Can you sell from the stage?

Chantal

Can you sell your products and services from the stage? I’m not talking about the theatrical stage or suggesting that you become an actor. This is about selling what you do from giving presentations.

For many years I’ve given presentations at networking groups. At the end, people tell me how much they enjoyed my talk, or how useful they found it. Many people subscribe to my newsletter as a result and sometimes people ask me for a meeting, so that we can talk more about their marketing. But I’ve never really ‘sold’ anything and waiting for people to ask for a meeting can be a bit hit and miss.

All that is about to change! I recently went to a workshop that teaches you to actually sell what you do from the stage, by talking about it. This sort of selling is not the pushy “buy it now before they all run out” sort of selling. It’s not selling where ‘selling’ is a dirty word. It’s about giving people something they need.

The reason that this sort of selling works is because there are two things that you absolutely have to have, if you’re going to do it properly. They are passion and authenticity. Without either, no one will buy what you have to sell.

So are you passionate about what you do? Do you totally love your job and your business? When you’re doing it, are you ‘in the flow’, where you lose track of time? If you have this passion then you can speak about it and sell it from the stage. I’m passionate about helping coaches, consultants and trainers to grow their businesses. I love working with people who want to make a difference through their work and want to build a successful business. I believe that marketing really works, when it’s done properly; that it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I believe that it’s about creating products and services that people want or need rather than selling them something they don’t want or need.

What about authenticity? Can you speak from the real you and tell the truth? When you’re presenting, are you being genuine or are you just trying to impress people? If you don’t tell the truth or set out to impress others, you won’t speak with authenticity and the audience will see straight through you. I could stand in front of an crowd and tell them how great marketing can be for their business, but only if they pay someone else to do all it for them, because the only way to get marketing done properly is to pay an expert. And then people would start throwing things at me! No one would buy anything I tried to sell, because it would be obvious that I didn’t believe what I was saying. And when you don’t believe what you’re saying, you can’t be passionate about it, either.

If you use speaking to sell what you do, are you passionate and authentic? If you are, then take a look at www.ShiftSpeakerTraining.com for the next steps in turning your presentations into profits.

If you don’t yet use speaking to sell what you do, I encourage you to, because it really works. If you’ve never spoken in public before, look for your local Toastmasters group (www.Toastmasters.org) because it’s a great place to learn the basics. And then go to www.ShiftSpeakerTraining.com to find out how to do it profitably!

How to sell a book without selling a book

Chantal

My book has been rejected by two publishers! I’m dismayed and I’m giving up!

No, not really. There are plenty of other publishers out there who I can approach and someone will, eventually see sense and give me a publishing deal. (Imagine being the person who originally turned down JK Rowling and her first book about a wizard!)

So until I do get a publishing deal, I’m going to do something else with my book. I’ve planned 10 chapters, each with 4 sections; at least one section per chapter has a marketing focus. I’m going to turn each section into a workbook, starting with the theory – the meat of the section – and follow it with questions to be answered and activities to carry out. For example, the section on ‘Grown up marketing’ will encourage readers to look at what marketing they can do, to make the right impression, when starting up a business. As you can’t really get away with homemade business cards, what do you need to do to get them produced professionally?  There will be tips on the best way of doing things – according to my opinion and experience.

Each section will be available to purchase and download, from my website, with a new chapter being added each month. Customers will be able to buy individual sections or whole chapters, selecting specific topics and the help they need.

Each month I’ll be writing a newsletter, based on the section of the current chapter that focuses on marketing. The newsletter will be used to tell my readers about the latest section and when it will be available. There will also be blogs about that subject throughout the month. All integrated and planned – which should make the writing easier!

Chapter one is about getting started from the ground up, with sections asking if you’ve got what it takes, how you do proper marketing from the outset, how to find the motivation to keep going and what to do with advice you’re given. It should be ready to download (and watch, because I’m going to video someone talking through each section too) in February 2011. The newsletter, about grown up marketing, will go out in February to promote the chapter. In January we’ll create the video version, and this month we’ll turn the words, which have been written, into great looking PDFs.

Chapter two will go through exactly the same process, so that it’s ready to buy in March. And so we’ll go on, all through 2011. Now that I’ve told you that’s what I’ll be doing, I don’t have any excuses, do I?! I’d better get with turning Chapter One into some PDFs!

Ranting, reminding and rewards from Recognition Express

Dianne

I have worked for Appletree for nearly 4 years as Customer Service Administrator. I was thrilled to be presented with an award plus lots of lovely goodies from Recognition Express. I didn’t know that my boss Chantal had nominated me, what a fantastic surprise!

I am delighted to think my boss believes I have the following some good attributes:

  • Dependable
  • Calm in times of stress
  • Patient
  • Keen to learn
  • Sense of humour

I think this award has given me such a boost. We don’t always say openly what we think about our colleagues, we may say the occasional thanks for their extra input in times of need. I didn’t think my extra input has been noticed. That is why this award is so important in the work place for an employee. It’s an official ‘thank you’ from the boss for all the dedication and hard work an employee has given the company in the past.

So, why would someone like me would want to go that extra mile in the workplace? Surely at the end of the day when it comes to closing down the computer and going home, any outstanding work can wait until the next day. I care about the smooth running of the office, which in turn, results in happy clients. So going that extra mile occsionally to complete some outstanding work for a Client is crucial. Working to deadlines and keeping the Client updated along the way with regard to progress is also paramount.  I don’t mind explaining over and over again how to load a newsletter to the non technical client. It’s all part of the job.

I think I must drive my colleagues crazy at times, especially Alice as I am constantly nagging her “have you had those results”, “what has happened to?” I am surprised she hasn’t poisoned my tea or coffee. I reminded Chantal about working through her ‘to do’ list the other day. I am surprised I still have a job!!!

When the pressure is off and the job is done, we do make time to have a laugh and a joke or just have a good old rant about everything. I think we ought to start a ‘rant’ box in the office. Have a good ‘rant’ get it off your chest and put a contribution in the box. Before we know it we might have enough money for a staff outing!!!

14 ways how to optimise your website’s index page

Alice

A question from LinkedIn presented this subject, and I duly responded with these following points. They are in no particular order, just as they came out of my head. This information is stuff I have been gleaning for years, from observation, reading books, blogs and articles, and from my own personal realisation. Someday I may write a fuller post on some of these subjects, but meanwhile I was glad of the chance to list them:

1. Make it as simple as possible to understand your business and what it is about.

2. Your homepage should act as a signpost to other areas of your website.

3. There should be two functions: directions to go into the wesbite or sign up for a newsletter or similar database.

4. It should download instantly without oversized graphics and inappropriate animations that divert the attention or irritate the visitor.

5. The copy should be clear, jargon free and instantly readable. It should contain the keywords present in the metatags for consistency and relevance.

6. The headline, placed at the top, should be in a H1 tag, and the page title should include the keywords your visitors are most likely to search for.

7. The layout should include sidebars to hold call to actions, the left one for instant reactions like sign up forms, the right one for links to resources elsewhere.

8. If you’re a business, remember to put your telephone number clearly at the top, along with a link to your email address or contact page.

9. Don’t over-clutter your commands, simplicity is more likely to succeed in positive action.

10. Don’t have an oversized banner that takes up all the space on the page for laptops without big screens. The message or recognition point of your website should be placed in an obvious position.

11. Make your link tabs or button graphics look like they can be clicked on, with an obvious reaction when they are.

12. Don’t forget to mention the most important keyword in the headline and in the first sentence – for both spider and human use.

13. Maintain these concepts with all your pages! One topic per page, don’t over-clutter or confuse with too much information.

14. If you want to explain things in more detail, use a blog!

If there are any I’ve missed, drop us a comment to let us know!

Are Referrals the Best Way to Win New Business?

Chantal

Referrals can come in all shapes and sizes and from all directions. They don’t just come from your clients – have you thought about where else they can come from? Here are some examples of how referrals can lead to new business for you.

From your clients. We’ve been working with Trese on her newsletter and marketing for a few years. Last year we helped her promote an event she was running with one of her contacts, Sue. Sue has been thinking about getting some marketing help for a while and didn’t know who to go to. She asked Trese what she thought of us and liked what she heard, so now we’re working with Sue too.

From your past clients. We did some work on Tessa’s website 4 years ago. Recently Tessa and I connected again on LinkedIn and got chatting about business. She then recommended us to Mel who called us to ask about writing a newsletter for him. His first issue will be published soon!

From people who have seen you in action. 4 years ago I ran a workshop which Laura came to; she signed up to this newsletter and has been reading it ever since. Last month we had an email from Nick, saying that Laura had recommended us to him. We met to talk about the marketing support that he needs.

From people you met once, a long time ago. 8 years ago I met Peter at a networking event. We didn’t keep in touch but Peter remembered my name when it came up on LinkedIn. He got in touch and recommended us to Philip who was looking for a Marketing Director.

From your friends. Leila is a friend and a coach. She’s a member of a large coaching group and noticed that a fellow coach was looking for marketing support. She suggested that I speak to Rosie and see how we could help her.

So referrals don’t just come from your clients – they can come from people who you’ve never even worked with. Referrals also come when you don’t ask for them. What you do need to do is make sure that you’re visible – that people can find your website, read your newsletter and see you giving presentations. Use social networking tools like LinkedIn to reconnect with former clients and other people you’ve met. 

And then, when the referrals come in, say thank you for them! I usually send a thank you card to anyone who recommends us. When that recommendation turns into a client, we send flowers, chocolates, wine, gift vouchers or invitations to lunch, to say thank you properly!

Is your marketing joined up?

Chantal

Last week I ran a couple of workshops at a business event and we talked about all sorts of different marketing activities. We talked about the fact that whatever marketing you do, it should all be joined up, planned and on going.

By the time I got to my desk the following day, numerous people who attended the event had tweeted about it, to say thank you for the advice we gave. We sent a special issue of our email newsletter to people who came to the event, giving them a link to free Marketing Plan template on our website. (Click here if you’d like the Marketing Plan template.) Then we tweeted about the template, so anyone could download it. As a result, the number of people who visited our website last week shot up, as did the number of subscribers to our newsletter.

Since the event, we’ve blogged about it, and the posts have been automatically tweeted. Our latest tweet goes onto our website and our LinkedIn profile.

A couple of weeks ago we had a call from a potential client, who had been referred to us by someone I met in 2006 at a workshop I ran. She subscribed to my newsletter, Scribbles, and has been reading it for the last 4 years. I saw her again at another presentation in January  this year.

Before last week’s event, we listed it on our website to attract more delegates. Our potential client saw the listing on the site and asked to come along, to listen to the presentation and talk to us afterwards.

So that’s a website, a blog, some tweets, a newsletter and some presentations! Lots of marketing, all giving the same message and all working towards the same end.

Is your marketing joined up?