There’s nothing wrong with aiming high – but striving for perfection could be hindering your success, If you can relate to any of these 5 signs, you need to get out of your own way, and stop being a perfectionist:
Sign #1 – Success is black and white
A lot of perfectionists can be characterized by their black or white approach to success and failure. Instead of appreciating a spectrum of success, with some business ideas achieving moderate, or even mixed results, perfectionists will view everything they do as either a complete success, or a total failure. This can be severely hindering to a business, as it encourages an attitude of ‘all-or-nothing’ – with entrepreneurs unable to see the good in their ideas, and unable to achieve satisfaction in anything they do.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Remind yourself that even bad ideas can offer value; and a failure is one step closer to success.
Sign #2 – You won’t take risks
This tendency to view all failures as completely catastrophic encourages an attitude of risk-adverseness – a desire to avoid any and all risk. An element of risk is part-and-parcel of being an entrepreneur (‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’), and being a perfectionist can reduce the growth of your business, and your willingness to adopt new ideas.
I knew a small business owner, a friend of mine, that was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to pitch their products to one of the market-leading giants of their industry. My friend was relatively successful, with a small but established customer base; and the perceived risk of scaling up their business was too much for them. They declined the offer, and missed out on the chance to sell their products internationally. Why? Because they didn’t want to risk failing – no matter how small the risk, or how big the reward.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Try and identify a spectrum of risk; ranging from small, harmless risks, to huge, life-altering ones. Make a conscious effort to take a small risk on a regular basis.
Sign #3 – You take criticism personally
Criticism is crucial to the development of a business, and the advice of our peers can provide some of the best insights into successful business development. Perfectionists have a tendency to take this criticism very personally – and they’re unable to separate business criticism from personal criticism. This happens because perfectionists invest themselves into their ideas, and take professional criticism as an attack upon their abilities. This can prevent businesses from making vital changes, and can severely limit growth.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Critique your own ideas, and try to identify an aspect of your business that could do with improving.
Sign #4 – You never reach your goals
Perfectionists are renowned for setting unreachable goals; and even rationalizing away their success when they do reach them. Perfection is rarely attainable, especially for real-world businesses and people. There are always limits and problems that arise from government legislation, employees and sheer logistics – and striving for the perfect business will prevent an entrepreneur from ever reaching their goal. Even successful entrepreneurs might never be satisfied – because they believe that their business could always be improved.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Analyze your ambitions – are they realistic? Could they ever be achieved? Set goals that are aspirational, but still founded in reality.
Sign #5 – You think unhappiness is the price of success
The end-result? Unhappiness. Most perfectionists believe unhappiness to be part-and-parcel of achieving success, and live unfulfilling lives because they think it’s vital to achieving their goals. In reality though, happiness should be a goal in its own right – and success at the expense of your own happiness isn’t really success at all.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Make happiness an ambition, and don’t strive for success at the expense of your own happiness.
QUESTION: What tips do you use to get out of your own way? How do you prevent yourself from being overly-perfectionist? Let me know in the comments!
In the digital age, setting up trade show tips, and talking to actual people might seem like a trip back to the stone age, but 99 percent of marketers find unique value in this format, according to the Trade Show News Network. With face-to-face meetings, you can reel in more clients and, because so many of your clients will be in the same place at once, you can build brand awareness with all of them in one fell swoop. Before you set up your next trade show be sure to include these trade show tips to help you generate more leads.
Exhibiting doesn’t need to be expensive and, if you integrate these six trade show tips into your show strategy, you could easily increase your profits without spending an extra dime:
Trade Show Tips #1: Make It Interactive
The more a potential client has to do in your booth, the longer they will stay. The longer you have them in front of you, the more likely they are to become a client. To keep them, your booth needs to engage and captivate. How can you make it interactive?
Inc.com reports that Monster, the career building company, has kept people in its booths by letting them play with interactive touch screens. If that’s out of your budget, bring demos of your products or iPads with interactive tours of your ideas. Even handing someone a clipboard with a form to fill out could be considered interactive.
Trade Show Tip #2: Process Sales on Site
One way to double your success is to collect money at the event itself. If someone’s excited about your product, let them have it then and there. Thanks to mobile credit card processing, you can easily charge someone’s credit card, using just your phone. Most companies offer a free card reader and charge a small percentage per transaction. You can set up this convenience without having to spend a lot of cash upfront.
Trade Show Tip #3: Secure Prime Real Estate
The show producer probably charges the same amount of money for every spot in the show. You can spend extra cash and buy a larger booth, but there are ways to be seen without digging too deeply into your pockets.
Buy your booth early and ask the producer to let you pick out your own spot. Choose a booth near the front doors, on a corner, or at the top of an aisle. The more foot traffic you have coming past, the more opportunities for earning you have. If spots aren’t assigned before the show, arrive as early as possible so you can stake out a prime piece of real estate.
Trade Show Tip #4: Promote! Promote! Promote!
Obviously, the show producer will run a big marketing campaign leading up to the show, but don’t forget to do your own work, as well. Forbes reminds exhibitors to promote the event as if it’s their own, because it is. Invite your network to the event, send email blasts to your contact lists, and even buy extra tickets so you can let your best clients into the show for free.
Trade Show Tip #5: Speak Up!
You are an expert in your field, and the show needs to fill time slots on its stage. Offer to speak. It will bring you, your brand, and your products more attention. Tailor the speech to the show attendees. If it’s a consumer show, stick with how to’s, consumer tips, or product demos. If it’s a show full of industry peers, talk about things that will grab their attention, like shifts in the industry or new product trends.
Trade Show Tip #6: Offer an Irresistible Incentive!
Among all the trade show tips the first objective you should focus on is how you will get more traffic to the table. Your aim here is not necessarily to attract the immediate sales opportunities (although that may sound more intuitive). What is even more valuable to you is to leave with contact information of potential prospects who could be in the market in the future. Featuring an irresistible incentive to motivate attendees to give you their business card or fill out your lead sheet should be on the top of your trade show tips strategy.
QUESTION: What is a creative strategy you’ve used? Share your best trade show tips in the comment box below.
You know you could find more customers if you could just figure out how to get in front of and network with your ideal target market. You already know how painful it is to network with a group of tire kickers or worse, people who aren’t even aware they need or want your services. So, you wonder where are the best places to find and interact with potential clients on a meaningful level? I can help you find more of your dream customers, but it requires you to get clear on a list of preliminary questions first. This process is a lot like finding your dream home. Your realtor has access to a massive database of homes for sale on the market, but she will only show you the homes that fit the criteria of what you’re looking for. That’s the same thing when it comes to marketing your business. Once you get clear on exactly what and who you are looking for, finding hundreds of perfect customers is as easy as a realtor entering in search criteria on her computer and hitting the print button. Let me share with you six key questions you need to answer that will help you find your ideal target market.
#1. What are twelve things you can describe about your customer avatar?
Let’s say you are a service provider like a business coach, corporate attorney or an outsourced IT firm. It’s not enough to describe your target market as C level executives and VP’s. That’s like asking your realtor to find you a home at the shore. You may think you’re being specific by narrowing it down to shore side homes. But, you can’t expect a real estate agent to find you the perfect shore home without giving them more details.
Even with this example, not every C level executive and VP is going to be the perfect customer for you. So, drill down on details like:
What size is their company?
How many employees does their company have?
What industry are they in?
What type of company are they? (ie public, private, family run, etc)
Different size companies make buying decisions in different ways. The industries they are in will also tell you a lot of information as to what kind of marketing messages and processes they are exposed to. For example, a 5M company in the security systems business may be used to signing up for online webinars, but a 5M business in the building / contracting industry may be completely unfamiliar with what a webinar is.
What is their exact job title? VP of what?
How long have they worked for the company?
What age bracket are they?
Are they male or female?
Are they married, single, divorced?
Do they have kids? How many? What ages?
What is their household income?
What do they do in their free time?
It’s important to know these details about your customer avatar. People with grown kids or no kids are more likely to attend evening networking events; whereas those with young kids will typically choose a morning or afternoon event.
Where do they live?
How long is their commute?
How do they get to work?
How many hours a week do they work?
#2. What association groups do they belong to?
Keep in mind people belong to different types of association groups. Some are industry related where they can network among their peer group. Others join association groups so they can be visible among their own target market. A third category would be association groups that share common outcome goals like an Association group for CEO’s of family run businesses or for Legal Marketers, etc. When you look at each association group you want to find out if they have an:
online and/or print newsletter you can advertise in?
online and/or print publication you can write for?
application process for guest speaking at their chapter meetings?
#3. Where do they congregate in person?
You want to be able to find a way to meet your target market where they gather in groups. Every association holds in person meetings and some even host conferences. Make a list of when and where these events are held and choose one or two to start attending. If you want to find out more places where you target market is congregating in person just start Googling different search terms + associations.
#4. Where do they congregate online?
Online networking is a very efficient way to start to build relationships with your target market and then shortlist a sub group who you can interact with offline.
Start searching keyword phrases using different combinations of:
job titles of your target market
industry groups they represent
outcome goals they are looking to achieve
If you’re targeting local then add the name of your city and county to your searches. You want to search in LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Meetup.com and Google.
#5. What are they reading to stay sharp in their industry?
You can get this information by simply asking the question in a discussion thread once you join targeted LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, etc. You can also survey or call up your own customers to ask them what they’re reading. Once you find out the top 5-10 publications your target market reads you can then:
find out writers guidelines to those magazines/newspapers
submit relevant article pitches to their columnists.
find out their advertising rates for display ads and classified ads.
A niche journal will be a lot less expensive to advertise in that something like The Wall Street Journal. Whether you advertise or your business is featured by their columnist or you author an article, being published in their top industry magazines is a great way for your perfect customers to find you.
#6. Find more customers by what are they listening to?
When you find out that your customer avatar has a 30 minute commute to work you can bet they are listening to some type of talk radio or podcast show. Podcast shows have grown rapidly, but there are still some loyal listeners to talk radio shows.
Ask them what they’re listening to in the same discussion thread you ask what they’re reading. Then rinse and repeat what you did for step 5 and do this for step 6. Many podcast and radio shows interview guest experts for 15 min, 30 min and even 60 minute episodes. This is an easy way for you to get exposure to a large number of targeted listeners where you can showcase your expertise. This method, by far creates a stronger bond with your listeners than you could possibly achieve in a 30 second commercial. While there are worthwhile benefits to old school networking, hearing you talk for 30 minutes will always make a stronger impression than simply hearing your 30 second elevator pitch.
So, if you really want to find more of your ideal customers take 10 minutes right now to start answering these 6 questions. Remember, just like finding your dream home, you can find your dream customers a whole lot faster and easier when you have a detailed profile of your buyer persona.
So, now that you are more clear who your ideal target market is … the next step is to think about what marketing tactics you’ll use to get your business in front of your target market.
A lot of advisors today are still relying solely on traditional methods of business development — like asking clients for referrals, cold emailing and networking.
The problem is not the method, but the call to action used with the method. Often times you’re asking your network and your clients to invite their friends to book a consultation with you. It’s no wonder why the sales cycle takes so long and yields a disappointingly low response rate.
Whether you’re an attorney, CPA, coach, consultant, financial advisor, attorney or fitness expert there is an overwhelming number of other advisors in your category competing for your prospect’s attention.
So, how does one stand out among so much competition?
The key is to focus on building your reputation as the clear go to expert in your field.
When you build your expertise:
Prospects are immediately pre sold on you before they even speak to you.
Prospects are calling you instead of you needing to go prospecting for clients.
You can also command higher fees when you get known as the high level expert.
Those are 3 great reasons to building your expertise isn’t it?
Yet, this marketing advice has been missed by so many advisors who end up spinning their wheels simply networking at coffees and lunches or buying more ad space. Instead of thinking about your marketing plan as “advertising” as an advisor you want to think about your overall marketing plan more like “educating.”
Keep in mind that the job of advertising is to to simply bring attention and awareness to who you are. It’s pretty difficult to build your expertise inside an half page ad space, but you can do this easily with the unlimited free space you have at your disposal with a blog.
Educating your target market is not only free, but it also serves a key role to attracting more traffic to your website.
Be generous in sharing your thought leadership, your insights, your pet peeves — your unique perspective.
Advisors who are stingy (or paranoid) about sharing your knowledge are the ones who end up being regarded as a commodity.
Here are 5 ways to implement this marketing advice, so you can leverage your advice to quickly attract new clients with ease.
1. Start blogging.
A blog is an article that is written in your voice as if you are having a personal conversation with your prospect one on one. You publish your blog on your main business website under it’s own tab labeled “blog”.
Blogging is an opportunity for you to leverage your time while reaching a much larger audience. Here are four great reasons you should start blogging:
Blogging builds equity into your marketing assets — like owning a home versus paying rent each month. When you publish your blog article, since it lives on the internet forever (unless you unpublish it) your message continues to reach new people month after month … year after year.
Blogging is also one of the easiest and fastest ways to get found on the internet by those very people who are looking for an expert like you (which is an SEO marketing advice tip!)
Blogging is also a great way to fuel your other business development tactics. If you’re using a free consultation or an “apply now” lead generation approach, you’ll see higher response rates if you first drive advertising, networking, social media updates to specific blog posts. This is an important bridge step that introduces a cold audience to you and warms them up. You’ll see a much higher response rate to your free consult or apply now invitation once you give them time to know-like-trust you through your valuable blog posts.
Blogging is an easy way to showcase your thought leadership and build your reputation as the go to expert in your field. You can even republish your blog on your LinkedIn profile as long form articles where you’ll receive even greater visibility and reach than from just your website traffic alone.
So, now that you’ve decided you will commit to blogging, what should you blog about?
2. Brainstorm a blog editorial calendar.
It can be pretty daunting to stare at a blank paper and expect to whip out a great blog article every week. So, break up your blogging process in tiny bite size pieces. First, just brainstorm a list of ideas on topics and titles you could blog about.
What are the top 10 most frequently asked questions you hear from your prospects and clients?
What are the top 10 myths your target market believes about your topic that you can debunk?
What are 10 pieces of bad advice you see others giving in your industry?
What are 10 questions your prospects SHOULD be asking you?
What are 10 things prospects should be looking for when choosing the right (fill in the blank)?
See how quickly you can come up with your first 50 title ideas with just these thought joggers alone?
Here are 3 different examples:
If you are a CPA you could answer questions like:
What’s the latest tax advice for maximizing cash flow and profits for small business?
How to do a profit and loss statement for small business
What is a general ledger?
Pros and cons of sole proprietorship, LLC or sub S corporation
If you are a physical therapist you could answer questions like:
How long should you rest from a sprained ankle?
My son thinks he can tape his injured ankle and still play in the game. Is that a bad idea?
What are the best exercises to strengthen weak ankles?
This marketing advice is not just for advisors alone. It also works for all business owners. Let’s say you own a residential / commercial painting business you could answer questions like:
What’s the difference between latex paint and oil based paint?
What is the best type of paint to use for exterior house painting?
What should you do when you see bubbles on your exterior siding?
Ok, so imagine your website being full of answers and advice you give on 20 of these types of questions. I’m sure you can see how that would quickly elevate your expertise in the minds of your prospects.
By simply educating the public (which is what you do anyway when you speak to potential clients one on one) you are marketing yourself while being seen as the go-to expert in your field.
Building your expertise does take work. It won’t happen is just 5 minutes a day. However, it also does not require 5 hours a day either. After all, most of your work-week should understandably be spent in serving your clients and scaling your business!
3. Re-Purpose your blog for 5X the ROI.
Here is a great way to re-purpose one activity into multiple tactics, so you can reach more prospects through multiple channels. The gem in this marketing advice is by re-purposing your written content you are scaling your reach into audiences that the written word alone would not reach.
Speak your blogs on video. While some prospects are readers and will find your blogs while surfing the internet, other prospects are visual and will find your content while surfing YouTube. Videos are also even more effective at building relationships than the written word alone because you engage more of their senses.
Plus, your personality comes through even greater on video when you speak. Building videos does not have to be expensive. While it’s good to hire a professional videographer for some of your video marketing, you can also create lots of great video blogs right from your smartphone or webcam.
If you don’t like getting in front of a camera or you just don’t have time to shoot a video here is an example of how I converted a blog post into a videowhere I’m mostly sharing my slides. You can also see an example of what the audio version looks like too on this same page:
Speak your blogs on audio. A third segment of your prospects are neither readers nor have the patience to sit in front of a computer to watch videos. For people who are on the go and like to multi task my marketing advice is to reach these folks through downloadable audio mp3’s where they can listen to your advice and get educated while they are driving, walking or doing other activities.
Republish your blogs on LinkedIn as long form articles. With this tip I mentioned earlier you want to be sure you publish it first as a blog on your website, then publish it again on LinkedIn. It’s a good idea to include a note at the end of the LinkedIn version that it was originally published on your specific blog URL.
Publish your blog as a SlideShare presentation. There is a 5th segment of your prospects who like getting a condensed version of your content in a Powerpoint slide deck format. You can hire inexpensive freelancers on sites like Fiverr to convert your blog into beautifully designed Powerpoint slides. Plus, since LinkedIn owns SlideShare it’s another great way to multiply your find-ability on LinkedIn.
Share your blogs, videos and audios on social media consistently throughout the year. Once you publish your blog people searching your topic will be able to find your article online (more so when you learn how to optimize your blogs for the right keywords), but you can drive 10X more traffic to your blog post when you promote and re-promote your content over and over throughout the year.
Social media is a great channel to share the links of each blog, video and audio on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Once users see the value you bring, you can get them to follow you and also share your content with others.
Every time you share a blog post or other types of updates on your social media your post appears in your network’s feed which is like having your ad appear (for free!) in the daily newspaper that gets delivered to everyone’s front door. You are reaching targeted people in your network as direct mail post cards would.
Except, they’ll want to read your post because it’s not an advertisement in the style of a commercial. They read your posts because you shared valuable information that educated them.
5. Convert blog readers into email subscribers.
While a some of your blog readers may contact you right away, studies show that 67% of people researching the internet are not yet actively ready to buy. But if they are reading your blog at all you want to consider them as a “warm audience”.
A great way to turn your warm audience into warm leads is to offer something of value in exchange for their email address. That way, you have the benefit of communicating with them directly to their inbox, so when they are actively looking to buy you will be top of mind since they have already been receiving valuable emails from you on a regular basis.
If you don’t know how to create high performing teams then managing a staff will quickly feel like a burden and drain your time, energy and money. But, the alternative is just not acceptable either.
You don’t want to resort to wearing all the hats in your business or you’ll quickly burn out and so will your sales. Trying to grow your business all by yourself is definitely the LONG, SLOW way to go. Even if you are running a solo practice you’ll grow your business much faster with a small team of just you and one other person.
When you create high performing teams you no longer have to “babysit” your staff or waste precious hours each week chasing after them to meet deadlines.
If you want to know the secret to creating high performing teams — onsite employees or a virtual team, then don’t miss this week’s Q&A episode.
This might sounds like a simple question, but it is definitely not a one answer solution.
In this week’s Q&A episode you’ll discover:
* Strategies for holding your virtual assistant (and onsite team) accountable, so you don’t have to constantly follow up with them. * How to build team morale even when everyone is living thousands of miles away from each other. * Plus! I have a special free 11-point checklist you can download to help you create your very own high performing team!
Click the audio or video below.
Then, be sure to share your questions and comments below. I’d love to know what your biggest challenges are when it comes to managing your team.
PS. Ok, I gotta tell you … I am loving recording these Q&A episodes for you!
This feels so much more interactive for me to hear your questions directly from your voice messages. The feedback I’ve gotten so far is that you love being able to listen on the go. And, many of you shared you like that I do a much deeper dive on the audio than I can typically cover in a text only blog.
I have to say, it’s definitely a win-win because these audio and video sessions are so much faster for me to record than writing everything out on a regular blog. (Believe it or not, I am a painfully slow writer!)
So, as long as you guys keep sending me questions I will keep sending you the mini lessons through the audio blog and vlog format.