[Book Review] Sell With A Story

In the past, my experience with story-selling books and courses have not been great. This could be my own mental block. In my mind, you’re either a story-teller or you’re not. And, I think it’s not that easy to teach people to become story-tellers. It’s a challenging skill to master.

As you can imagine, this made me quite skeptical when I got a review copy of Sell With A Story by Paul Smith. This is not Smith’s first book on using stories. He also authored Lead with a Story and Parenting with a Story, but I’ve read neither. This is my first introduction to his books.

Overall, I enjoyed his writing style. Simple and easy to follow. I also loved the format of the book which is more like a workbook. There is “homework” at the end of each chapter which is very helpful. I appreciated the many examples and how he lead me through the methods of identifying what’s a story and what’s not. It was clear, and it clicked for me.

Then I got to the part where we were to create a short, concise story to introduce ourselves and what we do. Oh boy! This is a challenge because I do so many things. I’ve always failed at creating an elevator speech. Plus, my feeble attempts using a story as an introduction always seem to drag on.

The example he used to teach how to create this intro story is super helpful. Using that, I believe I now have a simple, direct and short intro story. It’s still a little rough at the edges but definitely a lot easier to tell people what I do without their eyes glazing over. Because… you know, tech tends to do that.

The target audience for this book is sales professionals. Not so much digital marketers, or entrepreneurs. Still, I found it pretty helpful to craft easy to understand, engaging stories in explaining complex things. I think it can be quite helpful for writing blog posts too.

The book is scheduled to release September 2016 but you can get a copy now.

[Book Review] Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers

We’ve been very fortunate to receive a copy of Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds’ book, Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers

Overall, I was a bit disappointed. It is likely due to my failure to fully understand who the author is talking to, and it is not for someone who operates an online business and already familiar with the ins and outs of using social media in your own business. That said, who is this book for?

Sales professionals. Particularly those who operate in offline, not-so-connected industries, and more specifically, those in B2B.

Even so, that’s a wide brush. If you are one of those sales people who are savvy and comfortable with content marketing. If you know and understand all about influencers. If you have your own following and a strong personal brand and comfortable talking (not selling) to people on social media, then this book is not for you.

I do think this is a great book for someone who is rather new to using social media and content as a sales tool. Not necessarily new to social media itself. If you have been selling the old way for a while and want to leverage social media, this is for you. If your social media posts are awkward or lack a conversational tone, this is a great book to get you and your company moving in that direction. Pick up your copy here.

Are You Living Your Calling?

It’s Monday. Are you excited to get going? Or are you dreading the grind? Are you passionate about what’s you are about to create this week? Or is work your enemy?

Watch this…

Don’t love your comfort zone too much. Security is over-rated. Don’t settle. Do not be that person who regrets not going after their passion on their death bed.

Now is the time. Decide to do it now. Whatever it is. If you’re ready to start a business, do it today! Here’s one to get you started. “Launch A Profitable Podcast“.

Rise Again, Every Time

A little reminder and encouragement. Business building is hard work. You probably have more failures than you care to admit. Just remember to rise again. Every. Single. Time.

What’s Blocking You From Business Success?

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Do you take time during the summer months to evaluate the business goals that you set at the beginning of the year? If you feel like you’ve become stuck, you’ll want to check out this article to discover what hidden blocks might be keeping you from achieving the progress that you’re hoping for. You’ll also take away some great action steps to get you moving in the right direction.

Re-Branding? Here’s What NOT To Do

A big part of small business branding is clearly and concisely communicating what you offer. When people ‘get’ you, they less likely to forget you. They may not recall you right away, but when they do, they recognize what you do instantly.

The Story of a Horribly Executed Rebranding

Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/konstantynov

Have you ever heard or participated in a conversation that goes something like this?

“Do you know Sarah Brown?”

“Oh yeah! She’s that interior decorator who specializes in vintage decor.”

If you were Sarah, you should be very pleased because people can put your name, profession, and specialty together. On the flip side,allow me to share a story about Valerie (not real name).

I’d known Valerie for years. We travel in the same circles online. Because of that, I didn’t expect to have a tough time looking her up.

Since she had a pretty common name, a simple Google search didn’t work. Usually, in this situation, attaching the person’s profession, industry or job title to the search helps tremendously. I thought I knew what her business was but after several failed searches, I realized I had no idea what she does!

The next step was to look her up in the forums and groups we participate in. To my surprise, all the searches turned up empty. I had to really dig in. After lots of attempts and finally finding her, I realized the reason it was so difficult, was because she never signs her posts with her real name. She also used a nickname that didn’t have anything to do with her business or name.

Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the story. The website in her signature was very old. It was clear from the look of the site that she no longer offered those services anymore. There was no link to direct me to what she might be mastering today. Through some miracle, I found a newer website of hers. It was a completely new business that didn’t have much to do with the old one.

A few months later, Valerie surfaced again and this time, she was announcing yet another brand new business. Again, she said the old business (which was the newer one) didn’t fit her anymore. The latest business venture wasn’t even close to the last one – again.

Needless to say, I was very confused about her brand. If she even had one at all. My original intention on locating her was to figure out if she was a good candidate for me to refer prospects. No surprise, the conclusion was a big no.

This isn’t saying you can’t re-invent yourself. Sometimes, it takes a few tries before we “find ourselves”. And, as entrepreneurs, it is common for us to move from one interest to another. However, most re-inventions remain within the same industry and the most successful brands attempt to stay true to their core offerings. Should you absolutely need to do a complete makeover, get professional help. If you can’t afford that, ask seasoned entrepreneur friends.

At the very least, leave a message on your old website. Tell people why and how you can now better serve them – if the audience overlaps. Give them a way to reach you at your new site. Have a plan to wind down the old website so as not to confuse more people going forward.

Finally, try not to re-brand as often as one changes clothes. That’s not a good way to build any business. It is terribly confusing and only makes you look unreliable.

What You Should Know About Handling Taxes

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Many people hate taxes and record keeping. They don’t want to think about numbers, software and paperwork on top of their daily business activities and other responsibilities. But despite the dreariness of it, every business owner should take the time to at least learn the basics in order to be sure that their business is on the up-and-up. You’ll be thankful come next tax season!

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Launch A Profitable Podcast

Discover how to start your own podcast business, leverage it to grow an existing business, grow your influence, and more.