I have wanted to write this all week. I kept waiting. Consuming everything everyone else was saying and seeing people repeat the same messages. So much fear, anger, desperation and amongst all that, the people who are ever optimistic and positive – the people like me.
Just to put perspective to this, I have cried and sat in the corner telling myself I am a failure this week – I am human, not super woman, but I still choose hope and positivity.
All of the above are coping mechanisms and now I can see that our UHP – UNIQUE HUMAN PROPOSITION®, that thing I am always talking about, is more obvious than it ever was before. Can you see how different we all are? and not just in the way we think, our values and how we behave, but also the circumstances we all find ourselves in.
I couldn’t begin to write an article that will cater for all of you – I don’t know your world. I can’t imagine your circumstances and just like the customers we deal with every day, we have to understand that we won’t sell to everyone and that’s OK. So this piece of writing, my thoughts, is for those who can resonate. Those who can take everything I say the right way and the way it is meant and I hope that is many of you.
So to begin I have created three sections to this article – I like threes as those who know me will appreciate! Truly Madly Baby, Live it, Love it, Sell it and of course UHP! No coincidence here. I want to write about connecting, learning and reflecting.
As soon as I saw that we were heading for a lockdown I jumped online, created a group of products especially for the new normal we were going to face, and called these my ‘Connect Learn Reflect’ products. I also started a LinkedIn hashtag #supportandsurvive which has over 160 followers now – a new community to give support and hope. This was two weeks ago. The weeks that have followed have been a rollercoaster for all of us. Me being that positive person, I found it really difficult to be called SELFISH by people who didn’t even know me, and to continually read the toxic and negative posts; but reframe this to what I said at the beginning, everyone is reacting in a different way and that is how we all cope.
So I took a step back and thought of what I could do next – always doing, always trying to make stuff happen – now it was time to STOP and BREATHE.
What is happening to us will become the ‘new normal’ but that will take us a couple of weeks to accept and some will really struggle to accept it more than others. What I do know is that life will have to go on. If you run a business, like me, you have a choice – sit in the corner quietly and hope it all goes away, or stay visible, positive and adapt to the new norm. Some people won’t be ready to buy yet, but when they are ready they will remember that you were the one who supported and stayed visible and available for when they were ready. Actually this is what I teach in sales. It’s the buyer’s journey. I believe that sales is about LOVING our customers, not SELLING to them, and right now that is critical. That doesn’t mean you stop doing business, it means you create relationships. The true definition of sales.
So here are my three areas of thought and I hope you take something from this that is useful, inspiring and thought provoking.
There has never been a better time to connect than now. So many ways that we can connect, and actually we are incredibly lucky that we have the technology available today to connect in the way we can. If this had happened in 2005, the year I started Truly Madly Baby, I would have found things very difficult. I sold products for mother and babies at home parties, and we had very little video conferencing back then to be able to switch those parties online. I can’t even imagine what that would have looked like for my business.
Connection is the most important thing we can do for the following reasons:-
As humans, connection is one of our survival instincts. We long to feel part of a tribe, a community and be reassured that we have a purpose and are appreciated. You can already see the thousands of communities that have sprung up in the last two weeks. We are pretty good at this, but the balance is easily tipped when you are bombarded with online gatherings, and groups to join. Like anything in life balance is key. So just choose to have a daily connection with someone. A friend, family, a work colleague or the boss! It is wise to make this a daily habit you now create. You will need it, but equally you don’t have to over connect – that is exhausting!
You will need support; we all need support. Even if you are like me and super positive and resourceful, no-one can do everything on their own without probably burning out! One thing I know all about so believe me. The connections we have, and new ones we are making, are our support mechanism. Ask for help. Offer help. Now more than ever this will be necessary to guide you through.
Inspire and Share
We are all creative in our own ways. I never considered myself to be creative but I am, and so are you. When you connect and share that creativity you not only cement those connections, but you begin to build trust. So when you discover something, then share it, however small. If you are offering something let people know – not in a sleazy sales way, but connect it to why they may want to know about it – what’s in it for them. Position it as here is how you can help.
Now more than ever is a great time to look at what you want to learn. Don’t learn for the sake of it – choose something you are passionate about or something that will really enhance what you do – always be learning, that’s how we grow and thrive.
In business we are so busy we often don’t have time to learn everything that we need to run our business in a productive way. This time can be really useful to look at where we can learn new ways of working. So a good example would be automation. No, I don’t mean never speaking to humans again, but there are some great ways to automate to give yourself more time to then connect and do that important human stuff that sometimes goes out of the window!
There are also other skills that can really help us to just work in a smarter way – from apps, to technology, to learning how to maximise tools we already have – we’ve just never taken the time to fully look at how they work! I bet I only use half the functions on some of the products I use.
Yes, I know about marketing. Yes, I know about sales. Yes I know about accounts…again we all get through with a range of blagging and muddling to having done it for years so we know everything! However, not only are things always organically changing, but we are now going through one of the biggest changes of our lives. We may naturally feel lost, scared, clueless about how to suddenly do things we thought we knew how to do. Now is the time to call in the experts. The people who teach, and have real in-depth knowledge of those skills every day, know the latest learnings and methods to use. They study this stuff, so now more than ever is the time to invest in them to help you. Do you want to come out of the other side just as you started this unknown journey? or will you give yourself a fighting chance to emerge from this confident, ready and with the energy you’ll need to make a difference – knowing what your UHP really is!
What a great time to learn something you’ve always wanted to! I have friends who are learning how to craft, new languages, how to sing, new exercise classes they could never attend, but are really comfortable to do in their own homes! A whole world of opportunity has opened up to us – how wonderful is that. Make the time to do YOU things.
Last but by no means least. Reflection is really important. Before this all happened reflection was already important. The process of stopping, reviewing, refining, and adjusting. Ensuring you are on track to your ultimate destination.
Some of you may be thinking…hmmm…I didn’t make time for that, or I didn’t do enough of that. Well now is the time to do this work. It is so very important in so many ways, and connects beautifully back to everything I talked about above. You may also find that you are forced to pivot and change not only what you are doing, but also how you deliver it. It is time to really have the space to think about what you are doing…
Do you love it?
Are there gaps in your product range and the solutions you provide?
Does your market need anything else following our current situation?
Can you upskill and provide it?
Whilst now we will all be thinking we have to go online, change what we do, offer it for free, and promote like mad, it’s time to just take time to think about this with the long term vision in mind. Don’t rush this stuff – make it valuable to you and your customers, with the biggest focus being – what does my customer need right now?
There is no doubt that the online space is now even more saturated than it ever was before. Everyone is trying to sell their wares and it is absolutely overwhelming to both sellers and buyers.
When I started my business in 2017 I knew that sales was my passion and I wanted to do it in a different way and so created my brands ‘Live it Love it Sell it’ and ‘UHP’ – these brands and this methodology is more relevant now than ever before.
You are beautifully unique and as BUPA says ‘There are 7 billion versions of normal on the planet’
This is your greatest asset – YOU
I don’t work for the NHS or any of the front line areas where the real heroes are working right now, and there are many. Thank you to all of them from the bottom of my heart. I have a son who is asthmatic and I have chosen to stay in and I won’t even go for shopping right now. I am one of the lucky ones and we all have a part to play.
What I can do is support my business connections, organise connection through my LinkedIn hashtag #supportandsurvive (please follow and use if you don’t already) and my Facebook group and provide learning to help businesses to be ready for the other side of this situation. I am naturally a leader and I hope I can help and inspire those of you who need it.
Health is absolutely our priority and after that so is our livelihood and our economy. As small businesses we have a huge role to play, and that is to keep the economy and our businesses going. Now is the time to be visible, DON’T bombard your customers and SELL to them – love them, support them, build trust and find out what they need – they will then choose you when they are ready to buy.
We will come out of the other side, and no we don’t quite know what that will look like, but right now we have a choice. We are all in this together so are you going to move forward and connect, learn and reflect ONE DAY or is this DAY ONE…?
What choice are you going to make?
Stay safe and well.
My TEDx talk tells of my journey having lost everything and I hope that now is a good time to watch it and hopefully take just a little inspiration from it too https://youtu.be/qAmeovbzr8U
Connect with me on www.liveitloveitsellit.co.uk
Here are my Connect Learn Reflect products – https://liveitloveitsellit.co.uk/connect-learn-reflect-2/