10 Years of Business Lessons–Chapter 5: Oops! Did I Sell the Wrong Program?

On February 27, 2017, I will celebrate the 10th-year anniversary of the launch of my second business, Inspired Leaders’ Academy. This is a series of excerpts that tells the story of these ten years to help you navigate these same waters more easily and faster! Read chapters one here, two, three, four.

I did a lot of things right as I launched my second business (unlike my first coaching practice, where I did most things wrong). One of the things I did correctly was give my target audience a single focus for my business: my public speaking training.

They knew what I did and had just one potential action: to learn this methodology. I didn’t have an array of options. I had one. I cannot underscore how key this is! Your business “store front” must indicate just what you do, very clearly, no confusion. And the best way to do that is with a “signature program”; this is, at the start, the identity of your brand.

It bears repeating that being crystal clear with one offering is key to being successful early on. That one offering must be a program that has shape and form: with a name, a specified duration, a process (another key: a proprietary process) and very specific deliverables.

I could go on for an entire book about this, but sometimes less is more, so let me repeat this: early service businesses must guide a targeted market to just one main offering that teaches a proprietary methodology.

But eventually, a solo practice wants to develop an “ascension” business model. This means that you
create a second program (with name, duration, proprietary process and deliverables) that your clients/students from your initial signature program “ascend into.” In this new program, they are learning the next set of skills, or moving to the next level of transformation.

This is something Harv Eker taught us, though he called it having a “progressive line up of services.” Long ago, I began calling it the “ascensions model.” Same thing. To grow (vs. launch) your business, this is a must. Why? Because rather than always searching for a new client, you want to me smart and keep a client as long as possible. This reduces your marketing costs and the headaches that come with it, for one thing, but is another stream of income.

About three years into my business, I began to see a glaring need in those who were attending my public speaking training. Many would hire me to help develop their “experiences” (I taught them to use this word in place of ‘presentation,’ ‘workshop,’ ‘seminar,’ etc.) and the problem was revealed when I asked where the experience fit in the strategy of their business.

“I don’t know what you mean,” they would say. Essentially, they just wanted to give any old workshop or talk; they wanted to get out there with something.

I asked them what they hoped the talk would accomplish, what would folks do as a result of attending? To answer that, though, they had to know who would be attending. Most of them didn’t know. They thought in terms of “people,” not a targeted group. Then, when we discussed content, it had no theme consistent with their business; they really had no brand identity. Their “experience” was not going to clarify who they were.

Oh, boy, I thought. Have I been selling the wrong program? They’re not ready for the material in my public speaking training—their businesses aren’t strategically developed!

And so, I created my second program, which while logically should have preceded the public speaking content, was offered to those who had attended that training. My ascension model had begun.

I was smart enough, though, to offer this new program to those on my list who had never attended Secrets of Impact and Influence and soon I was teaching “12 Sentences” to new as well as familiar folks.

“12 Sentences” was unique. As a communication strategist, I knew that only good thinking can produce good articulation. And I knew that good articulation (what the business achieves and how it is different from all others) was job number one for any business owner. But for some reason, few understand how inadequate their articulation is.

So, this virtual group class rolled up their sleeves and dove into some seriously tough thinking, using my Nine Strategic Inquiries Manual as a guide.  Then, the course required them to take all of that good thinking and cogently answer 12 questions in single sentences.

These were the questions prospects wanted to hear the most. I knew that when a business owner can articulate in single sentences, s/he knows the business cold. This program was aimed at getting people to know, and then describe powerfully, the value and distinction of their business…cold.

For one year, I led both Secrets of Impact & Influence and 12 Sentences, and then phased out SII as a live training in 2012. This is when I was learning a few very important things about the needs of my market. The most important was that of all of the 12 sentences they had to craft, one stood out as the hardest. It was nearly impossible for them to answer: How are you different from everyone else?

I have exceptionally high standards for that answer and very few in the class were meeting them. I was not okay with this. They were; they thought they had a unique differentiation because what they had was so much improved over what they’d had. But I knew they could have something much, much better.

But how to get it for them? It took a while for me to make a pivotal decision for my business. I remember telling a colleague what it was, who responded, “Your integrity is going to cost you.”

I’ll tell you what it is next chapter. This is a question you may face, too.

So, what are you taking away from this chapter? Here is a summary. Be sure.

  1. your business has a single focus
  2. and that it is a program–with a name, duration, deliverables and…
  3. …a proprietary process.
  4. Be sure to develop an ascension business model
  5. that your business is strategically developed!
  6. that it is different from everything else offered in your field!
  7. that you have done rigorous thinking before you articulate your value!
  8. that you never forget this: Articulating your value is job #1!!! You need to be able to do it in single cogent and concise sentences. And never assume you are doing it well unless you get conversions.

“The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Sixteen years ago, as legend has it, I read a book in six days and everything in my life changed. Upon finishing it, I knew that I needed to leave my marriage and to change the course of my career–writing novels–which I had adored.  I woke up from that book knowing I needed to do something that was more real and substantial than creating fictional plots and characters had been for me. The words that I said–in the privacy of my own head—were, ” I want to change the world.”

For two years, all dressed up with no where to go, I searched for the venue that would help me to do that and finally came upon coaching. It was not what it is today: no one had heard of it, no one understood it (I think most still don’t) and so it was wide-open terrain. I was passionate about it because I knew its empowering methodology could indeed change the world.

accelerated learning mapFive years later, at a seminar, I was captivated by a method of working with audiences derived from education science called “accelerated learning.” It was another life-changing few days, as I decided to leave coaching and immerse myself in learning everything I could about accelerated learning and brain-based learning. Eighteen months later, passionate and convicted, I launched my second business—Inspired Leaders’ Academy—with a new kind of public speaking training just for entrepreneurs, using these technologies. I knew that when used properly, this “new paradigm of audience leadership” could change the world.

It’s been many years since that launch and many more since my realization that I wanted to change the world, but the drive is as real and fresh in me as it was when I closed the cover of that book.  I still believe coaching can change the world; I know that leading audiences with the technology of brain-based-learning will change the world—and now I work with coaches and other experts to help them change the world with a third element: Thought leadership.

Here’s my conviction: No business will make it now without leaving the pack and standing far apart from everyone else. And the way coaches, consultants and other experts will do that is with a fresh, provocative, even radical, message that shatters the status quo. A thought leader message. It’s essential for survival, and the only option for changing the world.

But a thought leader message isn’t enough. I named my business Inspired Leaders’ Academy years ago because I knew to stand out, and to change the world, you must lead with inspiration.  The fact is, inspiration sells as no data, evidence, or sound intellectual arguments ever will. My father was a minister and I adapted his natural ability to inspire, so when I began leading my public speaking trainings and free events, I saw that truth in action: inspiration is the ultimate call-to-action.ShieldHighResVersion

So, to be successful and change the world, you can’t just have a thought leader message that is intellectually satisfying; you need the fire and passion of inspiration to move an audience to truly “hear” that message and make it their own. On the other hand, you cannot just have an inspirational message—heat and heart—without a solid idea that confounds common understanding, fries brain circuits and destroys conformist thinking. You need them both.

I’ll be leading a virtual event in a couple of weeks: Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?” It’s not an easy road; it requires rigorous thinking and a commitment to excellence beyond anything you’ll see around you–but if you are here to change the world, there will be only one answer for you, as there was for me sixteen years ago: Yes, and it’s ready to come out!

So…Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Introduction of New Ebook: Why Being Invisible In Business Hurts Your *Psyche*

Here is the next excerpt from “One of a Kind: The Powerhouse Strategy for Standing Out and Leading the Way with Your Business.” I’m releasing the ebook next week on an inteview call I’m doing with Therese Skelly. Definitely get on that here so you can hear me share with her how to get a truly one-of-a-kind business identity!


If you are on this planet to serve the people on it through your business, you must succeed. You were not graced with the calling, talent and skill that you have just to fade into the background, unrecognized.

Yet, as you’ve heard countless times, talent and skill do not equate to business success. So many follow their passions only to end up sharing the very best of themselves with only a tiny circle of friends and family. They end up giving up and packing up because they cannot support themselves.

But then something far, far, far worse ensues. They end up living a life “unused.”

“This is the true joy in life: the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature…I want to be thoroughly used up when I die…” –-George Bernard Shaw

To be used up, I believe, is what every one of us wants. Not being so may be the only cause of our depression, the only thing that truly ages us.

You must be thoroughly used up when you die. And if your purpose is linked to your business, you must get your business right. But so many don’t take the time to understand all that is involved. This book isn’t designed to give an overview of all of the elements essential in building a successful business—there are plenty of those out there. This book is here to impress upon you one single thing:if you are not different in the marketplace, you will die with your song still in you.

The pain of blending in is a primal one, and will affect you on deep levels.

How does it feel when you get a blank stare or a look of confusion when you talk about your business? Or when only a few people sign up for your tele-call or seminar? How does it feel when people unsubscribe, or you go days and weeks without a single opt-in? What happens in you when, one after another, prospects slip out of your net?

I’ve seen it. A part of you is thrust back to high school, to the popular guy who never so much as sent you a glance; to the day you were passed over for the team; to all the parties where you hung back against the wall, unnoticed…and to all the times since, when friends, colleagues and even your own family haven’t recognized your value.


When your business isn’t special, it’s much too easy to start to think that you aren’t, and your confidence suffers a mighty blow that can too often be fatal to your business and your mission.

There is nothing more painful than not being worthy of someone’s attention. And in business, nothing more deadly than not being worthy of someone’s money.

When you can fill in this sentence, everything will change for you: “My business is the only one you will ever find that ____.”

When you can master this, the pain you’ve felt every time a prospect has rejected you will be replaced by a confidence that surpasses all understanding.

Being the “only one”–not just in your field, but period–is the game-changer.

Being “the only one who____” changes you from the inside out.

It heals the primal pain of going unseen.

It removes the pain of not fulfilling your life’s mission.

It assures you that you will be “used up.”

And it is the answer to most of your business problems:

  • Your vague and fuzzy articulation about what you do
  • Disinterested prospects in your 1-to-1 sales conversations
  • Poor attendance on tele-calls and other speaking events
  • The uphill battle to get clients
  • Low opt-ins on your website

Being provocatively unlike everyone else is the direct route to making money and to bending ears so that you change the world (which you’re here to do, by the way.)

So decide right now that you will put your attention on this. Very few other business efforts will matter if this isn’t right. To thrive–in business and in your own heart–you cannot spend one more minute in oblivion.

You would think this was obvious, but just take a look around at most service-based businesses: you could line them up and not one would stand out. You may notice shades of differences here and there, but overall, nothing would raise your brow in intrigue. Almost instantly, your brain would check out.

Why is this?

The Establishment

I can’t speak definitively, of course, but  after ten years of experience, I believe one answer is that there isn’t a clear enough definition of “what is different enough,” and so service entrepreneurs delude themselves into thinking they’re somehow making the grade….

You can read the rest next week when the book will be available.  Do listen in to my call with Therese, too, on May 5th. We’re bestest friends and it’s going to be a great interview! Check it out here.

A Successful Expert But Still Not Feeling Your Big Purpose? Reason #2

I’d like to round-out this discussion with the other reason you may not be feeling a BIG
PURPOSE—though you’re successful. You may not be utilizing your skills and
for a far-reach aspiration: both yours and your markets’.

When I launched my 2nd business,
Inspired Leadership Training, in 2006,
I was teaching an incredible public
speaking program, Secrets of Impact
and Influence
, based on the latest
brain research in learning. What was
I helping people do, initially? For a
long time, it was “get more clients” by
using public speaking as a marketing
tool. Then, for an equally long time, 
I was helping them to “be the best
presenter in their field”—because this program really delivers that. Then, I was helping
them be responsible experts, raising their standards so they were teaching with
unparalleled excellence—a requirement, in my book, for giving paid presentations,
seminars, trainings, etc. 

But the problem was, these skills and talent of mine, which were able to produce these
promises, were not connecting to a part of me that was alive and well outside of my
business: a part that was becoming aware of and studying global human potential.
I was watching the central institutions of our world collapse around us, and the rising
up of populations demanding freedom and human rights. I knew that this activity was
going to reach a climax—and that leaders with great wisdom would start coming out of
the woodwork, as if suddenly “activated” or called to their purpose. And I knew my
market—a subset of coaches, consultants, authors and speakers–were those up-and-
coming leaders.

Despite this, I was still promoting SII around more practical goals: getting more
business and being one of the best presenters/teachers. Yet, the fact was, this
particular public speaking model was tailor-made for the leaders
those who would be called to serve in the global human potential movement. Indeed,
that’s why I had gravitated to learning neuroscience and applying it to public speaking
in the first place!! I had known it could move mountains and mount movements—but
I wasn’t talking about that in my promotion of the course, and not even in the course,
with those seated before me!

My skills and talents were not taking my market far enough, And they were
not taking me far enough into things that mattered most to me. Finally, just a few
months ago, I leapt off the cliff and made it clear that everything I do is specifically
designed for those who want to change the world—who want to be true, inspired leaders.
Not every coach, consultant, speaker or author wants my skills to take them there
they’re more attracted to my older, more pragmatic promises–but so many do! Many
are being “called” to bigger stages every single day and the higher calling of my
skills and talents
(that extend beyond public speaking, by the way) is reaching
out to them

So, if you’re not feeling your Big Purpose, look at how far you are taking your followers
with your skills and talents. Where could you take them that’s bigger, higher, grander,
more meaningful—more inspirational?

If you’re one of the called—if you know you are an inspired leader—Big
Purpose known or unknown—it is your time to lead. Be sure to experience
my call Thursday, Feb. 23: A Time to Lead: Do You Dare?

Fear of Public Speaking: Part 3–My Story

So, the fear of public speaking is not a fear of speaking, it’s a fear of being humiliated and ridiculed. That is what we fear more than death. Unfortunately, what we fear most, we tend to draw to us. It happened to me years ago. Let me tell you the story.

I was attending a weekend workshop with a public speaking teacher from the west coast. He had talked at another seminar I’d been to the previous month, so when I learned that he was coming to New York, I jumped on the chance to see him more “up close and personal.” Once there, I found myself immediately wanting to impress him [self-importance leads to fear, see previous post]. I knew I was pretty good in front of an audience (even before I learned the New Paradigm techniques I teach today) and I wanted to prove that to him. In addition, someone else was in attendance whom I wanted to impress. Can you see it? I was doomed before I even began because I was focused so narrowly on myself, out of feelings of insecurity.

We were told, once in the seminar, that over the next 48 hours, we would be giving a 20 minute speech for critique. It could be on any subject. As the hours passed, I began to panic. I had no idea what to talk about; I was in the midst of changing the direction of my business and had no strong thoughts formulated yet that could be worked into a speech. I began to over-think and “downshift.” Downshifting is when we move out of our frontal lobes, where we do our higher-thinking processing, and shift down into the old “reptilian” part of the brain, where there is little thinking, only emotion. By Sunday afternoon, I was fully downshifted when it was my turn to speak. 

In that state—with a topic I’d conjured just a few minutes before my turn–I gave an interactive presentation that went beyond the scope of a traditional speech. The teacher, who had become a friend and was, as I said, someone I wanted to impress, hated it and held nothing back in a scathing attack that left me—it felt at the time—stripped of dignity. 

There is no question: I was humiliated. I experienced the nightmare everyone tries to avoid when they avoid speaking: public ridicule. 

I left the seminar room for sometime that afternoon and when I returned, I was greeted by compassion and warmth from my peers, but the flame of embarrassment burned all else away.

I tell you this story for a few reasons. One is that it illustrates a powerful force: the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is, I believe, the only reason we will ever actually get ourselves into a humiliating situation: we have all but “ordered it” from the ethers. The fact is, I was so afraid of making a mistake in front of those two idols of mine that I had no choice but to do just that. And what is at the core of these self-fulfilling prophecies? Once again, much too much self-attention. Needing our “self” to be perfect, admirable, important, respected. What we “need” too much, we will destroy.

So, a vital step to being at ease with an audience is reducing your own importance. I help my students move from being speakers to teachers because when we’re teachers, who is important? The ones in the seat, not the one on the stage. Second, you want to acknowledge your neediness because it will sabotage you if it stays unconscious. With awareness, you can summarily dismiss it. The bottom line is, you can only “think yourself” into disaster.

I also tell you this story to make this critical point: Despite that weekend debacle, I teach presenting and speaking skills, and most think I’m pretty good. That weekend didn’t break me. It didn’t diminish me, either. Why? Because I didn’t let it (after a day of processing it, that is.). I experienced everyone’s worst-case public speaking fiasco—but I decided what it meant about me and about my future. The event itself—and the man who critiqued mehad no power to determine that. It was up to me.

And that is the point I want to drive home: nothing can humiliate—or break—you without your consent. You may one day be in a situation as “bad” as the one I was in. If you have a message in you; a business dream to fulfill; change you want to see…you must be willing to let the “worst” happen, knowing it won’t damage you unless you let it.

Years ago, as an empowerment coach, when I felt deep resistance and fear in my clients, I would have them consider their most dreaded future experience, and then have them say aloud, “I am willing to have _________ happen.” They usually choked it out, but they said it. And I would probe deeper: “Why are you willing to have it happen?” And their answer (with my coaching) was, “Because there is nothing I can’t handle.

And that’s the truth. You can handle any humiliation. Know that. Claim it. Stop stifling your vital communication out of the idea that you will die if you make a mistake. Not only did I not die, I went on to become a teacher of public speaking.

Fear of public speaking is not the problem; it’s a symptom of the problem, which is  the belief that you can be damaged and diminished by someone else or by an event. As long as you believe that, there will be many things you will not do. Public speaking will just be one of them. And day by day, you will leak away the power vested in you to reach your highest potential.

So, I encourage you to do something scary. Tell yourself, “I am willing to be humiliated in front of a group of people.” And ask yourself, “Why are you willing?” You will answer, “Because there is nothing I cannot handle.”

Lizabeth, you may ask yourself, isn’t that creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?? The answer is no. A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs because of fear and resistance—both of which are, unfortunately, magnets for drawing just what you don’t want. Allowing the possibility of humiliation because you know you can handle it comes out of a deep inner power.  Very, very different.

 There is nothing more important than your voice. Do not allow anything to silence it. Ever.

How I Came to My Senses After a Fainting Spell and 2 Shady Mechanics

So, I fainted in Target on Sunday. Out of the blue.
And no, it wasn’t because of the great sales. In fact,
they say it was dehydration, but whatever it was, it
was scary. I had the oddest symptoms for about an
hour before I crumpled in a heap somewhere between
kitchenware and bedding. I found out it was due to
loss of oxygen to my brain; apparently we traverse
weird territory without our requisite O2—and for
sure, I thought I was going crazy. Then, without
warning, boom, a man’s kneeling over me,
asking if I know why I fell.
“I didn’t even know
I DID fall,” I answer, groggily looking from left to
right. Soon, I was surrounded by paramedics, police
officers and Target managers bracing themselves for
a lawsuit. Because I hit my head very hard on (something;
no one knows because there were no witnesses—but,
man, does that bump still hurt!) I was escorted onto
a hard, orange plastic gurney and fit cozily with a

neck brace. Off we went, sirens wailing, to the hospital
for tests.

It turned out that every blasted test came back normal
—which is what one typically strives for, I know—but
when you’ve interrupted your family members’ lives,
not to  mention your own all-important shopping
spree, you want something to explain the hours in
the ER. But, alas, I was diagnosed with syncope
otherwise known as fainting—and released to my
own recognizance. Such as it is.

As I was reclining back at home, my ex and signifi-
cant other took my VW to the dealership to have
them resolve an odd sluggishness I’d been experi-
encing. After sleeping eleven hours that night, (and
not one of them on my left-hand side because of
the massive bulb on the side of my head), I headed
over to the dealership to await my car’s release. And
that’s when I got the female treatment. I’ll spare
you the details, but suffice it to say there was some
unmistakable shady activity going on. Ten minutes
after I declined a $400 additional service, I was told
that the issue had, remarkably, “disappeared.” All was
fine. Then, a moment later, they came back to say
that they had a used part in stock from another car

and could slip that in to replace my faulty one. Had
I gone ahead and accepted the $400 job, do you
think I would have been told of the free used
? Or that the issue had miraculously disappeared?

I’ve been feeling increasing disgust over the corruption
and secrets
so prevalent in our world today—not

just on Wall Street, and in government; Big Business,
“corporate media,” our religious institutions, etc.—
but also in “small business”: the shallow and greed-
based antics playing out in internet marketing
every da
y. Having my own mechanics try to shaft
me was a tipping point for me and I decided to make
some changes in my own business. I have always
been honest and trustworthy as a business owner,
but I was following many of the Internet Information
Gurus—and this week, I unsubscribed from a vast
majority of them
. I decided they’re too slick and
phony for me; they’re the “Internet Hollywood Scene.”
The few hours in the ER, not knowing what was wrong
with me, plus the massive knock to my head, brought
me to my senses:
I’m “leaving the pack,” “escaping
the wannabees
” once again, no longer aspiring to
rub elbows with them, proverbially “sleep with them”
to get to the next level, attend their parties or adapt
their business-building strategies. (Which are, on
another note, entirely cookie-cutter, have you noticed?)

I don’t want to make money by gouging other people
of their hard-earned money. (And I never have.) Isn’t
that what the banks do? I don’t want to make money
by hosting a seminar that’s really a pitch-fest. I believe
that’s called bait-and-switch. I don’t want to make
money from obscenely inflated home-study products
or memberships. And I don’t want to tell my daughter
I made money following. Inspired Leaders don’t
, they lead through inspiration. I got seduced
by the glitter and glam—but now know that all that
glitters is not gold.

I have created a questionnaire over at Survey
, to see if my own experience reflects the
“zeitgeist,” the energy in the culture right now, about
slick, internet information marketing. You know
–the guys and women making millions of dollars on
$20,000 – $100,000 yearly memberships, claiming
they can “teach” (ha!) and “coach” (ha!). Have
you had it, too? Do they feel like shallow, slick, plastic
Hollywood types? Do you want to learn from a different
type of leader? If so, what type?

I promise to share the comments from your
peers in an upcoming blog.

By the way, in case you’re wondering: I’m doing fine…
except for the nasty bump and the bruises on my
leg and knee. I’ll be going to a cardiologist for a
“table test,” just to ensure that I don’t have a
propensity for losing oxygen to the brain. But I expect
everything to come out normal. After all, I’m still
young! In fact, the best part of the whole experience
was my daughter grumbling to me as we sat in my
ER room: “Everyone’s asking me if you’re my

It was all worth it for that!

click here to take my “Have You Had It With
The Internet
Hollywood Scene?” survey.

Session #5/8 with 2 Financial Coaches: Marketing Their Seminar!

By the end of the 5th session, M&M no doubt feel a little
like this guy. One of them says to me, “I can hardly wait
for the next session!” with a little more than a touch of
sarcasm. I can be highly creative, but I can also be meti-
culously analytical, and this is the session where that side
of me comes out in spades! I lead them step-by-step through
a detailed discussion of how to market their signature portal

They want to penetrate a local, not national, market, so we
explore an entirely local strategy—yet this session will
stimulate your marketing juices, even if you are doing on-
line marketing. So the question we answer in this session
is, “What are all the ways you’re going to reach your

We list all Touch-Point 1 venues again–churches, Rotary Clubs
and other affinity groups, schools and referral partners, and then
(and this is where it got painstakingly detailed), we moved through
every step in the communication process with each venue.
What does the initial outreach look like for most of them? Usually,
it’s calling to ask what form of contact they prefer: letter, brief face-
to-face appointment, phone call, email? They would do this with
referral partners and the places where they would actually give
their seminar. Then, we look at every communication piece
they will need, from letters of introduction, to a phone script, to
leave-behinds such as fliers or postcards. They’ll need something
for their referral partners (marriage counselors) to hand out to their
clients about the signature program, and they’d need something
to hand churches, schools and affinity groups that would describe
the event
and its benefit to them.

This may all seem common sense, but I tell you, very few people
subject their marketing to such microscopic analysis until it’s
right upon them, and then they become overwhelmed. M&M may
feel blown away with all the initial footwork and planning that’s
entailed in formulating all of the promotional communication,
but it’s better to be overwhelmed with lots of time on your hands
than with very little–which is the case for most.

We also talk about networking options for them, such as NAWBO,
BNI and Meet-Ups, and the communication pieces that are require
for those scenarios. I tell them the secret that helped me stand
at networking events: handing out a postcard–not a flier and
not a business card–that described my 2-hour live event and acted
as a “ticket,” elevating its status above typical leave-behinds at
networking events.

And we discuss publicity options such as, of course, the required
press release, but also the idea of M&M, as that “older and wiser”
couple, videotaping themselves interviewing younger couples
on the street, as a way to get some local publicity and also as
a way to move them onto the internet, by putting those videos
on their blog.

Finally, one of the “M”s asks me, “What key phrases tend to get
people to take action; that would have them want to come hear
this?” And I told them one of the Brain-Sticky tricks of marketing
communication: humans hate to not know something; to re-
alize there is information they don’t have. We can’t stand it. That’s
why the 5:00 news trailers always say something like, “What is
the dangerous bug that could be hiding out in YOUR child’s stuffed
animal? Tune in to find out.” Are you going to watch? Heck, yes!
I’ve even DVR’d a local news segment because they “got me” with
one of these. We cannot stand not knowing information—if it is
relevant and important to us

So I tell M&M that they want to employ this in their marketing
copy, namely teasing couples with the fact (and it is a fact) that
they are embroiled in a secret cycle that is causing their financial
problems. Because it’s stimulating the brain’s “need to know,” and
it is extremely relevant to their couples, they will want to attend
the seminar just to find out what that secret cycle is.

So, detailed, methodical and not exactly sexy, but the topic of
this session was, as M&M both concluded, the “kick in the pants
they needed to get all of this started.” Maybe it is for you, too?
Here’s an action-item for you
: write down all of your Touch-
Point 1 venues (where you’ll reach your market). Then next to each,
determine the first point of communication—what is it? And what
communication piece will it require? Then, what other communi-
cation pieces will you need as you deepen your relationship with
each venue?

TOMORROW you can see the first promotional video about
the 8 CD-Set, which will be available on Wednesday! Come back
here to find out where to go, or get on my list (above) to get
the information sent to your email. Session #5 is tomorrow, so
stay tuned for what I do next with M&M!

Session 3 of 8 With 2 Financial Coaches Who Want More Clients

In my third session with M&M, we delve very specifically
into the topic for their “portal,” signature program. In order
for this seminar to be Brain-Sticky, it must solve their market’s
biggest problem—based on our work on their “Trigger Event.”
The couples M&M serve, and want to serve more, bring in a
decent income; income is not their problem. Their problem is
that despite good income, they keep coming up short every
month. They have nothing to show for the hard work and
respectable salary. And from the Trigger Event exercise, we
realize that the husband most commonly blames the wife
for spending too much each month. He’s said it before, but
is never heard. The wife believes wholeheartedly that what
she purchases is necessary. Then, we uncovered that perhaps
the husband is making purchases that aren’t showing up on
the credit card—secret purchases.

I ask M&M, what is the bottleneck problem? If it were removed,
everything else would flow? We bandy about some ideas, but
then recognize that the essential issue, the one that must be
removed before the subject of budgeting or debt reduction
can be addressed, is ineffective communication between
the spouses. If that were cleared up, their money struggles
would disappear because they could actually work on them
together, instead of from opposite sides of the ring.

Well, “communication” needs to be defined and pulled apart.
We spend a good portion of this session determining what
kind of communication is going on, no matter how ineffective.
And with some hair-splitting analytical questions from me,
I begin to help them form what will become the cornerstone
of their teaching concept. We determine that there is a
“cycle” that couples go through in communicating (which
includes not communicating) about money in particular.
It is a 3-phase cycle that is predictable and very common. I
said to them during this session, “If you put a name to this
cycle, you could brand it.” What I would later say is that
“Your entire business can be branded from this ‘teaching
concept.’ I call that a brand concept”—a unique, differenti-
ating teaching idea you can be known for. (see earlier post.)

Once we had this 3-phase ineffective communication
, we looked at the “objective” for their portal seminar
and decided it was, “to give couples the tools to alter this
cycle forever, so that they can begin a life of financial ease.”

It follows, naturally, that the free portal seminar would
provide those tools. So, next we needed to determine what
the tools are that would break this cycle, and how would
we move the audience through them to a powerful shift?

This would be, as you can see, a transformational seminar.
Not merely an informational one. And this is the secret, I
believe, to the “new age” upon us: to create transformation
in any audience, on any topic, even one as—at first blush—
boring as finances.

Come back tomorrow because session 4 is the most GOLDEN
session of all 8! We plan their 90-minute transformational
portal seminar. See you then!

And remember…Tuesday is the release of the 8 CD set of
these 8 sessions with M&M!

Session 2 of 8 With Two Financial Coaches Who Want Clients

In the first session, M&M and I looked quite deeply at their
target market. What would be the natural next question?
How do you reach them? I call these your Touch Point 1
. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to convince M&M that
speaking is hands-down the best way to connect with a
market; they had already done some speaking.

So in this session, we delve deeply
into this subject, again gathering
data and building upon it. Where
have they spoken before? Where
could they speak that they’d never
thought of, and which are the three
most effective venues? We decide
that to attract couples, they would
reach out to churches, libraries,
Barnes & Noble
(they could ostensibly
speak on Dave Ramsey’s book), and
local boards of education to see if they
promote workshops for parents.

From there, we begin to touch on content. What have they
spoken about in the past? Well, their previous topics have
been rather dry, focused on how to budget and reduce debt,
so I draw us into thinking about what would be most Brain-
. To determine that, we must know who would be in
the audience (target market), and what would get them there.
So we need to understand the Trigger Event (see yesterday’s
post) and their market’s most acute pain, and of course
M&M’s special solution.

I advised them that this time, they need to give more than
just an information-based seminar. In this day and age,
I told them, you want your audiences to be transformed
in some way, right away. And you do that by taking them
through what I call the “Transformation Arc”: this is a certain
trajectory that guarantees a powerful shift in thinking and
very often a shift in behavior.  This “arc” begins by getting
their market immediately into the ugly emotion they deal
with (even unconsciously) every day. I call it “getting
them into the  ick.”

The male “M” of M&M, who has done all the presenting in
the past, is unsure of this direction. He has always worked
with audiences in what I call the “Old Paradigm,” where
he hauls out a Power Point (aaaaggghh!) and didactically
transfers knowledge, without much engagement with those
in the room. I point out to him that in order for his audience
to be moved enough in this  free “portal” talk to then buy
a service package with M&M, they must FEEL—and you can-
not tell someone to feel; you must set the stage for them to
experience emotion themselves. This, and only this, creates
transformation in them, and a far stronger interest in

Next, we need to solidly determine what the “ick” is for their
particular market. What is the emotional sludge these
couples are wading through, as it pertains to their financial
struggle? Well, in the next session, three, we hit pay dirt!
Together we figure this out and with that knowledge, we begin
to sketch out the Brain-Sticky concept of their portal,
signature program
…that could become the differentiation
for their entire business! Be sure to come back tomorrow to
see what it is!

As for you: is speaking on your list for strategies to get
more clients and build your list? What Touch Point 1 venues
will best reach your market? And what about the “ick” your
market stews in day in and day out—how can you have them
experience or come face to face with that “ick” in a talk you
give? Would love to hear your thoughts below! And feel free
to share this post so others can get eavesdrop, too!

The Precious First Few Minutes of a Presentation

Audiences will not listen to you just because you’re standing in front
of a room. Did you listen to your English teachers or Social Studies
teachers just because they were there? Of course not. The ones you
listened to were the ones who earned your listening. Adults may
be more politically correct than kids and give you the impression that
they’re listening—but unless you have earned it, they’re tuned out.

How do you “earn their listening”? First, let’s talk about how you
don’t. Just in any conversation, whether with one or one thousand
people, you lose their listening when you start out talking about
. They don’t care about you. Not yet. You have to earn
that. Begin by entering their world and showing them that you under-
stand them. That you respect them. When people are acknowledged,
they’re all ears.

You lose their listening if you don’t persuade them that they will
benefit from something you have to say. My daughter comes home
every day telling me “school was boring.” I don’t doubt it. Wasn’t it
boring when you went, too?  Her teachers are not enrolling  the kids
in the benefits of learning about fungi or Ancient Rome. You must
convince them that they’ll gain from listening to you–right from the
outset. If you fail at this, you’ve lost them for the rest of the ride.

You lose their listening if you’re not speaking their language. Literally.
Know the industry lingo. But at the same time, do not use your indus-
ry lingo with an audience who’s not in your industry!!! This kind of lack-
of-awareness is epidemic. Do you use words others don’t know to impress
them–or just because you’re not thinking?

You’ll lose their listening really fast if the language isn’t right, either.
 A particular pet peeve of mine is incorrect grammar. I can’t tell you how
many “professional speakers” don’t speak correct English. They lose my
listening the instant they mix up “me” with “I.” As in, “The team went to
the meeting with Roger and myself,” or “He was so much better than me
at selling.” Please read a grammar book if you’re unsure. 

You’ll lose their listening if you don’t tell them why you are up there.
 What are the education and credentials that make you worthy of their
listening? The best method is to tell us a story that explains what brought
you to this spot in front of the room. Perhaps it’s a before and after story;
or a story of an “aha” moment that changed everything. I don’t know any-
one who won’t listen to a good story. Do you really want to wow them?
Then tell them why you’re doing this over any other career/job in
the world. What about this compels you? Gets you up in the morning?
What’s in it for you? Why are you so passionate? When you answer this
for them, not only are they listening, but they’re beginning to see the
value of being in their seats.

And, of course, you lose their listening if you don’t know that.  If you
have no passion for your subject. It will show itself in your monotone
voice, flat facial expressions, slow movements, “ums” and slide-reading.
If the subject you’re speaking about isn’t worth your energy…it certainly
isn’t worth theirs!

I teach my clients and audiences how to “earn their listening”  from the
very first moment they step on stage, and, of course, how to keep
it throughout. There are many more elements to this process that are
subtle and absolutely essential. If you don’t get the results you want
from speaking in public; if you don’t get the reactions and the word of
mouth and the sales, check in to see how you “lost their listening.” Did
you start out talking about yourself? Fail to enroll them in the benefits of
listening to you? Did you speak “below” or “above” their heads? Give data
instead of a story?

Don’t worry. There’s always a next time! 

Today is the LAST DAY you can bring-a-colleague-free to my
2-day public speaking training based on the latest brain research. 
You will learn 2 sequences at this event–and the first is the 7-Point
Introduction: How to earn their listening right from the start. There
are a lot of videos you can watch on this page to see if this is the
seminar you need to attend next month. I hope to see you there!

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