sale and when to back off are practices that help build quality relationships with potential clients. 

 

  • Results driven

An effective marketing and telesales consultant is self-motivated, concentrates on meeting objectives and accomplishing success.

 

  • Closing skills

An effective telesales consultant views objections as an integral part of the sales process.

They have well-honed skills and strategies to overcome customer objections and close the deal.

They always ask for the sale!

Partnering with a professional

If you decide to outsource your lead generation activities make sure you partner with a professional.

You want to make sure you receive well qualified appointments with decision makers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

You also want to make sure you persistently and persuasively convert your leads into sales, thereby increasing conversion rates and decreasing costs per sale.

Cold calling tips

Cold calling tips

Does cold calling still work in the 21st Century?

Sure does!

In terms of direct marketing, cold calling is still one of the most targeted and cost effective ways to reach potential customers.

There’s no better way to do business than to have a real conversation with your prospect.

In fact cold calling is second only to the most effective lead generation tactic, referrals.

There is an art to cold calling though.

It needs to be done right.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking cold calling is simply a numbers game.

That’s a myth!

Dialling number after number and going through the no’s and hang-ups until you finally get a yes is a tedious exercise and a complete waste of your time.

A Targeted List

To be effective your cold calls must be targeted to your desired audience.

Create an ideal customer profile.

Get specific, and contact only those people who meet your criteria.

Research Your Prospect

If possible, do some research about your prospect over the internet.

Any business that wants to be taken seriously these days needs an online presence.

A website should give you an insight into their company culture and perhaps the name and title of the decision maker.

The more you know about your prospect before you make contact the easier it will be for you to ask relevant questions to establish whether or not you are likely to make a good fit.

However, if during the course of your conversation it becomes apparent that the prospect no longer fits your criteria, resist the temptation to work with them anyway.

Let them go.

Define Your Goal

Keep in mind that the purpose of a cold call is not to close a sale.

Instead it’s an opportunity for you to introduce yourself and your business, establish whether there is a need for your services, and if you are suited to work together.

Once you are clear about this it’s up to you to initiate the next step in your sales cycle.

Develop Your Approach

Cold calling is a communication skill.

You want your prospect to be interested and excited by what you have to offer.

It’s important to develop a pattern of speech that is effective and feels comfortable for you.

The way in which you approach your prospect will very much depend on the information you have gathered about them and their business.

Make sure you do your homework so you have something compelling to say.

It must be relevant to them.

Your prospect is a busy person and most probably gets bombarded from all directions with business offers during the course of their working day.

You want to stand out from the rest, so try to be fresh and unique in your approach.

Should You Use A Script?

If you already prospect for business over the phone you probably introduce yourself in the same way each time.

And during your discussions you most likely hear very similar questions and objections from your prospects.

Over time you would have put together some standard answers and responses.

 

Even though you may not have anything written down, believe it or not you are using a script!

 

Successful sales professionals use scripts they’ve practiced and perfected over the years.

They’ve become skillful at tuning into their prospective customers.

They know what to say and when to say it.

Their responses are instinctive.

They are well prepared.

They don’t wing it.

They know what works and what the customer wants to hear them say.

Remember you have but a few seconds to capture your prospect’s attention so you want to make sure you use language that will appeal to their senses.

From the outset always state the purpose of your call.

Whether that’s an appointment for a face-to-face meeting, a web-based presentation or the like, just so your prospect knows what to expect from you.

In time you will be so well practiced with your presentation that your words will roll off your tongue.

But until then it is worthwhile writing a script.

It can be something as simple as a bulleted list.

This will serve to prompt you to make sure you cover everything you intended, in case your conversation wanders off track.

Defining your ideal customer

Defining your ideal customer

Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

 

A lot of people I come into contact with say their biggest challenge is finding ideal customers.

They complain that their existing customers can be difficult to do business with, that they expect them to provide their services at bargain basement prices.

Instead of blaming their customers for this behaviour it makes better sense to stop wasting their time dealing with the same people over and over again in the hope of achieving a different outcome!

Instead they should be asking themselves “Who would I most like to do business with?”

The key is to find customers you really enjoy working with and, in turn, customers who really enjoy working with you.

Develop A Customer Profile

It’s important to be very specific when developing a profile of who fits the mould of your perfect customer.

This type of customer may not be as easy to find as those you’ve taken on previously without being particularly selective due to an urgent need of new revenue.

Keep in mind that when your target market is well-focused you will spend far less time struggling in your business.

It won’t be necessary to waste so many hours talking to customers who are not receptive.

You won’t encounter as many objections.

And because your customers are happy with the service you provide you’ll get repeat business and enjoy long-term trust-based relationships.

Once you have defined your ideal customer the next thing to do is to go through your customer base and determine how many of your existing customers meet that profile.

What are the particular traits they share?

Use these criteria to review your list of prospects and to identify those you would prefer to do business with.

Target Your Ideal Customer

Focus all your efforts on attracting the attention of that precise type of customer.

Start off by targeting the specific niche to which they belong.

You can then branch off into sub-niches based on the target market you are pursuing.

In this way you will be dealing only with prospects that are ideally positioned to become your best customers.

Your selling efforts will become easier and feel more natural.

By highlighting your area of specialty you will become more attractive to your prospective customers than your competitors.

How Do You Attract Their Attention?

How does your service offering solve your customer’s most pressing problem?

You need to uncover their needs and concentrate on selling to them in a way that best satisfies those needs.

Put Your Focus On High Performers

By systematically culling customers who aren’t generating profits and ruthlessly screening new ones you will be able to create a profitable customer base.

You Don’t Have to Work Harder, Just Smarter

Enroll only those customers that fit your ideal criteria.

The perfect way to do business is to perform for your customers and expect your customers to perform for you.

The fatal mistake some people make

The fatal mistake some people make

Many years ago when I ran my insurance loss adjusting business I enlisted the services of a local recruitment agency during times of overload.

Their temporary personnel consultant Ann was an absolute delight to deal with and she was so efficient.

One day Ann rang to say she was moving into permanent placements in the city and she was leaving me in the hands of her off-sider Liz, who she’d briefed with regard to my business needs.

I’d never met or spoken with Liz, but I remember Ann telling me she had a reputation of being a bit of a hard task-master with her applicants.

Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing … at least for her clients.

Several days later Liz rang to introduce herself.

She called me Terri when my name is Teresa.

I corrected her but she explained her best friend is Teresa with an h and she calls her Terri for short, so perhaps it would be less confusing for her if she just called me “Terri”.

What a cheek!

She could at least have asked me how I preferred to be addressed.

I told her Terri was not my name.

I’d never been called Terri in my life.

And if she wanted to continue to do business with me she should show me the courtesy of addressing me by my correct name!

Now I’m not suggesting many people would dare to be as brazen as Liz.

But not getting somebody’s name correct is a personal sign of disrespect and laziness.

It screams out “I am somebody who doesn’t care enough.”

Don’t be that person.

The last thing you want to do is start off a sales conversation with the word “Sorry” and try to recover from that.

Get your client’s name right!

Dale Carnegie (author of How to Win Friends and Influence People) said that the sweetest sound a person can hear is his own name.

And it’s true, but only when it’s used appropriately by the right person at the right time.

Here are a few tips to make sure you never make this mistake:

Before you speak with the prospect, ask someone at the prospect’s office how to pronounce their name, and write it down phonetically in your notes.

Better still, ask the receptionist, their executive assistant or someone else in the office how the prospect prefers to be addressed, for example, David, Dave, Mr. Jones, etc.

Do not rename your prospect. For example, one of my customers, Benjamin, said that people will often call him Ben even after he answers the phone with “This is Benjamin”.

Big mistake!

When all else fails, here is a website you can use where you can enter names and hear an audio with the pronunciation.

 

From secretary to sales star

From secretary to sales star

Growing up it was my dream to become a lawyer.

My father, however, was deadset against a university education for his daughter.

“What’s the point?” I remember him saying.

“A few years from now you’ll meet a man, get married, have kids, and that’ll be the end of you.”

Such an archaic attitude I thought in this era of women’s lib, cultural change and technological innovation.

I had big plans for my future and I was willing to work hard to make sure they happened.

But my pleas fell on deaf ears so I took the next best option and completed my formal education with a diploma from Melbourne’s leading secretarial college.

I settled as best I could into the role of PA to the GM of an international business machines manufacturer.

Even though I knew better things were out there waiting for me.

I created my own opportunity

The company had a showroom that fronted on to one of the busiest streets in the city of Melbourne.

At lunchtime people would stop to admire our display of newly released office equipment and electronic gadgetry from around the world.

Anyone who dared to come inside was quickly shooed away by receptionist Liz as all the sales reps and managers were at the local pub watching The Ashes and tucking into a barmy army parmy and a beer.

I knew how to use all of our products so I decided to try my hand at selling them.

Long boozy lunchtime meetings became a daily occurrence.

So, once the coast was clear, I took up my position in the showroom cleaning and rearranging the display and inviting people who stopped by to come on in and take a closer look.

I enlisted the help of Joey, an awkward teenage typewriter technician (just a couple of years younger than me actually) from the service department who was willing to do almost anything to gain favour.

On cue Joey would start asking me a repertoire of preprepared questions.

Questions I knew people wanted to know the answers to.

It wasn’t long before I gained an audience and I was doing demonstrations in front of a room and then a footpath full of interested customers.

I enjoyed interacting with people, it was fun, and I got really good at it.

Sales started to flow, including big ticket items.

The revenue I’d created was so impressive that the company placed me in charge of showroom sales on a full-time basis.

Dreams really do come true!

When I turned 21 I got promoted to the position of Regional Sales Manager.

No longer was I chained to a desk and a lifetime of taking dictation and typing correspondence.

I spent my days travelling around the state of Victoria by car and light plane visiting authorised dealers and their clients, demonstrating and selling office equipment.

I regularly exceeded my sales targets and before long I was manning trade show booths with famous sports stars and TV celebrities, and negotiating major contracts with key account customers over long boozy lunches at fancy restaurants.

The moral of my story?

Let no-one discourage your ambitious attitude.

You don’t need a fan club to achieve your goals.

Be your own motivation.

Don’t wait for the door of opportunity to open.

Break the damned door down and create your own opportunities.