Client Kudos: How One Interior Designer Uses Video Storytelling to Launch an Online Program (& You Can Too)

My client Peg Kusner created an incredible story video when she launched a new innovative interior design program last fall.  Play the video to see what I mean, then keep reading because I’m going to give you some tips on how you can do this too without going over the top with production (or your wallet)!

I often recommend to my clients that video is like adding the match to the fuel of your story. I love that Peg went out on a limb and pulled together this mini documentary style video for her new program Beyond Your Kitchen Table. I’ve known Peg for several years now and this video captures her philosophy, brilliance and essence beautifully.

If you’d love to have a powerful piece of marketing like this, here are some tips.

  • Share who you are, why you do what you do and what you believe — Video can be far more compelling than the prettiest, most perfect website (even though Peg’s is gorgeous, it’s this video you really can’t look away from!)
  • No need to go over the top with production — Peg’s video is professionally done however it doesn’t take much equipment or lots of clever techniques to create instant connection, rapport & trust. You could accomplish something similar with a high quality phone camera (like LG) & a quality microphone. Hair, wardrobe, makeup — CHECK. Take some action shots, talk to the camera and BOOM. Superstar.
  • Challenge preconceptions about your industry — One of my favorite things about this video is that it challenges philosophies & tired practices in interior design. It also challenges my own beliefs about design (I can’t do it myself, it should look like a glossy magazine, I need all new stuff to pull something together that feels right). How did your beliefs about design change after watching?
  • Show what makes you unique — I’ve talked to Peg on the phone for years. I’ve discovered what has made her unique & special from our many in-depth conversations. I’m so glad she made this video so people can see and feel her uniqueness instantly.
  • Just having an amazing product or service isn’t enough — You have to let people know how you can change their lives. Why not do it in a way that instantly establishes your value & allows people to connect with you on a deeper level?

So if you’ve got a story you can’t NOT tell . . . I challenge you to get it on video.

If you need help pulling together a video-worthy story for an upcoming launch or to add some WOW to your about page or to create dazzling speaker’s reel, book a complimentary consultation so we can discuss what’s possible for you!

Resist “The Drift” on Your Coaching or Consulting Business (Part 1)

raftingIf you haven’t already, it’s a good time to think about how you can simplify, leverage and work smarter as we cruise into another new year.

I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, a story . . .

Years ago, I went on a white water rafting trip with some buddies up in The Forks of Maine (yep, that’s me in the back under the arrow). The first day we paddled our arms off through class IV rapids on the Kennebec River. There’s something so thrilling about eight people sitting on the edges of a rubber raft paddling in unison as big water tosses you around like a cork. It takes great focus on doing the ONE thing that’s going to get you down the river without falling out or flipping the raft. As long as you paddle at the right time and stop paddling at the right time, you’ll avoid going for a violent swim.

On day 2 of our trip we went rafting on the Dead River. Even though the water on the Dead River seemed tamer than the Kennebec, we made a paddling error that pinned the side of our raft against a huge boulder in the middle of the river. The water pushed the ends of the raft around the boulder as we all tried to scramble to the top of the rock but one by one we all tumbled into the water.

I’ll never forget the rapids pushing me down and smashing me into the rocky riverbed. I couldn’t believe how fast I was moving compared to how slowly our raft seemed to be going downstream just moments ago. I popped out of the water just in time to see that I had missed my chance to get into another raft. Other rafts were within my sight but they felt miles away as I rapidly drifted downstream.

Then I heard a man screaming “SWIM. SWIM. SWIM.”

And I finally realized I was just floating along. No wonder I was at the mercy of the shockingly swift current.

I swam like a mad woman until I felt someone hoisting me out of the water and into a raft. I was stunned and exhausted.

I was also alive. Damn that was close.

Many entrepreneurs experience this with their business. They get pushed down and around by external forces and find themselves far away from where they thought they’d be.

At best, it’s disappointing and exhausting. At worst, it’s a terrifying fight for your life . . . or at the very least a fight for your livelihood.

Michael Hyatt, virtual mentor & author of Platform, calls it “the drift.”

This time of year you may be picking up your head only to realize you’ve drifted away from where you intended to be at the start of the year.

If you feel that you’ve drifted off course, stay tuned. In the next email I’m going to give you guidance and an action plan to help you get back on track now so that you can go avoid swirling around in an eddy in 2017.

If you’d like to minimize your drift and take control of your business like the boss you already are, take advantage of my free Simplify Your Business Session.  

How Savvy Coaches & Consultants Find Clients

notebook-womanEver notice how we entrepreneurs talk in code about our real problems?

For example, the most common question I get from other business owners is “how do I find clients?”

If you’ve ever asked that question then you know there’s more lurking between the lines than the words coming out of your mouth.

So let’s unpack . . .

How do I find clients?

What I’ve found from my own experience and from working with my private clients is that this question is often code for one or more of these scenarios:

  • “I need to get my first clients”
  • “I need more clients”
  • “I need better clients”

No matter which of these is true for you, here’s what to do . . .

Instead of bogging down your brain with how do I find clients, get it working on a question that will lighten the brain overload.

What problem do I love to solve and who do I want to help solve this problem?

What you do may solve hundreds of problems but when you focus on the problems you love to solve (e.g., I love to help my clients talk about their business clearly, confidently & compellingly), it’s a lot easier to offer something of value to another person.

So if you teach people how to meditate, for example, maybe what you especially love about meditation is when you help a person who is stressed out, overworked & distracted become focused & productive.

Which brings us to the second half of the question in italics  . . . who is that person?

Because if you can’t answer this, you’re marketing to EVERYONE which gets you NO ONE. Ok, maybe you get SOMEONE but it takes a lot more time and effort because you have to sort through EVERYONE.

Know what I mean?

At the very least, you want to narrow it down to a group of people you’d like to help.

Why?

Because once you know what group of people (aka your audience) you want to work with, it’s a lot easier for you to find out WHERE they are and get your smart, problem-solving self in front of them. (Not to mention you can also tailor your marketing messages specifically to them.)

So, let’s say you love to help professional women improve their focus and productivity through meditation.

Get in front of them at:

  • Business & networking events
  • Social networking groups on LinkedIn & Facebook
  • Your own event that you host specifically for them

For most people, “networking” is about as much fun as a root canal BECAUSE they put so much freakin’ pressure on themselves.

Relax, breathe & do what you would normally do in a SOCIAL situation.

That’s it!

There’s a time and place for your elevator pitch, and REAL conversation isn’t always it. Hey, here’s some rebellious advice (not really), if the idea of passing out your business card to as many people as possible or barfing your elevator pitch all over them like a robot doesn’t work for you, DON’T DO IT!

(Yes, I can hear that sigh of relief from here.)

Just focus on having a conversation that leads to another conversation that will lead to working with that person OR another conversation with them down the line. When someone asks you “what do you do?”, my friend Cami Baker has the best advice . . . Get them to talk about themselves first!

Here’s what that might look like for our imaginary meditation teacher.

When you say “Oh, I’d love to share with you what I do, but how about you go first?” they give youinformation. Information is your secret weapon, so listen carefully to their response.

Maybe she says “I’m a paralegal in a busy law firm working on high profile civil suits.”

Then you can say “Oh, that’s really interesting. I help busy professional women like you improve their focus and productivity. Is it difficult for you to stay focused and productive in that kind of environment?”

She says, “Oh you have no idea. I get interrupted and pulled in a million directions all day every day.”

Then you say, “Have you ever tried meditation?”

She says, “Huh, meditation? No, I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom, never mind meditate.”

You say, “I bet. Many of my clients feel the same way. And once they see how little time it actually takes and how quickly it improves their focus, productivity and mood, they can’t live without it. In fact, one of my clients finally got the big promotion she’d been trying to land for months after I lead her through my meditation program.”

She says, “Really? How can do that?”

You say, “It depends on your situation and the best way for me to assess that is for you to have one of my complimentary Finally Focused Sessions. Would you like to set that up?”

“YES! What do you have available next week?”

Simple right?

And if you already know this, you might be thinking no news here but if you’re in the “need more/better clients” camp it’s time to revisit those questions again.  Because as you work with more people, you get clearer about who you REALLY want to work with and who you REALLY don’t want to work with. But even when you’ve made an upgrade in your mind, that doesn’t mean your messaging, branding and marketing automatically upgrades too.

So whether you’re a marketing newbie or a marketing master, you want to regularly ask the questions

What problem do I love to solve?

Who do I want to help solve this problem?

(Leave a comment below if you have the answers to these questions!)

Then go get them, because I don’t care if you build something that’s straight out of Field of Dreams . . . they won’t come if they don’t know who you are and what you can do for them.

If you’d like to know how you can solve your favorite problems for more of your favorite people (and get paid handsomely for it), take advantage of my free Simplify Your Marketing Session.  

Reconnect to the Emotion In Your Story

😀 😢 😠 😟

If you saw my last post about how to tell a better story, you know that the first step is to go deeper emotionally (if not, check it out here).

Why?

Because people love to be moved by story. We all like to imagine ourselves in situations that challenge us and provide us an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

So if you want to tell a better story that will move people, you have to rediscover your emotion. When I started my business, I would gloss over the emotion in my story. I’d lean on similar career experiences because I simply “didn’t want to go there.”

I was doing what I love and what I was good at, but I wasn’t making much money.

And that didn’t turn around until I made friends with the deeper emotional themes in my story.

If you’re asking yourself “How do I rediscover my emotion?” these questions (taken directly from my Tell to Sell Story Creation Home Learning Program) will help you reconnect.

Have fun with it, and stay tuned for more ways you can tell a better story.

How to Tell a Better Story for Emerging Coaches & Consultants

connect to the emotion in your story

photo by Vinoth Chandar

If you’ve been in business a few years, you may be asking yourself . . .

How do I tell a better story?

The kind of story that leads you to the next level in your business and your life.

One thing I noticed as I worked intimately with several women entrepreneurs over the summer on their stories is that they already were telling a story, yet they weren’t happy with the results they were getting.

If you’ve noticed this too, take heed because that’s a sign that you may not be telling the best story.

You’ll know when you’re telling a better story when you:
  • Get an “in the bones” knowing and feeling about your story – you’ll actually feel the connection somewhere in your body
  • People hone in and comment on very specific things you said in your story – this means they didn’t just listen to the story, they connected to and got meaning from some part of it
  • You start generating leads and new business like never before – I didn’t share my story in sales conversations for the first seven months after I first came out with my story. Fascinating that my two best months that year were the month I came out with my story and the month I started telling it in every single sales conversation. I actually had a 100% close rate that month – and I don’t consider sales one of my strengths!
  • People start coming to you with opportunities because they heard about you from someone else – when people you don’t even know start asking you to speak to their audience or collaborate on a big project or do something that gets you one step closer to your dream, that’s your story at work.
So how do you go about telling that kind of story?

I’ve been in the business of helping others tell their stories for 20 years. When it comes to linking better results with a better story there’s a constant that I’ve noticed.

You know what it is?

It’s going deeper EMOTIONALLY.

You have to go deeper emotionally so you can connect with people on an emotional level.

I see this with my coaching and consulting clients today.

I saw it with the PR campaigns I ran for national brands and government agencies (and trust me, emotion and energy efficiency weren’t as hip or passionately adopted then as it is now).

I saw it in the newsroom when I wrote a feature about how local schools were dealing with a very heated conflict between pro-life and pro-choice campaigns targeting school kids in the ’90s.

Emotion. High stakes. Conflict. Resolution.

If these fundamental elements are NOT in your story, it’s time to upgrade.

Stay tuned because I’m going to break this down for you even more in upcoming blog posts. I’ll also share more about a new way I’m working with entrepreneurs like you to upgrade their stories.

In the meantime, what’s holding you back from diving into the emotional deep end? Let me know in the comments below.
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