We were recently robbed at gunpoint at home. We were tied up, made to lie on the floor and our faces were covered with a blanket that happened to be conveniently nearby. In retrospect, we were treated fairly gently by the intruders. We were not harmed physically except for a few minor bruises from the cable-ties that they used to tie us together, and they made sure that we could not see their faces so that we didn’t have to be shot.
These guys were in and out of our house in about 20 minutes. They knew exactly what they were “shopping” for – items of value that were easy to pick up and carry like laptops, jewellery and so on. The only time they spoke to us was to ask us the location of our safe, which they simply used a crowbar to remove from the wall in order to open it later at their convenience, and to keep assuring us that they were watching to make sure that we didn’t do anything stupid.
Your potential customers go online knowing what they are looking for. How easy do you make it for them to find:
1. Your online shop, website or presence;
2. The information, item or whatever they are looking for?
I think that most of us time-pressed individuals (and believe me, our assailants were time-pressed) want to be in and out with what they want as quickly as possible and we sometimes get so carried away by our own verbiage and lengthy descriptions that the essence of what services we provide or what products we are selling get lost in translation.
The next time you review your online presence, imagine a gun to your head and someone telling you to keep it simple and show them quickly where they can find what they want. I’d be interested to know what a difference this makes to how you view your “store” and how you are selling yourself, your services and your products.
…thank you for everything that you teach me, for helping me grow as a marketing practitioner, for forcing me out of my comfort zone and for keeping my standards high. Thank you for always making me think harder, push more and continue to strive for nothing less than the best. Thank you for the example that you set for me, thank you for continually surprising and delighting me with your results and most of all…thank you for continuing to inspire me in doing the work that I love to do!
There is nothing I dislike more than disingenuous unoriginality. I would rather read the (sparse) work of someone who is original and a thought-leader in their field, than that of someone who is simply churning out content for the sake of sustaining an online presence and SEO. I strongly believe that we should respect our audience, our readers and our target market by creating content that is original and not a rehash of someone else’s thoughts and ideas.
When working with my clients, one of the things that I emphasise is the fact that the online space (particularly when it comes to posting on a blog) is their opportunity to showcase their subject matter expertise and their opinions in their areas of specialisation. Everyone is entitled to have a strong, subjective opinion based on knowledge and experience, and the blog-osphere is an appropriate space in which to be able to express opinions and positions on a variety of subjects (just as I am doing now!). What is a real winner is when people respond to one’s opinion or position on a subject.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me all of the time. I have many strong opinions on a variety of topics, tools and tips. One of my strong opinions is that – there is more than enough clutter out there on the internet without us regurgitating or copying other peoples’ original ideas and thoughts. I would rather post less frequently, but with integrity, ingenuity and originality than feel compelled to write daily and thus be forced to resort to using other peoples’ original work as the basis for my content.
Having said that, being copied is believed to be one of the highest forms of praise!!!
After I ran a morning seminar in Cape Town last week, one of the attendees wrote the following in an email:
“Thank you for an inspiring talk on Tuesday morning. I now realise that what I have to offer has so much more potential than what I allow myself to believe. I am reflecting on what it is that withholds me to (sic) venture into the bigger world. And the one question that keeps bugging me since your talk is – am I scared of success?”
I think that this person shows such immense personal insight and honesty and it is important that we take a moment to reflect on what success in our respective fields would mean for each of us, and the impact that this would have on our lives. We all want more money, freedom from debt, and not having to worry about how to pay the bills at the end of the month. But the price of success can have another side: you lose your anonymity and your ability to come and go freely in your own city.
Little things like being able to sneak off to the shops on the weekend incognito or doing the school run with your hair in a state become something that you now have to plan and prepare for – have a strategy for. Suddenly, you go to family functions and family members want to pump you for your expertise – free of charge! Have you ever spoken to your hairdresser about this – about how their family members all expect free hair-cuts? Well, when you become successful and recognised in your field of specialisation, your family members will start to expect free advice and consulations!
Success means that you have to be consistent. People build up a perception and expectations of you, and heaven forbid that you let THEIR perceptions down despite the fact that you have had very little to do with the underlying assumptions that these perceptions are built on.
As you plan your path to success, factor in managing success itself. Think of all of those people to whom enormous success has come suddenly – like Susan Boyle – who have battled to handle it. Here are some questions you need to consider:
- What will your strategy for success be?
- How will you integrate success into your life?
- How will your partner manage it?
- How will your family cope with your success?
- How will you sustain your success and increasing public persona?
- The more successful you become, the more people want from you, and the more people want to be associated with you. How are you going to manage this?
I would recommend that you work with someone like a coach or psychologist in plotting your personal Success Strategy so that you can manage the process. If you’d like some recommendations, please contact me.
You’ve asked for it, so here it is: I will be running the next full day workshop on Friday 26th October 2012 at the Pretoria Work-based Learning Centre – 2 minutes walk from the Hatfield Gautrain Station!
Only R995 per person, and it includes a FREE personal 1 hour consultation with me AFTER the workshop on your marketing challenges. For more details, read here
“Thank you for an inspiring talk…I now realise that what I have to offer has so much more potential than what I allow myself to believe…Thank you again for kicking my mind into top gear.” – Annabe Tredoux
I’m sure that every now and again you receive an email, SMS or note from a client complimenting you on the great work that you have done, or on the good service you have given them. You may even be sitting in a meeting when a client says something really good about what it is that you do. CAPTURE IT!
Make sure that you have one place in which you save all of these comments and testimonies to the quality and calibre of your work. It can be Word document on your computer, a notebook that you keep on your desk or whatever but just make sure that you keep all of these comments in ONE place where you can find them easily when you need to get your hands on them.
When you record these compliments and testimonials, make sure that your record who they are from, where they worked at the time and in what capacity, the person’s contact details should you need to get hold of them to get their permission to quote them at some stage, and the date on which they said this nice thing about you.
When using referrals, compliments or testimonials from clients, make sure that you update them on a regular basis. You can also quote someone anonymously by saying that this referral came from the financial manager of a large FMCG Manufacturer, or this testimonial came from the CEO of a Pharmaceutical Company. This preserves your client’s privacy while still allowing you to showcase the good work that you have done.
Yesterday evening, I attended an event with one of my favourite speakers – Dr Dumisani Magadlela. He is a highly respected South African expert in the area of Ubuntu Intelligence and has touched many lives with his wisdom. Dumi’s simplest definition of Ubuntu for the layman is: I am who I am because of who you are. In other words, we are who we are because of our collective experience. He is HUGELY against the idea putting people in boxes and labelling them – which is something that we marketers like to do, because it makes things nice and easy for us. It makes the job of marketing that much simpler to be able to group / box / generalise about people, their traits, their habits and so on.
But I had a bit of an epiphany this morning after last night’s conversation had time to fester in my brain, and I realised that Dumi’s resistance to putting people in boxes had some merit. If I think of my existing and potential clients, I am who I am because of who they are and because of what they need and are missing in their lives, businesses or practices. We are incredibly interconnected – not in a master/servant way, not in a client/service-provider way, but in a partnership. We are who we are because of each other. If we suspend our hierarchical or power constructs for a moment, we will realise that we are equals.
Let me give you an example: I do not claim to have any financial acumen whatsoever. I have certainly picked up bits and pieces along the way, but I rely on the specialist expertise of my teams of Chartered Accountants and Auditors to do what they specialise in so that I can focus on what I am good at, and I am quite happy to pay them for their expertise (if anyone is looking for some great accountants, I can give some good recommendations). They’re partners in making my business a success.
By the same token, I spend a lot of time studying my field and new developments so that I can offer my clients sound, practical advice that helps them market their businesses without spending a cent. I want them to be able to lose their anxiety about marketing their businesses, and be able to focus on what they are really great at.
What is YOUR relationship like with your clients? Are you who and where you are because of the relationship that you have? Are you part of YOUR clients’ success formula or are you a grudge purchase?