Farmers Market Marketing Series #3: Five Solid Ideas for Online Marketing

homestead-tomato-bean-coop-booth

There are two main ideas, outside of thoughts on social media (which are coming next in this series) that could make the biggest long term difference for you and your farm.

IDEA #1: Be Googleable.

If you have something you’re offering that people are searching for online, make sure that they can find you. Bottom line, have a website – there are plenty of free tools you can use that are incredibly easy to create your own site for free if money is an issue and you’re just getting started. The main ones are: Yola, Weebly, SquareSpace and Wix.

Also make sure you get yourself listed on google.

Note: If you have a website with a blog built into it (wordpress is the best for this) and you update it regularly this will help your ranking in google. It’s worth booking time with a local online marketing expert to have them assess your online profile and see how it can be tweaked. Best of all, you can likely pay them in a meal at your farm or basket of your finest wares.

Hannah Hamilton shares why this matters, “So often I visit a vendor at a farmers market only to go home, look for them all over the Internet and can’t find them.”

IDEA #2: Make a video of your farm.

Consider getting a 3-7 minute video done that tells the story of your farm in a beautiful, evocative and compelling way. It can speak to the deeper reasons that drove you to start it and that still drive you today. It can lift up the unique perspective and approach you bring to farming. Can you show people how you grow food, where your food is served and have well known locals speak about it?

Here’s a video from Meadow Creek Farm.

Here are five examples from Calgary’s Verge Permaculture:

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers.

IDEA #3: Have an email list.

You might not send out emails that often. But, in this day and age, why not have it for the people who want to sign up and hear what’s going on for you? MailChimp.com is free up until you have 2000 people on your email list and so that likely means it will be free forever for you. Just a clipboard and pen out on your table where people can sign up. Even if you just got one email per week, that’s 50 emails in a year. That’s 50 people who want to hear more about your farm and business. Your email list, over time, can be a huge asset.

Shelly Juurlink suggests, “Start a “friends of the farm” electronic newsletter where they send out a quarterly blast on what’s happening on the farm.

You could let them know:

  • where you’ll be showing next
  • developments at the farm
  • what’s on sale
  • what’s thriving
  • what crops fails
  • recipes
  • what challenges you’re facing

Again, it goes back to story telling.

IDEA #4: Be an Advocate and Help Your Customers Be Advocates Too.

My guess is that locally and regionally there are issues that affect the land, water and economic viability of your farm (and all of the farms).

Being an active and vocal advocate on those issues will not only win you more attention and respect but also create a deeper bond between yourself and your customers as they feel, more deeply, that you’re both on the same team working for the same goal.

Simon Sinek gave a powerful TED talk about this notion that ‘people don’t but what you do, they buy why you do it’:

If you want some help in honing in on what your bigger why is, here are some questions you can ask yourself.

Let your customers know how they can take a stand on local issues affecting farmers. Give them petitions to sign, pre-written Facebook posts they can share, phone numbers they can call and rallies they can attend. Let them be a part of the solution. I promise you that they want to be.

You could have petitions you invite them to sign at your booth. You could mention it on social media or on your email list.

IDEA #5: Hire a Photographer & Graphic Designer.

Having beautiful photographs of your wares, yourself and your farm can go a long way.

Kelsey Falle suggests a way to save money in this, “Find a local graphic or web designer who will work on trade, and have them do business cards, flyers, website, social marketing, etc. I am a hoping to find a farmer in my area to do just this!

Trade them for produce or a big dinner at the farm.

For more thoughts online marketing for Farmer’s Markets, I recommend reading Adam Helweh’s piece on Online Marketing Tips from the Farmer’s Market which explores how lessons learned from the Farmer’s Market can apply to social media .

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers. 

Farmers Market Marketing Series #2: Six Overarching Ideas for Success

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IDEA #1: Quality. 

First of all, obviously the bottom line is that you must have fresh and good quality products. And secondly, I’m assuming you’re not an asshole. If you don’t offer the former and are the latter, this blog post won’t help you. You need quality control and years of therapy. This is usually a non-issue but I’ve heard a few horror stories from people about their experiences at Farmer’s Markets. If these two are handled (and in 90% of cases they are) then you’re well on your way.

IDEA #2: Decide what you want to do yourself and what you want to outsource.

It’s important to remember that, just because marketing needs to happen, doesn’t mean that you need to do it all. You’re in control of that. Some you’ll want to do yourself and some you’ll want to outsource. Once you’ve sorted out how you want to market yourself, it’s wise to sit down and look at how much time and money each option would cost if you did it yourself vs. hiring someone else to do it. Do you want to do your own book keeping? Your newsletter? Running the Farmer’s Market stand? Your photography and web designer? Or would it be better to bring someone else in? Sometimes hiring someone else to do it is actually the more profitable thing to do.

IDEA #3: Get more support. 

Farmer’s are profoundly overworked and constantly in need of more hands on deck to pull everything together. Getting seasonal interns (in exchange for boarding or on the farm experience through the WWOOF, local agriculture students, local permaculturists who are thinking of getting into farming, market patrons or your local community) or volunteers for workbees can be a godsend and free up a lot of time.

IDEA #4: Do more of what works.

If you’re a farmer and have vended at a farmer’s market even once, you’ll have already learned something. You’ll have tried some things that seems to work. Do more of those things. This seems obvious but I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I’ve met who, when I asked, “How did you built your business in the beginning?“, tell me a brilliant strategy that they no longer do. When I ask them why they stopped doing it, I get blank looks and they finally say something like, “Huh. I don’t even know!” This is often the easiest thing to do. Go back to what worked when you were getting started and full of hustle.

IDEA #5: Educate and tell your story.

This is, perhaps, the biggest overarching theme. Every chance you get, tell your story. This idea overlaps with many of the others to come in this series. People love to hear the stories behind what they are buying. It’s easy to assume that people know more than they do about your farm and your food.

Marketing is about establishing the value beyond the immediately apparent.

I can promise you that 99% of the most compelling parts of the story of your business and your products are not clear to your customers. You’d be amazed at what they don’t know. Don’t assume that everything you put into your farm and your products is immediately apparent to anyone. Marketing is fundamentally about story telling and educating.

You can tell the story of:

  • how your farm started
  • why you choose to grow one type of produce vs. another
  • why you choose x method over y?
  • why do you grow the food you do?
  • what’s the story of the land you’re on?
  • what’s the history of farming in your area?
  • why do you charge what you charge? why does it cost what it does? what are your margins and how much do you need to even break even (very few people will understand this).
  • what are the extra things you do to make sure the quality stays high?
  • does your farm have an ethnic heritage?
  • what sets you apart and makes you different from other farms?
  • always confirm what is thought to be known (fresh, organic, local)
  • the specifics about crop varieties. Why did you choose it? Where is it from originally and how did it get to be here? What are the traditional uses of it and stories about it?

How do you tell your story? There are so many ways. It might be bit by bit, in conversations with your customers. It might be through social media or your email newsletter. It might be at talks you give or in newspaper articles about you. There are so many ways and you’ll learn more as you keep reading.

IDEA #6: Specialize in something.

This is another big one.

Figuring our your niche might just be one of the toughest nuts to crack in the business world. Tough enough that I created a whole website, The Niching Spiral, dedicated to it.

It’s a bit overwhelming going to a Farmer’s Market and seeing everyone offering all of the same things. If every table has beets, squash, lettuce and carrots, for example, then how do I choose from which table to shop? At that point, the answer might just be, which one is closest to where I am standing but it also might be some combination of the other things.

If you offer something that no one else at the market is offering, you will become known for that. If you’re the only one who makes mango lhasis, sells honey, has the best heirloom tomatoes, grows your food bio-dynamically it will be a big help in people remembering you and make it easier for other patrons and vendors to direct people to you.

Consider all of the different ways people have created niches in the field of permaculture.

Lisa Kivirist of Hobby Farms writes, “How is what you’re selling different than other vendors at the farmers’ market? Sometimes it helps to specialize in selling varietals of one distinct item, such as garlic. Another route is to creatively package your items. Sure, a lot of farmers may be selling red, ripe tomatoes, but what if you sold green tomatoes, along with your recipe for fried green tomatoes?

Shayla Mihaly says, “I know where to get the best greens (Star Route Farm) and the best Peaches (Frog Hollow). Then there is the wheatgrass and sprout guy, the place to get lavender, the organic non gmo soy, the honey people….. and Cap’n Mike’s smoked fish. So, what are they known for?

Brian Parsons adds, “Also, you have to remember that if you have 10 farmers stands, all selling eggs and potatoes, then you basically have 10 competitors… so you can have potential conflicts, tensions within the farmers market itself… in fact, that is the same with any market environment. And so it is not just a question of how you differentiate yourself from the large supermarket, but also from the stand next door selling the same stuff as you.”

Deb Vail shares her experiences of  having her farm in NC which outgrew her and her family in nine years, “We sold it two years ago because we got too big too quickly and couldn’t keep up at our age. We did no advertising at all… but I will pass on one thing that helped us tremendously – We divided out our CSA for only veggies and then sold only flowers at market. I suppose that’s niching. It worked well to be the only farmer at market that only sold flowers – we were the experts.”

Daleen Adele Thomas sums it up, “Only grow/farm what you love/are good at. If you grow great lettuce but small turnips, why grow turnips?

Please leave any thoughts, tips, resources or ideas that could help farmers grow their businesses in the comments section below. After a few weeks, I promise to read through them all and weave anything relevant and useful into the blog itself so that they can be of the most use to the most farmers.

Guest Post: The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

storyThis article was originally published on The99Percent.com and went viral with 6,000+ retweets/shares. It has been republished on LifeHacker and across the web.

Written by: Michael Margolis      Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative — you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you — and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles.

Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Gone are the days of “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Instead we’re all trying to suss each other out in the relationship economy. Do I share something in common with you? How do we relate to each other? Are you relevant to my work?

That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise.

People work with people they can relate to and identify with. Trust comes from personal disclosure. And that kind of sharing is hard to convey in a resume. Your bio needs to tell the bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How can I help you?
  3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?
  4. Why can you trust me?
  5. What do we share in common?

Your bio is the linchpin for expanding your thought leadership and recognition, especially online. It frames the conversation and sets the tone. It’s your job to reveal a bit about yourself and how you see the world. Do this well, and people will eagerly want to engage with you further.

Here’s the challenge: who taught you how to write your bio?

Admittedly, most of us never got a lesson in this essential task. You’re not alone. Even the most skilled communicators get tongue-tied and twisted when trying to represent themselves in writing. We fear the two extremes: obnoxious self-importance or boring earnestness.

It gets further complicated when you’re in the midst of a career or business reinvention. You have to reconcile the different twists and turns of your past into a coherent professional storyline.

The personal branding industry has only muddied the waters. It’s easy to feel turned off by the heavy-handed acts of self-promotion that the various gurus out there say you’re supposed to do. We’ve been told to carefully construct a persona that will differentiate and trademark our skills into a unique value proposition.

That’s mostly a bunch of buzzword bingo bullshit.

Instead, share more of what you really care about.

And then write your bio in service to your reader, not just ego validation.

Imagine that: A compelling reason to tell your story beyond bragging to the world that you’re “kind of a big deal.” Embrace the holy-grail of storytelling: tell a story that people can identify with as their own – and the need to persuade, convince, or sell them on anything disappears.

With all this in mind, here’s a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative — you have to anchor it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find the invisible lines of connection.

To revamp your bio, start with these simple storytelling principles and questions above.

In the process, you’ll discover a greater potential to shift how you see yourself and how the world sees you. Your story sets the boundaries for everything else that follows.

If you’re having trouble being heard, recognized, or understood, it’s probably an issue related to your story and identity.

SAMPLE COPY ADDED to promote webinar:

The good news? I want to help you tell your story.

Join my friend Michael for his new FREE webinar called, RE-STORY YOURSELF: How to Attract Your Future with a Better Bio.

This webinar will teach you simple storytelling shortcuts to creating a standout yet authentic bio that attracts more of what you want. Discover the right tone, structure, and how to craft an interesting point of view. You’ll learn how to use story to position your work, attract opportunities, and get paid for being the real you.

Click here to sign up for my FREE webinar now!

It’s never too late to reinvent your story.

Story on!

 

Guest Post: How a Failed Trip to Iceland Created One of the Coolest Things in the World

HugeSmile-smThis is a different kind of blog post, written by a colleague of mine, Seth Braun, from Fairfield, Iowa.

I like it because it speaks to the unintended consequences of trying an experiment.

I’m currently in the middle of running my Niching for Hippies program. The core of that program is the idea of ‘niche projects‘. Before committing yourself to a niche and getting married to it – go on a date first. Before you plant a garden, try a potted tomato plant. Start small.

My colleague Alex Baisley was the first one who really opened my eyes to the power and importance of experiments in life. He pointed out how even beginning the process of following your big dreams wasn’t a luxury. It was a doorway. That by even starting the process you discover new things. 

I think about myself. I wanted to learn Scottish Gaelic. So I took five minutes to look for audio courses I could buy. I found one (which ended up being useless) but, in the process of that, I also came across the Celtic Studies program at St. FX University in Nova Scotia. Three years later, I was a student there. The next year I was a student at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. Four years later, I co-starred in Canada’s second ever Gaelic language film. Two years later, I hosted the first ever Cape Breton Jam – a gathering for young leaders in the Cape Breton Gaelic community. 

All from just taking five minutes to try to find some Gaelic learning programs. 

If you’ve got an idea, just start exploring it. Don’t wait to be 100% ready. Just begin.

In Edmonton, we’re in the middle of our municipal election. And I can see how, over the course of the campaign, candidates are getting better. You’re never ready for a campaign. The campaign makes you ready. 

Much of the time, the ideas you start with won’t be the ones you end with. But maybe the point of our inspirations isn’t about achieving them but about inspiring us to move to find something else that we’re unable to imagine when we begin. 

In fact, for the linguistically curious, the verb ‘commit’, in Latin, means, ‘to begin’. All too often, people let the perfect be the good. I see it in niching all the time – needing to have everything figured out before even beginning to move on things. Just move. Try things. Start small. They probably won’t work out (the way you think they will). But try anyway.

There’s a power in just starting things and seeing where they take us.

And now, a beautiful story about the importance of this . . . 

by Seth Braun

A long dim hallway from a store front suggesting breakfast. 

The passage opens to the clink of spoons and the clank of mugs. He can barley see; the smell of strong coffee, fresh pastries – lights fade – chatting diners – speaking Icelandic – in total darkness?

Is this some strange dream?

The Icelandic Diner in the Dark wasn’t some strange dream; But a dream come true and discovery of destiny. But often our dreams require that we take the hero’s journey. That great mythic plunge into the adventure, mystery and the great unknown. Like Frodo stepping out of BagEnd, or Luke Skywalker naively stepping forward to seek Obi Wan. These great journeys mould and shape our psyche. But they are filled with terrible light and darkness. Often, the fear of the unknown we carry with us prevents us from taking the journey. 

 You don’t have to be afraid to follow your dreams into the unknown… even into darkness, if you bring these with you: Vision, Action, Confidence, Courage. 

Let me weave a tale for you…

It started when my friend Brian Rochileau, or Rosh, came to me as a client. 

“Seth – I have a crazy dream –  house concerts – intimate music venues – in Iceland. I’ve already done them in the states, in Norway and Ireland… I think this is a first… I’m going to book the tour – produce the album and go buy the ticket.” It was more than a dream. Rosh had a vision! A vision he could see. A vision he could write. A vision he could speak. – “… just one thing, I need$10,000!”

I said, “Cool!, let’s do it.”  

Spreadsheets. Pitches. Timelines. Strategies. Mindset….we laid the foundation and he hit the ground running… in ACTION… Rosh secured investment, got online and created a tour out of nothing, then recorded the album. 

He was on his way to Iceland with consistent, persistent Action in his back pocket to keep the momentum going. 

…But not without haters. You know what I am talking about… those voices from people around you, in your head… 

You can’t do it…

You’ve never done it before…

Your too flaky… 

You never follow through…

You are going to lose money…

The thoughts that dim the light of your enthusiasm. 

Fortunately, Rosh brought confidence. CONFIDENCE – from the latin words  con and  fidelus – with and faithful – he was faithful to his dream. He bolstered his faith by speaking words, speaking truth, and words and the truth became his experience… Confidence… I can do this. Confidence… I am learning what I need to learn… Confidence… I believe in myself. I believe in my dreams… I can… I am… I believe.

Hitchhiking the rugged, volcanic landscape, Rosh’s confidence came through in two great shows. 

Waiting for a ride to show number three, the northern solstice sun shone bright and long. Everything about the first four days was perfect… (except that fermented fish they offered him at the traditional festival, another story). 

An old Toyota scooped him up at the agreed upon time and rolled to the next venue. A gothic church. Rosh doesn’t speak Icelandic. His chauffer speaks no English. Arriving at the venue, the driver unlocks the heavy doors, hops in the Range Rover and speeds off. 

30 minutes before show time. Rosh nervously sets up. 

15 minutes before. No host. 

10 minutes. 5 minutes. No audience. 

1 minute. No one. 

And it happens.  

The low. 

The fall. 

The ouch. 

All those voices came rushing into Rosh’s brain, hovering there, vultures blotting out the light of the sun, flapping their wings, skwawking, “we told you, you can’t do it, it’s not going to work, you are going to lose money, you are going to fail, you don’t have what it takes…”

It happens to all of us. Dissapointment. Frustration. We make mistakes. Our hearts break. 

But this time, Rosh packed courage. He took it out of his bag with a big sheet of paper, captured the vultures, put them on paper and poured his heart out. 

I am afraid. 

I am angry. 

I want this to work.

 How can create magical experiences?

 How can I have sold out crowds? 

How can I connect more deeply, Heart to Heart?

Courage! – from the old French, cour, to take heart. He breathed deep and felt the emotions and poured them into a question… HOW? And then poured the energy into a show, tears streaming down his face, songs echoing into the cavernous sanctuary. His only audience was the waxing moon, passing through the stained glass windows. 

He packed his guitar and bags, fell asleep on a pew, spent and hungry, saints watching over his slumber. 

A storm passed over that night. A new day dawned… the pre-collapse economy of Iceland was flowing and record sales were strong and the next weeks were all hot springs, cozy living rooms with fireplaces, glasses of wine with the happiest and friendliest people on earth. 

Rosh rolled into Reykjavík , the Icelandic capital on a sweet Sunday morning, hungry for a hearty breakfast – no fermented fish. Little did he know that he was stumbling into his destiny. 

He made that stroll into the darkening corridor, with the smell of cinnamon rolls and French roast. Walked into that pitch-black café and bumped into a chair. Then he was pulled, almost tripping to his right. 

Finding a seat… “What is this place…Who is pulling me?”

The Blind Waiter responded; “It’s a blind café, what can I start you off with…”

In those moments… on the journey of living his dreams, in Iceland, senses sharpened, immersed in the flavor and sounds, eating a rich breakfast in a Blind Cafe, a light goes in the darkness –  A NEW VISION – the answer to the question… How can I connect, heart – to – heart. 

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. 

You have something that only you can give. 

No one else has it. If you don’t share it with us, we’ll never get it!

Because Rosh took Vision, Action, Confidence and Courage on the volcanic journey into the darkness of the unknown, the World has the beauty of the Blind Café, music and dining in the dark, on tour in, Aspen , Austin, Boulder, Burlington VT, Cincinnati, Denver, Portland, Seattle… touching thousands of people, donating thousands more to service groups for the blind. 

“The Blind Cafe seeks to support and create a deeper understanding of community, that inspires people to think differently and examine at how they relate with themselves and others. We help people develop a deeper sense of appreciation and compassion for people unlike themselves. We teach people how to listen to live music and to themselves again…. without the distraction of cell phones, social etiquette and visual conditioning. We partner with blindness organizations to provide community awareness and entertainment for the community. We provide a unique opportunity for the blind and sighted parts of our community to come together in discussion.” 

Rosh took an outrageous idea and brought it to the world in over 25 live events across the U.S. 

What outrageous dream have your stumbled into? 

What vision has alighted upon your mind?

Is there a journey stirring your heart?

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, even into darkness of discouragement and defeat…but take these with you:

1. Confidence, – I am, I can I believe. 

2. Courage – to face the fear and turn it into fuel, 

3. Vision – see it, write it, speak it and

4.  Consistent, Persistent ACTION

And if you find yourself in a totally dark place, that may be just the time that the lights go on for your destiny.  

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams!

 

WorkandFamily-Balance-sm-300x200About the Author: Seth Braun provides speaking, coaching, training and consulting services in support of individuals who want to develop their full personal and professional potential. He is also a devoted father and husband, an avid gardener, a musician, and a chocoholic. http://sethbraun.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: How To Make Your “About Me” Page Irresistible

My Storyby Schuyler Kaye

You’ve probably heard how important it is to have an awesome “about me” page. As the saying goes people buy you, not the product or service. Yet it can be one of the most difficult pages to write.

I mean how do you capture “you” on a single page? 

And even if you could capture “you,” what if people don’t like it?

Many “about me” pages try to be something they’re not… 

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I pulled off my rollerblades. I’d just been on a fantastic first date and was sitting on cloud 29 as a result. (That’s 20 clouds higher than cloud 9!) It lasted for about a week until I realized she wasn’t going to return my calls. 

Unsure of what happened, I asked my friends for advice… It was decided that I wore my heart on my sleeve, and I needed to keep her guessing about what I felt. And so I learned the dating game, when to show I cared and when to pretend I didn’t.

It totally worked! I got called back. I went on more dates. Soon she wanted to be in a committed relationship… only something was off. I was exhausted always trying to figure out when I was allowed to care – constantly worried that if I stopped this game, she’d lose interest.

What pressures or expectations do you feel influence your “about me” page?

Should you be professional? 

Do you need to stick to the facts and credentials? 

Maybe you feel bashful and so you try to be overly modest? 

Is there pressure to share everything or to remain a mystery?

Are you worried you might scare off your customers if you share the personal hippy side of you? 

I’ll be honest. Chances are if you show up with a personal story, there will be people who decide they don’t want to work with you. But don’t worry! They’ll be the unhappy customers that you can’t seem to please and leave you feeling drained.

Help your customers decide early on if you’re the right fit

You know things didn’t work out with that girl I was dating. In truth all the games did was make it take longer to realize we weren’t a fit. You can only pretend to be something else for so long…

Years later after repeating this process many times, I decided to take a chance. I dropped the games and sure, I tasted rejection again… But soon enough, I found myself in a positive healthy relationship for the first time.

By sharing your hippy story on your “about me” page, you might lose the interest of some people, but you’ll naturally become irresistible to the people who will LOVE working with you.

Pick the story that best shows off your unique hippy-ness

Step 1: Identify the “why” of your life. To make it simpler, here are some categories of what you might value:

  • A sense of excitement, adventure, or just plain ol’ fun?
  • How about a realization of a long-standing belief or conviction?
  • Maybe it’s a better understanding of who you are or what you want in life?
  • Is it love, friendship, some kind of companionship?
  • Or to receive healing, balance, happiness, peace or freedom from something in your life?

Example: I’ve always envied people who knew what they were meant to do… my life has been a constant search for that sense of knowing and belonging to a purpose that engaged my heart.

 

Step 2: Think of a story in your life that has prepared you to make the world better with work you do. Then use it to introduce yourself to your customers through your “About Me” page. The following questions will help you think of a story that resonates with the core values you identified in the first step.

  • How did you decide to do the work you do?
  • How did you overcome the problem you solve for your customers?
  • If you could be known for just one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
  • What’s your greatest challenge or accomplishment? How’d it play out?

Example: I’ve been in the shoes of my customers, and I found a way out… here’s the story of how it went down.

 

I’d recently broken up with the Fortune 100 Company that I worked at for 6 years and was “dating” five different business ideas at the same time… Unable to be successful at any of them because I was unable to meet the expectations of all of them, I found myself lost and depressed.

Having no choice, I explored my own life with reckless abandon to find a way to leave the expectations of others behind and discover my own path. 

Uncovering my story revealed my purpose, and that clarity has effortlessly guided me since. Now I apply what I learned to guide small business owners in finding a brand that feels authentic to their hearts and is effective at attracting the right customers with their online presence.

If you want an “about me” page that’s irresistible to the customers you love, then share the story of “why” you do your “hippy” work.

Want to take your story to the next level?

Sign up for this no-cost learning series on how to attract more customers with your “about me” page beginning on September 24.

 

Schuyler-HeadshotBio: I help small business owners who want to make a difference, and need to attract more customers with their online presence. You see I’ve been in the business of branding since I decided being a short, fat, nerdy high schooler wasn’t the way to start college.  After leaving a Fortune 100 Company, I found myself “dating” numerous business ideas at the same time hoping one would uncover my passion and grant the freedom of any lifestyle I chose. It didn’t work… In truth it was uncovering my story that revealed my purpose, and that clarity has effortlessly guided my business since (purposecompass.org). Now I help others use their story to build a business they love and that attracts the right customers.

Lev Natan Talks Sacred Business – How to Walk Your Unique Spiritual Path and Pay Your Bills On Time

Lev_Headshot_Feb2013My colleague Lev Natan is one of the most ‘real deal’ conscious entrepreneur coaches you could meet. He has a deep history in community and spiritual work and it’s been wonderful to see his work blossom. He’s got a new project coming up that I am excited to share with you all and so I thought I’d sit down with him for a bit of an extended interview about it.

His program is called: The Sacred Business Intensive – How to Walk Your Unique Spiritual Path and Pay Your Bills On Time: 5 Free Webinars to Integrate Your Relationship with Money, Life Purpose, and Meaningful Work – From March 27th thru April 4th.  

You’ve spoken about how you have noticed that conscious entrepreneurs often feel “overwhelmed, hopeless, unappreciated, hurt, and as if no one sees who [they] truly are or what [they] are here to give.” What’s underneath that? Why do you think they feel that way? Is this them playing victim or something else? Why do we get stuck here?

To understand why we get stuck, we need to see clearly how life really is, and, for a moment, let go of how we would like it be.  What are the values that mainstream western culture supports and respects?  Economic and career success, material wealth, social status, and the power to control resources.  

The dominant culture is not organized around values of appreciating each individual’s talents and gifts.  We have the Gross National Product, while Bhutan, for example, has the Gross National Happiness Index.  It doesn’t foster healthy community relationships that empower us to feel safe being ourselves (as opposed to wearing social masks).  

Our culture has stripped away the sense that we have what we need and can enjoy a simple sense of contentment.  Contentment grows out of a strong connection to self, resilient family and community ties, and an engaged relationship with spirituality (our sense of meaning and purpose).  Instead, our culture stimulates our sense of neediness (which is what drives our economy), and tells us we will be satiated by unhealthy foods, material goods, money, and the image of success.  This life pattern conditions us towards dependency and addition.

The truth is, we are needy.  But, at the root of our neediness is a longing for authentic relationship – relationship with self, community, nature, and spirit.

The root word for culture is the same as cultivate, so our culture is the soil in which we grow, and the soil is quite depleted of nourishment.  We can go back 10,000 years to see the overall pattern of human civilization as being engaged in power struggles for control of resources.  Generation after generation of this life experience engenders our psychological, emotional and neurological systems with a pattern of dependency.  

So, on a cultural level, we have been conditioned to feel the feelings that I’ve mentioned – “overwhelmed, hopeless, unappreciated, hurt, and as if no one sees who [they] truly are or what [they] are here to give.”

A lot of coaches, healers, and teachers talk about “transforming limiting beliefs,” but an essential element that is usually left out is the awareness that our beliefs are like roots of a tree – they go deep into the soil of our being. 

We get stuck because our bodies “remember” these traumas, and are expressed as subconscious beliefs, which show up when we want to express ourselves in our businesses.  To access the self-respect, love, joy, and empowerment necessary to stand up as leaders in our businesses, we need to transform our conditioned value and belief systems by going on a journey to heal our ancestral wounds.  

I went through a years-long process of healing the fear of being persecuted for my spiritual beliefs because my ancestors were persecuted – villages destroyed, families torn apart.  I had memories of being burned at the stake that I had to heal.

These kinds of traumas are passed down through our ancestral memories and our bodies.  I didn’t think that I was literally in danger of physical harm, but it showed up as fear of being rejected or people not taking me seriously in my business if I really spoke my truth.  So, I needed to heal the roots of those beliefs in order to stand powerfully in my entrepreneurial purpose and mission.

You speak about how, “we don’t just want to “be successful,” we want to sing our own unique song.” Can you spell out the difference you see between the two? And why do you think more of the people we work with haven’t found this yet? Is it fear? Is it them trying to fit into a box? What prevents us from finding that song?

Have you ever heard of Chiron?  He was a figure in Greek mythology who exemplifies the archetype of the wounded healer.  

The path towards true service requires you to go on your own healing journey.  And, on this path of healing, there aren’t any shortcuts, you have to confront the wounds and do the work.  

This is is not something that we’re used to in our culture.  We’re used to shortcuts and getting the results that we think we want as quickly and effortlessly as possible.  The problem with this, as our current economic and environmental crisis demonstrates, is that taking shortcuts actually brings us further away from what would truly nourish us.

So, “being successful” is about looking the part – getting the clients, making the money, being the respected expert in your field.  From here, people who are feeling needy for those things are attracted to the image of power and success that you have built.

Singing our song is about freedom.  Freedom can not be faked.   Freedom is a qualitative expression of spiritual growth and development.  Freedom requires self-awareness, trust, faith, courage, compassion, intelligence, and an open-hearted love that is willing to give itself fully for what it believes.  It takes practice to develop these qualities – that’s why we call it spiritual practice.

Martin Luther King Jr. was free.  Gandhi was free.  Malcolm X was free.  And, Nelson Mandela was free, even though he spent 27 years in prison.  They found freedom through their connection to their life purpose, mission, and relationship with self, other, and spirituality.

You don’t need to be a political or social change leader in order to have the courage to be free.  Start with your own healing journey.  Start by being honest with yourself.  

The most powerful act of courage is to give yourself permission to articulate what you really want, what would really make you come alive and feel joyful, as opposed to the image of what “being successful” tells you what you want.  Movement towards your authentic vision gives you many opportunities to heal and move closer to freedom.

The main thing that can prevents you from singing your song is that you create a culturally acceptable version of your vision – basically a compromise – and then pretend to be excited about it.  External results of “success” can give us a rush for a few years, but its like a sugar rush, it isn’t a solid foundation on which to build a life or business. 

You speak about:

“why am I here on this planet at this time?  What am I here to do and be?  Who am I, underneath my social conditioning in a culture that has a habit of only looking at the surface of things.  And, who am I an in an era that is coming to an end, and in a new one that is emerging as we speak?  What is my role?  What is my responsibility?  How can I  imagine a vision for myself that feels free and joyful when there is so much suffering going on around me?”

Why do these questions matter to a conscious entrepreneur? What do you see as the connection between the kind of deep personal growth you’re talking about and right livelihood? I can imagine a lot of people might say, ‘That’s nice and important, but I have to pay the bills. I don’t have time for this.’

Going back to where I left off in the last question, its about integrity.  I’m not only talking about being aligned with your truth.  I’m talking about structural integrity.   

When you build a house without pouring the concrete foundation its just not going to last.  You could look at these questions as the foundation for a solid business and life.

These questions are the roots of a powerful vision, and therefore, a solid foundation for a conscious business.  When you ask yourself “why am I here at this time?” it cuts to the core of your sense of purpose.  Your connection to purpose gives you access to a quality of inner resources that are otherwise completely unavailable.

To make it simple, these questions can be distilled into one simple question: what motivates you to get up in the morning?  

Your motivation dictates the manner in which you engage your goals.  If you are motivated by the socially approved of treasures – wealth, status, power – than you may just get that.  But, these treasures do not guarantee fulfillment, joy, healthy relationships, and experience a sense of deep meaning in the work that you do.  In fact, the statistics show the exact opposite.  America, the richest country in the world, is also the most depressed.  Americans consume more anti-depressants than any other people in the world.

If you are motivated by a desire to grow into a person who embodies the attributes taught about by world spiritual traditions, then joy, meaning, fulfillment are assured to you.  Why?  Because you are focused on cultivating internal qualities, which you do have control over, as opposed to external results, which you, ultimately, don’t have control over.

Results in business are essential.  But, your perspective and motivation changes your relationship which getting results, which is at the core of what I am talking about.

By integrating your deepest sense of meaning and purpose into your business, you begin to emphasize action that genuinely cultivates your mission, as opposed to looking for the best way to get recognized, find clients, and just “get yourself out there.”  

Its an issue of focus and perspective that may seem subtle, but over the course of the development of a business, and your life as a whole, that foundation builds a whole different house, so to speak.

A major (often valid) criticism of people engaged in a spiritual, healing or holistic business is that they’re flakey. Lofty visions, big concepts etc. but little application and little ability to ‘pay the bills on time.’ What do you think that’s about and what do these people most need? What’s missing for them here? When you work with them how do you help with that? 

Its true.  People engaged in spiritual, healing or holistic businesses do have lofty visions.  I would also add people in the creative arts, like film-making, writing, musicians, and visual artists.  I should know, I’m one of them.

Most of the time, your greatest gift is also your greatest weakness, and this is definitely the case here.  All human beings have the same basic structure – 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 eyes, a nose, mouth, etc. – and that hasn’t changed for thousands of years.  But, your individual nature is very unique.  The nature of people who create, heal, and connect naturally to a sense of spirituality is that we literally have one foot in two worlds.  Now, taken at face value, in this materialistic culture, it can be a setback to be “in the world, but not of it.”  But, in other cultural systems, this is highly revered and respected human quality.  One of the meanings for the word “shaman”is literally “the one who dreams it into being” – “it” meaning their vision.  

So, the first mistake that most people make is to hide their natural gift, which is their most precious asset in a business.  They need to honor themselves and their gift.  

From here there is a “reality check” that probably needs to happen.  You need to get real with what it is that you’re ignoring – in terms of practical business and professional skills.  Go out and get the training you need.  I had to do that, and through our work together, my clients learn to engage practically with the vision that they care most about.  I’m talking about skills like presenting yourself respectfully, clear communication, time management, time lines, goal setting and follow through – in general, being a professional and taking yourself seriously.

So, the second mistake is that intuitive/creative professionals think that their intuition and visionary nature will carry them through life without having to do any heavy lifting.  

But, once you move through those two issues, you have the ability to channel the power of your creativity into a clear structure or form that strikes a nerve with people, and is much more powerful, attractive, and magnetic than “successful” business-owners who have perfected the skill of looking the part, but don’t have the root and life force flowing through their copy, programs and services.

CLIENT STORY:

I’ll give you an example to demonstrate these two points. Dean Adams, who will be speaking with me in the 5th Webinar in the Sacred Business Intensive, was a free-lance news film-maker/journalist in Thailand, struggling to catch the next story, when I met him.  He was behind on his bills and stress was mounting in his relationship with his wife.  

Where to start in such a challenging situation?  We began with the inspiring vision that makes Dean come alive.  For many years Dean has felt a yearning to use story-telling through film as a vehicle for inspiration, empowerment, healing, and growing the new, life-affirming culture.  This is what we tapped into.  

My intention was to get Dean to feel how important that vision was  in his life.  It was a struggle.  

When you can’t see a pathway to your vision, your tendency is to stop looking, because it hurts too much.

But, Dean and I built a relationship rooted in trust, safety, and acceptance where it was not only ok to feel the pain, but I actually supported him to do so.  As we created more space for the pain to be felt, there was more space for other emotions as well – excitement, inspiration, and the desire to make his vision a reality. 

But, we didn’t float off into “vision-land” and “get high.”   Instead, we used the vision as a container within which to engage the practical realities of his life.  His sense of empowerment awakened.  He went out and got a job teaching film-making at a school.  No, that wasn’t the ultimate goal, but that was the necessary stepping-stone, in that moment.  And, now that his ultimate vision was strong, he was able to give himself fully to the practical task at hand.

From here, he continued to look for new work opportunities, and through skillful networking (a crucial business skill), was offered a job as Deputy Editor in Chief for Documentaries at Qatar TV, a news television station, where he is currently earning a healthy income while building the professional skills and relationships that are making his vision for his own film-production company truly realistic.  He is currently in the process of putting together a team of staff and investors to support his film-production company called 10 Hope Films.

You can get more info here.  

mqdefaultLev Natan helps entrepreneurs & creative professionals weave their unique spiritual path into meaningful work through Life Purpose / Business Coaching & Sound Healing.  He is the founder of The Medicine Tree Center, and is committed to a path of practical spirituality that is rooted in purposeful work, meaningful relationships, and vibrant, joyful health.

Lev’s work is rooted in the principles and practical wisdom of ancient mystical and shamanic traditions.  A musician his whole life, Lev awakened to the healing power of sound through spiritual and musical traditions from cultures around the world, including the Chasidic Tradition of Judaism, Indigenous Healing Traditions of Brazil and Peru, Tuvan Throat Singing, and Native American spiritual traditions.  

Lev is Certified as an Empowerment Life Coach, and has been serving clients since 2008.  He has a background in addiction treatment counseling and rites of passage work. He graduated from Boston University Cum Laude with a degree in Human Ecology, is Certified as Agent of Conscious Evolution through Barbara Marx Hubbard’s training with the Shift Network, apprenticed with Native American Shaman and Elder, Hawksbrother, for six years, has been studying Tai Chi & Qi Gong for 8 years, and is currently enrolled in the Sound and Music Institute’s Practitioner Certification Training.

If you’d like more info or to sign up for Lev’s free offer, just click here.

Are you ready for the spotlight? An interview with PR genius Nancy Juetten

A lot of people want to get discovered.

They dream of speaking on big stages to tens of thousands of people. They dream of being on Oprah. They dream of having a best selling book.

My frank opinion is that 99% of these people are not ready for that kind of spotlight.

To be even more frank, most people are barely ready for their aquaintances to discover what they do.

To be as frank as I can be, most people, instead of bemoaning their obscurity, should be profoundly and truly grateful for it because they are not ready for the next level yet. They are not ready for the kind of web traffic, attention and the glare of the spotlight yet. If they were to be discovered it could be a minor disaster. Like meeting the person of your dreams a few years too soon. Like getting on a really importance stage without a speech prepared. Going on Oprah with no website set up yet.

I’ve seen a lot of these squandered opportunities in my day.

But if you feel called to step up to the next level of being discovered – it’s hard for me to think of anyone better for the job than Nancy Juetten. Nancy is sweet but no nonsense PR whiz. She will always give it to you straight how ready you are. She’s got a new program coming out soon and so I thought I’d interview her on the topic and ask her a bunch of questions I’ve been meaning to ask for a while. 

Her answers don’t disappoint but were incredibly specific and to the point. This is some straight marketing ‘real talk’.

If you’re introverted by nature but still feel called to take the next step in getting out there give this a read. You’ll find encouragement, direction, candor and some immediately actionable things you can do to be ready for when opportunity comes knocking.

And make sure to check out her free call on September 18th if her answers resonate with you. Just click here for more info.

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Tad:  You help people get more high visibility gigs. You help people get discovered. How do you do this?

Nancy: When my clients discover the beautiful intersection between who they are here to serve and what makes them the best available talent to bring about the relief or the benefit, something magical happens.   It’s like there is wind infused beneath their wings.  Their confidence grows.  Their message resonates with more of the right people.   Opportunities come knocking, and they have the confidence to seek out more of the perfect opportunities to serve their lead generation efforts.

Tad:  Why do you think so many people with a lot to offer languish in obscurity?

Nancy:   Oh Tad, I could write a sonnet about the languishing in obscurity bonnet!  Part of the challenge for a great many people is that they struggle with what some may refer to as shameless self-promotion.  They feel too humble to call attention to their gifts and talents.  Some are simply allergic to this effort entirely and would rather hire out the task to someone else.  

The trouble with this is that far too few folks have the budget or the resources to do this in a big way, so their messages may not get heard.   What I often say is that no one cares more about your success than you do.  How much of your success are you truly willing to delegate to someone else, especially when the message matters so much?   Ever since the Great Recession, I have been advocating for self-employed business professionals to learn these essential skills so they need never have to be beholden to expensive publicists or copywriters ever again.  I still believe that in my bones, now more than ever.

Tad: What are the big blunders people make that keep them from being discovered?

Nancy

  • Not being clear about the specific “wow” or benefit they provide.
  • Hiding under a bushel basket and hoping the right people will find them.
  • Not being ready when opportunity knocks.   There is a whole lot of hoping, wishing and praying going on that the right client or person of influence will call tomorrow or one day soon.  But if he or she actually did call, would you have clarity around the specific ways you can serve that person?  Are your programs and packages ready to share at a moment’s notice?   Do you have a signature talk that you are ready to share by teleseminar, webinar, or live when the next coveted invitation comes your way?   There are a great many people who are “winging it” and not flying very high as a result.   Being ready to welcome opportunity is a huge piece toward being in great position to say YES and step through the doors to opportunity gracefully.

Tad:   Imagine you’re a high profile hub, and I’m approaching you to give me a spot on your stage or to get an article written in your magazine.  What are you looking for in me to know if you want to support me or not? What do these mega hubs look for?

Nancy:   This is a very good question.  

Let’s say you want your expertise showcased via an influential podcast that reaches 50,000 people who are precisely the right people who can benefit from your expertise or guidance.  

My first recommendation would be to listen to prior podcasts to find out the approach the host takes with the interviews.  Have enough interest in the program to pay attention to it so you can frame your own expertise to be a perfect fit for that audience.  

When you make your approach to the person who makes those decisions (you can likely find his or her name noted on the “contact us” section of the website), you can say that you have listened to several of their most recent podcasts and know they love to empower their listeners to achieve a specific result.   And, you also have a specific area of expertise that can guide them along that journey in a refreshing way that will turn their heads and cause them to think differently about a particular issue or concern they are facing in their businesses.   

As a direct result of listening to you, they will learn three essential tips and techniques to do exactly that.   Over the last decade, you have finely honed these skills in service to an audience very much like theirs and earned rave reviews.  In fact, your most recent (ebook, program, or best-seller) just (won an award, sold out for the 10th time, or some other important, measurable accomplishment) to prove that point.  

And, since this (emerging trend, upcoming election, or other timely and relevant situation) is top of mind right now, you were thinking that this topic might be of service to the audience, now more than ever.

Tad, getting your expertise showcased in the media that matter for your message is really about presenting your expertise in such a way that it is timely, newsworthy, relevant, interesting, and worth talking about.  

Think first how you can serve the audience, and tailor your comments and approach to be a perfect fit. 

It’s really all about service to the audience.  And it’s also important to be clear about what you want the listeners to DO as a direct result of hearing your message.   This is among the biggest mistakes folks make when they are interviewed that can be addressed with some thoughtful advance planning.

Tad:   I often tell clients that when you play it small there’s not much heat on you, but when you enter the big time, all of a sudden there’s so much more scrutiny.  What changes as you get more discovered? What do people look at? Look for?

Nancy:   When you step onto a bigger stage and get known for what you do, you welcome an entirely new set of opportunities and challenges.    On the one hand, folks who are wishing for this level of notoriety are thinking that these are precisely the kinds of challenges they want, and they want them YESTERDAY.    As for me, I am gaining some experience with this in my own life and business.   I have absolutely gotten known in a much bigger way these last two years in particular.   And, because I describe myself as an introvert, I would not be telling the truth if I told you every day is wine and roses for me.  

  • As your influence grows, people have higher expectations of you.  
  • They may make harsh judgments without adequate insight or information.
  • When you show up at big events, people recognize you before you recognize them.   If you pride yourself on remembering names, faces, and details, this can be a bit uncomfortable.
  • If you attend a lot of live events and get photographed a lot, your wardrobe gets worn out pretty fast.   I have a favorite blue silk dress.  And I hesitate to wear it because I fear that folks are going to wonder why I don’t wear something else.   I realize this may sound ridiculous, but it does cross my mind.
  • More joint venture invitations come your way than you can possibly engage in.   Learning to say YES to the right opportunities and NO to those that aren’t a fit is something that takes some practice, trial and error, and experience.
  • You absolutely have to remember to take care not to inhale your own fumes.  You have to remain humble and keep moving forward in service to your clients and your mission and never get complacent about your brand or reputation. How you do anything is how you do everything.

Tad:  One of the things I love about your work is that you have such a focus on helping people not only get discovered but get ready to be discovered. It seems like so many people blow big opportunities because they’re so ill prepared. Where do you see that most want to be experts, and yet they aren’t prepared when they need to be?

Nancy:   I know a great many people who want to be professional speakers.   And, yet, when I visit their websites, I can’t find their speaker sheets, speaker videos, or raving testimonials from audience members or meeting planners to make it an easy YES decision for the right person to engage.   This a among the most common mistakes I notice.

Another is that experts want media attention, but they don’t make it easy for the media to find out their qualifications.   Truly, if you want to do a lot of media interviews, you should make it easy for reporters, bloggers, and other people of influence to do their homework about you. 

That means offering a variety of bios of varying length in the “about me” or “media section” of your website or blog.  For media interviews, I recommend writing these in the “third person” so any host, reporter, or broadcast journalist can read the words as presented without having to transform your “first person” story into one that can be easily read as an introduction.  

What is the back story about your journey to success?   Make it easy to find so you can have confidence that the story will be correct in the re-telling – no matter who shares it.

Tad:  A big focus for you is guiding people to create winning bios. I think your workbook Bye Bye Boring Bio is one of the best marketing workbooks I’ve ever seen. Why does this matter so much? Help draw the connection for us between your ‘about me’ page on your website and your level of success? Why is this so important?

Nancy:   When folks land on your home page, they are looking for a solution to a problem them have.  Hopefully, they are serious enough about the problem at hand that they are willing to invest into a solution to benefit from the relief.   If someone perfect lands on your site and likes what they read enough to lean in and want to know more, chances are they are going to want to know about the person whose name is on the door. 

If they land on your “about me” page and can’t find enough juice to make them get to that ‘know-like-trust’ place fast, they may not be inclined to send you an email, pick up the phone, or ask for a meeting.  

The story you tell about yourself should relate to the important work you do in service to a specific audience of people who benefit mightily as a direct result of your skills, gifts, and expertise.   If you waste the space on your “about me” page by sharing irrelevant information or “blah-blah-blah” boring information that doesn’t engage the reader in the least bit, you are wasting precious real estate that could otherwise be applied toward guiding website visitors to become buyers, fans, followers, and referral sources.   

Always ask yourself this important question:  What do you want your website or blog visitors TO DO as a direct result of visiting your site?

  • Do you want them to call you for a consultation?  If so, offer your phone number on the home page.
  • Do you want them to opt in to enjoy a free gift that will enhance their lives or businesses and give you the opportunity to stay in touch over time and extend relevant offers as it makes sense?  If so, offer a compelling free gift in exchange for an email opt in.
  • Do you want people to hire you on the spot as a speaker, consultant, or service provider?   If so, say so.  

So often, I notice that many website owners forget to ask this question and offer way too many choices that really don’t serve the objective that matters most.  Often it is because they never asked that initial and most important question.

Tad:  If the average ‘expert’ was put on Oprah’s show tomorrow – my sense is that most of them would totally squander that experience because they weren’t ready. Could you lay out, being real, what you think would happen to an average client before they worked with someone like you in that situation and what might happen after?

Nancy: Someone truly serious about being invited to the Oprah show tomorrow would:

  • Have a fabulous outfit that fits like a glove set aside in her closet.   There is no waiting to lose that final ten pounds.  The clothes fits perfectly and look fabulous right now.  And, jewel tones are preferred by Oprah’s producers, so take that to heart as you plan what to wear.
  • The website is set up to handle traffic of consequence without shutting down.
  • The “about us” page of the site showcases fabulous headshots of professional quality, images of the product or book, and bios of varying length.
  • The expert has ten compelling questions that she loves to be asked and to answer to guide any producer to create a fabulous program in service to the Oprah show audience.
  • Have practiced her talking points on video to identify any message stumbling blocks and transform them into messaging brilliance.
  • “Not go promo” during the interview.    Be generous, be real, be you.
  • Have watched herself on video to see if she has any nervous habits that show up as visual distractions.   Not long ago, Kirsty Ally was on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.  She was sitting on her hands.  Ellen asked her why.  She said, “My friends and family have told me I play with my hair during interviews, and it is very distracting to them.”   So, she sat on her hands during this interview, and Ellen was having some fun with her to get her to release her hands during the conversation.    She had some fun with this, but not everyone is comfortable in this kind of interview scenario.
  • Remember that as soon as she steps foot into the studio, she is ON.  Be on time, be gracious, be articulate.  Don’t swear.  Don’t speak without purpose.  Remember how you want to be known, and make sure every word and move you make reinforces that.

There are plenty of other suggestions, but this is a good start.

Tad:  You say, ‘it’s your story, tell it well’. Why does this matter? What is the role and importance of our stories in marketing?

Nancy: If you don’t tell your story well, it won’t land and position you to make the impact or difference you are here to make.   A confused mind never buys, recommends, or takes action.

If you fail to make a case for why you are the perfect athlete to deliver the impact, you may not earn the engagement to make your difference or the income that is associated with it.  

If your ideal clients cannot come to a place of “know-like-trust” so they can whip out their wallets and engage, you are forever stuck at the front door.

In the work you do with guiding clients to declare their niches, you know that out of our deepest wounds calls forth our greatest gifts to share.  Jeffrey Van Dyk was first to share this with me, and I’ve never forgotten those words.  

Believing this to be truth for just about everyone, when you share the origins of the gifts you are here to share, you let your clients know this journey is not just one that you travel for food, clothing, and shelter.  It’s a journey you have been traveling all your life.  It’s an important journey with profound rewards and results to offer.   That is beautiful, magnetic, and powerful.

Tad:   You are sharing a Bye-Bye Boring Bio – Hello Opportunity free call on September 18th at 3 p.m. PST.  If folks want to tune in, can you make it easy for them?

Nancy:  Absolutely.  Here is the link to enjoy this call.  www.authenticvisibility.com/tadrecommends And if folks want to gain immediate access to the first chapter of Bye-Bye Boring Bio as my gift, they can.  Just visit www.authenticvisibility.com/freegift

Nancy “Broadcast Your Brilliance” Juetten is a storyteller, workshop leader, and Bye-Bye Boring Bio PLUS! author who shows mission-driven experts how to get seen, heard, celebrated, and COMPEN$ATED for their expert status. Nancy created Bye-Bye Boring Bio PLUS! to guide service professionals, speakers, authors, coaches, and those serious about earning expert status to get ready, get known, and get paid. Leading the Broadcast Your Brilliance Webinar Series and working one-on-one with clients in her Get Known to Get Paid™ Private Mentoring Program are among the most popular ways clients engage to welcome these benefits.  An award-winning copywriter with 12 years of success running her own profitable six-figure business, Nancy has been interviewed in connection with her storytelling and publicity expertise by CNN Radio, National Public Radio, the ABC Radio Network and by engaging and talented radio talk show hosts and information gurus from across America and the world. Nancy’s essential advice is this: “It’s your story. Tell it well.”   To learn about the upcoming Broadcast Your Brilliance Webinar Series and say bey-bye to YOUR boring bio as soon as possible, visit www.authenticvisibility.com/tadrecommends today.

Nancy “Broadcast Your Brilliance” Juetten, 425-641-5214, www.AuthenticVisibility.com

Publicity Expert Nancy Juetten is Your Get Known to Get Paid™ Mentorand a Contributing Author to the NEW National Speakers Association Book for Sale at Amazon – Speak More! Marketing Strategies to Get More Speaking Business.

Whether you love the spotlight or are just finding the courage to step out and shine, you will Get Known to Get Paid for your expert status by telling a story all your own. If you are serious about taking big steps forward to Get Ready, Get Known, and Get Paid with Nancy’s expert guidance, check out the Get Known to Get Paid PRIVATE Mentoring Program and apply for your place today.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

if i had to start again

I just saw this video from my colleague Nancy Juetten. She’s someone I’ve featured on my blog a number of times, especially around writing your bio.

I wanted to share it because I think it’s a great example of a few things . . .

First of all, it’s a super cool format – having things be handdrawn and mixed with photos.

Second of all, I think it has a very important lesson in it about achieving financial sustainability and a mistake that a lot of people, myself included, have made.

Thirdly, these kinds of videos can be a great way for your clients to meet and get to know you. What I love is the story she shares in the beginning about her struggle and how her business came to be. It’s so relatable and honest. I totally felt for her. The story made her immediately much more human and warm. The tone was slow, not hyped up, not trying to ‘convince me’ of anything. Just some honest sharing and story telling.

Here’s my only critique (in case you’re thinking about doing a video like this).

After a minute or two I found myself wondering, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Was this just going to be a video of Nancy sharing her story or would it be something that would help me. I would have loved to see it be a bit clearer. If this was a video for her bio or ‘about me’ page, that’s perfect.

If it’s going to be more of a ‘viral’ video she’d hope people might spread around I’d love to see it start with ‘Hi there, my name is Nancy Juetten and, in this short video, you’re going to learn three critical lessons about growing your business, things I wish I’d done when I started.’ That kind of thing.

 

Island A: The Painful Symptom

Words of introduction in which I explain of the incredible length of this post which should probably be an ebook

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

– Plato

I want to talk about empathy in marketing.

It might just be the most important part of it.

This is one of the longest posts I’ve ever put together. It likely took me about ten hours.

I spent so much time on this because I really want you to ‘get it’. I don’t just want to show you something new to look at – I want you to have new eyes.

Give me thirty minutes of your time to read this. It could change your business.

*

So many people in life struggle.

Alone.

They never feel like anyone ‘gets’ them. And, truthfully, most people don’t. They saunter in with their big words and importance advice. But, of course, the solutions rarely work. Because it was a cookie cutter, generic piece of advice. Like a suit that was too big it just didn’t ‘fit’.

When people see that we don’t ‘get’ them, they will never trust our solutions.

Translated: if your potential clients don’t feel like you ‘get’ them – they will never hire you; they’ll never buy from you. And, until you understand the real nature of the struggles your clients go through you will never be able to write good sales copy. But, vastly more importantly, you’ll never be able to craft a product or service that is genuinely perfect for them. Your products and services will always be generic.

But let me start by telling you a few stories.

*

I’m in a car driving from Santa Cruz, California with a friend of a friend to a music festival in Santa Rosa.

And she is venting.

Relationship stuff.

The drive is two hours.

And, during the entire drive, I barely say two words. I’m listening. Not that I don’t want to say things. Or feel like I have brilliant things to say. I do. I keep having pithy aphorisms, quotes and inspiring things to say that I’m convinced will help her. But something is telling me to keep my mouth shut and keep listening. So I do. Five minutes of silence pass as we drive. And then she takes a deep breath and says, ‘And another thing! . . .’

It goes like this for the whole drive. Me not saying much. Making sympathetic noises. Her sharing more and more deeply about what’s going on. At several points, I have the thought, ‘Wow. I’m glad I didn’t share that thing I was so excited to share thirty minutes ago.’ I keep seeing how off base my insights were. How useless they would have been. I thought the problem was X but it turns out to be Y. And then Z.

I keep listening.

Finally, a deep exhale from her. She seems done.

I say, ‘Wow. It seems like you’re really struggling with how to meet your needs for sexual expression . . . but also your needs for self respect.’

She grips the steering wheel a little tighter as her eyes widen. She takes a deep breath and looks over at me, ‘YES!’

What she was saying was, ‘YES! You got it! You articulated that better than I could have myself! Thank you.’

It feels wonderful to be ‘gotten’.

  

*

CARPENTERS RULE:

Measure twice. Cut once.

*

I’m in Toronto. It’s mid October. I’m leading a brand new workshop called ‘The Hot Box‘.

It’s an invite only workshop for more seasoned entrepreneurs focused at digging deep into their situations. Only eight people were there (but I realize I should limit it to six by the end of the day).

It’s a simple format.

We sit in a circle. People share where they’re struggling. We help them. Each person gets 45 minutes of the groups focus and time.

But the details are important. They have five minutes to share what’s up for them. Then the group has thirty minutes to make sure they really ‘get it’. We diagnose before we subscribe. For that thirty minutes no advice is allowed. Only clarifying question and reflections. Clarity first, resolution second.

And it’s amazing how different the advice is that I would give at the end of that thirty minutes than at the beginning.

*

I’m leading a workshop on Non Violent Communication for a housing coop in Edmonton.

We sit in a circle. I invite someone to share something they’re struggling with. A fellow named Jim volunteers. “I’m going home to visit soon. And my family and I always fight about politics. I don’t know how to deal with it.’

I feel everyone in the circle lean is as if to pounce on him with their advice, ideas and commiseration. They want to solve this shit.

I invite everyone to lean back. I invite them to question how clear they are about the real nature of the problem after so little information. Invite three people to reflect back what they heard. I ask Jim if they ‘got it’. He nods, but adds some more details. We end up going around the circle. I invite each person to share what they just heard him say and then I ask him, ‘did they get it?’

By the end of the circle Jim says, ‘I mean . . . do I even need to talk with my parents about this? I’m not even that political anymore.’

And it becomes clear: all of our advice from that first minute would have been useless.

Measure twice, cut once.

*

I’m talking with a friend about foreign aid. He’s bemoaning an organization that went in to built wells so people could have clean water – but didn’t teach the village how maintain it. “Tens of thousands of wasted dollars . . .” He shakes his head. “These aid organizations . . . They just don’t get it.”

*

Relevance

It’s easy to get lost in our brilliant point of view in marketing. To want to share our diagnosis of what’s really going on under the surface with people before they feel like we really get what it’s like to be them. To give all sorts of advice.

So, let me break it down.

People are overwhelmed with information these days. Thousands of marketing messages everyday. People unconsciously filter out 99% of the stimulus coming at them. What they do give their attention to are things they believe are relevant to them.

Relevance is the word.

And what is the only thing that is relevant to people? Their experience. Period. That’s it.

The more present, visceral and intense the experience – the more relevant it is.

When you’re in immense physical or emotional pain nothing else matters. If I were to have you hold your breath as long as you could – the only thing you’d want by the last few seconds is air.

If people can see how our product or service is relevant to them they will pay attention. If they can’t they won’t. It’s really as simple as that.

If you’ve followed my work at all you know all about my metaphor of the journey from Island A to Island B. You can watch a video about it here.

I wrote about it in a recent blog post about figuring out your platform.

Imagine a young man on an island (which we’ll call Island A). It’s not that great a place to be. But, it’s all he knows, so he goes about his days. Then he starts hearing that his is not the only island in the world. That there are other islands. At first he doesn’t believe it, but the more he visits the docks and meets these visitors the clearer it becomes. It’s true. And then, one day, he hears about a particular island (which we’ll call Island B). And his heart leaps. He wants to go there.

Of course, he needs to get a boat to go there.

But there are so many boats to hire! Which one to choose?

Your business is a boat. It helps people like this young man get from Island A where they’re struggling with some problem (i.e. set of symptoms they don’t like) to Island B where they have the result they want (i.e. something they’re craving).

People don’t get on your boat because they love it. They get on your boat to get off Island A.

And that’s the question: what is Island A?

Island A is the painful set of symptoms they experience in their lives. It’s the problem they face. It’s why they’re looking for a boat in the first place. It’s what makes your boat relevant to them. If they have no problem, they have, in their mind, no need for a solution.

I will often ask holistic or permaculture providers what problems they solve for their clients. They’ll laugh and say, ‘That’s the thing! This modality/approach can work on any problem. What can’t it do?

They’re so in love with their boat (what they do and how they do it) and so they talk about their boat all the time. But people only care about your boat if it can help them with their problem.

This seems like it would be a liberating approach or perspective. You’re not limiting your options. But it’s actually the most limiting thing you can do. Because now there’s no relevance for the boat. Why bother getting on a boat if you don’t want to leave the Island?

*

Their Symptoms vs. Your Diagnosis

The famous golfer Jack Nicklaus was suffering from intense pain in his right knee and considering getting surgery.

But his friend begged of him to go see Pete Egoscue, a structural anatomist. Begrudgingly, as a favour to his friend, he went. When Jack walked into the office, Pete looked up and saw him limping.

“I see you’re having trouble with your hip.”

“Actually,” said Jack ‘why-did-i-agree-to-see-this-quack?’ Nicklaus. “I’m in crippling pain in my right knee.” and was about to leave.

“I can see you’re in pain in your knee. But that’s the source of your pain – it’s not the cause. The cause is that your right hip is rotated forward and that’s putting pressure on your knee. Get down on the ground and try this . . .”

After thirty minutes of stretching and exercises, Jack stood up. With no pain in his knee.

Pete looked him in the eye, “If you want this pain to stay away, you’ll do exactly what I say.”

Client for life.

The point I want you to get from this story is the sharp distinction between symptoms and signs.

The symptom is what the patient feels. The sign is what the doctor or trained practitioner notices. The person may come in with crippling knee pain (symptom). But the practitioner sees that this pain is caused by the hip rotating forward and putting pressure on the knee (sign). Here’s the point – in marketing you must speak to the symptoms not to the signs.

“What is my client’s absolute biggest problem? What is their perception of that problem? Their perception is more important than yours. Build your company around your customers biggest perceived problem. Give them your solution, or somebody else will.” Jay Abraham

Imagine a full page ad in a golf magazine: which headline do you thinking would be more effective?

A) “Are you suffering from excruciating knee pain every time you walk?”

B) “Is your left hip rotated forward due to a lack of core muscle strength?”

Duh.

This distinction is critical. In the beginning, you must speak to people’s experiences – not about your brilliant diagnosis of what caused their experience.

 

Empathy before education.

 

The truth: Most people don’t see themselves clearly. They could be the biggest asshole in the world – and never notice it. If you try to write an add saying, “Are you an asshole?” You probably won’t have much luck. Most people think of themselves as good people who are victimized by the world.

Is that sad? Maybe – but I’d suggest you get over that and just accept that that’s how it is.

People may not have any sense that they’re jerks – but I will guarantee you that they are noticing some of the consequences of their behaviour (even if they blame everyone else) – and that is what you need to speak to. Maybe they notice that they have no friends who they’ve known more than a year. Maybe they notice that they get lied to a lot. Maybe they notice that people break commitments with them a lot. They’re getting stood up for dates a lot. You’d get further in your marketing if you spoke to that.

Another example: most people think that they’re great communicators. They really do. So, if you come at someone from the angle of “we work with managers who don’t have the communication skills to motivate their employees” you won’t get very far. It may be true – but it’s a sign, not a symptom.

And all of your marketing must speak 100% to the symptoms that they are experiencing.

If you changed your approach to be, “We work with managers who aren’t getting the kind of buy in they’d like from their employees.” You’ve got to speak to what’s real for them. And what’s real for them is rarely that they are to blame. They probably are feeling hard done by. That doesn’t mean that you can’t help them identify where they are responsible for what’s happening to them – all it means is that you can’t start there.

 

A million more examples follow . . .

For the past fifteen years, I’ve worked with a non-profit in California. One of the ideas that’s evolved is to offer some mentorship and consulting to folks running non-profits working for progressive and radical change.

They walk into the office every day trying to keep their organization running and achieving its big vision. That’s what got them into it. Wanting to make a big difference.

And what we’ve seen is that, despite great missions and programs, many organizations are (secretly) suffering from breakdown due to internal conflicts, burnout and lack of alignment. Lots of money and energy are spent in building up an image to the outside world, while inside, things are falling apart for individuals and their relationships.

But if I were to try to get an Executive Director’s attention I wouldn’t say, ‘Is your organization out of alignment?’ Instead, I might speak to some of the following . . .

  • people aren’t really talking to each other in the organization
  • your organization is full of cliques
  • your organization is trying to work with a diverse coalition but you’re all of one gender, race or class – you’re a monoculture organization seeking to work on diverse things
  • lots of following but not initiative and leadership for people
  • you have to generate all the ideas and no one else is contributing
  • people are constantly criticizing ideas and putting them down – not very generative
  • your group is criticized about diversity/anti-oppression stuff
  • want to form alliances with other kinds of groups but not sure how
  • frustrated by divisiveness in activist community in your area
  • you’ve done an anti-oppression training but don’t know how to integrate it (and secretly have questions or doubts about the whole frame)
  • had a blow up around race, class, gender, power issues in your organization
  • people are calling you out on your attachment to power – you’ve become ‘the man’ to your staff
  • the roles and responsibilities are not the right fit. Some people are doing the wrong job and you’re not sure how to let them go or find them another position.
  • you keep trying to do the right thing to make your organization an embodiment of the culture you want to see in the world – only to have it blow up in your face
  • you’re feeling alone and isolated with no one to talk to

If I was leading a Non Violent Communication NVC) workshop, I wouldn’t try to educate people about all the intricacies, elements and premises of NVC in the ad. I’d want to speak to the symptom. Here’s an example of some potential content for a generic NVC workshop ad.

do you collapse and crumble inside when you’re verbally attacked?

(or do you just lose your shit and say things you later regret?)

There’s a third option that allows you to retain your spine without closing your heart down.

If you can honestly answer yes to the following 21 questions, you might find this workshop useful . . .

1.     have you ever had someone listen to you so deeply and non-defensively when you were in pain and angry with them that the pain went away and you were left feeling wonderful?

2.     does the idea of conflict secretly scare you?

3.     do you have a lot of trouble saying ‘no’ without feeling guilty?

4.     do you often feel like your needs are a burden on others?

5.     is it really important for you to be seen as ‘reasonable’ and ‘nice’?

6.     do you often not share the truth of what you’re feeling and needing with loved ones because you don’t want to hurt their feelings?

7.     do you often feel confused about exactly what it is you are feeling and needing?

8.     do you believe that your needs are something you should transcend or ignore (vs. just getting them met)?

9.     do you have strong belief in right and wrong? (and that people who do ‘bad’ should be punished while those who do ‘good’ should be rewarded?)

10.   do you find yourself staying put and staying quiet (smiling sweetly and unable to speak up) in intolerable situations?

11.   do you think that if you’re nice enough people will love and respect you?

12.   do you often feel deep resentment and bitterness towards people for not listening to you?

13.   do you sometimes feel scared that your feelings will overwhelm you or others?

14.   do you sometimes lie about how hurt or uncomfortable you feel because you don’t want to be ‘rude’

15.   do you feel guilty about asking directly for what you want and need?

16.   do you secretly fear that humanity is rotten at its core?

17.   when someone is in a great deal of emotional pain, do you find yourself initially trying to help them understand how they manifested this into their life (and to take responsibility for it)? or do you try to help them understand the spiritual lessons that they’re gaining from it . . . instead of just listening and giving them empathy?

18.   do you think it’s important to ‘call people on their shit?’

19.   do you think it’s important to be blunt and tell people what’s wrong with them when you can see it?

20.   do you intellectually believe in the idea of finding a win/win solution but emotionally shut down and react in ways you wish you didn’t when conflict arises?

21.   do you wish you could maintain your full presence when people are communicating with you in ways that you don’t like?

I hope this is making sense.

Speak to the symptoms, not about your diagnosis.

Nicole Moen speaks brilliantly to a common human experience, “Have you ever felt the urge to walk out your door and just go? You know, like, simply start walking . . . who knows where?”

Alex Baisley offers these words in his ‘Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle’ workshop:

Maybe you have a job or business you really don’t care for anymore. You feel there is more to life, that you’d like to work at something meaningful, maybe work for yourself, help others, have a better lifestyle, but you just can’t figure out what you should be doing.

You know you are creative, independent, and would prefer to make your living doing your ‘own thing’ if you could just figure out what…

Have you questioned leaving your job, going back to school, going to a life coach…? All good ideas by the way, but before going through another day frustrated and questioning… maybe come hear me out.

Maybe you are a parent, and you love the idea of having your work fit better with your family – allowing you to spend more time with your kids for instance, maybe even have them be involved in your work somehow a better life / work balance…

Do you ever get that ‘PANIC’ of feeling time is ticking along, and you still haven’t figured out what the heck you’re supposed to be doing with your life? This can be a very unpleasant experience – I know first hand what it felt like, and I’m sure glad I don’t feel it any more!

Kristi Beatty, a sexual enrichment counselor in Calgary articulates the experience of many women:

  • Not knowing their bodies and what truly pleases them.
  • Difficulties communicating with their partner about their needs, desires and wants.
  • Feeling obligated to have sex and not enjoying it.
  • Having difficulties having an orgasm or don’t orgasm at all with themselves and/or with a partner.
  • Feeling guilty when they self pleasure and/or don’t self pleasure at all.
  • Craving a deep intimate relationship with their partner but lacking a deep intimate relationship with themselves.
  • Avoiding having sex or certain sexual positions because they are self conscious about how their body looks naked.
  • Enjoying making love with their partner and giving them pleasure but have a hard time receiving pleasure.
  • Thinking they are “dirty” or “bad” because they actually do enjoy sex and want it more than their partners.
  • Feeling guilty or shameful about their fantasies and are afraid to express them.

The Therapy Vault was created out of empathy for the pain of therapists having to carry so many esecrets in their hearts and having no one they can talk to about it.

Carrie Klassen has written a wonderful ebook called ‘How to Write a Lovable Homepage’ and she articulates the experience

How to Write a Lovable Homepage is for entrepreneurs who:

  • are doing what they love but aren’t quite making a living yet (you’re not alone!)
  • don’t have enough clients, or enough “right” clients
  • want to surround themselves with only supportive, enthusiastic and loyal customers
  • feel stuck or stressed when it comes to figuring out what to write
  • aren’t always proud to share their websites

Mark Silver’s homepage does a wonderful job of articulating Island A:

Are you losing your heart trying to make your business work?

You can make a healthy profit and a real difference.

You want to make a difference in the world. And there’s no job description that lets you do exactly what you most want. Or the freedom that being self-employed gives you. Or the income potential.

So, accidentally or intentionally, you find yourself in business.

But it’s hard. Running a business turns out to involve more than you thought. Your vision can easily get lost in the overwhelming whirl of details and the pressure of bringing in cash. It’s no surprise you can end up dispirited and burnt-out, losing your confidence, passion and direction.

What’s more, the things you think you have to do to make the business work… you just won’t betray your heart and ethics like that. You won’t do it, no matter how “effective.”

Speak to the symptoms, not about your diagnosis.

Another story: A classic example of getting clear about the problem is FedEx.

For years, they thought they were targeting the CEO’s of the businesses. They thought the problem was helping to facilitate their communication. But then someone stopped and noticed what was going on. They realized that it wasn’t the CEO’s who were using FedEx. It was the harried secretary. They realized that these secretaries wanted to be heroes to their bosses. They changed their marketing to address that and their sales exploded.

The movie The Matrix did this. It powerfully captured a feeling that many people live with. This vague sense that things aren’t right; that there’s more to the world than what we see. It captured the frustration of feeling like we’re just food for the larger machine.

When running for the Presidency in the USA for the 2004 Elections, Senator John Edwards used  his “Two Americas” stump speech as the core of his messaging. The message was this: “There’s not just one America. There are two Americas. There’s an America where you get health care and there’s an America where you don’t. There’s an America where you have opportunity and there’s an America where you don’t.” People resonated with this powerfully. “Yes,” they thought. “It’s just like that.”

The title of John Gray’s best-selling book ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus‘ struck a chord all over the world. People heard that and said, “Wow. That’s true. It’s just like that.” (NOTE: Friends of mine also staged a comedy production called ‘Men Are Stupid, Women Are Crazy.’ which also seemed to resonate strongly with both genders . . .)

Ari Galper realized that most sale people hated cold calling. Hated it. They had a fear of phone. But their jobs depended on it. Here’s what it says on his webpage:

 

Is Selling Painful For You?

It’s not your fault — and there is a better way

Old “tried and true” sales techniques that were once successful have completely lost their effectiveness over the years. That’s why I developed a sales approach that will quickly and automatically put you ahead of the game and instantly in a league above your competition.

 

Imagine that you hate your job and you see this ad. Do you think it might speak to you?

 

 “Is your boss a psychopath?”

Want to quit your job, but you’re afraid to?

Tired of your increasing workload without added pay?

80% of employees dislike their work.

DO YOU?

Call us today – we can help.

 

Speak to the symptoms, not about your diagnosis.

A core question to ask yourself is, “Under what circumstances do your prospects start to think about buying what you offer?” (thank to the book Monopolize Your Marketplace for this gem).

This isn’t what events make people think about buying from you. It’s what make them think about buying the product or service you sell in general.

Also – this is just what starts them thinking about it. We’re not asking for the things that make them say “YES! I’ll buy!” We’re looking for the core problems or triggers that start the process of thinking, researching, talking to friends etc. Only 5% of people are ready to buy right now. Most people are earlier on in the spectrum.

Example #1: What would happen to let you know you were needing a new car?

o    It’s breaking down constantly.
o    I’ve spent more money on repairs than the car is worth. I feel frustrated.
o    I hate the look of my car. I feel embarrased.
o    I just saw a new car I like.
o    I want to get a more fuel efficient car.
o    My family has grown and I need a larger vehicle.

Example #2: What would happen to let you know you were needing a new fence?

o    Your fence is sagging
o    My fence is eight year’s old and it’s starting to look run down
o    My family pet is escaping through gaps in the fence.
o    Animals are getting into your garden
o    The fence is sagging
o    The posts are rotting
o    A strong wind is causing one section to lean.
o    I’m building a new swimming pool and the fence is required by law.
o    You have children and you can’t leave them alone in the yard because they might run into the street.
o    I’m selling my house and I want to get top dollar.

Example #3: What might happen to let you know you were needing a life coach?

o    I am feeling lost in my life
o    I feel like I’m spinning my wheels.
o    I just got laid off and have no idea what to do. I feel overwhelmed.
o    I’ve just gone through a painful divorce and am wanting to start fresh but know I need support.
o    I keep meaning to handle important areas of my life but never seem to get around to it. I feel ashamed and embarrased.
o    I have a very hard time saying ‘no’ and drawing boundaries without feeling guilty
o    I am not getting my needs met in a relationship but have no idea how to ask for it. I feel helpless and confused.
o    I feel dissatisfied with my life but can’t put my finger on why that is.
o    I’ve read all the damn new age and personal development books and I still feel stuck in the same old patterns. I realize that it’s not about more information.
o    I am feeling stuck right now in some unhealthy patterns and I’m just needing someone to hold my hand and walk me through this.

Example #4: Under what circumstances might you start thinking about hiring a web designer?

o    I’m embarrassed about the appearance of my website.
o    I notice that I’m not passing out my website address because I feel so ashamed of its appearance.
o    My materials and website no longer represent me. They don’t capture my vibe and personality.
o    I just saw a website or flyer that made you say, “Wow! I wish mine looked that good.”

In my workshops, I often have clients practice introducing themselves by saying, “Do you know how (kinds of people) struggle with (kind of problem)?” (e.g. “Do you know how a lot of holistic practitioners struggle with getting enough clients?” 

That phrasing of “Do you know . . .?”is important. It’s important that they do know. It’s important that I’m speaking to the symptoms they’re experiencing not the underlying cause (we can and should speak to that later, but not until there’s relevance established).

Which of the following headlines do you think is most likely to get people’s attention?

1)    ‘Do you know how people struggle with always dating the same type of person?’

2)    ‘Do you know how some people’s heart chakra’s are closed down due to past unresolved karma?’

It’s obvious isn’t it?

Shouldn’t our businesses exist to help people with their real problems instead of just being a vanity piece where we show off our boat?

I want to suggest that the heart of your marketing can (and, if I might be so bold, perhaps ought to be) empathy.

Life can be hard sometimes.

We all struggle with things. And we all need help sometimes.

Our business exists to help people with their problems.

Simple enough idea – but the implications are profound and applications often totally overlooked.

Again, the word of the day is: relevance.

Do you remember Aesop’s fable about the lion with the thorn in his paw?

A mouse comes along and sees how much pain the thorn is causing the lion. Even though the lion is roaring loudly, the mouse bravely steps forward and takes it out and wins the lion’s lifelong loyalty. They become the best of friends.

Here’s the point: do you think the lion cared who took it out? Or what particular set of tools the mouse used? What technique? Where he learned it? No. Maybe afterwards. But the first and foremost thing on his mind was ‘get me out of pain.’

 

“It’s much harder to sell clients on a nice idea than it is to speak to the urgent problems they’re facing now.”
Phila Hoopes

 

But isn’t this being negative?

The key is to speak to people’s actual experience, not to just talk about our boat.

Sometimes what’s most real for people is Island A (what they don’t want) and sometimes what’s most real is Island B (what they do want).

But, often, people are more focused on what they don’t want than what they do want.

Is that a disempowering focus? Probably.

Is that a sad statement about where most folks are at? Perhaps.

But you can spend your time railing against reality or you can have empathy for it.

I know some marketers – especially in the new age scene – who never ever want to dwell on the negative or speak to people’s problems. They think that this makes those problems more real and that it’s manipulative.

While I really respect the integrity of this stance – I also think it’s entirely misguided. These people often are failing profoundly in their marketing. What’s often happening is that they’re in love with talking about how profoundly amazing their boat and point of view is.

When people are in pain – they need empathy – not advice.

As the old saying goes, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Sometimes people are just craving for someone to acknowledge their struggles; to know they’re not alone or crazy for feeling how they feel.

For most people, their vision of what they want is far off in the distance but their problems are right in front of their face. And if you want to get their attention you must speak to what’s real to them right now.

You can be arrogant and holier or granolier than thou if you want. You can insist on speaking to what you think they should be focused on. You can ignore how much they’re hurting and simply refuse to acknowledge it and then blame them for not responding to it. You can choose to live in some mythical land where everyone is fully empowered and focused solely on what they want – or you can be a human being and admit that sometimes life is hard for folks. Sometimes people feel frustrated and confused and angry.

If you are willing to get off your high horse and really ‘be with the people’ – if you’re willing to take the time to hear and really understand the pain they experience and willing to articulate that in your marketing – an amazing thing happens: first of all, you get their attention. Second of all, people don’t feel manipulated – they feel seen. If you can artfully articulate their problems well – they feel heard, understood and acknowledged.

And that creates something else – profound trust and connection. If you can give them the empathy they’re seeking by speaking to their experience – they will turn to you like a plant does to sunlight. They will assume that, if you understand their problems that well – your solutions must be equally well thought out.

And, once a relationships developed – you may even be able to help them move their focus away from what they don’t want to what they do want and perhaps even lift their vision to a new horizon they never knew was possible – and wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift to give them?

Ask yourself: What’s going on with them that makes what you’re offering relevant?

 

If there’s no problem, there’s no relevance.

 

People don’t get on your boat because they love it. They get on your boat to get off Island A.

 

Three Compelling Reasons to Clarify Island A:

REASON #1 – THE OPENING

It will give you a compelling opening for your homepage, sales letter, presentation or cold call.

How do most sales conversations start? It’s all about the salesperson, isn’t it. “Hi my name is John and I’m calling from Acme Supplies.” Though it may not be immediately obvious how to do it you can start the conversation with their need, their problems – not your company’s pitch. By starting with their problem, with their lived experience, you instantly get their attention and interest.

If your marketing speaks to a significant problem of theirs, you’d be shocked how much they’d be willing to read. A thirty page sales letter? Impossible you say. Not so.

Imagine you were getting divorced and you didn’t want it to happen. And then, one day in the mail you get a huge direct mail piece with the headline “Exactly What You Need to Say to Stop Your Painful Divorce – Even If It Feels Hopeless.” You’d very likely sit down and read that. If a friend gave to you, even more likely.

When relevance has been established people pay attention. Until it’s been established, they ignore you. It’s rarely a matter of too much information or too many words. It’s almost always an issue of too little relevance.

REASON #2 – IS IT A FIT?

If you are speaking to someone and they are not dealing with the problem you solve – that’s it. It’s over. No need to chase them. No need to try to ask them probing questions. The entire goal of our marketing should be about helping them to sort out if we’re a fit for them or not.

There are so many elements of whether things are a fit or not – but the fastest, clearest and most important one is this: ‘can you help me with a problem I’m experiencing?’. If the problem we solve is fuzzy, so will their minds be when trying to figure out if it’s a fit. Always remember this: the confused mind says ‘no’.

REASON #3 – TRUST

If you can articulate their lived experience and problems even better than they can they will experience a profound amount of trust with you.

They feel profoundly safe with you because they know that you understand them. Don’t underestimate the power of this. In their mind, the logic goes like this: ‘if they understand my problems so well, they most understand how to design a solution well too.’

People don’t get on your boat because they love it. They get on your boat to get off Island A.

Until they perceives some relevance in what you do to their life – nothing happens. And why should it?

On a personal level they may love you dearly, they might give you polite interest at that cocktail party, but on a business level they could care less about your problems, travails and how hard it is for you. They want to know, ‘What can you do for me? Can you get me relief from this pain?’

No, they’re coming to you to get something. Your business is just a tool. Your boat is just a boat to them. An ends to a means. It might sound harsh but I think you’ll find it’s true.

The point is that it isn’t about you and your boat.

 

Three levels of progress in this area. You know you’re making progress here when:

1)    You realize that they’re on Island A and want to go to Island B. You realize that it’s not about your boat – it’s about their journey.

2)    You realize that many people are in learned helplessness about their problems. They think the pain is unavoidable – they’ve tried so. many. different. times. They don’t believe those deeper needs will ever be fulfilled. They fear that the problem is permanent. They’ve learned that they can never get off Island A.

3)    You can articulate their problems better than they can. You can articulate the needs and inklings that they barely even knew they had themselves – you can put words to those vague discomforts, niggling doubts and unclear concerns.

This is a huge sign of progress.

Rich Scheffrenn says in his Maven Matrix report: “Come up with at least three ways to articulate these problems better than your prospects have.  (It’s not as hard as it might sound…nobody sits around trying to come up with better ways to describe a problem, so thinking time will give you a huge advantage here.)” This means that you don’t only understand Island A, you know how they feel about being Island A.

Your goal is to be able to speak to your ideal clients about their problem, about their daily experience, in such a way that they say, “Wow! That’s me! That’s it. She gets it! She understands what I’m dealing with. I’ve never felt that understood.”

Most people don’t even really know what’s wrong. They just know that something feels off.

If you can get that kind of “that’s me!” response you instantly gain massive trust. If they trust your diagnosis, they’ll trust your prescription.

Nothing builds your credibility faster than this. Nothing.

Ari Galper shares these words . . .

“The Prospect’s World — How Do We Understand It?”

QUESTION: Ari, your e-mail really resonated with me. I have my doubts about one sentence, and I’m not sure if it’s because of how it was stated. You say: “…having intimate knowledge of your prospects’ problems BEFORE you approach them.” How can you have intimate knowledge of the prospects problem before approaching them? Through lots of research? I strongly believe we can never to understand our prospect’s world because we don’t live in their world, no matter how much we try.

ARI: Understanding more about your prospects’ problems BEFORE you approach them comes from your ability to listen. And when I say listen, I mean, “Listen WITHOUT your mind thinking about how to move the conversation closer to a sale.”

Also, the term “research” is a bit too impersonal. It’s more accurate to say that you’ll have deep knowledge about your prospects’ problems when you can have open, agenda-free conversations with people who are comfortable sharing what’s happening from their perspective.

But you can’t get these insights if you’re always thinking about moving the sale forward. If a voice in your mind is always saying, “How do I move this conversation closer to a sale?,” then you’re really not “listening.” That’s why you think you can’t “live in their world.” Let go of trying to make the sale, and you’ll learn more about your prospects than you ever imagined.

 

Four qualities of a well articulated problem:

  • it’s urgent: if it’s the kind of problem they can handle whenever, they will likely put off handling it. If there’s no urgency they’ll likely regard what you do with fascination and respect, but they won’t buy. If it’s a mild, dull ache . . . well some people can live with those forever. It’s the old story of the city slicker who gets lost in the country and he walks to a farm house. While he’s getting directions from the farmer sitting on his porch, the dog next to the farmer on the porch floor is whining something awful. When he asks what’s wrong with the dog, the farmer tells him, ‘Oh him. He’s sittin’ on a nail.’ But, the city slicker persists, ‘why doesn’t he move then?’ The farmer looks down on the dog, ‘well, it doesn’t hurt that much . . .’
  • it’s particular: yes, ‘stress’ is a symptom. True. But the stress of a housewife and the stress of a CEO are different. The stress of living your life hiding the fact that you’re gay is different than the stress of trying to scrape enough money to pay your bills. The question of niche becomes tremendously important here. Nothing helps us qualify and refine the nature of the symptoms faster than knowing exactly who we’re talking about.
  • it’s sensory: the most effective of these appeal to your five senses. You can easily describe them. You can imagine them clearly. You can visualize them.  Taken together, the symptoms paint a picture of someone’s life. They tell a story. Your ideal client should read the list you come up with and say, “that’s me!”
  • it has feelings: ideally you not only put in the specific symptoms but also how people feel about those symptoms.

 

Seven ways to identify and clarify the symptoms you help your clients with

  • look to your own wounds: in so many cases, we end up being able to best serve people who are just like us. We can help people who are going through what we went through. Our deepest wounds are often our truest niche.
  • interviews and conversations: sit down with people in your niche and ask them what it’s like to be them. Listen carefully. Take notes. You likely can’t do this enough.
  • listen for their metaphors: when they describe what they live with what images do they use? what is it like for them? what does it seem like to be on Island A? Is it like a prison? Do they feel like they’re at the ‘end of their rope’ or ‘up against a wall’ or more like they’re drowning? Sometimes, this kind of evocative imagery can be used very powerfully in our marketing.
  • look for industry frustrations: where are they currently frustrated or aggravated with your industry? Knowing this can give you some keen insights into how to design your boat and frame it best.
  • get interviewed: have a friend interview you and record what you say. The catch: you must answer the question as if you were your own ideal client. So you will answer all questions with “I” not “they”. Pretend you’re the kind of client you want – step into their shoes. Have them ask you this question again and again, “Under what circumstances do you start to think about buying __________________?”
  • research online: find out where your niche hangs out online. Are there certain forums, blogs, facebook pages etc. Go and research. Read their comments. Participate. Ask questions.

  • consider which of the four tracks it’s a part of: most of the problems people face in their life will fit into one of the following four ‘tracks’. Which one is primary for you (remember: their symptoms, not your diagnosis).
  1. health: physical health, more energy, being more strong, more flexible, better digestion, better sleep etc.
  2. money: this could mean more cash, better money management, ways to save money etc. Can you help them make it or save it? Can you improve their career prospects?
  3. peace of mind: a deeper sense of spirituality and meaning etc. Can you help people feel more relaxed, safe and comfortable in their own skin and at home in the world? Can you help them partake in more meaningful work in their life?
  4. relationships: dating, marriage, better sex etc.

 

Thoughts on how to use these symptoms in your marketing:

  • with great respect and sensitivity: these things are often incredibly painful for people. We don’t want to speak tritely of people’s pain. If they are feeling shame – that is incredibly crippling. It’s very sensitive ground. Tread carefully. You need to acknowledge how hard it is for them.
  • share your own story: sometimes we don’t have to say the infomercially words like, ‘do you suffer from bad breath?’. Sometimes we can just share our story and they can find themselves in it. And sometimes that’s more powerful.
  • tell the client’s story: another option is that you can articulate the story of your typical client. You can do a little one or a big one
  • be curious about the problems you already solve (that you might not even know you’re solving):  Thomas Leonard was one of the founders of the Life Coaching movement. But before he did this, he was a financial advisor. One day he asked a couple who he’d worked with for years, “Why do you work with me? I mean, beyond the technical side.” The husband said, “Thomas, how could we give you up? You’re our marriage counselor!” Thomas was confused and asked them to explain. The wife spoke up and said, “Thomas, you need to understand, before we came to you our marriage was on the rocks. And it was mostly due to fights about money. But then when we saw you, you had this incredibly gentle way of working things out with us. We left that first meeting feeling so at peace. Now we have a rule in our marriage. We don’t talk about money unless Thomas is there. You’ve saved our marriage.”

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

life is easy

I was just in Thailand and I stayed at an organic farm and sustainability center called Pun Pun. It was run by a fellow named Jon and his wife Peggy.

Below is a 15 minute video of Jon sharing the philosophy of his center.

It’s a beautiful example of a well articulated point of view and clear sense of why. And I think it might just inspire and warm your heart.

 

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