I’ve watched (ahem) hundreds of hours of TED Talks to study how the world’s best speakers create powerful presentations. Through all of these talks I’ve pulled out a common theme – most have, what I call, a “Wake Up Statement”. A slam-dunk introduction that wakes up the listener and pulls them in.
Contrast that to most sales presentations that so choc’full of expected diatribe that the person you’re presenting to sits back with their arms crossed.
Learn what a Wake Up Statement is and why it can make your meetings and communications far more powerful by watching the video below.
Oh, and if you’d like the accompanying worksheet sent to you so you can develop your Wake Up Statement, join the Start Some Shift private community on Facebook and look under the Files section.
If a guy you’d just shook hands with at a networking party were to look you in the eyes and emphatically utter those words, would you believe him?
Belief is a funny thing. To have it you need proof, not just proclamation. And yet almost 100%* of businesses make claims on their website and in their sales material like, “we’re the best at customer service, we’re trusted, we are #1 at what we do”. All sales talk. No substance.
These statements will almost surely be ignored by your prospect.
Dependability and trust are just 2 examples of earned traits. In other words, the only way I (your not-yet-a-customer) can know if you’re great at customer service or that you can be trusted is if I’ve already handed you my money and hired you. If I haven’t yet done business with you I have no way of knowing if your claims are any more valid than your competitor’s.
Even if you’re up every night at 2am, on the phone with your clients, helping them solve the unsolvable, without proof you sound like every single one of your other competitors who also say they’re numero uno at customer service.
So the question you should be asking is, “How can I show people, before they work with me, what I’m great at?” A few examples…
. Awards. Perhaps you’ve won a well-known award for customer service or have an exceptional Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.
. Stories. Do you have an amazing customer service story that shows how you service better than anyone else in your industry? Have you done something that’s made an impact on your client’s business? Share it.
. Reviews. Share your review rating and testimonials from a reputable 3rd party site, like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.
Making a claim is easy. Anyone can do it. And just about everyone does. Showing you’ve earned the right to make that claim is what will separate you from the flock.
What’s your proof?
* actual study…Believe me.
Want to see the Facebook Live I did to expand on this very topic? Here you go.
Bad clients. We can all agree…they suck. You might have just found a $100 bill in that purse you never use, discovered the perfect shade of red, but not too red, lipstick or fit into your long-anticipated, one-size-too-small little black dress. Doesn’t change the fact that bad clients still suck.
Ever gone mattress shopping?
Hard, soft, spring, memory foam, hybrids, pillow top, gel, air, latex, and the list goes on. A mind-numbing array of snooze-worthy choices…something, quite literally, for everyone. But, you have a certain type of mattress you love.
And so, like a sticky fingered kid at a bulk candy shop, you go to the mattress store to try out every one of them. Most are too soft or too hard. But then, just when it feels like you’ve reached the end of possibilities, you fall back into a heavenly cloud and swear you hear angels singing. You’ve found the one. Problem is, it’s like double the price you wanted to spend. So you settle for another one. It’s softer than you like, but you’ll make it work.
You get it home and that night you climb under the sheets, eager to fall into blissful sleep. Instead you toss and turn, trying to find the right position to make it feel more comfortable. Nothing works. It’s not the right fit. It’ll never be the right fit.
The moral of the story? You are the mattress.
You cannot change who you are. Nor should you. Some clients will appreciate you, others will not – they’ll find you too soft or too hard, too stuffy or too friendly, too detailed or too loosey-goosey, too this or too that.
Here’s the problem with bad fit clients. They have expectations that you can’t meet, they cost you time and money and they make you want to crawl back in bed and hide your head under the covers. Not one of those things is going to help you build the business of your dreams. Not. A. One.
When it comes to finding the right clients I’m like a finicky toddler at lunchtime. I want the red cup with the polka dots on it. Not the green cup or the yucky black one. I want the red. And nothing is going to sway me. You can try to tempt me with promises or something better, but I won’t settle for anything else. Because there’s nothing in the world more important to me or my business.
Spending my days working with bad fit clients is the equivalent of wanting to create beautiful music and using my head and a wall as my instruments.
Right-o. So, we can all agree we want to rid our business of bad fit clients. Easy enough. Just put on a Donald Trump hair piece, purse your lips and say, “You’re fired!”
The hard part is making sure you don’t work with bad clients in the first place.
INTRODUCING THE DETRACTOR
When you work with clients who don’t get the value you provide and don’t appreciate your work, you create your own detraction engine. A band of miffed clients who’ll tell everyone they know how bad your business is.
So, let’s start here.
We’ve all worked with a Detractor. What does yours look like? When you think of those clients who thought they owned you and your time, were constantly asking for more than you agreed, you could never make happy, you hated working with…what were their common traits?
ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE RING: THE ENERGIZER
These, my friends, are your ideal fit customers. The kind that make you giddy, you smile at the thought of them, they bring out your best work.
What? Love what you do and produce your best work, you say? Yep. They are the pot of gold in your business rainbow.
Just as you did with your Detractors, think about the common traits of your business’s Energizers.
AVOIDING THE DETRACTOR BEFORE THEY BECOME YOUR CLIENT
As I mentioned, I’m a stickler for finding the right-fit clients. In my Anti-Hustle business, I only take on 2-4 clients any given year, so I want to make sure I pick well.
What’s my secret?
I ask the right questions.
I’ve created a very carefully curated list of 5 qualifying questions that I ask any potential client to determine if they’re likely to be a detractor or an energizer.
Your task: If you were to ask a potential prospect 3-5 questions to qualify whether they’re an energizer or detractor, what would they be?
Here are some thought starters to help you create your questions:
1. One of my questions is “Who would I, as your consultant, be working with on your end to do (insert the project or goal here)?” I know I work best with businesses where I deal directly with the big cheese. So, if they want to pair me with a Marketing Co-ordinator I know it’s not the business for me. Maybe one of your questions would be centred around who you’ll be working with.
2. Does your prospect need to have a certain budget? Building a question around budget can not only tell you whether your prospect can afford you. It can also give you a window into whether they’ve even created a budget in the first place.
3. Is there a certain business culture that works best for you? Maybe you work best with buttoned-up types or maybe you prefer working with creative-types. Asking about the culture can help you understand what they might be like working with.
4. Are there certain expectations that you work well with or don’t work well with? For example, if you’re a Mom and you need to turn off your business in the evenings and weekends. And if you need someone understanding that sometimes kids get sick and they’re your priority. Find a question that’ll help you understand what the prospect’s views are on your accessibility.
5. What is their experience working with someone like you? Perhaps many of the detractors on your list had never worked with someone like you before so they’re expectations were totally out of whack. If that’s the case, ask this outright as one of your questions: “Have you worked with a (insert your job) before?”
6. Do they have certain common goals / dreams? When you look at your energizers do they have similar business objectives? If so, seek out other prospects who share these.
WRAPPING UP THE RIGHT FIT
If you want to build a business that isn’t about perpetual hustle, one of the first places to start is having the right customers. Because there’s nothing that’ll make you work harder and sweat more than a client that you just can’t make happy.
So, the key is to understand your Energizers, spot your Detractors and create 3-5 qualification questions that’ll help you uncover just who you’re dealing with.
If you want to learn exactly how to identify your business’s energizers, I share this and other nuggets to transform your business in my Anti-Hustle Guide. You can grab your copy in the pink box below!
As a female entrepreneur, have you been struggling to keep up with your business?
If you answered “yes”, you’re not alone.
We’ve been chatting a lot about this issue in the Start Some Shift group with other women coaches, consultants and strategists.
Earlier this week, I asked for all the questions our members could think of that are relevant to building a lifestyle business.
One member asked…
‘How do you build a sustainable business when you only work with 2-4 clients?’
A great question and one that I answer in this Periscope video
WHY THIS MODEL?
I spent about 15 years of my life working with Fortune 500s in branding and advertising agencies. I put in insane hours, working weekends, hopping on and off of planes – supremely dedicated to growing my career, addicted to the hustle of it all…
I was rising in rank but when I looked around, I soon realized that I couldn’t enjoy the fruits of my labours (I was too busy, stressed and exhausted).
So when I started my business, I knew that I just flat out didn’t want to do that anymore.
I wanted to create a true lifestyle business, one that would afford me the time to do what I loved, have the time to enjoy life while still earning the same amount of money I did in my previous agency-side life.
I strove for fulfillment and have created a business model that sustains my love for life first and allows me to do great work for my clients.
In this Periscope #switftshift episode you’ll learn:
• What my retainer model looks like
• What the benefits of a retainer model are over a high volume, hourly-based model
• How it helps me work with better customers and produce much better work
• Why I spend virtually zero time on business administration tasks (like billing and marketing)
• How I can be co-operative, not competitive with other people who do exactly what I do
Many of us are sacrificing the very thing we created our business for in the first place…
We have been force fed a diet of lies.
We’ve been seduced into believing that success is “having it all”.
Told that we must be an empire builder, a master of multitasking, a Stepford wife, conquer the perfect back arch when in cow pose, be the kind of Mom other Moms look up to and become the embodiment of all of our Pinterest dreams…all while expertly achieving life balance and a zenned-out feeling of alignment.
The experts tell us that in order to earn our entrepreneurial superheroine cape we must hustle. Shift our business into overdrive, work hard, work late, work while the minions are lazily snoring in their beds, embraced by their fluffy down duvets.
But for what purpose and at what cost?
In the quest for success and the hunt for the hustle, we are climbing a ladder with no end.
Every time we push through and reach for what feels like the top rung, another rung appears…and another…and another. Because, my friend, there is no finite definition of success.
In our manufactured world of ultra-shepreneurialism, we can always be a little more famous, make more money or lose just 5 more pounds. Success, or the clamour for it, becomes an addiction. Just one more email, one more facebook post, one more proposal, one more phone call and then I’ll be done.
We are losing our ability to be present.
We don’t have the energy to invest in relationships.
We forget to eat.
We are spending less time with our children.
We lose ourselves.
We become unhappy with the outcome of our burgeoning success.
We feel like a failure.
We feel like we aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs.
The remedy? We just have to work harder to find balance, right?
See the conundrum? If you started your business to achieve a certain lifestyle, why would you sacrifice that lifestyle for your business?
Dear female entrepreneur,
If the business you created doesn’t support the life you want, rethink your model.
Relieve yourself of ‘having it all’. Focus on what’s most important to you and give yourself permission to let go of everything else.
Slow down. You created your business to enjoy life, not to become a slave to it.
Go after your dreams, but not at the expense of your dreams.
And, for goodness sake, don’t embrace the hustle…boycott it.