How Often is Too Often (Rebooted)

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This wasn’t going to be my post for the week but I had a conversation with someone that got me to thinking. You know, thinking about the stuff we do all the time because someone told us we’re SUPPOSED to do it .

While we were talking I was asked this question: When I’m marketing a program or webinar how often should I contact people to remind them to show up?

Good question. Here’s my thoughts.

  • Understand the motivation. Huh? Okay. There are a lotta people who sign up for stuff with really no intention of attending or using it as a just in case I have an open time slot…….” You can personally deliver the invitation a dozen times and even include a dozen roses and a box of chocolates and they ain’t coming. Maddening isnt it?

You may find this hard to believe and I’ll tell you up front, I am guilty of doing this from time to time, I don’t wanna hurt your feelings. Crazy, huh? I’m not coming and chances are you have a hundred people hanging on every word so you aren’t really going to miss me, but, just in case you are checking you’ll see my smiling face on the registration form! If I get caught I’ll tell you I’m gonna catch the replay.

That leads me to the second reason people register for our events and it can be semi-legitimate.

  • I’m gonna catch the replay. I am guilty as charged here. I registered for two webinars at roughly the same time this afternoon from two folks I like super admire and have absolute 10000% credibility with me. It’s like choosing between seeing The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. (Don’t judge me I’m old!) Sometimes, I’ll register in the hope of catching the replay.

Back to my friends original question. How often is too often?

  • A thank you for registering email is required. It lets me know I’m good to go and it gives me date, time and location and allows me to put it on my calendar. For us busy folks, like me and you,that’s a life saver. I can’t tell you how many times my Google alarm saved my bacon!
  • A reminder email or text the night before. I’m not foolish enough to believe that you’re just sitting around counting the hours and minutes until you get to be exposed to my wisdom. A gentle nudge the night before, is a reminder.
  • “We’re starting in an hour……” When folks register for any of my offerings I ask for a cell number. That’s so an hour before I start they’ll get a text message from me.
  • A thanks for attending or sorry you missed it email. This is just plain old polite! Maybe I’m not buying from you this time but I may in the future and I took the time to listen to you and stick around until the end of your webinar. You SHOULD thank me! If I didn’t make the live session there might be a link to the replay. Ya never know.

One word of caution. The other day I received an email wondering why I didn’t take advantage of the hosts offer. It suggested that I didn’t really see the value in their service and maybe coaching wasn’t for me. Did I know I was one of only a few people who didn’t register for the next offering,

I wrote back and told the host I have never bee motivated by guilt and never would be. If you’d like me to reconsider your offering there are other ways of doing it.

Really quick coz I know ya gotta go and I’ve gone on a whole lot longer than I intended. You may not wanna buy right now for a host of reasons. If someone doesn’t bite at your offer your email may want to contain a brief survey as to why.

What you don’t want to do is P**s me off by sending me an email three or four times a day telling me that everyone else in the world has registered, why haven’t I (Especially after I’d registered the previous day)

If I’m interested in your offering I’ll bookmark it and come back to it when I’ve made my decision or………..

Lemme share a secret.

I’ll wait until the very last moment when I see the host is getting desperate. It means they’re offering the same content at a reduced price. If that’s the case I’ll wait until the last minute to buy. But the quickest way to get rid of me for good is to bother me or try to shame me. I hazard a guess you’re not much different.

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This post has been updated from a post I published in July of 2020 on another blog of mine. With things beginning to loosen up a bit I thought it was timely.

“It Musta’ Been Easy For You…..”

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I was at a network meeting when someone told me how much they admired me and what I’d accomplished. I’ll spare you the list of accolades but suffice to say I walked away with a swollen head.

It seems they enjoyed my writing style and had developed the impression that I never made a single mistake or failure in the twenty years ( At the time ) I’d been in business for myself.

I asked them why they felt that way.

You’re able to pinpoint whats wrong with a situation and give advice on how to fix it. I just think you’re amazing. That’s a real gift.

I ran my hand through my beard for a few seconds and asked them if they really believed what they’d just said.

All those things I write about come from first hand experience. If I’d never made all of those mistakes I doubt I’d be standing in front of you today. I’m successful but I haven’t always felt that way.

I’d just told someone the Easter Bunny and Santa were not for real.

Do you wanna grab a cup of coffee?

When we sat down here’s what I shared with him

  • If it ain’t broke you ain’t trying hard enough
  • Most online business do not make it over a year.
  • Know|Like|Trust – Rinse and Repeat
  • There’s always another shiny object lurking around out there somewhere!

Have I enjoyed myself along the way? You bet!

Have I met some fascinating people? Uh-Huh!

Did I have opportunities I’d never dreamed of? Sure did!

But easy? Nah.

If it had come easy I wouldn’t appreciate things as much as I do.

I’ll give you one final pearl of wisdom to chew on

Never, ever forget the LESSONS of past experiences

There is a movement today that encourages us to blot out our past and cover it up with mantra’s, rainbows, unicorns and sunshine.

Don’t!

Our past is who we are and suggesting we forget it is akin to cutting off an arm or leg.

Learn from it and let it scare you sometimes because it’s a beacon, a sign, a whatever you wanna call it that says Don’t step there again.

Okay, I promised myself to stop here.

Listen to YOU

ALL of YOU

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“This moment. That’s what really matters, you all!” ~SHB

My friend Sara went to be with the Lord on July 31, 2020. She’d lived and struggled with stage four breast cancer for a long time. But when the time came, it came suddenly. One night we were chatting on FB Messenger, the next she was gone.

Just like that! Poof.

The first time I met her was at my oldest son’s wedding. She and her husband James were checking into the hotel and he called out my name.

Sara, this is Papa J

She turned around to shake my hand and the first thing I noticed was the tee shirt she was wearing

Yes, these are fake. The real ones tried to kill me

(((I’m going to like this person))))

When my mom died a few years later she reached out, gave me her phone number and we talked for the better part of a dreary winter afternoon. She was intuitive and a bonafide emapth without all the “Hey look at me I’m an empath.”

She was a wife and partner and the mother of five in a blended family.

I asked her what value she saw in having a friend thirty years older than she was and she said You don’t treat me like I’m dying.

Sara was a thoughtful and honest person and it showed in her writing. I saved this post she shared a few weeks before she passed

Time

It’s an annoyance most of times. Rushing to get out of the door, cursing traffic, nostrils flaring when you can’t find a parking spot. Time and moments when you wish you could just “time-out” of whatever it is in front of you. The thought of yet another surprise event you/family/kiddos MUST just go to.

Time. Time.Time slowly ticks second by second on that clock of life. And yet we as humans are so caught up with the nonsense in front of/around us. Calendars, appointments, alarms, punching the clock… Oh- but those seconds ticking away are truly what is making your life. It’s seconds turning into minutes turning into hours turning into days then months and years. Oh- how we get so lost on the timeline. Every second counts. Every minute counts. It ALL counts. Every single day. Make it worth it my friends!! Live it up with the best perspective and heart you can put forward!

Stuck in traffic? I bet you can find one of your favorite songs or a blast from the past that will make your ass smile!

Rushing? SLOW down! Stress is an enemy. Just go with the flow- you’ll enjoy whatever it is you feel rushed to get to way more!

Worrying about an upcoming event/future appointment/project? Well- worrying won’t make anything better!

Collect yourself and just breathe. Look around at THIS MOMENT. This moment. That’s what really matters you all! ~SHB

You got that one right my friend. The here, the now, is all that really matters.

So You Want to Be A Solopreneur.

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All sorts of buckets and people with helmets spent close to a week in my back yard trying to figure out why all of their gadgets, dials and collective knowledge that told my internet provider I should be connected to the internet weren’t working.

Dead as a door nail!

But lets go back to the beginning, shall we?

About four weeks ago I started noticing that I’d be typing or chatting away, not a care in the world, when all of a sudden I’d have no internet connection.

I’d unplug the modem, reheat my tea and try again. For awhile it worked. Then, the outages became more frequent and I quickly tired of walking across the room to reboot the router.

My bladder was yelling “I give” for all of the tea I’d fed it.

The next step was to call my internet provider whose recorded voice told me that due to the high volume of calls they were experiencing the average wait time was ten years.

Okay, it was forty five minutes.

It turned out to be 90 minutes and after a brief conversation I was told there were no reported outages and please call the service number and they would remotely check my connections. The cheery person on the other end told me that ninety five percent of the time it took care of the issues.

“Technology” she said with a chuckle. She would be glad to connect me. Sixty minutes later, another pleasant voice told me, wait for it, due to the high volume of calls someone would contact me in the next twenty four to forty eight hours.

With my luck it would be three in the morning.

(If I could find an MP3 with a clock ticking I’d share it.)

Two days later someone called and tested my connection. I should be connected. The diagnosis? I didn’t have a problem. I should have a internet connection.

I didn’t

The next step was to involve a senior technician who showed up on a Sunday afternoon. At this point I didn’t care if they showed up at midnight on Monday. He was outside for a long time, came in and asked me when I had the internet connection installed.

1997

Pardon me?

1997

That explains your issue. Your connection hardware or whatever it’s called was grossly out of date.

The next day the trucks and booms and people with cables and gadgets and if you are old enough to remember Arlo Guthries song Alice’s Restaurant it looked like they indeed had “shovels and rakes and other implements of destruction.”

They rewired the connection from the pole to my house. Now it was time to replace my router and modem.

But wait! The connection was blocked by a rather large and heavy china cabinet that was full of, well, full of china! I had to call a son or two, and empty the china cabinet under the very watchful eye of Joan who threatened my life if any of her family heirlooms were damaged in the process.

Two hours later my internet was restored.

Why am I telling you this?

If you work a day or night job and the internet blows up, you are still getting paid. You may have to do some busy work until it’s fixed but you’re getting paid. My business, which is almost totally online came to a grinding halt.

I’m not complaining. I’ve been there before and now I only freak out for a few hours when stuff like this happens. I created a few work around’s and most people understood my plight.

We take a lotta things for granted until they are beyond our grasp. Part of being solopreneur is not so much being prepared for this kind of stuff but being aware that in some form or fashion it will happen.

That’s why I havent posted for close to four weeks.

Oh yeah, there was a pleasant distraction. Meet Molly and Morgan who are almost 3 weeks old. My twin granddaughters!

It dawned on me that it would been a lot easier if I told you that the dog threw up on my homework!

Working Through Our Excuses (and other nonsense)

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Did I ever tell you about Ray Taylor?

I had just started my first big person job. I was 22 and hired to supervise 45 people twice my age. Ray was the superintendent on the third shift of a large tobacco factory. I was told to report to him on a Sunday night at 10:30 pm. I walked up and introduced myself and his response was We start at ten on Sunday night!

The training center told me 10:30

Who do you work for, me or the training center?

Alrighty then.

We rode a freight elevator up five floors, the doors parted and Ray said Here ya are. Your supervisor should be by in a bit.

All of these people were staring at me. Some of them had smiles on their faces that should have been accompanied by the music from Jaws.

Training and development in prehistoric times.

I learned through experience. No books or magazines. No internet. No networking groups. Just survival of the fittest.

But, I gotta tell you Ray taught me something that’s stuck with me forty five years later.

There are two kinds of people in this world. People that let things happen and people that make things happen

Ray Taylor circa 1976

I haven’t always enjoyed that reminder. Ya know, making excuses is a lot easier sometimes.

We’re in the midst of a pandemic! How do I meet potential clients and conduct my business. I’ve already sold my package to all my relatives! There is not much I can do!!! (Gloom, despair, agony on me!)

There are days I’m right there with you. I like my old tried and true ways. A bit of face-to-face- a bit on the internet. A lunch appointment every now and then. Hugs and coffee after networking events.

I mean, there’s not much I can do, is there?

There are two kinds of people in this world. People that let things happen and people that make things happen.

Sometimes, I am perfectly content to let things happen. I look to the left and look to the right and see so many other people doing what I’m doing. Misery loves company?

How do I make things happen in midst of an acute case of Zoom fatigue?

It dawned on me this weekend that I belong to a zillion Facebook groups. (I just hate to say no to anyone. I mean what will they think of me?) In those groups are the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other people.

The trick is not to burst though the door and start asking for business. The trick is to begin by being helpful to those zillion people I already know.

When you help other people get what they want, you’ll get what you want!

Zig Ziglar

What’s my endgame? Well, I want them to know I genuinely care about their success in life and in their businesses regardless of the path they take.

I want them to know that deep inside I do multiple fist pumps when they score a victory and when they scrape their knees and look a tad bit bewildered, I shed a tear with them and say a prayer for their quick recovery.

I want them to feel what I’ve felt along the way, on the path and in my journey.

I want them to know that just because I’ve got certain gifts and talents doesn’t mean I know everything.

Mostly, I want them to know that I decided long ago that I was going to be there for them when they were lost and confused because there were days no one was there for me and I know how it feels.

Somewhere in this crazy mess we exist in lies an opportunity to make things happen. I could write for days on ways to make this happen but the best advice I can lend is to find your own path on your own journey and build visibility and trust

I’m going to leave it here and let you pick it up and run with it on your own. But I have to say, the best coaching I ever received came from people I didnt identify with as coaches.

People like Ray Taylor

3 Ways to Separate the Contenders From the Pretenders

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Some mornings I’m overwhelmed.

I duck when I go to check my email. There are so many that I feel like they are going to come bursting through the screen.

Did I tell you I get overwhelmed?

Everyone wants to help me do better, be better and find the secret sauce to my very own personal success.

They all know the one true path.

I get overwhelmed.

It took awhile but I came up with something that separates the pretenders – those people who build huge email lists, use the law of attrition to make sales and don’t really care if you’re satisfied with their product or service. They’ll keep bloating their list so when you and I walk away shaking our heads someone will take our place.

They wouldn’t remember us if we were their next door neighbors.

The short version is they don’t much care. Wanna see my balance sheet? I’ll bet it’s bigger than yours!

Then, there are the contenders. They are the people who will tell you that they are not for everyone. They make no promises. Most of them have free or inexpensive services to start off with and then try to up sell you to something more thorough.

I’m gonna fight the urge to digress so start hollering if I go too far down the ole rabbit hole for too long.

Sales is not a dirty word. Neither is marketing or any of the terms that define them. Using them for evil purposes is. My suggestion is that you adopt a model like or similar to the one I use. Know | Like | Trust

We’re all in business to make money. It’s how we make that money that defines us.

Okay, back to our show.

Here are three things I use as a template to help me decide, as the CEO of my company, where I’m gong to invest my money.

They work well regardless what phase of your entrepreneurial journey you’re at.

Ask Questions

Wanna know the main reason we don’t ask more questions?

We don’t wanna look stupid.

Yeah really.

The guru or savior often speaks in a language that reminds us of the dialogue from Wayne’s World. We don’t understand. We wont ask questions because, I mean, they are an expert. Otherwise they wouldn’t have the fancy web site and blog and YouTube channel. We accept their word as gospel and hand over our money and when the hype doesn’t meet our expectations we blame ourselves because obviously the wouldn’t be the expert if their process didn’t work for everyone.

Know what I mean Vern?

So we write the check, make the transfer, or activate the old credit card and pretty soon we realize that what we purchased wasn’t what we were looking for.

At all.

But, rather than sit back and ask us what we might have done differently we immediately blame ourselves.

Do I need to go on?

True story.

A few weeks back I saw a FB add that interested me. So I responded to the posting with a series of questions. I noticed after a few days that more and more people were asking questions as well. They all got answered.

That’s all well and good John but I mean you can SAY anything.

Yup, ya can. Just hold on K? If you need the answer right now, skip the next section and read Trust Your Intuition.

If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for, no matter how famous the program is, it’s time to move on.

Sorta the soap and water of purchasing – Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware

Beware of Affiliate Marketing – Read the Fine Print

Did I ever tell you I was a tad bit naive? I am.

I used to believe that all of these six and seven figure coaches made their money coaching and writing books.

I found that they didn’t when I discovered what affiliate marketing programs are. I’ll give you the short version.

You have a product or service you want to market and sell but you are not only a CEO but a coach or trainer or whatever. You’re not going to gain any traction if you spend all your time working 1 to 1 or marketing on social media. So you approach me and ask me how large my email list is. (I’m devoting one future blog to the insanity email lists CAN create if you don’t use them properly.) Then you make me an offer I can’t refuse!

If I share your product or program with my community you’ll pay me a fee for every person that takes advantage of your offer. The larger my list, the more successful my business or practice, the more potential income that’s available to me. It’s known as passive income.

Here’s the catch:

I know many coaches who are credible and honest and all that good stuff we all started out being. They make the programs that work through affiliate marketing available to their email lists, but they’re not a condition of working with them as your coach.

Then you have the folks who make the things they’re marketing for someone else, a condition of being part of their process. You have to use certain pieces of software, or subscribes to a podcast or a Vlog.

It called double dipping.

Oh, their nothing illegal about it but I believe it’s more than just a bit unethical

Lets say I pay you to teach me how to change the oil in my car. Once we begin you give me an Oh by the way. You wont get anything out of this training unless you purchase XYZ

Just so happens that you’re an affiliate for XYZ. So I buy XYZ. Now I’ve paid you to teach you how to change my oil and you’re getting a kick back on the book you’re hawking.

Please note: this is a really simply explanation of affiliate marketing.

That’s why, I suggest if you skipped over my first point Ask Questions go back and read it!

Trust Your Intuition

What can I say.

The first three times I asked Joan out I spilled a beverage on her – Beer, iced tea and water. Great start, huh?

Midway through our second date I KNEW we were going to get married. Everything fit. Thank goodness she felt the same way and we are still together forty seven years, six children, four grandchildren, (soon to be seven grandchildren) and assorted pets later.

We were both twenty years old which meant legally we weren’t supposed to drink at our own wedding. I was a janitor and she was a nurses aid. We had a whole six months alone before she told me one afternoon our oldest was on his way.

Our intuition told us it was the right move.

You can read all the blogs, watch all the videos, ask all the questions and listen to all of the gurus, but in the end if feels right it’s right. If it don’t it ain’t.

Do you get the feeling we over complicate life at times?

People on both sides of our families said it wouldn’t last. It did.

So the next time you get ready to make a decision – Ask questions, read the fine print and trust your intuition.

That’s it for this week.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Lat week I said I was gonna give you five things. I only delivered three. I was able to say what I wanted to say in three points.

Before You Drink the Kool-Aid Read the Fine Print.

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What made you decide to become a full time coach?

Good question.

I started my career as a solopreneur doing human resource consulting in 1999. It paid the bills but it wasn’t my passion. An experience I had with a client affected me so deeply that it sent me on a path to try to help other people the same traps.

I could say the shiny object syndrome and leave it there. But you know me. If there’s a sermon to be preached I’ll preach it.

One morning, I got a phone call that’s every consultants dream. Someone cold called me! Wanted to meet with me to talk about my helping his business! He’s been around for a few years and needed some help. If I could meet the next morning, we’d ink a deal and get started.

Lesson #1: Anything too good to be true, usually is!

I was on cloud nine. (Maybe even ten, eleven or twelve.) I was so excited that I even got up early, prepared my sales pitch and drank a lotta tea. I was ready to rock and roll!

When we sat down to talk he shoved two binders in front of me each with a DVD in each of them.

Take these and watch them and tell me what you think.

It seems he’d attended a convention and one of the company’s in the resource mart was running a special on business development. Did I say for a limited time only?

Wanna know what else?

This program worked for everyone regardless of industry. It was endorsed by experts and if you purchased it right there, on the spot, (I imagined this big X taped on the floor) they’d knock 50% off of the price.

Wanna know what else?

They’d be there holding your hand and cheering you on each step of the way. From 800 miles away. Think the year 2000. No Zoom, limited internet and email.

When he told me what he’d paid for the program I almost fell off of my chair. (Mostly from envy!)

Annnnnnnnd…………….. He didnt have a whole lotta money left to pay me. Could I take the program he had and make it work.

Uhm, no.

Lesson #2: There’s no business like your business!

Contrary to popular belief and the experts, your business is as unique as your DNA.

Yeah, but John there are a million life coaches out there. We all do the same thing.

Not really.

Lemme put it this way. There are millions of people with red hair and freckles and while you may share that with them you’re not exactly alike. Think about it for a few seconds. There’s a red head with freckles that may stand out to you. – Just one, not the millions that exist in the world. That’s who you remember when you think about red heads with freckles.

That’s the secret of entrepreneurial success, to stand out. To get brand recognition. Call it what you will.

I think we get it bassackwards. Everybody and their ancestors starts with what type of advice?

Anyone, anyone?

I’ll tell you. They start with, wait for it, Your Ideal Customer

Every seminar, webinar, YouTube video and comic book I’ve ever read begins with YOUR Ideal Customer. You may see a market for those folks and you may be 1000% correct but if the process you use to cultivate them and ultimately make a sales proposition to them with doesn’t reflect their values and beliefs you’ll walk away without a sale.

That’s why you’re in the marketplace right? To make money – Dinero, dough-ray-me, etc. If money’s not your end game then I’d suggest you join a monastery. You’re not an entrepreneur. You’re a do-gooder and we need do-gooders, don’t get me wrong.

You put your personal imprint on what you do and people follow you, build a relationship with you and ultimately buy from you because your message and your way of communicating that message resonates with them.

We’re all saying the same thing. We’re all red heads with freckles. Each of us puts our unique spin on things.

Lesson #3: Embrace the Fifth Agreement.

You’re familiar with the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, right?

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always do your best

Did you know he added a Fifth Agreement a little bit later.

  • Be skeptical, but learn to listen

Online marketing isn’t any different than face-to-face marketing. I’m gonna convince you that I have something you don’t have or something you really need so you can sit at the cool kids lunch table. There is an exception. You may never meet me or know me or have lunch with me. You’re operating on faith. Your faith is cultivated by folks known as copy writers who get paid a kings ransom to keep you on the hook. They are experts at parsing language together in a way that by the time they hit you with a call to action you’re running around your office yelling “Yes, yes, yes!! Give it to me!!! I need it!!!”

And we buy it. And sometimes we pay a whole bunch of money to buy it and when we get it, it’s not what we expected.

Now, the people who sold it to us mostly know we aren’t going to admit to buying on impulse. We’d be too embarrassed to let the rest of the world know we’re just like them. So we take the program, stick it in a folder in the cloud and sit around for a few days telling ourselves how damned stupid we are.

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always do your best

Did you know he added a Fifth Agreement a little bit later.

  • Be skeptical, but learn to listen

Online marketing isn’t any different than face-to-face marketing. I’m gonna convince you that I have something you don’t have or something you really need so you can sit at the cool kids lunch table. There is an exception. You may never meet me or know me or have lunch with me. You’re operating on faith. Your faith is cultivated by folks known as copy writers who get paid a kings ransom to keep you on the hook. They are experts at parsing language together in a way that by the time they hit you with a call to action you’re running around your office yelling “Yes, yes, yes!! Give it to me!!! I need it!!!”

And we buy it. And sometimes we pay a whole bunch of money to buy it and when we get it, it’s not what we expected.

Now, the people who sold it to us mostly know we aren’t going to admit to buying on impulse. We’d be too embarrassed to let the rest of the world know we’re just like them. So we take the program, stick it in a folder in the cloud and sit around for a few days telling ourselves how damned stupid we are.

Some of us spend a whole bunch of money doing this dont we?

The Fifth Agreement? It tells us to be skeptical but to listen. Know what you’re buying. Its not the glitz and glitter. It’s stuff you really need to advance your business.

Despite all of hyperbole you are a business owner and your chief task is to make decisions that have a positive influence on your business. If you are out chasing butterflies it’s not going to happen.

And…………….. you don’t have to be a newbie to fall into this trap.

I have dozens of times until I began taking my own advice.

Yes, I know it’s hard for you to believe that I fell prey to the shiny object syndrome. I did. More than once, until I learned that the money I’d spent getting nothing in return could have either been banked for a future investments or spent more wisely elsewhere.

I’m lucky. I survived. I know so many who didn’t.

Okay, that’s all for now. Next week, I’m gonna give you five things you can do to give you a clearer picture of what you want to buy.

See ya

A Moment of Clarity

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Have you ever heard the story about the people of Israel who wandered in the desert for forty years trying to find a home?

Did you know that from Point A to Point B was roughly a ten day trip in a straight line?

Do you know anyone who walks in a straight line?

I don’t .

I mostly zig and zag and then back track, stall, procrastinate, pray, curse, pray more, curse more, think about quiting, curse the fates and rinse and repeat.

It’s not too often that I have a moment of clarity. I walk around in a fog mostly mumbling about my bad luck and asking God to shine a light in front of me so my path is clear.

I’ve been struggling for 21 years, Struggling with one question.

What is it you do, John?

Oh, I’ve answered the question in sentences and paragraphs, complete with graphs, testimonials, SEO and all that other marketing heeby – jeeby stuff. But let me ask you something. Have you ever walked away from an experience and feel les than satisficed? Like you’re wandering in the desert for forty years or so?

If you’ve been a solopreneur for any length of time you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know yet, no worries. Your day is coming.

Anyways, a few weeks ago the admin of a Facebook group I’m in asked the question What is is you do?

Shit. That question again.

This time though God, the Universe, my sprit guides, angels and ancestors………… gave me a sliver of clarity and a valuable lesson.

To help other people; especially those people who didn’t have all the advantages I’ve had.

The clouds parted, the thunder ceased and just for a brief moment everything was in harmony.

Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I’ve always done!

So, here is my mindfulness experience for this past week:

Clarity comes when and where it chooses. Forcing it only makes it tarry a bit longer. The harder you push the harder it digs in.

Clarity is a gift. It is not a process. When we try to turn clarity into a workshop, seminar, or webinar, we come up short. It cant be taught. It has to be experienced.

Forty seven dollars and a workbook do not provide us with clarity in our lives or our businesses, regardless of what the “Poohroos” tell us. Clarity comes from living life.

I’m qualified to do a lotta things but what I do best is help other people especially those folks who didn’t have all of the opportunities in life I’ve had. It’s the marginalized people, the forgotten, the ridiculed.

Yeah them people, and right now, everything seems pretty damned clear to me.

What is it you do? I’m anxious to know.

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Three Things That Can Ease Your “Sales Pitch Anxiety”

When I started my coaching and consulting business twenty one years ago, the only thing I knew about sales was how to spell it. All of my career had been spent in operations and human resource management which meant everything I ever needed was purchased for me by someone else.

I was the proverbial babe in the woods.

Somehow I’d developed the notion that my enthusiasm, award winning smile and boyish good looks were more than enough. I’d sit in your office as long as it took for me to convince you that I was “your guy.”

You’d get as excited as I was about working with me and the next thing you know I was scurrying toward my car waving the purchase order so the ink dried in a hurry.

In short order I learned what “low hanging fruit” was. Most of these sales came from referrals and those referrals would tell me to make sure “I use their name when I walked in.”

(Here all the time I thought it was me.)

I ran out of those confidence building sales calls pretty quick.

I realized I had to quit depending on the kindness of strangers.

I’m driving down the road one day and I started thinking about how much I despised sales people when I was the guy whos office they were camped out in. By the time I got home I’d made a covenant with myself that contained a list of things I wasn’t gonna do if I was ever in their shoes. I came up with three things that would improve my chances of making a successful sale.

Be memorable.

When I was a human resource director I’d probably meet with ten people each week who were going to take me to the promised land. I’d listen politely, take their card and literature and send them on their way. Rarely, if ever, did I follow up.

Oh, there may have come a time I needed them.

I just didn’t remember them.

They never had a chance to get my business.

They were vanilla. – Vanilla like everyone else.

When I started making sales calls for myself I kept that in mind.

Lemme tell you a story

I was in the middle of one of those “dead end calls.” That means I was filling time on someone’s calendar. Every pitch I gave was was answered with a “We have someone who does that!”

I’m packing up my emotional brief case when I noticed something on his desk.

“I noticed you were getting ready to do “blah, blah, blah.”

“Yeah but I have someone who does that…”

“No, I’m telling you that you don’t have to do it. They changed the regulation about a month ago. “

I reached into my brief case and pulled out a tattered two page report I’d printed out, sorta smudged and handed it to him.

He picked up his phone, dialed a number and asked the person on the other end if what he was reading was true.

I got the answer a few seconds later when he bellowed into the phone, “Then how the hell come am I finding this out from a sales man!”

A few months later my phone rang. He didnt bother saying hello. He asked me if I had familairity with a certain process. Would I be interested in doing it for them.

I told him I’d prepare a quote and he left me with this tid bit:

“Oh yeah. Here is the maximum amount I can sign for on my own name before I have to get approval.”

The guy on the other end? It was the guy I’d helped out a few months earlier. He remembered me because I helped him and didn’t ask for anything in return. . I did business with them for the next 13 years.

Be creative

John, what’s the difference between creative and memorable?

Being creative gets you remembered. That means you learn to take advantage of a situation and help someone else create a positive out come and you do it with No. Strings. Attached.

Being creative means you are taking an approach that’s not traditional. Some people call it thinking outside the the box. Others refer to themselves as an outlier. Whatever term you are using, think in terms of doing something unique, something a potential client wants to know more about.

Because really? Let’s swallow a whole large dose of truth serum! How many emails, phone calls or snail mails do you get that say the same thing only they are in a different package?

Quite a few.

I believe that you cant be memorable until you learn to be creative.

Don’t have a creative bone in my body John!

Stop and think about a time when you really nailed something and did the whole six inch leap off the floor and punctuated it with a fist pump. That’s being creative. You connected with an audience or an individual who booked a follow up call with you or signed a nice, juicy contract with you and you know there were at least five other people bidding for the same client.

You got creative! You may have only changed one word or phrase in your pitch but it was the one word that resonated with your client.

You know your business. You know how to create success. There are all kinds of ways to flex your creative muscle. Just make sure that when you do, you’re being authentic! (See point #3 below.)

To thine own self be true.

In case you haven’t noticed by now I could be locked up for fracturing the English language. I speak what’s known as “Southside of Milwaukee.”

True story.

Joan and I were at a large family gathering a few years back when I was approached by two women who asked me if I were John Jurkiewicz. It seems they followed one of my blogs. As we talked, one of the women clapped her hands together and let out a small laugh. She turned to her friend and said “OMG, he talks exactly how he writes.”

Yup I do. It’s who I am. When you and I talk you are getting the authentic me.

Lemme get all business like for a second.

I really don’t like talking bout “my ideal client.” You and I are going to make the most critical of critical decisions concerning our relationship during our first conversation.

It’s not all about price, delivery and content. If you don’t get the warm fuzzy from me you’ll avoid me like the Covid-19.

Life is way to short to mess around with game playing and tactics that evaporated forty years ago.

To thine own self be true. – Be comfy in your own skin.

Think KNOW | LIKE | TRUST. It’s how every relationship is established. I have to decide if I really want to get to know you. I gotta tell you, and I’ll know you’ll find this hard to swallow but my style and approach turns some people off. (I know hard to believe.) I am formally informal which means I’ll take a shower before we meet but if it’s too hot out you get me in shorts and colorful tee shirt! I’m a very direct person whose enthusiasm rivals that of a 100 pound dog knocking you down and licking your face. I’ll tell you what I think and feel and I dont always wrap it with a bow.

Why? Well I’d hate to see you make a mistake you otherwise may not have to make.

A few years ago I connected with someone leaving the corporate world to start a business in food service. They took great pains to tell me that their last position was VP of Marketing for their company. They didn’t need any marketing help.

My response was to ask two questions: Have you ever worked in food service? They responded no! My next question Do you have the resources to hire someone who can guide you in marketing the food service arena? Again the answer was No. They added they knew marketing inside out.

It got quiet

I’m not your guy!

Pardon me?

I’m not your guy. You’ve already decided you know everything about everything and you’d be wasting your money working with me.

Unfortunately for them, the business lasted six months and they ran out of money.

Once you Know me, you have to Like me. I’m a coach so that means you are buying my wisdom and expertise. If you cant stand being in the same room with me, am I ever gonna be able to help you out? I’ll answer that question NO!!

The final piece in that equation is Trust.

I’ve been going through some medical issues for the past year or so. Nothing life threatening but stuff that happens as I age. It’s annoying and I’m the kinda guy that always needs to know why. I need to have a plan and I need a prognosis – How long, how severe, etc.

My primary care provider sent me to a specialist who I felt, at times, contradicted what she, the primary care doc had set out as a course of treatment. Clear as mud?

I had a follow up visit with the primary care doc the other day. I walked in all anxious and nervous and when I walked out relaxed, focused and reassured. I wont give you a blow by blow but she fine tuned a few things and gave me a preview of what to expect. She didnt do a lot different than the specialist she sent me to.

There was something that made the difference. I trust her. She’s been my doctor for 2 years and in that time I have come to trust her for a variety of reasons.

The reasons aren’t rally important. The trust factor is.

My sales pitch? It revolves around needs versu wants. I help my clients scrape away all the the surface stuff that glitters and glows and I teach them to decide what they NEED.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew6:5

Never mind what the guru’s say about sprinkling your web site and blog posts with testimonials. It doesn’t matter what someone else thought of me. It matters what YOU think and whether you trust me.

The short version Money talks and B.S walks.

Know | Like | Trust

Okay, one final thing.

These three things are not be any means the only three things that make a successful sales pitch but they are important ingreeidnets.

I’d love to hear your comments, or feedback. Just put them in the comments section below.

Oh yeah, I forgot please subscribe to my blog. I’d appreciate you if you do.

Yes, I know! There is no call to action, no free offer or special program. I’m working on that.

I mean, do you bring an engagement ring on a first date? (Gosh, I sure hope not)

See ya next week.