by on December 8,2016
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  • Thank you for such a wonderful mental picture of what I want to do with my clients!

  • Love the word picture (metaphor)!! It really drives the point home and makes it very easy to remember!!

  • Great advice and analogy! I’m trying!

  • Great Job! I totally love your formula for success and I just have to ask you – “How do you like your eggs?”

  • This is so true! Thanks!

  • Yes, always be yourself! It’s impossible to anticipate how someone will perceive you, so you may as well do you. At least give them the chance to see the real you. And if they don’t appreciate your talents, then it’s their loss, move on to the next opportunity. Eventually you will develop a reputation of consistency and professionalism based on your excellent work as well as your physical presentation. I mean, Steve Jobs wore the same outfit everyday, black turtleneck & jeans and look how successful he was. I don’t even sweat it anymore. I’m confident in my style, the way I present myself. I just want the focus to be on my work and what I bring to the table. Rock those jeans, girl! Do you!

  • Thank you Ladies! So true – the good news is that I am definitely a quick study. I handled that meeting like a potential employee going on a job interview instead of like the confident, successful business owner that I am. I guess it was the last bit of the employee mindset that needed to go!

  • Amber Williams

    Well said! We should not operate out of a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. If at anytime you feel anything outside of that like you said you should regroup!

  • Tasha Smith

    Very good advice. When being true to YOU, God can take YOU places you never even imagined. I will keep your advice in mind.

  • Been there done that! I totally sometimes fall into the trap of thinking I have to fit a mold much like a “job” mentality when in fact as an entrepreneur I can be ME!

  • This was hilarious! I could sooo relate!!

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  • You make me smile!

  • Carla Hamilton

    I’ve been told dress for success, fake it until you make, and you’re absolutely correct, be yourself!!! If dressing a certain way is NOT me how successful am I? The energy I emit as my authentic self is where a real connection is made.

  • Great video post! I think we have all been less than our authentic self at times! Wow as far as dress. I would be comfortable in “hippie” skirts, jeans, and peasant tops. I really hate business attire… But, I still have to wear it some!

  • Debi

    Love the video post! Great idea!

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  • I appreciate the encouragement to check out the competition. I do use google alerts, in part for that very purpose.I needed your other comments though to improve what I do here.

  • Summer, I totally agree! Some of the best ideas I utilize in my office have come from other websites or social media. Sometimes I tweak the idea so I don’t appear to be a copycat. However, I subscribe to other websites/social networks for business’ that are not near my location because I think it is good to see what the rest of the nation is doing.
    Great post! Thanks

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  • Kim

    Thanks for breaking this down into such simple steps. I especially appreciate the demographic chart. That’s a great way to get a clearer picture of an ideal client.

  • Thanks for breaking this down into simple-to-do and easy-to-understand steps. I also like the demographic chart.

  • Very informative post. Very simple steps that anyone can start doing today!!!

  • Thank you ladies for stopping by. My goal is to help business owners by breaking down business concepts into the simplest explanations possible. I am glad to know the simplicity is shining through!

  • Great post, Summer! When working with my clients, I tell them to dig even deeper than that, especially in the first area, understanding their ideal client. It’s important to understand what problems your potential (or existing) clients face, what questions they ask, what they’re looking for, where they’re looking for help and much more. The better you understand your potential (or existing) buyers, the easier it will be to not only market to them, but to also come up with new products/services they will want to buy. It was a real pleasure to read this post. Great work!

  • Thank you Silvia I completely agree. I have an earlier post I dedicated to how to define your target market in 7 steps. http://salexanderresearch.com/7-steps-to-defining-your-target-market/.

  • I love your blog! It is interactive! I love the Features and Benefits Examples….and the content is great too! Thanks!

  • Thank you Debi!

  • Thanks for the ideas, Summer. I also subscribe to my niche-mate’s (vs. competitors) blogs to see the types of topics they’re addressing and any new services they roll out. It helps me to see how I can package my services to better meet the needs of my target markets. It also helps me to keep current with what’s happening in our industry (coaching / training / leadership development).

  • Hi Nicole,

    I love niche-mate’s! You are absolutely correct, researching the competition is an excellent way to make sure you are meeting the needs of your market.

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  • I’m so glad I signed up for your newsletter! And your blog is overflowing with clever, easy steps to get my business up and running. Thank you so much!

  • Hi Adrienn,

    It is wonderful to have you here and thank you again for your encouraging words over at MarieForleo.com.

    • You are welcome! 🙂
      I have so much to learn and it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the information out there. It is refreshing to find a site that is so down to earth like yours.

  • I really enjoy action steps. Great post!

  • Every point is good. I especially like the first one, getting a child to see if they understand what you do!

  • Summer

    Yes Cheryl that is a lesson I learned myself. I kept explaining to my teenage children that I did research and was met with blank stares! I had to break it down into its simplest form and then they got it.

  • I love all your points, especially #1. It is funny that I also get my kids to approve my marketing ideas for my dental practice. They always have good ideas and that is the age group I am marketing too so it works out great! Thanks for an informative article!

  • Great information, I’ll be tuning in for more…and I’ll share this!

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  • Thank you Summer, these are VERY good points! Sometimes we get tunnel vision in our business and forget that our customers have great ideas. I am going to check out Survey Monkey today.

  • Kim

    Wow, Summer. You gave me lots of food for thought. I will certainly be paying more attention in the weeks to come to make sure that I am as responsive to my clients and customers as I hope I am.

    Thanks.

  • Hi, Summer! I remember learning a few years ago that the majority of customers leave simply because they don’t feel appreciated. Responding promptly to feedback and showing appreciation is so important! I always send a Thank you card to new customers and keep in touch at least once a month via e-mail with updates, etc. I also send a birthday card when I have birthdays and usually at least two other cards of appreciation throughout the year. I hope that doing so lets my customers know that they are important to me.

  • I love that Karen! Yes I believe that it is inherent in all of us to simply want to be acknowledged. I crave great customer service so much that I am willing to pay more to companies who provide it.

  • Thank you for the great reminder to obtain feedback. I try to do that with my clients. How else can you improve your product or service?

  • Hi Cheryl,

    Another major way to improve your product or service is to be consistent. Customers should be able to patronage your business any time of the day, month or year and receive the same service.

    Whether you visit Mcdonalds in New York or Texas the food is going to taste exactly the same.

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  • Excellent post, Summer! I agree that research should be the first step before you do anything else. It will help you collect the info necessary to make the smart decisions and avoid some costly mistakes. I’m about to implement client feedback form. Thanks!

  • Summer

    Thank you Kim!

  • Hi Summer: It is so true how we start to “die” inside when we aren’t doing what we are made to do. God is so good to us. You are so encouraging in listing the steps to overcome. It’s such a continual process, overcoming. Sorry you lost your dad at such a young age, you are an over comer and an example of “no excuses”! Thanks

  • Summer

    Thank you so much for your kind words Eva. Fear is such a debilitating emotion and the sooner we can start to eliminate it the sooner we are able to live fully in who we are truly called to be.

  • Cindy

    I am like your relative and didn’t pursue my passion for photography until this year. Finally, God broke through the fear and trusting Him helped me to take the leap and start my portrait business. The fears you listed and the steps to overcome them are spot on! I may refer to your article when the fear creeps back in:)

  • Summer Alexander

    Thanks for sharing Cindy, I am so glad that you took the leap of faith and decided to pursue your passion. It is never too late!

  • You’re right, Summer! Mindset has a lot to do with success or lack of it. My hope is that more and more women (and men) will raise and stop being ok working for little and start building successful businesses and lifestyles they deserve.

  • Summer Alexander

    Exactly Silvia! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Summer, I love the way you give very specific ways to overcome each fear listed. That is way more helpful than simply identifying a fear. Thanks for sharing.

  • What a powerful story Summer! It is really heartbreaking to see so many people full of anxiety, sick and depressed because they are not walking in their true purpose and passion.

    Kiyla Fenell

  • Summer I am so proud of you for overcoming your fears and expectations (althought done in love) of your father. Your tips are priceless. I love the idea of an alter-ego! I will be using this technique in many facets in my life…business, parenting and even exercising!! Thanks!

  • I enjoyed this article Summer! I am so glad that you followed your passion. Many entrepreneurs do go through the fears that you discussed. You shared some great tips on how to relieve the fears.

  • Summer Alexander

    Thank you Kiyla, Debi and LaGina!

  • I sometimes fall victim to all three of these fears. Thanks for the good tips. I, too, am finally in a position to be doing what I really want to do. One of the biggest challenges is that before leaving my last job I received a lot of devaluing messages that it’s been very difficult not to internalize.

  • Summer Alexander

    Hi Beth,

    Congrats to you for taking the leap despite those devaluing messages. When I find myself internalizing the limited vision others choose to have about MY life, I whip out the alter ego who could care less. She is tough (mostly wears leather) and is not fazed in the least bit by the opinion of others!

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  • Kim

    Doing an evaluation at this point, half-way through the year, is a great idea. I definitely need to follow up with that tip. Thanks.

  • Kelli

    My takeaway is re-engage with past clients…call just to say hello and reconnect not because I need anything from them 😉

  • Summer Alexander

    @Kim Yes it is always a good idea to check-in to make sure we are on track to accomplish our goals.

    @Kelli Re-engaging is a great way to let your clients know you are invested in their success and not just there wallets.

  • I especially like your suggestion to go back and review which strategies are working and which are not—-it’s similar to the updated adage that it’s not practice that makes perfect but evaluated practice that’s makes perfect.

    • Summer Alexander

      Exactly Cheryl! I love that!

  • I agree feedback is a necessity. However; good feedback is not always the best feedback. Bad feedback is information to be processed to reduce the obstacles that hinder your business’ growth. Above all; you want the truth. Sugarcoating a situation does not make it better. Accepting a worthless or poor product sets you up for future issues. We all need reality checks to grow.

    • Kim

      We spend so much time at work, it really is important that we love what we do. And unfortunately, most people do.

      I loved hearing your success story. It was very encouraging.

  • Summer, I really enjoyed your action steps. These are some really great tips!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks LaGina!

  • I love the Simple Strategic Plan – thanks for taking the time to develop this colorful worksheet. Where has the year gone??? Time slips by so quickly, thanks for the reminder to check systems and make sure I am on target to reach my goals by the end of the year…because it’s not that far off! 🙂

    • Summer Alexander

      You are right Debi but it’s not too late to refocus and hit those goals (or at least a few of them) before the new year.

  • This is so timely for me! The Simple Strategic Plan is perfect for me…simple and straight forward. I am a visual person and this plan is really helpful, thank you!

    • Summer Alexander

      Wonderful Cindy, glad you found it helpful!

  • Hi Summer,

    Excellent business strategies here! I am definitely in need of a half-way-point evaluation.

    That’s a really great concept too and one that we often forget. Before you know it, the year is up and we are wondering why we didn’t fix this or that before.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Christine

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Christine!

  • Totally informative and useful post Summer! The 4 questions/mid-year check-up is great for entrepreneurs. Stay in touch! My blog is here: 30minutemanager.wordpress.com
    Cheryl

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Cheryl looking forward to checking out your site as well!

  • Thanks for the great suggestions. Recently I realized that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted from social media. It’s not that it’s a bad strategy for me. It just needs some time to grow. So now I’m spending less time on social media and instead scheduling in person networking events which has been beneficial in the past.
    ———————-
    Scott D Lewis
    Cornerstones Coaching & Consulting

    Sign up for my free email mini-course:
    Seven Surprising Strategies to Get More Stuff Done
    http://www.cornerstonescoaching.com/gmsd-mini-course/

    • Summer Alexander

      Excellent Scott, thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for the tips! Going to hire a social media VA to minimize the time I waste on that. I appreciate the prompt.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Jody having help is a great idea because it is so easy to get distracted on social media.

  • Thanks for your clarity, Summer. Your professionalism shines through encouraging and firm. Sounds like you are very good at what you do.

    • Summer Alexander

      How nice of you to say MaryAnne, thank you for stopping by.

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  • Summer, this is truly a very helpful post. Thanks for sharing this lots of information.

  • Thank you for providing such a great resource! I love your simple explanation and plan of action.

  • Very thorough and simply laid out steps! Thanks for the great post and for the great free pdf!

  • So beautifully organized! You have given us the information we need in such a simple, straight forward format – taken an overwhelming subject and made it clear for me. Thank you!

  • You are SO generous! Thank you for this tool. YOU ROCK!

    Kiyla Fenell

  • Kim

    You have a real gift for taking complex ideas and breaking them down into simple steps. Great job!

  • I love the clarity and focus of this post. It’s super important to have a strategy in place before we step out and mess things up… Every startup should be paying attention!

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  • Great questions! These are things I should constantly be asking myself to keep my business moving forward. I especially like the question of “where are your competitors missing the mark?”. It makes me think of focusing on that missing piece. Thank you Summer!

  • The questions were specific and easy-to-use and extremely helpful! Thanks for the free downloads, too!

  • Great introduction to SWOT, Summer! I consider the SWOT something every entrepreneur should be doing on a regular basis to take their business to the next level faster. It can help you get through the clutter…

  • Summer you always over-deliver with valuable business growth tools. I appreciate you and will share your stuff with my clients. Thank you.

    Kiyla Fenell

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  • What a clever and unique framework for conveying your points, Summer! I especially enjoyed trait #5 – even a successful business can get frustrating at times, so it’s good to know how to handle things and move on. And of course trait #4 is a hot button for me, since I teach businesses how to present themselves in a more professional way at expos and trade shows. With all the great (and reasonably-priced) tools available today, even solo professionals can look just as impressive as the big companies!

    Marlys Arnold, Exhibit Marketing Strategist
    Author, Build a Better Trade Show Image
    Host, Trade Show Insights blog-cast – http://www.tradeshowinsights.com

    • What a fun blog post! And full of great business advice 🙂

      Anne Perry
      The Virtual Vagabond
      http://FreedomBasedBusiness.com

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Marlys both are very important traits, thanks for stopping by!

  • Great blog post! Your target market is so important when launching a product or service. Not everyone is your customer. Thanks so much!

  • Thanks Summer. Very helpful with some new offers I am creating.

  • Great interview! Marketing is so important and often times, myself included, don’t realize how much marketing it takes until they are in it.

    Tara DuBois
    Social Marketer – Strategist
    Unbound VA
    http://unboundva.com/4-personalized-strategies/

  • Great post Summer! This is an original idea I haven’t seen done before (interviewing the business). I think your points are right on the mark as well.

    Michele

    Learn what skills you need to be a successful solopreneur in my free e-course “5 Essential Skills for Solopreneur Success:” http://www.michelechristensen.com

  • I love that you put this in interview format. Made it fun to read and got the points across very nicely. Great post.

    Takara,
    Bestselling author of Peering Through the Veil
    http://launch.peeringthroughtheveil.com

  • What a great concept for your post and a fun read! It is so full of great information. I definitely resonate with #2 – People who know they need the irresistable product or service. One of the challenges I’ve been working to overcome is educating my target market. Looks like I may need your services 😉

    Kimberly Fennell
    Entertainment Business Support
    http://www.entertainmentbizsupport.com
    Get our FREE report What Are You Doing that Someone Else Can Do?
    http://www.entertainmentbizsupport.com/blog/get-our-free-report/

    • Summer Alexander

      Thank you Kim ! I am happy to help in any way I can. I’ve realized (even in my own business) that you don’t want to spend too much time educating your target market. Instead it is much easier to either:
      1. Simplify your message
      or
      2. Target the portion of the market that already “gets it”

  • A very useful interview! Many good points in this post. And I really appreciate your inclusion of a no-strings-attached free download. Refreshing!

    Claire Perkins
    The Art of Spiritual Evolution

    “Change is inevitable – you are here to evolve.”
    for Evolutionary Inspiration visit
    http://claireperkins.com

  • Great post! Thanks especially for the free resources!

    ~ Anjanette
    http://www.lillarose.biz/Anjanette

  • Great points, Summer. Interviewing your business, that’s new to me. Thanks for sharing.

    Lorii Abela
    Owner/President
    http://manifestingmydestiny.com/
    http://manifestingyourtruelove.com/

    • Not only was this very useful information, it was entirely entertaining in the presentation AND on top of it, you gave us ANOTHER free download! Thank you!!

  • I had to cash my husband’s paycheck one time when first starting out to meet my business payroll. Those were scary times! I totally agree with what your Small Business Advisor has to say!
    In additon, I don’t look at the price tag either when I find that perfect pair of shoes!
    Great article!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thank you all! I had fun writing in this format and I am happy to provide the free resources.

  • Stopping by from List-a-Palooza. Great post! Enjoyed the interview format. Market research is an often overlooked step & it should not be. I totally agree that if you want to succeed in life, giving up is not an option. Thanks for the free resources.
    S. Williams
    http://williamsauthor.wordpress.com

  • Love this format Summer – I wonder what ‘life’ would say if you interviewed it? You asked what our business would say is the key to our success. I think mine would say ‘having faith, excitement and passion but also being really practical and give people they want (not what you think they need!). Great post.

    • Summer Alexander

      Elinor,

      I think if the “interview” continued the next steps would be the faith, excitement and passion you mentioned! You are also absolutely right: you have to give the people what they want.

    • Debi

      This is so like marketing but includes the very important WIIFE – “what’s in it for me” factor. Great post Summer!

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    • USP – Good job breaking it down into such understandable portions. This is such a hard thing to do but it’s essential!

  • I totally agree with all points! Being a small business owner myself, when I come across these situations, I discretely inform the business owner. I am not trying to get anyone in trouble or hired, I am just thinking of the business owner. I would want to be educated if something like this went on in my business.

    Hope that many small business owners read this informative post! I will do my part by sharing it with my networks!

    • Summer Alexander

      You are right Debi it is always a good idea to speak up to the business owner and give them the opportunity to make improvements.

    • This is what I am working on right now! I know that I am unique but trying to define it is a process. My business is new so I am tweaking this regularly. Excellent article!

  • Thanks for the great reminder on how important customer service is! Even if we or our employees happen to make a “mistake”, it is so much better if we apologize and make it right than to ignore the problem. In fact, businesses that make it right are praised more than businesses that never make a mistake to begin with. I think it’s because so many do NOT make it right, which is really sad to think about.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Cheryl exactly! Any of us are capable of making a mistake but it is how we make it right that matters.

    • Thank you for the clearing up the difference between benefits and features. Sometimes it’s been hard to tell the difference. Love your free handouts, too. Thanks!

  • I think I have met all of your customer service rep types listed above! YIKES!! Thank you so much for the download. It’s great.

    Kiyla Fenell

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks for stopping by Kiyla, you are very welcome!

  • Customer service can make or break a business or a company. Going extra mile and doing something small, but out of the ordinary always goes a long way. One of the goals of every business owner should be to not only sell their products or services, but to turn them into happy clients who repeatedly keep coming back for more. Thanks for a great post, Summer!

    • Summer Alexander

      Silvia this is so true. Happy Clients = Repeat Clients = Successful Business!

  • All I can say is that I hope the people I do business with are reading this post. They need it!

    And it probably wouldn’t hurt for me to think through a bit of my processes as well 🙂

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  • Great post, Summer! What I absolutely love about what you do is your constant quest for feedback. You rock!

  • Summer Alexander

    Thank you Silvia! I am always striving to improve, it not only makes me a better business owner but it provides more value for my clients as well.

  • I love the idea of an idea journal and purchasing domain names before the idea is taken!! (Also the idea of selling them off if you don’t use them is great, too!)

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Cheryl purchasing the domain name quiets the thoughts in your head pushing you to “Do something now!” This allows you to stay focused on your current project without distraction and explore the new idea at a later date – you have 1 whole year before your domain is up for renewal.

  • Hi Summer –

    What great points. Entrepreneurs absolutely have to be committed for the long haul because building a business takes so much more than any of us would have imagined going into it. But it is worth it!

    If it makes you feel better, I have 52 domain names reserved right now :). One of these days, one of those ideas is going to be a big hit. I just know it…

    • Summer Alexander

      Kim you literally made me laugh out loud! 52 domains – I am an amateur!

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  • I love comparing the commitment to your business with the commitment to a marriage! So many people dabble in a business and never give it the focus, time and attention it needs to thrive. I took a job instead of starting a business a few years ago. Hating that job led me to become an entrepreneur! I am now fully committed because I never want to go back to working for someone else! For me, this path gave me commitment.

  • Thank you for providing the solution (the worksheet) and not just the problem (the need of market research).

  • Summer, I love how you explain the importance of market research by telling us a story. A scary story actually. Which is perfect for the month of October! Then you tell us how to avoid the horrific outcome of this story and give us a worksheet to get started. Great post!

  • Boy, you hit the nail right on the head! So many times we think we know what the community needs and most small business owners are so full of gusto we act without thinking. This info is important to established businesses that want to change their product line. Thanks for a great article explaining why market research is so valuable!

  • I totally agree about the research. I began my business 8 years ago and at first the business just came in but as my message and courses got clearer, I struggled to market it correctly. Researching the most popular search engine words and really embracing my message, Gods words expressed in my programs and digging deep I am finally speaking to my FHC family. Sometimes it just take time to get it all together. I hope people can move through some of this struggle before they open their doors because of your articles inspiration. God Bless

  • Great story. If we stay in the comfort zone we will never get anywhere that leads to such great rewards. But oh how it beckons us to stay.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Kinsey you are absolutely right and we usually miss our biggest blessings while hiding in the comfort zone.

  • Thanks for being authentically open about your fears and sharing the positive outcome! Sounds like you did a fantastic job!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thank you Cheryl, I appreciate your support and feedback.

  • You are an inspiration to all who have ever had a desire to achieve extraordinary success with what they believe to be ordinary gifts and talents. Keep stepping outside the “lines”. Your purpose abounds! Go Summer! Grateful to
    “know” you. 🙂

    -Coach Alissa

    • Summer Alexander

      Thank you Alissa! Grateful to know you as well. =)

  • Love that story, Summer. Thanks for your transparency. I think we can all relate and somehow it makes us feel better knowing that we are not alone.

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  • Valarie

    Thank you for sharing this story. The point you made about being yourself is something I always think about for my business and what you said was helpful and true. Right when I try to be someone I’m not, I feel uncomfortable and detached which probably hurts my business. So great point! There were many other things you mentioned that was head on.

  • Summer Alexander

    Thank you Kim and Valerie! I’ve found it takes so much less effort to remain authentic.

  • As many great speakers have said, if you feel called to something God will qualify you. Also just be yourself everyone else is already taken. Your blog is a fabulous example of both. Thanks for sharing.

  • Summer Alexander

    Thank you Antiqua! “Just be yourself everyone else is taken” – I love that!

  • Thanks for sharing this story Summer! I was really moved by how you turned your internal dialogue around and walked through the door with courage and faith in yourself. I am faced with some of the same decisions in my business and I feel as I get better with every project. Yes. Belief that “you can do it” is, indeed, the way to go!

    *Smiling in awe of you.*
    Chef Ikeena~

  • Summer Alexander

    Hi Ikeena,

    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your kind words. You are doing great work, keep the faith and the doors will continue to open!

  • Thank you Summer for sharing this, I have experienced being in my own way without even realizing it, and a lot of times this is the case but we sometimes fail to see that we are sabotaging our selves. It take someone like your self to be willing to keep it real and point it out.
    Great Post!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Chavon! It’s so important that we have an extra set of eyeballs give us some constructive feedback from time to time.

  • Love this! Love your conversational writing style. Well done.

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Kinsey, I appreciate you stopping by!

  • Spot on! Thanks for your honesty and telling it like it is – nothing else will work.

    • Summer Alexander

      You are absolutely right Kim! Although sometimes it may sting a little….

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  • Thanks for the honesty. It’s what most of us need.

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks for your comment Cheryl I am always willing to share my experiences especially when I’ve learned something that may be helpful to others.

  • Thanks for the reality dose. Most of us get stuck until we find the right coach with the right resources to help push us further. Thanks for the push! =)

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  • Hi Summer,
    Thanks for the great overview of something that should definitely be considered by more entrepreneurs. While I think many people do take into account how their prices compare to competitors, too few think about the costs of providing their products or services…and maybe the actual value to customers. These are very important things to consider when trying to figure out whether you’ve got a viable business model. Thanks for sharing your post with the BizSugar community!

  • Summer Alexander

    Thank you Heather! I appreciate you stopping by. Pricing products and services is one of those tricky steps in business planning where I find many business owners guess, compare or pluck a number out the sky.

    Hopefully this post will provide some beginning steps to help those entrepreneurs who are struggling in this area make some progress in the right direction.

    Happy to have found BizSugar!

  • Summer – Excellent article that explains the topic that confounds so many entrepreneurs and seasoned businessmen. I like the fact that you are advising to consider both the cost of the product / service as well as value to customer.

    Pricing is both an art as well as science. As you mentioned in the article there are several angles you need to consider when arriving at price of the product. The price customer is willing to pay is how he perceives the benefits of the product to him. I had written an article titled 10 commandments of pricing where I talked about this and other points to consider for pricing. Would love to hear your view on the commandments. Here is the article – http://www.smallbizviewpoints.com/2012/04/04/ten-commandments-of-pricing/

    • Summer Alexander

      Hi Harry,

      Thank you for your comment. I love your statement “Pricing is both an art as well as science.” This is very true and setting fees may involve some tweaking and adjusting along the way. I’ve found once the confidence is there, all the other steps seem to work themselves out.

      I look forward to reading your article.

  • Nice article, Summer. Additionally, if your competitive advantage (e.g. “organic cupcakes”) justifies a higher price than your competition, don’t just change the price tag on your cupcakes. Proactively and prominently promote your value proposition and competitive advantage to increase sales. “We only use organic ingredients in our cupcakes. Organic ingredients often taste fresher because they don’t contain preservatives. Organic ingredients do not contain synthetic fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides . Wouldn’t you rather give your family one of our organic cupcakes?”

    • Summer Alexander

      Thank you Dave, excellent point. It’s not enough for you (the business owner) to know you have a better quality product or a more streamlined process. It’s essential that your buyers understand this as well.

  • Hi Summer – This is a great list of things to consider. Pricing is a HUGE concern for entrepreneurs and service professionals.

  • Summer Alexander

    Thanks Kim! You are absolutely right it is a big concern, hopefully these steps will help to take some of the mystery away from how to go about establishing pricing.

  • Very simple and east to understand. Thank you.

  • I totally agree with point #3-you must believe that you have an awesome product or one that will benefit your customers over the competition. I believe you don’t have to ‘sell’ your product if you truly believe it in and that it is special-it will sell itself. Great article.!

  • Summer, these are great tips. Very easy to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Cheryl!

  • Excellent tips, Summer. I especially loved the part about eliminating junk. Thanks for sharing!

    • Summer Alexander

      Hi Silvia,

      Yes many times we are so connected to our products and services we have a hard time letting go. However, if they are not serving our business – or better yet the customers we intended for them to help it may be time to let go.

    • I enjoyed the article, keep up the good work. I am developing a newsletter that I hope will help in building my list. The newsletter will be offered as a way of having folks opt-in, but will contain what I hope will be valuable information for everyone who signs up. So, you see, your article was right on point for where I was headed.

      • Summer Alexander

        Excellent Victor!

  • This is so true! I love the quote at the beginning…time does fly by and we must pay attention to it. I have an online journal that I fill out every month answering questions similar to the one’s you provided-but instead of products, I ask what I loved about last month and what I dreaded. This helps keep me on track and successful. Thanks for a great article.

    • Summer Alexander

      Hi Debi,

      I love applying these same steps to our personal lives as well, great idea!

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  • Very practical and helpful!

  • Summer! These are great ideas no matter what kind of business you are in. Look at what is working and what is not. How can we improve what is not working or does it need to be elminated!!

    I shared on Google + too.

    FYI your G+ link to add you to a circle is not working properly. I found you my searching for you on G+

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  • LOVE the reminder to look at your sale stats!! That is soooo important. Thanks for providing simple wisdom each week.

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  • I LOVED the simplicity, thank you!

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  • Ted Thompson

    Summer–It’s been a long time since we corresponded. I am still floundering around
    trying to get things going properly. Your Effortless Entrepreneur Academy sounds like a good way to proceed. I’ve got to get computer problems straightened out and then will come aboard for the combo package. I am turning things around, so it may take a short while.

    Respectfully
    Ted Thompson (aka the Old Gezzer)

    • Summer Alexander

      Hi Ted,

      Wonderful, I look forward to seeing you on the other side!

  • Love the lessons and the timeliness of this piece. Great insight!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Cheryl!

  • I really loved this article. I didn’t see the documentary, but I love the way you used it and the business lessons you provided. This article goes in my business “arsenal” to read when I need a reminder. Thanks for sharing.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes DrDebra I must admit I view everything now through entrepreneur eyes. Always looking for the business angle =)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  • Great tips! I really love the one about mentoring someone in your industry. I’ll have to try that one! Thanks again.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Cheryl it’s amazing how powerful giving back can be and how it always seems to open bigger doors for your own business.

  • Summer, this is excellent! Thanks for sharing. I’m earmarking it.

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Kinsey!

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  • These are great tips. I especially like the idea of rotating my email signature instead of always using the same one. Thanks.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Kim I find the rotating email signature works very well!

  • I really love #4! Doing a flash sale gets old inventory off your shelves but introduces the public to your product. Great idea!

    • Summer Alexander

      Debi this is a great strategy as long as it’s not implemented too often.

  • That was a good post. I’m having problems with getting people here to buy my products.About ready to call it quits. But some reason I hang on thinking my luck will change I have a mans account I work on showcasing products and following company’s and people on face book past week had on click 0$

  • Great suggestions! Thanks Summer.

  • Well, one way to look at it, is that if you can do it without God, then it isn’t big enough or this case, scarier enough.

  • Thanks for the great tips Summer. I’m actually doing #2 now. It is scary and exciting at the same time, and will help me with my goal of reaching six figures this year faster. =)

  • I like this idea, Summer, because you are absolutely right – if we keep doing the same things we will keep getting the same results. Here’s to living outside our comfort zone.

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  • These are such good points! I think we go to networking events and forget that we are not at a cocktail party. Since it is a business event, we need to remember good business etiquette. I think I have been guilty of some of these mistakes in the past, thank you for a good reminder!

    • Summer Alexander

      That’s exactly right Cindy! It’s okay to have casual conversation at a party but at a networking event everyone she be focused on networking!

  • Excellent post Summer! I’m pretty much convinced that the only way to get heard or be heard is to hire a counselor or coach. Of course, that is only applies to humans. God is always a good listener – and He listens to what we don’t say as well. Love Him.

    • Summer Alexander

      Good point Kinsey!

  • These are excellent points & much needed reminder for anyone networking! It is one of the most dreaded aspects for many business owners!

    Thanks again for clear and concise advice!

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Joyce but it doesn’t have to be!

  • I haven’t started going to live events yet, but when I do, I’ll be glad I have this article tucked away. I think if I weren’t being really intentional I might slip into some of these mistakes not even noticing that that’s what I’m doing.

    Thanks for the tips. I’d love to learn more about getting the most out of live events. (You may have done that already, I just found you today!)

    • Summer Alexander

      Stay tuned Beth more to come!

  • I appreciate the helpful tips shared in this article. One that I would add is that it is important to be confident in sharing about your business with the intention of meeting and collaborating with individuals who can promote what you are doing also. Networking is a two way street and follow-up is critical. Thanks for providing this valuable information.

    • Summer Alexander

      Great point Lakecia – a good networking connection should be beneficial to both parties.

  • Excellent points! We cannot be everything to everyone but we can sure benefit each other when we find the right fit. These are great tips for ‘listening’ and actually ‘hearing’ what the other person is saying as well!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Debi!

  • This was good to know what NOT to do. I’m still wondering how to escape from other people doing it wrong. How do you gracefully escape the corner when someone else is unloading on you?

    • Summer Alexander

      Cheryl my advice is to just take the business card and run =).

  • Offender #3: The person who sits in the corner and watches all of this transpire without “getting out there” in the mix. For a long time, I was offender #3. I’m getting better, but still have a long way to go. =)

  • Summer –
    Excellent tips! I’ve been attending networking events for awhile now and this by far has to be the funniest one yet! On the serious side, as a networking junkie, one of your tips about following up in a timely manner is crucial to connecting with a potential lead. Most people just collect business cards for the sake of making their rolodex box full. I had to learn this the hard way.

  • Hi Summer –

    Since speaking with you last week, we’re moving outside of our “comfort zone” by reaching out beyond our computer. My biggest fear IS the fear of failure and that freezes you in time because you can’t move on. I’m learning to repeat and I mean repeat to myself everyday – Nothing beats a failure but a try… Thanks for the advice!

  • Thanks for the tips. While I do SOME of them, I do need to get better at follow up after the initial meeting. Networking is not one of my strong suit, but I’m trying to get better so I can take my biz to the next level.

  • Totally agree with #3. I believe people know whether you are really listening or if you are just passing time trying to think of something to say so I always try to listen and follow up what they say with a question. I believe people will be interested in you when you show that you are interested in them. Thanks for a great blog post!

  • LOVE the title of this blog Summer! I agree whole-heartedly with #5. I used to feel that I had to push myself to talk with people that made me feel uncomfortable for whatever reason (snobby, overbearing) but now I realize that the great thing about networking is you can work the room. Now don’t feel that I have to win everyone over…I just make a few connections with people I am feel good talking too!
    Thanks for the advice!

  • Great tips. I’m going to use #3 & #4 at a conference I’m attending soon. =)

  • I really agree with you, especially on point number 5. People want to get to know our true, authentic selves and settling for anything less will backfire in the long run anyway.

  • Summer – You have summarized the marketing very effectively in these 5 bullets. I also like that you included top-notch offering in the list. My view is no amount of marketing will help you sell if it is not supported by product or offering with great value proposition.

    I also liked the experiment you conducted in the workshop. I will try to use it sometimes to see what kind of response I get (with your permission, of course)

  • Summer Alexander

    Hi Harry,
    Thank you! Yes I had to include the quality of the product or service and I agree with you 100% marketing poor quality goods won’t get you any closer to achieving your business goals.

    Of course you have permission to try the experiment just be sure to let me know what kind of responses you receive.

  • DENISE

    I absolutely loved this article!!! Customer service experience will make or break a company. Thank you for sharing your insight and for offering solutions for the newbie!!!

  • Great tips. I think I passed them too. *Secretly wipes brow*

  • Cheryl

    Excellent ideas of things to look for in my own biz!!

  • Debi

    I especially like #4. You can have a ‘secret shopper’ or trusted friend communicate with your staff to see how they act when you are not around. Great post !

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  • kinsey

    Great tips!

  • Cheryl

    Thanks for the tips and the free template. Will put it to good use =)

  • Good reminders. I would add that in order to choose what is relevant content you first have to be clear on your niche, of which I could use some fine-tuning of myself.

  • Debi Williams

    Excellent post! Another tip is to use Hootsuite. It is free and allows you to pre-arrange posts and schedule them when you want. Once a month, I schedule all the posts for my business pages making sure that I sprinkle them every few days then I can add more content in between the posts if I desire on a daily basis. This has saved me tons of time and keeps me from getting sucked into the ‘social media vortex’

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  • HI Summer, This is a great analogy! I love it. 99% confidence and 1% talent. I’m going to remember that when I am feeling hesitant with my marketing – for sure.

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Amy! When it comes to marketing I say try everything at least once and see what sticks.

  • Cheryl

    What a great analogy and sooo true. The same can probably be said about every endeavor. We learn and grow our expertise and enjoyment by DOING! Maybe I’ll join the karaoke crew after all. =)

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Cheryl at some point you have to throw caution to the wind and jump in! If you make a mistake one thing is for sure – you won’t make it again. Every “mistake” is an opportunity to learn a lesson. Let me know if you give karaoke a try =)

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  • Dixie

    Wow, thanks for the encouragement….I have really been thinking about doing more and don’t know where to start…I am going to read your free plan!!

    • Summer Alexander

      Great Dixie let me know how it goes!

  • I loved the way you put those two things together—I can see how they are related after you pointed it out. Marketing is 99% confidence. I’ll have to try to remember that!

    • Summer Alexander

      Most things are Cheryl!

  • I loved these seven points. This is the most comprehensive post I have ever found on a business plan that makes sense for the small business entrepreneur like me. Thanks so much. blessings, Amy

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  • Love the transparency and self reflection in your post. Congrats on the new contract!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Patrice lessons learned = growth!

  • Temi

    Great post. I admire your honesty and resilience.

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Temi!

  • Summer, wow – what a heartache . . . but what a great outcome! That is so cool that God gave you an even bigger client! You’re the best! Blessings, Amy

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks Amy! Yes a lesson and a blessing!

  • I had a VERY similar experience with a large potential client with big ideas and plans and did ALOT of work without a contract as well only to be hung out to dry. Live, learn and move on!

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Brian! I definitely learned and (eventually) moved on =)

  • LaTasha Williams Young

    Wow, SO sorry to hear about such a huge disappointment, your honesty is SO helpful. But what a huge blessing you got in return! Congrats!! Whole-heartedly agree….live, learn, and move on!

    • Summer Alexander

      That’s exactly it LaTasha. I learned a good lesson in the process.

  • kinsey

    Wow.

  • Jeannie Pallett

    Loved reading how God brought blessing to a situation and you saw Him redeem your time and faithfully bless you.

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes he did! Thanks Jeannie.

  • Harry

    Summer – I am sure every one of us have a story like this to tell. While it is good to chase big client at the expense of regular work you have to prepare for the potential disappointment. It’s a big risk, big reward situation.

    Having said that only those who are able to accept the disappointment / failure and move on to the next client will be able to succeed in the long-term. You did the right thing.

    • Summer Alexander

      Very true Harry! One of my favorite sayings is that there are no failures only lessons to be learned.

  • Traci Lynn Hayes

    Such a valuable lesson!!! I’m glad that it happened, because you learned something AND you recovered!!!!!!! Congratulations! Yay!!!!

    • Summer Alexander

      Thank you Traci!!

  • Teepu Cedi Camba

    Wow, such long term agreements for me who is not used to these time of spans for businesses. I do allow delayed payments for really small contracts as of now because of the thought that client wouldn’t run for my small money that is still in them.

    By the way, I started my comment with wow and when I scrolled the blog’s comments, it’s not just me that said also “wow”.

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  • Steve Freeman

    Summer, I was in sales for 20 years and learned those are 7 of the best questions to know about a customer. The truth is most people don’t mind answering those questions, especially if you’ve built a good working relationship with them.

    The key though is followup and staying in contact.

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks so much for sharing Steve! The true gold is in your last statement “The key is the followup and staying in contact”. So true!

  • I really needed this. I am going to print this out!

    • Summer Alexander

      Good Cheryl glad it helped. I’d love to hear your results after implementation.

      • I believe that self-confidence IS so pivotal for us. It helps us to know that we are of value and the person we were dealing with can choose what they do with the information we offer them. Self-confidence makes all the difference. Blessings, Amy

    • Summer Alexander

      Good Cheryl glad it helped. I’d love to hear your results after implementation.

  • Great post! I have a good follow up system but this is still a great exhortation to keep faithfully following up!!! Loved the stories too. Blessings, Amy

    • Summer Alexander

      Thanks for your feedback Amy! Good to know you have a system in place.

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  • Kathy

    Fantastic post Summer! It helped me to see a couple areas in my business where I’m lacking good follow through.

  • Kathy

    Fantastic post Summer! It helped me to see a couple areas in my business where I’m lacking good follow through.

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  • Ann Lesley

    Thank you – this article gave me a new perspective on why so many things about marketing bother me! I realize I can stop blaming myself and keep choosing to nurture my self confidence.

  • I believe that self-confidence IS so pivotal for us. It helps us to know that we are of value and the person we were dealing with can choose what they do with the information we offer them. Self-confidence makes all the difference. Blessings, Amy

  • Lots of good points Summer. I especially liked, The fastest road to failure is thinking you can fix a problem with the same mindset and skills that created it. That is so true in so many areas!

    • Ann Lesley

      Thank you – this article gave me a new perspective on why so many things about marketing bother me! I realize I can stop blaming myself and keep choosing to nurture my self confidence.

  • Lots of good points Summer. I especially liked, The fastest road to failure is thinking you can fix a problem with the same mindset and skills that created it. That is so true in so many areas!

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  • Karren Barlow

    Great article! I have also found a site that teaches What is SWOT analysis and it is very easy to use! I would recommend it to all!

  • Victor R Bennett

    I enjoyed reading the post, as it is very applicable to my
    situation. Once I had completed my site I knew I would need to start
    marketing. However, I did not know that
    it would be such huge task. Once you ‘Build It’, no one actually comes until you
    get the word out.

    Because my budget is low, I am starting out with local pin
    boards and gazettes. In addition,
    whenever I speak with someone I hand them a business card. I have also done several videos that I plan
    to release to YouTube soon. At this
    point I am just trying to get the word out.

    I did find the article very helpful, and I will employ
    some of the suggestions made. Thanks again as always for supplying relevant and
    timely articles/post. Not only do they
    inform but they are also inspiring. Take
    care.

    Victor

    • Victor thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment. You are so right but I’ll say this – If you build they will come…you just have to invite them =)

      Let me know how the suggestions go.

  • A D.I.V.A Within

    Hi summer,
    All of your tips I have been implementing…hearing that I am on the right track makes me feel better about marketing and getting the word out. The way you put it as far as not focusing on a sale and staying focused on getting your name & brand out there makes me feel at as ease about what some would call over marketing… Thank you for breaking this down so clearly, i will take your advice about marketing & continue to inform and educate people about A D.I.V.A. Within.
    Thank You Summer!
    Chavon~A D.I.V.A.Within Life & Self-Love Coach
    Http:// adivawithin.com

  • This was very clear and helpful so thanks for spelling this out for us. I liked the four questions for getting testimonials too which can be adapted to a product-based business easily. Blessings, Amy

  • Thanks for the information. Still trying to figure the whole marketing piece out but your advice helps.

  • I love the way you break things down into simple and easy to understand language. I think the hardest thing for me to remember (that is, actually be consistent in doing) is to have a clear call to action, that is ONE call to action on everything I do.

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  • I really need to improve on measuring my results. That is my weakest point. Thanks, Summer. Amy

    • Summer Alexander

      Yes Amy measuring what we are doing is the only way to know if it is working or if we need to head back to the drawing board.

  • Great information. I think for me it’s the take action consistently instead of getting discouraged.

    • Summer Alexander

      Mary we all deal with this on some level but I truly believe when we push past the fear and feelings of discouragement we’ll run head first into the success we are seeking.

      Don’t give up and if there is every anything I can do to help don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

  • Great article and video, Summer. I really enjoyed your content and you have a great personality. It’s very important for businesses to have a SPECIFIC and defined target market. I love the saying “If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one.” 🙂

    ~ Ti

    • Summer Alexander

      Very true Ti and thank you for stopping by!

  • This just gave me life! I needed this. Thank you for the transparency.

  • Great article, Summer. I look forward to reading more of your writing. You clearly have a lot of insight and experience to share.

  • Loz Barwick

    Hello from Australia! Thanks for sharing some valuable tips. I love your act acronym! Always. Consistently.Try That’s what I keep on telling myself – and it’s keeping me going. I’ve just started out on the online world and I will definitely be able to apply your great tips to Lozbar.com

    • Australia, awesome! Yes they key to success in anything is consistency, it’s not always easy but so worth it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Carol Dunlop

    This article was a perfect breakdown of how we need to think about marketing. You are so right in that if we think of it as continually helping people to solve their problems by showing them we understand and are able to help, it won’t be a burden. Instead it becomes “a way of life,” as we say in the fitness industry.

  • I love the way you break every point down in it’s simplest form. I don’t think I’ve ever seen marketing explained in such a comprehensive yet clear way and it took me less than 5 minutes to get it.

    #3 resonates with me the most because in my experience I see where people really love to connect and once you get the connection the interest builds and they are more likely to be your brand ambassador even without you asking.

    Very insightful. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Julia thank you so much! My goal is always to keep it simple so I’m thrilled the post was received that way.

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  • Excellent points, Summer. This is absolutely the foundation of all marketing. Even Kelloggs, with their huge marketing budget, markets to a specific audience (families). Everyone eats their cereal, but they don’t market to all of us. They have a tailored message. So even if your marketing budget was as big as theirs, it would be wise to target the message to a certain target group of people.

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  • Wendy Simard

    These tips are so valuable, Summer, and something I remind my clients of repeatedly! That said, it’s often easier to recommend things for others than to do it for yourself! With my wellness content consulting business, my USP is QUALITY. I also distinguish myself graphically, as I put a big emphasis on all of my communications being clean and attractive from a visual POV. Your video gave me a great idea for November. I think that in the spirit of the holidays, I’ll allow clients and members who sign up to select between 2 charities and I’ll donate 10% of each investment in services. Thanks again for getting my wheels turning!

    • Excellent Wendy! Showing your community that you care about what they care about is a great way to deepen your connection and it definitely makes you stand out.

  • I love the tip and the video. I especially like the call to action to share in video and how you related sales to relationships. That was a unique way of looking at it. The site is very professional looking.

  • I’m in transition so need to work on mine but I love the way you break this up into simple, easy to understand and bite- size pieces.

  • Good information. Marketing is something I need to work on. You certainly made it understandable. Thanks for sharing the valuable information.

  • After developing the Unique Selling Proposition, is it time to implement an U.V.P (unique value proposition)?

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  • These are great instructions for anyone who wants to do more “introducing” and less “selling.” The more you convey what you do in terms that people are looking for solutions, the more you just take offers instead of pursuing sales. So many people get turned off to sales and burn out on business completely simply because they are marketing themselves in such a nondescript way that there is too much burden on sales.

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