A full transcript from when I was interviewed by Michelle Shaeffer, host of The Art of Giving a Damn podcast.
In this post, I share a podcast conversation about the importance of, and how to connect better with your ideal clients, with Michelle Shaeffer. Michelle is a well-known podcaster, blogger, and internet marketing expert, and we both agree, that the discomfort around marketing and sales are big challenges for women entrepreneurs.
As women entrepreneurs, we discuss shifting your marketing mindset, focusing on ideal clients, what sales really is, and more. If you’d rather watch the interview on YouTube, it’s under 20 minutes, click to it here.
Michelle Shaeffer: Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Giving a Damn. Our guest today, first of all, has an amazing book that she’s going to share with us a little bit about, but she helps entrepreneurs who really want to learn how to speak their clients’ language so that they can grow their business, make more income, have more impact.
Cynthia Trevino is the creator of Client Clarity To Cash Flow and the author of the Amazon #1 bestseller, She Markets, A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs: Five Simple Steps To Attract More Clients, Make More Money, and Have More Impact. Cynthia, welcome on the show.
Cynthia Trevino: Oh, thank you, Michele, I’m excited to be here. I’ve been looking forward to our conversation.
Michelle: Yeah, you and I have had a few conversations not recorded to share that have been really interesting to me because this is such a challenging topic, especially for a lot of women entrepreneurs I know. You have reached and helped people who were small companies, single person entrepreneurs, all the way up to big companies for the last 30 years you’ve been working in this area. You do workshops, you teach people. This is, kind of what you live and breathe, is the idea of: here’s how to attract your ideal clients.
Cynthia: Absolutely. I live and breathe it, I do, and you know, after I left corporate America after a very abrupt downsizing along with half the company, so I became an instant overnight entrepreneur and was totally unprepared, but I was a consultant for a long time, and then I realized that no matter how well we did marketing campaigns and launches, once I left the project, there was no follow through.
Then I realized that I really wanted to teach how to hone in on your ideal client, because what my students and clients tell me is once they go through the process, they can go back to it again and again. So I put together a system, the Five Step Clarity to Cash Flow System, and I put it in my book. It’s all here.
Cynthia: She Markets, a Guide for Women Entrepreneurs, and it feels good to share what I’ve learned… this is kind of my gift, I realized after a lot of pivots, and so because it’s so basic and fundamental, especially for women entrepreneurs.
Michelle: I love the phrase you used a minute ago. You became an ‘instant entrepreneur’ when corporate went a little unexpected there. I think there’s a lot of us that in one way or another, for one reason or another, we had that moment of, “Okay, I better start my own business. I’ll figure this out.” It’s funny because for a lot of us, that ideal client piece really is a challenge because nobody teaches you that. You don’t learn that in high school or college unless you go into marketing.
That’s not a conversation that most people are having, and I know one way that it relates that we’re going to talk about today is the idea of how to shift your marketing mindset and move out of your comfort zone a little bit, because for women entrepreneurs, it really is out of our comfort zone to get out there and market and promote ourselves.
Cynthia: It is. So many women feel, “Oh, I feel salesy, I feel hype-y, I don’t want to toot my own horn,” and so part of the benefit, which was when I first started teaching, I didn’t really teach how to get out of your comfort zone and how to set up your marketing mindset.
But what I learned sort of as I started teaching was that once you focus in on your ideal client, and once you describe this perfect person (she or he can be a fictionalized version) it’s a story or a description. It’s everything you know about the person who gets the best results from your services and your products.
Cynthia: So once I started teaching this, I realized that, okay, when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone … I mean, marketing really isn’t about tooting your own horn. It isn’t about self-promotion. Marketing is about painting a picture for your potential clients on how to get them from where they’re stuck to where they want to be.
How to Get Out of Your (Marketing) Comfort Zone
Michelle: Yeah, absolutely, and that really is the key that I think is missing for a lot of people. We get out there in our business and we think, “I’ve got to promote myself. I’ve got to tell people why I’m great at what I do,” and it’s all focused on us instead of taking that step to identify and focus on our ideal client because when we do that, everything else shifts around our marketing.
So talking about marketing and a mindset, what are some strategies that you use when you’re working with entrepreneurs to help them get out of their comfort zone and get out and share what they do? Where do you start with somebody if they’re like, “This is my business. This is what I do, but I don’t want to market. It feels salesy.” Where do you take that conversation?
Cynthia: I love that question. So what I do is I tell them to take a breath and let’s first focus on your ideal client. When I say [focus on your] ideal client, I mean find a binder, pull a picture, just a picture from anywhere that reminds you of your perfect person, give them a name. Make this person real for you, and keep the binder or folder or a journal, whatever works best for you, and gather everything you know.
- Things that your clients who have gotten wild success by working with you, what have they said?
- How did they feel?
- What were they excited about?
You go very deep because one or two paragraphs is not a perfect client description, and because you want to go deeper, you want to go deeper than anybody else in your space, because then when you know their priorities, their emotional drivers [you’ve got a valuable resource to use for client conversations and creating marketing content].
Know the Value of Your Work: Tangible + Intangible
Cynthia: Because it’s not enough to know the problems you solve, because you solve problems for them, you help them get a beautiful website, you help them get in shape, you help them put together systems for their business, right? These are all problems that we solve.
Those are benefits that you provide, peace of mind, a smooth-running business, fitting into that dress or that suit you’ve been holding onto for five years.
But then there’s a benefit after that. What’s the [bigger] benefit that they experience?
- They have more time with their family.
- They feel wonderful.
- They can play with their grandkids.
- They can take a trip.
- They have time to spend doing the stuff they love.
So, when you go deep enough to know not just the firsthand problem that you’re solving, but what are the impacts on their life and their business that you helped them? That’s got to make you feel wonderful, right?
Michelle: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Cynthia: Because you’re not just solving problems, you’re impacting their lives. So, if you keep [going]… You describe your ideal client, you get him or her firmly in your mind, and when you sit down to create a video or you create a blog or you go to a business networking event, you don’t start off by saying, “Hi, I’m Cynthia Trevino. I’m a marketing consultant.”
Cynthia: You start off by saying, “Hi, I’m Cynthia Trevino, and I work with women entrepreneurs who really want to get a handle on how to tap into who their perfect clients are so they can make more money and have a bigger impact.”
Michelle: I love that. You know, it’s something that when you’re able to identify what’s the value you actually deliver beyond just I help you lose weight or I fix your website, or whatever those tangible things are, it not only changes the way you feel about what you do in terms of you see your value in a different way, but people start to get excited. When you’re able to look at what you do and go, “Oh, that’s how I actually affect my clients,” it’s a whole different ballgame.
Michelle: I said on a coaching call I think it was a couple of days ago, we were having a conversation about having sales conversations, which a lot of us, we don’t get that excited about. We kind of dread them, right? We’re nervous. We’re worried. What are they going to think? What am I going to say? What if they ask a question I don’t have the answer to? How do I ask for … you know the list. It’s endless, right?
Cynthia: It’s a long list.
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This is What Selling is
Michelle: It is a long list, and we started talking about how to transition and really support somebody in making the best decision for them, and really looking at what are those benefits, what’s the ultimate value you bring, and you can see it when that light kind of clicks for somebody. It comes on, and they go, “Oh, that’s all selling is.”
It’s really helping somebody make a good decision for them and solving the problem, and I said you’ve got to give yourself permission to fall in love with the sales process and with marketing because it’s how you help people. It’s how you get clients in, and I love that you focus people in on that ideal client vision.
Michelle: What you were describing reminded me of the way we create vision boards for our goals, and I think a lot of people have skipped that step of creating that vision board, so to speak, of who’s their ideal client, so if people are listening and thinking, “Well, okay, this sounds really great. I want to feel different about my marketing,” where do you start to figure out who your ideal client is? Where would you advise somebody like, what question do you start with other than, “Okay, I want to work with women that are this age.” Where do they go with it?
Get to the Heart of Your Ideal Client with 3 Questions
Cynthia: Right, because after the demographics, the provable facts, their age, their income, where they live, the next thing you do is you sit down and then you start to go deep as a person, and this is where sometimes I recommend journaling if you love journaling because you can pour a glass of wine, a cup of tea, a beer, sit back and just think about all the people that you’ve gotten the very best results for, the people that you love working with, and the people that roll up their sleeves, are motivated to make a change. They’re going to follow your advice. They’re going to use your products and services the way they’re meant to be used. So get everything down about them. Ask yourself questions.
- What are they ready for?
- What are they tired of?
Michelle: Ooh, good question.
Cynthia: What frustrates them? What, once again, going back to those [intangible benefits], after they solve this problem, what do they want to do in their life? Are they going to start a charity? Are they going to expand their business overseas? Are they going to take all their grandkids on a trip to Europe?
Whatever their dream is, goal for what they do every day, and so you just ask yourself questions, and you start replaying how they felt and what they said to you. That’s why I like it if you have a journal, right, because you can come back to it. It’s not a one or two hour exercise.
Michelle: Okay. All right, so how do you handle the objection that comes up inevitably when you start this exercise with people who are like, “But I want to work with everybody. I don’t want to focus in. Nobody’s going to … What if I can’t find this specific person?” Where do you take that part of things with people to help them understand the process. You want to go through the process because you really aren’t the answer for everybody on the planet.
Cynthia: Exactly, and I know. It’s the famous, “Oh, but, you know, I can help everybody.” That’s true, but until you scale your company, until you have a large team, if you’re a solo entrepreneur, if you’re just getting started, if you’ve got a tiny team or a couple of virtual assistants, you do want to focus because you don’t have the resources or time to spread yourself that thin.
So that’s why you focus in on the ideal client, and you channel what [it is about them specifically]. You get into their mindset. What are they thinking about when they’re trying to solve the kinds of problems you help them solve?
But, what if you want to work with someone who’s not your ideal client?
Cynthia: There’s a couple of things to keep in mind. Number one, you’re the boss, so if somebody comes into you and they don’t meet your ideal client [description], you make a choice. If you want to work with them, it’s a fit, that’s fine, but focus your energy [when you’re marketing] because there’s so much noise. The social media tsunami, as we know, is out there every day.
Michelle: Yeah. That’s a great way to describe it.
Cynthia: So to cut through, that’s why you spend time going deep to get to know your person because you will tap into what’s on his or her mind, and then it will be more easy to use the words that she or he would use, because you don’t want to say, “I do marketing campaigns and product launches and social media and editorial calendars,” because, yawn, right?
Cynthia: Unless you’re a marketing geek like me.
Michelle: Yes. That’s about really knowing your ideal client and the language they speak. There is a certain segment of the market who would hear those words and they’d light up, but most people would not.
J.K. Rowling’s Ideal Client (Reader)
Cynthia: Most people wouldn’t. So I have a short story to tell you to remove the fears, okay? So J.K. Rowling, as we all know, the writer and inventor, creator, she imagined Harry Potter, right, and built a giant empire. People in every country, in every language, in every generation love Harry Potter, right?
Cynthia: When J.K. Rowling began the first story about Harry Potter, she had her ideal reader in mind, her ideal customer, ideal client, if you will.
Cynthia: And do you know who that was?
Michelle: I’m curious.
Cynthia: It was a 13-year-old boy. So J.K. Rowling created this wonderful universe and story, but she always wrote for a 13-year-old boy, and yet the story resonated across everywhere to millions of people, right? So don’t be afraid to hone in on one person because your passion will come through, your caring, how you love impacting the people you work with. That will all come through, and even the non-13-year-old boys, if you will, will resonate.
Michelle: Yeah. You know, that really is a great point and a great story because just because you narrow down and identify who it is that you want to work with doesn’t mean other people won’t find you and ask about working with you, and it doesn’t mean you can’t decide to work with others.
Journal Exercise to Remind Yourself of Your Unique Value
Cynthia: Exactly. You’ll get so tuned into your person and it brings out the best in you. So one other tip I have to get out of your comfort zone is to, and I do in my book, She Markets, A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs, I’m practicing, I have all of these questions and everything outlined here, but another great exercise is to remind yourself of your value. So you list, another journal exercise, because once again I think when we write, don’t you, Michelle? When we write, we come up with sometimes deeper thoughts than we do when we’re typing.
Michelle: It connects in a different way.
Cynthia: Yes, so journal about your passions, what you really love.
Number two, your skills. Your skills are things that you taught yourself, and also your natural skills. Your skills, your passions, your experiences, all the things you’ve done that led you up to where you are today, because as an entrepreneur, you’re going to call on …
Because just like these questions, you never know when a client’s going to ask you a question and you’re going to call on something you’ve done in the past that really isn’t as directly related to your field, right, to your industry experience, right? So journal all of those things that you’re really good at, and remind yourself of everything you bring, because as an entrepreneur, you’re bringing your whole self to your business and to your customers and clients.
Michelle: Right. I love that. That’s a great exercise to really get some more perspective around why you’re unique as well as what your value is.
Michelle: That’s good to know.
Cynthia: And then you keep all of that in mind, and it helps you craft your stories and your messages because you combine that with what you know about your ideal client, what you teach yourself, what you already know, and you’re just getting it out where you can use it.
Michelle: I love that. Okay, so a couple of things. First, for those of you who have seen the book if you’re watching on video a few times, or if you’re listening, I know you’ve heard us mention it, there will be a link right near the video or the audio that you’re listening to where you can check out Cynthia’s book. It’s called She Markets.
You can also just go to Amazon and search She Markets, it will come up there. It’s a fantastic guide to help you really figure out what are those steps, so if you haven’t defined your ideal client or you’re hearing this and you’re realizing, okay, you can go a little bit deeper with the definition and really figure out who is it that you’re looking for because once you know, your clients are easy to find. That’s why it connects to cash flow like Cynthia’s title mentions, because once you know who you’re looking for, then you can start to find [them], so you can click a link near this video or the audio to find that.
Michelle: Cynthia, before we wrap up, one question for you that I ask everybody on the podcast.
Michelle: What is your absolute favorite part of what you do in business?
Cynthia: My favorite part of what I do in business is working one-on-one with my clients because it’s that connection, and when somebody says, “Oh, now I get it,” and it makes you feel like it’s all worthwhile.
Cynthia: I love that.
Michelle: Awesome. Yeah, that’s a great moment when you kind of see that light bulb come on for somebody and they get the piece they were missing, absolutely.
Cynthia: Yes, yes.
Michelle: All right, so for everybody listening, you can find out more about Cynthia and connect with her at shemarketsmentor.com. If you’re on www.theartofgivingadamn.com, you’ll also find all of our links for social media right below the video or audio here so that you can get in touch with her.
Michelle: Cynthia, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today and sharing with us what you do with clients and what you have learned over the years about how you can shift that mindset around marketing and really enjoy sharing what you do with people.
Cynthia: Oh, thank you, Michele. This was a blast. I loved it. Thank you.
Michelle: Thank you. All right, be sure that you click like, rate, review, subscribe depending on where you’re tuning in, and catch the next episode of the podcast. I will see you there.
You can find Michelle Shaeffer’s podcast here: The Art of Giving a Damn
Hope you found this conversation helpful.
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