Gone Fishing

by Laurie Foley on August 27, 2012

One of the things I love about small town businesses is that they can just scotch tape a sign to the window when they shut down for a break. “Gone fishing… See you tomorrow.” Or “Picking up the kids from school… back in 15 minutes.”

This is my “gone fishing” post.

Last week I found out that I am soon to begin treatment for what is presumed to be ovarian cancer (presumed because the final pathology will happen during surgery). Thanks to oncologists who are utterly devoted to helping women conquer something that sneaks up with virtually no warning, I’ll say goodbye to all non-essential organs, be “debulked” of as many abnormal growths as possible, and (hopefully) soaked with some radical heated chemo to slay the micro dragons that have set up camp in my body’s core. I’m making friends with more chemo for however long it takes. As my doc said, “Surgery doesn’t cure this; chemo can.”

Can I believe this is happening? No. Just no. But here’s what I do believe with my true core: healing is possible.

Deciding to hang the gone fishing sign here while I recover from the surgery and find some rhythm with the chemo process has been really hard. Grief. Anger. Frustration. I have worked hard – and with great joy – over the last few years to build communities and projects like Courage Studio that I love. My business model has been humming.

I had just gotten my micro-biz airplane to the right altitude for me, and things were cruising. Now there is a wild terrorist on board and I need to make an emergency landing. My intention now is simply to land this plane as gracefully as possible. Rest is what optimally leads to healing, and rest is what I shall do.

If you would like to go fishing with me, you can follow my progress toward healing at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lauriefoley.

In my family we like to leave a radio playing in the house when we’re gone for a while. “Take Me to the River” is the first “gone fishing” song the radio will be playing for this trip because everything is better with Al Green.


Evidence-Based Offers for Spicy Sales

by Laurie Foley on August 12, 2012

What are you selling?

Have you ever really asked yourself that question? You might think that you know the answer to it very quickly: coaching, consulting, graphic design, writing services, etc. But those answers are “what” you do and actually have nothing to do with what you should be selling.

The question of what you are selling starts with “what would people like to buy?” because without buyers you aren’t exactly selling anything. This may surprise you, but people are not very interested in buying coaching or graphic design or any other services. They are, however, thrilled to pay for the results that they get when your service meets a need and satisfies a desire.

People buy results. It’s essential that you sell (and market!) results. Marketing the process or the “how” does not speak directly to the results that people get from working with you.

If you’re like most service providers, then you have been probably been marketing your process and not your results. It’s natural for newer business owners because they are quite enmeshed in learning and mastering the process. So let’s start from there and use mind mapping to find offers that will spur sales. The steps below will show you how this mind map was created:

mind map for coaching

Step 1: What process or service are you selling?
Suppose the answer is coaching. Write “coaching” in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. Don’t worry about what kind of coaching or any other details yet.

Step 2: Why would someone want your service?
Draw a set of lines coming out from the word coaching in the middle of the page and at the end of each line right a few words about why they would want coaching. For example, if you are a weight loss coach, you might write “lose weight,” “feel better,” “be healthier,” or “look better.”

Step 3: Why would someone want those results?
Draw lines from the node and write tangible reasons that your client would want the result in that note. It’s important that you create specific, measurable reasons here – not more concepts. For example, for “look better,” you could write “to attract a partner” and “to find a better job” but not “be more confident.” That’s not specific and tangible so if that’s a goal state, it needs to hang off the main process node.

Step 4: How will your client know when she has achieved this goal?
Drill down again on a certain node and create evidence that the goal is being achieved. Again, be very specific here. No bit of evidence is too small.

Step 5: What offers are inspired by the edges of your mind map?
It’s at these evidence nodes that you can begin to create specific offers.

Imagine two offers from a weight loss coach:

a) Three months of weekly coaching to help you uncover your issues with food.

Or, based on what we learned in the mind map:

b) “Date Your Way Thin”: A six-step program to help you find love and lose weight at the same time.

Which do you think more people will buy?

Let’s do it again for a graphic designer. This time, just peek at the mind map:

mind map for graphic design

From this you could contrast a traditional offer like “Business cards, rush service available” to “Three Day Dazzling Business Cards, Guaranteed.”

In these examples, I drilled down on one path at a time but I recommend that you sample multiple paths and notice what would feel fun to offer and appealing to your clients as well. You might not be excited about offering three-day business cards but you might be thrilled to work your clients to create “Confident First-Time Websites.”

drill down to find the sweet spot of your evidence-based offers

Evidence-based offers are the hot sauce for creating spicy sales. Next time you get the feeling that people don’t understand what you’re selling, revisit this exercise to drill down for offers that are sure to attract the attention that your services deserve.


Three Lessons on Launching from the Human Cannonball

August 5, 2012

You’ve been working on it for months. You’ve been writing, sweating, recording, transcribing, formatting, building sales pages, creating autoresponders, testing it all out, and wrestling myriad other technologies. You have probably shed a few tears. You’ve been counting down to launch day. Like the human cannonball, you load all that you’ve got into the mechanics […]

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