Whether you want to touch a nerve, reach a new audience, or boost your sales, storytelling is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. As humans, we love a good story, and when it resonates with us, it can drive us to take action when nothing else can.
Think about it. Which would you rather read, an interesting story, or a sales letter? Which are you more likely to remember a week from now, a compelling story, or a features and benefits comparison? And which are you more likely to buy, a story you can see yourself in, or a product that does x, y, and z?
If you think back on your most recent purchases, from the business associate you hired to the car you bought last summer, chances are you’ll find a story that resonated with you, and that drove your decision to purchase.
Stories About You
You’ve heard it time and time again: People buy from those they know, like, and trust. And part of getting to know you is hearing your stories. Your potential clients want to know how you came to be in business, what experiences you’ve had that drove your decisions, what lessons you learned along the way.
Your stories don’t have to be directly related to business to be powerful, either. That anecdote about the time you nearly got arrested for not having a valid driver’s license is the perfect lead in to a blog post about better record keeping. Or the story about how you accidentally seated two warring families together at your wedding reception? It’s just what you need to drive home a point about relationship building.
Stories About Your Clients
Otherwise known as social proof, stories about your clients are incredibly useful in your marketing and branding strategy. Testimonials, white papers, case studies and the like are all just stories, after all, and they showcase how you and your products have changed a life or a business for the better.
Stories About Your Products
Yes, even your products have stories to tell. Why did you decide to create that new e-course or fitness program? What will it help your clients achieve? Who is it not suited to? These stories and more can show your potential clients more about your products and services than any sales page ever will. When you openly share your thought processes as you were creating your program, buyers will instantly know if it’s a product that will work for them or not.
Clearly, stories have a lot of power when it comes to branding and marketing, but you have to use caution. Beware of the awkward insertion of a story just because you’ve heard it’s good for your marketing. If you find yourself midway through a blog post and you write something like, “but anyway, enough of that, let’s get on with business” and then making a total shift to a completely different subject, chances are the story isn’t working.
But if you can tie your story in naturally to what follows, that’s your golden ticket to better branding, more sales, and a more profitable business. We love stories. Don’t be afraid to tell yours.
What's your story? Coach Deb
Ever wish you could hire a team of savvy sales people to stay in touch with your prospective clients and encourage them to buy?
When you put a few simple systems in place, you can easily replace an expensive sales force with automated tools that allow you to keep your products and services in front of potential clients. You’ll not only make more money, but you’ll do it completely hands free. All that’s required is a little forethought.
Your first must-have tool? An autoresponder. Simply put, an autoresponder is a series of emails that go out on a pre-determined schedule. They’re written to engage your audience and pull readers further into your funnel.
Typically, an autoresponder series will have at least seven emails in it, and is used as a lead generating tool. You offer an opt-in on your website with (for example) “weekly tips to stay productive during the dog days of summer” or “daily motivation for busy mompreneurs.”
When your reader fills out the form, she’s automatically added to your autoresponder list, and you have her attention with every email.
The key though, is to write your series with specific calls to action. It’s not enough to just give her tips for being more productive. You have to also give her the opportunity to buy your products or services.
Done right, your autoresponder can help keep the cash flowing, even when business is down.
The fastest way to get your autoresponder up and running is to use a tried and true email provider. They are simple to set up, and extremely affordable. Plus, you’ll find many VAs who are experienced with these autoresponders and can help you out if you get stuck.
For the content, look back over your most popular blog posts and products. Posts can be repurposed to provide valuable content to your subscribers, with a natural upsell to matching products or services.
In addition, think about the questions you’re most frequently asked, what conversations pop up again and again, and what your social connections and competitors are discussing. These nuggets are the building blocks of a compelling autoresponder series that your readers will not only look for, but actually read. And if they’re reading, they will eventually buy.
As they move through your series, you want to keep in mind that subsequent offers should be more and more valuable, with the occasional low-priced offer thrown in.
In fact, if you’re using a more sophisticated system such as Infusionsoft, Convertkit or AWeber with the AW Pro Tools add-on, you can easily move people between autoresponders based on the actions they take. That means they’ll see exactly the offers they want and need, and nothing else. It can make selling via email super productive, and best of all, completely automated.
Would it come as a surprise to you if I said we’re all sales people? It’s true.
Every time you have a prospective client on a discovery call, you’re making a sales pitch. Every time you send an email or write a blog post with an offer, you’re making a sales pitch. Every time you write an opt-in page, you’re making a sales pitch.
And you’re probably pretty good at it, too, or you wouldn’t be where you are today, would you?
So why do we continue to think we’re so bad at sales?
Sales Feels “Icky”
I hear this one a lot. You feel pushy or uncomfortable when talk turns to money. You don’t want to force anyone into a decision. You secretly think your rates are too high.
I’m going to be honest with you. This is one of those things that gets better only with practice. But the good news is, you don’t have to be on the phone with a prospective client to get that practice time in.
Instead, use the technique self-help gurus have been advocating for years: Look in the mirror and talk to yourself. Practice saying your rates out loud. Practice your segue from discovery to sales pitch. The more you do it, the more natural it will sound, and the less uncomfortable you will feel when on a real call.
Fix Your Mindset
What if you weren’t selling anything, but instead were simply chatting with a friend about the incredible new product that was going to change her life? You’re helping your friend to improve herself by sharing your experience with this new product.
That’s exactly how you should think about selling your product or service. You’re not trying to get your prospective client to spend money. Instead, you’re offering a solution to her problems. You’re genuinely helping her to overcome some obstacle in her life or business. You’re asking your prospective client to make an investment in themselves.
When you can turn your thinking around from “sales” to “helping” you’ll find it’s much easier to have the sales talk.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Follow Up
Most clients won’t say yes with the first call, and maybe not even with the second. Statistics show that it can take up to 6 exposures to you, your product or service to make the sale. Successful entrepreneurs know that many sales can be closed if you simply take the time to follow up. Send a quick email and invite your prospect to:
Don’t let that old “I’m not good at sales” thinking get in the way of making a real difference in people’s lives, and in growing your business and your profits. With these easy tips, you can quickly turn your sales blocks into a system for landing new clients consistently.
What's your mindset? Share your ideas below, Coach Deb
Poor money management has been the cause of more business failures than any other single issue. And it’s no wonder. We aren’t born knowing how to manage money. Most of us aren’t taught how to handle it either. We figure it out along the way, through much trial and error.
Those same mindset issues and bad habits that wreak havoc in our personal finances can plague our businesses as well if we’re not careful.
Catching Shiny Object Syndrome
Some things are just hard to resist—especially when your friends and colleagues are all jumping on board! New tools, training, group coaching programs and even business models can all have a strong pull, and if you aren’t careful, these shiny objects can quickly distract you from your current goals.
If you find yourself catching shiny object syndrome frequently, try this two-step plan instead:
Falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’m not using this subscription, but I can’t give it up! I’m still paying the launch price and now it’s much more expensive!” Then you’ve fallen for the sunk costs fallacy.
This common mistake is famous among economists, and we all fall victim to it from time to time. Simply put, the sunk costs fallacy is what makes us justify investing more money or time in something—even though we’re not seeing results—because we’ve already spent so much. It’s what encourages us to repair the car one more time (after all, you just put new tires on it), eat a meal we don’t enjoy (simply because you’ve paid for it), and yes, continue to pay for tools and resources you’re not using.
Take a few minutes and examine your current business expenses. What are you paying for month after month that you’re not using? Either make a plan to put them to work for you, or cancel them. Stop falling for the sunk costs fallacy.
Too Much Penny Pinching
You thought this was all going to be about overspending, didn’t you? Here’s the kicker: Spending too little is just as bad for business.
When you’re constantly on the lookout for free and low-cost tools or working 16-hour days because you “can’t afford to outsource,” you’re not doing your business any favors. Sure, it looks like you’re bootstrapping and working really hard to make something from nothing, but what you’re really doing is digging yourself a rut it will be nearly impossible to climb out of. Not only that, but you’re reinforcing a scarcity mindset that will continue to plague you for years if you let it.
Rather than pinching pennies, learn to spend money strategically. Buy what you need, when you need it. Invest in top-quality products and programs rather than settling for the low-ticket, half-baked plans. Just like quality clothes, cars and furniture, quality services and software last longer and work better. And unlike that car, good quality business tools will pay for themselves.
What do you think? Share your tips below, Coach Deb
We all do it. No matter how successful you are, at one time or another you’ll fall into the self-sabotage trap, and the price of admission is high.
The end result? Frustration. Burnout. Resentment (of your clients or your business). And yes, even more self-sabotaging behaviors. This downward spiral can quickly turn devastating, but stopping it is easy when you learn to recognize the symptoms.
Did you mean to apply for that high-end client program but missed the deadline? Or maybe you were going to send a proposal to a potential new client, but waited too long? Or maybe you simply waited too long to take advantage of a sale price on a hot new app that everyone’s raving about.
These and other missed opportunities can often be blamed on simple procrastination, one of the most destructive habits we suffer from. Procrastination is what keeps us working late at night to make a deadline, costs us money in late fees, and even costs us business.
If you’re prone to procrastination, try these techniques to put an end to it:
Failing to Complete Your Projects
Be honest. How many half-written books, partially planned programs, and unfinished products are cluttering up your hard drive right now?
If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, the answer is probably several.
You started all of them with great enthusiasm. You planned out the modules or chapters, created the slide decks, and maybe even outlined the sales page. And then…you just stopped working on it.
Maybe you tell yourself that you’re too busy. Maybe you “need to do some more research.” Or maybe you simply lost interest. But the truth is, none of those are the real reason. For a lot of entrepreneurs, this self-sabotaging habit is actually a symptom of a lack of confidence, and it’s keeping you from the success you deserve.
Consider this: You cannot know the actual success rate of a program you’ve never finished, and you cannot improve upon something you’ve never completed. So rather than filling your hard drive with half-finished projects, power through and start releasing them—even if you believe they’re not perfect, and even if you think they’ll never sell.
I look forward to reading your comments below, Coach Deb
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