Category Archives: Personal Branding

[VIDEO] Are you a commodity?

I recently went to the Camargue located south of Arles, France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône River delta.

It is a beautiful place and it is well known for a couple of things:

  • The white horses
  • The flamingos
  • And fleur de sel

And I would like fous on fleur de sel.

Fleur de sel is one of those small but indispensable touches, like good quality olive oil or fresh herbs, that changes an ordinary meal into a culinary experience. You may not want to use it every single day, because it is expensive, but there are certain dishes that will be markedly improved when you do.

Why is it so expensive?

3 reasons:

1.      It is rare

There are only a couple of regions in France, Portugal and Spain where this special salt can be harvested. It’s not like typical table salt.

2.      It needs to be harvested by hand

First of all, you need to wait for the perfect moment: hot summer days and no wind. Second, it is a very delicate process which requires manual labour and special tools.

3.      The brand

Fleur de sel has a very solid reputation, not only because of the quality of the project. I’m sure that these well-known chefs raving about fleur de sel have also improved the reputation of this special salt.

 

Now what does this have to do with you and your business?

It is clear that fleur de sel is not a commodity like table salt.

And you shouldn’t be either.

Because being a commodity means you’ll have difficulties standing out from the competition, attracting, clients, asking higher prices and living a fulfilled (professional) life.

So, how can we avoid being a commodity?

1.      Be rare, be unique

Identify your unique selling proposition. What makes you unique? How can you stand out? Check out my vlog if you want to know more: http://www.youbrandbuilder.com/what-makes-you-unique/

2.      Ask higher prices

Asking higher prices (than the competition) will make you stand out. People perceive higher prices with a higher quality. Low prices equals commodity. Check out my vlog on how to double your fees here: http://www.youbrandbuilder.com/how-to-double-your-fees/

3.      The brand

Always be building your Personal Brand. How? Download your FREE ebook “5 steps to build your Personal Brand & move your business to the next level” here: http://www.youbrandbuilder.com/sign-up-to-get-the-free-e-book/

Btw, want to see the related video?  Here it is:

 

Your turn

What steps have you taken in order to avoid being a commodity?

 

 

How I reprogrammed my brain

People always ask me: “How can you be so positive all the time?”

My answer is: “I reprogrammed my brain”

Say what?

A little bit of background..

Some of you already know my story, so I’ll be brief.

I used to be a very negative person. Blaming and complaining all the time. The bus is late, lunch sucked, weather is lousy, teacher is a moron, I am ugly, my sisters are stupid etc…

Until one day I had a huge row with my sister and my dad, the people I loved the most. At a certain moment they told me I was no fun to be with. Blaming and complaining. I had to get a grip on myself.

And the crazy thing about all this: I wasn’t even aware of that.

And even though I could argue that indeed there were a couple of things to be unhappy about, I decided that day that no longer was I going to be that negative person. No more.

And little by little I became a positive person.

Now you are wondering how I did that.

I could tell you a great story on how I studied the masters, read the books, etc… but that would be a lie. Well, not completely, in the meanwhile I have studied the masters and read the books on psychology, neuro science, cognitive behavioural therapy etc…

But back in the day, there were nog books like that in my house, there was no internet.

I taught it myself. Gut feeling.

How?

  • By identifying what I really wanted and who I wanted to be.
  • By focusing on my thoughts – what was I thinking
  • Whenever a negative thought entered my mind, I redirected it towards a positive thought
  • I started giving more compliments to others
  • I started wearing a smile on my face 🙂

 

That simple.

Today, I add other actions to this list

  • Every morning and every evening I count my blessings – I am grateful
  • I use affirmations
  • And I do my random acts of kindness (RAK)

 

Mind you, there still are times where negativity gets a hold on me.

But I know what to do now 🙂

So, what’s it to you?

Maybe you are a positive person and you do not need to reprogram your brain in that sense.

However, there might be other character traits you have or behaviours you show you are not so happy about.

I believe we can do something about it.

People will tell you all the time: “I was born that way.” Or “Yeah well that’s because I’m an introvert” or “I had a difficult childhood”.

Well, it’s time to grow up and become who you want to be.

Because you can. By starting to reprogram your brain.

It is possible. Look at me.

So off you!

 

PS: Oh, and I used to be a shy introverted ugly duckling who wanted to be invisible.

And look at me now enjoying networking events, speaking in public, recording videos, showing people how they can become more visible in an authentic way, talking about personal branding…

I knew it was important to leave the introverted, invisible me behind.

I reprogrammed my brain.

That simple.

 

Your turn.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

 

Oh boy, you’re a woman. What a pity.

“I’m surprised so many men follow you and work with you.”

“It’s a shame but I bet men prefer working with a man than with you.”

 

This is what 2 people said to me last week.

The first statement was made by a (male) friend.

The second by a female client.

 

I’m surprised.

It never crossed my mind that men have a preference for a male personal branding & business coach.

 

Is it true?

Possibly.

As I’ve said, never thought of it.

Was I ignorant?

 

Actually I’m not really into those man/woman discussions.

I’m not fond of the fierce discussions about the glass ceiling.

And these networking events and networking groups focused on women only.

Not my cup of tea.

 

When I started my business, no way was I going to choose a 100% female target audience.

Was I wrong?

Should I have been focusing on women only?

 

What’s your opinion?

 

Other question: imagine it is true.

Imagine men do have a preference for male business coaches.

Why is that?

Do they believe we (women) don’t know anything about business?

Or are they afraid to open up and talk about their challenges to women?

 

What do you think?

 

Last question: should I do something about it?

And if so, what should I do about it?

Tell me.

 

To be honest, I think I’ll stick to working with fantastic, inspiring people.

Men and women.

I’ve been doing that so far.

Suits me fine.

Thanks for all the men and women I’ve been blessed to work with over the last couple of years.

You are great.

 

Love

Greet

 

Your turn – join the conversation. Give us your opinion on this diversity topic.

Thanks

[VIDEO] What makes you unique?

Hi there

What makes you unique?

Do you have a clue?

Personal Branding is all about standing out from the competition in an authentic way.

In other words, you need to stay true to yourself.

But what is that?

Your uniqueness?

In this video you’ll find the 2 most valuable answers to that question.

  1. It’s all about YOU
  2. And about your signature system.

Signature what? Discover it in our video.

 

Good luck with that!

And tell me, what makes you unique?

 

 

[INFOGRAPHIC] Social media strategy in 7 steps

Hi there

Last week I was invited to speak for an audience of entrepreneurs about…

Social media.

First question I asked: ‘who is professionally active on social media?’

2 important words: ACTIVE and PROFESSIONALLY.

The room went pretty quiet.

A recent study about Belgian online shoppers shows us that 63% of them buy abroad.

Why is that? Different reasons. Price, ease, availability of products…

But this stat shows us that

there are a lot of opportunities for Belgian entrepreneurs willing to go online.

Not only Belgians of course.

So why not you?

How do you take your business online?

There are different steps like:

·        Design and build an easy-to-use website.

·        Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.

·        Establish an expert position (Personal Branding).

·        Use social media…

 

In this article I wanted to focus on the social media aspect of an online business.

So, I have created an infographic Social Media Strategy in 7 steps.

>>> You can download it here for FREE. Share if you like. Tx <<<
thumbnail of social media strategy infographic

 

Your turn: what’s your social media secret? 

 

 

6 influencing strategies to attract clients

Hi there
Being an entrepreneur is often hard work.

And unless you want to be another one on the burn-out list,

you need to take some time off once in a while.

So… is there anything better than checking out booking.com.

“Welcome back! It’s always a pleasure seeing you. Log on to discover the 50% discount deals”

That was the message I got when I opened the booking.com site.

Next thing I see is Booking.com’s USP:

  • Great deals for every budget
  • 1,221,092 properties worldwide
  • Make changes to your booking at any time!
  • Millions of authentic traveller reviews
  • Need help? We’ve got you covered in 43 languages, 24/7!

Next, a constant flow of information about people who just booked a hotel:

  • A traveller from Australia just booked at Commodore Hotel in London
  • A traveller from France just booked at Hotel Belfort in Paris
  • A traveller from Kuwait just booked at DoubleTree Hotel in London

And I thought to myself… wow – they are good!

Marketing-wise that is.

You really should have a look at the booking.com site with your marketing hat on.

And learn!

I immediately recognized some of the influencing strategies Robert Cialdini explains in his book Influence: the psychology of persuasion

I received the book from a friend about 10 years ago.

In the meanwhile I read the book a couple of times and even bought the audible version.

If you don’t feel like reading the whole book, here is a crash course 🙂

In his book, Robert Cialdini explains the 6 influencing principles.

I’ll cover them quickly and give you some practical examples of how booking.com

and you can use them to attract more clients.

  1. Liking

“People prefer to say ‘yes’ to those they know and like,” Cialdini says.

People are also more likely to favor those who give them compliments.

And that’s what Booking.com did when saying how wonderful it is to see me back.

You can use this by doing likeable things – being kind, generous, gracious.

Be authentic, use humour when appropriate.

Or by humanizing your branding & marketing, ie your photo on your website.

Your story.

  1. Authority

By adding things like:

  • ‘1,221,092 properties worldwide’ and
  • ‘We have 117,615,855 verified reviews made by real guests.’

Booking.com builds its authority.

Maybe you can’t show these stats (yet :-))

but you too, you can build your Personal Brand (=authority position).

How?
By downloading my FREE Personal Branding book where I teach you how to build an expert position in 5 steps.

And if you don’t feel like reading and filling out your Personal Branding workbook,

here are some tips: share your valuable content with your target audience via LinkedIn, a blog, a video, public speaking, a book, an eBook…

  1. Social Proof

When people are uncertain about a course of action (like buying your stuff), they tend to look to those around them to guide their decisions and actions.

That’s the reason why Booking.com shows you that “just booked carrousel” and all those reviews.

Typical example of social proof.

Back to you, ask for testimonials from your clients.

If you have a lot of followers on Facebook: show it…

  1. Reciprocation

Reciprocation recognizes that people feel indebted to those who do something for them or give them a gift.

For marketers, Cialdini says: “The implication is you have to go first.

Give something: give information, give free samples, give a positive experience to people and they will want to give you something in return.”

Giving you the possibility to download my Personal Branding Book for free is not only because I want to build an expert position and win your trust.

It is also a great example of reciprocation.

You too, can give away valuable stuff and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

  1. Commitment and Consistency

People do not like to back out of deals.

We’re more likely to do something after we’ve agreed to it verbally or in writing, Cialdini says.

People strive for consistency in their commitments.

Have you ever noticed the “wish list” on sites like Zalando, Booking.com etc?

That’s the fifth principle at work.

Studies show that once you have added something on your wish list the chances of you actually buying it are very high.

Because your brain wants you to be consistent in your commitment.

Another example is when you bought something at a certain place, you are likely to buy there again (unless you had a terrible customer experience of course).

That’s why Booking.com and others keep a record of what you have bought in the past and keep on reminding you of that.

And you can do the same.

Stay in touch with your clients.

Don’t be afraid to offer them something extra, something new, something more expensive…

  1. Scarcity

Scarcity relates to supply and demand.

Basically, the less there is of something, the more valuable it is.

Again let’s have a look at Booking.com:

  • “Booked 2 times in the last 48 hours” followed by “Only 1 room left on our site!” and “62% discount”

In other words:

you better hurry up or you’ll miss this great opportunity to get the 62% discount when you book this fantastic hotel.

I know a lot of people dislike the fact that marketers use scarcity.

But it works, so don’t be afraid to use it too.

For example: offer discounts or bonuses for a limited time period…

So how about it? Ready to use these principles in your marketing?
I can help you with that. Just contact me.

Good luck!

Greet

Your turn:

What influencing strategies do you use in your marketing?
Tell us about it.

How to overcome doubts about your business (dream)?


Hi there

This morning I got up with a terrible headache and a bad temper.

I didn’t feel like doing much but lying in my bed.

I felt sorry for myself and was complaining to myself about all the stuff I had on my plate.

I started to wonder whether I made the right decision becoming an entrepreneur.

There is so much to do in so little time.

I somehow didn’t feel motivated and lost my punch.

But if you know me, you know I’m not (or should I say: I’m no longer) a negative person.

On the contrary, people who blame and complain give me the creeps.

And I don’t feel like giving myself the creeps.

Anyway, have you been in that kind of situation?

A situation where you start doubting your decision (of starting your business)?

 

Two tips for you:

1/ First, what helps is thinking back to that special moment when you made the decision to start your business.

Think back to the moment you decided to turn your talents and passion into a business?

Close your eyes for a moment and try to FEEL that moment.

How did it feel when you made that decision?

Did you feel excited?

Thrilled?

A little scared?

Motivated?

Did you feel the energy and adrenaline?

Do you feel it now?

That’s what helps me.

Hope it will help you too.

And give you that motivation and boost to give it your best.

To make your business dream come true.

 

2/ Brings me to Business Boost, and the Business Boost Event.

This is tip number 2.

However, this one is only for the entrepreneurs speaking Dutch.

Sorry guys, an English version is on its way.

Anyway, for all those Dutch-speaking entrepreneurs…

Come to our 2-day live event.

It’s 2 days of training, sharing knowledge and experience with like-minded entrepreneurs.

And it’s two days of energy, motivation, … the business boost you are probably looking for.

I promise you, you will go home excited, with the necessary motivation and tools to move your business to the next level.

And hey, you don’t have to believe me.

Just watch the enthusiastic participants.

 

Your turn: What do you do when in doubt?

Hope this helped you.

Have an exciting day!

Greet

The worst customer service ever

Hi there!

Last week something shocking happened to me.

It was the worst customer experience ever.

Actually, it all started January 11 when my computer’s battery was not charging.

When I noticed this I rushed to the nearest computer shop in Aarschot.

I mean “rushed” because I wanted to make sure the battery was not completely discharged by the time I got there.

And then the horrible customer experience began.

And it ended last week (2 months later) with the computer shop’s ‘managing director’ Michael calling me a liar.

BAM!

Shocking, this has never happened to me before.

I was furious, frustrated, sad. To name a few emotions.

And you can be sure, that this story won’t end here.

They are messing with the wrong girl.

Now, I do not like to dwell on the negative.

Let’s try to find something positive in this experience.

So why not sharing some tips on how to make sure you and your company put customers first.

I’ll send these tips to Michael. What did you think? 🙂

You never know, he might learn a thing or two.

 

  1. Hire the Right People

To ensure your customers receive a first-class experience you need to staff your entire company with the right people, people who put the customer first. Not only the front office staff, but everywhere in the company.

And if you are a solopreneur, you are the front and back office at the same time. Be sure you are willing and able to put your customers first as well.

Once you have the right people on board, equip them to make your customers a priority through proper training.

In our case, Michael could use some training. And I sincerely wonder whether he should be in front of customers in the first place.

 

  1. Tell the Truth

Put your customers first by always telling them the truth – even if the truth doesn’t make your company the biggest profit.

In my case, Michael told me it would take about 2-3 weeks to repair the jack. I thought he was under-promising and would over-deliver afterwards. Admit it, 2-3 weeks to repair a jack. Are you joking?

But boy, was I wrong.

Not only did it take 2 months. What’s even worse, Michael claimed he had told me it would take about 4-6 weeks to repair. That is a lie.

Have you ever experienced that?

Somebody lying to your face and at the same time calling you a liar?

 

  1. Inform your Customers

It is important to keep your customers informed during the entire ‘customer journey’. There is nothing more dreadful (except for lying) then keeping your client in the dark. Update your customer. Even if you actually do not have much more to tell than ‘we are working on it’.

In my case, I had to call the Computer Shop in Aarschot every week myself. They only called me once when they needed my password. Not even an update.

 

  1. Take Responsibility

Whenever things go wrong on your side (which happens from time to time. We are all humans), take full responsibility.

Do not start blaming everyone but yourself, do not start finding excuses. Be a man (or woman) and take full responsibility.

Michael, our MD, did not take responsibility.

And what’s worse… he started blaming me, the customer.

Told me I lied when I came in and told him the battery was not charging. I should have told him the hard disk was the problem. (excuse me?!). He claimed he told me about the 4-6 weeks. He claimed he offered me a replacement PC for free (NOT!). He blamed the front office guy for helping me out and wasting precious time retrieving my data (which they lost). I can go on and on.

 

  1. Compensate your Customer

Have a plan to make arrangements to compensate your customer for damage or losses caused by you or your company.

After two months, I got back my computer. The battery is charging again. Great. However, they have lost important data of the last 3 years. Luckily most of them, but not all, are stored in the cloud, so I could retrieve the data myself. But I was unable to retrieve the emails of the last 3 years.

I was not compensated for the loss and waste of time. Nope, I had to pay 105 €. Huh?!

 

Your turn.

What’s your worst customer experience? Or let’s be positive: share a valuable tip you learned from that experience.

 

When to say NO to a business proposition

It took me my whole life…

Hi there

Have you ever been proposed to work for a client

And they started questioning your fee ?

I bet you have.

Unless your prices are way too low.

And even then, people should question your fees.

Be it for another reason.

 

Anyway, last week a friend of mine asked me whether I could deliver a training on Networking.

I’ve been a networker my whole professional life.

And I have delivered multiple workshops and trainings on Networking.

In a lot of different settings.

So my answer was : “Yes, I could”.

But I admit, I hesitated a little.

Why?

Because the conditions were not optimal.

Let me explain.

 

Reason #1:

The friend, who I value a lot (so thanks Pierre) is not the client.

My friend is just doing somebody else a favor.

And that somebody else has a training company working for multinationals.

So I’d be a subcontractor.

I do not like working as a subcontractor.

Nothing wrong with people who do.

But for me: been there, seen that, done that.

I moved away from that business model.

In my opinion: it is not the best business model for entrepreneurs.

But that’s another topic.

>>>Still … ask yourself: is your actual business model the best one you can think of?<<<

 

Reason #2:

It is not my core business.

It is my mission to help entrepreneurs build their personal brand and grow their business.

I really like working with entrepreneurs, 1 on 1 and in group settings.

And I have a full-booked agenda.

So if I have the choice, I prefer working on my core business.

That is called FOCUS.

And you should focus too.

 

Reason #3:

The fee. Ah, the fee.

Let’s talk about pricing.

Delivering training in-company has become a commodity.

There are a lot of trainers out there.

A lot of them are having difficulties making ends meet.

A lot of them are having difficulties standing out from the competition.

A lot of them deliver more or less the same training in more or less the same way.

Thus, training has become a commodity.

Result: the trainers tend to lower their fees/prices.

So unless, you have a strong Personal Brand as a trainer, and/or deliver a remarkable product/service, you are probably suffering.

 

Now back to me, I don’t feel like being a commodity.

And I surely don’t feel like lowering my prices because other trainers do.

I know I can deliver great value (sorry if I come across as a bragger).

So my fees are not the lowest in the market.  And never will be.

>>>How about you? Are you being paid for the value you deliver?

Or are you being a commodity?<<<

 

The reaction of my friend when he heard about my fee structure was:

“I respect your fee. However, delivering a training on Networking is easy for you, that’s what you’ve been doing your whole life…”

What he meant was: “it is easy, won’t take you a lot of time to prepare, so lower your fee…”

And that made me think of the following story:

Picasso is sketching at a park. A woman walks by, recognizes him, and begs for her portrait. Somehow, he agrees. A few minutes later, he hands her the sketch. She is elated, excited about how wonderfully it captures the very essence of her character, what beautiful work it is, and asks how much she owes him. “5000 francs, madam,” says Picasso. The woman is incredulous, outraged, and asks how that’s even possible given it only took him 5 minutes. Picasso looks up and, without missing a beat, says: “No, madam, it took me my whole life.”

I rest my case…

YOUR TURN:

Do you have experience in people questioning your price/fee? How did you tackle that?

 

Are you an entrepreneur or a wantrepreneur?

Hi there

I was a little surprised

To find out so many entrepreneurs/freelancers I know

Are afraid to step out of their comfort zone.

Let me explain…

 

You probably know what one of the main success factors of entrepreneurs is…

It’s being able to step out the comfort zone.

“Life begins where your comfort zone ends”

That’s the famous saying.

I strongly believe it is important to step out of your comfort zone

Once in a while

And the is surely the case if you are an entrepreneur.

Now, you shouldn’t exaggerate

Stepping out of your comfort zone 100% of the time

Will lead to burnout

I think.

 

Anyway, as I said in the beginning:

I was a little surprised

 

Together with fellow-entrepreneur Karina Urbina

I’m organizing a 2 day training

www.businessboostevent.be

for FREE

You only have to pay for the catering.

2 days of inspiration…

Tips and tricks…

Sharing experience and knowledge…

With likeminded entrepreneurs…

All about boosting our businesses

And it costs you almost nothing.

How great is that?!

That’s what Karina and I think 🙂

And a lot of other entrepreneurs.

 

But then we get the question:

“Where will it take place?”

I kind of understand the question.

People are probably curious

“But curiosity killed the cat”

 

No seriously,

We got remarks like:

“It better not be in Brussels”

“I love the idea but if it is in the Antwerp region I’m not coming”

“I come from West-Vlaanderen, I’m not going further than Ghent”

 

Come on!

Are you serious?

Are you an entrepreneur?

Or a wantrepreneur?

Two days of training & inspiration

About growing your business

For free

And you love the concept

But you say ‘no’ because it is not in Ghent?

Honestly, I can only understand this kind of reaction if you hate the idea of this event

Or hate Karina and/or me 🙂

 

But if you like the idea… come one!

 

Yeah! Come on!

I understand that not everybody feels like taking the plane to Tenerife

To attend a training

That cost a loooooot of money

(that’s what Karina and I did, by the way)

I understand not everybody goes to Orlando

To attend an HR Conference

(that is what I did)

 

But hey

How on earth do you want to grow your business

If stepping into your car and driving for an hour

To a free content rich event

Is too difficult?

 

In my opinion

That’s not being able to step out of your comfort zone

 

But that’s just me

And maybe I’m just being narrow-minded

So help me out…

What’s your reason for not attending the event?

 

Thanks for your input!

 

See you in at the event 🙂

In that secret place in Vlaanderen 🙂
www.businessboostevent.be

Big hug
Greet

PS: if you think one of your friends/colleagues/business partners could benefit from this free 2day training (Dutch) – SHARE! Merci!