Much of what I write about on my blog is idea-based. Once I share a concept, my job ends and yours begins. Your job is to take what applies to you, sell it in to your organization and put it into practice. But alas, most great ideas die on the vine – before they can ever be harvested. The following article, originally written for MPI Toronto, will give you more fodder to help you sell in that great idea. So enjoy!
You have a brilliant idea. The problem is that no one else in the organization shares your wild enthusiasm. They think it’s a fad, so they don’t want to invest time or money into something that will be here today and gone tomorrow. Should you kiss your great idea goodbye?
I was very honored to hear that someone nominated my blog for the Canadian Event Industry Award’s Best Blog. If you’ve ever read a post and found it useful, meaningful or enjoyable, I would appreciate your support by voting for READY2SPARK here.
Please also take the time to vote for some other great Canadian talent, if you can.
(image via bjmccray)
Most businesses want more customers. Let me tell you why that can be a BIG mistake. More customers is not the same as the right customers. So while you’re wasting time busily trying to keep someone happy who doesn’t value you and never will, your ideal match could be walking right on by.
Your customers can make or break your business. They can motivate you, bring out your best work, rave about you to others like them, delight your employees and make you ‘cha-ching’ more profitable. Or they can do the opposite. What grates me is how little time most companies spend on understanding the engine that drives their business.
More often than not, when I ask a business to describe their ideal customer I hear things like, “Chicago brides” (in the case of a wedding planner), “Event Planners” (in the case of an event vendor) or “Fortune 500 companies” (in the case of a corporate event planner). General, blasé, unremarkable and totally non-actionable. By trying to appeal to such a vague and large group of people, you’re unable to speak in a language that captivates any one type of customer, you’re unable to tell them specifically what problem you’ll solve for them and you’re unable to tell them what goal you’ll help them achieve. The end result is that you’ll sound just like everyone else. This increases your competitive pool and the chances of you being seen as a commodity.
The only way you will attract your ideal customers is if you first create a crystal-clear picture of who they are.
|Name: Brie Smythe
Occupation: Retail Salesperson
Family: Engaged, no kids
|Brie Smythe is a style-obsessed 29 year old woman wishing she lived in a chic loft in Soho, but, with a humble retail sales income, she really lives with her parents in Torrington, CT. She watches Gossip Girl religiously, carefully taking note of how Serena and Blair pull together their looks. She does her best to emulate their styles while shopping at suburban big box stores like Target. She met her fiancee in high school – she was the pretty cheerleader and he was the football star. They have dreams of moving out of their small town once their married.|
See the difference?
The first is not only a snore-fest but it provides no clear insight into who your customer really is. The second paints a picture of her personality as well as her hopes, dreams and fears. I can now imagine which magazines she might read, which blogs she might subscribe to, and how to talk to her so that I cut through the clutter.
One of the greatest keys to success is better clients. Just one hour of your time can unlock the key to your idea customer profile. What you’ll need:
STEP 1: Make a list of your favorite clients (These are the clients that make you happy, you produce your best work with and often times are most profitable).
STEP 2: Make a list of your worst clients (Unlike to the first list, these clients are not enjoyable to work with, you often spend far too much time servicing them and feel unsatisfied at the end of the project or event).
STEP 3: Look for similarities. Once you have your two lists culled, identify what unifies the customers in each list using the following sub-categories:
Demographics – The statistical data about the customer:
Psychographics – How your customer thinks:
Behaviors – How your customer behaves:
STEP 4: Build your profile – From the information you’ve pulled together begin to build your ideal customer profile.
If you liked this post, you’ll also like:
Photo via annstheclaf
I can’t tell you how many people over the years have asked me, “How do I become a public speaker?” Often the question is quickly followed with, “…but I’m really not sure whether I’m cut out for it. The thought of speaking in front of an audience scares me!”
I’ve been public speaking for over 6 years now and my career has taken me all over the world – The Caribbean, Asia, North America and Australia. But the way my professional speaking career started might surprise you…
In 2006 I was at an industry networking event – I was there to make some connections since I had just started a new job in a new industry. Half way through the event I heard my name being called out by the event’s MC. “Lara, please come up to the stage and introduce yourself. You have been selected for our New Member Moment!” Shocked, dismayed, terrified, I could feel the heat rising in my face, my cheeks burning and my palms getting sweaty. I had spent my career up until this point presenting ideas to senior executives at Fortune 500 companies, but the idea of talking about myself to a room full of people made me want to run for the door.
I stood up on the stage, spotlight on my face, with everyone in the room staring at me and waiting for me to speak. I stumbled, lost all the moisture in my mouth and barely made it through my name, my company and what we did. I felt humiliated. That was my moment to shine. That was my moment to tell everyone in the room how proud I was of my new company and convince them why we should be on their radar. But I failed.
The moment I left the event I made a pact with myself. In order to be where I saw myself, I needed to conquer my fear of public speaking. The following day, I submitted a speaking proposal to an industry conference, was accepted and had 3 short months to prepare.
I spoke at that conference and delivered my very first seminar. No word of a lie, when I finished, I got a standing ovation. From that day I knew I was hooked.
Legend has it that in the early 1500s Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquest commander, ordered his men to burn their boats when they invaded a new land. The idea was that it would remove any thoughts of mutiny and give them only one option…move forward.
In essence, when I signed up to speak at my first industry conference, I was burning my boat. I was removing an opportunity to retreat and presenting myself with one option…speak.
My best piece of advice for getting started with speaking is to, ahem, get started. You can’t learn public speaking from a book, you have to do it. So, contact your local business associations, industry association chapter or clubs. Get out there, start small, and get speaking.
One of the most important things on your journey through public speaking is to define who you are and why people should care. There are millions of speakers, but only you have your specific experiences and expertise. Start by asking yourself, “what do I want to be known for 5 years from now?” and build everything you do from there.
Get known as an expert by showing you’re an expert. Blogging is a great way to do this. Not only does it hone your skills, focus your thinking and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s important, but it highlights your knowledge to others. Also submit articles to industry publications and host your own webinars or teleseminars or partner with associations and publications that have their own.
Bring surveys with you to every speaking event and give them to both attendees and the organizer. These are helpful for two reasons. First, you need to learn from every event – both what you did well and what you need to improve. Second, your survey should also be used to get testimonials.
Invite a friend to your speaking event. Give them a video and still camera and ask them to capture your session. Watch the video and learn from it. The only way to critique your own performance is to see yourself on film. And, if you’ve done a great job, you’re now creating a library of footage you can use to sell your speaking to event organizers, which you can add to a Speakers Page.
What would you add?