Why you absolutely, positively, NEED to start playing the “long ‘con’”

Why you absolutely, positively, NEED to start playing the “long ‘con’”
 
I can hear you now, “What? Did he just say what I think he said?”
 
So let me explain something real quick.
 
The #2 reason people don’t buy from you is because they don’t trust you. (i.e. they don’t have confidence in you, your product, your company, etc.)
 
AND…
 
What most people don’t know is that back in the day “con” stood for “confidence”
 
(there’s more to the amazing history than this, but that’s a post for another day. Let’s proceed.)
 
And “Long Con” meant that they took a long time to build up your confidence.
 
(As opposed to merely trying to steal your watch and get the heck out of there before you realized it)
 
So how the heck can this help you, as a business owner?
 
Well…
 
First things first.
 
You’re not a “con artist” as in you’re not stealing from people.
 
You provide an extremely valuable and beneficial product and service.
 
And yet we can use the idea of “playing the long con” to your benefit.
 
Don’t steal!
 
Do…
 
Take your time to build a really good relationship with your prospects.
 
Don’t try and rush things so fast that you scare them off before you can even help them.
 
Instead…
 
Invest in them.
 
Get to know them.
 
What are their dreams?
What are their desires?
What are their sticking points in life?
 
And then…
 
If you can help them: Do!
 
Because if you can help someone and you don’t, you’re leaving them worse off than before they met you.
 
Why?
 
Because you’ve taken up their most precious resource.
 
Time.
 
If you weren’t going to do all in your power to help them (again, provided you CAN help them) then don’t rob them of their time.
 
Let them go somewhere else.
 
AND…
 
If you can’t help them… let them know ASAP as well.
 
But…
 
As a reminder:
 
If you can help them. Take your time to build that relationship, to build that trust, to find out what they want and need
 
And then…
 
Give them that transformation in their life!
 
That’s how you build Win-Win client relationships that last a lifetime.

Help! My Advertising Isn’t Working, What Do I Do?

“HELP! My ads aren’t working, what do I do?”

I see posts like this all over facebook and I get emails asking me the same thing. And so it’s time to do something about it. 

I’ve been there before and it’s frustrating.

You’re working really hard to build your agency and it sucks when you can’t get the results you want for your clients.

So I wanted to take a minute to share something I learned when I was building my first agency to $1MM/year. (We were in the personal injury lawyer marketing niche, in case you’re interested. Niching does work 🙂 )

Anywho…    

On with the show.

The #1 reason people don’t “buy” your offer is because they don’t want what you have to offer.

They simply are NOT interested.

(I’ll share the #2 reason with you in a min, but first let’s fix the #1 reason.)

There are two things that cause this.

Let’s start with the easiest to fix first.

Can you guess what it is?

If you said “I’m getting in front of too many people that simply do NOT want my offer” you’d be correct.

Another word for that is “Targeting”

Simply Put: Your targeting is off.

Sometimes this is because facebook removed your targeting options (I have a fix for this BTW)

Sometimes it’s because you or your client is in a teeny city.

Sometimes it’s because you’re going after what everyone else is going after and so “supply” is limited.

Here’s how you fix your targeting problems.

You have to think of the person outside of your service or product offering. They are a whole human being.

They have thoughts, dreams, desires, and worries that extend past what you’re selling.

So think about them like that.

What magazines do they read?

What associations do they belong to?

What organizations are they members of?

What do they do on the weekends?

What memberships do they have? (golf, netflix, costco)

What type of car are they most likely to drive?

Are they married? Divorced? Separated? Single?

Do they have kids? No Kids?

Etc.

ALL of those things can be used to put together a complete picture of your ideal client and then you can use “out of the box” targeting to get in front of them.

For Example: a married woman who just had a baby might shop at target.

Well, if you or your client is a massage therapist, day spa, yoga studio, or chiropractor then you know this woman is likely having back pain from her pregnancy.

So you could target her in a “round about” way that none of your competition is using to get in front of her.

BUT…

Now that we have her attention we have to convert her into a lead.

And that’s the 2nd thing we have to fix here.

The reason your people are not converting is because YOU’RE NOT GIVING THEM SOMETHING THEY ACTUALLY WANT.

Most of the posts that aren’t working are giving them a discount on services. Or a discounted assessment.

Don’t get me wrong, that “can” work.

However…

That requires that the person was ALREADY thinking about buying what you’re offering.

Most of the people you get in front of aren’t thinking about buying what you offer. If they were they’d be over on Google typing in their search term.

So now what do we do?

Let’s brainstorm some ideas so you can solve this problem once and for all.

The easiest thing to give them is information. A recording, an ebook, a physical book, a free report or guide, etc.

Let’s go back (no pun intended) to our new mother with back pain, what could we offer her that would generate a lead for our client?

How about:

“5 stretches you can do to reduce lower back back for new moms”

or

“4 exercises you can do at home to reduce lower back pain.”

or

“3 massage techniques your partner can use on you to reduce your back pain.”

Anyone who downloads something like that:

1. has back pain

and

2. What’s to get rid of their “back pain”

Sounds like THE PERFECT client for a chiropractor, day spa, yoga studio, or massage therapist doesn’t it?

“But I don’t work with chiropractors, day spas, yoga studios, or massage therapists” I can hear you saying.

OK ok ok, let’s see if we can help you out too.

How about:

Auto mechanic:

“3 things you can do to up the resale value of your car by $1000 this weekend.”

or

“What the auto-dealer mechanics don’t want you to know”

or

“What auto insurance companies wish you never found out.”

Wouldn’t those help us get owners of cars as leads that we could market to over and over again?

I thought so too.

You want more?

OK, how about this…

Real Estate Agents:

“How to increase your home’s value by $10,000 this weekend without spending more than $200.”

or

“How to sell your house fast without paying all those fees”

This is fun, let’s do another one…

Cosmetic Dentist:

“How to have a movie star smile that will look like you just stepped off the big screen.”

or

“5 foods to never eat if you want that movie star smile”

That should get your juices flowing.

If you have an industry that I didn’t cover and you want some more help just drop it in the comments below and we can brainstorm some ideas.

You’ve got this!

PS – If you found this useful just let me know and I’ll dig up more “from the trenches” lessons to share with y’all.

4 Tips To Help You Outsource Faster, Better & More Efficiently

In last week’s article, we looked at the importance of outsourcing and that you shouldn’t give up just because it doesn’t work the first time.

In this week’s article, I’d like to help you recognize some of the stumbling blocks and some of the solutions that have worked for myself and some of my clients/students/friends in the past.

Why do these things happen, anyway?

Tip #1: Most of the time the reason your outsourced project doesn’t work well is because you hired the wrong person (in other words, “the first person you come across”.)

If, in your excitement, you hire the first person you find, chances are you have hired the wrong person for the job.

You need to “hire slow” and “fire fast”.

What this means is you need to take the time to fill the position.

You’re hopefully going to be using this person more than once, or bringing them on part-time or full-time, so make sure they are a good fit before giving them work.

 

Tip #2: A second common problem is that people just don’t apply for your job. Most of the time this is because you put too much detail in your job posting, trying to attract the correct prospect.

I like to keep my job posting fun and light. I recommend you give just enough information to get the best prospects.

Then once I get them in the “door”, I give them the full project description and let them filter themselves out.

If you give too much info too soon, you can overwhelm people and they won’t even apply for your job.

NOTE: I’m talking about outsourcing to temporary contractors. If I’m hiring someone in-house I want to push them away with more info because they are about to become an integral part of my team.

 

Tip #3: Here’s another issue I hear all the time: “The person I hired just disappeared!” This can happen for a number of different reasons.

 

It could be you’re not paying them enough, they got a better offer, they’re having issues at home or with their other job, or maybe they took on too much work and can’t get to your project.

Many times they don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they just disappear.

You can minimize this by telling them in the beginning to be open and honest with you and to always communicate fully with you.

If they don’t communicate well at the start it might be time to move on to the next worker on your list. (you do have a list right?)

 

Tip #4: The last reason I’ll cover today is that many project don’t work out simply because your directions aren’t clear enough.

Remember that you need to spell everything out very clearly and concisely.

Make timeframes if necessary, or take screen casts of what results you are after. Make sure you could hand this to a 12-year-old, and they’d be able to understand exactly what you’re looking to have done.

In fact, that’s a great exercise… give the instructions to someone who would never be able to do the task, and see where they get hung up. Is it on simple things? If so re-write the job so anyone could do it.

If you have had any of these experiences in the past, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section. ALSO leave feedback if you have some solutions that work for you that I may have missed.

Do You Have A Business? Or A Job?

I read a quote the other day and it got me thinking. It went something like this:

“If you can’t afford the people to run the business for you, all you have is a job.” The author then went on to say, “I needed to get good people in here to do this for me. I couldn’t keep hiring people at as close to minimum wage as possible.”

The first part of the quote is so valuable and provides us with the first stumbling block most people face:

“If you can’t afford to pay people…”

If you can’t afford to pay people, you need to be honest with yourself. You have a job, not a business. Many people I talk to don’t realize that if they just paid someone else to do certain things, they’d be freed up to get more clients (or something equally important) and thus make more money. Maybe the real quote should be: “You can’t NOT afford to pay someone to do work for you.”

There is more gold in that quote, however, and it’s the second part. It’s actually only two words, but those two words really makes a huge difference:

“…good people…”

If you’re going to hire people to do your tasks for you, which you totally should do, you need to make sure they are “good people”.

Many of the people I’ve coached on the importance of outsourcing try it… but then give up because the person they hired didn’t do the job right, or couldn’t follow directions, or they flaked out and didn’t finish the task.

The owner then felt like they never should have outsourced in the first place. (The old, “I should have just done it myself, it would have been easier, and it would have been done correctly.”)

Most of them just goes back to doing it themselves. This by the way is the wrong solution.

We know outsourcing is important and that it will save/make us more money, so next week we’re going to look at how we can solve this problem.

Please help me out and leave a comment about your outsourcing successes and (if you’re like me) failures. I’d love to try and address some of these in my next article.

Systems – harder, better, faster, stronger.

Two of my favorite things are marketing and creating systems that let me market online (as Daft Punk would say) harder, better, faster, stronger.

“Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.”
― Albert Einstein

So assuming you, like me, enjoy systems that help you get more done, in an organized fashion, let’s take a shallow dive into the world of systems using a real world example.

A friend of mine called me up two weeks ago and she had to hire a new assistant. I asked if she had a system to help her with the process (because I just happen to have one) and of course she said, “no.”

I directed her to my webinar that outlines the system I use and told her to watch it. She decided that wasn’t the “best use” of her time and that she’d just do it herself. So here’s what happened:

1. She had to slog through a bunch of emails and see if they followed directions. (at least 50-100 emails)

2. Download their resumes and remember who they belonged to. (that’s a lot of resumes)

3. Read said resumes and see if they meet the qualifications set forth. (Who wants to read all of that?)

4. Pick out the best resumes.

5. Schedule interviews with these people. (that required some back and forth)

6. Hold the interviews.

7. Make a decision on who she wanted to hire.

8. Hire someone.

Whew… I’m exhausted just writing all of that out. I can’t imagine if I had to actually DO all of that. What if you had a hiring system that would allow you to cut out the first 4 steps and automate all of that? That’s where the bulk of the work comes from.

With the system I use, I set up email filters and auto-responders so, I don’t even know the person is there until they’ve jumped through 2 different hoops. This weeds out a lot of the “tire kickers” or those that can’t follow directions.

Imagine only having to read 10-15 emails, instead of 100. How much time would that save? Then imagine if you had a Google Form where the person answer questions that you really want to know the answer to. That’s the next step in the process. They fill out the form and you score them based on their answers. Everyone is all in the same place so you can compare them really easily.

Then you pick out only the best and set up an interview (I use Skype for this.) I send everyone to a booking link on Doodle.com and let them pick the best time for them (out of the choices I give them) so I don’t have to set anything up.

Then I hold the interviews and pick the best person. Viola. Done.

This process takes about 1 week to get everything done, BUT you know what? It runs in the background while I’m getting actual work finished. Had my friend taken 1 hour to watch the video and then set up the system she could have kept working on closing deal, getting new clients, and making more money.

This is the power of systems.

By the way if you’d like to learn the system I use to hire new staff (everyone from writers, to designers, to developers) let me know in the comments section and maybe I’ll throw together a webinar teaching you exactly how.

Outsourcing… Where Do I Begin?

In my article, Hire The Smile, I shared some advice I received from my first mentor… how important a smile is when you are hiring people. This is perfect if you’re hiring long-term employees, but it’s a little more difficult when it comes to finding outsourced workers.

It CAN, however, be done!

Today I’m going to talk about a few of the various places you can go to hire outsourced workers and also cover some of the pros and cons of each as I’ve worked with them over the years.

oDesk   UpWork

oDesk UpWork (formerly “oDesk”) is one of the largest online workplaces where you can go to hire freelance workers for everything from data entry, research, graphic design, web dev, etc.

Pros of oDesk UpWork:

  • A huge pool of very talented people to chose from that will work within your “reasonable” budget.
  • They have qualification testing that workers can go through to prove their skill level.
  • Can invite highly qualified people to work on your projects.
  • Can get work turned around very quickly.
  • Can hire the same worker over and over again.
  • They have the ability to track the work that’s being done.

Cons of oDesk UpWork

  • If your project is an open listing, you’ll get a lot of low quality leads/bids.
  • Sometimes agencies will apply for your job so it’s more difficult to build a relationship with the worker.
  • Miscommunications with your worker (this really isn’t an oDesk issue, but rather an issue that many business owners have when they are trying to outsource work).

Overall: I love using oDesk and have used it for many different projects, especially with web dev projects, design projects, and responsive theme projects. It really helps if you already have an idea about what you need for your project. It also helps if you already have some people to invite to your project.

Fiverr

Fiverr is a really popular task-style website where all the jobs are $5 only. You can get a ton of different tasks filled.

Pros of Fiverr:

  • It’s super cheap to get work done… always only $5!
  • There can be some very talented people out there (the proverbial ‘diamond in the rough’).
  • You can find things that you never thought of before (like a video intro from a puppet, or a calligraphy “Thank you” letter to your favorite client.)
  • There are a lot of people to choose from.

Cons of Fiverr:

  • Sometimes your work doesn’t get completed (but hey you’re only out $5 and your time spent… try again with someone else.)
  • There are a lot of junk jobs on there (like SEO, link building, FB Fan building, etc). Stay away from these types of jobs as they will only hurt your site.)
  • It can be a time suck because you have to fish through a lot of garbage to find the gold.
  • It’s usually difficult to scale these types of jobs, because the worker wants more than the initial $5.

Overall: I like using Fiverr, but I don’t really trust using it for client projects as much. I use it for fun things… like one-off stuff for my own personal use.

PeoplePerHour

Pros of PeoplePerHour:

  • It’s like a combo of Fiverr (job descriptions) and oDesk (available projects).
  • There’s a really good talent pool to choose from.
  • They have a good ratings system.
  • The turn around is really fast.
  • They have an iPhone app so you can check your jobs, create a listing, etc, on the go.

Cons of PeoplePerHour:

  • I’m still new to using PPH so I don’t have any issues to point out at this time.

Overall: This is my new “go to” website for outsourcing tasks and projects. I’ve had great results and received some amazing work. I’ve also built up some relationships with workers, so I can go straight to them (through PPH) to see if they want to work on my project.

99Designs

Pros of 99Designs:

  • There are AMAZING designers on this site.
  • Relatively inexpensive costs in the long run.
  • People compete to win your project.
  • You get to see the designs all up front (while your contest is running) and then chose the best one.
  • You can give feedback and have them make tweaks to their design until you’re happy (while your contest is running).

Cons of 99Designs:

  • There are a lot of add-on costs to get your full project up and running.
  • If you get a high response to your contest, you’ll have to spend a lot of time going through all the designs and leaving feedback. This can eat up a lot of time. (A few projects I ran took full days just going back and forth with feedback for all the various designers.)

Overall: 99Designs was great to use for design projects in the past, but for me it takes too much work going back and forth with all the different designers. I’d rather just hire one or two and see who does a better job on a simple task, then hire the best one for my full project.

Digital Point Forums

Pros of Digital Point Forums:

  • Can run contests for really reasonable rates.
  • Can get really fast turnaround.
  • Some really talented people in the mix.

Cons of Digital Point Forums:

  • You basically have to pay to be able to post in the contest section. (You have to join the site.)
  • You have to take the good with the bad in terms of work.
  • It takes a lot of time to filter through all the various forum sections to find good workers.
  • You have to be careful that you’re not getting copyright protected content.

Overall: An excellent resource. I use it for quick small contests like logos, simple designs, etc. I can usually get them done fast and really reasonable in price.

Amazon’s Mturk

Pros of Amazon’s Mturk:

  • Can have small tasks done by a lot of different people all over the world.
  • Can run batch projects and get a lot done in a short amount of time.
  • Really great prices.
  • A huge pool of people to pull from.
  • Great for repetitive projects that you need done over and over again.

Cons of Amazon’s Mturk:

  • You’ll get people that don’t follow directions, because they are just trying to make the small amount of money you offer and then move on.
  • You have to filter out the low-quality worker and block them from your future tasks.
  • You need to be careful that you’re getting original work. Some people will try to be tricky and use copy/paste work.

Overall: MTurk is an amazing platform that has the ability to get a lot of work done in small amounts of time. It’s great to use for repetitive work, but you have to make sure to boot people that are not producing good results.

CraigsList

Pros of CraigsList:

  • Can hire part-time or full-time employees.
  • A great resource to find very talented workers.
  • You can use CraigsList in your local area as well as overseas. (Hint: CL has a Philippines section.)
  • Can get really competitive rates especially if you try posting your ad in different locations.

Cons of CraigsList:

  • You’ll get a lot of people who didn’t actually read your job listing before applying for your job.
  • There are definitely some crazies on there. (Have any good stories? Share them in the Comments!)
  • It takes time to filter through all the applications, unless of course you have a filtering system. (NOTE: We just happen to have one for you here: http://marketersbraintrust.com/findwriters/.)

Overall: I use CraigsList to hire employees all the time! Using it in conjunction with the filtering process allows me to have an almost hands-off hiring process. I’ve found some amazing writers, designers and developers on CraigsList over the years.

Honorable Mentions that you’re more than welcome to go explore on your own (and let me know how you like them in the Comments below, okay?)

For Writers:

These are just a few of my thoughts and some of the sites that I use on a regular basis. If you have any good sites to suggest, please do so in the Comments section below.

Feel free to ask any questions you have as well as comment on any successes or failures you’ve had with outsourcing work.

Could your workflows use an Obvious-ectemy?

Are you having trouble handing your work off to someone else? Do you find that it’s just easier to do it all yourself? Do you hate putting together workflow systems? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions this post is for you.

I’ve been spending the better part of a week putting together a new workflow system for a service we are offering and I realized something that you might also suffer from.

It doesn’t have a clinical name, but I think it should totally be admitted into the DSM one of these days. I’ll have to figure out a name for it. (EDIT: how about “Obvious-osis-itis”?)

When we are outlining systems, for others to follow, we take for granted all the little actions that it takes to accomplish things that we no longer think about. They become second nature to us, like they are obvious, but to someone new it’s totally foreign and needs to be spelled out to the “T”

If I said to you, “Hey let’s go grab some dinner, you drive.” What would you do? (Besides wonder why I never drive and why we’re still friends.)

Chances are you’d grab your keys, wallet/purse, and jump in the car and off we’d go. BUT… it’s actually more in depth than that.

If we break it down you’ll see that you really did much more. To someone that’s never driven a car before (first off, should they really be driving? probably not) there are a lot of different steps to follow.

Let’s have a look.

You’d probably:
– Unlock the car
– get in
– insert key into ignition
– put foot on brake
– fasten seat belt
– turn key
– turn on lights
– check mirror
– shift car into gear
– remove the parking break
– check your mirrors
– check your blind spots
– etc.

So what seems like second nature, get in the car and go, has quite a few steps that need to be explained for the person who’s going to be doing the work. If you take the time to outline all these steps once, you’ll save a lot of time, money on training, and you also have an accountability process built into your workflow.

A real world example:

Back in the day, when I was building my 2nd Digital marketing agency and we were scaling to $1MM+/year, I asked one of my partners for a list to help me outline the workflow on something they are an expert at.

Our goal was to be able to scale and eventually have someone help them with their work.

They gave me a list of 10 steps and that was a great start. Once we started working together, to outline everything, our end result was a full series of 29 steps that made it impossible for anything to fall through the cracks.

If you want to do this for yourself it really helps if you have someone work with you. Grab a colleague, co-worker, or friend and they can (hopefully) play dumb. That will force you to break things down into their most simple steps and will allow ANYONE to be able to perform the task(s) at hand.

As far as outlining your workflows. I find it’s helpful to use a software to manage them all. I really like Trello but there are any number of softwares you can use and they all have their pluses and minuses. Just depends on your needs.

The sooner you start building workflows the sooner you can hand your workload off to others, track what’s being done and what’s falling behind, and you can really scale your projects (read: save time and make more money.)

I’ll leave you with this quote from Einstein:

“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

In the example I shared with you it may seem like expanding our list of “ToDos” from 10 to 29 was making things more complex because we added more steps, but in reality we were making things run much more simple. And as an added bonus we were able to save A TON of time and money when it came to training.

Isn’t it time you performed an Obvious-ectemy on your workflows?

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