The Power of a Good Testimonialstring(31) "The Power of a Good Testimonial"

What is a testimonial and why does it matter?
A testimonial is a statement testifying to benefits received. It is based on personal knowledge or belief. A good testimonial can compel someone to action.

In business networking groups, a good testimonial from a trusted referral partner provides credibility for another person or company that can lead to new referrals from those who heard the testimonial.

The power of a good testimonial comes from the transference of trust, which creates the willingness to try those products and services personally, and/or recommend them to others.

Three Elements of a Good Testimonial

  1.   Focus on One Person

When sharing testimonials about people in your networking group, only talk about one person at a time. Talking about every single business where you had a good experience can be overwhelming to the person you’re conversing with. By focusing on ONE company in your testimonial, you can go into greater detail about the products and services you have used. Talk about your experience with that one businessperson and how good they were.

  1. Be Specific

Talking in generalities is ineffective. Saying “They’re great.” does very little to convey the extent of the positive experience you had. Instead, talk specifically about what makes your fellow member’s services good. What did they do right? How friendly, speedy, or communicative were they? How did you feel after the experience? The more specific you are, the better the testimonial will be remembered. Specific is terrific.

That phrase comes from Ken Blanchard’s book, The One Minute Manager, which says that effective praising must be specific.

  1. Give a First-Person Testimonial

Whenever possible, make the testimonial a first-person endorsement. Tell others about your personal experience with your networking group’s members, always being specific. Talk about the problem you had and the way that professional or company helped solve it.

If you have not yet used their products or services, have you personally talked to someone who has? If so, you can turn that third-person endorsement into a first-person testimonial by saying something like this:
“My client (or my friend, or my associate) told me that they hired this person to do this work for them and they did it really well. This is what they said…” Then be very specific about sharing the details of your client’s experience with that company, which will make the testimonial stronger. 

The power of a good testimonial is that it can become an instant referral multiplier. Remember that powerful testimonials focus on one person or company; they are first-person endorsements when possible; and they are very specific.
Have you experienced the power of a good testimonial? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Stop Blaming Your Networkstring(25) "Stop Blaming Your Network"

Sometimes people who have established a referral network feel unsatisfied with the referrals that they receive, and then they blame people in the network.

The truth is that if your referral network isn’t working the way you want it to, it’s your fault. When you find yourself pointing out other people’s problems, it may be time to ask if you are the reason your network isn’t delivering.

Four Common Complaints

My network is not motivated.

Maybe so, however, what are you doing to compel them to refer you to people they know? Are you interested in what they do? Or are you more concerned about how interested they are in what you do?
Ask yourself: Am I helping them in the same way I want them to help me?

They don’t know my business.

What have you done to educate them about what you do? Have you shared the latest new products or services you offer? Do you meet with members of your network outside of the regular meetings to strengthen your referral relationship?
Ask yourself: Have I given them the information they need to promote my business to others?

The referrals are fickle. They only used me once and never again.

Consider this before you decide that the referrals you receive are fickle: What have you done to turn the single sale into a regular, loyal client relationship? Do you contact each prospect in a timely manner? Do you ensure that the customer sees the best that you and your company have to offer?
Ask yourself: Do I follow up regularly and communicate in the way that they prefer?

They don’t have the contacts I need.

If you have gone through the entire database of each of your fellow networkers’ contacts and disqualified every single one, you may have underestimated your network’s contacts. Not to mention all of their contacts’ contacts. By doing this, you miss out on an exponentially growing number of possible buyers for what you are selling.
Ask yourself: Am I clear on who is the best contact for my business and am I clearly sharing that information with my referral partners?

It’s Your Obligation

It is your obligation to teach your fellow networkers how to identify referrals for you. If they are not doing so, then you are not teaching them effectively. You are responsible for many of the actions people take on your behalf.

It’s up to you to set the tone for your business, educate your referral partners, demonstrate competence and integrity, and maintain the effectiveness and strength of your referral relationships. If your referral system isn’t working, you’ve probably overlooked something.

Instead of turning over the responsibility to others and blaming them when things don’t turn out satisfactorily, work with your referral partners to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Acknowledge responsibility to anyone who has been wronged, without equivocation. Say, “It’s my fault that this happened. I apologize for the mistake, and I promise to set things right.” This straightforward acceptance of blame has the added benefit of defusing the other person’s anger. What the injured party wants to hear is acceptance of responsibility and a commitment to correcting the situation.

One of the strengths of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends. And one of the weaknesses of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends.
Only those groups and individuals who recognize the need for responsibility and accountability can make the process work for them. Those who are constantly blaming someone else for what’s going wrong, while doing nothing to change or fix it, will not do well in referral marketing.

Remember, if you’re not getting the referrals you want, it’s your responsibility to stop blaming your network and to start taking charge of your own business success.

Master The Stage Eventstring(22) "Master The Stage Event"

Jen Coffel, CEO of Engaging Speakers, business coach, and author, talks about the upcoming Master the Stage 2021 event on November 4-6, 2021.

At this three-day virtual event, you can learn how to share your 30- or 60-second business introduction in a powerful way that attracts your ideal clients.

https://bit.ly/2ZruDHs

Learn from Jack Canfield and More

The event features Jack Canfield along with several other speakers who will share their expertise and ideas that work, including “8 Pillars for Success”.

Jen is offering a special price for my viewers – only $17 USD.
You can save $80 off the early bird admission of $97 with this code: deal

I believe the information at this event will help you effectively plan and prepare your presentations to get results. I invite you to learn more at www.MasterTheStageEvent.com and to share this with your friends.

Symptoms of a Good Referralstring(27) "Symptoms of a Good Referral"

As a professional, do you want to get more referrals? Of course, everyone says YES. Here is a technique that you can use now that will directly lead to generating more word-of-mouth business for you.

Educate people on the “symptoms” of a good referral so when they’re out in the field and with other people, they will immediately know what to look for in a potential ideal client for you.

Identify the Problem to Get Relief

Think about it this way. If someone went to a medical professional and told them that they had a headache, sore throat, and were sneezing all the time, the doctor would probably ask if they spent a lot of time outdoors. If so, they might prescribe an anti-allergen treatment because, based on the symptoms, it sounds like the patient has seasonal allergies.

Notice that the description of the problem, the symptoms, came first and then came the plan for relief.

What if that could happen in your business?

Make it “Top of Mind”

Callan Rush, author of Wealth Through Workshops, refers to the “top-of-mind” problems of your prospective clients. Ask yourself: What is the greatest challenge that my customers face on a regular basis? What need does my target market have that my products or services can fill?

When you identify those problems, you can effectively share them when you are talking to others and include them in your marketing materials.

Share the Trigger Points

Think about the trigger points, an event or scenario, that happen in someone’s life which triggers that person to have a new need. For example, instead of a realtor saying, “If you know someone looking to buy or sell a home, let me know”, they can be more specific with the circumstances surrounding the target market before a future home buyer needs a real estate agent.

If first-time home buyers are the target market, the realtor can educate their network on some potential triggers leading up to the transaction of buying a house.

These triggers may include:

  • People who are recently engaged or getting married and need a place to live.
  • Couples who are expecting, or just had, a new baby and their place is too small.
  • Parents of college-age children who have left home, and their place is now too big.
    Or they want to buy a house for the college student rather than paying rent.

These are all symptoms of a good referral because they are related to activities that usually result in buying or selling a home. Coach your referral partners on how to spot the symptoms associated with people who need your produce or service as opposed to just saying “If you run into someone looking for a ____(fill in your industry), that would be a great referral.”

When you educate the people in your network about the specific symptoms or conditions that your business can solve, it becomes easier for them to give referrals to you.

I’d love to hear your comments about how you use this technique in your business.

Elevator Pitch

Seven Rules for an Elevator Pitchstring(33) "Seven Rules for an Elevator Pitch"

I used to hate the expression “elevator pitch.” It just drove me crazy. But now that everybody’s using it all over the world, I officially give up and am going to go with it. The metaphor developed out of the hypothetical that you are literally in an elevator with one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that this is not a sales pitch; it is a creative and succinct way to generate interest in the listener.

With that in mind, here are my seven rules for creating an engaging elevator pitch:

Don’t do your elevator pitch in an actual elevator.

An unsolicited pitch in an elevator is basically face-to-face cold calling. I’ve been a victim. Don’t be a perpetrator. Unless someone asks what you do, just say “good day” to them. The elevator pitch is meant to be taken out of the elevator and into the right environment.

Make it tight.  

It needs to be short. This is a quick pitch, not a reading from War and Peace. Your pitch should be more like a work of art than a science project. It should be succinct and expressive, something you practice carefully and present cohesively and professionally. You also need to be natural. You want to rehearse, but not sound rehearsed, and avoid sounding staged and canned.

K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the short amount of time you have. It will either be too much information (breaking rule number two) or too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have more of a chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity and create interest in your product or service.

Don’t use jargon.

If at any point someone has to say, “What does that mean?” you have officially lost them. Push the button for the next floor and exit now. (I know, you’re not really on an elevator, but you have really lost them.)

Share your USP.

A USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. One example of how to craft a pithy USP is to alter a bland, general statement such as, “I’m a coach and consultant” to something like, “I help people work less, make more and create referrals for life” instead. This is short, powerful and informative, i.e. the perfect combination for part of an effective elevator pitch.

Consider starting out with precisely how your listener will benefit.

My friend, communications expert Andy Bounds, calls this “the afters.” For your elevator pitch, this could be something as simple as, “I help people increase their sales by 33 percent, improve their closing ratio to 80 percent or double the number of new clients they take on per month.” In other words, focus on the “after” effect of the product or service you provide.

Pass the eyebrow test.

Another good friend, Sam Horn, author of Someday is Not a Day of the Week, writes about the “eyebrow test.” If what you say in your elevator pitch causes the listener’s eyebrows to go up, you’ve got ’em! You’ve left the listener wanting more, and that’s precisely what you want to accomplish. On the other hand, if the listener’s eyebrows scrunch down, you’ve just confused them. Find a new pitch.

Keeping these seven rules in mind when you create an elevator pitch will set you apart from the crowd. Now it’s time to press “Open Door.”

Steve Farber

Steve Farber says “Love is Good Business”string(53) "Steve Farber says “Love is Good Business”"

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, talks to me about focusing on finding love in business. Steve is one of the best speaker’s I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful. When we were in Cancun together last week, he talked to me about love being a part of your every day mantra as a business owner.

It’s true. Love is just damn good business. Here’s the logic:

1. You have a massive competitive advantage when your customers love your product or service.

2. The only way to create that experience for customers in a meaningful and sustainable way over time is to create an environment or culture that people love working in.

3. You can’t create that kind of culture unless you love your business, your team, your colleagues, your employees, your customers, yourself, first.

4. Employees will model how they are treated by their leaders.

Love being part of our every day business

Businesses that promote love and celebrate love still need profits to keep their doors open, but they understand the powerful connection between loving what you do in the service of people who love what you do. It builds strong relationships, trust, loyalty, and the commitment that allows a business to not only make money but make a difference. Love being part of our every day business is no more complicated than the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Steve Farber, founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, is a popular keynote speaker and leadership expert. Steve’s been featured on my blog before. He’s the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. Learn more about Steve on his website at stevefarber.com

Think of this the next time you order a pizza. It’s a great example of “love is just damn good business” in action. 

My First Business

My First Business, a personal storystring(35) "My First Business, a personal story"

Beth and I own a property management company (this would be a good story to share someday). We’re in Galveston setting up a new property for lease. Therefore, we were walking through a Home Depot to get what we needed to make the property ready to lease. We were walking by these house numbers and out of the blue, she started this video about my first business.

As a 14-year-old, I started my first company to help a neighbor sell his stick-on house numbers he manufactured. I took over his sales of reflective numbers and I hired a sales team. However, I did so well, I made him tired and he consequently went out of business

Please watch this video about how I eventually launched my entrepreneur spirit by the numbers.

holidays

Marketing Your Business for the Holidaysstring(40) "Marketing Your Business for the Holidays"

Are you taking advantage of the holiday season when it comes to marketing your business? You should be! Festive posts really attract audiences who are feeling sentimental or those who are looking for some services specifically around the holidays.

Read More

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfaststring(35) "Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast"

VIDEO BLOG:

Culture is a blend of attitude, beliefs, mission, philosophy and momentum. As a result, culture helps to create and sustain a successful brand. The way people interact with one another and the overall growth of your company is affected by culture. What creates organizational culture? Culture is key in an organization for long-term success. It is the most important thing in an organization and it applies at all levels, from the top of the organization all the way down.  Rules, regulations, and operating standards are important, of course, because you have to have systems in place to guide activities. But culture is the factor that stands above all others.

The factors that go into building the organizational culture and will make your company successful are…

  1. TRADITIONS AND CORE VALUES
  2. VISION
  3. ENGAGEMENT

Please watch my video to learn more about these factors and share your comments below.

Hold that Door! Ivan’s 5 Rules for an Elevator Pitchstring(58) "Hold that Door! Ivan’s 5 Rules for an Elevator Pitch"

I used to hate the expression: “Elevator Pitch” − it just drove me crazy. But everybody is using it all over the world, so I now give up − I’m going to go with it!

id-10074213The expression developed from the idea of literally being in an elevator with only one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that your elevator pitch is not a sales pitch . . . it is a creative and succinct way to share who you are and what you do that generates interest in the listener.

With that in mind, here are Ivan’s 5 rules for an engaging Elevator Pitch:

 

1) Don’t do your pitch in an elevator! The elevator pitch is meant to be taken out of the elevator and into the real world. And, although you must practice it carefully to be able to present it cohesively and professionally, you also need to be natural. You want to rehearse not sounding rehearsed, if you know what I mean. I’m sure you’ve all seen people who, when they do theirs, you can almost envision them as being back in that elevator: you just press a button, and they are off! You want to avoid sounding staged and canned.

2) K.I.S.S. Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the short amount of time allotted. It will either be too much information or be too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have more of a chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity, and create interest in your product or services.

3) Remember your USP? I’ve written about this before. Your Unique Selling Proposition can serve well in your Elevator Pitch. One example of how to craft a pithy USP is to compare a bland, general statement such as “I’m a coach and consultant” to saying instead “I help people work less, make more, and create referrals for life.”  This is short, powerful, and informative − the perfect combination for an effective Elevator Pitch.

4) When crafting your Elevator Pitch, consider starting out with precisely how your listener will benefit from your product or service. My good friend, Andy Bounds, calls this the “Afters.” For your Elevator Pitch, this could be something as simple as, “I help people [                 ].” You fill in the blank: increase their sales by 33%, improve their closing ratio to 80%, or double the number of new clients they take on per month, whatever your “After” may be.

5) Pass the eyebrow test. Another good friend, Sam Horn, author of Tongue Fu and Pop!, writes about the eyebrow test. If what you say in your Elevator Pitch causes your listener’s eyebrows to go up, you’ve got ’em! By doing this, you literally will leave the listener wanting more, and that’s precisely what you want your Elevator Pitch to do.

Keeping these 5 rules in mind when you create your Elevator Pitch will set you apart from the crowd. It’s time to press “Doors Open” and step on out of the elevator. Enjoy!

Your Business is Not an Ugly Babystring(33) "Your Business is Not an Ugly Baby"

When was the last time you heard someone say, “Wow, your baby sure is ugly!” If they’re smart, probably never.

How about this one? “Your clothing, marketing message and overall business image are not referable?” Ouch.

We occasionally think this about people we meet, but will rarely say it out loud. Which is why you are responsible for making sure your business, your “baby”, is in the right condition for receiving referrals.

I’ve seen thousands of people join networking groups and focus heavily on building their network but forget to take a good, hard look in the mirror, both at your self and image and your businesses. I’m challenging you to make an honest appraisal of yourself and your business and ask, “Am I worthy of business referrals?” If you’re not sure how to start, here are five ways to get you going.

 Five ways to help you examine your personal brand.

1. Define your Emotional Charged Connection (ECC): If you are asked seven times this week, “What do you do for a living?” do you respond with seven different answers? Your marketing message should be clear, concise and consistent; it should also tug at the heart strings a bit and have some ECC. This combination will leave a lasting impression and, most importantly, give others a clear way of explaining your message to others.

2. Walk your talk. Do what you say in less time than promised. Be on time for meetings, don’t check your phone while others are talking to you–and follow up with everyone and everything.

3. Dress for success: If you’re a mechanic and you wear a three piece suit to a business meeting, one might assume you’ve just come from court. Whatever people in your profession typically wear–uniform, polo shirt and khakis, suit and tie, dress and heels–just be sure to wear it well. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe, but make sure what you wear is clean, wrinkle-free and tucked in. You want to look sharp, because your first impression when you walk into a meeting is a lasting one. If you’re messy or too casual, people might assume you have the same attitude about your business. board man

4. Be self-aware: Eighty percent of someone’s perception of you are based on your nonverbal cues, including eye contact, facial expressions and mannerisms. Ask someone you trust to simulate a meeting or pitch with you and have them point out what they think is working–and what’s not.

5. Keep your social media presence professional: It’s vital to remember that your professional image exists on and offline. That’s not say you can share a funny joke or have fun on social media, but be aware that people are judging you by your online behavior. Two of every three posts should be about something personal, but don’t make controversial statements or divulge every intimate detail about your life. In this digital age, if you are what you say, you are also what you post.

Your baby is not ugly, it’s beautiful. Your business image is not ugly, it’s also beautiful and worthy of referrals. But nothing else will matter unless our personal brand and referability are in order. After all, we are our biggest advertisement.

The Path to Business Leadershipstring(31) "The Path to Business Leadership"

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. With all the information available to us online, leadership styles are a dime a dozen and no one has the time or resources to try every style. Getting back to the basics is important, and understanding how those basics can improve your business is even more vital. Being a leader doesn’t have to be complicated! You’ve heard of the KISS acronym, right? Keep It Simple…well, it’s not the nicest acronym, so I won’t finish. But you know where I’m going.

If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, follow these four steps:

1. Focus on solutions, not problems

2. Collaborate with your team

3. Be a culture champion

4. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!

Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.

Watch the video below to hear more about the four steps towards becoming a business leader, and leave me a comment on what YOU think makes a leader.

 

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