Stupid Skateboard

Growing up, one of my favorite things was going to the grocery store with my Mom. We always made time to check out the magazine aisle, and I’d go straight to the skateboard publications.

Every birthday and Christmas I’d ask for one, and eventually my parents gave me one from Wal-Mart. I spent weeks riding it up and down our street trying to do the most fundamental trick: the Ollie.

The skater jumps up, and the board follows. When done properly, it looks like pure magic.

I could never get it right! I tried jumping while moving. I tried jumping while standing still. I tried facing left. I tried facing right.

I fell down more times than I can count.

Eventually I figured it out: while the board was fine to get around on, it wasn’t designed to do tricks. I wasn’t the problem; it was the board’s fault! Stupid skateboard!

Until One Day

My brother (4 years older than me) and one of his friends came home after school. His friend asked if he could try my board, so I said yes.

He proceeds to do trick after trick. Ollies, kick-flips, you name it he could do it.

I was stunned, and that was the instant I learned a valuable lesson:

Just because I didn’t know how to use a tool doesn’t mean it’s not capable of doing its job.

In Business

I see this all the time in my consulting. People are convinced that:

  • Email marketing doesn’t work
  • Facebook ads are useless
  • Twitter is dead
  • Nobody reads blogs anymore
  • LinkedIn never leads to anything
  • The era of making phone sales is dead

And so on down the list it goes with people who may have dabbled in a particular approach, and failed to get results. It’s easier to believe the tool is broken instead of admitting their lack of skills in execution.

Moving Forward

I continued skateboarding for years after that afternoon (until I had a massive wipeout that left scars I still have today). I never really got good at doing tricks, but it was a fun way to get around campus when I went to college.

What I didn’t do, though, is ever blame a tool for my lack of skills again.

Do you have a tool, technique, or strategy that you love using that other people think is done for? I’d love to hear about it! 

Fire Triangle of Online Sales

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I love fire more than you do.

When I was 14 I almost got arrested for juggling fire. Well, not for juggling, per se, but for drawing a crowd big enough to block the sidewalk & forcing folks into the street who wanted to get by.

Fire & street performing taught me a lot of what I use every day in my business, nearly 20 years later.

It’s all about triangles

Triangles are everywhere, and for good reason. They’re simple, strong, and infinitely variable.

Once you see it, you’ll notice them everywhere.

3 legged stools are stable on any surface. Triangle chokes in martial arts are nearly infinite in number. Ever heard of the fire triangle?

Fire needs oxygen, fuel, and heat to exist. Remove any one from the equation, and it goes out.

Turns out there’s a “fire triangle” of doing business online. These are the 3 essential elements to successfully doing business on the internet. Get any single one wrong, and you’re not going to be toasting any success marshmallows. </mangled metaphor>

Website

You have to have a place where you can build your presence. Some people use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I prefer having my own website.

Hey, look! You’re on one right now!

If you’re building on someone else’s platform, they can change the rules overnight, and you’ve lost all your hard work. (Ask me about my friend who lost his 40,000 YouTube followers due to their mixup, never to get them back.)

A website is always available. Multiple people from different places on Earth can visit the same website at the same time. That’s like being in 2 places at once.

You can’t do that.

Your website is your best tool for telling people who you are & what you’re about. When we do that in the real world we call that having a conversation & that builds trust.

Your website is your virtual handshake and trust builder with potential customers & clients.

Social Media Marketing

You have to tell people you exist.

I get it. You want people to find your organically. You want to feel like people are connecting with you based on the value of your work.

You want people to like your page because you’re just that wonderful and they should just know.

You feel like if you tell people about your work, you’re being sleazy.

Well, consider this.

What if you created the cure for cancer in a lab in Antarctica? What if you didn’t tell anyone you created the cure for cancer? What if you thought, “I’ve worked hard creating this cure. People should know how amazing it is. I shouldn’t have to explain it to them. I want them to come to me here in the frozen-ass wasteland where I live.”

For shame! How dare you hide the cure from the world like that! You have a moral obligation to tell as many people in as many different ways you’ve done this amazing thing.

Telling people you’ve cured cancer is marketing. Helping people understand how valuable the cure is, is sales.

Now, if your cure is just water, and you’re telling people it’s the cure for cancer, then you’re lying & that’s sleazy.

But, there’s nothing inherently wrong with telling people what you offer is valuable, and the best place to do that nowadays is online.

Email

Think about someone asking you to marry them on the first date.

Sure, there might be a situation where you’d say yes (Maybe it’s me: devastatingly handsome, charming, and successful. I get it, but my heart belongs to someone else.), but the chances are you wouldn’t have enough context to make a decision. You barely know the person.

If you ask too early it’s gonna be awkward. Too many people ask for the sale right away and they wonder why they get turned down.

Think of email as a way to court your customer. Help them understand how wonderful you are. You show them you can be a good conversationalist. They have a good time whenever you show up, and eventually they look forward to hearing from you.

That’s what email can do for your business.

Put It All Together

If you apply these three things in juuuuust the right way, you’ll have a successful business that you can run from anywhere in the world.

Don’t know what your fuel is? Tried it before but it didn’t work? Let’s chat about it. This is what I do for a living! I help people turn their experience into a successful business by helping them create their own holy trinity.

If you’ve read this far, let’s talk about how we can make this happen for you. Click the button and it’ll take you to a scheduling page where you can set up a 45 minute brain picking session where I’ll ask you a whole bunch of questions about what you want, and then if we’re a good fit I’ll offer a way we can work together. (You can marry me!)

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How I Got A Company $100,000 of New Business In A Week

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Case Study

Let me walk you through how I got a company more than $100,000+ in new business, and then show you exactly how you can use the same techniques for yourself (even if you’re not a big agency).

A while ago I was hired on at the company as a graphic designer, and over the months I realized I could bring a lot of other skills to the table. The main way I’d promoted my mind reading shows is through email, so I was excited to bring that skill to my job. It was was outside my job description, but it was actually really cool to be able to contribute to a big win that everyone pitched in on. The company I was working with is a social media company that manages accounts for some large brands you’d probably recognize. They had been trying email marketing to drum up business without much success, so I wanted to figure out what was going on.

They purchased a database of 39,000 emails, so the quality of the leads wasn’t exactly top notch. The emails were companies & entrepreneurs who had bought professional services before, but they hadn’t actively signed up to receive emails from the company.

So that was the first clue why it hadn’t been working.

Then I looked at the emails they were sending out. They were pretty, but well polished emails usually are sent from companies, so it gets filtered out by readers. Think about it, when was the last time you spent the time to create a 3 column layout with coordinated graphics & buttons in an email to a friend? Probably just typed something out, and sent it over, right? The numbers show that text-only promotional emails work the best, but it’s the least intuitive for business owners. They want the pretty stuff!

Another speed bump was they could only send the same message to everyone; customized messages weren’t possible because their database wasn’t segmented or categorized.

Solutions

I started out by asking what we were already good at. What were the industries we were already doing excellent work for, and what had they learned from it?

We listed 7 areas that we really knew how to handle, so I asked everyone at the company to pitch in and write informative blog posts that explained how clients had used their services & seen results. The community engagement coordinators also wrote articles around what social media platform was best suited for each industry, and the best way to engage with followers.

Then we created email campaigns for each of the 7 categories that would direct readers to the articles & blog posts. The tone of the emails was more conversational, more personal, and communicated a much more fun personality. My client is a social media company; be fun!

Now that we have the campaigns ready to go, how do we figure out who to send them to?

I’m kinda proud of this one.

I created a landing page on the website. The landing page had a simple form on it that asked them to tell us what industry they’re in so we could send them a report on the best social media practices for that industry. Instead of focusing on what they could do for us (give us their dollars!), we were offering something they would find valuable, first: how to make your own dollars through proper social media use!

When someone fills out the form, it would tag their contact information with the appropriate category which would then trigger the proper email campaign. This way we allowed the contacts in the database to organize themselves without us having to go through 1 by 1 and go looking for it.

Then we wrote the main email that was sent to all 39,000 contacts letting them know who we’d worked with previously (social proof), and then we told them we had unique insight on what works, what doesn’t, and on what platforms so they should click through and let us know what industry they were in so we could get that info to them.

And it worked like a charm.

We had massive open rates on the email, tons of click-throughs to the landing page, and most of the people who saw the landing page filled out the form.

Then they started getting the emails that pointed them to the blog posts that lived on the site. We saw big spikes in traffic, and people were spending time digesting the information.

And it worked.

Within a week there were tons of new, highly qualified leads pouring in. The sales team was now spending their time closing hot leads who were getting in touch with them; they weren’t going out trying to drum up business by cold calling businesses.

As a direct result of that campaign the company landed an alcohol company with more than 50 labels under their umbrella. They decided to sign up with one label to start, and signed another within 3 months. That initial contract was worth more than $100,000 by itself. without including any other client work that came through because of the campaign.

And that’s how I got the company I worked with more than $100,000 in new business! Since then I’ve gone back to performing full time, and I now have time to build this site, but it was a ton of fun working with awesome people who were excited to do good work.

Takeaways

  • Show some personality
  • Use technology to get the right information to the right people
  • Have a system in place that communicates value from multiple angles
  • Educate your potential customers on what you do, why it’s valuable, & how they could do it themselves (Then they’ll see how hard it is, and wind up just hiring you to do it for them!)

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Never Blame the Audience

Everybody’s had a bad day at work. Usually that doesn’t involve a room of 2,000 people watching you have a bad day.

As an entertainer it’s easy to tell yourself that it was the crowd’s fault. They were too drunk. They were too busy texting. They were too this. Too that.

Whose fault is it?

Yours.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I got from a fellow performer is “never blame the audience.”

Anyone can do the easy shows. It takes a true professional to pull through a rough environment with a successful show.

How do you get to that level?

Never blame the audience.

Blaming the audience allows you to ignore what you did (or didn’t do) that you could have to have a successful performance. If you have an off night, ask yourself what you could have done to avoid whatever problem derailed you.

Did you focus on the one person texting and forget about the 1,999 who were having a good time? Did you give the mic to someone who was completely wasted?

You’re responsible.

As the performer, your job is to take control of the experience for the audience so they feel comfortable putting their attention in your hands. They have to feel secure in your leadership before they can relax enough to enjoy whatever you’re about to lead them through.

Your Company

I can’t tell you how many CEOs, owners, and upper management folks blame poor results on consumers, crappy sales people.

Everyone but themselves and their poor leadership.

Have an amazing product that you know will change lives, but nobody’s buying? It’s your fault.

It’s your job to find where the breakdown in communication is, and fix it.

It all boils down to communication.

Your focus is not on finding the solution. You’re busy blaming every one else which allows you to continue ignoring how your website is difficult to navigate. Your sales process feels like a scam. Your employees are checked out because you’ve shown them you don’t value them.

Whatever the issue, it’s your responsibility to find a solution, get the results you want, and move on.

How do you fix it?

Take an honest look at how you run your business, and that’s difficult to do. Sometimes you’re too close to a problem to find the solution.

(Or you don’t know you’re looking at the problem when you’re staring it in the face.)

That’s why it’s important to get an outsider’s perspective. (Good) performers have directors. They have a whole creative team to provide feedback. They probably have a mentor or coach, too.

Who is in your mastermind? Brain trust? Advisory board?

Find a team of high quality people who can help you take responsibility for how you’ve been doing things, and help you find better ways of doing them in the future.

It’s the only way things will get better is if you know better.

Then do better.

Remember. Never blame the audience. It’s on you.