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Cold Outreach – Part of Doing Business

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I’m used to having unpopular opinions – and this may be one of them. BUT – I’m not sure that people don’t like the idea of cold outreach because they don’t want to do it or because they really don’t believe that works.

 

Cold Outreach is part of doing business today

I think it’s a misunderstanding of what cold outreach is and what it looks like in your business that perpetuates that idea that “cold messages” are bad.

As someone with a Director title in the Corporate world, I get endless phone calls and emails that are cold. Most of them are done poorly, therefore I don’t respond. If it’s done well, and something that our business can use or might benefit from – I will engage.

 

What is Cold Outreach

You’ve gotten ads on Facebook for people you’ve NEVER heard of then joined their email list, joined their Facebook group, and jumped on their free webinar. That was cold outreach.

  • You’ve received email marketing from Old Navy or Ulta offering you a discount on a product or service. Cold outreach.
  • You’ve gotten a piece of direct mail with the 99 cent queso at you local Mexican restaurant. Cold outreach.
  • You’ve posted in random Facebook groups with meaningful, thoughtful posts that speak directly to your target audience. Cold outreach.
  • You’ve traded messages with a networking contact on LinkedIn and asked them to grab coffee. Cold outreach.

I could keep going.

For your business to be successful – you have to sell stuff. To sell stuff – you have to talk to people. And to sell stuff without spending A TON of money – you have to talk to people you don’t know. COLD OUTREACH.

Are you with me?

Listen up.

Now, here’s where it gets good. Sending someone you’ve never met, never interacted with, and know nothing about a cold message that is totally out of context and without doing any research on the person – is BAD. Don’t do that. That’s the kind of cold outreach that people don’t like. That’s why they say that they just can’t handle cold outreach in their business. Because that’s what they’re envisioning.

That is yucky. It feels gross. People don’t like getting those messages and most of them either ignore them or say something nasty.

 

How do you do it right?

Do a little research. Check out the person, Like a few of their photos. Go to their Facebook business page. Comment on a post with a genuine, thoughtful comment – NOT an emoji. THEN – send a message that is about THEM and not you.

Example:

Hey Sarah, thanks for connecting. I checked out your profile and your business page – it looks like you do amazing work. Tell me more about you – how did you get into health coaching?

That kind of cold outreach is MUCH better received. It probably feels way, way better to send, too.

 

The key is to “warm-up” your cold outreach

Learn a little bit more about them and personalize the message. Whether it’s asking about their business by name or complimenting their beautiful cover photo. I’ve asked people how to pronounce their name. Just start the conversation

One woman emailed me and complimented my shirt in my profile picture. I thanked her, checked out her profile and business page and now interact with her content online. Am I going to buy something from her – I don’t know. But I am now in her “eco-system” – which is what most of us are hoping for.

You have heard me say this a million times. We do business with people we know, like, and trust. We have to pull them into our world for that to happen.

Whether it’s a thoughtful message, a compliment, or a comment on a post – people will notice you. They will likely go check you out, too. And, if they like what you do – will start to interact with you and your brand.

 

All from cold outreach.

This approach takes time, yes. It takes a lot of attention to detail in checking your Facebook or Linkedin messenger and responding to messages. It takes follow up and small talk. But it’s way, way faster and less expensive than ads.

The best way to connect with people online is the same way you would in person. When you meet someone new at a cocktail party – how do you start the conversation? It’s probably not by asking them to grab some time on your calendar, right? So don’t do that online.

Also, you wouldn’t just start talking about yourself without asking any questions, right?! And you certainly wouldn’t assume you know anything about them and start pitching.

 

Ask questions. Show interest. Be human.

That’s how it works. Whether it’s an email, LinkedIn message, FB message, Insta DM or a phone call. Connect with people like a human. That’s it.

Is it scary? Sure. No one likes being rejected. No one likes being told to go fly a kite. It happens. And I’ve shared before – almost always more about the other person than it is about you.

To be honest, I get significantly more people who don’t respond than those that do with a nasty response.

 

A Few Final Notes, friend.

Do not send 3 messages a day and email me in 2 weeks and tell me it’s not working. Just like Facebook ads or email marketing – it’s a volume game. You have to reach out to quite a few people to start conversations. Everyone’s number is going to be different. My goal is to 20-40 people, 5 days a week. I connect across LinkedIn, FB, and Insta. That is what works for me.

I do use “templates.” I have a few talk tracks and messages saved in Trello and will copy and paste into messenger. Here’s the KEY to that. Even if the bulk of the message is templated – do something to personalize every. Single. Message. You. Send. Got it?!

I try to respond to all messages within a day or two. It was overwhelming at first and I found myself struggling to keep up with the messages. I finally realized that the world wasn’t going to end if I didn’t respond to every message immediately. That helps.

I often sit down, set a timer, and start returning messages, sending news ones, and connecting. I aim for an hour or so each day. It flies by and by the end, I’ve talked to  quite a few people. Do all of them buy from me, join my Facebook group, and opt in to my list? No. But, I never know if they will someday OR if they know someone that needs a Sales Coach.

It doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to feel gross. It can feel just like you’re starting a conversation at a Cocktail Party or Networking Event. As always, put yourself in the “buyer’s” shoes. If you wouldn’t like it – don’t do it.

And let’s be honest, none of us mind a thoughtful message that is personalized to US, that mentions our business by name, and gives us the opportunity to talk about ourselves. Do we?

It is easier to sell stuff that you LOVE

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As an entrepreneur, you started your business for a reason, right?

Whether it was that you found a gap in the market, it’s a passion of yours, or something you’re really good at.

You didn’t leave the security of a full time job with a salary and benefits on a whim. There was a reason.

Recently, I saw a post in a Facebook group asking people why they started their business and the answers were consistent:

  • Freedom (both time and location).
  • To make an impact.
  • To control my income.
  • To help more people.
  • To stay home with my kids.

If you’re NOT in one of those camps – I’d love to hear why you started your business.

Then things change.

What I often hear when I chat with business owners is that the reason they started their business has become fuzzy, primarily because they’re doing a lot of things they DON’T want to do. They spend too much time on the admin piece of their business and less time focusing on strategy or whatever it is they LOVE about what they do.

Now, I don’t mean stuff like payroll or bookkeeping (God love those that LOVE those tasks) – but I mean they’re offering services they don’t love. They’re doing a bunch of stuff in their business that they don’t enjoy because they think that’s their only option to make money. They’re following some coach or online celebrity that does things differently – therefore they decide to change course and do something different.

Here’s the deal, my friend. It’s exponentially easier to sell something you LOVE than to sell something you have to sell to keep the lights on. Or something that you’re selling because that’s how someone else does it.

This isn’t a totally original thought – I listened to an awesome Facebook live training by Sara Dann, an amazing business strategist. And she talked about building packages that you LOVE. That you truly, truly believe in. Things that you are without a doubt, 110% confident in.

It was a total light bulb moment for me.

I was selling packages that I thought I should be. I was building packages that I thought people would buy. I compared my pricing to other people’s pricing. And I never really LOVED my solutions. I liked them. I knew that they would get results for people. I was confident in my skills – but not in the way I had packaged my expertise and services.

No wonder I wasn’t getting the traction that I wanted. No wonder I didn’t have people falling all over themselves to jump into one of my coaching programs. No wonder I was resisting sales conversations and really putting myself out there.  

I love sales. I really, really do. But I’m not naive to how challenging it can be. I have built several sales organizations in my career and now am building a business. I’m not saying it’s easy.

BUT – when you LOVE what you’re selling – it’s different. Your talk track is different. Your body language is different. The conversation is different.

You don’t take no personally anymore. You actually feel bad for people that say no. You love what you’re doing that much – then when someone isn’t interested, you’re okay with moving on.

It’s a game changer, friend. It really is.

As with most advice I give, I like to give you the fine print, too.

Just because you LOVE what sell doesn’t mean you can stop putting in the work. It doesn’t mean that clients will all the sudden start falling from the sky. It doesn’t mean that you can take your pedal off the gas.

It just makes it easier to connect. It makes it easier to put yourself out there. It makes it easier to do the hard stuff – because you’re working towards something you believe in.

I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just different.

What do I do now?

If you’ve had the same light bulb that I had after listening to Sara’s video, you have some work to do.

Go back to the drawing board. What do you love about what you do? Wh

at do you love about the results you get for your clients? What part of your previous programs light you up?

Find a way to do more of that.

It always sound simpler on paper that it really is, I know that.

But, I can speak from personal experience on this one. I went back and re-tooled my programs. I only have two. I put in more touch points with my clients. I added in more training. Those are things that I love. Connecting with people. Teaching. Coaching. And now, I cannot waitttttt to fill my group coaching program. Like I wake up every morning excited about it.

That’s why you started a business. To do what you love. To call the shots. To change the lives of the people you serve. To change your family’s lives.

Write those things down. Keep them somewhere you can see them. And every time you make a decision or a change in your business – make sure it matches up with your why. It’s the best compass you’ll ever have in your business.

How to Stick To Your Goals and Business Plans

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The beginning of a new year is exciting! We’ve all set big, scary goals for ourselves. We’ve freshened up our business plans. We feel energized and renewed and we’re ready to hit the ground running.

Then…life happens. We get busy. We put out fires. We get caught up in the day to day grind of life and business – and before we know it, it’s March 1 and we haven’t even looked at our goals we were so excited about just 2 months before.

I am by no means saying you shouldn’t set goals or make plans because you’ll only stick to them for 2 months. What I hope to cover today is how do we stick with our goals when they’re not shiny and new, when we’re not motivated, when we’re tired and burned out, and when we think we might have been crazy when we made those plans back in December.

How do you stick to your goals?

The best way to stick with your goals is to have them written somewhere when you can see them. Writing them down is important, but if they are buried in a notebook you never look at or hiding in a Google doc, they’ll never be seen.

Whether you put them on a whiteboard in your office, keep them written down inside your day planner, make it part of your daily routine to review them – it’s important that you see your goals often.

I use Google Keep for notes and such – and you can schedule reminders each day. My daily affirmations come up every morning for me to review and read out loud. This might be a great tool for you to keep your goals front and center.

Write Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

While annual goals are important, they have a tendency to become “pie in the sky.” At some point in 2019, I’m going to launch this group coaching program. No, be specific. Your annual revenue goal maybe $100k. That breaks down to $8,333/month, $1923/week, $274/day. Make sure your goals translate to this.

Every day, I plan out my goals. Sometimes, it’s as simple as – connect with 5 new people today. Other days, my goal is to finish my blog and get it posted, outline my FB live for tonight, and share my new freebie. While this sounds like a to-do list, it’s not.

Here’s why… my to-do list is much more detailed. It’s the step by step actions I have to take to get each of those things done. But, the goals are just the items I want or need to achieve that day. Sometimes, I get them all done. Others, I don’t.

On Mondays, I always write down my weekly goals. What will I get accomplished this week?

And, on the first of every month, I break down my monthly goals, as they’re certainly not the same each month.

What is the difference between goals and business plans?

Goals are big picture things you want to accomplish. Your business plan are the steps you’re going to take to reach your goals.

Let’s go back to our previous example – $100k revenue in 2019. We now also know our monthly, weekly, and daily numbers needed to hit that goal.

Our business plan is the activity we need to take to hit those goals. How many new people do we need to talk to? How many clients do we need to hit $100k. How many sales calls? What’s our marketing mix? And so on.

Your business plan is infinitely more detailed than your goals. It’s literally the road map to your goals.

Make sense?

How do I stick to my business plan?

Sometimes, it’s easier to get derailed from our business plans that it is our goals. Primarily because we tend to think if we miss one or two days of our daily activity that we’re dead in the water – and we throw it all out the window.

Here’s the deal, my friend. I know you know this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Nobody’s perfect. No one. You will miss the mark some days. You will get sick. Your kids will get sick. You will get caught up in a project. You will go on vacation. You will just NOT feel like it some days.

It’s okay. The important thing is that you catch yourself and course correct.

Work your plan

If you haven’t, you should read my blog about getting it all done.

Calendar block. Calendar block. Calendar block.

If you have daily activity goals – then put those on your calendar. Do you have daily goals for time spent writing copy – put it on your calendar. If it doesn’t get calendar’ed, it doesn’t get done.

You WILL NOT work your business plan if you don’t put it on your calendar.

I never mean to oversimplify things, but sometimes – we have a tendency to overcomplicate in our heads. The most important part of running a business and driving revenue is to be as intentional as possible with your time. We all know how easy it is to wind up down a rabbit hole chasing things that have NOTHING to do with what we’re trying to accomplish.

Having a clear cut plan. Schedule out the details. Work your plan.

Get An Accountability Partner

My final advice on sticking to goals and plans – is to find a buddy. Hire a coach, find a friend or fellow business owner, use your boss or your spouse – I don’t care. If no one knows what you’re working towards – it’s easy to give up, change course, or make excuses. Find someone to help hold you accountable to your goals.

Not to mention, the value of talking through your goals, sharing the great, big scary stuff you’re working towards, and having someone to celebrate with is pretty fun, too!

You’ve got this. 2019 is YOUR year. Make it happen!

The Top 3 Things I Learned in 2018

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Every year, I love sitting down and planning for the next year. I love setting goals, reviewing my goals from last year, and planning for myself, my family, and my business. It’s an opportunity to start new, get super focused, and push “reset” on the craziness that is the month of December for my family.

This past year was an amazing year. I had a great financial year at my full-time job and my team doubled in revenue in 2018. From a team that didn’t really exist in January 2017 to $2.1 million dollars in January 2019 is something to celebrate.

I launched my business!!! While Uncensored Consulting looks ENTIRELY differently than it did when I started planning in 2017, it’s become more than I ever imagined. My goals have changed, my vision has changed, and I’ve done some pretty exciting things in growing my brand.

We traveled a little bit. Went to Key West for a wedding in February and took a long weekend off in Colorado Springs. While quieter than what we’re used to, we’ve found that kids, a business, and a couple of full-time jobs make it hard to get away as much as we’d like. It’s on the road map to change that in the future!

We joined a Small Group in our church (which has been AMAZING). We were baptized in May 2018 and became members of our church. We also started serving on our Rock Brook for Kids ministry team and teaching “sunday school.” I also co-lead a Kids Small Group and help teach first graders about Jesus (it’s so fun, and I get to learn along with them!).

We decided to grow our family and learned in October that we will be adding another sweet babe to the crew in June 2019. What can I say, I really, really like life change.

It was also a really challenging year.  

A year of change. A year of learning to be okay with wanting something different. A year of growth and of learning how to literally BE someone else. By no means have I mastered any of these things, but just recognizing where my challenges ARE is pretty exciting for me.

With all of that said, I thought I’d share with you the Top 3 Things I Learned in 2018. Or, maybe I didn’t JUST learn these things in 2018, but I am nothing if not stubborn.

1 – It’s okay to change course

I’m a planner. A Type A control freak To. The. Core. Seriously, ask my husband.

I’ve had a plan for years. I’ve worked that plan every year. I’ve checked the boxes. I’ve reached goals. I’ve set different goals. But I was always moving in the same direction. Towards one BIG life goal.

And this year – someone moved the damn goal post. Yep, just totally picked it up and put it somewhere else. It’s terrifying. Exciting. But mostly terrifying. I’ve been fighting it tooth and nail. Making excuses. Planning instead of acting. Hiding behind excuses.

Though all of this crazy, ridiculous life change – I learned that it’s OKAY to change course. It’s your course, dammit! No one else’s. And it’s okay to change. Then change again. Then change one more time.

It’s your life. Your career. Your business. Your marriage. Your family. Your workout plan. Your WHATEVER.

And it’s okay to change course whenever you feel like it.

Let’s not get crazy or anything (I’m not encouraging giving up on anything you haven’t really sunk your teeth into) – but it’s okay to want something else. And to do something to go get it.

2 – Nothing (I mean NOTHING) will change if you don’t

In light of Lesson #1 – I’ve learned Lesson #2. If you’re not willing to change. I mean, like become a totally different person, change – then don’t be surprised when what you’re chasing doesn’t happen (or at least in the way or time frame in which you want it to).

If your goal is to lose weight – you have to change who you are. You are no longer the person on the couch eating gummy worms (don’t judge me, I’m pregnant). You are the woman who eats carrots and peppers and eggs and chicken breast. Become that person.

If your goal is to grow your business – you have to become the person who grows your business. Not the person that talks about growing a business, makes plan to grow a business, or makes excuses about why they aren’t growing their business (guilty AS CHARGED, my friend).

You get my point. If you want something different – be someone different.

I obviously don’t mean change who you are as a person, but change your thoughts and habits around whatever it is you want to change.

You want to be debt free – you can’t be the person who doesn’t have a budget (believe me, I’ve tried!). It just will not work.

Got it?!

3 – There is no way to cheat hard work, determination, and consistency

There is no silver bullet. There is no course to take, no magic wand to wave, no software to buy, or ad campaign to invest in that will sustain your business goals if you’re not willing to do the work and show up Every. Damn. Day. (I’ve tried this one, too).

I’m not saying you have to work 80+ hours a work and hustle non stop to reach your goals. I am saying that if you don’t show up every day, determined to achieve what you’re working towards – you just won’t get there.

You can talk about it. Complain about it. Journal about it. But if you’re not showing up every day, you will not hit your goals (not if they’re worth hitting, anyway).

It doesn’t matter what you did last year, last month, or even last week. You have to get out of bed every, single day and get to work. That’s how you find success. It’s not buried in a book (or this blog post, for that matter) – it’s inside of you. I promise.

Like I said, NONE of these concepts are new. Or things you haven’t heard before, I’m sure. But, man did that hit me like a ton of bricks this year. Learning to want and be someone else is HARD. It requires some serious, serious mindset work (which I’ve been fighting).

Whatever it is you want. Whatever it is you’re working towards. Whatever is NOT serving you anymore. You can change course. You can change your identity. But only if you do the work.

Cheers to an amazing 2019!

Getting it All Done

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My best friend text me today and asked me the age old question…”How do you do everything that you do?” And the question literally brought me to tears. I’m going through a season right now, where I fear I’m not doing it all very well. It’s a season of one step forward and two steps back and it’s uncomfortable.

When I think about HOW I do everything that I do, I don’t have an answer. I just do. In my twenties, I got a Master’s Degree, ran half marathons, and coached competitive volleyball….and worked full-time (all at one time). Which makes this season in life very, very hard. But I’m adjusting and learning to give myself grace.

I’ve always been one to put it all on my plate at one time. I like to joke that I like to do as much life change as possible as once. Like the time I bought a house on maternity leave and moved about 4 weeks after starting a new job (with an infant).

It’s just what I do.

I go and I do.

One skill that I think helps with my ability to do a lot of things at one time is Time Management. I’ve always found myself to be more efficient at work than others. Not on purpose, I just move fast and with intention.

I think the most important part of time management is having a plan. What do you need to get done? What do you want to get done? And how do those two things match up?

Here’s the deal…we all have to-do lists miles and miles long. You’re crazy to think you’re going to get it all done each day. In fact, I’m probably a little burned out right now because I always try to get it all done in one day.

You need to prioritize your to-do list. Prioritize your tasks. Start with the WORST one first. Yep, do the thing you want to do the least, first. Get it over with. Cross it off the list, and move on.

Be specific with your list. January Social Media is not a task – it’s a header. Within that header, you need to write the social, design the social, schedule the social, etc. Yes, this will make the list longer. BUT – it will also help you cross things off – which I know you all find as satisfying as I do.

Now, you have a very specific to-do list. The next step is to go onto your calendar and schedule time to get things done. Block out time for checking email. Block out time for sales activities. Block out time to work on writing your January social media content.

Then, get to work. Stick as close to your schedule as you can. You will finish some tasks faster than you thought and others will take longer. It’s a balance of give and take.

You often hear people recommend you only check your email a few times a day and social media, your phone, etc. I’ve never mastered that. If you can, I’m sure it’s a great way to stay focused on your tasks.

Set appointments with yourself for the important stuff. There should be time for sales activities on your calendar every single day. Don’t break that appointment. Block of time for client meetings.

The more calendar blocking you can do – the better. Not to make your schedule totally rigid and inflexible, but to give you direction everyday. I firmly believe that an empty calendar is the kiss of death for a productive day.

The Personal Stuff

How do you manage your personal life around your business? Again, I haven’t quite mastered this one, but I try.  My husband and I share a Google calendar. Let’s be honest, I fill out the calendar and on occasion my husband remembers to look at it.

I also keep a dry erase calendar in our laundry room. This tracks before/after work stuff, kids stuff, social stuff, holidays, etc. This allows me to have a quick overview of the month.

I put everything on my Google calendar. Reminders. Doctor’s appointments. Business appointments. This way I have a specific place to go for EVERYTHING. Sometimes it makes my calendar really overwhelming to look at. But it’s infrequent that I miss or forget something.

I schedule as far out as possible. If I know it’s happening, I put it on the calendar. I admit, this can sometimes make me a stick in the mud and it’s hard to be spontaneous, but it’s all I can do to fit it all in some days. We do what we can with what we have.

I’ve embraced Alexa and Google to set reminders. I likely set between 2-10 reminders each day. From things like “don’t forget food for the office potluck” to “pay water bill” – I set reminders. I’ve learned at this stage in my life that I will NOT remember anything. So I set reminders.

Team Work

Teamwork makes the dream work. I’m 100% serious when I say I couldn’t get done what I get done in a day, week, or month without support. My husband is amazing. He’s my exact opposite, he rolls with the punches, and he flys by the seat of his pants. It’s what gives me the ability to do it all, because he does so much at home and literally DOESN’T care when I pivot quickly. It’s weird. And amazing.

We’re fortunate to live near family. For those of you raising children without family nearby, I salute you and pray for you. I cannot imagine. We have a really big family, many of which live within 10 minutes. That’s really, really helpful.

What’s the secret?

There is no secret. Some days I get it all done. Most days I don’t. Tomorrow is a new day. I’ve learned, over the years, to not take myself so seriously. I had an amazing boss who often used to say “We’re not saving lives here, Ryann” and it stuck with me. While getting it all done is important. My job is important. My business is important. My family is MOST important. I do what I can with what I have and remember that I don’t save life. I believe I make them better, but that can wait for tomorrow if needed.

I don’t mean to sound flippant. This is YEARS in the making. The ability to leave something undone. The ability to “turn it off” and enjoy time with my family. It’s learned. And practiced. And some days I fail.

Like today, when I gave myself about 20 minutes to write this blog post.

Give yourself grace. Take a deep breath. And remember that this a season, and it will pass. You’re doing a great job!

 

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