All posts by LorettaLoveHuff

5 Things You Can Use for Visibility & Free Publicity

I am adopted and met my siblings, cousins, aunties and uncles for the first time in 2002. Meeting them was an amazing experience and will be the subject of my third book. Stay tuned for that.

In any event, there was a time when I didn’t talk about being adopted. I was embarrassed. I thought something was wrong with me, but once I worked through those issues and opened my mouth about it, I was absolutely dumbfounded by how many other people’s lives have been touched by adoption. They’re everywhere and many have just as amazing stories as I have.

It got me thinking about what you might be keeping under wraps that might actually help you market your businesses. Now you’re probably wondering how on earth my adoption or something personal about you fits into marketing your business.

You probably already know that people do business with people that they know, like and trust, right? So how do you think they get to like you? It’s by getting to know the more personal parts of you.

I’ve had several conversations with business owners and managers lately who struggle with revealing the more personal parts of themselves. Yet, doing so is key to building strong relationships.

I interviewed Laura Holka, Producer-AZTV last spring and one of the things she said was key to getting free publicity was having a ‘hook’. Hooks are characteristics that make you unique or interesting. We all have things like that, but we often discount their value in branding or marketing our business.

A couple of years ago, I attended a meeting for the National Speakers Association in Arizona and our presenter spoke about growing up the ‘baby’ in a huge, boisterous family. He uses pictures of his family and has branded his marketing consulting practice as “Being Heard above the Noise”. There are tons of marketing consultants in the world, but I will probably never forget his brand.

So start thinking about what’s special or unique about you.

Do you/did you:

1. Grow up in an interesting place?

2. Have an unusual hobby or talent?

3. Have a strange nick name?

4. Have a weird job when you were young?

5. Have any distinguishing physical characteristics?

Items like these can be leveraged to help you stand out from the herd, get heard above the noise and carve out a place for yourself and your business in an increasingly crowded market. So figure out what’s special about you and build your brand and marketing messages around it.

Strive to Arrive and Thrive

I’m pictured here with Brittanee Perkins, the 2009 Miss Black Arizona (and former Band student of my husband, Karl) along with Rozan Latham, Miss Black Teen Arizona.

I attended the Phoenix Black Chamber Awards Banquet last week and noticed two ‘princesses’ walking through the crowd. Then said to myself, “Hey I know one of those princesses!” So I want over to congratulate them.

One of the first things Brittannee said was “Wish us luck!” I said, ‘Luck? For what? You just won!’

She replied, “We’re going to compete at Nationals!”

Forward progress depends on goals. What will you strive for next year?

Here are some tips to help you get on your way:

Release your limits & let go of negative thinking

We often talk ourselves out of ‘going for it’ before we even begin.  We think we can’t so we don’t try.  They guess what?  We won’t!

Consult your heart & unleash your dreams

Your heart knows best.  Your brain will try to talk you out of your dreams in order to ‘protect’ you from failure. Don’t listen to it.

Lay out a plan

You can’t just snap your fingers and make it so.  You need to figure out the steps to reach your goal.

Get the resources you need

Don’t try to do it alone.  You’ll exhaust yourself.  There are people around you who want to help and who would love to participate with you in some way.  Take classes if you need more knowledge.  Outsource as much as you can

Get to work

As one of my clients, John Ficorelli, sales executive extraordinaire, said “It’s one thing to have a plan.  It’s quite another to actually execute it!”

Take some time over the holiday season to intentionally dream and plan for next year.  Extract yourself from the hustle-bustle and give yourself a gift – the highest, best future you are meant to live.

Did you do your best?

I don’t watch a lot of game shows, but one I do enjoy is “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?  Based on that show, I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader – at least not now.

A week or so ago, I saw an episode of rerun that had brought tears to my eyes when it was first on the air and even though I knew the outcome, I watched it again.

The contestant was Cathy Cox, the State Superintendent of Schools for the State of Georgia.

You would hope that if anyone would be smarter than a 5th grader, it would be her. For those of you who have never seen the show, contestants are given questions to answer from various 5th grade subjects like U.S. history, geography, math, etc. They have a team of actual 5th grade students available to help them out when their confidence wanes.

The money Cathy would win would go to the schools of Georgia, not to her personally as in many episodes. She did a great job correctly answering each of the questions without the assistance of her young team mates.  She got all the way through the subjects and was then faced with answering the $1 million dollar question which she would have to do on her own.

If she missed it, she would take only $25K rather than the $500K she had accumulated. It was a big gamble. The stakes were high as was the tension in the studio.

Cathy decided to go for it.  The $1 million question was presented and she wasn’t positive of the answer. She reasoned it through, came up with her best guess and then right before she “locked it in”, she said “I did my best”.

Do you do your best?  Do you do your homework before a big meeting?  Do you think clearly and weigh the pros and cons of your decision?  Do you think big?  Do you dare to dream?  Do you trust your instinct and then act courageously?  Do you give everything your best shot?

Cathy did and she took $1 million dollars back to Georgia!  (My eyes are welling up again, just thinking about it.)

The audience cheered, hooped and hollered.  The 5th graders rushed to her side and lots of hugs and kisses and high 5s were exchanged.

Being successful means never having to ‘close’ a sale

That heading must sound like heresy.

But those people who are truly successful at sales get the job done much earlier in the ‘sales’ cycle than at the end when most people are trying to convince their prospect to buy what they have to offer.

You see, sales really is a process and the best sales people do all of their work as early in the process as possible.

Here are the keys to successful selling:
1. Be crystal clear about the VALUE derived by your clients from whatever it is that you’re offering

2. Make sure you also know:
– the goals they have
– what needs they are yearning to fill
– what desires are unmet in their hearts and minds
– the major problems they’re suffering from

3. Understand what their buying process is
emotionally – do they have to shop around or will they make a decision on the spot
‘physically’ – who else is involved in the decision, how the purchasing process works in their organization

4. Appeal to their preferred thinking style (relational, analytical, cautious, controlling)

5. Share stories of similar clients you’ve helped. Talk about the benefits they gained. Have your prospects describe for you what an ideal outcome would be of working with you

6. Anticipate why they might not buy from you and address those issues before they even come up

7. Give them a choice. “Based on what I’ve heard, here are the 2 – 3 options that I believe will help… Which one are you thinking is best for you? What would you like to do now?”

If you cover all of these steps, by the time you ‘offer’ your options, they’ll be salivating to work with you!