Itâ€™s that feeling that you get when your mind is racing, your palms start to sweat and your thoughts decide that they do not want to make the faintest connection to your vocal cords. And then, you becomeâ€¦
Has that ever happened to you met a potential business associate. You exchange greetings, you learn each others’ name, and then the conversation goes deeper with the one question that makes you cringeâ€¦ â€œSo, what do you do?â€
For many Virtual Assistants this is the most dreaded question because they do not know how to clearly convey the problems of their target market (if they have one), or how they solve those problems effectively.
What Are the 5 Pieces?
There are 5 critical pieces to masterfully articulating your value as a business owner and making strong connections. When you are face to face with a conversation partner keep the following conversation pieces in mind.
1 ~ Choose A Target Market
Having a target market gives great subject matter on which to have business conversations. If you tend to be on the shy side, focusing your attention on a separate group of people will give you the confidence needed to add more fuel to your conversation fire. If your target market is business coaches, you can talk about how that stresses that they experience with owning and operating their coaching practice. Then move to piece #2. Continue Reading »
What comes to mind when you here the term “Networking”? Do you cringe at the thought of standing in a room with a bunch of people who are passing out business cards and hoping to walk away from the event with more money in their bank accounts? I hope not. That’s far from what networking is or should be. Networking is involved in almost everything that you do. Have you ever needed a baby-sitter or a really good doctor? Where did you turn in order to find someone who is reputable. Likely, you asked a trusted friend or family member. That is networking! Click play on the audio link above and learn how to be natural and comfortable with productive and authentic networking.
I have something very special and exciting for YOU! One of my favorite past times is to sit in a nice coffee shop, enjoy a nice brew and have good conversation with good friends. So, we have decided to do more of that in a virtual sort-of-way.
Over the past 7 years, Sydni and I have been working with entrepreneurs to help them build lucrative businesses. In the process we have started 4 different companies. One of them being EAtoVA.
You might be asking, “Wil, I thought you said that you had something for me?” And you are correct.
We are taking ALL of the knowledge that we’ve used to build our businesses and share it with you EVERY week. That’s exciting for a few specific reasons:
- We will get to know you by talking on the phone regularly.
- For 10 minutes I will share with you business-building strategies.
- For 20 minutes you will be able to ask questions and we can brainstorm business solutions for you.
- NO selling, NO pitches, NO tricks. We are having a friendly conversation and getting to learn more about one another.
- These calls will be FREE, forever! Isn’t that cool? I really look forward to getting on the phone with you.
Every Tuesday, we’ll discuss a specific topic. Check out the line up for November:
- Nov 06: How to develop a success mindset.
- Nov 13: Skill sets prospective clients are looking for.
- Nov 20: What technologies are successful VAs using?
- Nov 27: Fixing holes in your business foundation.
These are just 4 of the MANY topics that you and I will be discussing. Don’t worry, if you cannot join us live, I will post the recordings here on the blog! We are going to have an awesome time each week!
Networking Sydni Craig-Hart on 13 Jul 2012
The 21st century has dealt us a pretty cool hand with regards to business. More and more people are finding ways to build a virtual business. Money is exchanging hands for services and products at an unprecedented rate.
Just a few short years ago; you didnâ€™t see so many work-at-home moms selling things on the Internet. Neither did you see so many successful professionals in the Virtual Assistance industry.
There is another aspect of business that is also cool and exciting. Technology and the evolution of business have afforded you, a Virtual Assistant, the opportunity to tout your skills without being ashamed or embarrassed. When you look at the Internet today, almost anyone with an idea has something to sell or promote. Today, I want to share with you 2 ways to promote your business without that gut wrenching embarrassment that you used to feel when you had to give an oral report in elementary school.
1. Attend Networking Events
When you go to a networking event it is nice to know that everyone is there for pretty much the same purpose. It is to get to know other business owners, make connections and start new relationships. Does it unnerve you to talk about whom you are and what you have to offer the world?
Rest assured, you need not feel nervous. Why? It is because everyone else is doing the exact same thing that you are doing!
Sure, there can be some apprehension about approaching people that you donâ€™t know. That is understandable. I will guarantee you one thing. When you get one to two minutes into a conversation, the shyness melts away like ice cubes on a hot stove. When your nerves have calmed down, it becomes your time to shine! Your conversation partner will certainly want to learn more about who you are and what you do.
Now, you can shamelessly talk about how you as a Virtual Assistant solve the problems of your clients. You help them with their administrative clutter by creating documents, managing their websites or caring for their customer service matters. Whatever your gift is, you are given permission to shout those gifts from the rooftops when you attend networking events.
2. Create a Blog
Many of your prospective clients will go online to find the solutions that you provide. Keep in mind they want to be educated, not sold to. They will typically make a purchasing decision based on three things:
- How well you educate them
- How well you connect with them personally (and how well you understand their problem)
- How well you demonstrate that you have helped others (via testimonials and social proof)
You can easily educate them and demonstrate your expertise by consistently publishing content on a blog. A blog post doesn’t have to be more than 200-400 words (which is only a few paragraphs). In each post you can highlight a particular problem, solution or resource that is relevant to your client.
If you optimize your posts, include a specific offer to help the reader with their needs and promote your posts where your ideal prospects are already hanging out online, you are guaranteed to attract interest in your work.
Implement these two strategies to promote your business easily and effectively. Your prospective clients who have yet to meet you are waiting for you to solve their problems. Your skills and talents are needed in the world. Do not allow shyness to hinder you from helping the people who need your solutions.
If you entered a contest that challenged you to enroll one new client next week, how would you go about doing so? Imagine that the stakes are VERY HIGH. The prize, $100,000 if you could just get one new client to work with you in your business. Would $100,000 be enough to get you excited about prospecting for clients?
I hope that you are excited because this is a reality. If you work feverishly to get in front of your ideal clients, you can truly operate a $100,000 business! But, don’t allow the money to be a barrier for you. Think about why you started your business in the first place. What made you excited about being an entrepreneur? That is the very energy and zeal that you need to employ when you are marketing your solutions to the people who are already looking for you.
I want to share with you the strategies that we have used to build two successful businesses. First, I want to offer a disclaimer. If you do not perform the work that needs to be done, you will not get new clients and thus build your business. Fair enough? Good! Let’s get started:
- I tapped into my warm market: That tactic is how I got my business off the ground. I simply told my friends, co-workers and associates that I was starting a Virtual Assistance company. It was fascinating to them that I was going to do the same work that I had been doing for more than a decade using the freedom of running my own company. I sent a letter to everyone that I knew and set coffee dates with others. I did whatever I could to get the word out about my new business. This was my first ever marketing campaign and my company was born. Continue Reading »
We received this question on the LinkedIn group recently:
When a VA is working full-time and starting her business at the same time, what is the best way to follow-up and/or get leads (clients)? Also, how do you convince future clients that you can still do the work, just at a different time in the day?
Excellent question and if you are facing a similar challenge, here’s is the first part of my answer: Â Â Â Continue Reading »
Take a look at your client load right now. Â Are you satisfied with the number of clients that you have? Â If not, why not? Â The number of clients that you have or do not have is directly related to your level of marketing. Â Why not examine all of your marketing activities and strategies and measure how well they are working for you.
Developing the marketing mentality will help you to focus on opportunities that come your way. Â Additionally, this mindset will motivate you to set up systems to support each of your marketing strategies. Â Take as an example, networking. Â What is your system for meeting new people, gathering business cards, and following up? Â When you follow up, do you send one email or make one phone call? Â Or do you attempt to contact the person until you get an answer.
Think about reaching out to your warm market. Â That is the group of people who already know, trust and like you. Â To some extent they even know the level of skill and knowledge that you bring to the table as a service provider. Â So, do all of these people know about your Virtual Assistance company? Â If not, send them a professionally written letter that details the important information about your company. Â Tell them about the services that you provide, the target market that you serve, the problems that you solve and the benefits that clients receive from working with you.
If you develop and maintain the marketing state of mind, you will see plenty of opportunity that surrounds you every single day. So, start reaching out to the people that you know you need to contact. Follow up and make your voice heard. Â There are a lot of people who need the services that you are offering. Â Use these two marketing strategies immediately. Â They are free and easy to implement.
Develop the â€œFollow Up Habitâ€
Do you ever wonder when your telephone will start ringing? Â Are you sitting in your office waiting for prospects to call you and hire you? Â If so, you will need to change this mindset immediately! Â Please understand that if you do not take the initiative to follow up on even the smallest interest in your service, you may be stealing money from your own wallet.
How can you rob from your own wallet? Â This is done whenever you have an opportunity to build your business and you, well, decide NOT to! Â Do you have the habit of following up when you meet a new business contact? Â Do you follow up even if there is a tiny bit of interest in what you have to offer? Â Take for instance the family member who says to you, â€œI think I know someone who could use your help.â€ Â How do you deal with this situation? Â There are several action steps that you could take:
- You could wait for your relative to put you in contact with the person.
- You could ask your relative to pass on your contact information to the person.
- You could ask your relative for the contact information of the person.
Which of these action steps seems to be the MOST effective to you? Â If you are going to develop the follow up habit, you have to take the initiative. Â You want to take the best step that will put you in front of the referral. Â Action step number three is the best way to go. Â But, we can take it a step further. Â Why not ask your relative for the contact information. Â Tell her that you are going to call the referral. Â Additionally, ask your relative to contact the referral as well to give them a heads up that you will be calling. Â Are you doing this now? In order to develop the follow up habit, you ALWAYS have to take the big, bold initiative.
The same is true when you meet other people who mention that they have an interest in what you do. Â Or, they may mention that they know of someone else who is looking for the type of support that you provide. Â Do not rob money from your own wallet by not following up. Â If you come into contact with a new acquaintance on Monday, it would be a great idea to give them a call on Tuesday. Â Do you have difficulty figuring out what to say? Â Here is a sample conversation starter:
â€œHi Sharon, my name is Wil. Â We met yesterday and I hope you are doing well. Â Iâ€™m calling because I told you that I would follow up with you to give you more information about how I help my clients to increase their revenue in less time than they have done so in the past.â€
Keep in mind that the sooner you follow up, the easier your conversations will be. You want to talk to people while you are still on their mind. Â However, you do not want to wait until the person waits to call you. Â Remember, you are not in high school. Â You donâ€™t want to have the attitude that â€˜Iâ€™m not calling her until she calls me firstâ€™. Â That is best way to steal money from your own wallet.
At this time, take out all of the business cards that you have gathered over the previous weeks and start making phone calls. You are in the business of building your business. Â Getting into the follow up habit is one of the cheapest methods of marketing your business. Â Put the money in your wallet and donâ€™t leave it on the table!
Clearly Talk About What You Do
A clear message always leads to better understanding. Â Have you ever been in an airport and a heard a voice come over the PA system? Â Sometimes, the message that the announcer dispenses is very unclear. Â You cannot determine if the airplane that you plan to catch has begun the boarding process or if the doors have already been locked. Â In a situation like this, hopefully you are in full view of what is going on at the gate where you plan to take off. Â How frustrating! Â Now, think about when you are telling someone about your profession. Does the person who is listening to you have a clear picture of how you serve your clients? Â Can they determine that you are a service professional? Â Â Â Continue Reading »