Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

entrepreneur

The Ultimate Marketing Secret To Attracting More Clients

I once heard a great story about a little commercial fisherman who fishes off a well-known peninsula in New York. This man has become legendary in fishing circles and I even heard it rumored that he was the guy who captured the Great White shark that inspired the movie Jaws. Every morning, Captain Jack heads out bright and early to go fishing. But that’s pretty much where the similarity between him and every other commercial fisherman ends. Instead of hiring a big crew to help get his catch, Captain Jack has one lone deck hand.

And they don’t use nets to catch their fish. Call him old school, but he still prefers to use just fishing poles and lines.

But here’s the thing.

Every day for the past 20 years, without exception, Captain Jack catches not hundreds of fish, but thousands of fish. In fact, he out fishes every single commercial fishing operation in the area, usually by multiple times.

It doesn’t matter what the tides are doing, what time of year it is, or even if the fish are “running.” Captain Jack seems to have the “Midas touch.”

Over the years, he has been interviewed multiple times. Each time, the journalist tries to pry out of him the secret to his success. And every time, this is what he says (what’s most interesting is that it applies just as much to marketing as it does to fishing):

“I make it my business to know everything I can about my fish. I think like the fish, not the fisherman.”

That one little statement right there is the single biggest reason why his methods work while most methods fail.

It was made by an entrepreneur (it could have also been written by a marketer), who is thinking like his prospects, not like other entrepreneurs.

There is no one who knows more about fish in those waters than Captain Jack. For the last 20 years he’s documented the water currents, studied the fish migratory patterns, examined water temperature and, of course, knows his fish food sources.

A fisherman knows it’s all about putting the right bait on a hook to catch the right fish. If you’re looking to catch Cod and you bait your line with an old sock, you’re going to be very hungry come dinner time. On the other hand, if you use Peeler crab at a time when the Cod are looking for it, your chances of success multiply exponentially.

So why then do so many people make the mistake in their marketing of offering the wrong bait to their market? They offer things they themselves think their prospects should be interested in – but don’t actually know for sure what their prospects are looking for.

You are never your prospect. Even if you think you are. Assumptions are the most dangerous (and most expensive) things to make in marketing.

To catch a prospect, you have to think, act and talk like a prospect. Not like a marketer.

When I create advertising campaigns for my private clients, at least half of my time is spent studying the target market. I don’t even dare pick up a pen until I have a very firm grasp of whom I’m writing for and how they think. Copy is written very differently for business owners than for employees. You speak to a 30 year-old man very differently than you’d speak to a 40 year-old man; married women very differently than single women. Moms very differently from “empty nesters." Knowing and understanding these nuances makes all the difference to your marketing - it's the only way to attract more clients.

Think like the fish, not the fisherman and you'll experience your own Client Stampede!

Prospect Follow Up Equals Great Customer Service

Do you have a list of prospects sitting on your desk who you need to follow up with… but keep putting it off? In my experience, it’s usually due to fear – you don’t want to be rejected or be told no, or get that sinking feeling when someone says they don’t want to work with you. Getting rejected is about as much fun as having a double root canal without anesthetic, and I completely understand why you’d feel this way.

But here’s what I want you think about to help you bust through this fear.

First of all, what’s the reason you do what you do? You’re a warrior – a successful entrepreneur who’s triumphed when others would have given up, time and time again. When the going got tough you could have easily thrown in the towel long ago and gone to work for someone else. There’s a reason that you’re doing what you’re doing for a living. What is that reason?

Chances are you love to help a certain type of person solve a specific problem.

Right?

And I’d bet that it’s your ability to help others that drives you to do the work you do. But, for some reason, in that moment where you decide whether to do your follow up calls with prospects or not – you’re FORGETTING the call is not actually about you. It’s not about being liked or being rejected.  Actually, the follow up call has nothing to do with you at all.

It has to do with helping people make the right decision for themselves.

Your prospects NEED your services.  You make their lives better and easier if they work with you.  You help them solve a problem they’ve been grappling with that has likely been causing them some level of misery.  If you look at your job in this light – then by NOT following up you’re actually hurting your prospects, because you’re depriving them the use of your services.  For example, if there's someone struggling with their marketing or suffering from the stress of wild swings in income – I'm there to help them, to explain how the kind of marketing I teach is so much easier to grab ahold of, more fun to implement and much more effective.  I can't bear the thought of someone suffering that gut wrenching fear and not knowing when the next paycheck will arrive.

Do you see how this is completely different?

Try visualizing some of those prospects who need follow up as lying awake night after night worrying at 1am about their problem and how you can help them solve it.

Remember, the reason you want to make those follow up calls is because they are another way for you to serve others.  It’s your job to help move your clients to the next level.  One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything you want in life, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”

Taking this approach to your follow up calls removes all the anxiety.  Now it’s about you providing great customer service, which will help you do your calls from a place of problem solving – instead of selling.

Andwhen you care so deeply about your prospects, you’ll also find that you love to be on the phone with them; whether they choose to work with you or not – that decision is all about them, not you.  It’s about the difference you make. Don’t go into the false notion that it’s about you and closing the sale. It has nothing to do with that. This is all about customer service and helping people get what they want.

The next time you notice yourself shrinking to make those follow up calls, remember that your job is all about being of service.  They need you.  You make their lives so much better.  You can help them get what they truly want. Then, pick up that phone and dial!

Now, if you’re looking, for a way to take the struggle out of your marketing, attract “stampedes” of new clients in a way that is authentic, fun and easy to implement, then the Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Toolkit™ is just what you’ve been looking for.  It’s a total turn key marketing system that gives you the most important things to do to build your business; set up as simple, solid systems, so that you consistently fill your pipeline and continually get new clients. This is a step-by-step turn key marketing system, not a big jumble of things flung together. You do Step One of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to Step Two, and so on. Included are the tools, scripts, templates, and step-by-step examples - handed to you on a silver platter ready to implement.

How To Attract Clients By Leveraging Your Most Powerful Marketing Asset – YOU!

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia As a small business owner, the temptation for many of us is to pretend that we’re bigger than we really are.  We live in a world where bigger is better – bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger bank accounts… so of course it makes sense for us to assume that people only want to do business with bigger companies – not the one person consulting firm, the solo freelance web designer or home-based business coach.  This is simply not true.  There is incredible power in being “an army of one,” and I’m going to encourage you to celebrate your business size, not hide it.

Here are two pieces of very valuable client attraction advice for you:

1)    Resist the urge to make yourself look bigger than you really are.  Bigger is NOT always better (in fact, nowadays in business, bigger is rarely better – the service gets worse, it gets harder and harder to speak to a real person at the end of the line, and we lose all sense of connection with the company we’re working with). At the end of the day people want to do business with people – REAL people, not some big faceless, impersonal company who makes them feel like just another number or another sales statistic.

2)    Don’t lose your own voice in your marketing.  Marketing is nothing more than a way of connecting with people.  Your voice, your authenticity, what YOU bring to the table to help your customers solve their problems isthemostvaluableassetyouhave.  Don’t be tempted to neuter the language down to sound like it’s being written from a larger business, from no person in particular, or from someone who’s not really you.

No one else does exactly what you do – the way that you do it.  Your own special uniqueness is what helps set you apart from everyone else out there.  Don’t hide this.  Bring it forth and shine a giant spotlight on it.  Shout it from the rooftops so that you will attract clients who mirror those same qualities and values as you and who will be an honor to work with.

This kind of marketing is what I call Personality Infused Marketing™  and it forms the basis of The Ultimate Marketing Homestudy Toolkit - Personality Infused Marketing™ is an immensely powerful way to connect with your audience, a more meaningful and authentic way to attract and serve your clients, and a happier, more stress free way to run your business.

Once you give yourself permission to be authentic with your marketing, you will be amazed at the difference it makes to your life and to the lives of the people you serve.

How to Bulletproof Yourself From the Arrows of Other People's Criticism

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. – Bill Crosby One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is that it’s a path chosen by very few.  According to the Webster dictionary, here’s the definition of what an entrepreneur is:

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerableinitiative and risk.

It takes real guts to run your own business and it’s not for the faint of heart (which is why we’re such a passionate bunch about what we do!).  Perhaps you’ve been told by a well meaning aunt that your timing is terrible for running your own business in this economy and you should give up and go find a nice job working for someone else.  Ouch.

Or how about a cranky customer who’s had a bad morning and shows up to your appointment with nothing but critical things to say.  Or that one bad Yelp review someone, (you don’t even remember who) posted.

Others may take a swipe at you for no other reason than they have a PhD in complaining and you happen to be their target for the day.

Having said that, when someone says something that makes you want to go hide under the sheets – here’s what to do:

1)    Once you’ve calmed down, try to take an objective look at what’s being said to see if there’s a kernel of truth in it.  This is a lot easier said than done.  If something does have an element of truth about it, be grateful.  The delivery of the message might have sucked but you got the message and that’s what counts.  Then have a think about what (if anything) needs to be changed – which I usually do after taking a long walk with the dogs. On the other hand, if it’s just a plain old complaint or criticism from someone who doesn’t agree with what you’re doing or the way that you’re doing things – I suggest letting yourself grieve for the wound, but not for too long.

Set the timer.

Half an hour is plenty long to throw a pity party.  Then take the complaint and shred it or burn it to get rid of the negativity – hold you head high and move on. (NOTE: be careful obviously setting anything afire and I recommend you do this only in your fireplace!).

2)    Someone criticized you?  Great!!!  Give yourself a big pat on the back.  Receiving criticism is actually a sign of success!  It means you’re doing something, you’re being someone. You’re choosing not to live in the box of other people’s expectations and be small. “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” ­– Elbert Hubbard

3)    When someone criticizes you, remember that it’s actually more about them than you.  How many people do you know who would love to be doing what you’re doing right now… taking bold, brave steps to create a beautiful life for yourself and your family?  Making sure you’ll never be in the position of an employer telling you what to do or pulling the financial rug out from under you.  Many of your critics may themselves be frustrated entrepreneurs, miserable in their jobs, working for people they don’t like.  And it’s easier to take a pot shot at someone else in an effort to justify his or her own decisions than to actually buck up and make a change.

4)    Keep a RAH-RAH file handy to give yourself a confidence boost when you feel you need it.  A RAH-RAH file contains all of the nice comments, and testimonials that anyone has ever said about you – your Mom, your best friend, your favorite client – whoever. Protecting your confidence is a top priority, and the best way to stop a negative comment grabbing a hold of you and injuring your confidence – is to remind yourself that you are smart, talented, loved and great at what you do.

5)    Keep your goals and your personal vision of what you want to achieve front and center.  It’s easy to let a negative comment derail you.  That’s when it’s great to remind yourself what your bigger purpose is and where you’re going.  I keep my purpose pinned to the wall and refer to it often – especially when I need to regroup and refocus.

How to Turn Mud Into Chocolate Mud Pies ...

"When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity"  ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959 Nearly a month ago a small tornado ripped through the sleepy town of Dexter, MI.  As with most tornados, it arrived with little warning and plowed a path of destruction that stretched over 10 miles, upending trees, houses and the lives of the people who live and work there.

Dexter also happens to be the city just north west of where I live.

And its where I keep my horse.

By nothing short of a miracle, the tornado missed the barn by less than ¼ of a mile.  The night the tornado unleashed its fury I got a text from the barn manager to say that despite the 135 mph winds, all people, animals and property were safe.

I happen to believe in miracles, and that was certainly one of them!

The next morning I yanked on my boots, hopped in my car and headed out there to double check on my horse.

As I approached the little town, the first sight of damage I saw was that it looked like someone had emptied 100 dumpsters worth of trash onto the branches of trees.  The damage got worse as I drove on.  It looked like a war zone and I felt like as if I was part of some kind of horror movie set on a Hollywood backlot.

King Kong had stepped on a car wash building and squashed it flat as a pancake.

A restaurant had its whole top floor ripped off.

Cars were overturned or wedged into the side of buildings.  Homes destroyed beyond recognition.

A somber parade of more than 30 huge landscaping trucks shuddered past me to begin the mammoth clean up task.

As I sat in the traffic jam, I felt sick to my stomach thinking about the local business owners.  Dexter has a thriving small business community, but how many would have planned  for this kind of catastrophic event?  Very few was my guess.  Most would have woken up that day thinking it was just going to be a regular, old Thursday.   Now, in one foul swoop their incomes had been severed, their homes damaged, and they had no idea when they’d next receive another paycheck ….

Except for one little business, that is.….

Which just so happens to be my favorite little coffee hut out there.

As I approached the lot where the coffee hut was located,  I noticed that unlike the rest of Dexter (which understandably was in a total state of shock and mourning), the place was a hive of activity.  The vibe, very upbeat.   Everywhere I looked there were people – in cars, out of cars, directing traffic, talking to each other…there was laughter even - police officers, landscaping crews, rescue crews, locals, volunteers…

In fact, you could say the place was rocking.

I also noticed that everyone seemed to be drinking coffee!

Turns out the little hut had survived the tornado but had no power or water.

That would have been enough to keep most businesses shut.

Not this little business.

The owner had brought in a mobile truck complete with generator, a portable espresso machine and a cash register. And someone had been up baking carrot cake muffins that were being handed out left, right and center.  Extra staff had been called in to help, and they were taking, and making coffee orders like crazy.

Never mind that the parking lot was strewn with debris, or had huge potholes which a mini could get lost in.  The staff were running around, taking orders, bringing coffees, boosting morale.

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!

On one day I’m sure that little business made more money in a 24 hour period then it did the whole month prior.

That takes some “hootzpah, and some fierce bulldog determination to succeed no matter what.  I don’t know that owner, he isn’t part of any of my coaching groups at the Client Stampede, but I’m going to seek him out to hopefully interview him on how to thrive despite mountain sized obstacles

Reminds me of another favorite quote of mine…

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of equal or greater opportunity" - Napolean Hill

How to succeed as a Solopreneur no matter what the economy is doing...

Here's an indisputable reality that as entrepreneurs, just about all of us have encountered at some point ... There are a lot of "dream stealers" out there. These are the people who hear you talk about your business, or your business idea and will tell you to "get real".

They'll go on to remind you that more than 6 million people start a business each year.

And they'll tell you that 3 out of 4 of these businesses will fail (yikes).

They'll also tell you that the economy is "so tough right now" that you don't have a hope of making it.

And they'll probably suggest you should go find a nice "safe" job" or not dream "so big" until "things get better".

Actually the person who's telling you this is probably saying it because their innermost secret desire is to own their own business themselves but they're just too petrified to take the plunge and make it happen.

Or they've failed in the past and have given up.

That's ok.

Being a Solopreneur is DEFINITELY not for everyone. And yes it IS challenging at times.

But that doesn't mean you can't succeed.

And it certainly doesn't mean that you should sit out this "tough economy" and wait for things to improve...you might be sitting for a long time.

Take me for example.

When I relocated my marketing company to Michigan, people told me I was insane. The economy had just tanked, layoffs were happening like tidal waves and people were fleeing the state in droves. Add to that the fact I was a single Mom of a new born and the number of people I knew in Michigan could be counted on one hand.

I guess you could say from the outside that the odds of me succeeding were stacked, well, mile high.

But on the inside, I knew differently. I believed differently. I acted differently.

I was crystal clear on my intent to succeed.

I set about surrounding myself with other highly successful entrepreneurs, who had reinvented their businesses and created massive opportunity for themselves.

I shut out "the noise" and got busy.

Not to say this was an easy process. Looking back it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. There were days, weeks even when I seriously questioned my own sanity and thought about throwing in all in.

But I'm so glad I didn't.

Within 6 months I had created a six figure business doing work that I loved, on my terms, with clients who I absolutely loved working with. No more long distance travel needed. Total flexibility to pick and choose my work hours: if I'd been up half the night with my daughter who couldn't settle, I could take the next morning off and catch up on sleep.

And I'd done it Michigan - one of the most recession ravaged states in the country where its common to meet someone who's been out of work for 3 years.

I'm not sharing this with you to toot my own horn.

I'm sharing this with you to show you how you can CREATE YOUR OWN ECONOMY as a Solopreneur and be successful NO MATTER WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD OUTSIDE, AND NO MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TELL YOU IS POSSIBLE.

So, here are 3 truths about how to build a successful business as a Solopreneur in any economy

1 - In order to grow your business, you have to grow yourself first Where ever you're at in your business right now, you can't expect to achieve wild success by following what most other people are doing. It means having the courage to not follow the herd and do things differently.

Radically differently sometimes.

This usually has to start with seeking out a coach, mentor, or teacher who has walked the path you're wanting to walk, holds the same values you hold, and has what you want.

You can try to go things alone and do it the hard, lonely, frustrating way...or you can seek out other successful people to learn from and cut short your own learning curve by 10 or even 20 years.

When I made the decision I wanted to leave my legal career to become a professional copywriter, I knew it was going to take some serious time and money investment to come anywhere close to me being able to replace my income level.

I never bought the whole nobility thing of being a "starving writer" (in my book there's no glory in starving). So I set about seeking out the very best teachers I could find who were themselves highly successful entrepreneurs and marketers.

The very first coaching program I invested in was $35,000 (gasp) which even today is still an eye popping amount of money for most people to think about spending on their own personal development. Thanks to the wisdom learned from that course I was able to earn a 6 figure income straight out the gate in my very first year as a freelance copywriter. That's practically unheard of in my industry where the average earnings, even for "seasoned pros" is less than $40,000.

But as you may already know, I am definitely a hare not a tortoise (by the way it was really the hare who won that race, the tortoise actually got sidetracked, forgot where he was headed and wound up getting eaten by a pack of rogue wolves.) I'm not interested in trying to reinvent the wheel. If someone's already cracked the code and traveled the path I want to take then I'll happily pay to learn from them so that I can arrive faster at my goals.

The lesson in this for you is... catapult your business to where you want it to go by investing in yourself FIRST.

Don't wait "until you're successful" - that's too late!

Invest in YOU. You're worth it!

2 - Systems Rock

If you are an entrepreneur, you're probably great at "winging it."

Only problem is that you live in chaos, and everything on your to-do list is super urgent. Keep this up - and you'll eventually burn out (I know, because this is exactly how I used to run my business and...burnt out doing).

Its no secret that the most successful businesses in the world all heavily rely on systems. McDonalds is a perfect example. Every action, every task has been boiled down to an exact process that's repeated again and again, effortlessly.

This is exactly how your marketing needs to operate. Your marketing shouldn't be a series of random acts that you hurriedly fling together when you need new clients, and pray something happens from.

Implementing a marketing system in your business will enable you to regulate your cash flow, have a dependable income every month and give you the head space you need to really focus on growing your business (instead of wondering if you'll be able to pay off all your bills this month)

3 - Care deeply about your clients

I am constantly horrified at the number of businesses who take a churn and burn attitude to their clients.

Don't like our service? Tough....we don't care....we've got your money already...next!

One of the best "recession proof" marketing strategies is to care deeply about your clients and their success.

Do things that others would never be prepared to do - say yes to their requests, where others would say no. Always be looking for ways to add massive value to their lives. Do this and you will create a loyal following of raving fans who will stick by you and your company like glue in good times and in bad!

Pocket Money

Here's my last story to share with you about my Irish Christmas vacation..well maybe my last, I just might have one more up my sleeve... So there I was.  In blustery, butt freezing Belfast.  Out braving the cold and the throngs of mad post-Christmas shoppers.

The wind was relentless, my cheeks were bright red (even redder than usual) and the sky had just opened up, pummeling me with pea sized pieces of ice.

So.... I did what any sane person would do.  I gritted my teeth, stayed my course and made a beeline through the now icy streets.  I had  my target fixed firmly in my sights while people all around me were bailing left right and center into the nearest pub.

I hurdled around the corner and charged through the doors of my destination - a mega sized department store called Marks & Spencer. Fighting my way through the throng of frenzied, wet and hail assaulted shoppers I made my way to the kids clothing area.

I did manage to find what I was looking for - a cool sweater for my daughter (one with patchwork elbows made of ridiculously soft Irish wool).

Then, as I was lining up to pay, my eye caught sight of something which can only be termed as sheer marketing brilliance.

It was a sign strategically placed to catch the attention of anyone under 3ft tall, right next to where "Mum" would be forced to stand in line for the next 10 minutes at check out.

Here's all the sign said.

"Pocket Money" (that's Irish speak for Allowance),

Beneath it was a series of little bins with at least 35 different ways to separate kids from their precious weekly allowance with all kinds of useless colorful trinkets.

Absolutely brilliant marketing.  Here's why.

First of all the sign specifically targets kids to buy stuff using THEIR OWN MONEY. The sign is not meant for adults to read, it wasn't even at our height.

Secondly the sign is located in the area most Moms and kids visit - in the kids clothing section.  Most kids HATE clothes shopping and get dragged there under duress.  This little marketing ploy was the perfect diversion to keep the kids out of their "Mum's" hair and make a sale at the same time.

And thirdly, the location of the sign was strategically placed to catch little eyes while they were rolling theirs, bored senseless and being forced to wait in line.

This kind of marketing brilliance is called niche marketing - and if you're not doing it in your business, that's why you don't have an extra zero at the end of your income....yet!

(For those of you who are smart enough to have already invested in a copy of my Client Stampede Ultimate Homestudy Toolkit - don't worry the easy niche marketing magic formulas I give you in there are bullet proof...just plug and play and you're on your way!)

As the rich happily say "there are riches in niches!"

My Irish Vacation

Wow, it's great to be back to a Michigan winter.  Really!  I never thought I'd EVER say that, except that the weather in Ireland was about 100 times worse!  Wet, cold, dark, miserable, with icy winds whipping your face straight off the Atlantic.  Just look at how many layers of clothing I had to wear just to go out shopping (and I can hardly see out of my hood!). Lucky that the Irish are so warm and welcoming because the weather sure isn't.  Maybe that explains why family life revolves around the local taverns that are always brimming with laughter, guinness (of course), and some of the most incredible fiddle playing, singing and Irish dancing I've ever seen!  The whole reason for going to Ireland was to catch up with my older brother Dale and his family, who live in Belfast.  He's got 3 kids of his own now who range in age from 1 to 6 and are delightful little characters with thick Irish accents and a naughty streak.  I sat on a whoppee cushion about 10 times, got pelted with "Nerf Bullets," and helped make a gingerbread train for Santa to hopefully "cancel out any naughtyness" during the year!  I also suffered 4 humiliating defeats playing tabletop football with my 4 year old nephew...!

I was last in Ireland 2 1/2 years ago - it's a country I love visiting, and this time around I was curious to see how things had changed. Particularly in regards to how the recession had impacted the area.  The reports I had read lumped the Irish economy alongside other EU economies that are in the toilet (like Greece).  Were there going to be stores borded up and lots of "going out of business" signs?  Would there be people begging on the streets?  Lots of vacant commercial buildings and houses?

What I was about to discover astounded me...

In Belfast, the post Christmas sales have always been legendary.  With the recession going on, I thought that the post Christmas shopping experience would be a little more sane, a lot less hectic, and far less busy.  So when my sister-in-law suggested we "hit the shops," I thought it was a great idea as I'm not usually one to brave big crowds.  With the economy, surely most people would be staying home - right? Afterall, in a country whose economy has been likened to that of the great depression, how many people would be out spending their hard earned dollars...not many, right?

WRONG.

Oh my goodness...

It was total madness.  There were crowds clamboring to the stores like I have NEVER EVER SEEN IN ANY ECONOMY.  People were lining up outside some of the high end department stores, braving that terrible weather, just for the chance to buy a $200 sweater at 25% off!  These people were NOT strapped for cash, and what blew me away is how well dressed everyone was - designer duds everywhere, expensive baby strollers...if there was a recession going on, the people shopping in downtown Belfast surely hadn't been told about it!!!

In one store I went to (that I wish I owned shares in) - there was quite literally a MOVING HIGHWAY of people in and out, all hustling to buy and then moving onto the next deal.  I stood in the same spot by the door for maybe 5 minutes and watched throngs of people push past me in search of bargains.  The store is a high end clothing and homeware store where basic throw rugs sell for the equivilent of $175 USD!  To put things in perspective, in Northern Ireland the currency is British pounds, which is a lot stronger than our US dollar, and dollar for dollar things are much more expensive in Belfast than what we pay over here.  Yet I watched in amazement as people dropped huge sums of money on purses, suits, coats, linens...hundreds and hundreds and very often thousands of pounds!

After I recovered from my initial shock, I realized with a grin the significance of what I was witnessing.  Actions speak a lot louder than words...WHAT RECESSION?  These people were thriving!  Businesses were thriving!

So here's the BIG LESSON:  Just like you've heard me say so many times before...be very careful what you read and who you listen to and whatever you do.... "DON'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ IN MASS MEDIA." Scare mongering is the real business they're in.  It's bad news, not good news, that sells newspapers and magazines.  Despite what you might hear there are many businesses thriving (including mine :) and there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY TO PROSPER EVERYWHERE!

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not denying that there's a recession going on.  I know times are tough for many right now.  There's no doubt that shrinkage has happened and will continue to happen for those industries and businesses who refuse to adapt and keep operating under the rules of the old economy. But YOU won't be one of them -  providing you run your business according to the new rules of the new economy.   (If you're not yet familiar with the new rules of the new economy then drop everything right now and order a copy of my audio CD "How to thrive in the new economy" - (worth $97, it's yours for just $2) - it's your blueprint for success in the coming year.

And speaking of this year - take heart that things aren't nearly as bad as they seem. In fact many businesses will continue to quietly thrive, racking up record profits.  There's NO reason why your business can't be one of them.

So set your goals HIGH for this year.  Work tirelessly to deliver even greater value to your customers. Refuse to read anything negative and only listen to those of us who are getting on and making things happen.  And stay tuned, I've got some REALLY exciting things happening to help you build your business quickly and easily, that you're just going to love.

Warm regards,

Julie

How a Cow Shaped Rubber Band Sparked a Fashion Revolution and Made a Fortune

This month, while trawling for interesting information to share with you in Marketing Dynamite, I stumbled on an interesting article in Inc magazine called “How I Did It.” It was about a guy named Robert Croak who in 2006 started a national fashion frenzy by introducing colorful shaped rubber bands called Silly Bandz. At their peak in 2008, his little company was selling more than 1 million packs of Silly Bandz a week and people were driving to its offices from Alabama, Indiana, and Kentucky because his phone lines were jammed up with orders. In Inc, Croak talks about being so overwhelmed with shipments at one stage that the company ran an ad on Facebook saying:  “if anyone was looking for work, they’d hire them on the spot – with a line down the street, and a full warehouse, they started packing shipments on tables on the sidewalk.”  Croak goes on to say “Silly Bandz put me in a category of wealth that most people have never imagined, and everybody wants to look at me and say ‘that guy got lucky,’ when in reality it took me 20 years to get where I am today.”

I tell you this story because all too often we assume that an overnight success is just that – luck, when rarely luck has anything to do with it. It’s the culmination of invisible years of multiple failures, bulldog tenacity, sweat, massive risk, a steadfast goal and belief in yourself.

The Kardashian "Mother Lode" - How Chris Jenner Created The Kardashian Juggernaut

Love 'em or hate 'em, reality tv stars, The Kardashians and Kardashian Inc. are branding powerhouses to be reckoned with. Last year they earned $65 million – more than Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie combined. This year their estimated earnings are set to top more than $100 million. From fragrances and paid endorsements to designer duds and a “destination Kardashian” at the Mirage in Las Vegas (which houses every product the family endorses). “We’ll take Kim in a bikini and put her on a beach towel,” mother Kris Jenner says. “So you would be laying on a Kardashian at the pool.” The hotel itself will be a Kardashian shrine: room keys will bear their image, each of the 4,338 rooms will house Kardashian-branded water in the minibars, Kim’s fragrance on the vanity; oh, and Kim and the girls will be vamping on a dozen of the new slot machines. Really? You can lay on a Kardashian by the poolside and this is their mom speaking? (Actually it was Kris’s idea).

The mother and “Momager” behind the Kardashian powerhouse, Kris Jenner, may be many things – bossy, controlling, nosy, obsessed with personal lubricant to name a few, but when it comes to monetizing her family’s reality TV fame in inventive and controversial ways, the woman can’t be beat.

And, just like the inventor of Silly Bandz, the success she’s created for her family hasn’t been overnight either – it’s been many, many years in the making. A former airline hostess, she started back in the early 90s selling exercise equipment via an informercial she wrote and produced with gold medalist hubby Bruce Jenner.......... (continued below).

Kris met husband Jenner on a blind date - at the time he was doing  a little motivational speaking, a few public appearances but mostly playing a whole lot of golf.  Kris recognized an opportunity when she saw one and began overseeing his speaking engagements and management deals.

By 1994, Kris and Bruce launched a line of stair-climbing fitness equipment via a self-produced infomercial, “Super Fit With Bruce Jenner,” in which they both appeared. The ad was a success, running 2,000 times a month in 17 countries, however in 1995 and 1997,Kris added 2 more daughters to the clan and her show biz career took a 10-year hiatus.

In February of 2007, inspired by the Success of Sharon Osbourne and the Ozzy Osbourne Show, Kris independently produced a presentation tape of a reality show following her family and had begun shopping it to different production companies.  It was about this time that Kim Kardashian sat her Mom down and told her that a sex tape she'd made with her boyfriend had been sold to an adult film distributor and was going on sale at the end of the month.  If there was ever a time to turn lemons into lemonade, this was it.  Kris hired a spin doctor to handle the public outcry. Vivid, the adult film distributor ended up having to pay Kim a reported $5 million for the sex tape and the tape itself went on to become one of Vivid’s best-selling DVDs in 10 years — putting the Kardashians squarely on the map. In 2006 Kris signed a deal with Ryan Seacrest Productions to follow her family on a new reality tv series - Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

“My job", said Kris "is trying to take my kids’ 15 minutes and turn it into 30.”

Looks like she hit the ball out of the park on that one ...

Impossible Is Nothing

Henry Ford decided to produce his now famous V8 engine.  He had fixed in his mind the exact image of what he wanted his new engine to look like – all 8 cylinders cast in one block.  He sat down with his engineers to produce a design, but his engineers were unanimous, telling Ford what he wanted was simply impossible to achieve. Ford said “produce it anyway.”

“But,” they replied “it’s impossible.”

“Go ahead,” Ford commanded, “and stay on the job until you succeed no matter how much time is required.”

So the engineers went ahead as instructed – they really had no other option if they wanted to keep their jobs.  Six months passed, and nothing happened.  The engineers tried every conceivable plan to meet Ford’s orders, but the thing seemed out of the question; “impossible!”  At the end of the year Ford checked in with his engineers and they still had nothing to show him – they had found no way to build what he wanted. “Go right ahead,” said Ford, “I want it, and I’ll have it.”  So they kept forging ahead…and achieved it.

If you can conceive of it – you can achieve it.  It’s been proven time and time again.  Thomas Edison imagined a lamp powered by electricity, and despite having over 10,000 failures, we have him to thank for our brightly lit houses, our X-boxes (?!), our refrigerators.

Marconi dreamed of a way to harness the intangible forces of the ether – a way to connect the most humble of homes and most stately of mansions.  His “friends” admitted him for psychiatric evaluation when he announced he’d discovered a way to send messages through the air without the aid of wires, or any other physical means.  His invention?  The radio.

Be as GREAT as you can imagine.  Set your sights on BIG goals, not little ones. Settling for less, or deciding to be small to keep others happy, helps no one.  Be careful who you listen to and share your dreams with.

And, as Winston Churchill said “never, never give up.”

What to do with your customers who’ve gone MIA

Guess the top 4 reasons customers don’t return to a business (hint: price isn’t one of them). #4 Bad service #3 Bad product #2 They found someone else

And #1 They FORGOT!

That’s right, the number 1 reason people don’t return to your business is because you just weren’t top of mind when it was time for them to purchase again.  Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top 4 reasons?  Most of us automatically think that if customers don’t return it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we didn’t do a great job with our marketing by reminding them that we’re here.  The great news is that it can be easily fixed!

Here are 2 key questions for you:

In your business how often do you want customers to buy from you again?

When do you consider a customer to be lost?

If you’re a real estate agent, you might want repeat business every 5 years.  If you own a grocery store it might be once every 7 days.  Figure this out and then set up a lost customer sequence to trigger as soon as they don’t return. The most effective is a 3-step sequential direct mail campaign that’s highly personalized. A very distant second is the same via email campaign (but anything is better than nothing).

Here’s the secret to getting them back: unless you specifically invite your lost customers to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed!  You need to warmly invite them back.  Remember that a customer who’s already done business with you is at least 5 times easier for you to sell to than a new customer.  So make every customer count! Woo the lost sheep back with an irresistible offer and a deadline. Make them feel they’ve been greatly missed and welcome them back to the fold with open arms! If they don’t respond to the first campaign, schedule another in 3 months with a different offer!

Who You Sell To Is More Important Than What You Sell

When most people decide to start a business, they figure out what they want to sell first, and then once they’ve developed the product, widget or service, they try and figure out who to sell it to. Actually this is backwards.

The best, most surefire way to success is to start with the WHO first, not the WHAT. Otherwise you may have gone to all the trouble of developing and investing in a new product or service which no one actually needs, or wants to buy.

To successfully sell a product you need a starving market. That’s why it always makes sense to identify the starving market first. You need to get to know them, figure out what problems they have that you can solve - and then go develop your product and service to specifically meet that need.

Note also that there is a big difference between a product we all know we need versus one we actually want to buy. It’s a much harder pitch to sell a product that’s needed instead of wanted. Obviously the sweet spot is a product that’s both needed and wanted.

For example, we know that we need to see our dentist at least once a year for a check up and cleaning. You’ll have to work a lot harder in your sales copy to get a prospect to schedule the appointment because it's a service they know they need, but don't necessarily want.

Compare this to an offer for professional teeth whitening that’s sent to a list of 30 and 40 something year olds who are single, smoke and drink coffee.

That’s a much easier sale to make.

In starting with the WHO first and not the WHAT, you'll be saving yourself a LOT of time, money and effort. You won't be investing in a product that you might think is the best thing since sliced bread, but your market doesn't!

How do you know if you've got a really good idea? Use the "well I'll be damned test"!

Wilson Harrell - a great businessman and entrepreneur had an excellent way of testing for a new product, service or idea.  He called it the "well, I'll be damned test".  You take your new idea and run it past at least 20 different people (none of which are related to you or friends with you), to see how they'd react.  If they didn't say "well, I'll be damned" or "heck why didn't I think of that?" then you haven't got a winner. If it looks like you do have a winner, the next question to ask is "well how much would you be prepared to pay for that?", and  "If you could buy it at that price would you definitely buy it or maybe buy it?",  "why?", "how would you use it", "where would you want to buy it from?" "is this an idea you might be interested in investing in?", "why?".  These loosely held focus groups are extremely valuable and can save you a lot of time, money and stress when thinking about bringing something new to the marketplace.

 

Why Marketing Your Business Is The Highest And Best Use Of Your Time

I don't care what business you're in - there is one single universal truth that you need to wrote in big bold letters with a fat sharpie and place right above your desk to look at 10 times a day. Marketing your business is THE single best and highest use of your time.

Why?  Because, no matter what business you think you're in...whether you're a plumber, a dermatologist or you sell cars for a living...the real business you're in is the marketing business.

Yes I know - if you've been following me you would have heard me harp on about this point.  A lot.  In fact, if I could, I would take a sledge hammer and pound it into your brain, because....understanding this one principal - just this ONE - is all that it would take to completely transform your business.

If you can move from thinking about yourself as being in the restaurant business, the weight loss business, the clothing business - and instead think of yourself as being in the marketing of that product, service or "thing" - that's when you're going to start seeing extraordinary results.  There is no better use of your time, no bigger "payday" than the time you spend on marketing your business.  Want more money?  Invest more time and money in learning how to effectively market your business.  Cracking this nut holds the keys to the kingdom, the secret to your riches...and fortunately it's exactly what I specialize in helping you do.

What Kenneth Cole Can Teach Us About Perseverence

On the weekend I stumbled across this great story about how designer Kenneth Cole began his multi-billion dollar shoe and fashion empire. I felt inspired after reading it so thought I would share it with you.When Kenneth Cole was starting out, he was flat broke but wanted to exhibit at his industry's giant trade show in New York City. They wanted a huge exhibit fee which he simply couldn't pay. So he got the bright idea to just rent a huge motor home and park it right outside the convention hall, and invite attendees in to see his shoes. When he went to get a permit, he was told that nobody got permits to park anything on a major New York street for 3 days. For 99% of business owners, that would have been the end of that great idea. But he thought about it and went back and said "SOMEBODY must get permits. If somebody could, who would?". The answer: only tv and production companies. So he quickly registered a new business - Kenneth Cole Productions, got a sign made for his rented motor home, got a permit, hired guys with film cameras with no film in them, laid down a red carpet and then spent 3 days with his motor home parked exactly where he wanted, grabbing attention with the filming, inviting people in and selling shoes like crazy. This isn't just a great story about not giving up. It's also evidence of a deeper, determined mind set developed by a certain tiny percentage of business people who are determined to "make it" and to do whatever "it" takes...a trait as valuable as it is rare. Have a great week! Julie