Category Archives for "Professional services marketing"

Everyone gives the same terrible advice about public speaking–ignore it and do this instead

By Lori

Famous in Your Field public speaking tipsYou are:

  • a budding motivational speaker.
  • an ambitious professional who knows that public speaking will set you apart from all those other people in your industry.
  • a business leader who needs to inspire your team.

You’ve probably taken some kind of “Introduction to Delivering Presentations” course. (Maybe more than one!)

It might have been your high school speech teacher, or a well-meaning seminar leader who drilled public speaking commandments into your head.

But I’m here to tell you that some of the “conventional wisdom”; the stuff we all know about speaking to a group, is just plain wrong.

Let’s dive into three pieces of public speaking advice that you’ve heard again. And again.

Myth #1 – Don’t move your hands while you’re talking, it’s distracting to your audience.

Who hasn’t read or been told that they should keep their hands still? It’s one of the oldest bits of advice that gets passed down, from wise teacher to eager pupil.

Annndd it’s not true.

Sure, you don’t want to make repetitive, nervous tapping or coin jingling noises, but moving your hands – yes, frequently even – to emphasize points you’re making?

THAT builds an impact.

Vanessa Van Edwards is a body language expert who runs a human behavior lab. She talks about science, psychology and body language on her site, Science of People.

Vanessa’s team ran a study on the most popular TED talks. They found that even when two talks covered the same topic:

“…the talks that had the most hand gestures correlated with the talks that were overall favorites.”

Moving your hands from side to side and up and down actually makes your talk more compelling.

Why? It gives the listener visual, as well as auditory content to keep the brain engaged.

Myths #2 – To keep people’s attention, speak quickly. 

The gist: You should speak quickly in order to capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested.

“Speaking quickly shows energy and excitement,” they say. “Don’t take too much time. You need to speak fast, otherwise your audience will be bored.”

No. Just no.

Instead, use your voice to influence others.

UCLA acoustic scientist Rosario Signorello conducted charisma experiments. Here’s what she told the Wall Street Journal: “You have the capacity to shape your voice in a way that makes people perceive you as a leader.”

So, how can you become more charismatic while speaking? By speaking more s-l-o-w-l-y.

Think about the qualities of a nervous (sounding) person:

  • squeaky, high-pitched voice
  • rapid speech

To broadcast confidence, slow down. Don’t rush to get the words out; pause a second or two between points for emphasis. Silence, used strategically, builds interest.

Speaking more slowly and pausing demonstrates that you’re confident in the importance of what you have to say and in your audience’s desire to hear it from you.

Myth 3. Focus on your words.

Here’s a bit of speaking advice you’ve heard over and over, “Script what you’re going to say. Plan it carefully! Using the right word or phrase is crucial.”

In fact, most people who have to give a presentation or a speech spend nearly all of their preparation time crafting the words.

They agonize over this phrase or that. Have they used a certain word too often? Is it the right word? Is there a better word? What if I flub the word?

The content that you deliver matters. There’s no doubt.

But the way that you deliver your content, the non-verbal matters so much more than you think.

For more research-based speaking advice, let’s again look to the Science of People’s TED talk study. SOP recruited over 750 people, asking them to rate hundreds of hours of TED Talks, looking for specific nonverbal and body language patterns.

What the researchers found was amazing. And counterintuitive.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Viewers who watched talks with sound and those who watched speakers on mute both rated the same talks highly.

Both the with-sound and the without-sound viewers rated same speakers as the most charismatic, intelligent and credible. (Yes, whether they heard the words or not!)

The lesson here is that anyone who has to deliver a message should spend at least as much time practicing delivering the content as what they’ll say.

Focus on the energy you want to bring and using it to connect with the audience.

“Anyone with a big idea should be able to express their passion both verbally and nonverbally,” advises Vanessa Van Edwards.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week, pick one of these three speaking myths and practice doing the opposite.

If you normally keep your hands at your side while talking, bring them up to your waist and move them to emphasize your points.

Try slowing down your speech in a conversation. Use strategic pauses when leading a meeting.

Or, focus on your energy during a presentation, not a script.

The forecast for your week? 100% chance of awesome!

11 ways to get more results from speaking

By Lori

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Speaking and presenting are super effective ways to bring business in the door. (Skeptical? For all the reasons speaking can ramp up ROI, check out my three part series on speaking engagements.)

Done right, you’ll put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into a presentation. There’s the pitching, the planning, the rehearsal, the travel, and possibly, the stage fright.

After all that, don’t you dare leave business growth opportunities back at the conference. To get the most mileage out of your speaking events, here are 11 ways that you can get a bigger, better results from your efforts.

BEFORE

1. Ask your audience, clients and prospects for input.
Even before you devote hours to developing your speaking topic or crafting a killer slidedeck, solicit input from fans, current clients and prospects. Let them help you drill down on hot button issues.

The very act of asking for input and opinions (especially when you can let them know it’s for an upcoming speaking engagement *wink wink*) promotes your thought leadership and positions you as a playa.

How can you gather insight quickly? Through your blog, via email, Twitter, Facebook, professional forums, Linkedin groups, etc.

Ask a question, create a poll or send out a short (no more than three or four questions, please) survey.

DURING

2. Continue the relationship with your audience.

Use your presentation handouts as part of a lead collection or newsletter signup system. Attendees can sign up for your newsletter or blog to receive slides, notes or resources. By providing additional value, you can keep in touch with more people, even if you didn’t have a conversation at the event.

AFTER

Now that you’ve crafted and delivered your presentation, it’s time to accelerate the marketing momentum. How? By practicing one of the key principles of content marketing and your “be everywhere” strategy: repurposing.

Wait. Just in case that little voice is niggling at you, saying “I can’t distribute the same thing again. My prospects and clients have already seen it – they want something that’s fresh and new. They’ll never come back to my website again!”

Wroooooong.

Your prospects and clients are far, far less aware of the material that you distribute than you are. They’re busy. They don’t remember things. Most of them didn’t see that last article/blog post/tweet/email you sent.

Messages have to repeated, repeated, repeated and delivered in different modes to be absorbed.

3. Create multiple blog posts from the content of your talk. Break down the talk into single idea, bite-sized chunks.

4. Write one or more articles. Hate to write? Hire a freelancer from Scripted.com or elance.com or just speak your presentation into a recording tool and have it transcribed. A teeny bit polishing and boom-pow, you’re done.

5. Post your presentation on a sharing site like Slideshare.net or Scribd.com.

6. Post the presentation slidedeck (or just a few slides) on your blog. Slideshare makes it super easy to paste the embed code right into your post.

7. Republish the talk as a whitepaper or ebook.

8. Link to the presentation via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

9. Tweet a series of soundbites from your talk.

10. Record yourself giving the talk and post audio on iTunes, Stitcher and your website.

11. Record and post video on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite way to get more mileage out of a presentation? Am I missing some great ideas? Comment below and share your faves.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Dig out a presentation or talk that you’ve given. Shake the dust off and repurpose it in two ways, using ideas from this list. The world needs more of that magic you’ve got. C’mon, give it to us!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Business Boosting Books: Book Yourself Solid

By Lori

Business boosting book: Book Yourself Solid

Business boosting book: Book Yourself Solid

I love books. I read all the time.

And yet, I know that there are brilliant people roaming the streets who are perfectly capable of reading a book but think of reading the same way that Newman from Seinfeld reacted to broccoli. (I may or may not be thinking of my own hubby here.)

So I’m going to justify my book hoarding do you a solid service by passing along some of the very best nuggets from business books, straight to you, without all that pesky nose-in-pages time. You’re welcome.

Today’s book could now be considered a classic for solo business owners: Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port

(Actually the full title is: Book Yourself Solid, the Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. Pretty juicy, right?)

But don’t be fooled – his system works for a professional working in a company, too.

Book Yourself Solid gives clear, simple and systematic approach to marketing and selling your services.

In fact, the material Port covers in BYS looks a lot like the what we talk about here at Famous in Your Field:

  • Establishing credibility
  • Creating visibility
  • Getting your message out there in a big way
  • Earning higher fees
  • Increasing your confidence
  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Getting more clients

What’s makes the system truly powerful is that Michael’s book also focuses on your mindset and how it can impact the approach you take in creating and promoting your business.

I’ll zero in on just one, his “velvet rope policy.” (Isn’t that perfect for becoming famous in your field?) Port describes it as determining “your ideal client so that you work only with people who inspire and energize you.”

We’ve all heard this, right?

But are you actually living it in your business?

I know, it can fill you with panic to think about turning down someone who wants to work with you.

Your mind immediately shouts thing like, “what about the money?” And worse, “who do you think you are, turning someone away? What if no one else hires you?”

Here’s how to quiet the panicky voice – instead focus on the energy and satisfaction that you get from your ideal clients. The ones who bring out your best work, and make you enjoy being in business. The others just suck your energy and leave you frustrated.

Book Yourself Solid is packed with exercises that you can use to apply Michael’s teaching directly to your own business. Here’s one to start developing your own velvet rope policy:

Identify the types of clients you don’t want, consider which characteristics or behaviors you refuse to tolerate. What turns you off or shuts you down? What kinds of people should not be getting past the red velvet rope that protects you and your business?

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

Jump on this exercise today, please. First, make a list of the characteristics and behaviors that suck the life out of your soul. Is it the client or customer who changes her mind constantly? Are certain industries or professions a total turnoff?

And make a list of the opposite; what qualities do your best, most delightful clients, customers, fans and followers have in common?

Now, start creating your own velvet rope policy! When you say “no” to the clients (or ban the followers) that zap your mojo, you magically start to attract the right people. (It might sound a little woo-woo, but you’ve got to trust me on this.)

You can buy the book on Amazon for an absolute steal. There’s even an illustrated edition. (Nope, I don’t make any money if you do, but you’ll make your business a much happier and more profitable place to be.)

Publicity is your aircraft; marketing is your jet fuel

By Lori

CONGRATULATIONS!

Publicity is your aircraft, marketing is your jetfuel

You were just quoted in The New York Times/O Magazine/Wall Street Journal/Inc (insert your scream-worthy publication here.)

Now what?

You might have been expecting that interview to open up the floodgates for your business, but then…crickets, baby. Nada. (Sure, your mom saw it and she’s telling all her friends, but where are the clients?)

That’s because your publicity needs marketing to pull the business to you.

Being mentioned or featured in the media is terrific for credibility. (Remember that publicity works to create an implied endorsement?)

To really get the full benefits of appearing in the media, you’ve got to market it. Who should you broadcast the news to? Here’s a starter list:

  • visitors to your website (add it to the As Seen In section)
  • your email subscriber list
  • your Facebook fans
  • your Twitter followers
  • write a press release and send it to your local media.

Got more ideas to leverage media mentions? Leave a comment below.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Have you been guilty of letting your publicity idle on the runway? Blast it into the clouds with a little marketing. This week, get your media mentions on your website, in your newsletter and out to your local media.

The Testimonial Tweak that Transforms Skeptics into Believers

By Lori

Famous in your field: testimonial tweak that transforms skeptics into believers

Skeptics into believers: tweak your testimonials

Testimonials on your website from raving fans…you’ve got ’em, right? 

If you’re like most professionals, your testimonials probably read something like this:

“I hired Flowers by Suzanne to provide the flowers for my sister’s surprise 50th birthday party and she did a fantastic job! You should definitely hire her.”

That’s a nice testimonial. But here’s the thing. Your readers are likely to skim right past it.

(Think about it  – when you check Amazon reviews on a book and find seven 5 star reviews all gushing and exclamation-pointy, do you buy that jazz?)

How do you make your prospects stop dead in their tracks and read every juicy word of your testimonials (convincing themselves to hire you in the process?)

Go negative.

That’s right. Instead of having your raving fan clients start off by singing your praises, start with an objection.

When your now-delighted client was considering hiring your company or buying your product, what was their worst fear? What were they skeptical about?

Here’s a great question to ask your clients: “What hesitations did you have about hiring a [marketing consultant/web designer/health coach]?

Then you take your client’s skepticism and start the testimonial with it. This technique is super-effective for two reasons:

1. It breaks down your prospect’s defenses.

He or she *expects* you to have effusive, raving testimonials. So, a testimonial that starts “I was concerned about hiring a web designer. I’d had a bad experience before with someone who didn’t listen to me and missed deadlines…” will stop your prospect’s “skim and go” scan dead in her tracks.

She’ll have to read more.

2. It makes your prospects identify with your clients.

Everyone who is considering buying your services or products has some doubts. By putting those doubts front and center in your testimonials, your prospect feel assured that your satisfied clients are real people, just like them.

And because your once-skeptical client is now delighted, chances are your prospect will be, too.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Ask your happy clients what their biggest concerns were about hiring your or buying your products. Then get those objections into your testimonials, front and center. Show how real people, with real fears and concerns, were wowed by working with you! 

The best free publicity tool you’ve never heard of

By Lori

Free Publicity - USNPL

“Roommate wanted.”

I see a version of that request at least once a week on forums across the web. (And no, it’s not some Tinder-esque come on.)

The “roommate” request is just a cheeky euphemism for sharing a media database. It’s something solo public relations professionals and small PR companies do, to offset the cost of subscribing to professional media databases.

Publicists and PR agencies spend thousands annually for subscriptions to popular PR databases. (For those who are new to the PR game, a PR database contains the names of media outlets, like magazines and websites, along with contact information for the outlet’s journalists and editors.)

Prices for some of the market-leading subscriptions can range from $2000 to $12,000 a year. If you’re spending most of your day finding and pitching media for coverage, that’s not bad. Spread across multiple clients, it definitely makes sense. But for professionals and small business owners, it can be overkill.

How about a much less expensive alternative? As in completely f-r-e-e!

USNPL - US Newspaper List

It’s USNPL, aka the US Newspapers List. However, it’s so much more than newspapers – USNPL is a free database of television station, radio station and newspaper contacts. (US only, though.) But wait, there’s more: the site also has a list of colleges by state, along with their newspapers.

How USNPL works

The USNPL site features contact information, mailing addresses for US newspapers, radio and TV stations. Looking for online media? Start here.

Most entries have links to:

  • The outlet’s website
  • Contact information, including address, phone, fax, and manager/editor
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Video

The newspapers section event has a link to Local Weather & Forecast.

Free media resource USNPL - links to newspapers' websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Plus, for only $40, you can download the mailing addresses and phone numbers of over 1000 television stations. (Giddiness, people! That’s what you’re feeling.)

Because USNPL lets media contacts update their own entries, it’s remarkably accurate for a completely free resource.

What you can do with it

The site lets you search for contact info for U.S. newspapers, TV stations and radio stations by state. Once you get a list of outlets, you can go directly to the media outlet’s website, or click on links to their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Beef up your local media outreach

Pick your target media outlets and follow them on Twitter. Re-tweet, reply to and comment on their tweets. Build, build, build that relationship, people.

Lather, rinse and repeat for Facebook.

Share their YouTube videos.

Make a splash in a new city

Let’s say that you work for a company planning to open an office in a new city in a few months. Plan ahead and build those relationships now!

Look up the media outlets in that county and start gathering contact information, reading the articles, watching the news reports and creating relationships with the newsmakers through social media.

Then, when your new office opens, you’ll be positioned to get more than the perfunctory press release mention.

Author or speaker traveling to another city?

If you already have a visit to another city on your schedule, try the same approach as above. Find the contacts and create some warm relationships. Then, a few weeks before your visit, pitch a segment for their local morning show or an article about your speaking appearance in the local paper.

When you add USNPL to some of the other top free media tools, like HARO and MuckRack, you’ve got an amazing roster of resources. Use them to get your message into the minds of people who need it, wouldya please?!

Your fame boosting assignment:

There are sooo many ways you can use the USNPL goldmine. Pick one goal – say, increasing your local media presence or warming up a new city before your debut – and spend the next ten minutes finding media outlets and following them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We’re waiting for more of your magic.

How to get speaking engagements at associations, companies and conferences

By Lori

Speak at Associations, Companies and ConferencesEdward writes,

“I have given speeches at Rotary Clubs & Kiwanis groups. I want to know how to approach associations, companies, conferences, conventions, etc. – for speaking engagements. Also, should I offer free speeches at these groups in the beginning?”

Edward, thank you for asking the question!

And the answer is…. Yes.

Okay, let me say a little more about that.

Yes, you should offer free speeches to these groups in the beginning for three BIG reasons:

  1. Free speeches build your name recognition.
  1. Speaking for free gives you an opportunity to hone your delivery and your material until it ignites hearts and minds.
  1. Free speaking can also be a gateway to other moneymaking avenues that stem from speaking, like private consulting, training, coaching or product sales.

But here’s news that may shock you: even after you’re “established,” you might also be giving free talks. Only now, they’ll be at the biggest, most prestigious events.

Gasp.

It may sound counterintuitive, but among the most successful speakers, there’s no hard and fast line between speaking for big fees and speaking for free.

Public speakers who use speaking to grow their business, motivate the masses or those who want to make a living of being on stage understand that sometimes, you’ll speak for free because it’s a smart return on investment.

Chris Widener, a personal development and leadership speaker who commands $20,000 a speech told Forbes he’ll “also speak – often for free – at large multilevel marketing conferences large where he sells a variety of products he’s created, including sets of CDs and DVDs, e-books, and hard copy books.”

His take home haul from those events is far north of $20,000.

And now let’s look at how things generally work in the Association/Company/Conference speaking world.

(As always, your mileage may vary.)

Members only_sm

ASSOCIATIONS

Looking for the best way to kick off your association speaking tour?

Start locally.

When you’ve found an industry or association that’s a good fit for your speaking or training topics, offer to present to a local chapter first.

Then, once you’ve delivered a fabulous experience, chapter members will recommend you to other chapters and even to the larger regional or national organization as a speaker.

You see, association chapter leaders communicate and support other chapter leaders by sharing valuable resources…which could include you!

(Within each local chapter of an association, there are often several members who participate in organizing statewide, regional or national events, too.)

How to approach associations for speaking opportunities

You can reach out to these associations cold, and hope that your email and phone calls are persuasive.

And you can send big fat speaker kit packets and cross your fingers.

But I’ve found a different method to be more effective than the “spray and pray” approach.

Find someone in your network who knows someone in that organization:

  • Email or call friends, neighbors, and colleagues, asking if they know anyone involved in the association.
  • Ask people you meet at events if they know anyone in your target association.
  • Look up the association on LinkedIn, which will often show if you have a second-degree connection to one of the association’s members.

Here’s why this approach works better than cold calling: people often ignore solicitations from strangers. After all, association staffers and volunteers are busy.

But a request from a friend or business colleague? That gets an answer.

Of course, if you just can’t find a “warm” connection, go in cold and heat it up! Follow these simple steps:

1. First, spend some time looking at the organization’s website, event calendar and social media to get to know the types of events it holds, topics covered and speakers.

2. Next, find the staff or board listing (in the case of a volunteer-run organization) on the website. Often, you’re looking for someone with Education, Programs or Events in their organizational title. If those are missing, go straight for the Director or President.

3. Then, craft your pitch. Don’t be salesy, but do include a clear description of your topic, your bio and why your topic is a good fit for the organization.

4. Finally, send it off to the organizational contact you found.

5. Follow up as needed. (That usually means two or three times at the most.)

COMPANIES

The process for getting speaking opportunities with companies is similar to working with associations.

Find your target companies. Then search your network (using the same process as you did with associations) for a connection to the company, who can then introduce you to the right person to hear your pitch.

If you can’t find a connection, approach local companies directly, often through their Human Resources, or training and development groups. (However, depending on your topic, you may reach out to specific departments, like Sales.)

Here, too, giving a talk or workshop that moves hearts and minds will go a long way toward getting you booked for multiple sessions, long-term training or with other organizations.

Bonus tip: members of associations are often employees of companies! Own the stage at that association chapter meeting first, and then ask the audience members to suggest companies and other organizations that could benefit from hearing your talk.

Another client includes this question on her presentation evaluation form.

The best time to ask for more speaking referrals is when you're basking in the warm glow of a successful speaking gig.

The best time to ask for more speaking referrals is when you’re basking in the warm glow of a successful speaking gig.

CONFERENCES

Conferences range from one-time gatherings to recurring local, statewide, regional and national events, often organized by associations, companies and media partners.

Some conferences are organized informally, and seek speakers who are recommended by members and peers. (These are typically smaller events.)

Other events have a formal submission process, starting with a Call for Presentations or Call for Speakers. Speakers are typically vetted by a committee that evaluates submissions based on the event’s theme and desired topics as well as the speaker’s experience, reputation and speaking ability.

Pro tip #1: Event organizers know that getting bums in seats is much harder than it used to be.

That’s why some organizers prefer speakers with a large platform – speakers are expected to help market the event to their own subscribers and social media followers.

Pro tip #2: Don’t assume that bigger is better when it comes to getting paid to speak.

I’ve spoken at local, regional and national events from the same industry association. Here’s what happened at each:

  • The local event did not pay a speaker’s fee, but I have gotten referrals for business from people who attended my workshop.
  • The regional conference (a gathering of the members across 6 or 7 states) paid travel expenses and a small stipend.
  • The national conference did not pay a speaker’s fee, nor did it cover travel expenses, contending that speaking at its national conference was an honor beyond payment.

Sad truth: The no-pay for session speakers policy is not unusual. In fact, it’s more common than not. While headliners like New York Times bestselling authors, top athletes, and newsmakers like astronauts, business and political figures may score $15,000 to $75,000 for a single conference keynote, breakout speakers are paid in “exposure.”

Just this week, one of my clients was asked to submit a proposal as a break out speaker for an upcoming national conference.

Here’s what she’d get, if selected:

“Presenter Benefits

  • Opportunity to influence the practice of [industry] and to enhance the future of the profession
  • Promotion of presenter’s credentials on the [Association] website, in Convention programs, and in print and electronic marketing materials including the [Association] 2016 Convention App
  • Recognition of presenter’s subject matter expertise by [Association]
  • Full complimentary registration to the 2016 [Association] International Convention & Expo in Philadelphia.

[Association] does not pay per diem, honoraria or expenses for session presenters.

Is it a universal truth that conferences don’t pay breakout speakers? No, but the practice is common and new speakers are often surprised to learn that.

Your fame boosting assignment:

If you’re looking to share your brilliance by speaking at associations, companies and conferences, start by picking three targets.

This week, find your connection to the organization and reach out with a request to speak. (Feel free to get creative with the steps I’ve listed.)

I’m all kinds of fired up about you, superstar.

The Case for Content Marketing for Professional Service Firms

By Lori

There’s a new-ish movement in the marketing world. For the last decade or so, savvy businesses – especially those selling expertise, advice and non-commodity type products have turned away from old school advertising and promotion to creating content that sells without being “sales-y.”

So what is content?

Here’s a definition, from the people who ought to know, the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Depending on your business, content could be almost anything: a simple checklist, a series of articles, whitepapers, reports, your company blog, podcasts, webinars… It’s anything created for the purpose of providing valuable information to your client.

Why content marketing is so effective for professionals and firms

Content marketing lets you communicate regularly with your prospects and clients without overtly selling. Instead of buying ads in publications (which are ignored by your prospect) or cold calling to set up appointments (which are avoided by your prospect), you create and publish information that prospects welcome and look forward to. Heck, sometimes they even seek out your content.

It’s pull marketing, not push marketing. Prospects are drawn to you, rather than you pushing your firm brochures and sales meetings at them.

Your KLT factor

Let’s face it, as professional service firms and consultants, you are “selling the invisible.” One of the most important considerations in the client’s selection process is the know, like and trust factor. Your client needs to feel that they know you, they have feel that they’d enjoy working with you and that you’d do a good job for them. Using content helps prospective clients get to know you, your expertise, your style and the unique value you provide, without your physical presence.

Content is your marketing workhorse

One of the best features of content marketing is how it helps you leverage your marketing and sales efforts. Instead of making sales calls and meeting with prospects one-on-one, your content reaches tens, hundreds or thousands of people. Content works for you, 24-7-365.

Content in action

Wondering if content can really pack the marketing wallop you need for your business? Here’s a true story:

A mid-sized regional engineering firm learned about a new freeway interchange design. Looking for a way to stand out in an increasingly commoditized industry, the firm’s marketing director wrote an explanatory article about the new interchange design. Instead of promoting the company’s design engineers, the article explained the new interchange concept, how it worked, and the situations for which it was best suited. No selling at all.

What happened next? In a few months, news of this novel freeway design hit the media. People began searching the web, looking for information and experts on this new type of interchange. The firm’s article hit the #1 position on Google. They received calls from interested clients from all over the world. Reporters for major newspapers quoted their staff members in news stories. Because this firm wrote the most informative article on the interchange design, they were widely viewed as the experts on that topic. Ka-ching.

Take action

This week think about your business from your client’s perspective. What kind of information would help them to understand your industry and the service you provide? How could you help them to learn what they need to know to make the best decisions?

Build Your Visibility, Even When Someone Else is on Stage

By Lori

I’ve preached a fair bit about the business-building value that speaking has for your business. It positions you as an expert and gives crowds of people a tantalizing preview of what it would be like to work with you. As as speaker, you’re treated like a celebrity by the event attendees, who’ll seek you out.

But what if you aren’t in the front of the room? What if you’re just one of the people sitting in the audience, squirming in your hard-backed chair? No worries, you can still build your brand and business fame, even when someone else is the speaker.

Ask a question.

But add a little something extra.

During the Q & A portion of the event, you can create a mini-commercial for you and your business by asking a smart, thoughtful question. (Be genuine, friendly and confident when you ask – your fellow attendees will be able to spot a slimy, hollow attempt at self-promotion.)

  • Stand tall.
  • Make eye contact with the speaker and one or two people around you. State your name, your business and what you do (in 10 words or less. Slime-free.)
  • If it’s genuine and concise, compliment the speaker on a specific piece of information, idea, or the delivery.
  • Then, ask your great question.

After the session, many attendees will crowd around the speaker, but a few will approach you because you’ve been “introduced” in a public forum.

Take action:

At the very next event you attend, come up with several thoughtful questions that you can ask the speaker. Done right, you’ll be in the spotlight, even when someone else is on stage.

 

16 ways to get more of what you want

By Lori

Tesla_sm

My friend Gina is not a “car chick.” Her head doesn’t turn for an Audi, Porsche or Mercedes S-class. She’s been driving the same mom-van for more than a decade.

For her, cars are just a way to get from one place to another.

Then last week, she floored me with this comment, “I really want a Tesla. I’m going to buy one when I get my bonus this year.”

What?!

The funny thing is, I’ve found out that Gina is not alone in her Tesla-mania. Business Insider reported on a study of Tesla owners:

“What we can glean from this is that Tesla is indeed special — so special that buyers are willing to pay substantially more for the privilege of Tesla ownership than to park a traditional car in the driveway.”

“On average, owners were willing to pay 60% more for a Tesla…” [Yahoo News]

Why would a woman who doesn’t care about cars suddenly long for a particular model vehicle?

And, um, pay 60% more?!

Aren’t we all practical, rational humans who buy the best product at the best price?

I’ve got three words for you: emotional hot buttons. 

What are emotional hot buttons?

Those factors that hit us right in the feels (whether we admit it or not.) They make us die to have one thing, and totally abhor another.

There are certain emotional hot buttons that when triggered will force people to take some kind of action. Hot buttons make us buy, listen to, read, or follow certain things and people, but not others.

When your hot buttons are hit, the response you feel is pure emotion.

Logic goes out the window (no matter what you tell yourself!)

Do I buy that darling Kate Spade New York Cherie Three-Quarter-Sleeve Coat because I’m cold?

No. A stuffed Hefty sack would solve that practical problem.

I buy it because emotionally, I think it will make me chic, sparkling, vibrant and a little madcap.

Me in that coat = Audrey Hepburn in Charade.

Connect to their emotional hot buttons

Your audience – whether it’s a group of professionals listening to you speak, the staff you lead at the office or your kids’ hockey team – is driven by desire, too.

And when you can connect your message to their emotional hot buttons, you’ll motivate them to listen to you, follow you and join your

Exactly which hot buttons hook you the most varies from person to person, but there are some generally universal triggers.

Author and marketer Barry Feig has identified 16 hot buttons in Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy:

  • desire for control
  • I’m better than you
  • excitement of discovery
  • revaluing
  • family values
  • desire to belong
  • fun is its own reward
  • poverty of time
  • desire to get the best
  • self-achievement
  • sex/love/romance
  • nurturing response
  • reinventing oneself
  • make me smarter
  • power/dominance/influence
  • wish fulfillment

I’ll add a few variations that I’ve seen from my clients:

  • desire to be known for something
  • to leave a legacy
  • to effect change

As Barry says, “Consumers buy from emotions they’re not even aware of…. Hot buttons are the keys to the psyches of your customers.”

For my friend Gina, the idea of owning a Tesla is 100% emotional hot button driven.

But what does this have to do with you?

When you’re selling something, don’t just rely on the old standbys to motivate. Making more money, saving money, or having the most features can be powerful for rational decisions, but hitting an emotional hot button or two will ignite desire, which overrides rationality.

Emotional drivers

Let’s say you’re a coach or consultant to small business owners. You could focus your appeal on how you can help small business owners make more money. (And that’s what most coach-sultants do.)

But if you pay attention to your prospective client’s hot buttons, you might find out that one of his major emotional drivers is Desire for Control.

Here’s what that looks like:

He started his business to have more control than in his corporate job, but instead he spends his days in reaction mode, his mood and self-esteem battered by the latest high or low in his business.

His staff gets along one day, and squabbles the next.

Orders are up (yay!) Orders are down (arghh!)

If you, the small business coach, can show him how working with you will create the control he’s after, he’ll be hooked.

Do people have just one emotional hot button?

Nope, people can have multiple hot buttons that motivate them to buy something or take action.

Let’s say you look around our small business owner’s office and see picture after picture of his wife, kids and extended family.

You notice a toddler seat in his car.

A clearly “handcrafted” clay pencil holder on the desk.

Clearly, a strong candidate for the Family Values hot button.

During your conversation, you can paint a picture of the psychic rewards of family togetherness that he’ll enjoy once he starts working with you.

Gotta team? Hit ‘em in the hot buttons

If you manage a team, you can retain your best employees by combining both external rewards, like public kudos, bonuses and raises, with internal rewards like new challenges. (Boom! I’m Better than You and Self-Achievement hot buttons.)

Become an emotional hot button detective

Ask your audience (whether it’s your staff, a prospect, or an actual audience) questions to uncover some of their emotional hot buttons. Notice when their eyes light up and when they glaze over.

Weave some emotional hot buttons into your marketing.

Sprinkle them into your conversations with your team, for motivation.

Spark those desires in your presentations or talks.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week, hone your emotional hot button-finding skills.

There’s one dead-simple way to do this. When you find yourself in a selling situation – whether it’s selling an idea, a message, a service or a next step – try to uncover at least one emotional hot button.

Whip out the easiest, cheapest research tool available:

Asking “why?

Boom! 100% chance of awesome.