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How Many Of The 10 OLD Marketing Crimes Are You Guilty Of?
With the rampaging march of technology, social media and ever diminishing audience attention spans, it pays now, more than at anytime in the last 20 years, to keep on top of your marketing output. We are all competing with more suppliers over a greater area and need to stay ahead of the, “Not them again” fatigue that causes poverty through customer irritation.
In no particular order here are the TOP 10 MARKETING CRIMES – Do keep score of how many old habits you are guilty of as you read and check your results at the end. Be honest now. Good luck…
1) A Newsletter carved in stone. You stressed and worried about the first one you launched to 50 people all those years ago and were so proud at receiving your first pleasant response. Do you remember? You may have even received an order for business from your first few issues! Wow.
Several years later, you have fallen into a routine. You haven’t updated your format. And, the content is all about you. The text is repetitive and tired and you are going around the block for the umpteenth time giving out educational advice that, in your heart of hearts, you know most people either already know, are not interested in, or, think is slightly quaint and, itself, out-dated.
Action – Start again. Ask, “Who will be my paying customers over the next 2-3 years?” Where are they? What do they read / listen to / watch? What channel works for them? And, where is the GAP today in their knowledge or wisdom that I can fill with insights and service?
(More on this in a moment)
2) The Repeating Repeating event. Again, do you remember feeling like you had just discovered penicillin when you held your first Breakfast Briefing, Monthly Mixer or Multi-Speaker Do? And, good for you. You put your all into inviting senior decision making people to a high value demonstration of your wisdom and originality and it was probably lapped up by your audience and generated a healthy return on your invested time and money.
Times have moved on. Now everyone seems time scarce, attention scare and oh, so cynical. Your prospects now send juniors who spend too much time looking at their phone. Your venue costs have gone up and your returns have all but disappeared. And the quality of speaker you can attract to help you out has diminished too.
Action – Once more – Is it time to think again? – Do you need a physical event? If so, what about partnering with a complimentary service or product provider and splitting the cost whilst enlarging your potential base? Who could dove-tail with you and bring a wider and fresh audience? As customers become more scattered around the globe, is a remote version of this event a good idea – A webinar or filmed demonstration? It is definitely time to change your whole approach?
3) Your Dusty Flat Website – It was so exciting when you updated your old 5 page brochure site to include rotating pictures, a call me back button, or even added a news feed. Wow – Nosebleed territory.
Your returns on the website peaked many moons ago and people are finding you through other means now. As you read through your site today, you realise it all about you you you. It is overly factual and your copy fails to engage the customer or prospect. It does not interrupt them and take them on a journey. There is no story, no insight and no call to action that is compelling enough for them to – CALL YOU. And, you have a list of teaser happenings to lure new customers in that makes two assumptions –– That you have enough traffic to make this work for you, and, that they don’t mind the thin content you are providing as bait.
Action – Let us get real. Unless you are going to spend real bucks on getting something web-tastic with a shopping cart, then we are probably wasting our time here putting all our eggs in the website basket. Whilst websites are no longer number one, why not think about an intelligent strategy to proceed with. There are cheaper and more flexible versions of websites via WordPress that incorporate blogs, measure responses and allow for far more interactivity. And ones that allow opt ins for joining your list that can be connected to your newsletter via an autosponder sequence to take new joiners on a relevant and escalating journey of engagement, and, with a proportion of them, will lead to an initial sale – an automated journey that does not require human intervention and the salary that accompanies it.
4) Words Words Words – Not SuperCopy – It still amazes me that plenty of otherwise bright company executives (over performing in their core areas of expertise), continue to operate with a complete blind spot to accepting that persuasive and well written copy actually generates action, a response and represents a return on time and the marketing money you spend! Instead we see 1000s of words about me me me, facts, features and detail that bore readers, turn away needy customers and fail to promote the company’s best assets – Their product / service, the quality of your interaction, or, your unique selling advantage.
The answers are out there enabling you to learn about key influencing copy devices that will move your observer prospects up to an energy level where they take action; that will shift those passive but needy customers to reach out and get in touch with you. And, with automated systems, they will do more than half of this whist you are getting on with delivery.
Action – If you can’t wait until number 10) then do call me (Matthew Hill 07540 65 9995) with your details and we can talk through the immediate actions you would be wise to contemplate, decide to do and get started on.
5) Non Selling Sales People – When you employed that merry band of brothers and sisters in your sales department, you did not realise just how sales-phobic they would become and how quickly they would chose to grow cosy and cosseted in that comfortable office you provide, making nice warm calls to already warm connections whilst failing to break new ground and look for new players on the block.
Given a chance to change, you find that they defend their cosy “keeping in touch” non-selling version of communication… to the death, and, resist your pleas for them to step up their game and do something challenging and relevant.
Action – Is it time to challenge your whole sales and marketing process and simplifying it down to something that works?!?! Your new successful process will emerge as you study the sales decision making process of your median customer? Where do they begin, enquire, question? And, What do they need? What assurances work? What demonstration and proofs convert? What words work? And, What is the quickest or optimum route from “Don’t know you” to “Know you, like you, trust you and let’s buy from you on multiple occasions”? When would now be an excellent time to start asking these questions?
6) E Mailed to sleep – Whilst E Mail has been around for 25 years, it’s abuse and massive overuse has lead to GDPR, spam screening and a vast decrease in the power of any single E Mail.
The average marketing executive still thinks they know how to write a compelling and hip message that will work. OMG.
Action – If there is one thing to commit to doing in the next 12 months, make it be this – Find out how to write compelling, sincere and action inducing E Mails that work. Please, pretty please and please with a cherry on the top do this one thing.
7) Brochures – There was a time when having your own bespoke, designed and professionally printed brochure was a sign of status and kudos. With studio package shots and agency copy, they were a thing of beauty and value.
Now everything moves quickly, is on-line and uses realistic looking E mock ups of printed books and boxes, making your product look even better than it does in real life. So, what is the point of a brochure? And how much does it cost to print and send out one copy? And, does anyone read them anymore?
Action – Break that habit. Add up the real cost and ask yourself if it is the way to go? Dan Kennedy, the undisputed king of marketing, would advice moving that budget into flyers, newsletters and offers. And, who is to say he is wrong?
8) Trade fairs – Do you remember 2 or 3 recessions ago, how much fun trade fairs were? We had gift bags that contained things we wanted! Alcohol flowed freely. There were gimmicks and gadgets and, the pace of change in some industries was so fast you HAD to be there, to get the education and new contacts you needed, just to keep up.
All of that has gone. The budgets are slashed, the attendees are now juniors and not decision makers, the speeches are pat and less inspiring, and, the gifts are not worth collecting.
Action – Let’s get back some of the magic of the olden days with a bit of pizzazz, some energy and humour and a speech that has a CTA – Call to Action at the end of it. And, let us make it super-professional. Save money by designing your communication pathway to qualify out the time wasters and tire kickers. And, actively qualify in your real prospects, engage with them, warm them up, and, follow up proactively, professionally and with purpose. Have them remember that first meeting with you at the trade fair as the start of something exciting and exceptional.
9) Social Media –
Do you remember your first brave steps on Facebook and LinkedIn? And do you remember your first successes? Oh, treasured memories.
Oh dear – If there were just one Crime Sheet area that had to be pointed out, this would be it. – A litany of FB and LI groups with 72 members. Me Me Me posts that singularly fail to connect with your customers. Twitter accounts with 17 followers. I could go on…
Action – Stop your awkward half-hearted presence campaigns on social media now before you embarrass yourself. And, start the whole thing again. Curate meaningful content, test your text, write from the perspective of the reader and not your company, and, don’t just scatter your seed to the wind – Ask for opt ins and exchange a small meaningful product for your target’s contact details and permission to communicate with them.
10) Database – My regular readers will now be mouthing my following sentence – “If you don’t have a database, you don’t have a business”. And by database, today, we do not mean a list typed in from that dusty collection of business cards kept in each marketing employee’s desk. And, we don’t mean the list you call a database that the Trade Fair gave you – That is a spam list of people who actively don’t know you and are becoming increasingly irritated at getting random offers and interruptions just because they visited the Excel centre once and came away a some lousy bag full of pointless brochures and low quality gifts.
All data was not created equal – The undifferentiated pile of contacts!!! – Are they hot, warm or cold? How old are they? Are they prospects, suspects, peers or competitors? What contact have you had with them? Do you have permission to contact them? Have you qualified them IN or OUT? – NOBODY KNOWS.
Action – Start again – Use your intelligence to start a completely new database with a big set of doors on it. Only let in warms and hots. Qualify and examine each dataset on the way in. Have one plan for the warms, and a more energetic one for the hots. Automate the generation of new enquiries and spend some time working with each one to get those all-important first encounter touch points right.
Go back and ask, “Who do you best serve?” Who will benefit most from your wisdom and experience? And, build a funnel to contact and develop all warms and hots in an intelligent, legal and optimally effective way.
Do forward this post please to someone who urgently needs to get with the programme.
Add up your score – How did you do? Any sweaty moments? (Have you been totally honest?) – Where are you falling short or finding yourself stuck in bad old habits and the past? Please now read on about what to do next, based on your results…
Score – So, what is your Crime Sheet number?
***3 or Less – You are in the modern era. You are keeping yourself abreast of modern methods, investing in knowledge and marketing. You are on the ball – We know you will do well this year and next. Good for you.
***4 – 7 – OMG – Call this emergency hot line now! – Matthew Hill 07540 65 9995 – You are at the edge of the cliff and it could crumble under your feet sooner than you think. Growth is by no means assured for this year or next. Now is the time to take action.
***8 – 10 – Don’t worry – Whilst you are beyond help, you will have hopefully bagged enough cash when your old marketing delivered cash and peaked in a bygone era and you do not need to be competitive in the modern era. We wish you well in your hobby company and upcoming retirement.
About the Author
Matthew Hill helps organisations and solopreneurs spruce up their marketing efforts to quickly, cleanly and effectively leap into short sequence, copy driven and ethical marketing endeavours that seek out active customers, interrupt prospects respectfully and exchange value-for-access to allow for a speedy and dignified accent from “Who the hell are you?” to “Ah, great to hear from you. I am looking forward to learn more about how you will be helping me this year”
Matthew has worked with some of the largest companies in the world and now concentrates on small and medium sized training services businesses that wish to turn around their “survival” mode of existence and start to grow top line income, the quality of their target customers, and, begin to create super-fan clients that are happy to rave about you, advocate for you and help you become positively busy, happy and successful.
For a f’ree conversation with zero obligation, do take action now and call me – Leave your details with Matthew Hill on 07540 65 9995. Thanks and speak to you soon.
Collaborate or Die
We are meant to play nicely, work as a team and respect each other. In Part 1, we expanded on 10 reasons why this often fails to happen.
In this Part 3, we now look at the key desirable behaviours that, when practiced mindfully and regularly, WILL produce a team breakthrough, get the group to the goal and leave everyone alive, and, at least on speaking terms at the end.
As you move through the behaviours, ask yourself, “Do I do this? “Can I start doing this?” And, “Will I step up and do this regularly?”
15 Strong Suggestions
- Interrupt your dark defensive moments and fill them with light.
Experienced in so many ways as sarcasm, denial, anger, avoidance and justification, defensiveness – This is the burden suffered by most teams attempting to become more collaborative and effective.
Borrowed from anger management training courses, the best method is to spot the symptoms of early on-set defensiveness and divert the behaviour, diminish it or reverse it. If you are beginning to feel your blood boil, take a walk to the balcony, go smell the flowers and take your imagination to a place of cool, calm tranquillity to “reset” your body’s distracting chemicals.
- Coaching your colleagues through any resistance.
The majority of people will not instantly get behind a fresh idea or new change. They will choose to wait it out, criticise it, or, mount an attack.
Here, a coaching approach can be effective as you focus inside your colleague’s head to access both their imagination and logic circuits to help them do the work of processing change and getting on board for themselves. Questions that help to create different and contrasting futures are good – “What if we carry on as we are? What are the risks of this?” “If we had 10 times the resources available, what should we do next?” “If you were the team leader now, what course of action would you recommend?” Etc.
- Actively listening to your concerned colleague.
The problem with teams is that the confident, privileged and beautiful get most of the airtime. And this dynamic is actually reinforced by everybody in the team – even the oppressed, the shy, or, the outsiders. The reflectors, quiet geniuses and shy analysts are not prone to speak up, do not feel they have permission to speak and, thus, do not take up their share of the microphone.
Related to coaching but intruding less, listening is about getting the whole story out of the coachee / colleague. We can employ minimal encouragement – “That is important, please tell us more” “You were saying…” “And, what does this mean for our team?” Quieter members of the team may be more sensitive. If you overdo it they will clam up – Maintain a positive, still attention with minimal non-verbal, para-verbal and verbal prompts. This will be good for evening out the group’s share of voice, listening to all and including their ideas and concerns as well as counting the vote of everybody to form an inclusive group dynamic that will be effective in taking a diverse group all the way to a stretched goal.
- Building muscular resilience.
We can see resilience as the ability to bounce back from pressure, stress or becoming knocked off balance, AND, still being about to function effectively. In the politics of the team, possessing greater resilience can take people all the way to the top. And a lack of resilience will see someone being relegated to the oppressed group, or demoted to basic executive duties. They are sent to eat at the children’s table.
Resilience comes in 4 flavours – Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Teams or individuals can be encouraged to participate in simple and repeated exercises to stretch and build their resilience muscles. Physical – Regular exercise, monitoring diet and alcohol consumption. Emotional – Developing the habit of experiencing positive emotions through appreciation, gratitude and laughter. Mental – Simple maths exercises. Spiritual – Practicing your faith or thinking pure thoughts.
- Learning to resolve difference intelligently.
It is easy to sulk, withdraw and dismiss a different opinion from your own. This actually represents a form of defensiveness and will not allow a team to become optimally collaborative.
Imagine learning to reconcile difference to a level where, “I am OK & You’re OK”, becomes the default setting for the group. (We discuss a positive exception to this later).
What difference would this make to the atmosphere and energy in your team? The simplest method when two parties are on opposite sides of an argument or behaviour style (e.g. direct communicators v indirect communicators), is to reconcile the difference. We ask first, what is the benefit and contribution of each style, acknowledging that a diversity of approaches is actually NECESSARY for success. We then work on how we can accommodate those two benefits in team communications or by putting them into the project plan. E.g. direct people tell the unvarnished truth, which can be invaluable when a crisis is looming. Diplomatic indirect people keep the channels of communication open, maintain higher levels of trust and ensure the probability of long-term communication. It is easy to see that both styles are required. The task then is to design simple protocols that allow both styles to operate with respect and appreciation within the team.
- Two heads are better than one when solving a problem.
If you are a hammer, your default mode is to bash things on the head. Not great when changing the batteries in your watch. Again a diversity of approaches will be more effective.
Practicing problem solving can be a bonding process that deepens the respect and positive emotions of all team members. Weekly intellectual challenges involving abstract problems can be a fun team building activity that is secretly growing the team’s capacity to handle complex issue, resolve involved messes, and, operate smoothly and efficiently when a live business problem comes along.
- Trust underpins it all.
Without trust we have defensiveness, solo silos, and Machiavellian plots.
There are 3 components to trust – Ability, Benevolence and Integrity. Each must be in play to ensure positive vulnerability and promote trust in a high functioning collaborative team. Ability – Giving recognition to the skills, competence and experience of each team member is a way that quickly establishing better communication and inclusion in any team. X becomes the go-to person on subject Y. Benevolence – By this we mean that each member declares and proves that they are not wishing a negative outcome upon their colleagues. They wish to allow a beneficial or, at least, neutral state to exist. Integrity – My word is my bond. It is essential to continually keep your promises in order to maintain confidence in the overall performance of any team. If there is a weak link, the whole side will feel let down.
- The Licensed Pessimist.
The risk to any team is Groupthink, where a strong personality is accepted as leader and their ego expands to a level where they propose actions that represent foolhardy risk taking. The compliant and passive nodders around them, allow and encourage adoption of this fast-track route to disaster.
Challenging the precepts of 7. we deliberately create a rotating and official role that allows and encourages a critical view and gives full permission for that person to voice their concerns – The Licenced Pessimist. “What if the market does not recover? What then?” “Those numbers appear way too optimistic. How did you derive them?”
When immunity from revenge and animosity is established in the group’s ground rules, the role becomes effective and essential in stress testing all new input to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Holding everybody accountable.
Like a sulky child, the wayward executive defends their actions by saying – “Well I didn’t agree with the decision to go this route in the first place.” (Though they remained silent or did not actively disagree, when given the chance before the decision was made.) It is this lack of ownership that will lead to a suboptimal quality of work and poor outcomes.
Asking everybody to say the word, “agree” can be enough to reduce the number of passive passengers on the bus and encourage everybody to process the information to form an active and personally held view. More people are then included in the process of building strategy, planning and problem solving.
- Regular Brainstorming.
Habits are quick to form and hard to change. It is easier to repeat what you did yesterday than take a different approach today in order to get a stronger result tomorrow. We are conservative, risk avoidant and take comfort in repetition. The zone we live in is far from comfortable – We stay in horrible jobs, relationships or houses not out of comfort, but out of habit.
This activity will also count towards your resilience exercises. Brainstorming is about expanding the creative connections that you allow your imagination to make by expressing yourself freely. Exempt from criticism and editing, brainstorming moves in waves. There will be a burst of output, a lull, a second burst, and then a second lull. Keep going. It is often in the third burst that the gold is to be found.
- Turning passive to active.
What is written on the tombstone of most failed companies, “Well, we tried”. Not hard enough. Underperformance is supported in meetings and work by grey language, low energy sentences and half-hearted commitment. “I’ll try” is at the heart of all of them.
Challenge sluggish, monotone responses to requests. Do not take “Maybe” for an answer. When you are asked, “How you are in the morning?”, upgrade your answer from a monotone, “ffiinne, I suppose” to, “SUPERB AND FANTASTIC. THANKS FOR ASKING.“
- Get rid of blame.
The best companies react intelligently to crisis, drama and adverse external circumstance. They do not start to defend, point the finger or avoid responsibility.
The next time you have a company fire to put out and you follow the charter (point 15.) you will experience a difference in atmosphere and will have the chance to see the benefit of full-on collaboration in action. When people are scientific in their description of events this can be captured on a timeline. When they are objective in outlining the symptoms and measured in their analysis of likely causes, then you will experience the pay-off in investing to build collaborative mechanisms in your team.
- Moderation and facilitating collaboration.
The accidental hero boss can unintentionally ignore valuable input in order to maintain their hero brand. The neurotic and scared boss may shut down intelligent challenge, not because of the quality of the input, but due to their own insecurities. And, the time-scarce leader can move the meeting along, unconsciously, only asking group thinkers and fans for input, driven by a misguided and dangerous perceived need for peace and pace rather than quality and challenge.
The job of a great moderator is to even out the debate and include a wider base of people, delivering a more diverse and representative contribution – Sampling a diversity of opinion and actively encouraging the quieter sources of wisdom to share their contribution, speak up and be heard.
- Good Conflict.
Many companies employ “nice” people who are expected to be “nice”. What actually happens is they become avoidant and this allows stupider ideas to become policy in action, leading to disaster.
Promote the licensed critic, the robust challenger and include different opinions (and integrate these exotic gems via the process of reconciliation.) The smart move is to establish a protocol for allowed any civilised challenge within a robust but protected environment, to produce better suggestions, better processes, more considered solutions and a better customer experience. All this is done to generate improved products, services and engagement, the end result of which, will be experienced in higher income and healthier levels of profit.
- Capture collaboration in a charter How many great training initiatives generated on a Friday are quietly killed off at the 8.30AM reporting meeting on a Monday? A. Most of them. It is easier to let innovation, change and challenge die on the vine and to go back to those old habits that are, actually not serving you well, but feel like an old pair of shoes – At least familiar. The problem is, they represent a slow company suicide.
The formulation of a charter for collaborative team behaviours, formed collaboratively. Is that too obvious? It does not start with a stone tablet issuing from the CEO’s office. It does not come from an expensive off-site weekend jolly for Directors only. It comes from the floor. It evolves. It represents the voice and heart of everybody. And, it is signed up to by everybody – Volunteers stepping up, not coerced group thinkers just nodding along.
About the Author – Matthew Hill is a facilitator, trainer, writer, and public speaker, working with UK and International teams to get them beyond their blockages to create durable results in an exciting peer-to-peer atmosphere of exchange, fairness and excellence.
Contact Matthew on 075 40 65 9995 for a short conversation.
Most people, most of the time, are not in collaboration mode – they are pursuing a totally different agenda
Tool 1 Active Listening
Before you dismiss this with a, “ ‘been there, done that, know it all already!” (that would indicate that you are overdue for a listening refresher course), let us remind ourselves that most people, most of the time are not listening actively. They are more likely to be;
*Waiting their turn to give their version of what has just been said, and, if they are super competitive, to story top and WIN! This is not active listening.
*Asking WIIFM? “What’s in it for me?” This person mines your data looking to extract personal gain and advantage from your content. It is a search function akin to selective attention. Test this by throwing in some test words, “Sex, beer and Netflix” and watch thier reaction. When they twitch they will know you are on to them. This is not an empathic activity.
*I know best. The Listening Observer Critic sits high up, even whilst standing, and allows their privilege to leak out with advice, constructive (or undermining) criticism to let you know that they are just a little bit better than you. These people lack empathy and their contribution may leave a bitter residue.
And now the real thing – Active Listening
The missing elements include;
*First attempting a broad understanding of what is being said and then taking a further empathic step – to understand the speaker as the SPEAKER intends to be understood. This is the Platinum level of listening.
*Psychological proof. This stage is not attained by the listener repeating what they have heard. A smart phone can do that. They are tasked with processing the information from their own perspective, attempting empathy and seeing the matter from the speaker’s Point of View – POV and, then, expressing what they think they have heard. Here we may add, checking for clarity and the confirming the intention component as well. This will sound like, “So, IF I have understood you correctly, I heard XXX. Is that the message you wished me to receive?”
*Letting them finish. The talking stick remains with the speaker for as long as they wish so they finally can feel they have said their piece.
The first time you try these ideas out with a passionate person, the results may overwhelm both them and you. This may be the first occasion when they have actually felt listened too with respect, depth and acknowledgement.
Tool 2. Point of View – POV
This is a POV and reconciliation exercise that can be practiced as a training exercise and then used in real conversations. The training version is simple. Split the group into 3s. The first person takes the role of Finance Director, the second, New Young Executive and the third, the Project Delivery Leader. The context is set – The 3 of you are discussing the progress of a critical 90-day work project for your Golden Goose customer. As it stands, you are not going to hit either the quality mark or the tight deadline. Q. What do you do? The suggestion that you are now going to form an opinion on is; PAID OVERTIME. Are you for it or against it in this instance?
+ The first task is for the 3 to get into character and give a one-line opinion, yes or no, with, maybe, one line of explanation.
The answers are normally the expected ones – The Finance Director says, “The new money is not in the budget – No,” Etc.
+ The second task is to work out a strategy for how to reconcile the 3 points of view to reach the required quality standard, and, put in enough work hours to finish the job and end before the deadline.
There normally follows some creative thinking, challenge to opposing positions and a reconciliation that ends come up with a strategy that is, 1) paid for, 2) creates more hours of labour to complete the project, and, 3) can be agreed upon by the 3 people in the discussion.
This exercises mirrors what is required of a Collaborative Working Group – the robust exchange of truths, creating options, reconciling differences and mobilising around a common outcome to stay focused on the task, and, not get distracted by difference.
Once the training version has been completed it is time to have a go in the BWW – The Big Wide World.
Tool 3. Letting Go of Defensiveness
If there were just one freeing exercise that was mandatory for all boards, groups and committees, this would be it. Humans are emotional, primal and full of fear. It is mostly misdirected fear around the participant’s core needs not being met that causes so much grief and delay.
When a board member’s core needs are threatened, defensiveness can easily follow. The 3 needs are;
*Significance – Privilege, status, power, importance or position – When this is threatened or exposed, defensiveness will never be far behind.
*Competence – Another key component of a board member’s identity tool kit is their ability and skill level. When this is challenged, called into questioned or undermined in real time, defensive will surely follow.
*Likable – To generalise – We all have a deep deep desire to be admired, liked and approved of. It is a critical part of most of us and the one need that is examined the most – “Do they like me?” “Will they like me?” “Am I being likable now?” Etc.
How does defensiveness manifest? We can make progress when we spot the symptoms of defensiveness, spot them early and interrupt the negative behaviour that will inevitably follow.
Examples include; plunging into sulky silence, The “poor me” victim script, All or nothing, polarised thinking, wanting and needing to be right, spreading the blame or shame, experiencing a sudden drop in IQ, experiencing energy ripping through the body, doom mongering / catastrophizing, needing the last word, obsessive thinking, Needing to pour out information or saying, “I don’t really get defensive.”
Action – With self-awareness, each board / committee member can learn to notice their own pattern of moving into defensiveness. The next move it to interrupt that normal course of events, reset, and, move in a different direction.
If you start to witter when you feel attacked – Stop, centre yourself and remain silent. If you suffer a drop in IQ, stop and focus on an intelligence enhancing strategy such as collecting symptoms from the recent conversations and attempting to derive a root cause that can be dealt with. If you feel like pointing the finger, interrupt yourself and focus on environmental causes not ones originating for any individual in the room. And so on.
Tool 4 The Licenced Pessimist
If you are familiar with Edward De Bono’s Six Hat Thinking Model, you will know that the Black Hat is tasked with thinking of the biggest risks and the worst outcomes. This function is essential if a group is to combat GROUPTHINK. Groupthink happens when overly homogenous groups, often lead by a strong or charismatic leader, get behind an idea and really go for it. When it is a particularly extreme point of view, risk management goes out the window and, suddenly, something bizarre ends up being carried out by an enthusiastic lynch mob. Remember the HSBC credit officer who saw the 2007 subprime loan property disaster unfolding in the US and spoke up. He was fired by the group-thinking board and disaster followed shortly after.
Asking people to rotate and take a turn to act as the devil’s advocate is a great way to stress test all ideas, and challenge all assumptions before bad outcomes occur.
Hint – It is best to keep rotating this role through the group or an unconscious bias will grow and that single Black Hat will begin to be seen as not playing a useful role but OWNING their tasked negative perspective permanently.
We hope you have benefited from these 4 tools and ideas and will implement them with your committees, boards and teams.
Please like and share if you are going to take action or think others could benefit from this input. Thank you.
About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, facilitator, coach and public speaker helping executives and leaders uncover their soft skill talents, develop their communication competences and, whilst reaching their own personal potential, help others to enjoy a better work life and great business outcomes. Contact him by telephone; 07540659995
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In this 90 minute high energy, content rich and interactive web based seminar, we will cover the 3 areas you need to invest in if your Independent Training / Coaching Service is to grow;
1) Activity – Remember – No effort –> No outcome. We will show you where many new independent trainers and coaches go wrong (and reveal the worst crime of all), and, list the strategies, tactics and moves you must make in order to succeed.
2) Organisation – Building your identity and passion-based professional BRAND, marketing like a pro, and, learning the structures and processes required.
Most people fail with their own attempts or give up before they have built a complete Brand. We will show you where NOT to waste your time and where you need laser focus to generate engagement (its all about getting to the higher levels of engagement.) And, you will learn to build IP assets / informational products using your knowledge, qualifications and experience. Informational products that stand out from the crowd; gain you a reputation as an expert and command attention on Social Media, even as you sleep.
3) Dynamism – We will shake you from your current state of cultural modesty (“I couldn’t possibly do that”) to having you OWN your personal experiences and articulating your deal sheet of past victories in a media friendly way that generates results – incoming warm enquiries. We will make high-octane networking a reality for you and gift you solid marketing ideas. They will work for you and you will have the chance to access the step-by-step process that takes you from “I don’t know how to do that” to, “I have just completed my amazing product, pitch and plan.”
Take Away – By the end of this informative webinar, you will be given at least 3 effective marketing tactics to work on. When you implement them you will benefit from their proven power. And, we will give you the chance to acquire our Independent Trainer Going for Growth Bundle to guide you along the sure and enjoyable path to informational products, a professional identity, an effective brand, positive networking and the generation of valid incoming mediation enquiries.
It’s not for everybody.
We want to speak with the people who will get the most benefit from the webinar so, please do NOT join if you;
– Don’t have a sense of fun and adventure
– Have zero intention of investing in yourself to grow your independent trainer / coaching service
– Possess a closed mind when it comes copywriting and social media. Or,
– Think that clients will find you by magic and telepathy, so none of this is necessary
Still reading? Good.
No Cost – There is no fee for attending the webinar and there are limited places. If you wish to expand your independent trainer practice and are ready for the challenge. If you believe in yourself, and want to follow our proven step-by-step guide, then there is only one place to be at 6PM UK time on, 16th October 2018 – 7PM Paris time – 1PM New York – Register now to attend the Marketing to Get More Training Days with Less Hassle and No Hustle Webinar. Click here and follow the instructions;
We look forward to speaking with you on 16th October 2018. It’s a date.
How would you feel if you could find viable and workable solutions to your 3 biggest problems that are currently stopping you growing your training / coaching business?
Where would you reinvest that extra income that you generate in 2019? And, how would the quality of your life and work improve?
And, What extra value would you deliver to your corporate customers enabling them to experience an increase in their profits, performance and passion?
New Webinar – Discover the 3 Growth Essentials that will get your Training / Coaching Business Moving in 2019. Tuesday, 16th October 2018 | 6PM, London time | 7PM, Paris time.
- ACTIVITY – This interactive webinar will point out which actions used to work and work no longer. Imagine the time you will save as you divert energy, enthusiasm and your time to modern and high-impact marketing actions that convert strangers to contacts, acquaintances to advocates and LinkedIn connections to paying customers. With the right moves you will interrupt busy professionals to take notice of your authentic message. You will engage with them by speaking THEIR language. You will build a channel to educate them from a place of expertise and you will create a desire in them to access more of YOU.
The measure of your success is simple – when you get your process, branding and communication right, they will “Do as you say and pay as you ask.”
2. ORGANISATION – Just because it is simple does not mean than people do it, do it correctly or do it consistently.
From a base of cultural modesty or a fear of rejection, the vast majority of solo-preneurs and small business owners fail to network or hustle sufficiently. They fail to capture data in an effective way. They fail to measure engagement, customer feeling and conversion rates and thus they fail to experience the “drip” of new business as customers come to them as and when the CUSTOMER IS READY.
Remember only 1% – 5% of customers are ready to buy at any one time. The secret is to keep in contact and have a sequence of touch points so that you become trusted and front of mind because you need to be there when THEY ARE READY TO BUY. Put simply, if you stay in contact, you will win further down the road (when everyone else has given up.)
3. DYNAMISM – Are you marketing like a 5 Year old? You try everything in an over energetic attempt to change the world in 5 minutes and then collapse in a sweaty heap and declare that life is not fair and that marketing is impossible and does not work?
Modern marketing is about getting organised and then scheduling your activity, your energy and your passion to the best effect. When you develop the mindset of a HUSTLER you will discover how to convert a basic opportunity into a prime one and that means you will access the next level of customer, customer budget and customer decision maker. As you become fluent in the language of modern marketing all your hard work and preparation will actively attract opportunities to your brand, your authentic persona and you will have the chance to articulate your vision and deliver the best of you to the best of the corporate world AND you will qualify OUT the people who will not benefit and qualify IN the elite who will do as you say, pay what you ask and benefit the most from your expertise.
If 2019 is going to be your year what do you need to do? What steps must you take?
Register now for this complimentary high energy and interactive webinar;
Bring your questions, your passion and a pen. See you for this important growth webinar.
Going for Growth in 2019 – Let’s go back to school with a bang
The main point of being an independent trainer, coach or mediator is to take more control of your life. And, charging enough to allow you some free time is a critical part of this. Whether you want to be a super high earner, blend free time with work in a more healthy way, or, set up a pro bono surgery, getting to a place where you can comfortably charge more is important.
In this post we explore 7 ways to support you charging a premium price or, even, a SUPER premium price.
And, at the end we talk about an opportunity to meet up at an event in Malaga too.
- Identity – This may sound simple but, every year, I meet many who have not completed their identity build with clarity or sufficient power to confidently charge more. Essentially you must project yourself as just one thing – An expert – deeply experienced and knowledgeable on one subject. Quite frankly, you need to be perceived as the leader in your field. Here lies the secret to charging a super premium price. Do you have a model, a special technique? Do you have unique content, a better methodology? Does your way work best? Take some time to work on these elements and your invoices will grow to a freeing level before next summer.
- Brand – What is a brand? There are 1000 answers. For the here and now, it is an increase in heart rate for the viewer, accessing your marketing material and content. They must get excited watching you in your YouTube video. They must connect their dreams to the outcomes you describe. It is necessary to eliminate the gaps in your brand story and present a joined up journey for your chosen tribe. BTW – Not everybody can do this for themselves.
- Super Copy Writing. Killer Text Is Key. When you write well for others, they will think well of you. When you structure your communications using the Super Copy Formula, they will come knocking on your door.
Price is a function of supply and demand.
If your offer is oversubscribed, your offering can support a super premium price. Of course – getting from regular work volumes to positive busy-ness (50 days at a 100 cash units rather than 100 days at 50 cash units) requires a specific and proscribed process, much of which relies not on what you write but how and in what order you present it. When you follow the Super Copy Formula for your written texts, the extra cash will become available to you.
- Great Content. You need to rearrange your content to be telepathic, sympatico and aligned with your perfect customer, what they want, when they want it. And, deliver it in the way that works for them. Too quick, too soon or too simple / complex and they will give up on you and start moaning. Leading your best students through to completion and success – that is only possible with great content and great process. The best content is pitched right, transfers knowledge effectively and is fully absorbed to be available and applicable by the student.
- Products Product Products. Regular readers will know, I am obsessed with turning your experiences into assets to earn you attention, brand brownie points, engagement, sales, income and advocacy. When you have a film, audio or text product, you take your level and your charge rate UP. It really is that elegant. And, creating products comfortably, cheaply and quickly is, today, a piece of cake.
- Building Your Tribe – I spoke to a young coach of coaches recently and she spoke about going wide to make sure you have something for everybody and can thus earn money. WRONG. To start with at least, it is all about the one thing, delivered with care, to the one audience. Finding your avatar, ideal market segment and small customer niche is essential if you desire to charge a premium price. If you are all things to all men, you will be COMMODITISED and that means your customers will expect you to be near, convenient, quick and CHEAP. Yuk. When you cater solely for your niche, you take back control, become a healthy equal partner with your client, and, you will be allowed to negotiate for a convenient time, a better rate and a greater level of respect and engagement. Super premium rates are not about greed. They are about getting you the respect your experience deserves.
- Give More – When you crank up your prices, unsurprisingly, your customers will expect more. Give it to them. Guarantee all your work. Add extra value to your offering. Listen to them and adapt. Tailor your service so that it works for them. Go the extra mile / kilometre. Value is a function of Benefit over Cost. V= B/C. When you understand that you will be keen to double the customer benefit and therefore double your price – Pragmatism.
As we think with some dread about “going back to school”, and, before we become swallowed up with low quality urgency, there exists, now, a brief moment to reflect on your next year and ask, “Am I providing the best service I can, to the most interesting people out there?” “Am I being paid what I am worth for my experience, charisma and ability?” And, if not, “What am I going to change?”
If you are currently being paid a super premium price for doing what you love, I need to ask you a favour. Please share your wisdom and experience with someone younger, so that they can reach your level with a little less experimentation.
If you are contemplating the end of summer with horror, and, are still swapping time for average money (most people are), then do read our other ITC posts for Independent trainers, coaches and mediators. They will help you build your business, charge what you are worth, work in a way that suits you and connect the best of you to the best people out there.
And one more thing – Malaga,
If you are going to the SIETAR Spain Congress in Malaga in September 2018 and wish to join one of our Intercultural Training Channel, Going for Growth Bootcamp Days, do get in touch with me directly. Do E Mail, Matthew Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a short telephone conversation in a week or so.
Thanks. Finally. Please like and share if you have taken value from this post.
Remember – No Database = No Business
Let us start with a shocker – I think GDPR is a GOOD thing for marketers.
- You are deluding yourself if you think that everyone on your 2500 E Mail newsletter list is opening up your monthly offering and devouring your every word. 30% will have moved on. 40% have redirected you to the Spam bin and 2% have DIED!
It is time to clean house and ask everybody still alive to opt back in.
- In time, effort and collateral, you are wasting real money. Imagine you budget for 10 £, $ or € per recipient every quarter, half-year or annually. If you cleaned your list, you could stop wasting £75,000 every year.
- When you clean your list you increase the richness, recency and relevance of your database – That is the GOLD standard for marketing professionals.
But I have just lost 75% of my list through asking people to opt back in. How do I make up the shortfall?
There was no shortfall – Those people where dead to you anyway. The more exciting question is, “How can I expand my tribe with current, live prospects that are open to my new offering, have fresh needs, plenty of money, and, have not become jaded by my recycled articles about old service X?
7 Ways to Grow your List / Crowd / Hot Prospect Database
There are at least 35 ways to legally and effectively grow you fan base. Here are just 7. (Contact me now if you want to talk about the others – email@example.com )
- The Congress Schmooze – You attend a paid conference and take your seat 15 or 25 minutes early in the main auditorium. You want people to have started to flow in – not too many and not too few. Then, pick a crowed row – Not a full one and not an empty one. Squeeze past a few and sit in the middle, about a 3rd of the way back from the stage. Make yourself comfortable, then, take out your smart notebook and a fountain pen. Now, look at the person on your left and say, “Hello, I’m Matthew” (It may be easier to use your own name here) followed by an expansive question – “What are you expecting to learn today?” or, “Have you looked at the speakers and selected your favourite?”
That should be enough to get you into a meaningful conversation. Steer this around to customers, outcomes etc. Do not offer your card first. Wait to be asked for yours. That will leave a much better impression.
Then, repeat on your right-hand side. Simple.
- LinkedIn Group Comments and Posts – When you know your stuff, you can seek out the right LinkedIn groups. Too big and busy and your work will get lost. If the group is tiny or dead, nothing will come back to you. Ideally you want 5,000 members and 5 or so posts a day, in your niche and with decision makers mixed in with the ambulance chasers.
Now either post some short punchy value in the form of a list article, story or a lesson learnt. When a credible person likes or shares your post, send them a connection request and hook up. Next, enquire about them and their needs. Do not be too pushy. There is nothing worse than a nice person connecting with you, only for you to pester them immediately like a high street charity mugger is a coloured vest. The aim is to smoothly take the relationship off line and build up to an exploratory call.
- Keynote Speech – The number one converter of cold strangers into contacts and instant customers is a great, structured, keynote speech – preferably with a Call To Action CTA at the end, a Product4Prospect exchange, or, a clever way to get engagement and permission. When done well, the result will be a rush to the stage. And, you will hear the magic words, “I want what you have for my team and my company.”
- Giving Out Money at a Trade Fair – I experienced this at Olympia a few years back and it worked well. It was simple and left me feeling really good, not super irritated.
I was walking down a line of exhibition booths and an older guy said, “Hello, would you like some money?” This was done with a calm charm so as not to creep me out. I laughed and was invited into the booth, across the threshold (clever) to a table at the back. Of course it was not actual cash – instead the entrepreneur had found chocolate banknotes of a high denomination. He had carried on the pretence in a light hearted and fun way. Reciprocity kicked in and, of course, I asked all about his business. We exchanged cards and I felt really good about our encounter. I have used of version of the chocolate money method myself and given away prizes of “money” as a warm up during interactive speeches.
- High Contact Voucher – This one works – both incentivising a cold prospect to take action and qualifying them in as a valuable potential customer. When you offer a live consultation on a hot topic of the day, you excite the right people to take action and discourage the wrong people to take up your valuable time. If you offer a 15-minute session, you can cut your losses with the non BANTs (No Budget, Authority, Need or the right Timing) and extend your call duration with hot prospects.
- Referrals – One of the best ways to expand your tribe with quality additions is to capture your existing customers at the PEAK of their happiness and ask them to think of peers and contacts that they have, who would benefit from your service just as they have. When you engage them at their emotional high point they will want to give you value in return. Push a little and get them to give you 5 names.
You can provide your beaming customer with a script to help them introduce you as saviour and helper. The best advocacy advice was written by star coach, Nic Rixon, who said a super sponsor told their contacts to “Do as Matthew says and pay whatever he asks!”
- Social Media High Value Webinar – When someone registers for your webinar, this doubles up as a GDPR compliant opt in. Just make the webinar of extraordinary value and promote it, via the most relevant LinkedIn groups with a punchy headline and long super copy body (If you need help with this, just call.)
I hope you have enjoyed this quick read and are moved to take action for yourself. Please share, and forward this piece to others who could benefit (Point 6!!)
About the Author – Matthew Hill generates new international customers for his work as a keynote speaker, trainer and coach and loves to share his methods with other leaders, soft skill coaches, public speakers and corporate trainers. If you wish to learn more, contact Matthew via E Mail; firstname.lastname@example.org
One Product You is NOT Optimally Profitable
Here is the simplest business build you will ever do. It consists of just 4 products that will move you to POSITIVELY interrupt your targets and start making a profit.
Product One – The Lead Magnet – What could you package up, from your knowledge and experience, and give to your target audience of potential customers that will grab their attention, please them, and, spark their curiosity to a level that helps them take a tiny tiny action step?
Successful suggestions include a work sample, a live demonstration, a powerful recording, a content rich webinar, a white paper, a quick quiz / audit, a 15 minute coaching call or any other small package that can show your depth, credibility and brand to good effect.
Sometimes called a Product4Prospect, the Lead Magnet is given away in exchange for contact details and permission to approach the receiver in the future.
Product Two – The Trip Wire – You can have an audience of 10,000, but, if they don’t buy anything, you are just a loud and unsuccessful busker!
The genius of the Trip Wire product is that it is cheap enough to trigger a no-brainer buying decision and, at the same time, acts as a psychological doorway, taking the individual from feeling like a distant, isolated observer to feeling like a customer, insider and club member.
That is what is so clever about the Trip Wire product.
Again, it must be packed full of value but must NOT provide the complete solution – They need to fill in the gaps in their knowledge with your Product Three.
Successful suggestions for a Trip Wire product include a starter version of your offering, a paid taster session, a paid intake clinic combining audit with delivered content, your book, a recorded audio product or the how-to film that you have made.
Product Three – Your Core Offering – This is the one product that everybody has. The advantage of running a sequence and not starting by pushing your Core Offering, is that you may achieve extra levels of trust and branding and so, will be able to price your Core Offering at a premium. It is important to max the joy of the customer as they receive your service so that their customer experience, CX is exceptional, memorable and becomes a talking point. It is your customer’s outstanding emotions that will boost and grow your company. Good enough is no longer good enough. Wow is now.
Suggestions for helping support an outstanding Core Offering to attain the level of REMARKABLE – Differentiate your offerings into Bronze, Silver and Gold levels that offer economy, normal and luxury versions, add an accompanying user guide and demonstration that are ACTUALLY usable, rustle up celebrity endorsements, design in fun, energy and humour, add sleek design and cool features, work hard to enrich context with multi-channel delivery, build in the possibility of more interaction with the expert you, include full risk reduction, reversal and guarantees, and, incorporate customer feedback to smooth out the bumps in the customer journey, so you know you are delivering something special.
Is that it? No. There’s more…
Product Four – A Second Product. Did you think that getting the customer to buy your main offering once was the end of the line? No. Now we need to get you to PROFIT.
The costs of customer acquisition are normally assigned to the core offering. This limits any possible profit gained from first time customers. This applies to all one-product companies.
We all know that new customers are the most expensive to acquire and that returning customers are the best to have and the cheapest to maintain.
All that cost of identifying, interrupting, warming, closing and delivering has been sunk. Now, with your Second Product, you know who they are and they understand how you operate. The next “box” you deliver will have a much higher margin. And it does not have to be priced at a super premium to achieve this. Sure, a high-end new offering will sort the wheat from the chaff and get those, “I must have the best” types excited. But, a regular priced offering will really boost profits, even when you average out Core and Second Product margins combined.
Suggestions for creating and supporting a Second Product include – The advanced level version of your core, something complementary to the first purchase, “And customers also bought this…”
If a trainer is selling knowledge first time around, they could sell a change programme as the second bite.
If Tony Robbins is offering you mind reprogramming in his first session, his next offering might provide a deep dive into personal wealth and finances.
So, that’s it. The 4 products you need to complete your set, establish a winning commercial sequence and all done whilst delighting your customers and generating above industry average levels of profit.
Call to ACTION – Call me for a 15 minutes consultation about your business plans for 2019. Matthew Hill 07540 65 9995.
Good luck and do let me know if you need some help.
When would NOW be a good time to start your Personal Time & Work Quality Revolution?
- The Good Busy test. How much of the following (honestly) applies to you?
“I am Good Busy. My schedule is packed with exciting trips and assignments taking place in desirable locations, working with and for kind, progressive and generous clients who seem to understand me, appreciate me and, specifically, understand my worth to them.
They provide me with a stimulating brief that I am excited to get my teeth into. The work has plenty of variety, suits my strengths and allows me to be fully expressed, in the zone and at my best as I execute the work that I love.”
Have we described your life perfectly? Or, does this seem like a fantasy as you reflect on your work, your life and your lack of balance?
- The Bad Busy test. When I am not filling in or scanning endless administrative forms, I seem to be trapped in other types of unpaid, repetitive and unrewarding chores. Either that or I feel duty bound to travel and fulfil my Mephistophelean contract of vast acres of underpaid, boiler plate assignments in grubby locations with cheap accommodation, working with an unappreciative audience that would far rather be anywhere else than there. My clients are, under the surface, monolith factory sweatshops that employ above average people to perform stressful, complicated and disjointed work for little psychological reward beyond beyond task completion, urgency and the avoidance of an escalation sparking the harsh tongue of a similarly stressed supervisor, hovering above them, micromanaging the process. I work in the cruel environment of complain scarcity. And I see now way out.
Both 1. & 2. are, of course, extreme exaggerations. The point of showing the contrasting stories above is to get you to feel something and recognise elements of WHAT YOU WANT and what you are stuck with and wish to ESCAPE.
The Symptoms –
*Does your heart race or sink when a new work order comes in?
*Do you ever feel ill or experience a mild panic attack on the way to work?
*Do you feel low on Sunday or drink too much on a Friday evening alongside your equally disenchanted colleagues?
*When you are asked, has your description of what you do become more cynical and dark?
What needs to change after summer?
- Audit. I am often asked what is the key to happiness when in the middle of the upheaval of changing country or job, and, one thing I learnt years ago is that externally enforced relocation, reassignment or revolution (or some thinking time in summer) is the perfect time to take stock of your situation and ask some profound questions of yourself…
*Who were you when you set out in the world of work?
*Are you still that person?
*What do you want from your day job in 5 year’s time?
*What do you want your legacy / eulogy to be?
*What do you enjoy most in your work?
*What work based activity fills you with dread?
*Are you healthy / happy / fulfilled?
*Are you EARNING what you are worth?
*Is the output of your work good, neutral or evil?
*Are you giving something via your job that is adding value to the broader human experience?
What can you Do?
- Say “No!” – The breakthrough moment came for me working as a freelance trainer and coach many years ago. When I started saying no to discounted work, unfulfilling assignments, crappy locations, helping unprofessional or unprepared clients. When I rejected work that was meaningless, harmful or just a tick box exercise for a corporate customer, something shifted for me.
Instantly my life improved. I felt rebellious, free and more in control of my content, my audience and my outcomes. My income went up, my spare time went up. And, my boredom, stress and frustration levels went down.
My question became, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”
Upgrade Everything – If you increase the quality of every little thing you work on and create something whole that is exceptional, people will notice – Your brand will become REMARKABLE and your place in the world will change.
+How can you turbo charge your next product?
+What will take your service levels to a place that commands and deserves a premium price?
+How can you find the courage to ask for an OUTRAGEOUS fee and keep a straight face?
+How can you create a niche that you will own, dominate and FILL with value?
+How can you spend your time being fully expressed utilising your value and being totally connected to your client, their objectives and your transformational talents?
Conclusion – You get the life you tolerate, so maybe it is time to take action and raise your standards.
If you have been affected by this blog post and want to start work this year with a bang – Do feel free to telephone 07540 65 9995 and leave your details including a preferred time to call you back. We can have a 15-minute conversation and maybe demonstrate some time management gold to your team. Thanks. I would love to hear your story.
And, Please do forward this post your friends and colleagues if they are drowning in miserable busy-ness. Thanks and “bon chance” for autumn. Do E Mail Matthew email@example.com