Read The Plaques At The Museum

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How much more effective could you be if you weren't in such a hurry all the time?

My daughter was too busy to look at the giraffes…

We had just gotten to the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World and we were looking around. There's so much to see that you never want to stay in one place for too long because of what could be happening just around the next bend.

“Come on, Daddy, let’s go see something else.”

“Ok, Gator, but that’s a GIRAFFE. Right THERE!”

I’ll admit that I’m not always the guy you want to go with to the museum or the zoo. I stop. I read. I learn.

I may hold up the group from time to time but I really get something out of the trip. I’m not in a hurry to see everything. I’ll get as much as I can out of what I see, and if I really like it I’ll come back.

A funny thing happens when you act like you’ve been there before, or that you could come back again if you like… You get way more out of the experiences you have.

I think this is a good metaphor for salespeople…

How often do you see a lead or a prospect all the way through to a reasonable conclusion? It doesn’t matter if that endpoint is a yes or a no, many opportunities are not seen through all the way to the end. If an opportunity doesn’t close right away, a lot of salespeople move onto a new shiny object, with a sense of urgency to feel like they're accomplishing something. They hope the next one will be the sure thing that makes their number for the month.

You’ve heard me say this before, selling is hard. Embrace that fact and move through a process.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who runs an IT support firm. He had been outsourcing his lead generation while letting his account managers focus on the middle and bottom of the sales funnel. After a reduction in the size of the lead gen team, revenue actually went up.

When leads and opportunities are harder to come by, you’d better make the most of the ones you have.

Why? Leads were treated differently and with greater importance. They weren’t taken for granted. When leads and opportunities are harder to come by, you’d better make the most of the ones you have. More time was spent, more effort was given, closing rates went up, and new business increased. I was not surprised to hear this at all.

Most salespeople fail to hit their targets because of a weak pipeline. That pipeline is not always weak because there aren’t enough leads. Often it’s because the opportunities at hand aren’t explored enough.

Despite what you may have heard, the seller’s job is not to be handed an opportunity that is 57% of the way through the buying process and convert it into revenue. Your job is to identify an opportunity, explore that opportunity, and present that prospect a unique means of helping them achieve their objectives. Often, they don’t even know what those objectives could be if it weren’t for a salesperson to show them the possibilities. You can't assume that your prospect knows how to buy from you. It takes a little more time to show them how.

To me, this is the difference between a sales professional and a professional salesperson.

To me, this is the difference between a sales professional and a professional salesperson. The sales professional stops when the path is no longer clear, while the professional salesperson digs deeper to learn more and explores new ways to deliver value.

I don’t want this piece to run on longer than it needs to, but I want my message to be clear. You need to explore each opportunity until it is absolutely clear that you can or cannot help. This requires a bit of a mirror moment to decide whether or not you’ve done all you can do up until that point, but don’t stop until you get there. 

New leads are often new distractions, particularly when they’re handed to you regularly. Don’t take them for granted just because there are plenty more where those came from. Invest some time and effort into the process, and you'll be able to convert more business with more leads.

Increase Your Prospecting Success

The Five Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting is full of insanely simple prospecting advice most salespeople ignore. Do yourself, or your team, a favor and grab a copy. 

 

About The Author

There’s a big difference between knowing how to sell and being able to. Jeff Bajorek spent over a decade in the field as a top performer. He’s been in your shoes. He knows what it will take. He can help you succeed.

Jeff shares his sales strategies and methods through writing, speaking, and leading sales workshops and training programs. His book The Five Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting focuses on five simple, common-sense fundamentals most salespeople ignore. When Jeff is not writing, speaking, or training he is co-hosting his business, life, and leadership podcast, The Why and the Buy. Jeff's unique approach has been featured on the Sell or Die Podcast, The Salesman Podcast, Business Growth Time, The Nice Guys on Business Podcast, and more. 

How To Build A High Performing Sales Culture Part 1: The Foundation

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Behind simply increasing revenue, the desire to create a high-performing sales culture is the number one goal that I have consistently heard when working with Sales VP’s and leaders over the last 10 years.

But what does that mean? The idea of culture has always been “fuzzy” what does culture mean and what does a high-performing sales culture look like?

Is it meeting and exceeding all sales goals with efficiency and effectiveness? Is it maximizing the potential that exists within your sales teams? Is it being metrics based or agile? Maybe its increasing the focus on coaching?

Even if you can get your arms around what a sales oriented culture looks feels and acts like, how to you actually change culture?

In my experience, its this inherent lack of clarity that keeps so many organizations from reaching their goal of transforming into a high-performing sales oriented culture. Without some basic guidelines, many companies blindly launch into a set of tactics that typically result in only short-term improvements or worse, create tension and issues within their sales organizations.

In working with hundreds of small businesses and studying many more, I’ve noticed that the most successful, highest-performing sales cultures have completed two critical steps that lay a solid foundation for success. I believe that if you are able to create the critical shifts in approach and attitude described below your organization will be well positioned to implement strategies, tactics and systems that will create a long-term, high-performing sales culture.

The shifts below are straightforward, simple in nature and powerful. But they are not easy, creating this type of change can be hard - but it’ll pay off in increased revenue and efficiencies. Here’s the foundation on which to build your sales culture.

Step 1: Become Completely Client-Centric

Being truly client-centric means you have a deep understanding for and appreciation of your best clients, the ones that you want more of. It means wrapping your entire organization around their wants, needs, and expectations.

In todays world, the company that figures out how to deliver what clients want, how they want it, when they want it, while providing an exceptional experience win.

While most organizations think that they are truly client focused - the overwhelming majority of them are not. Many assume they know their market yet struggle to consistently generate the results they are looking for. You must have a structured and consistent process for soliciting feedback from your customers and Im talking more than a passive survey or a Net Promoter score.

You must ask the right questions, at the right times and of the right customers.

When you accomplish this, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of truly understanding your target market. Sales will increase, moral will rise and clients will line-up to work with you. You’ll uncover the exact path to selling what your clients want, the way that they prefer to buy, precisely how to interact to build relationship and share of wallet and how to generate referrals.

Through an intimate understanding of your clients you’ll:

  • Have the insight to develop the right offerings, products and services that capitalize on holes in the market and set you apart from your competition

  • Know for certain exactly how your most desired clients want to be sold to and make it easy for them to buy

  • Understand how to strategically position those offerings to attract more clients and sell more easily

  • Be able to align your systems, process and people around how your clients want to buy, their desired customer experience, and how you expand your relationship them in the future

  • Clients will better understand what you sell, buy more and refer others

The more that you understand your target clients and focus on their unique needs, the easier it will be to design a high-performing sales culture.

Every strategy and tactic will be driven by your clients feedback. Your clients will act as your Northstar and guide your way.

Your entire organization, all of its teams and departments will be working towards the same strategic goals. Departments will speak the same language and everyone will rally around delivering the client exactly what they want, how they want it. There will be few debates on how to move forward or what to focus on.

The result will be increased sales, increased efficiencies and the foundation on which to build a high-performing sales culture.

Step 2: Understand that Everyone Is In Sales

High-performing sales cultures embrace the concept that every person, regardless of department or role is responsible for generating revenue. Everyone has a part to play in developing and delivering the best products and client experiences.

And each individual member of the team understands her value and role in the revenue roadmap and how she contributes to the success of the organization.

In my experience, this mentality starts with the management team. Their leaders are willing make the investment in resources, to roll up their sleeves and keep the entire organization focused on providing value and increasing revenue.

They “walk the walk” but more importantly they help everyone stay focused on revenue generation and provide employees with a strong “why” that motivates them to do their best work.

The organizations that are truly operating at their highest-potential have realized that sales is a team sport and have created opportunities for all departments and individuals to play a role in contributing to and supporting the entire sales cycle.

To further emphasize each persons role in revenue generation, many of these leading organizations have also created appropriate reward systems based on key metrics related to sales for each department.

A traditional example is annual bonuses based on company results. But today’s most forward thinking, high-performing sales cultures take the concept much further. They creatively draft rewards and recognition based on the activities each individual performs to influence results depending on roles. They’re clear on individual metrics and they have strong management structures in place to keep everyone focused motivated.

They reward quality over quantity and celebrate wins big and small.

Its Not Easy …

Changing culture of any kind is hard work. There is a natural human tendency to fight change, anxiety around the unknown and new environments. There will be false starts, some fails and some redirections.

It will take time and consistent, focused effort.

It will require you to lead your teams through the transition by working side by side with them to understand and respond to client needs, embrace their roles as revenue generating employees and providing them with the tools that they need for success in their new environment.

Consider investing in a coach to work with you and your team through this transition so that you can stay focused while still running your business.

Your efforts will be rewarded in increase sales, higher-performing teams with a mission and an better company culture that attracts top talent.

Interested In Learning More About Building A High-Performing Sales Culture?

Watch this free webinar, “Creating A Culture For Sales Success: 3 Simple But Powerful Strategies For Sales Leaders”.

Successful modern selling requires fundamental changes in how we organize, measure and manage our sales teams. This requires leaders to rethink seller-focused, traditional and sometimes outdated structures and tactics in order to align how their organization sells with how their clients actually want to buy. 

In this jam-packed session you’ll learn:

  • Strategic changes to your organization and structure that can foster a high-performing sales culture

  • How focusing on scientific metrics, based on outcomes can fuel your growth

  • Key changes to your compensation plans that can drive culture improvements and revenue 

  • How to empower sales managers to build your culture, talent pool and revenue





The Fear Will Come

3. #EntrepreneurUnfiltered

I woke up on Tuesday morning to 15 new reviews of the podcast.

Fourteen, 5 star reviews. 

But it was the 15th that sent me into a self-doubting tailspin. That review was only 3 stars. 

As silly as it sounds, that one review had an unanticipated strong impact on me. 

It wasn't about the review or the person who wrote it. The review was simply a trigger that set off  an old and well hidden mindset issue for me, one that is rooted in fear.

Its the fear of not being liked. 

I have worked on this before.  I've gotten comfortable with the idea that I am not going to be everyones cup of tea and I've made a conscious decision that I won't try to morph myself into what I think any particular person wants me to be in an attempt to get them to like or accept me.

I did this years ago after some particularly negative experiences that made me realize trying to be something that I wasn't made me completely miserable which in turn pushed people even further from me. 

I did the work. 

Yet there was the fear again. 

It took me a few hours to work through this. I leaned on my understanding of fear, my confidence in my mission and skillset and my ability to sit with the doubt for a bit. A little (maybe a lot) of venting my concerns to my husband helped too. He reminded me that I had been through this before. I knew how to handle it. 

At this point, Im completely back on track and ready to keep building this movement.

I didn't like the fear, but I love the fact that I fought back and am still moving forward. 

What I Learned This Week

I would consider this more of a reminder than a learning. Mindset work is not a project that you complete, its an ongoing life-long progression.

I have dedicated my life to helping others work through these types of challenges. I have researched, tested and used these techniques to help others accomplish things that they never thought were possible for them. But that doesn't mean I am immune to them.

Fear will make an appearance. 

We are all human and because of that, none of us are immune to fear. Every one of us has this hiding in different forms inside of us. 

Its not about preventing the fear, its about developing the skillset and tools that you need to work through it. 

My deepest inner fears will reappear. And thats ok - its even beautiful. 

I will use what I've learned to handle them and grow from the experience. 

Wins This Week

I am approaching 175 downloads, from 9 different countries and 25 states, which is mind-blowing to me. I don't know how good or bad that is relative to others but in many ways it doesn't matter. 

Website traffic is up 200%. 

10 new email subscribers and I haven't promoted my services yet. Nor do I have a drip campaign - (I need to get on that) I am humbled by the fact that people want to hear from me. Its incredible to me.

A new collaboration that I think will be super powerful and enabling for the ladies that I work with.

I Am Grateful For

All of the listeners, subscribers and podcast interviewees who are taking a chance on this new and unknown business and helping me to build a movement that can change the world. More million dollar businesses for female entrepreneurs means more families, communities and societies positively changed for generations to come.

YOUR TURN

What were your wins for the week? Who helped you get there?

Tell me about it below. Ill write back - promise :)

 

Celebrate The Progress

2: #EntrepreneurUnfiltered

Big news this week - I was finally able to launch the podcast! I have poured my heart and soul (literally as the name implies) into the Selling With Soul podcast. And while its been a wild ride, I truly love it.

I think thats why I was so anxious to put it out into the world.

Because I am so attached to the message and the mission, I had a terrible fear that no one else would care or worse that they would say I was a hack.

I guess that's still possible. But I'm not afraid of it anymore.

I had to challenge my tendency for perfectionism and acceptance daily. Progress over perfection has become my mantra and its spilled over into other parts of my life and honestly - its awesome and freeing.

I am in this to do something special. To have an impact and to inspire. To do that I need to put myself out there in ways that I haven't before. Its not the same as corporate risk taking or being a fearless sales person. 

Its scary and vulnerable but its also breathtaking and exciting in ways that I couldn't have anticipated. 

Everything feels right and in this moment I know that I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be doing EXACTLY what I am supposed to be doing.

And that is an amazing feeling.

What I learned this week

Moving forward is way better than standing still looking for perfect. 

I am legitimately crazy when I have a goal or a deadline. I go into hyper focus mode and do not care for being disturbed. Its not a pretty sight. Sorry family. 

I get the job done. 

But instead of stopping to celebrate and really enjoy it, I rush on to other important projects and must do items. Like I'm on a hamster wheel.

A comment from one of my mentors on Facebook made me pause and say, "What are you doing Meredith?"

She asked what I was doing to celebrate. 

Celebrate? 

Hmmm. Yes, I should take the time to do that. 

I'm always so fast to move onto the next thing to push on further and further. But celebrating felt good. I drank too much wine. But I don't see that as a problem :)

This realization lead me to try a new habit - writing one or two wins each day in a small planner that I bought. Then at the end of the week, I can look at that and see all that I was able to accomplish and celebrate my wins, no matter how big or how small. 

Its all the small steps that get us to the point where we can leap forward. 

I AM GRATEFUL FOR

The people who pull me out of my frantic, overachiever bubble. 

I literally could not keep going without my fantastic support system that helps me keep this little dream of being a business that changes people's worlds alive in the face of all of this insanity that is entrepreneurship.

Specifically, I need to thank the following people for their influence, inspiration and at times tough love - in getting this Selling With Soul project out and into the world:

  • My bestie, love and business partner - thank you for the help with the kids, making me keep going when Audition crashes and erased all of my edits and your tech support. Also, your love.
  • Kate Erikson and JLD from EOF - thanks for sharing the knowledge, creating the awesome community that took me in and treated me like an old friend, for always responding and for actually caring. 
  • Shelli Warren - you may not realize it, but your comments and encouragement mean everything to me. You keep me focused on my goal of getting into your mastermind :)
  • Jeff Brown - thank you for helping me start to find my voice. Your mentorship is the backbone of my show and all that it will become.

YOUR TURN

What were your wins for the week? Who helped you get there?

Tell me about it below. Ill write back - promise :)

 

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How To Lead Sales Meetings That ACTUALLY Lead to Sales

What Is A SALES Call?

Sometimes it’s called a consultation or a discovery call – and its like a meet and greet - the purpose is to allow you and your potential client to get to know one another better to see if there is a good fit and a reason to continue talking. Its an opportunity to develop a relationship and demonstrate your awesomeness. 

And that’s why having an effective discovery or sales call is so critical – how you interact with your potential client in this meeting sets the tone for the entire relationship with your potential client going forward.

I know from experience and observation that most buyers will have already made a decision as to whether or not they actually want to work with you based on this conversation alone – they may not voice it until much later but this conversation is critical. 

But it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here’s the deal. This article will show you:

  • The 4 keys to leading an amazing (and profitable) sales call

  • Key phrases and questions that will help you get past the "awkward" and into "awesome" when talking to your buyers

  • And what you need to do before, during and after to increase your likelihood of success

At the end of this call you will have everything that you need to conduct an ah-maz-ing discovery call - one that works for both you and the person interested in your services – youll even have a template that you can use to build a flow that works for you. 

Prefer to listen and learn? Try this audio masterclass from the Selling With Soul podcast.

Prefer to listen and learn? Try this audio masterclass from the Selling With Soul podcast.

I have developed a sweet free download for you to go with this masterclass. Theres a link to it below. And you don’t want to miss this one – it lays out the flow of the meeting for you, so all you have to do is fill it in and customize for your use!

 

So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or nervous trying to figure out how to qualify leads or move a potential client out of the “friend zone” and into the "buying zone" –  this training is for you. 

Or if your already using discovery calls but aren’t seeing the results that you would like – maybe you'd like to see more clients come out of them – this training can help you refine your call flow and your approach to help you get more of the yeses that you deserve and help you help more people

When Are Discovery Meetings A Good fit?

If you don't currently have sales or discovery meetings built into your process, you may be asking yourself – should I have a discovery call built into my sales plan?

My answer to the is maybe. 

There are a few situations that discovery meetings are a really good fit for:

  • 1 on 1 work - coaching, consulting etc.

  • High Investment/price - masterminds, VIP days, consulting, high ticket items

  • B2B - most business to business sales situations

Any time that you are planning on engaging in longer-term 1 on 1 work with a potential client I recommend having a discovery call process. This will give you the chance to decide if theres a good mutual fit between the two of you and if its work that you are interested in doing. 

Its much easier to to say no in the beginning than it is to try to walk away after getting started. Ive been there and done that - its not a good time. 

In general, I like to say that the larger the investment that you are asking someone to make the more likely it is that you will need to have one or more sales meetings. Most large purchases are not made in the very first conversation. This makes sense, if you think about how you would by personally or for your business. For many of us the larger the commitment, the more likely you are to require additional time, trust and information before purchasing. 

Finally, if you are in business to business sales (B2B) it is HIGHLY likely that you will benefit greatly from implementing planned discovery calls into your routine. The more complex the B2B sale is, when you're selling to a larger organization with larger teams making decisions and multiple levels of approval needed the more you will need effective discovery meetings, typically more than one. 

A Word Of Caution

Discovery and sales calls are an investment of your time (which equals money) and so you'll want to be sure that you are only using them for offerings that have enough room in the profit margin to justify these costs.

For example, if your selling something with a price of $400 and it costs you $200 to produce and you hold a 60 minute discovery call with you potential buyer and your hourly rate is $250 - you suddenly just went negative $5.00. 

$400 - $200 (cost to produce ) -$250 (cost of your time) = -$5.00

Not a good deal for you. So beware of conducting discovery meetings for lower margin offerings. 

The Benefits Of Discovery Meetings

1. They help you build trust.

Using the framework presented in this training will show you how to keep the focus off of yourself on the buyer and their potential needs. This will set you apart from everyone else out there.

This all starts with using questions to better understand the buyer and help lead them to a decision that will help benefit them. 

We are going to go deep into how to use questions to build trust later in this article but it is important to understand that not onlyquestions help you align your service or offering according to what matters to your buyer, but they grow an appreciation and a relationship between the two of you. 

If youre mindset is one of helping – having a conversation seems so much more natural. It makes sense and feels compfortable to get to know the person and their needs. Unlike innodating them with a ton of imformation on you and your product that they never actually asked to hear and that doenst apply to them. 

Valued conversations lead to relationships. Relationships lead to positive emotions and purchasing decisions are driven by emotion first. 

2. Helps Eliminate Buyer Concerns

If used correctly, questions will also allow you to limit or address buyer concerns (also known as the dreaded “objection”) as you move through the conversation, making it easier to ask for the person's business in the end and ultimately speeding up the entire process and creating a better experience for you and the other person. 

3. Increases the likelihood of you gaining a new client (conversion rate)

Because you have taken the time upfront to learn about your buyer and you are tenable to tailor your presentation of your offering to their needs, and you've built trust and addressed their concerns - it is easy to see why you would have a higher likelihood of gaining this client. 

Steps To A Successful Discovery Call

There are 4 simple steps in the Selling With Soul Discovery Meeting frame work. They outline what you need to do before, during and after a sales call to dramatically increase your likelihood of success and to feel cool, calm and confident doing it. 

Here are the keys to success:

Key 1: Research and Prepare

Key 2: Get Into The Mindset For Success 

Key 3: Build Trust Through Questioning & Listening

Key 4: Ask For The Business 

Lets look at each in detail.

Key 1: Research and Prepare

This is not a time to “wing it” – you have a real opportunity in front of you and to be your best you really really – pretty please with sprinkle son top – need to prepare. 

To make this easier for you, I’ve created a great Discovery Call worksheet for you to use to prepare for each of your calls. You can get it by clicking on the image below.

You’ll want to be sure to grab that to guide you through the entire process that we are going to go over here. 

As a general rule of thumb, in my opinion is the larger or more complex the sale is – the more time you need to put into preparing for the call. 

So for example – if you are a health coach and your buyer is a consumer looking for nutritional and exercise coaching you might spend 15-20 minutes preparing for instance. 

But on the opposite end of the spectrum if youre selling a product or technology into a medium sized company and the process is more involved and longer in length preparation needs to go much deeper. And could easily take 3 hours or more. 

Avoid this at all costs please...

If youre using an intake form that your potential customer fills out prior to your meeting like a survey or questionnaire – please take the time to review that prior to your call. I cant tell you how many times I've seen people try to review it on the fly with the buyer. This is immensely frustrating to the person who took the time to fill it out. To avoid leaving your potential buyer feel undervalued, review that ahead of time and use that knowledge to carefully craft your meeting and questions. 

A couple of hints...

On a practical level – its not a good idea to book your discovery calls back to back meaning one right after another. These meetings can take a lot out of you, they can be emotionally draining. You’ll need some time to review your notes, recharge your energy and avoid fatigue. Get up, walk, stretch or get a snack.

when possible, try to schedule important sales meetings at a time fo day where you will be at your optimal energy level. If your a morning person who drags by the time 2pm hits - try not to schedule your most meetings in the late afternoons, for example.

Research Checklist

The first step in in researching and preparing is to actually do the research around the person and company that you are meeting with. 

  1. Start by checking out their website – be sure to check the “about section”. Get a sense of where they’re headed, they’re background, personal connections etc.

  2. f it’s an established business also look for financial results, announcements and anything else that will help you understand their goals, important initiatives and pain points

  3. Check social media. LinkedIn will give you professional information on the people you are meeting with. Facebook can provide valuable insight on the brand and personal interests as can Instagram. Do you have any connections or friends in common? If so, what might they be able to tell you? Are there other people in that organization that you should approach ad well? Have they interacted with any of your content on these sites?

  4. Check your CRM (customer relationship manager) or email provider and see what they’ve clicked on, downloaded, viewed or asked about in the past. This will often provide important context for you.

  5. Be sure to Google the person and the company – you may get some additional info that can be helpful. Are they listed as clients on any of your competitors websites.

 Once you’ve completed your critical research now its time to prepare for your meeting. 

This is where you’ll want to try to figure out how you might be able to have a positive impact on your potential new client. It is important that you have some idea of this before you meet with the buyer – you wont know exactly until you speak with them but youll be prepared with some ideas. 

Based on your cyber stalking (the legal kind) and your work with other similar clients you’ll want to have an idea around the following:

  • What kinds of problems or challanges might they be facing?

  • What are their potential goals or what’s an ideal state for them?

  • What value could they get out of working with you?

  • What difference could your offering make?

After doing all of this research and once you have experience, the temptation might come to assume that you know everything about the buyer.

DANGER DANGER

Don’t do tihs. As we said above, every buyer is unique and we need to treat them that way if we want to build productive relationships and create the desire to work with us. 

At this point its all a guessing game and your ideas are fairly generic but having an idea will help you mentally prepare.

Build Your List Of Questions

Questions are one of the greatest sales tools that you have available. 

 Remember as we said earlier the point of asking questions is to 

  • Focus on the buyer – not you

  • Learn about the unique needs and desires of the individual you are speaking to

  • Better understand how the purchasing decision will be made and the timeline for it

Listen to Masterclass #2 with Deb Calvert on the power of questions for a complete overview of how to use questions to build relationships th

In general questions should be:

  • Open ended – use words like: who, what, were, when, why and phrases like: walk me through, describe for me, paint a picture ….

  • Be important and meaningful

  • Not be cliché or overused

Examples of Power Questions:

  • What do you hope to gain out of working with me?

  • Of the goals that you have described, what are your top 3 and why?

  • What would it mean to you personally to accomplish this?

  • What is your motivation to get this done?

  • How do you measure success?

  • What has led you to consider working with me at this time?

  • How are you going to make this decision, what are your criteria?

Determine what outcome you would like to see

If youre clear on what you want to happen you are far more likely to accomplish it.

What do you want to happen as a result of this meeting? Whats the next logical step?

While most of us would answer this question – duh mer – I want to get a new client and a signed contract. This doesn’t always make sense, like in the case of the complex sale or high ticket item. Sometimes a next best step is a follow-up meeting.

Put yourself in the buyers shoes and ask yourself how you would make that decision. 

Come up with an objective that makes sense for you in that situation.

Develop Your Agenda

The last step in preparing is pull an agenda together.

 This doenst have to be complex – simply outline the sections and highpoints of the conversation so that you have something to refer to. Save this agenda to use as a template in similar calls that you have going forward. 

What I suggest for an agenda and what Ive outlined for you in your discovery call worksheet that we are reviewing is something like this for a flow:

1. Open the conversation

- Review agenda and gain agreement to move forward

2. Lead the discussion – this is where youll spend the bulk of your time

- Give a brief overview of your value proposition – the what and the why of what you do

3. Lead discovery conversation 

4. Discuss next steps

So that’s it, its really a simple 3 step agenda – simple to pull together and easy for the buyer to move through with you.

At this point you're prepred – you know something about the potential client, you have an outline or agenda for the meeting now lets take a look at how to actually walk a client through the discovery meeting and go over some sample wording that you might use.

Key 2: Get Into The Mindset For Success 

Before we jump right into the actual meeting just a couple of words of advice here from a seasoned lady like myself. 

You're mindset is a critical component of your success - if its not right you will struggle to get through these sometime challenging and draining situations. 

Take a listen to the mindset for success episode for some insight on hoe to develop and maintain the right mindset for sales meetings.

With all of that squared away, lets walkthrough how you might lead the meeting and some key insights on what to say and not say in the individual sections of the agenda. 

Key 3: Build Trust Through Asking and Listening: How To Lead The Meeting

Buying decisions are made based on emotions, emotions are formed with relationships and relationships are born from trust. It is imperative that you build that trust in this initial conversation. 

Important reminder: The most important parts of the actual meeting are asking the right questions and actively listening empathetically with your mind and heart. 

This means that not only should you be asking powerful questions; but you listen actively to them. You aren’t waiting to talk, but rather you are in the moment with your potential buyer and relating to them on an emotional level.

Here is a breakdown of the flow with some sample language:

1.     Open the conversation (5-10 minutes max)

A.   Introductions 

Take a few moments to introduce yourself and everyone in the meeting. Gert a sense of their roles and where they fit into the team, if it’s a group. 

Limit your small talk, skip small talk that is irrelevant such as the weather or weekend plans. Remember there is limited time available, you have an objective and they agreed to meet with you to discuss the opportunity. 

Always keep the small talk positive to get started on the right foot. No complaining about the heat or the traffic. 

B.   Confirm time and agenda – gain micro-commitment 

Before you get started, you’ll want to be sure that nothing has changed with the timeframe for the meeting. 

·     We have 30 minutes scheduled for this meeting does that still work for you?

You should also reconfirm the purpose of the meeting. This will give you an opportunity to iron out any misunderstanding that might exist, give the buyer a heads up on what’s to come and build a conversation. 

It might sound something like this:

·     In our time together today, I’d like to give you a little background on our company and how we help companies/people like you, learn a little bit more about you/your company and how you’re doing in these areas an see if it makes sense to continue our discussions.

C.    Gain agreement to move forward (micro-commitment)

It seems small, but this is a critical step in the process. Giving the person that you’re speaking to a chance to voice their opinion on what’s to come increases their trust in you and sets you apart from a pushy, selfish sales person who is going to move forward with their own agenda regardless of how the other person feels. 

You’re essentially bringing the other person along with you rather than dragging them through something that they didn’t choose to participate it. 

A micro-commitment will also continue to help prime the buyer’s psychological responses so that when it comes time for your ask, they will be accustomed to making a decision with you.

It’s simple to gain this commitment. Try something like:

  • Does that make sense?

And then follow-up with:

  • Is there anything else that you would like to get out of today’s meeting or anything else that you would like to cover?

 2.     Lead the discussion (40—45 minutes, this is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time)

A.    Give a brief overview of your value proposition

This is where you will give an overview of the what and the why of what you do. You want to keep this brief and do not go into your product offering, feature benefits or anything else related to your offer. The purpose is to set the stage for the dialogue. 

  • As I mentioned earlier, I work with small businesses and female solopreneurs to develop growth strategies, develop critical sales skills and scale businesses. My mission is to ensure that more female led businesses are profitable and successful. I recently worked with a client similar to you …. enter specific example and results.

B.    Transition to discovery conversation

Once you’ve given a brief overview of you and given a sample of the type of work that you do and sample results, you need to transition the conversation to the most important section of the meeting – the discovery conversation. This is where you get to leverage your power questions and knowledge to better understand the unique situation of the buyer and build relationship and trust. 

Remember this is NOT an interrogation, your goal is not to check off all of the questions on your list. This is a conversation meant to explore the potential opportunity that may or may not exist with this buyer. 

If you are prepared with insightful questions your buyer will be impressed by your preparation and insights. Be prepared for some potential silence and discomfort as many buyers aren’t used this type of buying process – the silence is a GOOD thing. 

To transition to the discovery section of the conversation, you can say something like this:

  • The most important thing is to make sure this makes sense for you. In preparing for today’s meeting I noticed that ….. finish with something from your fact finding and then ask your first power question.

3.     The Next Step Ask

Time can fly by when you’re in a great conversation and building a relationship. That’s why it’s important to watch the clock – be sensitive to their time and wrap up the meeting with 15 minutes or so left in an hour meeting, 10 minutes for a half hour.

This is the part of the sales conversation that tends to make women very anxious. But it doesn’t have to be scary. 

A few pointers:

  • Remember that you are coming from a place of service and integrity.

  • You have built an understanding of the need.

  • Continue to focus on the buyer not yourself.

If you’ve laid the groundwork of trust and understanding, and if there is a mutual fit – the asking portion of the conversation should feel like a natural continuation of the relationship.

If you don’t think there is a good fit between the two of you, now is the time be honest about that and gracefully decline a continuation. Whenever possible try to refer them to someone that you believe can help them. 

A: Summarize What You’ve Heard & Ask For Agreement

To transition to the ask start by summarizing what you have heard from them in terms of critical pain points, challenges or needs and the value of solving for those.

Be sure to emphasize. 

Do not pitch here, no need to go on a tangent losing all of your features and benefits. Unless the buyer asks you questions about your service or offering. If they do that’s a potential buying signal and you want to address that. 

To transition to the ask you’ll want to be prepared with your primary and secondary asks. You might say something as simple as:

  • A usual next step for this type of project is ….

  • After learning more about you, I am excited because I know we can solve this together. In this situation, my clients typically work with me 1x1 for 3 months. If it makes sense, Ill map out what those 3 months would look like and we can get back together in a few days to discuss the plan. I have open time on Monday or Tuesday is there a day that works better?”

Or if asking for the business:

  • After learning more about you/your goals/challenges/etc. there seems to be a great synergy between us. How can I be of service to you going forward?

  • “I would love to help you with this after learning more about you, I am excited because I know we can solve this together. When would you like to start?

  • When do we begin?

The key here is to not make a big deal out of this. It’s not “closing” or “selling” it’s a natural progression of a conversation where you are trying to help someone. 

The best way to get comfortable with this is to actually do it, many times. 

This is a psychological principal referred to as the confidence, competence loop. The more that you do something the more competent you become, which in turn makes you more confident. It’s like a confidence snowball.

Find your own way of asking. Practice with others and practice by doing. There is no substitute.

Key 4: Follow-Up

No overview of a sales call would be complete without stressing the importance of following up. 

You have spent all of this time preparing and building a relationship and trust with your potential customer. 

If you don’t follow-up with them, uphold the commitments that you have made to them or otherwise go against your word – it is all instantly lost.

People get busy. They forget. Your priorities are not theirs. 

Be one of the minority of people who follow-up. Because the old saying is true, “The fortune is in the follow-up.”

 Follow the process above, ask questions, show empathy, follow-up and you’ll set yourself apart from 90% of others out there, in a good way. 

 Lastly, here are some additional suggestions to make the potential buyers experience working with you during the buying process unforgettable and to elevate you above anyone else out there:

  • Consider sending a personal video thank you

  • Snail mail a handwritten thank you note

  • Consider a thank you package

  • Actively leverage social proof and your raving fans to show your value instead of telling

You have a unique and life changing offering for the world. Don’t be afraid to call attention to it, value it and present it to those who can benefit from it. 

Be sure to grab your free workbook and discovery call planner here. You'll be be prepared, comfortable and oh so very successful - I know it!

 

Wishing you the best because it’s what you deserve!

 

Ever Wanted To Quit? Me too.

1: #EntrepreneurUnfiltered

This is how the week began 

Life and entrepreneurship can be hard. Like messy, scary, desperate hard.

It can bring out things in you that you didn't even know where there. And I came to fully realize this at exactly 9:10pm on Sunday.

I remember the exact time because I was in my office - still working.

I had spent the weekend sending out interview requests for my podcast, building out my coaching framework and working on a consulting project for work. Which means I didn't play with my babies, relax with my husband, workout or anything else.

I had nothing to show for all of it. No responses from earlier in the week, again.

I sat there staring at my computer screen as an anxious sadness began to grow inside of me and big fat tears started rolling down my face. The bills needed to be paid. I looked at the long list of things to be paid and our shrinking bank account balance and I asked myself, for the first time - "What am I doing?"

I've never been a big crier but this was the tipping point. There was no turning back as my completely exhausted mind tore through the months of guilt and fear that I had been bottling up and pushing down. The tears quickened and my thoughts turned dark.

  • You're selfish spending all of your family's money on this stupid thing 
  • You've wasted all of this time and energy on this - you've neglected your kids and your husband who need you
  • You're making no progress and should just stop
  • You're making no difference and no one is going to value you - take a hint already

And I decided that I was going to quit. 

It wasn't worth it anymore. Time, money, sacrifices, anxiety, the emotional rollercoaster - it wasn't worth it. And I wasn't sure it would even work anyway.

So that was that. 

I wiped away my tears and picked up my phone to get my order kids to bed, feeling sad but also relieved. 

With the kids squared away, I plopped on the bed to scroll through my insta feed. 

This is what I saw:

IMG_9767.JPG

Someone not only read my email but valued the effort that I put into it enough to tell the world on Instagram! And it wasn't just anyone - it was from someone that I respected and who's work I greatly admired.  

I also had a DM request to be interviewed on another podcast. 

Small wins? Yes. 

Enough to keep me moving forward? Yes.

And just like that I was back and excited about the possibility of changing the world again. 

Would I have actually quit and let it all go? Not likely. But what I do know is that what was likely a small thing to these ladies, made all of the difference for me in that vulnerable moment. 

The Week Ended With

4 sales calls.

A completed program outline.

Sales framework and survey complete. 

3 podcasts.

A workshop booked. 

Celebrating the wins - ice cream with my four VIP's and a little TV with my love.

what I learned this week

That I am not perfect, but I am strong.

It doesn't matter who you are or how strong your mindset is, we all have moments of despair, doubt and ugly crying. And we can't avoid these moments but we can figure out how to move forward despite these feelings. 

This whole entrepreneurship thing is a crazy rollercoaster.

The smallest things can make all the difference. People do notice, even when you don't think anyone is paying attention. 

The universe gives us signs and its up to us notice and listen.

Celebrate every step.

I am Grateful For

People who take the time to encourage and inspire. Thank you Dr. Michelle Mazur for your positive impact on my week and my journey.

The opportunity to inspire others and the privilege of being a part of their journey. 

Your turn

Have you ever wanted to quit? 

If so, I'm here to help you keep going so that you can change the world and your life.

Tell me about it below. Ill write back - promise :)

10 Essential Sales and Marketing Activities For Entrepreneurs And How To Get Them Done

This article is part of the Sales and Marketing Efficiency Hacks Series focused on helping entrepreneurs save time and increase productivity and effectiveness. 

Tired of being pulled around by interruptions and fires, jumping from task to task like a rabbit, feeling like you never accomplish any of your really important things?

It’s the entrepreneur’s hamster wheel and its not a good time.

Running around and around but never really getting anywhere.

I used to feel like that too. Until an amazing little thing called batching came into my life and changed everything. Im off the hamster wheel and have regained (some) control and focus.

Here is a list of 10 sales and marketing activities that I see as essential to growing a business and how to use batching to get it all done. 

WTH Is Task Batching?

It’s the magical unicorn of productivity that increases your mental sharpness, concentration, creativity and general awesomeness while also saving you time. 

You’re paying attention now, right?

Batching (time blocking, task batching, or batch processing) is where you reserve chunks of your time dedicated to one specific task or group of repetitive tasks. 

For details on task batching and a step-by-step guide on how to get started check out our article How To 10X Your Sales and Marketing Productivity Using Batching.

Before we jump into the types of tasks that pair really well with batching, there are a couple of things that we need to keep in mind to help us be successful. 

  • Eliminate distractions. Literally. Hide the phone, turn off the notifications, leave the house – whatever you need to do in order to be able to focus on the task at hand. In order to really maximize your concentration, creativity and efficiency, you must get rid of anything that will take away your focus.

  • Focus on one task at a time. Focusing on one thing at a time is imperative to the batching process. For example, if you plan to batch produce 5 YouTube videos you may want to break that down into chunks for efficiency. You would use your first batch to plan out the content and develop the outline for each video. In the second batch you might do all of your research. Then in the next batch you would film each of the 5 videos. This way you are keeping your brain focused on one task with one objective at a time.

Here are all of the ways that I batch sales and marketing activities here at Selling With Soul. I may be a little batch crazy but when I find something that works I stick to it like the gum in my toddlers hair this morning (true story).

 Sales And Marketing Activities To Batch

1. Client referral calls. Client referrals are an incredibly important sources of new business for us. Because they are so valuable, we batch schedule reoccurring time each week to focus on this activity.

Pro Tip: To maximize our time we prepare a list of clients that we would like to contact each week prior to our scheduled referral callout appointment. We are also sure to have a light script for the ask and for voicemail, so we don’t get stuck as we call. 

2. Client check-ins and testimonial calls. Regular check-ins are an important part of retaining clients and continuing to build your relationship with them. Check-ins and testimonial calls also provide you with a great opportunity to upsell and suggest new services for current clients. 

Pro Tip: Asking for testimonials doesn’t have to be difficult.If you’re looking for tips on how to ask clients for testimonials and a downloadable script, check this out. 

3. Influencer introductions. Networking with influencers and other leaders in my space is an essential part of my marketing strategy and has been an excellent growth tool. I maintain a list of potential new clients, collaborators, and influencers that I would like to get to know. Whenever I come across a new, interesting or influential person in our space I capture their name and information in my CRM (client relationship management system) and assign a label to them so that I can easily run a report with a list. 

I batch schedule time each week to reach out to the people that are on my influencer list. I do this via email, an introduction from a friend, over social media etc. 

All I have to do is run the list in our CRM and we know who to reach out to. Then we enter the results in my CRM. Yes, we do that in a batch too.

Pro Tip: Follow-up and tracking is critical in generating revenue and building relationships. It can be easy to lose track of where you are in the process if you don’t have a system in place. HubSpot has a free CRM that you can try out or create a spreadsheet tracker to help stay on top of everything. 

4. Scheduling potential client meetings and calls. Scheduling is by far my least favorite activity. It can be super frustrating and time consuming.

To make this process easier I keep standard days and times reserved each week for introductory calls and consultations. Which makes managing our calendar wayyy easier. I then reserve time each week to batch reach out to clients to schedule or confirm appointments.

Pro Tip: Try out an online scheduler. This amazing piece of technology allows you to set up an online calendar with your availability. You can then send a link to your calendar to your potential clients, so they can pick a day and time that works for them. 

It cuts back tremendously on the back and forth banter of finding a day and time that works. We use Acuity here and we have heard great things about Schedule Once as well.

5. Following up on sales calls. The most used phrase here at Selling with Soul without a doubt is “The fortune is in the follow-up.”

Sister, that is the legit truth.

80% of all businesses will not follow-up and therefor will not get the client. The 20% who do get paid and get their life changing offering into the hands of someone who needs it. 

It breaks my heart when ya'll miss out on something that you totally would have rocked just because you didn't follow-up. So much about success is about simply showing up. 

That is why I have at least one time slot per week every week where I do nothing but follow-up on recent conversations. 

Sometimes you have to-do items or things you need to send out like a revised proposal. Maybe you want to send them a case study. Other times you are waiting on an answer or a down payment from a future client. Maybe there are people in your online funnel that didn't buy yet. 

Repeat after me, "I will be one of the people who follows-up!!"

It is critical that your follow-up and earn the business and a new client. Get that in your calendar as a “must do”, reoccurring appointment. 

Pro Tip: Similar to the tip in #4 above implement a system and leverage technology to help you track your open items and future clients that you need to follow-up with. 

6. Actually talking to people in your network. I know that this sounds pretty ridiculous to some of you like, "Thanks captain obvious". But heres the thing, a HUGE amount of the women that I work with aren't investing time in having conversations with people and building their networks.

And I get it, I really do. The day is short and the task list is long. Many of us work out of our home and can go a few days without actually talking with anyone in our network (and no the help desk person at your website company doesn't count). Its easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that need our attention and its easy to let something like networking fall off of your to-do list. 

But heres the thing, you need to have relationships with other likeminded people. People who are going through, struggling with and dreaming of the same things as you.  

You need to find a squad to help you avoid burnout, to vent to, to bounce an idea off of, to send a virtual hug every once in a while. 

Make friends, find collaborators, masterminds and mentors because if there's one thing that I have learned the hard way, its that this entrepreneurship thing can be super lonely. 

Which is why every Tuesday night is my networking night. I batch schedule 2 hours to work on nothing but networking and connecting with my squad.

Pro Tip: LinkedIn is a great place for networking (bonus: its a great place to learn more about clients, influencers and potential collaborators as well). Facebook communities and groups are excellent places to build new relationships and get to know your current clients more intimately. Use the tip from #4 regarding systems to keep track of these new friends and interactions. 

P.S. - If you're feeling like you can use a great big virtual hug and some good old fashion love, Im here for you. You can find me here in our free and awesome Selling With Soul Facebook Group

7. Content Creation. So no long explanation here this is a modern marketing must. 

My goal for Selling with Soul is to create 2 long-form blog posts a month (1500+ words), 8 podcasts and 2 YouTube videos. That doesn’t include social media posts, speeches, presentations, or collaborations.

Oh, and there's still this little thing called clients that we need to attend to. Just kidding its the most important thing that we do.

Seriously, the struggle is real ya’ll.

But I (mostly) get it all done with minimal levels of stress (most of the time) by batch creating. We have a quarterly schedule where we set time aside in the first 3 weeks of the quarter to plan for and create the content for the upcoming quarter.

We do this in chunks. First, we plan out the content topic, the type and release dates. Then we work on outlines for each of the pieces. We then take a few whole days to produce the content. 

BOOM! Content creation done for the next few weeks and we can focus our attention on other things. 

Want more details? The whole plan along with a downloadable template is laid out here, 1 Powerful Way To Stop Content Creation From Taking Over Your Business.

Pro Tip: Content repurposing can also help you save some precious time. Check out our article, The Ultimate How To Guide For Repurposing Content to get more leverage out of your content with less effort.

8. Weekly client emails. Technically, this is really a part of our content creation efforts. But because its so very important I wanted to break it out here for you. Just like our content creation – we take our weekly email chats with our tribe very seriously.

We batch prepare these quarterly in two steps.

I schedule 2, 4-hour batches of time after the content in step #7 has been completed. This way, I'm able to reference the content that will be released in the appropriate weeks email. 

During that time, I produce 1 email for each week of the upcoming quarter. 

I also schedule 1 hour per week, to test and review the email that is scheduled to go out that week. So, we have them all created in step 1 and then we review and add or update as we see fit in step 2.

Pro Tip: Templates are the bomb! Set up email templates with your branding for different forms of emails (narrative, informational, update, etc.), so that all you need to focus on is writing each one when you’re batching. This will cut down on the amount of time it takes to create multiple emails. 

Check out this article for 10 free customizable sales and marketing templates that you can use immediately to save time and tears.

9. Social media posts and engagement. Ok - honest moment here, social media is not my strong point. I have a love/hate relationship with it and I often struggled to find the time to post. Sometimes, social media can seem like a huge distraction to me. 

That being said, I realize that it is critical to my business.

And again if Im being honest, there are some things that I love about it as well. I love the conversations that I get to have with you and the relationships that I am able to form. I realize that is only possible because of social media and I consider that a blessing. 

My new goal is to try to post a minimum of 3 times a day on each of the social media platforms that we are focused on right now. That’s a lot when you realize that each post needs to be customized for the platform and it can seem overwhelming especially for someone like me who struggles to find the time and focus to consistently post.  

Batching to the rescue again.

Each month, I plan to batch schedule time to create a minimum of 1 month’s worth of posts. And then we add these to our scheduler. 

Set it and forget it.

Not only does this increase productivity and efficiency, but it takes a whole lot of pressure off of me to constantly be on social media updating – which often turns into a huge distraction and more time wasted. 

Now I can hop on to our accounts in between scheduled posts and update in a fun on-the-fly way when I can without feeling frantic.

The other side of social media is engaging with other people’s content – I schedule time twice a week to work on that as well.

Pro Tips:  Check out this helpful article from MeetEdgar it outlines a process to batch create social media posts, I highly encourage you to check that out. 

Remember how much I love templates? Set up social templates to make it easier and faster as well (1 for branded insta quote posts, and another for podcast release updates for instance).

We highly suggest that you invest in a social media scheduling tool. Hootsuite is what we use here, but there are a ton of others on the market as well.

10. Thank yous. A regular gratitude practice has so many benefits. And I schedule time for it each week.

To kick off the week, I like to make a small list of people that I would like to thank – clients, vendors, family members etc. And then every Monday, reserve time to reach out to those people and say thank you. Sometimes we call, produce handwritten notes or send a small token. 

This simple, consistent practice creates joy and positivity that lasts throughout the week no matter how challenging things get. 

Pro Tip: Be as specific as possible when expressing gratitude to someone, it makes the experience much more personal and powerful for both the recipient and you. 

You now have a top 10 list of things to work on to grow your business and a powerful yet simple method for getting it done. 

Ready to give it a shot?

Helpful Hints

Before you get started, here are a couple of helpful hints to make the most of your batching efforts:

  • Whenever possible be prepared ahead of time with lists, scripts etc. this allows you to maximize the time that you have allotted to that specific task.

  • Don’t break flow. Flow is a term that us psychology buffs use to refer to “getting in the zone”. Once you break the flow by directing your attention elsewhere, it can take your brain up to 25 minutes to refocus fully. That’s a huge waste of time - not cool.

For example, if you’re working on client referrals jot down your notes and results quickly on a piece of paper instead of getting on the computer and logging the details right then. This way, you just continue in a flow of calling and asking about referrals.  

Get Moving

Not doing any of the above activities? I would suggest picking two to begin implementing into your routine this week using the batching method. And then adding more in over time. 

If you are already doing these, have you tried batching to maximize your time and efforts?

You need to be absolutely ruthless with your time as a busy female entrepreneur if you want to survive, grow and thrive. And I have found that batching can be a profound way to accomplish more, with higher quality and less stress.

What has worked for you? How do you manage all of the important aspects of growing a business? I invite you to share your experiences and thoughts below for everyone to benefit from.

Wishing you much success and joy on your journey!

Mer 

 

How To Turn 1 Piece Of Marketing Content Into 8 More

This post is part of the Sales and Marketing Efficiency Hacks Series focused on helping you save time and increase productivity and effectiveness. For other resources in this series, click here.

Did I get your attention? 

Do you want to create 8 pieces of content quickly and easily based off of one successful one?

Of course you do because although its a necessary part of business, content creation is extremely time consuming. And if you aren’t careful, it can suck up a large chunk of your working hours, leaving you overwhelmed and in danger of neglecting more important aspects of your business.

Like working with clients and generating revenue and staying in business so you can help more people. 

Lets keep it real - you don’t get paid to create content. 

It is a valuable activity, yes. But that doesn't mean that there aren’t other more valuable things to focus your time on.

You know that you cannot stop creating content, but you need more time to focus on the fundamentals of building our business – so what do you do?

Work smarter, not harder friend. 

When I first got started on my entrepreneurial journey, I was a slave to content creation. Staying up until the early morning hours trying to balance client work with marketing, a day job and a family. Not fun. I loved working with my clients and helping them move closer to their goals but I was getting legit burned out. 

Can you relate to this?

Then I discovered the power of content repurposing.

It's a powerful technique that will cut back significantly on your marketing creation time and dramatically increase your results. 

Yup, its true and this article will get you up to speed on all things repurposing and provide a simple 4 step process to repurpose your best content.

Here's what you can expect to get out of this article:

  • An easy overview of what content repurposing is
  • Why you need to do this
  • A guide on how you get it done:
  1. Using the right content
  2. Putting it in the right place
  3. Posting it in the right form
  4. The power of promoting 

We even created a FREE Easy But Awesome Content Repurposing Checklist for you to use with the info here. Click below to download and get started. 

Repurposing Content Worksheet.png

Did you get your free download? I knew you were brilliant :)

Let's get this party started.

What Does It Mean To Repurpose Content?

Repurposing content is a straight forward concept. You use a piece of content that you have created as a “base” to create several more pieces of content. Here is a visual example if the base content is a blog post:

For example, right now we are working on repurposing a popular blog post from Selling With Soul on overcoming the fear of sales. And we are thinking about how we can reuse that content in different ways and in different forms such as video tutorials, a presentation or a webinar, maybe an Instagram story or two. 

Sounds great right? All you have to do is copy and paste every blog post that you have directly onto Facebook and every other site, right?

No, not exactly. It will take a little bit more than that.

Repurposing is not taking the exact same content and reusing it over and over everywhere. True repurposing – the kind that will be most valuable, requires you to tweak each piece to make it fresh and appealing to a new audience. 

It’s all based off of your original piece but from slightly different angles.

Make sense?

If not, don’t worry. We gotcha. 

Download your Free "Easy But Awesome Content Repurposing Checklist" here:

Repurposing Content Worksheet.png

10X your content creation using content repurposing

Then read on for all the details and the step by step process. 

Why content repurposing is an essential strategy for a small business with limited resources:

  • Content repurposing saves time. Content creation can take up A LOT of your precious time. And while it can be a great tool for building brand awareness, establishing your authority and warming up leads – it cannot be your primary job ladies.

As I often say, “Content doesn’t actually pay the bills.” As an entrepreneur with limited resources – time is your most valuable asset. 

When you repurpose content, you are creating multiple pieces of content with only slightly more effort than it took to create one, freeing up more of your time to attend to other important areas of your business like generating sales and working with your clients.  

  • Content repurposing can help you expand your reach. Not everyone prefers to consume content or learn the same way. Some people are visual leaners and prefer video, others prefer printed step by step directions. Varying your medium can appeal to a wider range of people.

You can also focus your repurposing efforts on targeting buyers in different phases of the buying journey and ultimately increasing your reach. 

Check out this great article from HubSpot they have a great process for determining how to target people at different stages based on your avatar.

  • Content repurposing can help you find new audience members. Just like not everyone learns in the same fashion – not everyone hangs out in the same places at the same time. This means that if you repurpose a piece you wrote for Facebook as a video on YouTube, you can reach a whole new group of potential clients. 

This also means that it is okay to repost that piece on Facebook again at some point because only a portion of your audience actually saw the first post. Yes, you can cycle through your content!

  • Content Repurposing Gives Your SEO A Boost. Multiple pieces of content on the same topic can help you with targeting specific keywords. If you are placing the content outside of your site, you can also gain the benefit of backlinks into your site. 

 

  •  Content repurposing builds authority. This is an important part of the “know, like, trust” factor that is so essential in sales and marketing. Quality content, spread over a variety of mediums exposes your knowledge to wide variety of people more frequently. This helps your audience learn to see you as an expert in your field

When done well, repurposing is powerful.

One of my favorite examples is how Darren Rowse of ProBlogger repurposed his blog series, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by combining all of the individual posts into an Ebook that people could buy and it was wildly successful. 

So do you believe in this now? Ready to take your content output to the next level? 

Here's How To Get It Done

Step 1: Start With The Right Content

Truth bomb: not all content is created equal. Some pieces that you publish will be more successful than others. Stinks, I know but its fact. When you are thinking of repurposing, you want to identify the content that has performed well for you since its proven that its relevant to your audience.

Evergreen Content List-3.png

Look through your content both on and off of your site and find the pieces with the highest number of views, shares, likes, or comments. You can use Google Analytics to help you identify the most popular pages on your site. Tools like BuzzSumo can help you identify your most popular social media pieces. 

If you’re a brand new entrepreneur with very little content or traffic (yet,) you can use BuzzSumo to research popular topics in your niche to get some direction on what type of content would resonate with your unique audience. 

Lastly, you need to make sure that your repurposed content is still relevant or evergreen

So in the Selling With Soul blog post example, the topic of overcoming sales fear will be just as relevant next year as it is right now, or it was when I posted it. That is an evergreen topic and can be used over and over again.

On the other hand, an article listing the top 50 sales and marketing tools in 2018 may not be relevant in the future because tools and technology will likely change. 

Ok – now you have the perfect piece to repurpose, its relevant, popular and oh so evergreen.

What do you do with it?

Step 2: Figure Out Where Your Audience Is

Sure. You could blast out the same content to every site, but if your audience isn’t there and it’s not in a format that will catch people’s attention, it would likely be a waste of effort. And we hate wasting effort - don't we?

The goal here is to free up time to work on revenue generating tasks – increasing sales, working with clients etc. and gain a strong return on your marketing efforts. 

You want to get the most bang for your marketing buck. 

That means taking a few seconds to figure out where your ideal audience is hanging out.

This doesn’t need to be an exhausting or time-consuming task.

In fact, you only really need to do this once right now and you’ll know where to repurpose your content going forward. 

I recommend reviewing the available platforms and their demographics once a year to keep up to speed.

Take a look at the demographics of each platform from Pew Research.

Credit: MarketingCharts.com

Credit: MarketingCharts.com

This gives you a nice indication of where your audience is. 

Your audience is most likely in a variety of places. To limit the overwhelm and still maximize your marketing efforts, my advice is to pick a maximumof three platforms to really focus your attention on. 

Learn those platforms inside and out – get really goodon those platforms. Be consistent on them.

Trying to be everywhere will spread you thin and sacrifice the quality of your work. 

Two of the main demographics of the target audience for Selling With Soul are women working in the entrepreneurial space, between the ages of 30 and 49.

Based on that most of our Selling With Soul audience is on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. These are the best places to repurpose our blog post on overcoming sales fear.

Lastly, spend some time on each of the chosen platforms – search your keywords and hashtags. If you see lots of activity around your topic/industry and many of your ideal clients, that is a sure sign you’re in the right place. 

Ok so now you know what you want to share, and where you want to share I, now its time to actually share it.

Step 3: Repurpose In A Form That Works For Each Platform

True repurposing, the kind that drives interest in your business and sales, requires that we adjust each piece to make it fresh and appealing to a new audience in a new place. 

It is SUPER important that we use a format that works for each particular platform. 

Different networks, different preferences. 

If you have spent some playing around in social media, then you know each of these platforms has its own unique culture. The expectations of the audience in each and how the prefer to engage with content can be very different. 

If you don’t share your repurposed content in a form that resonates with the audience in that platform, your efforts will likely be wasted.

Credit: BuzzSumo

Credit: BuzzSumo

As you can see, the same type of content performs very differently depending on the platform. Lists really work on Twitter but are not as effective on Pinterest.

This is something that you will want to take into account when figuring out the best way to repurpose your content on your chosen platform.

Here are some easy, general guidelines on the best types of content for each platform from Bufferto help you narrow down your options:

Repurposing content for different platforms

Take your targeted list of platforms and find the optimal types of content from the list above, then rework your original content in the form that works for the platform.

Some types of content translate easily into new forms for each platform. Here are some examples:

Repurposing content various forms

To put this into action lets look at our Selling with Soul example again, we have decided to repurpose the content in our Overcoming Sales Fear post in the following ways:

  • Live video focused on the importance of consistency in overcoming fear - Facebook
  • Shortened Post and a Presentation taking a deeper look into the main causes of fear- LinkedIn
  • 2 quick “tips and tricks” videos, demonstrating how to use the weekly tracking sheet and simple scripts for completing the sales activities – Facebook, YouTube
  • Inspirational quote from post - Instagram
  • Infographic listing the main types of evergreen content – separate blog post and pin-able image

This means that our one piece of content will turn into 8 pieces of content after repurposing

Holla!

I’d say that’s pretty damn good – right?

BONUS: If you’re looking for a tutorial on how to create great content for each platform, Buffer has an outstanding resource. Its literally my favorite. 

Ok so heres the last but most important step to content repurposing....

Step 4: Promote Your Content

There’s a famous marketing saying, “Create less, promote more.”

You’ve created all of this stellar content – be sure to promote it. 

Here are just a few ways to extend the reach of your content:

  • Look for local media opportunities 
  • Create 20+ social media posts to share and schedule over the next several weeks using a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. Don’t forget your #hashtags.
  • Be sure to share your latest and greatest content with your email list.
  • Connect with influencers that you cited in the various pieces of content. 
    • You can do this easily by mentioning them in your social media posts for these pieces. They may share this with their audience and drive additional traffic for you or give you a shout out.
    • You can email them to let them know you’re featuring them and they may link to your article or share it with their audience.
    • You can try direct messaging them in places like LinkedIn or Instagram or interacting with them in their groups.
    •  You can try paid advertising on places on Facebook.     
  • Guest blogging and syndication will get you in front of new audiences as well. 
  • Be a guest on a podcast and mention your piece and where to find it.

What others can you add to this list?

There are tons of ways that you can promote your content. Feel free to experiment but be sure to track your results.

 Track, Track, Track

Keep doing what works. Stop doing what doesn’t. 

Profound right? LOL.

Its basic but so very important and often overlookeWill you be one of the few who act on this . 

You don’t have enough time (or money) to waste on things that don’t work. Check your analytics after about 30 days and again at 60 to see if your repurposed content generated more organic traffic, leads, or shares.

Download our Easy Content Repurposing Checklist and use it with your highest performing pieces to get the most out of your content marketing efforts. 

It is the exact system that I use to get very best return on my marketing time. 

Repurposing Content Worksheet.png

Are you going to act on this?

I believe you are. You've invested time in reading this. Clearly you're brilliant already and can see the value. My money is on you.

Let me know how you make out. I am super interested in your thoughts and experiences and I care a whole hell of a lot about you and your success. Comments are open and email is on and waiting to hear from you. 

All the best, you deserve it.

Mer

How To 10X Your Sales and Marketing Productivity Using Batching

This article is part of the Sales and Marketing Efficiency Hacks Series focused on helping entrepreneurs save time and increase productivity and effectiveness. 

Distractions are the enemy of productivity. 

And there are plenty of distractions for the busy #bossbabe. Emails, phone calls, instant messages, client issues, technology fails, meetings and impromptu conversations…

It’s super common for us to move through the day in complete reaction mode, responding to everything being thrown at us. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that need our attention. 

I can remember my early days in business when I would sit back at 6pm and look over what I had accomplished that day and want to cry because I hadn’t gotten to any of the important tasks that I had outlined for myself.

I had spent all day responding to what was thrown at me. I couldn’t focus on the stuff that really mattered. 

I had been very busy, but I hadn’t been productive.

Sound familiar to you?

Then I discovered the principal of batching.

Listen up because, batching is seriously going to change the way you work and make you insanely productive. 

It literally changed my life. And it will change yours too.

WTH Is Task Batching?

It’s the magical unicorn of productivity that increases your mental sharpness, concentration, creativity and general awesomeness while also saving you time. 

You’re paying attention, now right?

Batching (time blocking, task batching, or batch processing) is where you reserve chunks of your time dedicated to one specific task or group of repetitive tasks. 

Here’s where the magic happens, during this time you will not allow anyoutside interruptions. When you are batching you use this time to focus only on the task at hand, literally the entire time. 

Why Does Batching Work?

To fully understand why batching works, lets first take a scientific look at the impact of multitasking and distractions. 

Multitasking lowers the quality of your work. 

The brain works best when it is allowed to focus on one task at a time for longer blocks of time. 

According to research conducted by Stamford, people multitasking and switching repeatedly between several different tasks “do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks most successfully.

Multitasking and interruptions are also mega time wasters.

Each time that you switch tasks it takes an average of 25 minutes to effectively return to the original task after an interruption, according to Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine. 

That is 25 minutes you could have gained in your day by eliminating that one distraction and concentrating on the task at hand. 

So, if you shift tasks 3 times while working on an article, that’s a total of up to an hour and 15 minutes lost!

“Aint nobody got time for that!”

Enter the power of batching your time and tasks. 

Batching eliminates distractions and allows your brain to focus on one task at a time which allows you to not only work efficiently but also produce higher quality, more efficient outputs. 

Batching allows you to find your flow – a psychology term that basically means to get in the zone. Flow comes from uninterrupted work. So, switching between writing your blog post and commenting in your FB group – that’s gonna cost you in time and quality. 

Makes sense – right? 

Here’s How To Start Batching Right Now

1.    Take your to-do list and organize it into groups and major tasks. For example, return a prospect call, send out a follow-up email on a speaking gig and reach out to an influencer can all go under something like “Sales, Email /Phone Follow-Up” 

2.    Think about how much time you need for each of the buckets or major tasks. 

3.    Take those buckets and the time that you’ll spend on each and put them into your calendar as appointments. 

You’ll want to think about your peak periods when batching out your day. If you’re a morning person, use that time to work on the tasks that require the most amount of effort and mindshare for you, since that’s when you’ll be at your best.

As you can see, my highest priority tomorrow is recording my podcast. I record my podcasts on the same day and time every week. 

Everyone around me knows this, so there are no questions and no interruptions. 

I block out a large chunk of time for it during a time of day that I know I’ll have a solid energy and focus, so I get the best results.

You can batch tasks daily, weekly, quarterly whatever makes sense. You can use the re-occurring appointments jobby in your calendar for things that you’ll be doing on the regular. 

Batching Sales and Marketing Activities

Its UBER important that you batch plan sales and marketing activities into every day. 

These are the activities that generate revenue and grow your business. You need to generate revenue in order to stay in business. Making sure they have a presence in your day and on your calendar will help you to stay focused on the most critical elements of your business. 

I like to position those them very first thing in the morning because they are so critical and if something where to happen later in the day (kid gets sick, computer blows up, I get sucked into a work emergency), I can still breathe because I know I completed the most important work already.

I (almost) always have my sales and marketing activities prepped ahead of time so that I am prepared to blow through them in the time allotted. 

Tomorrow for example, in the morning session I am focused on generating 5 client referrals. 

I have my list of clients to reach out to and a rough script to use already prepared. My computer will be off, there will be no distractions. This way, I can establish a flow and reach out to all 15 of the people that I plan to touch base with tomorrow.

SO.MUCH.EASIER. 

Task Batching Truths

  • It takes some prep. Lots of things require prework so you need to plan that out as well.
  • Stuff happens. Even with the best intentions and a solid plan, sometimes your attention will need to be elsewhere. Don’t be over attached to the structure, flexibility will prevent you from getting stressed.
  • You ABSOLUTELY MUST avoid distractions. If you don’t, this won’t work. Hide your phone, turn off your alerts, find a special place to work if you need to. If you think that email will be a huge problem for you, try blocking yourself from it. 

Bringing It Home

As busy boss ladies (and moms, wives, friends and everything else), we need all of the time we can squeeze out of a day. 

Using task batching I have been able to get more done, more quickly and better. 

Many of my clients have had the same results. 

And that’s a HUGE win. 

If you want in on this magical productivity hack, follow the steps above to give it a shot. 

Feeling if-y about batching your whole day and life?

If your a a more free-spirited lady who prefers a little less structure, start small by just batching out the most important activities or projects. Then you will know that you have dedicated, and undistracted time set up for what’s most important.

If you need help prioritizing what’s most important:  always prioritize your clients first, followed by revenue generating tasks and then project work.

Have you tried task batching? Share your best productivity hacks with the Selling with Soul Community. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IQ Doesn’t Drive Success Heres What Does

What makes a person likely to be successful in business and life?

It may not be what you think. 

It’s not talent. It’s not technical skill. It’s not experience.

It must be IQ then.

Wrong.

The answer? Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them, says Howard Gardner, influential Harvard theorist. EQ is thought to be as important and in many cases more important than IQ to peoples success professionally and in life. 

Its easy to see the role that EQ plays in sales and marketing. The more you can tune into the people you're trying to help, the more effective you can be.

Increase your EQ and increase your success.

The Foundation of Emotional Intelligence

Self-awareness is the foundation of EQ and it is the most important trait of successful business people and leaders. (source)

It catapults your ability to influence. 

It drives your ability to build high-performing teams - being in touch with your weak points allows you to fill them with complimentary talent. 

It creates self-control allowing you to react purposefully in your life. 

It allows you to continue to grow personally and professionally by being in touch with your strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.

You Can Develop Self-Awareness

Self-awareness requires you to expand your focus beyond what you do to why and how you do it - a process which may not come naturally to you. But self-awareness can be strengthened through simple, consistent effort.

Here are 5 easy habits that will increase your awareness and drive success.

1. Create quiet in order to hear yourself. 

Ever feel like you don't know yourself? Has your inner voice gotten lost in the swirl of business and life demands? Trying to keep your head above water? Trying to survive?

Quiet, still time will allow you to regain control and grow. 

Find quiet time to spend with yourself every day. It is imperative to your success. 

As a wife, mom, business owner, boss, friend, councilor, cook, driver, and household manager (you get the point) - quiet time is rare. You need to actually create these moments. 

Schedule quiet time like you would a business meeting. Try 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. Use 15 minutes in between meetings or project work to connect with yourself. Take advantage of the 5 minutes that you have waiting for your kids to get out of school. 

Make it non-negotiable. Be ruthless with your time. 

During this time, perform some self-reflection. I like to call this "white space". Ask yourself questions like, "Whats really important to me and does that match up with what I am focused on? How do I want to be perceived, what contribution do I want to make in this meeting or activity? Did I handle that conversation the way that I intended? Did I make the impression that I had intended to make? Why did I act/not act? Why do I feel that way?"

This gives you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself, ultimately developing a deeper sense of self-awareness. 

2. Be Mindful.

Have you ever gotten in the car to go somewhere and then arrive, with no recollection of the drive there? Did it freak you out?

You were on autopilot. 

It can be scary when you realize you're autopilot. 

Autopilot is the enemy of self-awareness. When you are operating on autopilot, you are oblivious to things going on around you. You are focused on whats happened and what may happen, rather than what is happening right now. Making it impossible for you to know what’s going on with yourself or others presently. 

Practice mindfulness to counter this mindless state. Mindfulness is the process of bringing your attention to and focusing on whats happening in the present moment. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad allowing you to live in the present moment, not dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future.

Mindfulness exercises are simple, fast and can be done anywhere. Perfect for a busy business owner. 

3. Monitor your Self-talk. 

Emotional reactions and decisions can hurt your credibility, reduce your influence and damage your relationships. 

To avoid this fallout be mindful of your self-talk. We all have an inner dialogue, an ongoing conversation in our mind. Unsurprisingly, this conversation has a dramatic impact on what, how and why you do things. Negative thoughts can quickly spiral into negative feelings, impacting interactions, decisions, and life.

The first step is observing your self-talk. Is the tone positive and happy or negative and disruptive? Look for patterns and triggers. Why are you reacting that way? 

When you are able to develop an awareness of your triggers and the motivations behind them you are better able to manage yourself and prevent them from impacting your decisions, interactions, and motivations. 

When you recognize a negative thought such as anger or frustration, take a deep breathe and an extra second to reassess before you respond. Whats driving your reaction? Whats an appropriate, reasonable response in this situation? 

Self-control is driven by awareness of your inner dialogue. 

4. Test Yourself. 

If you're getting sweaty palms and having flashbacks of your college finals week, don't fret. 

It isn't that type of test. There are no right or wrong answers. Just cool information that makes it easer for you to understand your natural tendencies, strengths and weaknesses through an objective (and scientifically valid) evaluation. It removes biases and provides factual information.

There are several personality and strengths tests that help you better understand yourself. Two of the most well known tests are Myers-Briggs and Predictive Index, both are aimed at helping you understand how you can leverage your unique abilities and tendencies for success. Additionally, he Social Styles Test (my recommendation as an easy starting point) and several tests aimed at helping you determine your introvert/extrovert tendencies. 

Break out the #2 pencils and start the exam. 

5. Ask Others. 

Fear of feedback is a major obstacle to self-awareness. Soliciting feedback from others can be scary - no one wants to hear negative things about themselves. But it is vital to your growth as a leader, if you aren’t able to see yourself as others do your perception and growth will be extremely limited. 

Be vulnerable. Know that you'll be stronger and more capable because of it. 

Seek feedback from people that you trust and respect in different situations. Try asking, "What do you think I did well in that situation? What do you think I could improve on? How did you perceive my commentary and tone?"

Once you have the feedback, take a moment to compare that to your own view of that interaction - are there overlaps or conflicts? What motivated your tone? What can you do differently next time based on that feedback?

Build this feedback loop into your routine by constantly soliciting feedback, comparing your perspective to others, thinking about your motivations, and building on your learnings. 

6. Keep a Journal. 

Did your journal habit die when you left 12th grade?

Journaling isn't just for 16 year olds and documenting crushes. 

Brilliant people throughout history - Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Virginia Wolfe, John D. Rockefeller, Louisa May Alcott, Bob Dylan to name a few, to fuel their success and growth.

Maintaining a journal has a ton of self-awareness benefits. It allows you to identify, process, and understand your feelings. It creates headspace, allowing us to be more mindful and reflective. 

Journaling doesn't have to be all about feelings. 

Consider the "Warren Buffet Method" for decision making for example. Each time he is faced with an important decision, he documents the decision and why he is making it. These entries serve as a record that he goes back over to assess his decisions and how they may inform his future decisions.

Time to dust off those notebooks (or pull out your phone).

A Word Of Caution

When you begin a habit of introspection it can be easy to over analyze yourself and get stuck. Stay balanced to avoid self-obsession (navel gazing). Remember that it's not all about you, its about you and the people around you

Next Steps

Start by building one self-awareness habit into your daily routine. 

Be consistent.

You will experience significant growth.

Self-awareness isn't something that you master and then move on from. It is an on-going journey and any progress forward is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated.

You're already one step ahead of where you were when you began this article. And you're several steps ahead of many others who are blindly walking through their lives.

Imagine where you'll be a month from now when you are even more self-aware.