Today we’re talking with a past client, Nicole Girouard. Nicole’s company is GNIC Consulting. She helps small to midsize business owners streamline their communication with technology and video. Nicole finished the formal program about eighteen months ago, and we’re looking back at her experience since that time.
Nicole has an impressive resume: two decades of corporate sales, marketing, communication and leadership. But two years ago, she had to ask herself the question, "With all this experience, why was selling her services still the hardest part of her job?"
She was an experienced expert, and felt certain that everybody should want what she had to offer.
Yet, not everybody did.
Nicole makes the humorous comparison of trying to sell “the next Tesla to a room full of loggers on the Arctic Circle.” She was suffering a fundamental miss in messaging toward her clients. Her product may have been her priority, but it wasn’t theirs. Nicole needed to rethink the way she was speaking to and selling to her clients and, what’s more, she needed to focus on who her clients actually were.
"Who is Ready for My Help?"
Eighteen months after completing the program, Nicole can say that the biggest and most important idea that has stuck with her is the ability to focus on her conversations so she never has to “force a sale.”
The program teaches participants how to “niche down”, speak to one very specific person, build a system to attract that person, and get them the specific outcome they want.
Nicole had some initial trouble understanding why this was necessary. Her paradigm: if she had a great service, everybody should want it. She did not realize this meant wasting time trying to convince people of what they need (as opposed to going to the people who already know what they want).
Nicole’s lesson: Until you know who you are serving and make a concerted effort to speak only to them - you will try to reach everybody - and dilute your ability to help the people that need your help most.
Now, Nicole feels very clear on this point, and has worked hard to apply this new way of thinking to her own business. On the other end of a sale, there is a person. The more she respects that person, the easier it is for them to respect what she is offering. She has zeroed in on why she does what she does, and who she’s looking for. She now asks herself, “Who’s ready for my help?”
Hidden Benefits of Working In Community
Entrepreneurship can be lonely; you often feel as if you’re the only one struggling. Nicole really enjoyed the program’s group coaching sessions as it offered a supportive community. She appreciated other business owners in addition to herself coming together to learn. She could reach out and say, "Hey, are you doing this? Is this happening? How'd you handle it?"
Having like-minded people in the same space walking together produces valuable support, feedback, and accountability. Nicole recalls: the reality of a group call gave her the motivation to keep up with the work, and produce results...because she couldn’t just “show up with nothing,” when others were relying on her feedback. The group was striving for excellence together.
Nicole admits it was difficult - at first - to air her failures in front of other people. It took some time to realize that this was a support system, and there would be weeks when she’d be the support for others.
Admitting failure can be hard, yet there is a freedom in the ability to move past feeling “sorry for yourself” or “angry at yourself”. In this group dynamic, the program teaches not only to move past perceived failures but also how to apply these same behavioral practices to relationships with future prospects and clients.
Nicole believes that human beings have a meter that “picks up on someone that’s disingenuous...pretty easily.” This practice of being open and honest is a necessary behavior to have the conversations you want to have with prospects, clients, and partners.
"This isn't about me, this is about who I'm trying to help."
Nicole says, if you are currently struggling with trying to figure out a way to communicate and package your services, if you want to quickly get the concepts that can be used to transform your paradigm, then it’s time to join the program.
But remember, this isn’t a magical solution. There is work to be done, so you have to be prepared and open-minded. If you're ready to actually take a step back and say, “Okay, this isn't about me, this is about who I'm trying to help,” then the program genuinely is the right investment.
Clients say, “I Don't Care About Your Title."
When talking about her achievements with program , Nicole recalls a specific group exercise assignment. She was asked to perform an analysis of why people actually came to her versus what she was saying/selling to them.
This made her realize with all 20 years experience in corporate sales, marketing, communication and leadership. Her best clients came because of her expertise in video communication. So this is where she pivoted her focus.
The fact is, clients may be most interested in a particular facet of your many skills; and while you think you are selling them a “package”, what they are buying is the one particular skill that most interests them - perhaps not even the skill you consider your most awesome!
This insight has sharpened Nicole’s language. Instead of saying, "I'm a business consultant and strategic social media strategist,” Nicole can say, “I'm going to help you use video to communicate better.” And then the conversation continues.
“People don't care about your title,” Nicole jokes. “Which can really hurt an entrepreneur’s feelings!”
But it’s true. A prospective client thinks, “I don't care about your title. What can you do to help me?”
That's where you have to go.