Archive for Tory Johnson

Selling: Your Image, Your Choice

Aren’t we trying to sell something every day?   We might be trying to convince our kids that green beans are better than candy, or showing a prospective client that our solution is the right choice for him or her, but I’d say most of us are in the business of selling something.

If your life is all about selling, what are some key things you need to know to ensure success on the sales front?

At Tory Johnson’s recent Spark & Hustle Event in Atlanta, Tony Conway of A Legendary Event, was the only male speaker.  But he didn’t let that scare him.  He made a big impression on us all, with his confetti falling from the ceiling and his providing us with a King Sized serenade from Big Mike!  As the owner of a top notch catering company, he also had a thing or two to share with us about sales.  And it was advice that can apply to all that we do.

  • Don’t forget that clients/customers also ‘eat’ with their eyes. While Tony’s clients may literally be eating with their eyes (since he’s catering their event), the same can be true for you and your business.  What impression are you making – whether it is in how your web site looks, how your materials are designed, or how you come across?
  • Put polish on everything you do. This is far beyond just having nice silverware.  It’s about how everything – from big to small – can and does have an impact.

Each of us knows when we’re not presenting the image that we want, when all of the pieces of our “personal place settings,” if you will, are not as polished as we’d like.  Whether it’s in the clothes we’re wearing, the business card we’re handing to someone, or the manner in which we speak, we get that little feeling in the pit of our stomachs that we need to take it up a notch.   Yet, how do we move beyond that and sell the real us?

First, and foremost, we have to find out who the “real us” is!  You can probably guess that, with a tag line like “Be You Out Loud,” this is at the core of all I do with my clients.  For some, it requires a lot of introspection and other means of learning, and for others it’s not as difficult.  But for everyone, including me, it takes the willingness to take risks and to grow and change.  Sure, this can be scary, even painful.  It can also be exhilaratingly joyful!  And, here’s the kicker:  I have never seen it not pay off!

So, if you feel called, you might take this as an invitation to take some more steps in the direction of being more of you in the world, of letting yourself shine.  Don’t forget, though, that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are we.  Along with the willingness to risk, grow and change, there must also be a willingness to love all the pieces of ourselves, that is no matter what!

Then, if we should find that pieces of our own “personal place settings” have gotten a little dull, we can either give them the TLC of a quick shine or lovingly replace them with other, newly discovered pieces.  As humans, we are gifted with these abilities – the abilities to choose and to change.  And what amazing gifts they are!

In closing, I would ask:  What do the pieces of your life say about you?   When your eyes are looking upon you, what image do you see projected?  Is it the real you – the shining, sparkling you that you are?  If it’s not that picture, the picture you want to show (and sell) to others, then accept the gift of choice and change, and be yourself.  I promise that the real you is 100% guaranteed to catch every buyer’s eye.

Note:  This is one blog post in a series of them that I’ll be publishing here periodically about the insights I gleaned from the aforementioned Spark and Hustle conference.  It is my hope that these posts will not only inform you, but also inspire you to take action on making your dreams real, especially if your dreams include becoming an entrepreneur.  Perhaps with some spark and hustle, we can all profit from our passions!

Your Business and Your Image – Are they Coming from Your Heart?

Too often, when we dive into the business world as a solopreneur, we lose sight of both who we are and the original goals we had in mind.

At the recent  Spark and Hustle conference, brought to Atlanta by Good Morning America’s Tory Johnson, I was listening to Alyson Hoag of Authentic Beauty speak about how, as business people, we should look.  She wasn’t talking about the physical, outward image, though, she was talking about our inner beauty, shining outward.  You know what I mean – you’ve seen people who simply glow when they’re in love.   The same is true when we’re in love with our lives.   Alyson says, “Having a life you love is the best thing you can do for your soul.” I have to second this, and add that when we are in love with our lives, it shows.

But how many of us aren’t doing this – giving ourselves lives we love?   Often, instead, we act as though we are fully passionate about all we’re doing.  And when this isn’t the whole truth, we are the ones who suffer – not only because we are lying to ourselves, but also, in the lying, we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to make different choices and move toward more truly loving our lives.

“The image you project should be a reflection on your authentic self,” Alyson goes onto say.  Thus, it would come to reason that if we’re doing something we love, the reflection we send out to the world would be authentic.  (See why I loved her presentation so much?)  Granted, what she and I both recommend, is often easier said than done.   Why is that?

The good and the bad news about being in business for yourself is that there is no mold to follow.  Uniqueness and creativity are what drives us to push the envelope to make sure that our voices are heard and our products and services are recognizable above the fray.  According to Alyson, “business is a learnable skill.” First of all, thank goodness!  That’s what I am in the midst of doing!  And second, if that’s really true, then we can also learn how to create a business that is part of a life we love, and which projects who we really are.    When we come from this place of our True Voices, we are able to “do something exceptional,” in the words of Laurie Baggett of Waggle Force, because it’s something authentic.

So, if we know that we need to be authentic in what we do, for it to all fall into place, how do we do that?   Cynthia Good of Pink Magazine has a couple of great suggestions.   First, “make sure your vision of success fits you.” Again, we’re back to creating a business and a life, for that matter, in which the outcome is going to be a match with what you want, who you are, and how you want to be known.   To do this, follow Cynthia’s second piece of advice: “don’t just keep courage on your mind; put it back where it came from – your heart.” Your mind is a great tool, and it will play tricks on you from time to time; however, your heart never lies.   By pulling what you need from your heart, the outpouring will be genuine, real, authentic, your true voice, and more than attractive.

Note:  This is one blog post in a series of them that I’ll be publishing here periodically about the insights I gleaned from the aforementioned Spark and Hustle conference.  It is my hope that these posts will not only inform you, but also inspire you to take action on making your dreams real, especially if your dreams include becoming an entrepreneur.  Perhaps with some spark and hustle, we can all profit from our passions!

Your Prospects, Your Perspectives

Every client you have has – at some point – been a prospect.   Makes no difference if this person was a friend, coworker, peer or perfect stranger prior to engaging your services or buying your product.

The Spark and Hustle event I recently attended here in Atlanta, was about breaking out into the business world as a female entrepreneur.   Thus, a lot of the talks were focused around sales.

I really enjoyed hearing Joyce Bone of Millionaire Moms thoughts on this.  Her statement, “Work where they work. Go where they go,” gives new meaning to the phrase “soccer moms.”  I just envisioned all these soccer moms rallying around while the kids are playing, multitasking as they watch and cheer on their kids while networking!  (Gotta love moms, huh?)  Couple that with her next comment, “When dealing with prospects, be pleasantly persistent,” and you can see why the “mom” force has such great success on the entrepreneurial front!

However, when you’re not a mom, you have to find these opportunities in other ways.   According to Robyn Spizman, you must “put the muscle into your hustle with the 5 by 5 rule: make 5 cold calls every day by 5:00”!   For me, the definition of a cold call implied making phone calls.   Given that I spend so much time on the phone with my current clients, this is something I don’t always relish.   So, I have expanded my approach well beyond the phone by creating a new definition of a cold call: it’s any new contact I make – anywhere – whether it be at the grocery store, a friend’s dinner party, or a restaurant.  It reminds me of the Organic Networking System that Debby Stone and I co-created years ago, when I was more heavily involved with our company, Corner Office Coaching.  It’s about how to naturally develop relationships by doing what you enjoy and being who you are, thus creating a flourishing professional network and enhancing business development skills.  At the time, I didn’t make the connection about cold calls, but I am glad I finally did – it feels liberating!

Granted, it doesn’t always feel comfortable to just start chatting it up with folks in the grocery aisle.  You have to find a way to shed new light on something.  I was thinking about what Taryn Pisaneschi said about this: “When networking, set a goal and have one thing that you are promoting that day, remembering the bigger, less obvious solution that it provides.” If I go really basic with this idea and use the grocery store aisle analogy, you can buy a jar of spaghetti sauce for your pasta dish, yet the bigger, less obvious solution it also provides is 2 servings of vegetables that are good for your health.   With this pattern of thinking, you have turned the typical, “this has a huge amount of carbs” problem into a “this is a really health solution for me” solution.    (Ok… that was a little wonky… but you get the point.)

Think about what you’re offering in the way of a product and service, and give it a new perspective for a prospect.   Show him/her a side of this product or service that has been overlooked.   I’m pretty sure you’re going to find there’s a lot more to what you offer than meets the average “eye.”  And a lot more interest in it, too!

Note:  This is one blog post in a series of them that I’ll be publishing here periodically about the insights I gleaned from the aforementioned Spark and Hustle conference.  It is my hope that these posts will not only inform you, but also inspire you to take action on making your dreams real, especially if your dreams include becoming an entrepreneur.  Perhaps with some spark and hustle, we can all profit from our passions!

Your Press Release, Your True Voice

I’m not sure how many of you actually involve the media in what you do…however, you may want to start thinking about it.

Search engine optimization is far more than just getting your web site listed by submitting it to Google.  There’s Facebook, Twitter, and all those other things that can bring your online presence to a higher level.   One of these is press releases.

When you say “press release,” it scares the bejeepers out of people.  Most people can’t write them (me being one of those people) nor do we even know what to do with them.    However, Laura Scholz who runs her own communications company somewhat summed it up at the recent Spark and Hustle event here in Atlanta: “When dealing with the press, be timely, relevant, to the point – and send no attachments.” Interesting.

I asked Cindy Brock, one of my team members, about this comment, since she has worked in the TV, entertainment, and media industry.   “It’s true,” Cindy says.  “For every 5 press releases I must rewrite, 3 of them are for a product or service that was released weeks or months ago, it’s not relevant to anything that anyone would care about, and it’s filled with endless gibberish.”   Cindy said that when dealing with the media, you must put yourself in the shoes of the person who is going to receive the information.  “Imagine you’re a TV news reporter and you only have 1 minute to get your message across.  You must tell the viewer what it is, how it’s beneficial, and why action needs to take place now.”

I thought about how this transfers across to aspects of a business (or even a personal journey).  How much time, money, energy are we spending doing things that are not in the time frame we want, not relevant to our overall goal, and are completely missing the point we want to make or goal we want to achieve?   Yikes!  If we’re being true to ourselves, wouldn’t we give these items the attention they require?  Wouldn’t we be do what ever we could to make our voices heard?  I think so.

What are your press releases – and other actions and choices –  saying about you, and how you feel about yourself?  Are you using your True Voice?

Note:  This is one blog post in a series of them that I’ll be publishing here periodically about the insights I gleaned from the aforementioned Spark and Hustle conference.  It is my hope that these posts will not only inform you, but also inspire you to take action on making your dreams real, especially if your dreams include becoming an entrepreneur.  Perhaps with some spark and hustle, we can all profit from our passions!

Your Pricing, Your Brand

I recently spent 3 days at a great event here in Atlanta:  Tory Johnson‘s “Spark and Hustle.”   This was an amazing three days and I walked away with a wealth of information.

I was fortunate enough to hear some great folks speak, as well as talk to them in person, and a lot of the things said rang so true for me.

for instance, pricing is a tough call for anyone.  Yet, as Cindy Morrison said, “Never, ever price from fear.” How many of us do that?  You come up with a price, then you think it’s too much, but then you’re frustrated with yourself because it’s not really enough.   You end up going up/down on the seesaw and really not getting anywhere.   Unfortunately, as Casey McCann pointed out, “Pricing is a game.  I suggest you play it.” Yet, that’s where the problem exists: in knowing how to play the game.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that the statement made by Jennifer Abernethy of The Sales Lounge is 100% right on target: “The biggest sale we need to close is often with ourselves.” It was as if the “angels on high” sang right into my ear!   Pricing was not about a number on a page: it was about selling myself on how much I was really worth.   As women, we are geared towards always giving, without ever calculating the value of our time and energy.   We aren’t doing it wrong: we just need to look at from a different perspective.

Shameeka Ayers, The Broke Socialite, really made it come together for me with these two thoughts:

First, if you will believe in the power of your brand, others will too! (her words, not mine).   Can you remember the last time you were so passionate about something that you thought you could leap tall buildings in a single bound (and not get your Superwoman cape caught in something)?  That’s exactly how you should feel about what you offer.  If you’re not quite there, ask yourself these questions:

  • What powerful benefits does your product or service – or your mere presence – give to someone else?
  • Will it encourage someone to take a risk that they wouldn’t have taken previously?
  • Does it enable someone to move around their obstacles and find a clear path ahead?

Shameeka’s second thought – at first – seemed a bit foreign to me:  If you dare to be radical, be radical about monetizing. Oh sure.   Back on the old “how do I price this” roller coaster.   (How many of you are sitting next to me on this ride, also screaming about pricing?)   But she is absolutely right.   If you’re going to try something different, why not your monetization strategy?   After all, as an entrepreneur, the financial impact is a vital component.

That’s a lot to think about, so let’s get to it.  Feel free to share your comments below, and I’ll be checking in again to let you know how I’m doing, too!

Note:  This is the first in a series of blog posts that I’ll be publishing here about the insights I gleaned from the aforementioned Spark and Hustle conference.  It is my hope that these posts will not only inform you, but also inspire you to take action on making your dreams real, especially if your dreams include becoming an entrepreneur.  Perhaps with some spark and hustle, we can all profit from our passions!

True Voices Spark and Hustle

Hello!

This will be a brief post, with much more to come later on this very topic.   I am scrambling this morning to get ready for a call with one of my Be You Out Loud clients, then a call with my coach, Jeanine Mancusi, and then to get on the road heading toward to the Spark and Hustle Conference at the Cobb Galleria Centre in NW Atlanta.  It’s run by Tory Johnson, with Michelle Pippin, and I am delighted to have been chosen to be one of their official blogging/tweeting/posting people!

I am also excited about all of the great information and great women I am sure to meet there!  It’s a conference all about women entrepreneurs and their (our) businesses, so it’s right up my alley.  And this is a year that I have dedicated to (among other things) learning about how to be a better business woman.  (I could say something here about it being about time, since I am in my 10th year of business, but I will refrain.  🙂 )

Not that I will ever stop learning.  First of all, I love to learn.  And second, the way I see it is that one would have to work rather hard to avoid it!

OK – short post, as I said.  But look for more later about what all I am learning.  I am happy to share whatever it is, so that you can learn, too…

Have a sparkling day,
Laura

PS Written a year later: In 2011, I was a speaker at Spark & Hustle, and this is a picture proving it! 🙂

I’m Heading into an Awesome August! And You?

August, 2010 is shaping up to be a busy month – all good, but busy.  Just yesterday, I was packing up my things for heading back from my farm to (Metro) Atlanta, where I work and play.  And tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to the Cobb Galleria Center, in NW Atlanta, for the Spark and Hustle Conference, with Tory Johnson, Michelle Pippin and lots of other cool, powerful chicks.  I am honored to have been chosen to be one of the official event bloggers, so watch for more from me about that event, for sure!

The evening that the Spark & Hustle conference closes, I’ll be at the home of a longtime client (and now a dear friend), celebrating her and the fact that she’s reached the half-century mark.  Happy birthday, Kris!

Early the next morning (too early for me to think about right now, thank you), I will be on a plane bound for Santa Barbara, California.  I’ll be joining some dear friends and my fabulous coach for the Lucid Living retreat, “The Secrets of Happiness!”  You can bet I’ll be reporting in about that one, too!

And actually, that’s as much as I’m going to say, for now.  No use in overwhelming either – or both – of us!

For now, just know that, in general, True Voices at Work  is the category of the True Voices Blog where you can find out what I’m up to. I’ll try to make it interesting and informative, but if there’s anything you particulary want to know, make sure you let me know, OK?

OK!  May your July finish up just right, and may your entire August be awesome!