Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A kick in the butt from IttyBIz

Some kick in the butt advice from Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz (yep, another Facebook friend of mine but since she's moving to the UK soon may become a real friend). I have taken a chunk verbatim from her latest blog post:

If you run a service business — and in service I include coaching and consulting — and to a degree if you run any other kind of business, here’s the best piece of advice I’ve got.

Spend 4 times more time on MARKETING than you do on DOING.

I could give you the list and litany of people who are the worst at this, but basically everybody is the worst at this. Except maybe life coaches. They’re the REAL worst.

You bust your ass creating this wonderful business that is going to change lives. You get the certification and you spend the money on the website and you give the free sessions to get the testimonials. You create something that will quite honestly make it so people will not even remember what their life was like before they worked with you. And then what do you do?

You sit around and wait for people to find you.

Unless any of the other aspects of your business are absolutely tragic, you should not be spending your work time:

- tweaking your website
- responding to comments
- reorganizing your accounting methods
- taking skills upgrade courses, including mine
- reading ebooks
- chatting on IM
- telling people what you ate for breakfast on Twitter

There is nothing wrong with any of the above activities, but those are the things to do in your SPARE time. And if you’re not getting clients right now, you don’t have spare time during the workday. The time that you THINK is spare should be spent getting your name out there, all over the place.

If you are not getting enough clients, your only priority is getting clients.
That is all. Now stop reading blogs and get back to work

Original post at IttyBiz

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trust, but verify

Seth Godin (marketing expert and one of my Facebook friends) wrote this in his blog today. I have reproduced his blog post verbatim as they are very very wise words:

If you think that's a friend of yours on twitter, don't be so sure.

If you wonder why your boss sent such an insane email to you, don't be so sure.

If you get a chance to invest online, think twice.

Don't buy anything from an inbound phone call.

That email you sent in confidence... probably won't be read that way. And that photo, yes, it's going to show up in the digital world where you least want to see it...

In your little village, where you see your neighbor every day for ten years and the person in the next car might be the local constable, the rules are very simple and obeyed by all. In an electronic world, it's trivial to impersonate, hack and otherwise annoy.

Online, rely on direct, personal interactions to be sure you're seeing what you think you're seeing. Trust, but verify.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Networking - make the effort

Tonight as I walked through the cold deserted streets of Old Montreal towards a networking event I was tempted at one point to turn round and go home ! I was cold and I was thinking that it would probably be a waste of time.... Well, I carried on walking and here's what I got from the evening:

- The first person to greet me opened with "I gave your name to the Haitian Young Chamber of Commerce - they need someone to give a talk on business plans and I immediately thought of you"

- I met up with someone I am working on a new business project with (CanEuropa - helping Canadian companies move into Europe and European companies move into Canada)

- someone working for an organisation representing the Rhône-Alpes region in France needed exactly the kind of services I can provide for their clients

- a fellow lecturer from HEC Montréal (we both teach Sector Analysis)enabled me to catch up with what is happening next year

- I got talking to someone who like me loves hiking and skiing so finally this Winter I may well have someone to go with

- a former coachee who months ago told me about Michael Port, who in turn was instrumental in me getting onto Facebook (where I now have 2,300 friends by the way)and working on teleseminars and information products, was there so I was able to thank her for launching me onto a path I had not expected to travel

The reason for mentioning all of this is to make the point:
- even if you're tired, it's cold, it's a long walk don't turn back when you have set out to a networking event - you never know who who you will meet nor what exciting avenues it might open up for you - personally and/or professionally

And you know what, every time without fail when I go to a networking event and wonder whether I might just not bother and head home .... these are always the ones that bring me the most value, the most interesting conversations. It's like a little guardian angel has driven me there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marketing lessons from the street

Today I lined up to buy one of the new plastic cards for the Metro in Montreal and then I lined up a second time to use the machine to actually load my monthly pass onto the card. Pain in the butt system or what ?!!!

In the time all this took I had the opportunity to observe one of the people who regularly beg in the subway here (underground to readers in the UK !!). Then I started to compare him to someone else who begs in the same Metro station (Sherbrooke for those of you who live in Montreal).

I would argue that begging for money isn't a million miles different to getting business from a potential client. Here’s what I learnt from my observations:


Pick the right moment – begging for money is not going to be successful when you solicit people rushing to go to work. I wondered why the guy didn’t pitch to those of us lined up – we were a captive audience, bored, fed up and possibly receptive to a good story.

In business ensure that the client is undistracted and ready to listen to what you would like to say.

Close off objections – dirty, in tatty clothes and telling me you’re hungry … maybe you are but maybe you want money for drugs. Good idea to think about what I might be thinking and then close off that objection before I even make it.

Same applies with a potential business client. If you think the person might be wondering if you have the right experience, could harness the right resources, whatever.. then cover that off when you are speaking to them.

Address the “what’s in it for me” – what should the guy in the Metro be doing so that we get someting? just imposing the odours of his unwashed body so that we give him some money to make him go away? Maybe. But, suppose he appealed to our more generous side: "You’re buying your monthly pass I would like to be able to buy some food" (guilt trip); "While you are waiting in line think about people like me who have ended up on the streets" (compassion with a bit of guilt).

In business think what the person’s pain might be, actively listen and ask questions to make this discovery before pitching in for their business.


Let them come to you – Now the other guy who begs at the same Metro station just stands there and smiles at you. That’s it. He smiles. he ackowledges you as you hurry by. The only person who does. Soon you find he smiles at you each day so you start to say "Bonjour". Then you don’t see him for a while and you ask where he’s been, how he’s been. You learn a bit about his life, his story. Then you find he's quite a conversationalist. Quite smart in a street-wise kind of way. You start to warm to him. From time to time you give him some coins or something. He always remembers you and asks how you are and, in my case, how my mum is. He becomes part of your life.

I bet you he gets way more money than the other guy.

And in business… build yourself a good reputation; strong visibility; be seen in the right places talking to the right people; earn credibility. Then they will come to you.