Online Scheduling

January 17, 2013

The latest lesson I learned from my commitment to learn more about sales is another technical one, similar to the first lesson I learned.

It’s about how to use an online tool for scheduling meetings. I’ve heard of people using online scheduling for a long time, but I’d never looked into it. That’s because I heard it in the context of a coach or consultant directing ongoing clients to an online system to schedule appointments.

My clients and I schedule the next appointment at the end of a call, or make a plan to follow up and set the appointment later. An online scheduling system didn’t seem useful to the way I work with my clients.

With my journey into sales, I discovered that an online scheduling system makes it easy for a person to schedule a first conversation to get more information. In an automated plan, a lead generating message can direct people to an online sales letter or a recording, and from there to the online scheduling system to set up a call to get more information.

Now that I’ve used the system for my sales-based business, I’ve set it up for my coaching business. Not for scheduling ongoing clients! We still do that together. But I’ve added it as a choice in the plan I use to offer people a complimentary coaching call.

I’ve just set it up, so I can’t give you any results yet. But I imagine that, at least for some people, it will be an easier step to go online and choose a time for a complimentary call with me than it is to email me or call me to set something up.

I know that having more options means I’m removing some of the resistance people will have to taking that first step. So, while it’s a technical skill I learned, it’s all about making it easier to make connections. That is what it’s all about for me!

The 2nd Thing I’ve Learned From Sales

January 10, 2013

I committed to learning more about sales recently and sharing the lessons that might be helpful to other people. The first lesson I learned was about technical skills.

The second lesson is of a very different sort. It’s more philosophical and not at all technical. It comes from the fact that sales is about conversations, and conversations invoke the heart.

I noticed someone who is uncomfortable with sales lacks confidence talking about the product or service, so that person comes across as unsure, or even as apologizing for bothering the listener by talking about it.

That message turns into a shaming message. It makes it seem like there’s something wrong with the product or service, which tells the people who need that product or service that it’s wrong to need it.

Let me say that again. When a person is uncomfortable talking about their product or service, it makes it seem like there’s something wrong with the product or service. That leads people to believe they shouldn’t like it, so there must be something wrong with them if they want it or need it.

Holy $#!+! This is big!

Have you ever been in a situation like this? A person sheepishly says something like, “I’m sorry to bother you, and you’re probably not interested, but I [fill in the blank: sell these products, offer this service], so you can talk to me if you’re interested.”

Your response? If you’ve ever struggled with sales, you might feel sympathy for the person, but you probably feel really uncomfortable, too. And you probably wonder what’s wrong with the products or the service or the prices to make the person apologize.

And on a more subtle level, if it’s a kind of product or service you’re interested in, I believe you wonder if there’s something wrong with you for being interested in that sort of thing.

I noticed this based on other people’s sales conversations, but I pretty quickly recognized myself in it. The core of my coaching is promoting personal growth and development through the skills and techniques of coaching and my knowledge of psychology, especially positive psychology and developmental psychology. I realized that I assume people will be skeptical of personal development as “fluff and nonsense” and uneasy about psychology because of mental health stigmas.

That’s when I knew I’d let myself down. This isn’t who I am. I don’t defer to people who mock personal development. I don’t side with the people who think there’s something weak or shameful in talking about thoughts and feelings.

I am a champion of people understanding their thoughts and feelings and getting comfortable with who they are. I did that for years as a therapist, and then for many years more running educational and recreational programs for kids.

Understanding our inner lives is the most human thing we do. It’s not a sign of weakness. It takes great strength. And it takes enormous courage to stand up to society’s messages that shame people (especially men) because of what they feel. Many times I’ve had to say this with conviction and let someone borrow my certainty and my strength as they learned to be comfortable opening up and sharing their own heart.

This was a huge lesson for me, and I intend for it to stay learned. People need what I offer them, because they won’t be able to enjoy life, truly and deeply and meaningfully, if they’re being pushed around by their critical automatic thoughts and limiting beliefs and if they keep their feelings wadded up in a jumble in the corner.

The work I do is essential. It touches the essence of being human. It matters in all aspects of a person’s life. It matters.

And that completely changes the way I will talk about it.

The 1st Thing I’ve Learned from Sales

December 27, 2012

I committed to learning sales a little over 3 weeks ago, and I learned my 1st lesson within just a few days.

And it wasn’t even a sales lesson, exactly. It was more about marketing than sales. Even more than that, it was a lesson in the power of commitment and necessity.

For the past couple of years, maybe close to 3 years by now, I have been thinking about and toying with the notion of setting up a squeeze page. A squeeze page is an online sales letter written to get the reader to take a specific step.

That step may be signing up for free information, signing up for a free newsletter, signing up for a teleseminar, or buying something. Since it’s focused on that 1 purpose, a squeeze page doesn’t have tabs at the top to take you to different pages or sites. It should only have a link to the page where the reader can take the desired action. That same link may appear many times on the page, but by design it should be the only link on the page, however many times it appears.

With my new sales profit center, I needed a squeeze page to give information about a call I was doing and to direct people to sign up or listen to the recording. I was committed to a time frame with the call set up. I finally had a very specific reason for a squeeze page, instead of a half-sketched idea of how I might use one in the future, so I was motivated by necessity. And I had urgency – I needed it within just a few days!

So I pulled together what I already knew, looked at some sites for examples, and asked Google a couple of things.

I realized I could format my squeeze page the same way I format my HTML newsletter. I opened my newsletter template, looked through the squiggly code, found things I understood, and then experimented by changing some values.

I wound up with a white page with a light gray border, exactly what I wanted, and adjusted the size until it looked right. I formatted a header (pushing my limited HTML knowledge) and then wrote the body of my letter. I put the link to the call at various points in the letter, based on simple pointers I’ve learned about copywriting techniques.

Then I went in and created a border around the text with the link and centered it to jazz it up just a touch. I don’t do showy banners, but the design was enough to grab the reader’s attention if they scan the letter.

I put in some other copywriting features (at least the ones I remember) and even broke the rule by adding a 2nd link near the end. It looked great in my web design software! But I wasn’t sure yet how to get it to show up on my site.

For this, I had to look at a simple site and remember things I’d seen before. I experimented a little, too. It turns out, at least with the web hosting company I use, an HTML document called “index.html” is the default page that shows up as the home page.

And just like that, I had created and uploaded a single-page site using just a simple, free web design program. Which is great timing, because I’ll need another one for a training product I’m creating that will be ready to launch early next year.

Want to see how a simple page created with a free program looks? Click here and be amazed – not by the quality, but by the fact I figured it out!

meh… [sales]

December 19, 2012

[Sales] is my least favorite part of marketing.

Calling it “least favorite” is seriously understated. I used to think of marketing as a 4-letter word, but marketing and I have worked out our disagreements over time, through open communication and curiosity. I now appreciate marketing as analogous to good communication in any relationship – it takes a lot of work, I really wish it didn’t, and it’s really hard to do sometimes. But it’s worth it.

When I’m communicating well with people who need my services and products (my clients and prospects), I’m helping them learn about solving problems and overcoming challenges they face. They need that. Communication (marketing) is the only way I can do that.

But my previous resistance to marketing is nothing – nothing – compared to my aversion to [sales]. I mean, I’m even putting the word in a [box] to try to contain it!

That’s because the model of [sales] I know, through my experience as the target, and I mean that in every sense of the word, is to aggressively pursue someone and coerce them to buy something through a tactic related to shame. The messages have included:

“You should want this one because it’s what most people want, and it’s the way to fit in.”

“The smart people are buying now. The losers will wish they had bought, too.”

“Don’t be embarrassed about being too poor to afford it. We offer credit!”

and, sadly (because I’m kind of compassionate and feel ashamed about not helping)

“I just need 3 more sales to reach my target and get my bonus, so it will really help me.”

Has your experience as a [sales]person’s target been similar? I think most of us have similar kinds of experiences that taught us [sales] is gross.

But I know that [sales] is only gross when it’s done in a gross way. [Sales] is the step in marketing when a person needs information through a conversation with a live person to understand something better, to finalize a decision, or even to complete the purchasing process. When it’s used with respect, considering what the prospect wants and needs and helping him or her decide what’s the best choice, it’s a helpful, kind thing.

I’ve heard this as a description of ethical [sales] with integrity. This definition makes sense in my head, but my heart is still skeptical. I want to believe it. I want to bring [sales] out of the protective box, but I have to make sure it’s not going to run loose and push people around first.

So I committed to a program that requires me to learn about [sales] and try out different steps. The instructor is someone I respect and admire, so my brain is sure this is a good idea.

My heart? It’s going to take some convincing. So far, I’ve been able to soften the container just a little – (sales). See!

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. And you can let me know about your experiences with (sales) by leaving a comment below.

Don’t TAKE Plenty of Business Cards… COLLECT Plenty

February 9, 2012

You hear it from business development and marketing coaches and consultants everywhere, again and again.

When you go to a networking event, a presentation, a group event, or any place you can talk about your business, take plenty of business cards with you.

I think they’re wrong. (Are you really surprised?) Don’t misunderstand. If someone asks for your card it’s great to have one to give. But taking plenty puts you in the mindset of trying to pass them out. That’s how they wind up in the recycle bin later that night as people clean out their pockets.

Instead, go with the mindset of collecting business cards. Not every business card from every person, but a business card from each person you want to contact later. That gives you a specific mission at the event.

What’s the point of passing out business cards? It’s to give people a way to remember your name and have your contact information so they can follow up with you. As they stand in front of the recycle bin shuffling through the cards they collected, they’re looking and thinking, “Am I really going to e-mail this person?”

~Toss~

Or they put your card in the “keep” pile, a sticky, crumpled collection held together with a rubber band and thrown in a drawer, easily forgotten.

Since the point is to have people remember your name and continue the conversation, it’s better to take charge and not leave it up to them. Instead of approaching each person with the thought, “Is this person likely to hire me?” or, “Does this person maybe know someone who will hire me?” think, “Can I help this person in some way?”

If you approach each conversation listening for an opportunity to be helpful, you have a reason to follow up afterwards. When you hear a way you can be helpful, ask for the person’s card. Jot a note on the back about the kind of information you can send, like the name of a reliable plumber or directions to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or an article you just read with some unique investment advice. It doesn’t need to be about your business or your expertise. Just be willing to help.

When you send the e-mail or make the phone call you get another chance to connect. Because you care you come across as more likeable. That makes the other person more interested in learning about you. You can offer to meet for coffee or lunch to learn more about the other person. Notice I didn’t say pitch your services to that person. Include your business information in your e-mail signature and be ready to talk about your business – when the other person asks.

Be a person worth knowing. Be interested in other people. Let people get to know you. Then they’ll be comfortable working with you or sending their friends and family to you. Walk into any event planning to be that person.

There Is A Season

June 2, 2011

Perhaps I’m unoriginal. Perhaps I’m obsessing and can’t let go of this thought. Perhaps I’m just perseverating (look that one up!). But the topic of flexibility has grabbed hold of my mind and demands to be heard.

For last week’s episode of Trailblazing TV I chose the topic “Practice Flexibility.” The tip is about ways to keep trying new approaches so you can stay adaptable.

A few days later I was talking with Francie Cooper, Life Coach, my friend and co-host of the Tapa Palapa internet radio show. We realized we were both thinking a lot about flexibility and adaptability. It was the theme showing up for our clients and it was the theme banging on the doors of our own lives. We decided to name our season finale show “Go Gumby!” and talk about ways to stay limber to prepare for changes, both expected and unexpected .

For this week’s episode of Trailblazing TV I had the topic chosen days in advance. It’s been a time of change in my world. A lot of people around me are going through significant transitions, some heading up and some heading down in their work lives or in their relationships. On top of that, my son graduated from his Montessori school, so he heads off to middle school in the fall. Sadly, it was the last year the school will operate because of changes in the community and a city street project that is going to take a big piece of the property.

These events leave me a little melancholy. To everything there is a season. But the positive side of that is the possibility for improvement and renewal that change brings. That’s why I called this week’s episode of Trialblazing TV “Everything’s A Play Project.” I realized as I was editing and formatting it that it’s a message about being flexible and adaptable, too.

With Tapa Palapa going on hiatus for the summer while Francie is busy with other projects, I started looking at ideas for recording a podcast of my own. I “dug through” my computer files and found the recording I made in November as a sort of pilot episode for a podcast. It was shortly after Francie and I had planned our first month of themed shows. I had suggested improvisation as a theme in our discussion. We decided to go with a different theme so I wanted to capture my thoughts on the value of improvisation. Improvisation, of course, is about flexibility and adaptability.

For me that’s full circle. As Francie and I were starting our first season of Tapa Palapa, I had improvisation on my mind. As we finished up, we both had flexibility and adaptability on our minds. We ended where we began. Since things have beginnings and endings, we all need to be ready for change.

You can listen to my “Twisting Road Travelcast” by clicking the triangle below, or chose to play it in a separate window or download it to your computer. If you use an iPod or other MP3 player, that’s the way to get the file so you can transfer it to your device.
[display_podcast]
In the show I talked about a video interview by John Williams, author of Screw Work, Let’s Play!. If you click here to go to the original post of the podcast you can see that video.

I also mentioned an e-book I was formatting. It contains ten of the most surprisingly good (surprising to me!) articles I wrote for people new to marketing. They reduce the concepts into everyday language that marketing newbies can understand. I finished it shortly after recording the podcast and put everything in place so I could start giving it to anyone who signed up for my newsletter. That’s the standard thing to do – give away something to entice people to give you their e-mail addresses.

But to everything there is a season. I’m not doing the standard thing any more. I decided to do the Trailblazing thing. I’m giving it away with no strings. You don’t have to sign up for anything. Just go to AnythingButMarketing.com and you can download it there. If you decide to sign up for my newsletter while you’re there I certainly won’t mind!

Paranoid Traveling Jewelers

April 17, 2011

I didn’t think I would be writing a blog post based on my explorations at the Art in the Square festival in Southlake. To do that, I would have to admit I fell off the wagon.

So, here goes. I fell off the wagon. I went to the festival originally as co-host of the Tapa Palapa internet radio show because our theme this month is fun and recreation. Co-host Francie Cooper and I have planned to record our shows in different fun venues and I was at the festival to see if I could record a clip to integrate into one of our shows. I was there for fun, although it was because of work. You see, ”Play is Serious Work.”

So I was there for work, but working as an internet radio show producer and co-host. I was there for inspiration on more ways to encourage people to set aside their everyday concerns and stressors and take a break. So as I walked around and thought mainly about the food vendors and their small businesses, and the artists as free agents traveling around selling to their target markets, I felt guilty. It was like I was cheating. I was there to explore fun but I had started thinking about my work helping people navigate entrepreneurship. That wagon’s pretty darn slippery.

I took off my Trailblazer hat and threw on my Panama Jack hat and looked at how people were having fun. Now, to be clear, wearing the Trailblazer hat is not difficult at all. In fact, it fits me so comfortably and I enjoy it so much I don’t always realize I’m working when I wear it. It was easy for my mind to go there last Friday night. But when I realized the festival had me thinking about ways to help clients navigate the entrepreneurial life more adeptly, I knew I was missing the point of exploring fun. So I hunkered down and had me some fun.

It turned out to be a lot of fun Friday night, especially watching the debut performance of local band Event Horizon. I was impressed that this group of old guys (some even older than me!) were so talented. They opened with Guns & Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” It’s hard for an amateur to take on Slash, but the lead guitarist handled it pretty well. I thought the silver-haired guy up front was lead guitar and the young kid way off to my left was just strumming along for fun. I even wondered if his input was turned off and they just let him be on stage to be nice to him.

By the second song my ignorant bias was gone. The kid, a high school student named Zak Hanan, has mad skillz. I stood there with my jaw hanging open watching his fingers dance across his guitar, song after song, in some amazing riffs. It was an unexpected freakin’ awesome delight to be there that night. Fun accomplished!

I didn’t think I would be back at the festival but I wound up there on Sunday. My mother-in-law and father-in-law had sent us pictures from their trip to the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival last week. I e-mailed my mother-in-law that I had attended our local art festival and she asked if I had pictures. When I needed to go to the Apple store to have them check out my MacBook, I wound up in the area with some extra time to kill. So I walked through the festival again taking pictures to show my in-laws examples of what was there.

I got to wear my Trailblazer hat this time and think from the entrepreneurial artists’ point of view. I even took a couple of minutes to talk with one artist who engaged me in a conversation. She was friendly and warm. She is in Texas a couple of times a year and travels to other events. She has audiences across the country, and clients who will travel quite a distance to an event to see her work and buy from her.

I walked down a couple of booths from hers and saw some handmade jewelry. I knew my mother-in-law would be interested, as well as my wife and her aunt and cousin. So I started to take a picture of the sign with their business name on it. The woman in the booth stopped me and told me they don’t like people taking pictures. I pointed out I was aiming my camera at their sign so I could tell people about them, and she still wanted me not to take any pictures. She handed me a business card instead.

I was stunned, so I didn’t keep my mouth shut. I said something like, “Heaven forbid that people should see examples of your work. They might want to buy something from you.”

I get that artists might be hesitant for other people to see their original designs, worrying they might copy them. It might be even more likely with jewelry. But as soon as someone buys a piece of jewelry and wears it, other people will see it and be able to copy it.

And I was standing several feet from the booth trying to take a picture with my phone. Not much chance of getting a good, detailed picture of any piece of jewelry that way.

The itinerant jewelers are entrepreneurs who need to create interest in a lot of places they’ll only stop for a few days. How in the world will they do that? Word of mouth, sure, but word of mouth needs to be backed up in this situation. Your statement that someone makes fantastic jewelry is not enough to get me to schedule time to go to a festival. The photo you show me will convince me. Even better, the web site you show me with several examples and explanations of how they find their materials and what is unique about their designs will convince me.

Okay, maybe not convince me. But they would definitely convince my wife, or her mom and aunt and cousin, or a dozen or so other people I know who really get excited about jewelry.

Here’s what the paranoid jeweler should have done. If there are reasons to keep people from taking pictures, that’s fine, but explain why. “These are all original pieces so when a customer buys one she knows it’s one-of-a-kind and no one else will have one. It’s up to her who she shows it to. However, we have this postcard with pictures of examples of our kind of work.” Or maybe, “However, here’s our web site, where we show elements of our design, explain how we choose materials, and explain what makes our approach unique.”

If she had done that I would be sharing the information about her business right here, right now. But she had such a strong reaction to the possibility I might tell other people about their work that there’s no way I’ll do that now!

Instead, I’ll tell you about Diane French’s art. She’s the warm and friendly artist who spent time smiling and telling me a little about her life as an artist traveling to different events and growing an audience across the country. Click this link and you’ll notice she has samples of her work for people to see. She also has a calendar of events so you can see where she’s going to be.

While I was talking with her I actually asked her if the web site had a listing of the shows she would attend so people could find her. She looked suddenly surprised and said she wasn’t sure if it had been updated recently (she has someone help her with that), but it would definitely be updated after she gets back from this show, less than a week from now – since I brought it up.

Now that’s what I’m talking about! Make it as easy as possible for people who show interest in you to find out about you and pass your information on to their family and friends.

Way to go, Diane!

Way not to go, unnamed paranoid traveling jewelers.

Oh, and rock on, Zak Hanan and Event Horizon. They’ll be back in the town square at Southlake on May 7 for a benefit event with a lot of amateur bands. I’m planning to take my younger son. He’s studying electric guitar.

Big Play Lab Day

April 13, 2011

I want to send a great big shout out to the Resource Group for MentorCoach students. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be posting this today.

Gayle Scroggs is co-facilitator of the Resource Group and runs a coaches’ MasterMind group I’ve attended for a couple of years now. She invited me to talk to the Resource Group about additional profit centers for coaches, ways to provide products and services beyond individual coaching. I was honored that she asked me, and eager to share what I know.

It seemed like serendipitous timing because I’ve recently settled on a theme for my coaching niche and suddenly I’ve been contacted ‘out of the blue’ to help people based on that theme. And I haven’t even made it public! It’s like a nod from the universe that I’m on the right track. Maybe even a divine thumbs up.

But right after getting puffed up from feeling flattered, I realized… I’d been ‘thinking’ about redoing my home page for quite a while, but I hadn’t done it! I’d been relying on all the old, worn-out excuses. I don’t have a professional photograph. I’m not sure if I should change the template. The new theme means I need to tweak my marketing message. Believe me, when it comes to excuses, I live in abundance.

To be credible telling a group of people to stop worrying about perfection and ‘just do it,’ I needed to get it done. Three hours before I was due to be on the call, I set aside my planned work and started focusing on my home page.

What would I write? Did I have a photo that was good enough for now, or would I rely on text? Would I plan a long introduction of my services or just a brief overview suggesting different pages to visitors based on their needs?

It seemed like a lot to decide in three hours, much less to write, edit, format, and upload! What a challenge it would be. What a fun adventure, or what a face plant. Either way, it would be a tale of the entrepreneurial life.

Then I remembered that the entrepreneurial life is about creative problem-solving, and experimenting, and play – the kind of play that’s about learning by trying new things in a low-risk way. It was time to take this challenge to my Play Lab. Not enough time to write and edit and format? Choose a different approach, one that’s more complicated and might take more time!

I’ve been wanting to record a video introduction for weeks now, so I said, What the heck! I grabbed the video recorder and tripod and headed to the wooded area along the edge of our property. I thought of the wording I would use to do a quick greeting and overview. I set up the tripod and did a couple of trial runs to get the distance and the composition right. Then I started recording. I fumbled on the first couple of runs, but I get to blame the jet flying right overhead for that second one. But then I found my groove and got through the intro seamlessly…

And I froze. I had welcomed people and called out to my tribe, telling them briefly how I can help them. But what then? Yes, the guy who regularly teaches that each marketing activity must have a specific purpose that leads people to take the next step was stuck. What was it I was going to ask people to do again? And the clock was ticking. Tick. Tick. Tick.

I sorted out my blueprint and recorded again. The words were good, but there were no smiles. Even a total amateur like me knows it’s better when people smile in videos! So I recorded again, feeling like I was smiling. When I reviewed it there were some smiles, but not as many as I was aiming for.

But perfect wasn’t my goal. My goal was to get it done before the call. I took my equipment in, uploaded the video to my computer, edited it on the front and back, and formatted it for the internet. Then I uploaded it to YouTube because that was the way I knew to embed it in my web site. I’ll figure out better ways to do it in the future in my HTML sandbox. But for now it’s good enough.

The video finished uploading to YouTube as I left to pick up my son from school. At his tae kwon do lesson I spent my time composing the new home page with the video and the sign-up form. It’s a very simple squeeze page, except it breaks an important squeeze page rule. There are tabs on it that give you choices besides filling in the sign-up form.

But you know what? I got it done. And I was happy to let the Resource Group know it was done.

I’m also happy to tell the world now. My new business theme? I’m The Trailblazing Coach ™. Trailblazing is the creative problem-solving, entrepreneurial way of life. Check out my new home page to see how it all turned out.

I was pretty happy that I got it done in time, and happy that people visiting my web site would see an updated home page. Then I thought, What if they visit my blog? I haven’t updated it since before the Super Moon, since before the seasons changed!

Thank you, Resource Group!

Auntie Smackdown

March 3, 2011

Focused attention is a gift.

I have been recording and publishing a podcast with fellow coach Francie Cooper since the end of October. We have put out weekly shows with a monthly theme since November. Some people listen but it’s not a very big number, and the number doesn’t seem to be growing recently.

Francie and I tell people personally and also use social media plus our e-mail lists to get the word out about each show. But we get little response when we mention the podcast, especially on social media. I decided to find out why.

I asked people on Facebook what they think when I post about the podcast. I got two responses right away. One friend said she uses Facebook settings so posts with links get blocked. Aha! The other said, “What’s a podcast and what’s that ‘coaching’ stuff you talk about?” Aha, and aha!

Yes, my dear Watson, we started piecing together the puzzle. Then a good friend sent me what is metaphorically a snapshot of the whole puzzle put together. She took the time to compose a detailed e-mail about what she thinks and what she wonders when I post about the podcast. Her detailed explanation served as a much-needed smackdown to my whiny attitude of Why isn’t anyone responding to our podcast?

In fact, I’m going to call her Aunt Smackdown because she gave me the kick in the butt I needed. She’s around my mother’s age, a writer and a poet I met through a writers’ workshop over fifteen years ago. Even though she’s a marketing novice, she totally schooled me on basic marketing skills. What she sent is as valuable as a thorough marketing survey, so it was a powerful gift. Thanks, Aunt Smackdown!

The best marketing advice comes from your audience. Here’s what she told me:

I know you and what you do, but I still haven’t any idea what you are talking about in those squibs (short written pieces -Ed.) on Facebook. That Palapa – or whatever – haven’t a clue what it is. I get the impression it is a group of you who go somewhere and have a meeting. Maybe a group of psychologists? (She knows I was previously a therapist -Ed.)

In your squibs, I don’t know who you are – what you do. Is it conferences for people who want help? But then what? Are you a lecturer? Salesman? Group leader?

Do you go away to some hotel on the weekend? Get together and listen to a speaker?

For an unknowing reader, you are starting in the middle of things I think.

Who are you? Are there more than one of you? A group? A couple of people in practice together?

Who are you talking to most of the time? Each other?

This is what I think you need to say:

Are you stressed with your job? Are you looking for a new beginning? It is difficult these days to know where to turn… etc.

Start at the beginning – “I am Steve Coxsey,” then give your title or your profession. I am part of a group who work together, or I work alone.

I work with people who want a new beginning in their business, or a new direction for their business, or their spiritual life, or daily life, or whatever it is.

I offer group sessions, or individual sessions only, or telephone workshops.

Tell what this Palapa thing is in plain English: a retreat, or a podcast. Where is it? When? How often? What do you do at this particular event? Listen to a talk? Participate in a support group? Attend a conference?

I have been sort of trying to follow you, but I don’t know the answers to any of these things. Perhaps this is why you get no response. You mention people’s names. Who are they? What are they to you? Co-workers, lecturers that you attend, a sponsor? What do you do together?

I admit I don’t read everything carefully – but then I wouldn’t know what you were talking about if I did – even though I know what you do. Someone who doesn’t know you will be hopelessly lost. (emphasis added)

You need to keep repeating the intro about yourself periodically as you will not always have the same crowd. You need to say:

1. Hey! It’s you I want to help
2. I am qualified
3. Here’s how I can help
4. Here are some of my tools – palapa podcasts, etc.
5. Feel free to ask how I can help you.

I hope this is some help.

You are probably ready to shoot either me or yourself, but it is my reaction only to what I have seen.

Well, I certainly wasn’t ready to shoot her, or even myself. The next time I see her I owe her a big hug and a kiss.

She laid out basic marketing 101:
1) Call to your market by describing them and the problem or challenge they are facing
2) Establish credibility
3) Show the benefit of what you do
4) Explain the features of what you do, which means how you provide the benefit
5) Call them to a simple action step

I think Aunt Smackdown has a formula she can use to fill marketing guru workshops! I’m definitely going to put her recommendations to work and improve the way I talk about the podcast on social media.

What about you? Is it clear what you do when you talk about your business? Is it clear to people what you are asking them to do when you publicize your product or service?

Do they know who you help? Can they tell if it’s for them?

Do they know what you are offering to them? Do they know how and where to get it? Do they know what it costs in money, time, and commitment?

I wrote about clarity for self-employed people describing what they do back in November. I regularly see lots of people struggling with this and I thought it was sad that they couldn’t see it and didn’t know what the problem was. Now I’m extending a little more compassion… to all of us!

Often the answers can be clear and straightforward, but recognizing the problem is not.

Oh, yeah. About the podcast thing. I’ll be rewording the way I present it. Any suggestions?

Verisimilitude of Sincerity

January 19, 2011

Within the past 48 hours I have seen one online marketing expert – with a big list and established name – exhorting people to use his “template for authentic marketing,” and another one telling people how to use marketing to distinguish their businesses when there is really nothing unique or remarkable about them.

Just mentioning this in case some of you don’t know why a lot of self-employed people recoil from marketing, thinking it’s a bunch of hype and manipulation. I’m using these road-kill vignettes to drive home the point.

Speaking of hype and manipulation, have you gotten a copy of my Demystifying Marketing: Teaser Sampler yet? It’s a give-away for signing up for my newsletter. Click here to be manipulated and hyped into giving me your e-mail address and I’ll send you the short e-book and subscribe you to the Twisting Road Traveler.

Next Page »

SiteLock