Friday, June 25, 2010

Self-Promotion that's Fun!

You are your business.
Do you have as many clients as you want?  Are you “landing” the type of clients that you want to work with?  Are you having fun doing what you do?  Okay, here is one more question… If you don't have the business of your dreams working with the people you want to work with, what can you do differently?  
The ability to promote yourself and your business is crucial to your continued growth.  People need to know who you are and what you do in order to hire you.  I understand for some of you this is tough.  The reason most of us started in the business we are in was more than likely to help others, not necessarily to focus on ourselves.  However, to be truly successful in business we need to do just that.  We need to find a way to become comfortable promoting our best product or service – ourselves and more importantly, our unique personality!  
Here’s why:
Unless people know about you and understand who you are they can’t hire you or use your services.   We are not talking about bragging here, we are talking about effective marketing!  The fact is, if you don’t promote yourself your potential clients may end up hiring those less qualified individuals instead of you.  You've given them no choice because you haven’t promoted yourself to them as an option.
If you think about it you have an obligation to promote yourself so that the clients that really need to work with you have a way to reach you (and not someone else).  The good news is this doesn't have to be an obnoxious task.
Here’s how:
The professionals that are successful at selling themselves and their services aren’t really selling at all.  They are promoting themselves in subtle, yet convincing ways.  They are allowing their prospects to get to know them.  They are building rapport and trust.  In a nutshell, they are just being themselves.  This is the first step in effective lead generation.
If you put yourself in situations where you allow people to experience you, you will have your pick of clients.  And they’ll be the best clients for you!  Feel good about promoting yourself by recognizing that marketing your professional services is nothing more than relationship building. 
Mainstream sales and advertising has sometimes given the marketing of professional services a bad rap.  When self-promotion is done right, it’s fun and rewarding, PLUS you can feel good about it.  Go out and be yourself with as many people as possible. The ones who are attracted to you will work the hardest for themselves.  They will also be the most valuable for you to have as clients.
Here are some fun & easy ways to promote yourself and what you do:
1.  Wear a name tag or logo ware that represents your company.
2.  Host client parties – invite past clients to a bbq, a coffee hour, brunch, wine & cheese – to thank them for their business.  They will appreciate the invitation & will most certainly remember you the next time they need you or someone they know could use your services.
3.  Become an expert and share your knowledge whether it’s writing an article or a blogs or an advice column.  Become a trusted resource.  It becomes apparent why someone should do business with you then.  It gives you the opportunity to show them your level of expertise and knowledge.
4.  Create opportunities to call your past clients like random monthly drawings.  Give away gift cards to local coffee shops or movie tickets.  The gift should not be more than $20 or $25.  What’s really important here is that it gives you the opportunity to get into your database and talk to the people in it. 
5.  Sponsor local sports teams and attend as many games as you can and bring water or snacks.  Great way to meet the community.  Don”t forget to wear that name tag when you do!
6.  Who are your customers?  What do they want to know?  Who do they need to hear it from?  Why not sponsor a mini workshop or information night in your local community.  Bring in guest speakers from industries that are parallel to yours.  For example, if you are a Realtor, hold a first time home buyer seminar and partner up with someone from the mortgage industry, a home inspector, a home stager etc.  You can each present a 20 minute workshop on your individual business and present the consumer issues that those in attendance want to know more about.  
7.  Instead of sending a typical marketing message via email why not make it a video message.  It can be a fun, short video that will definitely showcase your personality and make you stand out in a crowd!
8.  Become a volunteer.  Choose to give your time and talent to organizations that are important to you.  The people you meet through your volunteer work will see you as your genuine self and as a caring and generous individual.  Someone they want to work with!
9.  Use social media to build an online profile.  Platforms like Facebook give you an exceptional opportunity to utilize low or no cost marketing opportunities.  The user base is huge, now about a billion registered users on Facebook alone – which means many of your customers are already there and many new customers are waiting!  We talked about blogs and video blogs earlier, there are so many opportunities available to small business owners today via the internet and social media networks.
Social media networks are worth using if you can use them effectively.  Profiles on these sites can boost awareness about your business as they can contain pertinent information about your products and services.  So they extend your brand and your relationship with customers.  Twitter and Facebook offer two-way communication as well doubling or tripling the average number of people you can communicate with in one day.  And don’t be afraid to show your personality either. 
I could share so many more ideas, they are truly endless.  Mostly because so are the opportunities!  Leads for your business are truly everywhere!  Generating new leads for your business must be a #1 priority for you.  It is how you will support your business and its growth.  You come in contact with people everyday, don’t be shy about self-promotion and most importantly have fun! 
Remember, people do business with people they like.  So get out everyday and show people not just what you do but show them who you are!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It’s Your Time to Shine!

Be a Shining Star in Your Own Business
Focus your time and energy in the right areas and you will see huge results.  I believe there are 4 probabilities that will lead to greater success in sales:
                           Knowledge        Skills         Attitude      Activities
Knowledge – Personal development is so important to your success.  Your formal education might help you make a living, but your personal education could help you make a fortune.   Invest in yourself!  Attend meetings, talk to other successful salespeople, read books & magazines geared toward sales & entrepreneurship.  Take advantage of the training & support provided by your company.  Seek outside coaching and training as well.   All of these resources are great ways to grow from the inside out.  Knowledge leads to confidence.  Confidence leads to more successful transactions.
 Skills – The sales skills you have can increase your focus & motivation.  You can learn through your own experiences to gain skill, however it might take a long time!  Learn as much as you can from others who do what you do.  Seek out the top performers and the consistent sales people to learn from.  You will find them more than willing to share.  But practice makes perfect!  You need to “work” at those sales skills too.  Utilize scripts to develop a better language of sales, overcome objections and close more effectively.  
Attitude - Your thoughts become things.  Your current thoughts are creating your future  life. Your beliefs become your thoughts & your thoughts control your actions.    A belief – The nightly news nor the economy dictates my success”.   A thought from that belief – “My business will thrive this year because I want to be more successful.”  What will the actions or activities be that result from that thought?          
 After attitude & belief, success in sales is all about your ability to be consistent.   Being consistent in your effort, use of resources & your level of commitment to your goals is what will change your odds. 
Activities -  A business requires many activities to make it work.  But here are some things to consider when it comes to activity.  First of all, I believe that  multi-tasking is a MYTH!  Studies have shown that your mind can only do one thing well at a time!   And some of the activities we find ourselves juggling in the name of multi-tasking are non-essential to the overall growth of our business.  Structure your work days by blocking time to complete specific activities that will move you closer to your goals,  Be aware of getting involved in activities that are just time fillers. 
Perhaps you want to take a personal inventory of how you spend your time.  For two or three days, keep a diary of your day.  Just write down how you spent your day and how long it took to complete those activities.  You will see in black and white how you spend your time.    Ask yourself to honestly answer the question, “How much time is devoted to activities that will grow my business each day?”   
Focus your time on activities that will make generate new leads for your business and ultimately will make you money!   
Prospecting for new clients must be your #1 priority everyday.   It’s how you support your business & it’s growth.  Without a constant flow of leads where will your new business come from?  
Prospecting is part of sales!  It leads to referrals and it can be a lot of fun!  Look for new ways to prospect.  Where can you advertise & network for       your business other than waiting for referrals?  
“I want to become great at creating customers!”
You will always have a thriving business if you are committed to creating a big customer base.  Create opportunities to meet new people.  Stay in touch with past clients.  Don’t be afraid to ask for business!  Then ask for a referral too!  This is the most important way to grow any business.  It’s also the fastest way to get to your next commission check.  People won’t know about your business until you tell them! 
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work on shining a little brighter:
Setting goals increases the balance in your checkbook!  
Momentum is how a business stays alive.  
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have enough business or enough leads – ever!    
Be passionate about what you do.
Treat others with respect and honesty.  Allow your integrity, personality and professionalism to come through in everything you do.
Be clear and specific about what you want. 
Set goals that will allow you to reach a little. 
Believe in yourself as much as others do!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Above the Line

Friction is defined as the force that resists motion between two parts or bodies.  What is currently causing friction in your life?  What are you tolerating?Is it a bad relationship?  Is it poor health?  Is it Debt?  Is it a floundering business?  Is it poor choices that lead to bad habits that limit your success?
Stop creating friction in your life.  These circumstances are a result of choices you have made or failed to make.  Therefore they can be changed.  Don’t convince yourself that it’s just part of life.  Begin living and working above the line of tolerance.
I read a statistic recently that made me sit up and really pay attention.  The article I was reading said,  94% of people don’t succeed.  And only 20% of people actually set goals for themselves and their business.
Now I understand why so many of us look at top performers, successful business people, olympic athletes and put them on such a high, unobtainable pedestal.  We have convinced ourselves that they can do something that we can’t.  As a society we belive that low levels of performance are really just average.  We live with things and accept systems that are really broken.  We convince ourselves it’s a lifestyle choice to tolerate messy and unorganized environments.  And we accept and often model our own behavior after poor leadership or inadequacy.  Sadly, we are living unconsciously.
Well I say it’s time to wake up!  Wake up and live the life that was so generously given to you.  What would your life look like if nothing were holding you back?
Believe and understand that you are programmed to succeed.  You just need to unroll the blue print and follow it for success and prosperity to enter your life.  Take 100% responsibility for your responses to the events in your life, that is what will determine your outcome each and every time.
Excuses will not get you the results you desire, but a change in mindset and behavior will.  The mind that created the problem is rarely the mind that will solve the problem.  So make a conscious effort each and every day to determine what it is you want and don’t want in your life and in your career.  Make “I will” goals not “I should” goals.  Stop making excuses for why things are the way they are in your life.  Put energy into everything you do, that will create momentum and carry you closer to your goals.
The biggest investment you can ever make is in YOU!  So make the commitment to yourself, to always get better and be better.  Life is moving fast, so try to keep up!