So said my fellow Mastermind colleague, Claire Hayes (of www.clairephayes.com).
What was she referring to? I had been hiding my light under a bushel – even after all these years of teaching other people not to do this, here I was doing it myself – again! It’s not the first time, I have to admit.
I have been writing a new free gift for visitors to my website when they sign up for this newsletter. It’s entitled ‘The 3 Biggest Mistakes Made When Wanting to Increase Your Income’ (if you’re on my list already, you’ll get a free copy of this, no worries). I had sent it out to members of the Mastermind group to comment on (one of the huge pluses of a business support group is you can bank on honest and knowledgeable feedback).
But why was she referring to my ‘Inner American’? Because in the draft version I was being polite about what the next step at the end of reading the report was. I had written the following:
‘If you’d like more support yourself in increasing your income, profit and pleasure in your business, or want to work on increasing your Money Comfort Level, then contact me or visit my website to see what I have on offer. Staying on my newsletter list is the best way to hear about any new offerings.’
Now there is nothing really wrong with this. It’s clear, it’s an invitation, it provides a call to action. But it doesn’t really capture the attention much, the call to action is not specific enough, and nor is it inviting the reader to something that would personally help them in that moment. In fact, it’s polite and just plain boring! So I wasn’t doing my job properly.
You can see where I was hiding my light! Hence the referral to channeling my ‘Inner American’. It’s very easy for British people to be put off by the American style which tends to be more over the top. But a little taste of ‘Americanese’ (who after all have traditionally been very good at shining their own lights) is no bad thing, especially for British people who tend to do the opposite. By the way, you’ll know if you fall into this camp or not if you squirm at the thought of promoting yourself in any way.
But I couldn’t see I was hiding my light. Beyond that – it hadn’t even occurred to me – this was a classic case of teaching what you most need to learn! I suppose I might have seen this missed opportunity on a second draft, but usually with something you have written yourself, and especially something as important as this, you need to get at least one second opinion.
Which brings me onto the second point, of being able to get feedback from someone you know and trust. This is especially true if you are a solo professional, or don’t have anyone to discuss your work with who is knowledgeable. And that word knowledgeable is crucial – of course you can ask your Mum or Dad or even your best friend what they think of your new idea, piece of writing, or product.
- Are they really your target market?
- Do they know anything in depth about what you are doing?
If not, then you are simply getting an opinion from someone who cares about you. Which of course can be very valuable, but they are not necessarily going to know the right questions to ask, or have the information needed to keep you on the right track.
And that’s why Claire’s pithy statement was so useful. She is in this kind of business herself and knows exactly what purpose my report serves. So she could easily see what I had omitted.
All of this just as easily applies to the end of a meeting, a client session, or a phone or Skype conversation. You need to be really clear first of all about what you want your customer to do next. Then invite them specifically to do it.
For example, you could say:
“I think (your problem) would respond best if you come for another session, how about a fortnight on Wednesday at 2pm?”
“It’s been great to meet you; let me be clear, you’re going to get back to me by Friday and then I will respond to you.”
“I’ve got a space available next week at 3pm, how does that sound?”
These statements are not being pushy! They are in fact you taking care of yourself and your customer, and will result in specific, clear actions that need to be taken. Everyone feels taken care of and can go off happily.
So what did I put in the end in my report? I’ve still got a few tweaks to do on it, so you’ll have to wait until next week to find out!