In the last two weeks, we've sat down with several people we know to give them some guidance on starting their own business.
And it's become obvious that us Canadians, as a group, are a little more conservative than we should be.
Let us explain...
When I first got into Sales it always seemed that the sales guys and gals who talked about themselves often generated the most sales and almost always got promoted the fastest.
I used to think they were brash, rude and lacking taste.
Then I learned that those guys were often making $100K a year more than the sales guys that were more timid.
When I first started investigating different businesses, I was mystified by the ones that started their marketing to me with a headline along thing lines of this ... "We Will Reveal the Hidden Secrets & Strategies That Have Been Kept From You For Hundreds of Years and That Are Almost Guaranteed To Create Something Amazing For You".
Or made promises like Timothy Ferriss' book with the unbelievable title of, "The Four Hour Workweek"
Then I learned that businesses with strong and very appealing marketing were thriving, while those taking a more "professional" approach were suffering.
When Nick and I started our own business we were petrified to send people multiple emails, direct mail pieces and call them on the phone.
Then I learned that by doing that we were securing a steady stream of cash flow for us.
What's the point in sharing this?
As we mentioned at the top, we talk to A LOT of people who are in the middle of starting their own businesses or growing their existing business.
And many of them seem to stop short of doing everything they need to do when communicating with potential clients.
For example, they'll think that sending a monthly email newsletter is enough.
When weekly is much better.
We actually know someone who sends daily emails out to his potential client email list and gets a HIGHER response rate to his requests by doing that then when he sent out weekly emails.
A lot of people seem to have large amounts of fear and guilt holding them back from promoting themselves to the fullest.
From making strong promises in their marketing (that can be backed up of course).
From sending out constant and never-ending communication to their prospects.
From making strong guarantees about their products and services.
If that's you ... stop it.
As long as you believe in what you are doing and can back up your promises, you shouldn't hold back.
You're free to "sell people what they want but give them what they need".
I think it's Zig Ziglar, who said something along the lines of "Poor salesman have skinny kids."
That about sums it up.
Just this week we had someone email us a rather nasty and tasteless email stating that we were hounding them with all our emails to them.
We also had several people hang up on our Office Manager as she called to remind potential new clients/member's of ours about an upcoming class in our office.
And a few years ago that stuff would have bothered us for days.
But during this same week we've added almost a hundred people to our email lists.
And during this same week, we have over 30 people who raised their hands and are coming to our class.
Those 30 people matter A LOT more to us than that one who sent a nasty email.
Here's an example of a type of shameless self-promotion...
In the October 2011 issue of Target Marketing there's an example of St. Jude's Hospital using a handwritten note from a man dying of multiple diseases.
In his own handwriting, he explains that for years he has been donating part of his fixed income social security cheques to the hospital but now has to stop because his medical bills are too high.
His last dying wish is for his letter to be circulated so that someone else can take his place as a donor when he's gone.
St. Jude's sent the letter out as a fundraising promotion.
The marketing guy behind the piece got a lot of criticism from donors and from peers about using the piece for fundraising.
They thought it was tasteless.
They also got 10,000 new donors for St. Jude's.
Which matters more?
Before you answer let us ask you this...
How much value are those donations going to bring to people who need it in the hospital?
If you're not shamelessly self-promoting your business and you believe in yourself and your services, it's a psychological position you'll want to get overcome if you're ever going to maximize your potential.
You may not agree but it's at least something to consider.
Especially if you're trying to grow your own business.
There are a lot of people and businesses who provide excellent services but aren't letting people know about it strongly enough.
Don't let that be you.
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!