Group of Diverse Cheerful Business People

I got my first sales job the same summer I turned ten-years old.

I saw an ad on the back of my TigerBeat magazine that was recruiting tweens to sell products to their friends.

One phone call later, and I was shilling wrapping paper & holiday themed window clings to everyone in my immediate family.

Of course as an ENTP child, I found the process of placing the orders far too complicated.

My business ended with a huge list of sales and no product.

I didn’t care. I had learned so much. It was this small experiment in business taught me the art of selling, and gave me the confidence to pitch myself to potential customers.

Understanding how to pitch & sell a product is a skill I have been able to use in every position I have ever held. Companies run on sales & revenue. Understanding how to sell & increase revenue is the key to making more money.

Here are three steps to start selling that thing you are trying to sell:

  1. Find the right buyer

The hardest part of doing sales is figuring out who wants to buy your product. Most new businesses think this is the easy part.

The conversation goes something like this, “Who would buy our product? Advertising agencies! Rich people! Moms!”

The reality is that you will be selling your product to PEOPLE not industries.

Who is the person the exact person that will have both the money & the motivation to purchase what you are selling?

Finding that person takes time, and usually means pitching a hundred of the wrong people before finding the right one. Create a list of potential customers. Find contacts that align with your potential customer targets. Pitch & learn. This is the only way to find the right buyer.

  1. Become a problem solver

People HATE salespeople.

This is a fact. Telemarketers, car salesman and skeevy insurance reps have forever ruined the reputation of salespeople.

The hardest part of being a salesperson is that you have to constantly convince the people you are talking to that you are not just trying to sell them something.

Good sales people are problem solvers. Find a way to get yourself in front of your buyer that shows them you can solve their exact problem. A perfect product/market can make the most amateur of sales people look like total rockstars.

  1. Make potential customers love you

People want to buy things from people they like, so your job is to make sure people love you.

The problem is that most salespeople are managing a huge pipeline of relationships, which makes it almost impossible to build meaningful connections with their clients.

90% of your revenue will come from 10% of your customers. Identify the people on your list who are most likely to buy from you. Focus your relationship building efforts on that group.

What is most important to these potential customers? What is holding them back from closing the deal? What value can you offer that they don’t already have? How can you make them totally love you?

 

Penelope Trunk and I are hosting a 4-day live online course where you will learn the exact system I use to land new clients. The course will be Mon. Dec. 15 through Thurs. Dec. 18 at 8pm EST. It’s $195. But if you sign up before Nov. 21, you get a $50 discount. You can get the full details here.

E-mail @ symbol on brown business letters

 

 

 

“How do you get important people to email you back when you are not important?” 

I saw this question on Twitter and stopped everything I was doing to sit down a write this post.

(A tiny glimpse into my always-shifting attention span)

I built my entire career on my ability to get important people to email me back. I’m not kidding.

Do you know how I got my first agency job? By connecting with people far more important than me. Do you know why they hired me? Because I was amazing at getting big influencers to work with me. Do you know how I got these influencers to work with me? By sending great emails.

I am not telling you this to prove that I am the queen of email. The methods I use could be repeated by anyone in the world. All you need to have is an understanding of how to connect with people & a smart plan.

What can you do to get really important people to email you back?

First of all, Get over the fact that you are not important. No one cares who you are or what you are doing.People are not ignoring your email because you don’t have a fancy title. People are ignoring your email, because your email sucks.

Reasons I ignore emails:

  • It looked like a blanket spam letter
  • I have no idea what they want from me
  • Required too long of a response

Telling yourself that people are not responding because you are not important only distracts you from learning how to write great emails. No one cares what your title is or how many awards you have. They care about the value you have to offer & how they can use that value to meet their goals.

Stop focusing on the fact that you are not important, and start focusing on how you can make your emails better. 

Important people are busy. And they get a ton of email. Most Executives have mastered the art of managing a full inbox. This means they are able to filter through emails really fast, identify the emails that require a response and have become masters at answering any question in three sentences or less.

Ask yourself these questions before you hit “send” on that email–Is your email short & to the point? Do you explain who you are & why they should care about you? Do you ask a clear question? Can your email be answered in less than 3 sentences?

There are a million rules for writing great emails. Learn them. 

The last thing you need to learn its that timing is EVERYTHING. Important people check their email first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.

In between times, they are mostly emailing directly from their phones. If your email is too long, or they don’t know what to do with it or it takes a huge long reply—it will probably get deleted. This is why it is so important to learn how to write great emails.

The good news is that mastering the art of writing emails will give you complete control over your ability to get responses. The bad new is that writing great emails is something that can take years to master.

I am hosting a 5-day live online course totally focused on how to write great emails & find the people who can help you reach your goals. The course will take place Mon. December 15th- Thurs. December 19th. It’s $195 but if you sign up before November 21st, you get a $50 discount.  The course includes four days of live video sessions, live chat and email-based course materials. If  you miss the live sessions you can view them on demand.  You can get the full details here. 

I Love my Company written on a board

Every startup in the world hopes to get press for their company, but most startups don’t have a huge budget to hire a PR agency.

I have spent the past five years working in PR, and always wondered if media outreach was a smart investment for new startups. (who, in my mind, should be totally focused on revenue generating activities)

Last week, I came across a series on Both Sides of the Table that totally changed my view on why startups need a PR strategy.

See: The Silent Benefits of PR & How to Do PR on a Budget

The more media attention you can get around your new company, the more legit you look to the outside world.

PR can help you find customers, investors, talent and gives you a sense of legitimacy that you cannot get any other way.

The problem? PR can be EXPENSIVE. There are huge costs involved in hiring an agency, or experience PR consulting. This is why more and more startup founders are focused on getting their own media coverage.

I have created a five step plan that you can use to get your startup media coverage. (even if you don’t have a never ending marketing budget)

STEP ONE: BECOME A MASTER STORYTELLER 

Most startups think that getting media coverage involves fancy press releases promoted across huge networks of editors. We are past the days when you hired publicists based on how thick their rolodex is.

The key to getting media coverage is becoming a master at telling the story behind your company.

What does your company do? Why do people care? What expertise do the people on your team have to offer for media interviews? What is interesting about your background? Why did you start your company? What have you done that is totally game changing?

Find the interesting parts of your company & craft a story that people will want to hear.

STEP TWO: SET CLEAR GOALS 

Different kinds of media coverage will garner totally diffenret kinds of results.

Did you know that mid-size bloggers can generally drive more traffic than an online national media spot? However, a national media spot will always look more impressive than a million blog placements.

The key to creating a great PR plan is having a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve & the types of coverage that will directly support your goals.

STEP THREE: MAKE A PLAN 

Once you know the type of outlets you want to cover your company, you can focus on the type of coverage you are most likely to garner.

For example, The Today Show is only going to feature your company if you can find a way to relate it to a huge current event. But getting featured on Fast Company might  require having an interesting story about how you grew your company.

Look at the type of content the outlets you are targeting organically create. How does your companies story fit into that content? Where can you add value?

See: 4 Trends Affecting PR Departments 

 

STEP FOUR: CREATE A MEDIA LIST

Collect a list of editors, contributors and freelancers that currently write for the outlets you want to pitch. Only 10%-20% of your pitches will get a response (assuming you have a great pitch), so you need a big list of contacts.

You can find almost anyones contact information online. If their email is not listed publicly, you can connect them with Twitter.

Now you know exactly what you want to accomplish, the type of coverage you want to get, and a list of writers who are likely to cover your product.

See: What Every Startup Needs to Know About Media Outreach 

STEP FIVE: START PITCHING! 

Create a short & to the point email showing each writer why your company makes perfect sense for one of their upcoming pieces.

Follow the writers you pitch on Twiter, connect with them on linkedin. Start building a relationship.

They key to getting coverage is showing writes exactly how your companies narrative aligns perfectly with their content.

With the right mix of strategy & outreach you are bound to reach all of your goals. No budget required.

 

 

 

I have spent the past five years working in the online marketing space. In those five years, I have read thousands of blogs, attended hundreds of networking events and participated in dozens of professional networking organizations.

The marketing landscape is changing, and marketers today are left sifting through all of the information and opporutnities thrown at them.

That is why I am so excited to announce the launch of The Marketing Source.

The Marketing Source is a FREE membership based professional network that will give you access to online training events and endless resources that will make your job easier.

This is an idea I have been working on for a very long time, so I hope you will join me.

You can get all of the details here.

Everyone who registers this week will receive free access to my ebook, “The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Outreach,” and access to a career assessment test.

Paula_Deen

Last year, you might remember that the Food Network dropped Paula Deen during the whole racism debacle. Paula Deen just announced that she bought all of her content back from the Food Network, and is launching a paid subscription online food channel.

AND I AM COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH HOW MUCH MONEY SHE IS GOING TO MAKE.

This is so smart. And it means so much for the media world, but no one is talking about it and it is killing me.

Paula Deen buying all of her content from the Food Network is proof that the entire media/celebrity industry has been flipped on its head.

Personal brands hold all of the power. You don’t need a huge audience to make money; you just need the right audience. And advertisers are willing to pay for access to niche highly targeted groups of consumers.

It doesn’t matter that Paula Deen isn’t with the Food Network. She still has the credentials. She has the connections. She has the huge feature with Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

In the past–networks had power because they reached a huge mass audience and advertisers would pay big dollars. Most media companies earn $5-$10 per thousand views they send to the site.

Paula Deen is going to earn $8/month from every major she has. I might be wrong, but I am confident Paula will earn more from that content than the Food Network ever did.

I am really excited to see how this plays out. The value of content and the ability to monetize a niche audience will become a case study for influencers and brands everywhere.

Regardless of your feelings about Paula Deen, this is a fascinating business model.

 

PERSONALITY

I have mentioned before that I am completely obsessed with Myers Briggs. I have read so much about every single personality type that I am now the master of guessing anyones personality type.

Last week, a blogger friend of mine asked for help figuring out her child’s personality type. I jumped at the chance, and after fifteen minutes of reading her blog I pegged her daughter as an ISFP.

Understanding my kids personality type made parenting so much easier. It became totally clear on what I needed to do to meet all of my kids needs. I now had a map to understanding their values and motives and what make them happy.

Next week, I am hosting a free hour-long webinar to help you learn more about the kids in your life. Most people are a different personality type than their child, which is like seeing the world through two totally different pairs of glasses. You will learn how to figure out your kids personality type, and how to use that information to become a better parent.

A few fun facts: 

INTJ children practically raise themselves because they need almost no feedback to know they are on the right track.

ISFJ children (like my son) crave tons of structure and value rules more than anything else.

ENTPs (like me) spend their entire lives trying to figure out how to get out of following rules.

INFJ children love writing more than any type likes any other activity.

ESFP kids (like Quinton) are always living in the moment, making new friends more than anything in the world and are most likely to be misdiagnosed with ADD.

Do you see how understanding your kids personality type could be so incredibly valuable?

The webinar is live-video and totally free. The first half-hour will be focused on figuring out your kids’ personality type, and the second half will be focused on understanding the results. Aside from being really useful, this webinar should be totally fun.

If you would like to take part—Enter your name & email here. I will send more details out next week.

Register here!

The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation

The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation

 

The first skill any salesperson needs to learn is how to find prospects. What are prospects? It is a fancy word to mean potential customers.

So your first job in selling anything is to find your potential customers.

STEP ONE: IDENTIFY THE TYPES OF COMPANIES THAT WOULD USE YOUR PRODUCT 

What problem does your product or service solve? What type of companies have that problem? Is it big corporations? Startups? Small business owners?

Create a list of 5 categories of companies that would use your product or service. Each of these categories will be an individual test to see which type of company will produce the most revenue for you. Identify 20 companies in each of the 5 categories that would make a great client for your company.

STEP TWO: FIND THE BEST PERSON TO CONTACT 

Every single company is organized differently, but most industries typically follow a similar method.

Once you have identified, the types of companies you would like to sell to, you need to identify who within those companies will be making the purchase decision.

Often times you will target people at different levels within a company to learn how that industry functions. Your goal as a salesperson is to figure out how the companies in your category organize themselves, so you can identify the point person in any company.

Try answering the following questions:

Who would be most interested in the problem I am solving?

How much power do they have in moving decisions forward?

What kind of budgets will they be able to tap into?

STEP THREE: GATHER CONTACT INFORMATION

Finding contact info for leads is relatively easy in todays world.

Here are my best three tips:

-Startups generally format their emails like this: CASSIE@COMPANY.COM

-Agencies generally format their emails like this: CBOORN@COMPANY.COM

-Very traditional industries are still using this: CASSIE.BOORN@COMPANY.COM

If all else fails Google: email @ COMPANY.COM. Typically, you will see a press release or company announcement with a contact email. Use that format and the name of your lead to decipher the email address.

CREATIVITY.

Most experienced Bloggers will tell you that building a blogging career is a total waste of time.

“You wont make any money, building a blog takes a ton of time, the ROI just isn’t there.”

There are a million reasons you shouldn’t build a career in blogging. But the reality is that millions of people across the web are building a career blogging.

Is it possible earn a full-time income from a blog? Yes.

Is it a lot of work? HELL. YES.

The fastest way to build a full-time blogging career is to go in with a plan laying out exactly how you will reach your goals. I have pulled together five steps you can take to get your blogging career off the ground. This is meant to serve as a guide, and help you create a strategic approach to building your blog.

  1.      Choose a niche very carefully

The most important decision a blogger makes is what niche they want to cover. You will be forced to create so much content that you have to absolutely love the topic you are writing about.

The niche that you choose will have a huge effect on the audience you are able to reach. And the audience you reach will have a huge effect on how you can monetize your site.

And yes, you have to choose a niche if you want to build a full-time career blogging. I know you have tons of interests and don’t want to box yourself in, but you have to focus your brand in order to build a successful blog.

  1.      Go in with a revenue strategy

There is no point in spending time building a blog if you do not know how you will monetize it. You have a billion different opportunities to monetize your blog, but they all require you to focus on totally different goals.

Understanding the best revenue streams for your industry, and focusing your efforts on reaching goals that will earn you money is the only way to build a sustainable blogging career.

Some revenue streams you might consider: Affiliate links, ad networks, direct ad sales, consulting, freelance writing, coaching, online courses, ebooks, sponsored content.

  1.      Have a plan for building your audience

While new bloggers love to believe that “if you build it they will come” its just not the way life works. Building an audience is hard work, but if you approach it strategically you can do it rather quickly.

Create a strategy for building your audience. What blogs are they currently reading? How can you get in front of that audience? What kind of content should you have on your blog in incentivize them to subscribe?

These are all questions you need to answer.

4. Get to writing!

The only way to learn what will and wont work for your blog is to test things out. Start writing and publishing content. Figure out what is working and what is not. Focus your efforts to align with your goals, and get busy writing!

5. Learn from those who have done it before

The best way to build a blogging career is to learn how others have been able to do it. Most of the time bloggers in the same niche monetize their sites in similar ways.
If you are running a home design blog you are going to monetize it in totally different ways than someone who runs a career blog. Understanding the industry you are in, and other bloggers have monetized their sites will help you create a successful plan.

—-

Next week I am hosting an online course featuring Karen Bertelsen, the amazing blogger behind The Art of Doing Stuff.

Karen spent ten years building a career as one of Canadas leading home-design TV Personalities. She hosted renovation shows for some of the largest television networks in the country, and then she left her job and focused all of her efforts on building a blogging career.

Karen is a great example of someone who has built a full-time career blogging.  She has been hyper-focused on turning her blog into a career from the very beginning, which allowed her to build a hugely successful blogging career very quickly.

I hunted Karen down and begged her to do this course, because her approach to blogging is such a great example for others looking to do the same.

The course is $249 and you get access to (5) hour-long live video sessions with Karen.

The live sessions are always super fun, and you can ask her questions and get advice in real time. We will have a chat room open as well, so you can meet and learn from other bloggers as well.

You can get details on the course and register here.

 

 

hand drawing man jumping  from rock to rock

I have spent the past month researching the best ways for publishers to monetize their platforms with advertising. I had two different clients hire me to review their current display ad network, and identify the best way for them to increase this revenue.

So I talked to every ad network in the market, and googled insane things like “programmatic advertising.”

Two years ago I was charged with building an online ad network for a major publisher, and the ad network industry today looks nothing like it did then. 

Here is what I learned:

1. Brands are spending less on display advertising 

A couple of years ago there was a major shift in ad spending.

Brands started pulling dollars from traditional “display” advertising, and investing into a huge range of content products.

Brands are pouring dollars into creating and promoting content online. They are investing in a huge range of content products, because noone knows what works.

Things brands are spending money on: sponsored posts, custom content creation, video content, influencer programs, social content campaigns.

Things brands are not spending money on: Display advertising on individual publisher sites. 

 

2. The process is more targeted than ever before

Of course, brands aren’t willing to throw their display ad strategies out the window. Instead, they are distributing budgets across different kinds of display media and focusing on the media that allows them to hyper-target their consumers. 

Things brands are spending money on: Search advertising, social ad buying, programmatic advertising that is distributed across multiple platforms. 

Things brands are not spending money on: Individual publisher buys that are untested and do not allow you to target individual readers. 

 

3. Ad networks are pivoting their business models 

A couple of years ago, big publishers could get exclusive deals with ad networks that included monthly guarantees and insane promises for high CPMs. Shopping ad networks today is a totally different process. Ad networks across the board are not offering exclusive deals or CPM guarantees to ANY publisher. There are no promises being made.

Instead, ad networks allow you to run google search ads in any inventory they don’t sell. You are also allowed to sell ads directly if you would like.

The only benefit of joining an network today is that you get access to advertising deals you might not be able to sell yourself. 

 

4. Successful publishers are selling directly 

The only way for a publisher to make significant ad dollars in todays market is to sell programs directly. You are more likely to sell sponsored content at a premium than to meet your revenue goals through display ads, and no network can sell your content abilities better than you. 

The landscape is shifting at such a rapid pace that no one in the industry has any idea where it is going. Take your revenue streams into your own hands. Test selling various content products. Pitch different types of brands, and figure out what works best for your platform. 

Last night I hosted an hour-long live session with Rachel Rodgers, and it completely changed the way I think about packaging services. Rachel is one of the only lawyers I know that bills their clients at a flat monthly rate vs charging an insane hourly rate and charging down to the minute. 

It can seem counter intuitive to sell your services at a flat fee, so I asked Rachel why she chose to do her business this way.  It now makes complete sense to me.

Here is what she has to say:

1. It makes the client relationships better

When clients know you are billing them for every minute they spend with you, they become uninterested in making small talk or really connecting with you. They know that they are billed for every minute they are talking to you, so they are always rushing to get off the phone. 

When you are self-employed, it is essential that you build strong relationships with your existing clients. How can you do that if they are always running off the phone with you?

A flat monthly fee allows you to build stronger relationships with your clients.

2. Your cash flow becomes more manageable

Do you know the amount of time it takes to track all of your billable hours, invoice everyone on a monthly basis and then deal with any clients who might have questions about where your hours were spent.

Creating a flat fee structure saves you so much time, and your cash flow becomes much more manageable. Its easier to know how much money will be coming into your business on a regular basis.

3. It shows your expertise

The biggest legal expenses small business owners face are caused when they try to do the legal work themselves and then need to hire a lawyer to fix it. Hiring a lawyer is scary especially for startups and small businesses (the type of cmoapnies Rachel works with)

She understands what steps startups need to take to build a business that is legally sound. Rather than try to sell the client on all of her recommendations, she packages it all into the monthly fee structure.

This shows her new clients that she has a deep understanding of their business, and she knows exactly what they need. It builds a sense of trust that most lawayers struggle to maintain with their clients. 

I learned so much from hearing how Rachel organized her business. If you are interested in watching the recorded session of rachels interview you can get access here. (use discount code “SUCCESS” and get access for $25)