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All that Glitters Ain’t Gold

Just because it’s the next “hot” thing doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for your business.  It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to make sure that you don’t miss anything or that your business is on top of the latest and greatest trends, but before you jump feet first into something simply because it’s what’s hot at the moment, ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Am I being true to my mission?  If you’re not sure of what your mission is, now is the time to figure it out. You should be able to articulate your mission in a few short sentences or a 30 second commercial that will clearly identify who you are and what you do.  Everything you do should align with this mission statement and support it.  
  2. Will this action gain my business traction with my target market? Unless you’re a nonprofit most people are in business to make money. If the next hottest thing will not increase your revenue, why do it?  
  3. Do I know enough about this hot trend to execute? Is this something that you can do well? If not, don’t do it. If you think this hot trend will help advance your business, but you know you don’t know enough about it to do it well, find someone that can guide you. 

As a professional it’s easy to get intoxicated by what appears to be just what you need to get to the next level. Is it important to be on top of what’s going on in your space, but it’s just as important to have the maturity and insight to know that all things are not for all people.   

You know your business better than anyone else…don’t get caught up in thinking that what you are doing is not enough. You know the old adage…the grass looks greener on the other side.  And it especially looks greener when you’re in a rut, going through a slow period or experiencing flat growth. The answer is not always something new, sometimes; you just need to focus on what made your grass green when you started.   


The 3 Secrets to Closing Every Sale

I think at one time or another we all have struggled with this to some degree. We all have heard the old saying, “ABC…Always Be Closing,” and there is a lot of merit to that statement. The close should be a natural last step in the progression of your meeting.  It should not be looked at as an isolated event. If you do everything right through the process, the secrets of closing will be revealed. 

Unfortunately, there are many people who still look at the sales process as an adversarial one….”I have to get them before they get me.” That’s a pretty old school way at looking at growing your business.  

First, you need to see yourself as a consultant, not just a sales person. To discover one of the primary secrets of closing you need to ask yourself what value you bring to the relationship. Anyone can push a product or service, but by positioning yourself as a business consultant, you are setting yourself apart from everyone else who is trying to just “sell” something.

Does it take more effort? Absolutely, but the dividends pay off. 

When you are talking to potential new customer always ask yourself if the information that you are providing is something that they need. To do this, you have to make sure that you do a thorough assessment of their current situation before offering solutions.

Sometimes you can be so excited about what you have to offer that you dominate the conversation with all the great things you can do. Remarkably, this is one of the secrets of closing that is often overlooked.  Imagine going to the doctor and immediately getting prescribed medication without anyone asking you what’s wrong. That’s what a lot of “salespeople” do and wonder why they walked out of the meeting empty handed. 

You can pretty much drill down the reasons people buy to two points-to avoid pain to get pleasure. How does your offering solve either of these issues? You can’t answer this question unless you know what brings them pain and what brings them pleasure. After you know the answer to this, you can have a business conversation (not a sales pitch) about how your service, opportunity or product can help. Use these secrets of closing to build your million-dollar enterprise.  

So, before you have your next meeting, remember these three points: 

  1. Build Value-You are more than just a salesperson. You are a business consultant. 
  2. Identify what is important to them before you start providing solutions. 
  3. Closing is not an isolated incident. It is natural once you have laid the foundation, built the trust and proven yourself to be a professional and someone that your prospect would be eager to partner with. 

WARNING: Don’t Even Think About Trying To Attract Followers on Social Media Who Want What You Have To Offer Until You Read This!

WARNING: Don’t Even Think About Trying To Attract Followers on Social Media Who Want What You Have To Offer Until You Read This!

I remember putting on large scale conferences and events and oftentimes we just wanted to get butts in seats so the photos or the news coverage didn’t look bad. Politicians do it all the time…they’re having a speech on TV and people are staged behind them with their campaign t-shirt or hat on to give the image of solidarity and support. All of this is fine from a public relations or even a public perception perspective. Try saying that three times fast.

But if you’re a business owner you know that a good “look” doesn’t pay the bills. That’s why it’s so important that your online followers are more than your mom, your college roommate, your grandfather, the creepy dude from the post office and that one stalker chick from the gym. You need traffic that is going to convert. Period.

The first thing I want you to do is an audit of your current social media profiles. Don’t worry… a social media audit template is in the Free Socal Media Engagement Power Toolkit. This audit will help you assess what you need to work on moving forward. It will assess where you currently have a presence, where you may not need to have a presence and where you might want to consider having a presence. It will also give you a good snapshot of who your fans and followers are and how they are engaging with you right now.

So that brings us to our first point…

  1. Followers, fans and likes are nice but conversion is KING.

Followers, Fans and Likes….who cares?

All traffic ain’t good traffic and all followers ain’t good followers. It feels good to go to your page and see that your followers and fans have increased but, if they aren’t the types of followers or fans that are going to take an action that you want then how valuable are they? Eventually, you want this fan or follower to become a customer, donor, supporter, etc.

Do not be deceived. Be wary of companies promising to bring you 1,000s of new followers to your social media accounts. There are a lot of companies out there who use bots to get you more followers. What is a bot? I’m glad you asked!

A bot is a software application that runs automated activity over the internet. Many companies that promise you traffic will use bots to increase your followers. Many of those followers are not even human. What’s the good in having 250,000 Instagram followers when only a fraction of those followers are truly interested in what you have to offer let alone have a pulse.

Now if your goal is just to look like a social media superstar then go for it. Get all the automated followers you can. But if you’re trying to make money…keep reading.

Organic traffic is the best way to go if you want people engaging with your content who have a genuine interest in what you have to offer. I would rather have 500 people following me that I can build an actual relationship with and provide enough value so that they would eventually want to work with me than have 10,000 “people” following me because of an automated system. Don’t get me wrong there are some reputable companies that can help you get followers, but just be sure to do your due diligence.

One more thing…stop following people just because they follow you. That is, unless you’re truly interested in their content. If they get mad and unfollow you because you don’t follow them back, so what? They obviously aren’t interested in what you have to say and they certainly aren’t buying. Poof! Be gone!

  1. Create valuable content that’s shareable.

Post good stuff on a regular basis.

Don’t panic. It all doesn’t have to be original. You can share an insightful post about something in your niche, share an article that addresses a problem you can solve, etc. When you are sharing make sure you’re no always asking for something in return-buy from you, join your email list, etc. Right now you’re building trust and making them think, “Wow, if this is the value of what I get for FREE, I can only imagine how good the paid stuff is!”

Of course, you’re going to eventually ask them to do something, but you are going to focus on building the value first. After trust is built, taking action will be a natural step in the process of building a relationship. You have to earn the right to take that next step.

Not sure what to post every day? Have a theme for each day. Monday Motivation, Tuesday Tips, Throwback Thursday, Fun Fridays, you see where I’m going with this. Figure out themes that work for your business and go for it. And when you post photos or other original images make sure to tag it with your logo and website or web address to a landing page. Don’t worry, I’ve got a list of more ideas for you in the free toolkit.

Once your content gets shared, (and it will because it’s going to be so fabulous!) you want to make sure someone who is not already a follower or fan that sees it knows how to find more of it. Canva is a great tool to use to create visual content if you’re not a designer. And designing is not my skill so I use Canva everyday and love it!

To stay organized and save time, create a content calendar a month in advance so you don’t have to figure out what you’re posting every day. Or maybe you are going to post every other day. Whatever you decide just stick to it and be consistent. Capitalize on holidays and special events as well. You can also use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and CapZool to help with scheduling your posts.

  1. Focus on building a community of engaged participants not just a list of people.

“I’m here so now what?”

It’s kind of like someone getting the nerve to ask you out and on the first date they don’t have anything to say. Probably won’t get a second date, huh? That’s exactly how your followers feel. They’ll stop visiting your page, undo notifications from you and eventually stop following you altogether. You don’t want that.

Engagement can be negative or positive. Be ready to engage on either level.

Consider getting a community manager. Your community manager should be focused on responding to questions, posing questions and posting relevant and related content. You can always be your own community manager if you’re just starting out.

You should also create a social media flow chart which is essentially a road map and set of guidelines to follow if something happens in the “community.” Your flow chart will be a valuable tool if your community manager needs help with a complaint or other customer service issues. You can’t ignore these things…have a plan to deal with them. Complaints and customer service issues can be opportunities to really strengthen your relationship with your followers. I’ve got a template for you in the free toolkit.

If handled properly, the fan or follower will feel great about doing business with you. Also, you have others watching and waiting to see the outcome….it’s like reality TV. Do the right thing and turn this into a win.

  1. Keep your tone personal and conversational….show your personality!

Who are you?

It’s hard to stand out with all the noise out there in social media land. Your secret weapon is, well, you! Don’t be afraid to infuse those parts of your personality or the personality of your business that gives your fans and followers a sense of what makes you tick. Jokes, stories, pictures…..all of these can be used to distinguish you from the competition and make you stand out more.

With all the new technology that we use every day to start, grow and expand our businesses when it comes to making a sale people buy from people (brands) they like. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Be likable!

If you’re looking for a magic bullet and instant gratification, this whole “organic traffic gotta engage with people” thing is probably not what you want to hear. But if you only have 100 followers make sure you are providing those 100 fans undeniable value for their time. I’m sure you wouldn’t be mad if 25 of them became customers, right?

The reality is 250,000 quality followers don’t happen overnight. On the flip side, I assure you that in the long run, if you follow these strategies, you will have a list of engaged, valuable followers who are a true representation of your target audience who will ultimately convert into customers.

Like I mentioned, I’ve put together a Social Media Engagement Power Toolkit that will support you as you become the next Social Media Superstar! Details are below.

Download Your Social Media Engagement Power Toolkit Here!

You’ll get:

  • Social Media Audit Template
  • Social Media Content Calendar Template
  • Post Ideas To Encourage Engagement
  • Social Media Response Flow Chart Template

Bounce Like a Boss! 5 Self-Defeating Thoughts Keeping You From Starting Your Business

I consider myself a serial entrepreneur. I’ve started many businesses in my life, some extremely successful and others…not so much. Risk adverse…that’s what happens when you get older, have children, a mortgage, car payments, college tuition and all those other fun things that make us adults.

I’ve talked to so many people who are frustrated working for somebody else and have a great idea for their own venture, but few are willing to step out. So they settle into a life knowing that there is so much more out there, living for the weekend when they may dabble in their passion a bit and dreading Sunday nights in anticipation of going to a job that they know they’ve outgrown. Can you relate? I know I’ve been there.

When you know you are capable of so much more, it is self-defeating to not pursue your dreams. So after talking to many people about this dilemma and even looking deep within myself because at times I’ve had problems moving forward, I’ve identified the 5 main reasons why you more than likely have not stepped out to pursue your dream. Maybe just one describes you or maybe you can relate to all of them, but know you’re not alone.

  1. I’m gun-shy. I’ve attempted to start a business before and failed. I’ve actually failed a few times.

I’ve had an unsuccessful business before. It sucks when it’s happening. If this is you, you know exactly what I’m talking about. More money going out than coming in, trouble making payroll, not able to pay yourself…I could go on. The hope is you learn from that experience and can look back and see where things went wrong. I’m not going to inundate you with a ton of stories about how failure is the road to success because I‘m sure you already know that.

I just need you to know it can be true for YOU so you can get back out there and take your shot. Now you know the pitfalls, what to look out for. You’re actually in a better position now than when you started. Experience is the best teacher and failure is the PhD. Don’t dwell on the past. Embrace the lesson, accept what you need to do differently and gear up to start your new business head on.

  1. I don’t have a support system.

You can already hear it, “I know you’re not going to leave a ‘good job’ to start a business!” Insert eye roll here. Bless their hearts…they mean well, but don’t entertain them. Everyone is not wired to be an entrepreneur. We’re cut from a different cloth. Your passion and your dream are all yours. Everyone is not going to understand. And you can get started on your dream while you’re still working full time. Don’t entertain people that aren’t going to support your decision.

As a matter of fact, keep it to yourself and let your success do all the talking. I promise you there are people out there ready and willing to support you in this journey. Create your support team-the people that keep you motivated and focused on your success during this process. Also, check out my Facebook group, Bounce like a BOSS! This group is focused on supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, we’ll have your back….this is YOUR tribe! We have people still working full-time for someone else, people who have just taken the leap and seasoned entreprenuers to help guide you through the process. And yep, it’s free!

Click here to join Bounce Like A Boss-The Facebook Group

  1. I know I want to do something, but I don’t see how it translates into a profitable business.

Or maybe you have soooooo many ideas you don’t know where to start. Do you have a hobby that you can monetize? Is there a special skill that you have that you can teach others? Maybe you love your job but you don’t want to work for anyone else. You want to take those skills and consult. Maybe you want to go a completely different direction and try something new.

What would you do for free? What sets your soul on fire? What makes you happy? What is something that people complain about doing but you LOVE doing it? You would be surprised what people pay for. Think it through, do the research and come up with a plan.

  1. I’ve never run a business before. I’m afraid I won’t be successful.

Suck it up, buttercup. I want you to change the way you’re looking at this. What if I told you this nagging that you feel every day that there is something else you’re supposed to be doing is not about you? It’s about the lives you are going to change once you step out and finally commit to being true to who you are.

If you give in to your fear and don’t move forward, how many people may suffer by not having the benefit of your gift? Don’t be selfish…do it afraid! Clearly define your vision for your new venture and see yourself being successful. Anticipate potential roadblocks and come up with solutions. Don’t stay stuck. Develop a plan…may not be next week, may not be next year, but figure out a plan and work toward it. If marketing is not your thing, get help. Afraid of sales? Find a coach or a mentor to help you. You can start learning while you are still working.

  1. I don’t have the money.

Ahhhh, money. Makes the world go ‘round, right? I started my first business with about $200. True story. Depending on what you are going to do you can get started with very little money. If you’re still working make a plan to put aside a certain amount each month into a ‘freedom’ fund. Even if it’s $25 each time you get paid, do something. Is there a way you can start your business as a side hustle until you’re ready to go full steam ahead? Get to hustlin’!

According to a November 1, 2016 article in Forbes magazine, “Multiple studies from Intuit to The Freelancer’s Union predict that at least 40% of the workforce will be freelancers in the next few years.” That translates into opportunity for you. The timing is perfect.

Get a few clients and use that income to fuel your business. Just to make it easy, say you bring in $100 with your side hustle. Put $50 into your dream account, $25 towards marketing for your next client and $25 in your pocket. That’s just an example but I think you get the point. The important thing is to have a plan and commit to it.

You can do this. Take baby steps and celebrate short-term wins in the process. Will it be easy? Absolutely not, but things worth having rarely are. If you got all the way to the end of this article I’m convinced you have the desire to make a change in your life and an impact in this world. Develop a plan, give yourself a timeline and make it happen! See you at the top!