In The Pursuit of Money, Meaning & Beyond, Is It Time For Some Hair Of The Dog?

This thought-piece by Andrea J. Lee is excerpted here for the first time from the book, Money, Meaning and Beyond, Chapter 21

Ever feel like a fraud in your biz? Or, just stuck in a rut – again?? Whatever your business is, if you’re hesitant, embarrassed or shy about it, it’s just not going to work long term. Time for some hair of the dog.

Question: I’m totally stuck. I thought my business was going well, but I can’t seem to get anywhere these days. It’s like spinning my wheels in mud and getting deeper and deeper into ick. Plus, I have no energy anymore. When people ask me what I do, I just can’t seem to care enough to tell them. Please tell me what is up?

Whether you’re just starting out or been around the block a dozen times, the feeling of ‘I have no idea why but there is no energy around here’ is a common one to business owners of all stripes.

First things first. Remember, everything is energy. And when you’re stuck, experience tells us there’s something wrong inside – not something you’re doing – that is creating the block.

So here’s where the idea of Hair of the Dog comes in.

The phrase ‘Hair of the Dog’ originally comes from Medieval times when physicians of the time prescribed real hair from a dog to treat dog bites.

You know, someone would come into the surgery with a dog bite. And they would get a mouthful of tonic made from hair of the dog that actually bit them.

Now we don’t know if that worked from a medical perspective, but the phrase in modern times has come to characterize something more familiar, at least to some.

When you – or someone you know – has indulged a little too much in alcohol the night before, the morning after can be a bit of a trial.

And the phrase, “You need some hair of the dog” has come to mean, “Ya might wanna have another drink, buddy, it’ll take the edge off your headache this morning.”

It’s been a little while since I’ve tried this personally, but we seem to remember it works.

So what does all this have to do with your business? A lot, actually.

If you’re stuck in any way, or even if you’re not stuck but you want to amp up your flow of energy, ask yourself this:

“In what way could I be applying the things I sell, teach or stand for, to myself?”

“How could I – more thoroughly – be doing what it is I tell my clients they should be doing?”

The answers you come up with are…well…the things you must do to get unstuck.

Mini Case Studies:

  • If you’re a massage therapist, how often are you yourself going to a therapist to reap the benefits of your trade? A grumbly massage therapist whose back hurts and forehead is wrinkled from low energy isn’t someone most people would go back to…
  • If you’re a financial advisor, how are your finances? We’re not saying you have to be a millionaire to be a terrific financial advisor, but you must actively be pursuing what you believe is important in the realm of finances. If you aren’t, how can you do right by your clients?
  • If you are a dentist, how are your own teeth?
  • If you teach cold calling, how often are you picking up the phone?
  • If you’re a coach or consultant, are you walking your own talk?

‘Nuff said.

It’s pretty simple really…albeit maybe a bit unexpected. When you start to apply the Hair of the Dog Principle, count on your energy starting to flow again. It’s like taking a little booster shot in exactly the right spot.

Wisdom nugget:

Make a list of why you think people should do business with you. Be thorough. Start with as many as you can write down, and come back a couple times as you think of more.

Example: They’ll save money. Or time. Or they’ll have a lot of fun. Or…whatever.

>>> Now make a list of ways YOU can live these things yourself.

Seeking the Minimum Level (Excerpted from the Money, Meaning and Beyond Book, Chapter 18)

People are creatures of habit.

After hearing the same lessons about business for so long, we can tend to accept them without questioning. After doing things the same way for so long, it can take a little shock treatment for us to stop.

However it’s important that we do, because far too many business owners are chronically tired and overworked, yet are still trying harder to do more with their energy and time.

The old way of thinking and old habits can be very costly – to both the success of your business, and your overall happiness.

May I ask:

Do you invest too much energy into tasks that aren’t worth it? Are you using a lot of time on a project that could be done with much less?

If you have a tack in front of you, you wouldn’t use a power tool to put it in, right?  It would be a massive, disproportionately powerful tool to get the result you want.

This can be a difficult one, but try to develop an awareness of how to apply just the right amount of energy and resources to the appropriate tasks.

If you’re used to providing a full-fledged proposal for a client, would a two-page summary work just as well?  Do you send over five possible ideas for how to ‘redo the living room’ when 3 would be equally delightful to your clients?

When you write emails, do you always proofread and double-check before you send out?  If you’re doing a series of follow-up calls that are administrative in nature, could an assistant do the trick?

You get the picture. Experiment with the minimum level.

Based on experience, we estimate business owners waste an average of 20-30% on tasks that would be just as gone and just as complete, if they’d leave well enough alone.

Seeking the minimum level definitely goes against the grain at first, because business owners are used to working hard, and racing to keep up.

Take a moment now to think of just one thing that you could work a lot less hard at to complete, or better yet, one thing you can take off your ‘To Do’ list entirely.  Will you share? Please post your comments

6 Questions with Richard Reardon | How Much Ought a Small Business Coach Earn?

by Andrea J. Lee

I’m delighted to share this 6-question interview of Richard Reardon, formerly the Dean of the School of Small Business Coaching at CoachVille.com. Richard was the first established Graduate-level Dean selected by Thomas Leonard, and revolutionized Small Business Coach training in that role in the fall of 2002.

Those of you who remember meeting Richard at the Business Coaching Conference held fall 2002 in Toronto, Canada will clearly recall what a deep well of expertise and experience he represents. A humble, rather quiet and dare I say ‘old school’ (in a good way) Mentor Coach, Richard has been doing the work of transforming businesses since 1981.

As you will see from just a few interview questions, there is no faking his kind of experience. Let me also add that Richard personally coached me through some of the most difficult days of my journey as a business owner, so if you pick up my rather fond feelings towards him, that will be why.

 (1) Richard, not to be rude, but you have been coaching businesses for a very long time! What is your favorite client success story?

The client who began coaching approximately 2 years ago and who now works solely with Fortune 500 companies, sets fees at 5K per day, has plenty of work and really “gets” coaching as a means to a bigger end.

He started with lots and lots of self doubt but, did the work, met the challenges and grew into it.

(2) As part of your legacy, you have said that you’d like to pass along your insights, methods and experience to new business coaches. Would you fill in the blank of this sentence?

I wish more business coaches would _______________.

Easy… practice what they preach and become world class business advisors.

Most have so much potential as business advisors/coaches but get all hung up on trivial stuff, side roads, analysis, what is a coach type of talk over and over… the market is so big…what are we waiting for?

(3) You have mentored coaches in several places including the Graduate School of Coaching – you must be exceeding patient and persistent to continue to make offerings available to coaches. I think many trainers might have given up by now.

What makes you so determined?

Actually I tend toward impatient. Since I fully expect the 80/20 rule applies everywhere, I tend to attract/work with those who are ready to ” get it going”, learn what has to change and build their business.

Not everyone will do the work necessary (not that it is all that hard, by the way) and that (not doing the work) is to be expected in any “new endeavor.”

In my role, I benefit in three areas:

(a) opportunity to teach good material and then
(b) the chance to work 1×1 with those who really want more. and, finally
(c) coaching business owners on-site.

The free stuff is easy to do and it’s nice that I enjoy it too —- no patience needed, really.

(4) What kind of earnings do you think it’s reasonable for a business coach to expect in their first year, done well? Fifth year? 10th?

Depends on the vision, goals, character and how big they want to become….I strongly believe that Solo operators doing coaching to businesses can easily earn…

Year one $115 ,000 plus
Year two $155,000 plus
Year five $300,000 plus

Once the model is decided and process developed, any solo person can earn these without a lot of extra service or affiliates. By year ten it depends mostly on the model and growth strategy.

All this is possible if they develop a step-by-step plan and develop the mental discipline to operate to the plan month after month.

Too many coaches are looking for a quick home run …that is a mistake. This is a profession that requires a consistent plan of development and a whole new level of mental energy. It is fun and rewarding but does not just happen.

Frankly, if the above revenues are not set as baseline goals, I think the payoff will be too small for the amount of mental change and work required for becoming happy & successfully self employed. Revenues count.

Seek the Minimum Level | Find Invisible Pockets of Time and Energy

by: Andrea J. Lee

You wouldn’t use a power tool to put in a tack, right? So don’t send your ‘big guns’ out to do the little things in your business.

Which is why it’s the perfect time for this excerpt from the “Money, Meaning & Beyond” book that emphasizes the opposite…

Chapter 18: Seeking the Minimum Level

Would you use a power tool to put in a tack? Time and energy are your precious resources. Use them wisely by seeking the minimal level.

The idea of seeking the minimum level in business owes origins to the work of the Frugal Zealot* who wrote about ‘the minimum level’ from the perspective of thrift as an alternative lifestyle in 1992.

‘People are creatures of habit.’**

When it comes to business owners, there’s never been a truer statement. It’s probably for that reason that the unexpected ways we approach business in this book are so well received.

After hearing the same lessons about business for so long, we can tend to accept them without questioning. After doing things for the same way for so long, it can take a little shock treatment for us to stop.

But it’s important that we do, because far too many business owners are chronically tired and overworked, yet are still trying harder to do more with their energy and time.

Old ways of thinking and old habits can be very costly – to both the success of your business, and your overall happiness.

Case Study:

Andrea: I was working with a client in the summer of 2002. I remember it clear as day. She was a really earnest, really serious-about-getting-to-success type of client. And she was talking about doing some door-to-door canvassing of the business owners in her building to see if there was interest in doing a building-wide flyer.

(This was part of our work together on collaboration – see Chapter 12: No Great Thing is Accomplished Alone)

Now you need to know that her business was doing alright. She had earned close to six-figures each year for the last year and a half and had an assistant and a nice little office. But whatever reason – you might relate – she was extremely stressed about getting over six figures. It was a prize for her, something symbolic, I think.

When she started talking about going from door-to-door herself, later in the day, and how it would take her several days to get around to all the offices, I interrupted.

“I think that’s a waste of your time and energy. You’re already tired out as it is. Is this something YOU have to do?”

I don’t know why, but some clients just like to argue with their coach, and that’s what she did. Finally, I said –

“Why would you use a power tool to put in a tack?”

And she got it.

Do you invest too much energy into tasks that aren’t worth it? Are you using a lot of time on a project that could be done with much less?

If you have a tack in front of you, you wouldn’t use a power tool to put it in. It would be a massive, disproportionately powerful tool to get the result you want.

This can be a difficult one, but try to develop an awareness of how to apply just the right amount of energy and resources to the appropriate tasks.

If you’re used to providing a full-fledged proposal for a client, would a two-page summary work just as well? Do you send over five possible ideas for how to ‘redo the living room’ when 3 would be equally delightful to your client? How about paperwork – are you overdoing your paperwork and losing time and resources?

When you write emails, do you always proofread and double-check before you send out? If you’re doing a series of follow-up calls that are administrative in nature, could an assistant could do the trick? Do you always stay open an extra three hours on Thursday night when only a few customers ever come in? See if closing up shop on Thursday nights will work. Or, take appointments for people who absolutely can’t get to your store during regular hours.

You get the picture. Experiment with the minimum level.

Wisdom nugget:

Based on experience, we estimate business owners waste an average of 20-30% on tasks that would be just as good, just as complete, if they’d leave well enough alone.

The Frugal Zealot puts it really well:

“When you wash dishes, do you always fill the sink to the top? If you’re doing a small number of dishes a sink half full of water may suffice just as well. Do you always put a two-second squirt of dishwashing liquid in the water? See if a one-second squirt will work. ”

“Do you use an inch of toothpaste because a brush has inch-long rows of bristles and every toothpaste advertisement you’ve ever seen portrays a neat, full, bristle-length swath? Experiment to see if a ½ inch of toothpaste works as well.”

Seeking the minimum level definitely goes against the grain at first, because business owners are used to working hard, and racing to keep up.

Take a moment now to think of just one thing that you could work a lot less hard at to complete, or better yet, one thing you can take off your ‘To Do’ list entirely.

* The Frugal Zealot is pen name for author Amy Dzcyczyn, founder of “The Tightwad Gazette.”

** Amy’s article on ‘Seeking the Minimum Level’ in volume I of her book ‘The Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle” was the inspiration for this chapter which takes the idea of the minimum level and applies it to the business world.

Picking the Ripe Apples

May I ask you a question? Might you be guilty of being too smart for your own good? Let me tell you a secret – you’re not alone. Smart people tend to get in their own way a lot. And for some reason, a disproportionate number of business owners are smart, at least in my opinion.

So here’s my encouragement for you today: Stop making things complicated for yourself. It all starts with picking the ripe apples.

Imagine yourself in an apple orchard for a moment. Picture yourself reaching your arm out, fingers curving around the bottom of an apple.

You pull.

But instead of the apple falling into your hand, the entire branch comes with it.

When an apple isn’t quite ripe, it sticks to its branch.

On the other hand, when it’s ripe, it quietly breaks away from its branch with a snick.

There’s something to learn from the way a ripe apple effortlessly leaves its tree when it’s time.

As business owners, one of the valuable things to learn is that there is a season for everything. And sometimes, in our single-minded focus to get ‘something’ done, we force that ‘something’ before it’s time.

The result? Not much to show for a lot of effort!

If you’ve been trying to get something done…

Or you’ve been trying to convince someone of something…

Or if you think you simply must persist towards a certain goal or target or result…

Ask yourself…is this an apple that’s not quite ripe, and must I pick this particular apple now?

The answer is usually no, there are other apples – or even other fruit – that are ripe right now that would be less difficult to pick.

Often, bright people can think their way into a decision that’s based on logic alone. Their intellect ‘informs’ them that their choice is the smart one.

But recognizing there is a natural cycle to everything – including business – will help you put your effort where it’s warranted…where the ripe apples are.

Wisdom Nugget:

Struggle – of all kinds, in business and life – is highly overrated. Are you someone who thinks you have to struggle or work hard in order to achieve something? Where did you learn this message?

Consider the possibility that you could achieve just as much if not more, in your life, not by struggling, but with ease. What feelings come up for you when you explore this concept?

Freely brainstorm and list what you are struggling with right now, using the comment section below, or a piece of paper on your own.

Now that you’ve done that, what are three things you could let go of, and stop struggling? Put a line through each of those. Take just a moment longer here and become aware of your energy and emotions. How do you feel as a result of shedding just a little of your habit of struggling?

This article is an edited version of Chapter 13 from the book ‘Money, Meaning and Beyond.’ More details available at http://www.MoneyMeaningandBeyond.com

Chapter 17: The Clay is Never Dry

A realtor friend once said “There is no such thing as a mistake in Real Estate.” Meaning that, if you feel as though you’ve made a mistake in Real Estate, you only have to wait long enough, and it will turn out alright – your mistake will no longer seem like a mistake.

We’re of the opinion that’s a little more extreme that is – ‘There is no such thing as a mistake.’  Everything is fixable, absolutely everything.

Put another way – a metaphysical kind of way – we like how Abraham-Hicks puts it, that is, “The Clay is Never Dry.” If we think of our businesses as works of art, or sculptures in progress – just for a moment – we can tap into a feeling of great freedom.  We can start to understand there’s never a time when we can’t go back and mold, shape, or refine.

Consider that phrase for a moment and see whether it releases you from some of the pressures of being perfect.

No matter what business you’re in, you’re going to be faced with starting new things on a regular basis. If you tend to get stuck, or have a hard time starting – try focusing on completion, not perfection.

Here’s a case study to help demonstrate this point.

I was training a Virtual Assistant for one of my clients a little while ago.

I was showing her around a few systems, and noticed when it was her turn, she would come back a few times to make sure that she was ‘doing it right.’

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to ‘do things right from the first time’, I could feel the enormous amount of pressure it was causing her.

It occurred to me how much easier it would be, to come from a place of knowing “It’s all fixable’.

Get over the fear of making a mistake and just get it done.

If a mistake is made, you can always come back and fix it later.

Some coaching questions for you:

  • What is something you’ve been procrastinating about?
  • Would it help you get started if you focus on completion, as opposed to perfection?
  • How can you benefit from focusing on completion, not perfection in your business?

We’d love to receive your responses to these three questions.  Please leave your comments below.

From Wimpy to Edgy Part 2

Continued: From Wimpy to Edgy Part 1

What I am saying is that when clients view us as a strong person, they’ll straighten up and perform at levels that surprise themselves.

Indulge me for a second with a story about my dog, Fringe. That’s Fringe at 2 months (he’s a Maltese). He was just about as nervous and scared as a little ball of fluff could be. He wouldn’t/couldn’t walk up the 2 flights of stairs to my condo in Montreal. He couldn’t walk on the sidewalk; he was too scared. He would freeze up if we put him outside on the balcony. He was sweet and scared to death and was like this wind up toy. With a timid heart of gold. But his personality was stunted because of his fears. (No, this is not autobiographical.

So, we brought in a doggie coach for 3 sessions. The moment that dog trainer walked in the room and spoke (with an edge in his voice) to Fringe, Fringe stood up straight and paid attention. And took risks. And paid more attention. And pretty soon was running up and down the stairs ahead of us and barking until we made it up ourselves. He had found his confidence; thanks to the doggie coach. For whatever reason, he woke up. And rose to the occasion. Or, to the new environment created by the doggie coach.

A jargon term for this process is called ‘showing up.’
I’m not sure which of the personal development courses/genre popularized that term, but it’s an apt description of the inner change that people can make and how this internal shift evidences itself so that others see the difference as well.

So, how to be edgy/strong without being intolerant?
Personally, I’d warn/educate your clients before they start with you that you just don’t have the time for excuses, complaining, whining, waiting, resisting, hoping, over thinking, etc. Just tell them that is just not how you work.

(You CAN say this very cleanly, without a tinge of arrogance, criticism, patronization.And, fyi, if you wait to long to say something along this line, you’ll probably say something cuz you’re frustrated with a client. Actually, you’re frustrated with yourself for not speaking up sooner, but that’s another course…)

If it’s true for you that you’re not interested in excuses, then you can say so in a matter of fact of way. I’m at the place in my life and practice where I don’t have much interest in hand holding. Remember, coaching is a partnership as much as it is a professional service.

Educate your clients how to be a great partner and many will respond accordingly.

Why is it difficult for coaches to develop the Edge?

The short answer is that the coach is afraid of losing the client so they don’t press enough. The single, proven solution is to rearrange your finances so that you have 50% more revenue coming from coaching clients than you need to live on. Which might mean you’ll need to keep a day job, or simplify your lifestyle significantly. This 50% reserve factor will give you the freedom to be honest with your clients, and while sensitive to their needs, not afraid of swinging out. If you cannot afford financially to lose your clients, you WILL be a mouse. Guaranteed. Again, the simple solution is money. Don’t put yourself in a position where paying your mortgage is more important than your being an honest coach to your clients.

When does the Edge turn into a weapon?

There’s a pretty fine line between having the Edge and using the Edge. The best coaches have the Edge and they don’t have to use it. The coach learning about the edge and developing it for themselves, tends to use the Edge as if it’s a tool. And in some cases, a weapon. You know the Edge is a weapon when you’re feeling frustrated or having another emotional reaction to the client and you put an Edge into your voice that isn’t natural or you say something with an emotional charge to it. At that point, you’re simply venting. Which is not the Edge.

Ironically, the reason that coaches get frustrated isn’t because the client isn’t making progress, but rather because the coach has put up with it for too long and then by the time they do speak up, they are upset.

How will developing the Edge help me get more clients?

As you develop the Edge, you’ll build self confidence. And self confidence is something that potential clients can feel and they tend to hire coaches who have this self confidence. You’ll also find that clients are getting more results because of your Edge; that leads to more referrals and longer terms with current clients. And, you’ll simply be a better coach because you’re openly communicating at all times with your client, instead of holding back and trying to “be supportive.” Most clients want/need more than support. Most client orient to coaches with the Edge.

I hope this is useful.

Best,
Thomas

copyright CoachVille 2002 distribution permitted when attribution intact

From Wimpy to Edgy Part 1

by Andrea J. Lee

How to Strengthen Your Reputation as a Coach

A prolific and profound article from Thomas Leonard – it brought the most ‘AHA’ responses from readers of Today’s Coach when it was originally shared a number of years ago. I’m still learning from what he wrote and how he wrote it.

Every week, we receive requests for coaching services that we forward to the coaches listed in the CoachVille Referral Service.

The most common requests are for “strong” coaches.

And not just experienced or skilled coaches, but coaches with either a strong personality or what I call having “the Edge.”

And, I’ve never met a very successful coach who didn’t/doesn’t have this Edge.

And as you develop this Edge, you will begin to attract more clients and keep the clients you have, longer. For whatever reason, the Edge works. And the marketplace will either dub you a ‘nice person/nice coach’ or a coach who can make something happen, because they have the Edge.

What, exactly, is the Edge?

The Edge is several things…

1. The Edge is a no-nonsense component in the tone of your voice.

In other words, you have something more important to do than coddle your clients. Or be bored by their lack of commitment. Or impatient with their success cycle. You’ve gotten to a certain place in your life, not just in your coaching, where you’re just not that interested in the excuses, stories and wavering that clients tend to come with.

This is not to say that you’re rude, pushy, obnoxious or insensitive to the realities that your clients are facing, especially as they make significant changes in their lives. In fact, most of the coaches with the Edge are fairly quiet in tone, but there is this underlying note that the client hears which the client responds to and respects. The benefit of having the Edge is that clients don’t play games or do a number on you.

I think it’s really important to realize that many clients are experiencing more than a twinge of fear around the goals they’ve set for themselves with your help. And, being human, when we’re scared, we’ll look for a way out, even to the point of distracting our coach or changing goals or being flaky. But when the coach has the Edge, the client just doesn’t go there. Which saves everyone a lot of time.

2. The Edge means having a very sensitive b.s. detector.

I am NOT one to call the client on their b.s. It’s my view that that approach is a power trip and not professional. However, I can/do detect inconsistencies in what the client is saying (and/or how they are saying it) and I do point those out, gently, simply, easily, fearlessly and in what’s called a ‘charge neutral’ tone, meaning there’s no ‘charge’ to my voice. It’s a clean communication. And it’s part of what the client is paying me for.

Because most clients don’t even know when they are b.s.’ing and they APPRECIATE your asking for a clarification. As a coach gains experience, they hear the subtle inconsistencies or things that just don’t ring true. And, the coach who has the Edge brings this up within sixty seconds of hearing it. Not as a confrontational challenge (unsophisticated, unseemly, amateurish) but rather as a simple, shared observation or question. Just doing this will advance the relationship you have with your client, which leads to more honest communication and faster results.

3. The Edge means having an opinion and sharing it.

Some coaches receive training from schools where they are taught that the client has all of the answers and that the coach should suppress the coach’s opinion so as to not get in the way of the client’s process. This approach works for about 10% of the clients out there which means most of these coaches don’t have very full practices and I think this is a shame. It’s my view that a key part of why clients hire a coach is to hear the coach’s opinion about the client’s goals, situation, problem, dynamic or lifestyle. Even unsolicited opinions, if you have established that type of relationship/permission with your client, are immensely valuable and can forward the clients dramatically. We coaches provide so much to our clients: Support, wisdom, structure, questions, understanding, strategies, ideas, synergy and yes, opinions.

Like it or not, the edgier, stronger coaches are the most financially successful.

Let me be clear. I am not saying that we should be intolerant of our clients humanness…

…and be intolerant of excuses, explanations, delays, confusion, fear, reality, kids,obligations and the various things that life dishes out….

 

Continued:  From wimpy to Edgy Part 2

Are you an entrepreneur? Are you stressed? Take the Entrepreneur Stress Test

Then work on reducing your score to 3 or below to bring your stress level in line. Print the test here, if you prefer. (http://www.moneymeaningandbeyond.com/pdf/entrepreneurstresspdf.pdf)

Instructions: Please place a check mark next to each true statement. Add up the number of boxes checked.

___  I am impatient with others at least several times a week.

___  I worry about the sustainability of my company’s revenue streams.

___  I have business debt that is more than 20% of my annual revenues.

___  My spouse (or employees) just don’t get how big a job this is.

___   Given the effort I’m putting in, my net income is nowhere near high enough.

___   If I wasn’t here, the place would fall apart within a month.

___   I can’t seem to attract – or keep – the right staff.

___   I’m doing tasks that I do not like or am not very good at.

___   I am working more than 10 hours a day.

___   I am running faster and harder than I probably should be.

 

If you scored 9 or 10, please take a moment and stop. Take a good hard look at how your behavior is running you.  You may not feel like you have a choice, but you do. Thousands of entrepreneurs have broken free from their stress and watched profits improve. What’s one thing you can do to reduce your stress today?

If you scored 5 or more, you would benefit from paying attention to your stress, and actively work to reduce it. Productivity shrivels under highly stressful conditions.

If you scored 3 or more, you have the opportunity to increase your profits further by addressing the stressful elements in your life. Less stress equals more profit.

Please share your thoughts below.

 

© Graduate School of Coaching, CoachVille and Best of Thomas.

Build the Relationship: Infuse Your Online Interactions With Intimacy, Mystery and Sensuality

by: Andrea J. Lee

What does this mean?

When it comes to building relationship with your customers and prospects, there are three main components to consider.

You need Intimacy.  You create a more intimate relationship with your community when you use questions, tell stories, and create opportunities for interaction and dialog.

For example, if your own pink spoon or website is not converting well – ask yourself – should some of the copy be converted into a question? Many headlines or even titles can be improved through the use of a question mark at the end.

Why?

Because a question is a natural hook. By asking a question, you instantaneously create a dialog with many people.  By doing this, you have intimacy.

When it comes to mystery –everyone loves a mystery.  One with a little creativity where you can also foster some curiosity and enthusiasm.

You can infuse mystery in all sorts of ways – at the end of each lesson in your pink spoon mini-course, at the end of an audio by building excitement about what’s coming up next.  Add a little mystery and talk about what’s coming up next and not only will you stimulate curiosity, you will increase conversion.

Sensuality can make a big difference to your ability to convert customers.

Whenever possible, engage the five senses.  For example, when you create a graphical cover for a product, you lift up your writing to a new sensory level.

If you take more time to write your Pink Spoon using stories, recalling foods, places, events … you can waken the reader to their sense of smell, taste and even touch.

These are all things that further a trust relationship with you … and truth be told, not many business owners understand this.

If you go ahead and apply some of these things, you will have a much more free reign to grab the attention of the customers you want to serve.

Add interactivity to your publications.  This can truly deepen the relationships you are creating online.

One of our favorite and simplest strategies that we still use today, is called the ‘quick question’ email.  In it, we use a question as a hook to begin engaging with the customer on a very personal basis.

A ‘quick question’ email is an email that goes out automatically the day after someone subscribes to your pink spoon. It can be as simple as “I was wondering, what is your biggest question about XYZ (i.e. the topic of your pink spoon)?” You may surprised at the response you receive with this.  It is extremely effective because it is short, personal and written in a way that clearly expects a reply.

In our experience 50-70% of people take the time to answer this email.  A HUGE conversion rate all on it’s own.

And finally to really strengthen the trust relationship with your customers, you need a newsletter strategy.

It’s one of the best tools available to continue the relationship you started with your Pink Spoon and allows you to provide ongoing value to the people on your list.

Newsletters have been proven ‘necessity’ for years, however it’s interesting to see the number of online based business owners who have not implemented this strategy.

Start by setting up your publication schedule. Then consider the 80/20 content split of your newsletter.  80% is simply to provide value in the form of articles, case studies, stories, Q&As etc.  This is the key part — the GIVING part of your newsletter, where people get to know, like and trust you.

The other 20% is then available to make paid offers of your products and services.

What will you do to build better relationships?

Let us know in the  comments section below.