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Do Red-Hot Customers Make You Want to Lose Your Cool?

Let’s face it, we’ve all had those customers that just push our buttons and makes us want to flip our lid. However, with the invention of social media, losing our cool in a public forum could lead to serious, business-killing consequences.  It’s now more important than ever to ensure that you keep your cool in the face of a customer meltdown. A well-managed customer complaint could turn them from angry to raving fan… and raving fans love to shout their joy.

I know managing these folks can be extra hard in-the-moment when your emotions run high, so I found it extremely helpful to write out a 6-step process that I have memorized. I can recite my steps in a pinch to help keep control of the situation.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to B.E.C.O.O.L:

  • B - Be Assertive
  • E - Extend Your Speech
  • C - Count Down Your Response
  • O - Offer a Break
  • O - Overstress the Positive
  • L - Lead with Power
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Be Assertive

I’ll repeat, ASSERTIVE not aggressive or passive. Being assertive, in my mind, is to say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t be mean when you say it.

Let me give you an example. A customer says, “I want my money back, I don’t care if it’s past the return date.”

  • An aggressive response would be: “Yeah, and I want my time back, what are you going to do about it?”
  • A passive response would be: “Sure, I’ll talk to my manager about refusing you for absolutely no reason, would you like me to do that for you?”
  • The IDEAL (assertive) response should be: “I know it can be frustrating for you, however our policies are in place to protect all of our customers while also protecting our interests and inventory. I’ll provide you with the number to reach our head office should you wish to make a complaint. I can also recommend selling the product privately to recoup your costs.”

In the assertive example, you are standing your ground as your position requires while still providing options to the customer. They may not have achieved what they set out to, though you can feel confident you’ve offered every solution you could.

Let this rule guide your conversations with all customers and you will always be confident, cool, and in control AND you’ll always be professional.

Extend Your Speech

Slow and steady wins the race. You’ll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think and how much control and confidence you experience when you consciously slow down your rate of speech. Speak slowly and methodically when your emotional triggers are launched and you’ll maintain poise during difficult conversations.

Need an example? Check out this world champion speaker, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi as he captivates and controls his audience.

Watch Dananjaya Hettiarachchi Speak

Listen to how calm and collected he sounds, the even pace of his voice, and how he uses pauses to ensure he collects his thoughts and presents his points with ease and grace.

Speaking slower and in a lower volume has been proved to help de-escalate a customer. Want proof of this? I’m sure you’ve already seen it in action. When you are upset and yelling, when the person on the other end is calm and collected, how long can you keep yelling for? Without energies to feed off, rage will naturally subside.

Count Down Your Response

Yes, you are right, this absolutely ties into the above although it also needs to be mentioned on it’s own. It’s human nature to want to blurt out a response. This happens when we spend our time thinking up a response while the customer is still talking.

I used to do this A LOT. What I had to train myself to do is focus on listening. Once the customer finishes, I will use the silence to think, count down from 3 to 1, and once I’m done counting, I reply. It allows your brain a chance to process the information you were given and respond appropriately. It also helps the customer to identify that you were, in fact, listening.  

Don’t get frustrated if you don’t pick this up right away, it takes time. The important thing to do is ensure you are actively thinking through this process every time, until it becomes second nature.

Offer a Break

When you sense that your buttons have been pushed past the point of no return, it likely the customer is feeling the same way. It’s perfectly appropriate to offer a break at this point. Offer to review the situation and call them back, or ask if they could hold the line momentarily. You can tell the customer whatever reasoning sounds best at the time; The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so you can re-group.

Do not leave your customer hanging long. If you are offering a call back, make sure it’s the same day. If you need to reconvene a meeting, suggest the earliest possible commencement. This is intended as a break to calm minds and hearts, not to put the situation off.  

Overstress the Positive

There’s no way to avoid sounding like Dr. Phil on this one, aand I’m quite serious. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t get paid enough to put up with this #$%&.” Say something more positive like “This guy really needs my help.”

Thinking more positively helps you respond more positively and professionally. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, and it spirals into a very negative situation.

I know that it sounds impossible in some situations however it could be paramount in maintaining a professional calm.

You might be thinking, “What if I don’t have anything positive to say?”

Well, then you might be in the wrong professional. Many customer service professionals do what they do to make a difference, improve lives and interactions. Sometimes just focusing on your own WHY rather than reasons to be upset can take the heat off.

Lead with Power

Often, a subtle suggestion of your “power” is far more effective than the outright use of your power. It’s a difficult concept to explain, so I’m going to use an example from early on in my working career.

At one point, I worked on customer service lines at a call center. If a customer was being outright abusive, we had the ability to advise them we would terminate the call.

You can say this more than one way, of course, and only the right way will prevent customer nuclear meltdowns.

You could say to your customer: “If you don’t stop yelling, I will terminate this call.”

Or you could say, “I want to help you, but when you yell and cut me off, you make it difficult for me to work with you.”

The latter statement demonstrates your power and your message will get across. The former statement uses up your ammunition and won’t usually diffuse an irate customer, though rather add fuel to the fire.

Another great way to lead with power is to remove the phrase “you have to” and replace it with “you will need to”. Why you ask? No one likes to be told what to do, and words like “have” implied you are giving an order. By using NEED instead, you are implying that it’s out of your control, a need exists and must be filled before a goal can be reached. Makes it easier for the customer to understand that you cannot take certain actions without saying no directly.

These incredibly simple tips will help you keep cool when customers’ tempers burn hot.

It takes practice, and no one is perfect, though I am completely confident that with a little practice, you too will be able to master and customer blowout!

And of course, we are always ready and willing to provide support.

Head over to our Facebook Group!

B2B Solution Swap - Where Peers Help Peers

Or shoot me a message!

Click here to email Sacha.

And, if this has left you feeling emotional, check out our recent blog!

How to Manage your Emotions in Three Simple Steps

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Managing-Emotions

How to Manage Your Emotions in Three Simple Steps

All of us have struggled to control our emotions from time to time. It would seem odd to not feel emotional over events like a marriage or birth of a baby. Or, the opposite end of the spectrum, over situations like a death in the family or a serious traumatic event.

Emotions are normal; However, they can get control of you, if you let them. Depending on the emotion, that can cause anything from a minor embarrassment to a situation where you cannot function normally because your emotions are out of control.

Being able to manage your emotions at will is key to success. Whether it is in your business, in a relationship, or in response to a sales tactic designed to bring out specific emotions, being in control of your emotions is pivotal. It isn't as difficult as you might think though. While this guide is certainly not the only word on managing your emotions, it is a great place to start in learning to control them so they aren't controlling you.

Let's start with talking about the difference between feelings and emotions.

We tend to use the two words interchangeably when they are not the same thing. An emotion is an innate, intuitive reaction to a trigger. You don't choose it; It decides when it is going to happen and what will trigger it.

Feelings you experience are by choice. It is your chosen response to the emotion. Our feelings are influenced by memories, our experiences, and our beliefs. We have the power to choose our feelings. We might not be able to control our body's knee jerk reactions to some triggers, but we do get to pick how to respond. We can choose our feelings and learn to manage any emotion that comes our way. That is powerful; let's learn how!

Managing your emotions is simply a matter of refusing to go with certain negative reactions and replacing them with positive responses. Then, you walk it out, and find it gets a little bit easier the more you apply these steps.

Refuse to React, Stress, or Rush.

When you find yourself overwhelmed with a negative emotion, the very first step is to remember you are not responsible for that emotion popping up. It is an instinctive reaction. You are responsible for how you choose to react to it. Many people who feel out of control of their emotions have simply never grasped that fact. Their emotions turn them every which way but loose. They could control it, they have the power, but they do not know it.

Armed with the knowledge that YOU are in control over your response to that nasty emotion, slam on its brakes in whatever way works best for you. In some cases, mentally acknowledging that you are in control, taking deep breaths, and focusing on feeling peace is enough to rein it in. But there could be situations where what is needed is a literal splash in the face with cold water to break its hold on you long enough to get a grip. Do what works for you and your situation.

The point is to assert your control.

Remind that emotion that you are the boss. Tell it that you will choose your response, to just chill, and be patient. Emotions may demand to be felt, and they do need to be dealt with, but in a controlled setting, as you will it.

Once calmer, you can work to rein in the instincts to stress and rush. It is a matter of declaring that you decide when and how to respond, in your own time. Immediate reactions to the emotion are where your mind typically goes berserk with what seems a bazillion thoughts all at once. It's scrambling for answers.

The goal here is to calm and quiet your mind enough that you can sort through the circus in your brain. If it is a challenge to control the emotional reaction, don't quit. Keep breathing, taking slow deep breaths. Just as you can control your breathing and slow it, you can control your thoughts and control them. Focus on that fact and slow it all down a little more with each breath.

Refuse to be pushed by that emotion. Stand your ground against urges to panic, rush, or react instinctively. Remind yourself that you are a human and have a will to use. Then use it until you are calmer.

Something that helps me a lot when I am overly emotional is to force myself to move calmly. I will slow down my pacing, hand wringing, whatever....and make myself move slowly, gliding as I move, like a swan gliding in a still pond.....ahhhh, that generally does it. Slowing the body helps slow the mind and emotions. Now that the urgency of the situation is past, you can focus on responding positively instead.

Instead, Reflect and Respond.

Now you are in control over those negative emotions. You have reined in your instinctive reactions. Your body and mind are calm. Now you can rationally choose a response to whatever triggered the emotion.

Start by reflecting on truth. Sometimes, our instinctive reaction is way out of proportion to the trigger. This is a common thing with PTSD. A smell, a sound, a passing image can all trigger reactions that are far more than the stimulus called for. In a situation like this, you diffuse the emotion by reflecting on the reality, not the emotion.

Imagine you are late for an appointment when somebody, who has been dashing in and out of traffic, passes you on the right, then cuts you off to turn left. There is no turning lane so you are now stuck behind this jerk. Your blood begins to boil. Every second that you have to sit and wait for this bozo to take his all-so-important turn, makes you even later... and your anger worse. It doesn't matter that he is 6'5” and a strapping 300 pounds, you feel the urge to rip him to shreds. Your trembling hands are white knuckled, gripping the steering wheel, blood pressure is skyrocketing...

Apply step one and rein it in.

Rationally reflect on the truth of the situation.

First, realize that in the big picture scheme of things, it is only making you three minutes later and the world will not fall off its axis because you are late. Put it in perspective.

Secondly, in this example, you would be wise to remember that a man that size would pulverize you if you went off on him. Reflect. Think it through. Then choose a healthy response.

In this case, a good choice would be to enjoy the song on the radio or the beautiful day, until mister not-so-considerate goes on his way. Karma evens things out. His inconsideration will be dealt with fairly. You wish him well and carry on peacefully.

Just as you chose a response to the rude driver, you can choose how to respond to any emotional situation. Simply rein it in, reflect on the reality of the situation, then choose a healthier response. It really is a matter of will and not as difficult as you might think, once you realize you have the control and will to respond in better ways. The problem with most people who struggle in this area is just that they have not realized their own power to choose a response.

But that is only two steps and I said there were three. That's right. The third step is to keep practicing.

Walking it Out.

As with most disciplines, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Eventually, you can effortlessly respond in ways that are good for you instead of ways that tear you down. It just takes consistent effort. You are developing the habit of responding with intention instead of reacting emotionally. All habits take time to establish, but the work is well worth freedom from being tossed to and fro by emotions.

It really all begins with being more aware. Too often we go through life oblivious to the dynamics at work in our life. I was tormented by emotions for years before I realized I had a choice and learned to use it. Strive to simply be more aware. Are you reacting emotionally.... or are you responding with intention? Ask yourself that question each time you find yourself with emotions running rampant. Then apply the steps:

  • Rein it in. Refuse to panic and react.
  • Reflect on the truth and choose a healthy response.
  • Repeat this process each time you are overwhelmed with emotion.

One last word on managing your emotions.

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Be kind to yourself. Just because you now know these steps, and are motivated to get control over your emotions, does not necessarily mean it will all fall into place and you'll manage your emotions effortlessly from here on out. You won't.

If you are like most of us, you've been reacting without thinking about it for a very long time. These habits take time to establish, so cut yourself some slack when you don't control your emotions perfectly. It's a process that will become easier over time. The only way it won't is if you give up and you won't do that because you are a fighter or you'd not be reading this to begin with!

So, how about you try being proud of yourself for taking the first step towards managing your emotions? I am proud of you...so you should be as well!

I hope you've found this helpful. Please feel free to share it with others you know who struggle in this area. Less emotions running wild means more peace...and that's always all good. Share the good news... you CAN manage your emotions instead of them managing you. Enjoy!

Need a little more? Make sure you catch up on our other related posts!

How to Quickly Laugh Yourself Happy

Get Sassy with your Inner Critic

How to Quickly Shift Destructive Thinking

 

Destructive thoughts got you down? Download our FREE 16-Page Interactive PDF Workbook!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD the "Sassy Solutions - How To Quickly Shift Destructive Thinking"

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Secrets of Survival Success

Humans do tend to disagree quite a bit, but one thing we can all agree on is that bad stuff happens. It happens to everybody; Regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation you are, or how much money you have. Obstacles and challenges are a fact of life, of survival.
 
What separates us is how we respond to them. Given a challenge, we have three choices. We can give up right then, lay down and resign ourselves to whatever our misery is. That option is not for you or you'd not be reading this.
 
Another popular option is to decide we won't give up, but we won't deal with it either. Sometimes we don't deal with it because we are in denial; it also could be a fear of failure. Regardless of why we do it, we do.
 
We wallow in misery, not only over the situation, but now over our inability to fix it. It's a place of self-pity and stagnation. Side note: choosing that response is a killer to healthy self esteem. Talk about counter productive! So, that's not a good choice if you wish to succeed in life.
 
And then there is THE option! The choice that moves you over, under, around or straight through that obstacle in your way. So, that's what we are going to focus on today. Most of us know well how to give up, whine, and wallow, so let's talk about surviving and thriving in the tough times.
 
It's a matter of getting your thinking right then hanging in there and doing the steps until the breakthrough comes. It WILL come, if you think it will. That is part of survival - developing an overcomer's mindset.

What mindset do overcomers have?

  • They keep things in perspective.
  • They know they can.
  • They are lessons hunters.

Let's look at each one individually, starting with putting things in perspective. You need to do the equivalent of splashing yourself in the face with cold water. Rein it in, calm the emotional responses, breathe, and think rationally.

Look back at the times in your life when you panicked but the dreaded whatever-you-fear-thing never happened. Then realize that most of the time, that is the case. Most of what we fear never happens. Fact.

Then, take a step back and look at the big picture scheme of things. Ask yourself how much this thing that has you feeling defeated now matters in the long run. Will this crisis matter at all five years from now? Is it really the end of the world....or does it just feel that way?

Take time to consider how you'd deal with the "dreaded-thing". Being prepared helps rein that emotional response. Look at the worst case scenario. Then decide what you would do should it happen. What you will realize in that process is that it would NOT be the end of the world. You'll see that you CAN deal with it if you need to. Suddenly, it doesn't look quite so scary anymore.

Now breathe. Ahhhhhh. You have a healthy perspective again and can begin moving forward.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.”
Henry_ford_1919
Henry Ford
1919

Overcoming takes not thinking you can, but knowing it.

Anything less is doubt and will hold you back. But how do you move forward when your mind wants to scream “I can't”?
 
You must get bossy with it. Tell the negative voice in your head to shut up and then fight back with positive affirmations. Say them out loud, with authority. Do it until you feel it. Have your own little pep rally for one and speak those affirmations out loud and proud. It might seem silly to you at first if you've never done affirmations before, but they do work.
 
Where to get affirmations if you are not already armed with some? I prefer to write my own so they are tailored to my weak areas. If you don't know where to start, google “affirmations for entrepreneurs”. You get over a half a million results. Have fun! (PS: I am working on a post that shares my personal top twelve affirmations, so if you follow us, you have that to look forward to.)
 
Repeat these little pep rallies as needed. If the negative thoughts persist, you can play what I call the “Can-Can Game”. The rules are simple. Each time you find yourself thinking “I can't”, you need to come up with three things you CAN do in relation to the problem at hand. Then you must do them. If you make yourself stick to it, you won't be contemplating defeating thoughts for long.

The third part of an overcoming mindset is…

Developing a habit of seeking the lessons in the tough times! In my experience, the most powerful lessons come from the biggest challenges. Find the lessons and learn to walk them. It takes some of the sting out of the trial too, by making good come from it. It is almost like giving that ugly twist of fate the old one-two punch by declaring “fine....gimme tough stuff and I will become better!”.
 
So, determine to do exactly that. Look for the wisdom in the tough season. I can guarantee you, no matter what your situation is, there are lessons to learn in the midst of it. When you encounter hardship or challenges you must rein the emotions in, get an attitude with affirmations, and start lesson hunting immediately.
 
As you discover these bits of wisdom, start applying them and making them a part of how you respond. That is what will take you over, around, or even right straight through your obstacles. These experiences can break you, or they can make you into more than you imagine now. It is your choice and one nobody else can make, or walk it out, but you.

It's all about choosing to respond with intention rather than to react emotionally.

Then you walk that intention out. Persist and you will find yourself on the other side of the trying time. AND - you'll be a better person for having been through it. The choice is yours.
 
I thought I would close by sharing an example from my own life. Like I tell my daughters... if you can't learn from my good example, I have plenty of bad ones to instruct you with too. This situation happened after having already survived some pretty bad stuff in my life. It helps illustrate how easily even the strongest of us can crumble when we develop stinkin thinkin (we talked about this concept during part 3 of our Focus Series) and react emotionally. I already knew these things I'm teaching you, but failed to apply them.
 
There was an online project we were launching that I'd been slaving away at for nine months. I had been dreaming of even longer. It meant the world to me, because it was an effort to help others. There was a team of three of us on it, but I was the founder and face of the effort. I was going to do daily live video events, be a part of six weeks of scheduled webinars, and raise lots of funds for my pet project.
 
As the project launched, we moved. After quite the search, we'd found our dream home, on top of a mountain. It's lovely up here, but the one bad thing about mountaintop life is the lack of high speed internet access. For three weeks, we had no internet access at all and I had a cell phone plan with limited data. I watched the launch from the sidelines as best I could from my phone.

To say I did not take it well is a gross understatement.

I cried, I paced, I fought with internet service providers when I wasn't crying or pacing the floors. I couldn't eat and developed killer IBS when I did. I tossed and turned at night, and lost thirty pounds I didn't want to lose.
 
Why? Because I chose the second option I mentioned earlier. I did not give up, but neither did I step back, get perspective, rein it in, and start working a plan. Instead, I let it defeat me.
 
As a survivor of domestic abuse, loss of control is a trigger. Once I got stuck in freak out mode, the stinkin' thinkin' began and down I went.

The launch was a complete flop.

That's why I said MOST of the time, what we fear never happens. Sometimes it does. That put fuel on the fire raging inside me because I'd never before experienced a business “failure”. I'm not sure if I'd always been lucky, or I'd not had any flops because I was not being adventurous enough in my businesses, but it doesn't really matter.
 
Here I was and I was a mental mess. Honestly, the next few months after that are a blur to me now. I'd given stinkin thinkin a foot in the door. It is a whole lot easier to nip that stuff in the bud than it is to pick up the pieces afterwards. It started a chain reaction of triggers in me that opened the door to every rotten thought I've ever had about myself.
 
Since then, it has taken hard work and being diligent to watch over my thoughts, but I have come back to myself. I did it just as I've outlined to you here. First, I put it in perspective. Then, I remembered that I can. Lastly, I learned the lessons and apply them daily.
 
Once I'd regained control over my emotional reactions, I found ways to work with the limitations I have. It's not ideal, but I get done what I need to get done. The world did not end just because I do not have high speed internet.
 
It was a painful lesson, but those are the types of lessons that stick with you. I am a better, stronger version of myself now, even better equipped to help others. The pet project? It will be relaunched, when I am ready. Life went on. Gee, it did go on and all that fuss, turmoil, and worry was for nothing.

Are you feeling stuck in a storm?

Stop, breathe, and apply these three steps. Persevere in the battle over your thoughts and in walking out the lessons learned. It's work. It is difficult. But it is also how you get unstuck and back to moving forward to better times. You can do it and we are here to support you along the way.
 
Questions or comments? Let's chat! Feel free to leave your comment below.

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7 Traits Most Successful Leaders Share and Value

We sometimes talk about people in terms of their followings. So-and-so has 28,000 followers... and this person over here has 5700, but poor little such-n-such... she only has 320 followers. Somehow, we have begun to equate the number of followers we have with success.

That's because we don't think it through. The number of followers you have doesn't matter much if they are not engaged with you. The figures I shared are rough numbers from three different companies I've worked with, so I am familiar with their stats.

Would it surprise you to know that the person who is barely staying in business is the one with all the followers? The other two are equally successful financially, but one is ten-plus years into her business plan...and the poor little thing who only has 320 followers? She is about a year and a half into her business plan.

What's the difference? They all apply social media marketing strategies. No one of them has a huge advantage over the others. Well, except for one area. The successful ones have engaged audiences.

Why do they have such high engagement rates? Is it because of some new app, or social media strategy? If you google “how to increase social media following”, you'd sure think that's all there is to it. But, nope. That's not it.

It is because they are leaders. We humans have this natural tendency to want to follow the leader. Following a worthy leader gives us a sense of community, a common cause, and a hero.

In social media marketing, the community is your page. The common cause is the problem you solve as a business. YOU are the hero. Wow. That's heavy. 

You're a LEADER!

You are in a position of leadership.You can't escape this role of hero, so it would be wise to evaluate your leadership skills. Strong leaders have active followings with little effort. Weak leaders see nobody wanting to follow and wonder why. We are going to look, first at what qualities make a leader, and then how to develop them. You can be the hero your people need, even if it doesn't come naturally.

Here are seven traits most successful leaders have in common:

  • Love. They mean it.
  • Example. They live it.
  • Authenticity. They are who they seem to be.
  • Decisive. They confidently make decisions.
  • Enthusiastic. Their passion is contagious.
  • Relationship-builders. They don't talk TO people, they interact WITH them.
  • Steadfast and Strong. Leadership is tough. They are tougher.

Let's look at each trait individually.

LOVE

To be a leader people want to follow, you need to leave little love prints everywhere you go. You need to respond in love, be motivated by love, with a goal of serving those you lead because you care about them.

But what if you don't feel love for them?

There are a couple things to do. First, search your heart. Make sure you are in the niche you should be in if you don't have a heart for your followers. Faking it will get old, is a lot of work, and truth always shines through eventually.

Next, make more of an effort to get to know them. People want to feel heard, and it helps you get a feel for their problems so you can better meet their needs. Given the chance, most people love to give their opinion. You can do that through surveys, creating posts asking for a response, and even by simply asking them, one-on-one. Sometimes, in this age of technology, we have forgotten how important a personal touch is.

Take a little time to mingle with your tribe, on-on-one.

Now, I know, I know... when you have thousands, or even tens or hundreds of thousands of followers, you can't possibly keep close tabs on them all. But, you can set aside just a small amount of time each day to do just that... connect with people personally.

I call my time set aside for this my “fly-by's”. Twice a day, I take 15 minutes to connect with people. Sometimes I have somebody on my mind. Then, I just fly by and say hi in a quick message, ask how they are....and keep it short. Other times, I post on their timeline or send them a meme that made me think of them. I might share a word of encouragement. It's simply a matter of letting people know you care.

As an aside, yes, I do that at times with people I do not know. Strangers are friends waiting to happen so I just love them like I do all the ones I have already met.

However the purpose of this exercise is not just to share the love....it is to gather information. Listen to what people say, listen even closer to what they feel. Ask yourself what their real needs are. Ask how you can help meet those needs. In the process of getting to know your followers and digging deep to the heart of their needs, you will develop love for them. It might come easier to some than others, but it will affect your heart. It will soften to them, to their needs... and they will feel that and respond.

EXAMPLE

Leaders walk the solutions that the followers need. You are the walking-talking proof that what you offer works and what they want can be done. Let me give you a few examples...

A friend of mine markets a nutritional approach to treating autism. She has seen remarkable results by applying what she teaches to her son. She proves it can be done.

Another friend markets to a target niche of mature bodybuilders. He is walking proof you can be in tip-top shape at any age... and placed in a bodybuilding competition last year.

I'm working on a domestic violence recovery guide... as I walk out my own recovery daily.

Ask yourself, honestly, if you are that example of success to your followers. If you coach or teach, be walking out the principles you talk about. If you sell a product, be consistent in using it so you are proof of its effectiveness. If you are teaching others how to do something, you need to be the example of how it is done.

This leads us to the next leadership trait we are going to focus on...

AUTHENTICITY

The obvious reason to be authentic as a leader is simply that truth will eventually come out. If you are living lies, the illusion will not last forever. You are better off putting energy into being, in reality, what you are portraying.

If you are a motivational speaker who must fake a happy face because your inner world is a mess, you need to fix that. If you sell a brand of cosmetics, but use another, just stop it, or get out of the business. If you teach others how to eat only healthy, natural foods, but can be caught with empty M&M bags in your back seat, shame on you. You might be able to pull off temporary success by faking it, but it will not be lasting. 

A less obvious reason for being authentic is that is where your personal power can be found. You will never be a true leader if you are just an imitation of somebody else. Learn from other leaders, apply what you learn, but specialize in being you. Then be you, all you, all the time and watch your tribe grow.

DECISIVE

Effective leaders make decisions with confidence. They consider the situation, make an intelligent choice, and then resolutely act on it.

That acting on it is key. A decision isn't really a decision until it is acted upon and walked out. Saying you are getting married, and saying “I do” are two different things. It is the same with saying you will write a book. It is just a thought until you decide to write it. Remember that. Decisions are made to be walked out.

Procrastination is often a sign of a lack of confidence in this area. If you find yourself chronically procrastinating on decisions, or on walking them out, ask yourself what you are afraid of. If it is simply a fear of making a mistake, you should get over it. Most successes came after many mistakes. It's called learning from your experiences and leaders are masters at it.

You also want to make decisions efficiently. A leader leads. Leading indicates forward movement. If you are stuck someplace agonizing over a decision, you aren't moving. So, how can anyone follow?

Don't be impulsive, make educated choices, but don't take forever to make them.

ENTHUSIASTIC

Have you ever seen a leader step onto a stage to speak, kinda dragging, mopey, and un-enthused? Of course not! Who would want to follow in those footsteps?

Remember, as leaders, we are supposed to be walking out the solutions our followers need. If those solutions don't offer enough to excite you, nobody else is going to buy into whatever it is you are selling.

As with the other leadership traits, if you honestly find yourself lacking in excitement over what you do, perhaps it is time to evaluate your path. Ideally, for lasting success that at times is effortless, you should be doing that which lights your soul on fire and makes you glow to speak of. If it doesn't, maybe you should find ways to monetize that which does.

So, leaders are enthused about their business. They are also excited about life and let it show. They smile. They have bounce. They are happy people. People enjoy being around them because they give off such a good vibe. That vibe attracts. You are experiencing what they want. They will follow you to get a taste of what you are having.

A word here about enthusiasm and authenticity. Here, I have told you to be authentic, but am also telling you to be excited....in a world where yucky stuff happens to us all. They key is balance. You have to find a balance between being real, and being determined to fake it until you make it.

It's okay to be honest about your struggles. Share your struggles. Show that you too have challenges. Then show others, by example, how you walk solutions out to push forward. Don't run followers off by being that they want to avoid. Instead, show them the way out of it.

RELATIONSHIP-BUILDER

Everything we have talked about regarding leadership deals with building quality relationships. You are not a leader without a following, so by its nature, having a following is a relationship, like any other personal relationship, only it is en-masse. 

In successful relationships, there is give and take, from both sides. You do not keep score, but give from the heart. You receive gratefully, when it comes, but don't get your panties in a wad if it doesn't.  You don't do nice things for one another just to get something in return. You don't expect something back each time you give. It's an easy passing back and forth of the love that binds you.

You've developed trust in the relationship, so you don't get suspicious when he comes home with flowers, or she baked your favorite dessert for no reason. You give, and take, in a spirit of love, and have developed trust.

Trust is the foundation of good relationships. Trust is also what gets sales. It is what gets referrals. It is what puts food on your table and helps you reach your financial goals. Yes, ideally, we are all here to serve, but we are also here to make money doing it. 

If you want to see your engagement go up, see your sales increase, and take it to the next level, focus on building relationships.

In a loving relationship, you give your followers value, whether it is through information, products, a service... and they give you trust and their hard-earned money.

Real love gives anyway, while finding the sweet spot that motivates a purchase. Then when you have found the need and met it, the sale comes. That's love in action and is what will bring engagement and financial increase.

STEADFAST AND STRONG

No discussion of leadership qualities would be complete without mentioning the need for strength and determination. Assuming a leadership role is not without its costs. It will stress you, test you, and try to break you.

If you allow it, it can also grow you into even more than you are now; but little about it is easy. Life isn't easy, and as a leader, you are being watched as you navigate through it. Followers will take notice of how you handle the tough stuff of life.

Leaders have a steadfast determination to persevere. Even more than that, they have a commitment to standing strong with integrity. We recently did another blog post on the subject of integrity. You can find it here -> CLICK HERE.

Leadership will test your strength. It will push your limits mentally, even physically. Leaders must be tough in several areas. One area people don't much like to talk about is how hard it can be on the heart.

It can be emotionally painful to be in leadership.

People will attack you for seemingly no reason. Haters happen. People can be cruel and they will say mean and ugly things about you when you don't deserve it. It won't be fair and it will hurt your feelings. But, you cannot let it derail you.

Wrapping it all up.

When I was raising my children, I taught them that when somebody is critical, if it speaks to an area that needed it, let it soak in. When it speaks to something that is a figment of somebody's imagination or cruel heart, let it roll off of you like water off the back of a duck. To this day, we all use that phrase, “be a duck” to tell one another to blow it off, suck it up, and move on.

So, leaders do need a certain level of emotional toughness. But excellent leaders are tough on the outside and ooey gooey and full of love on the inside. Don't let the pain others try to put on you keep you so tough you can't let the love out.

Which brings us right back to the very first leadership trait I mentioned....LOVE. Live it, share it, be it to those who need it. When it is real, they will notice, then they will follow. Even without a fancy smancy app or new marketing technique! Imagine that!

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6-step-sales-copy

Six Simple Steps to Writing Your Own Sales Copy

If you ever want to sell anything, the need for sales copy is a fact of life.

You need to be able to explain why people should buy your product or service. Sales copy is how you gently lead them to the conclusion that they must buy your product, now. You can have the finest product ever and it go completely unnoticed without decent sales copy.

Without copy, your readers must come to their own conclusions about your product or service. Those conclusions could be inaccurate and can affect your bottom line. It's your job, when writing copy, to guide the process in the direction you wish it to go. Otherwise, it’s all just a guessing game. Will the reader see the benefit if you don't show it to them? They might not...and you should never leave things to chance when it comes to business. Having high quality sales copy is not an area to skimp in; It can make you, or break you.

So, you know the need for quality sales copy is inescapable, but you dread the thought of even thinking about it, and break out in a cold sweat when you try. You know how important it is, but don't know where to start. You are not alone. We have all felt that way before.

The fact is though, unless you can afford to hire a professional, you are going to have to do it yourself.

I know. It's intimidating. But you CAN write effective sales copy... yes, even all by yourself!

Copy written by someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about the product (that would be YOU) can outperform copy written by a pro. When you let that passion shine through, you will surprise yourself with how effective your “homemade” copy can be!

So, keeping that in mind, let’s get started with learning to write your own sales copy in six simple steps.

1. Brainstorm a List of Your Product Benefits

Know the reasons WHY your target customer will want to buy your product. If you sell Gizmo X, featuring specs A, B, and C, those specs are not the benefits the product will give. They are the features, the details. Mention features in your copy, yes....but then elaborate on benefits. Focus on what that product will do for them.

To use the example of Gizmo X, you will point out how the specs lead to benefits like saved time, or saved money, or the ability to do something quicker and easier, or to feel better about themselves....those are the reasons WHY people buy. Emphasize those. People buy benefits, not features.

Now that you understand the difference between a product's features and its benefits, write a list of benefits for your product...and make it as long as you can. You really want to let 'er rip! Ask friends, family, networking buds etc for ideas. There is no such thing as a right or wrong answer. Once you have that nice long list, you're ready to start creating your sales page.

Ready? You can do this and here we go!

It starts with…

2. Create a Headline

Now that you have this extensive list of benefits, pick out what’s most important and build your headline around that. For this blog post, I chose to build the benefit ( of reading the post ) around a need for a simple, easy to apply approach to a pretty scary subject. It tends to be intimidating and overwhelming. Six easy steps sounds achievable.

Ah ha! A possible solution! And if you are reading this post, it worked.

Here are some other tips for writing your headline:

  • Focus on your reader and their needs...not what your company does. Your goal is to fill their need.
  • Promise something with your headline. An example would be "No More Embarrassing Leaks" or "Learn Basic French in a Week".
  • Understand that emotions guide buying behavior. Feelings like envy, fear, desire, insecurity, laziness, pride, vanity, etc... are all strong motivators, whether or not we are aware of it.
  • Use your reader’s sense of curiosity to lead them into your sales letter. You can do this by letting the headline tell only part of the story. Ex. How This Revolutionary Product will…(they need to keep reading to see what the product will do.)
  • Be specific and use numbers in your headlines. Ex. 5 Things to Avoid...6 Simple Steps to....

Don’t fret too much over your headline at this point. If it just doesn’t feel right yet, go on to writing the rest of your copy. You can return to tweak it at the end. Often, it's easier to create a winning headline after you've written your main text. So, don't sweat it and let's move along....

3. Write Your Introduction

Now that you have a headline and are armed with that list of benefits, you are ready to write your introduction. The purpose here is to connect with your readers....to show that you understand them and care about their needs. It's the beginning of a relationship that will lead them to trust you. Then you gently lead them to the conclusions you want them to have...and ultimately, to buy your product.

Then introduce your product, so you can share the benefits. It doesn't need to be long or elaborate at this point. What matters most is the connection....that the readers feel you understand them. You are establishing relationship.

Ex. If you're like most working mothers, you're overwhelmed with all the things you must do daily. You've been frustrated with the amount of time it takes each day to do your skin care routine and apply your makeup. You really don't have time for this, but the alternative? Well, it isn't pretty!

Don't despair... we’ve got great news! With our revolutionary patented formula, we have pared that routine down to just one step! No more bottles, jars, and tubes taking up space on the counter. No more of your precious time or money wasted on using unnecessary products.  In five minutes, with one product, you can go from morning face to feeling pampered and looking gorgeous, ready to seize your day!

Are you stumped for words? Try using an image to convey the feeling. In this case, a frazzled mom, toddlers wrapped around her legs, juggling a baby, jars, makeup brushes etc in the bathroom, trying to get ready for her day.....could do wonders. Or maybe a picture of a bathroom vanity ridiculously overflowing with products could create that right mental image.

Now that your introduction is done, we are ready to...

4. Add Your Benefits

Let’s go back to that list of benefits you brainstormed at the beginning. Now you’re going to fine tune it and emphasize the benefits that appeal most your target customer. Keeping them in a bulleted or numbered list makes it easier to read. Create a video that shows how the product works, or at least add some product photos. You want those benefits to entice.

5. Make Your Offer

Now it’s time to officially make the offer and write a clear, definitive call-to-action. Explain how to get your product (order link) and again, remind them why they need it. Try to build in a sense of urgency if possible, and then tell them what to do, urging them to do it now.

 You also might want to include reasons why they should pay that price for your product.

Ex. $40 for a revolutionary skin care product that replaces hundreds of dollars worth of similar products and has a money-back guarantee.

6. Finish it Off

Wrap up your sales page by reminding the reader of some of the key benefits and including information about your money-back guarantee, if you have one. A money-back guarantee gives some reassurance if they are undecided about purchasing. That might be all they need to trust you and purchase.

Ex. Our product comes with an unconditional empty-jar guarantee. We’re so sure that you’ll love your purchase that we’re willing to offer you double-your money back if you use the entire jar as directed and are not thrilled with the results…

Putting it Into Practice

Well, well...just look at you! If you followed along and did the six simple steps, you have now created your very first sales letter, all by yourself! I'm betting you are impressed too!

Now, practice, practice, and practice some more. The key to writing effective sales copy is to simply do it. A lot. As with all things, practice does make perfect. So keep at it…keep learning about your target market's needs and what motivates them, keep writing copy, tweaking it along the way. When you better understand where your reader is coming from, it is so much easier to share the benefits in a way that motivates sales. When you find what works, perfect it. And do it again.

It is a lot of effort, but few things will benefit you more than learning how to write your own copy. Who knows? You may even find you enjoy it!

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