OK, it’s time to Get Real here.

What do I mean by that? I mean, it’s time to get some real-world thinking and action going on if you hope to make your business successful. I mean, it’s time to forget what the online “Gurus” tell us about internet marketing and figure out what really works. I mean, it’s time to dump the “feel good” strategies and understand that you’re dealing with real people who have real needs and, if you can’t satisfy those needs, you’re going to fail.

Yep, I just used the “F” word – FAIL! Few of the “experts” you might read would ever use such a negative word, fearing they might make you feel bad or begin to doubt yourself. In the real world of business though, failure happens and, while my goal is not to make anyone feel bad or to create self-doubt, I do want to be realistic about what it takes to build a successful business – based on my training and experience dealing with folks who actually make a go of it every day – in spite of the platitudes and nonsense that are filling the world of business coaching and internet marketing advice.

So, if you really want to provide value with your services, here’s my list of 8 things to STOP doing NOW:

  1. I’m here to save you. I subscribe to a couple of hundred newsletters (yes, I really do) for a variety of reasons, such as to stay on top of what my colleagues are doing, and of course what others in my industry are doing. A recurring theme that I see all too often in some of the messaging that I read assumes that the target market is full of people with limited intelligence who need saving. This comes by way of the psychological play on words that if you don’t purchase their system or product, you will fail in your life or business, miserably. This strategy is actually condescending and insulting.
  2. Making up prices as you go along. If you do not know the value of your services, stop right now and do some research! Just because your “master system” looks great with $1997 after it, doesn’t mean it’s worth it.
  3. This is what I “normally charge”. So many times I see prices slashed when various promotions are going on. Stop and think for a second. If you had existing clients paying a higher price, and they see this very low-price “promotion”, would you want them to begin questioning the disparity? If you value your clients, then offer upsells instead. If you are priced right, you shouldn’t have to “reduce” your price.
  4. You cheap-out with your staff. Practice what you preach, especially if you utilize vendors or contractors. Understand that if you value the services you provide and charge what you are worth, chances are your vendors and contractors are too. I am not saying there is no room to negotiate, but it’s insulting to hear people say that they can find it cheaper somewhere else. While you probably can, remember that you get what you pay for. See this brilliant video by Wes Schaeffer where he talks about, Why You Should Hire a $25 InfusionSoft Consultant.
  5. You are not transparent. For example, while it’s great that you found your calling and are meant to help people and promise them the life of their dreams, you’d better make sure you are living yours too. Second, if you are offering a service to help “skyrocket” someone’s income to 6 figures, you’d better make sure you’re at 6 figures too.
  6. You think you are qualified. Yep, I said it. Unless you took a company or other type of entity to 6 or 7 figures, whether it be via service or product based, it is a huge disservice to misrepresent yourself. For example, if you are a business coach selling a successful coaching program, that doesn’t make you an expert on how to coach someone to do the same, it means you are a good salesperson selling a service. Know the difference. And by difference I mean, what did you do BEFORE that makes you an expert? What real life successes have you had?
  7. The sob story. There is a big difference between storytelling and sob stories. More times than I care to count I have heard the same story over and over about how the person had $37 in their bank account and became this successful rags-to-riches story. While there are a lot of people out there with legitimate success stories, the point here is not to discredit but rather point out the difference between the sob story and storytelling.
  8. If I can do it, so can you. Stop right there. I can go a million different places with this, but the one thing that irks me the most is when I see some of my female counterparts go on to say how they were able to quit their grueling jobs and live the life of their dreams. What some of them fail to mention, for example, is that they have a significant other or spouse at home that can assume more of the financial load, or they have a savings or some other investment vehicle they can pull from, or some other reason that made it possible. If that were the case, then everyone would just quit their jobs and start a business or some other venture. I can assure you it’s not possible for everyone to do that right at the beginning. Therefore, using a psychological play on words or a sob story is not only a disservice, but it’s just not real. If you know your target market and clients, then you know whether or not if “they can do it”, just like you did.

So what does this all mean? Understand your prospect and client needs. Understand that your potential clients do not need saving, they need a service you provide. They are intelligent and insightful and, most likely, they can see through the fluff.