Tag Archives: sales

How to Separate Yourself From the Competition

 


By Dorie Clark @dorieclark

Many entrepreneurs are stymied by the question: how am I actually different from the competition? We know it’s essential to identify a “unique selling proposition,” but in a competitive marketplace where it seems everything’s been done, it can sometimes be hard to articulate your specific value.

That’s why one of the people I profile in my new book Stand Out is television chef Rachael Ray — precisely because, on the surface, she didn’t stand out at all. But as her example shows, one important strategy entrepreneurs can follow is reframing your expertise so that what’s banal in one setting becomes revelatory in another.

In her world — the world of cooking — it’s pretty clear what “expert” means: you run a high-end restaurant, or you’ve been trained at elite cooking schools. Rachael Ray did neither. As Boris Groysberg and Kerry Herman revealed in a fascinating Harvard Business Review case study, she started out as the food buyer for a gourmet market in Albany, N.Y. and began doing “30-minute meal” cooking demonstrations at the store. The store didn’t choose her for the role because of her prodigious talents; it was because no chef in the area would accept the store’s low rates.

She eventually got her big break when someone gave a copy of her cookbook (published by a one-woman press) to a Today Show producer. When a snowstorm prompted a wave of guest cancellations, the producer called up Ray – who, after driving nine hours in the snow, made her first appearance and was an immediate hit, leading to a lucrative contract with the Food Network.

Ray was derided because she lacked the credentials of illustrious peers like Emeril Lagasse or Mario Batali. She acknowledged the criticism, the HBR case study notes, and even warned the Food Network that “I’m not a chef, you’ve been duped.” But that was exactly why they wanted her.

The Food Network was chock full of elite chefs who made beautiful meals but the trouble was, their professionalism and perfection risked making them unrelatable to everyday people. But viewers intuitively felt that if Rachael Ray — a spunky everywoman with no formal credentials — could make a dish work, they could, too. If she were just another neighbor on your block, her ability to make tasty 30-minute meals would be nice, but not earth shattering. But in the context of the Food Network — which had built a brand around celebrity chefs — she was a revelation.

Today, Ray has created an entrepreneurial empire, replete with television shows, endorsement deals and product extensions — and her example holds lessons for all entrepreneurs. Too often, we compare ourselves to the most “qualified” people in our field and are concerned about not having the most prestigious diplomas or formal qualifications. But as Ray shows, those often aren’t necessary, and you don’t need to compete head-to-head on credentials. If you can offer something distinctive in a given context, you can succeed.

Think about who needs your skills or approach but doesn’t typically have access to them. There are 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide, but there may be very few who serve people in your industry or your community and that could be your competitive advantage. And there may be plenty of people with good communication skills but surprisingly few who blend that with an understanding of engineering or technology. The talents that seem banal in one context can lead to breakthroughs in another.

Ask yourself what perceived weakness could become your strength, and if there’s an area where you don’t have credentials or expertise, which could become a selling point. You may not think you have anything unique to offer but as Rachael Ray discovered, changing the context changes everything.

This is How to Do Things You Don’t Want to Do

 PourVousCustomDesign

By Patrik Edblad

The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every person who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that they formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.
 — Albert E.N. Grey

No matter what you want to accomplish in life, it’s going to involve discomfort:

A great career or business requires hard work.

A healthy body needs exercise and foods you don’t necessarily like.

Meaningful relationships need vulnerability and compromises.

In fact, anything worthwhile often requires that you do what you don’t want to do.

And that can be hard.

But it doesn’t have to be.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

I used to take my thoughts very seriously. Whenever one of them popped into my head, I’d immediately identify with it and perceive it as the “truth.”

If a thought told me I was tired and bored, I’d immediately look for a way out.

But I’ve since learned that I am not my thoughts and that my mind is nothing more than a suggestion box.

Because of that, I don’t take my thoughts as seriously as I used to.

And that, in turn, has made a huge difference in my subsequent behavior and the results I get.

These days, when my mind tells me I’m restless and should do something else, I simply thank it for the suggestion and then get back to the task at hand.

Stimulus –> Perception –> Response

It’s never the discomfort that stops you; it’s how you perceive the discomfort.

Your beliefs determine your response, and what you choose to believe is within your control.

You can assign whatever meaning you want to discomfort.

I used to believe it was a signal that I should stop.

These days, I believe it’s a signal that I should keep going.

I’ve decided that anytime I feel discomfort, that just means I’ve stepped into my mental gym and that it’s time for my mental resistance training.

Exercise Your Willpower Muscle

Willpower is a lot like muscle power. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get.

If you practice it for an extended period of time, you can change your behavior around completely.

You’ll be able to do what others dread doing and to stay away from things that others can’t resist doing.

That level of self-control is exactly what’s needed to become a remarkable person and create extraordinary results.

So, how do you get started?

Practice Voluntary Discomfort

He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.
 — Spartan Warrior Creed

The best way to practice mental resistance training is through voluntary hardship. Here are a few examples:

  • Underdress for cold weather.
  • Turn off the air conditioning in your house or car.
  • Take cold showers.
  • Occasional fasting.
  • Drink only water.
  • Sleep without a pillow.
  • High-intensity exercise.

These are just a few ideas to help you come up with your personal mental resistance training.

The important thing is that you choose one and commit to it.

And just like in a physical gym, you don’t want to use the heaviest weights right away.

There’s no point getting overwhelmed or injured.

So, start small and then get a little bit every day.

If your willpower muscle is weak right now, it’s perfectly fine to start by making your bed each morning. Or reading one page in a book. Or flossing one tooth.

How to Do What You Don’t Want to Do

If you’re thinking to yourself right now; “I’m not the kind of person who practices voluntary discomfort,” be very mindful of the fact that this is the same voice you want to take control over.

Don’t take it as literal truth. Remember — it’s just a suggestion. And it’s entirely within your power what you do with that suggestion.

If you choose to take action despite what your mind is telling you, it holds no power over you.

You can decide to perceive discomfort as mental resistance training from this moment forward.

And each time you push through the resistance, you’ll notice that you’ll get a little bit stronger.

If you stick to the practice consistently, with time, it’ll become second nature to do what you don’t want to do.

You’ll become a relentless action-taker.

And that’s when you can turn your most desired goals into reality.

If you enjoyed this article, please click the heart so others can learn from it as well!

Patrik Edblad is a certified mental trainer and writer. He helps people use research-backed strategies to become healthier, happier and more productive at Selfication.com. Grab your free copy of his book The Science of Willpower: Proven Strategies to Beat Procrastination & Get Big Things Done.

When Get Becomes a 4-Letter Word

By Jonathan Fields

I’ve been asked the question in a wide array of contexts…

How do I get people to buy my stuff?
How do I get people to open my emails?
How do I get people to join my community?
How do I get people to sign up for my list?
How do I get people to promote my stuff?
How do I get people to take this action?
How do I get people to blah blah blah?

Here’s the thing…

You don’t “get” people to do anything!

The use of the word “get,” and the framing of the question signals a deeper psychology that is rooted in a mindset that elevates taking and control over generosity, delight and value.

When you lead with the word get, you always lose.

Even if you seem to “get” what you want in the short term, the motivation and manipulation behind it will circle back to bite you. Immediately following your “get” will be a wave of buyer’s remorse, followed by feelings of anger and betrayal. This is not how you want to build a living. It is not how you want to build a brand or a career. It is not how you want to build a life. Walking around constantly trying to figure out how to “get” people to do things.

A far better, more sustainable, conscious and elevating approach, one that is steeped in longer-term relationships, generosity and value, is about not “getting” people to do something, but rather creating an experience of such generosity, value and delight that they “yearn” to participate in it. To contribute, to connect, to consume, to share, to stand in the story you’re telling and help bring others into it.

Not because you “got” them to do something, but because you created something so appealing they couldn’t not do it.

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So, when you’re writing copy for launches, subject lines for emails, brand stories for products, services and companies and descriptions for offerings…

When you’re crafting positioning, marketing, advertising and sales. When you’re developing values, missions, visions, structures and process…

Take the word “get” off the table and lead, instead, with “give, delight, invite.”

By the way, part of the reason it’s fresh in my mind is because I realized that a small, but alarming bit of “get mentality” had found its way into my own creation and marketing efforts. When you’re creating vast amounts of language, launching new things and making decisions under unforgivable time-constraints, that tends to be when the siren taunt of “get” most easily lures you in.

It’s easier to yield to the pull of smallness when you’re in the distorting heat of the cauldron.

When everything’s on the line.

But, that’s also the moment it’s most critical to hold fast to your values. Because, the pressure of any given situation may not be optional. But, whether it deepens or dissolves your commitment to integrity, that’s where the work lies.

I just keep reminding myself, in business and life, in the way I contribute to the world, I want to live from a place of generosity and grace, not grasping and greed.

That’s my work. Our work. The work.

I hope you’ll join me.

About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a dad, husband, author, speaker, A-list blogger and serial wellness-industry entrepreneur. Fields writes about entrepreneurship and creativity at www.JonathanFields.com and interviews emerging world-shakers at www.GoodLifeProject.com. His latest book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance, was named the #1 personal development book of 2011 by 800-CEO-Read.

5 Step Plan for Making First 100 Sales

5 Step Plan for Making First 100 Sales
By Craig Ballantyne
Recently a young reader named Nate Miller asked me to outline the 5-steps for making his first 100 sales online. Here was my advice…

Q: There is so much to do and no one to be accountable to when trying to start an online business. How do you stay on top of everything when it seems so overwhelming. Also, I follow everything from you and Mark Ford. But how do you get a mentor when starting out and you don’t have the money to pay for them? – Nate

Answer:

Nate – Keep it simple. It need not be overwhelming.
Step #1 – Figure out the best product you can create that will solve people’s problems in the niche market you have chosen.
Step #2 – Figure out who has your customers (are they on a certain site, someone’s email list, or specific pages on Facebook?)
Step #3 – Start working your way in front of them.
Step #4 – Create a simple website with great copy that persuades your best customers to buy the product.
Step #5 – Once the site is up, put all of your effort into getting those best customers to your site. It could be writing articles, doing affiliate deals, or buying traffic (start with Google or FB – depending on what is the best way to get in front of them).
The end.
Make some money and then do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
As for accountability, there are 7 billion people on the planet. There is no shortage of people to be accountable to. Find someone.