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Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
September 01 2021
Your Quiet Superpowers

Your Quiet Superpowers

My wife and I aren’t really people-people.

As much as I love socialising with peers and customers… and routinely tell businesses to spend MORE time talking to their people… when the work day is over, we live a pretty quiet life.

As in, “We like living in the middle of nowhere” quiet.

As in, “Should we get a Doberman to keep randoms away?” quiet.

We all know that he/she who knows the customer best (and how to empathise with their journey) wins…

And yet I frequently hear people tell me things like:

“I’m introverted, I don’t like feeling like I’m in sales, it’s just bothering people, I can just send an email survey or something…”

…as if any of those things has anything to do with spending time with your customers, or as though it gives them a free pass from the rules of the game.

Are you quiet, too?

If you are, remember:

Quiet people are better listeners. They can hear the pains and goals of their audience clearly.

Quiet people connect with purpose, they’re not just killing time. They say things that matter.

Quiet people are sensitive to people’s feelings. They can hear their journey people are on.

Quiet people can sit with the information and find the insights that’ll help their marketing message grow stronger.

Quiet people have superpowers.

This isn’t an excuse to be shy or unconfident (those are fear-driven too).

But if you’re quiet and find yourself wondering if you’re disadvantaged in business because of it, you’re not.

It’s a superpower.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 31 2021
Hey marketers, one isn’t enough

Hey marketers, one isn’t enough

I learned these 4 things the hard way:

#1 One great blog post isn’t enough I remember writing a great post, publishing it, telling some people, and waiting for it to go viral. Great content doesn’t circulate itself like we’d like to think it would. Not everything we think is great, is great. Create more, publish more, distribute more.

#2 One follow-up message isn’t enough I remember creating a huge flurry of very personalised outbound email messages…with no follow-up whatsoever. Great emails don’t always get a response and it’s not always because the email wasn’t great, but that it was great at the wrong time. Follow up.

#3 One marketing campaign isn’t enough I remember deciding what a project’s campaign would be, and just going for it. Without testing it. Some things just work better than others for a chosen market. If we don’t listen to our market and try new things, how can we know if we’re giving them our best? Try things.

#4 One customer conversation isn’t enough I remember launching an entire product test without speaking to a single prospective customer about what it would be like, or how it would be marketed. You can guess how that project went. Have a system for talking to customers and capturing insights.

It’s hard to win by taking just one shot. It’s hard to win by not being disciplined about regularly talking to (and learning from) your prospects and customers.

You do work that matters. There are people who need you:

Don’t leave your work to chance. Don’t leave understanding your people to chance. Don’t leave knowing what to say to them to chance. Don’t leave being seen to chance.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 30 2021
The market doesn’t care

The market doesn’t care

Most of us have gone through a time of insecurity in our careers where we wanted to prove ourselves to others…

To show we know what we’re doing… To show we’re good enough to do what we say we do…

And then we get the joke:

The market doesn’t care.

It doesn’t care if you were featured in that publication. It cares if you are trustworthy.

It doesn’t care if you landed that big client you like to talk about. It cares if you’re a reliable choice.

It doesn’t care how much money you make in a year. It cares if you do a good job for a fair price.

It doesn’t care if you have fancy marketing language. It cares if you understand them.

It doesn’t care where you say you’re going. It cares if you’ll help them get where they’re going.

Once you realise that blowing smoke is just a distracting salve for insecurity, what are we left with, from the above?

Being trustworthy. Reliable. Fair. Understanding. Able to help people get where they’re going.

You’re already equipped to do these things.

If you’ve struggled to feel confident in your work, or as though you’re lacking some of the “essential” coverage and pomp at the top of this post, remember to turn your attention to the list at the bottom.

The market needs you focused on what matters, so you can help us.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 29 2021
Marketing & Depression

Marketing & Depression

What do online marketers and churches have in common?

Here’s a quick story about how I got massively depressed…

I paused my company (that was doing very well) once, to help a megachurch grow online.

It depressed the hell into me.

At the time, I was told I was going to move alongside a big team of GOOD people, doing GOOD things (I was still a Christian then).

When I got there (after relocating across the country), the depression kicked in fast.

I listened to the conversations they had. I looked at the things they watched. I overheard the tricks they used. I was, no joke, Horrified at this place.

“These are supposed to be MY kind of people”, I thought. This is not what I had signed up for. This moral sham is not what what I want to be associated with.

I later realised that MY beliefs around “the good life” were based on virtue. That’s why it messed me up so much: I didn’t find what I was looking for at the peak of the summit I was climbing.

So what’s this got to do with online marketers?

There are lots of big, bold, ambitious claims in the world of online business. Claims of “transformation” of health and wealth are a dime a dozen.

I’ve bought many courses of many of “the greats” to see what was inside…

…dissonance, is what’s inside. A lot of talk, but definitely no “transformation”.

Here’s the lesson:

You don’t have to promise transformation. You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. You don’t have to flash your money to win business.

You simply have to be true to yourself, and help your people move forward toward their goals. Know what’s at THEIR summit, and help them reach it.

That’s it.

If you’re looking to others and find yourself thinking, “I don’t have those figures” or “I can’t make those bold claims”, that’s FINE.

Remember what really matters.

The deceivers create agnostics – and you might be their saviour.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 28 2021
Opportunity keeps coming

Opportunity keeps coming

Some days, you can feel like you kind of blew it.

Tomorrow is going to be a medley of property viewings and hospital visits… Not much space for tackling the to-do list of also-very-important business tasks that need completing.

And you know what? That’s totally OK. Here are 3 reasons why:

#1 Limited arms and hours: When you’ve got a lot of exciting projects moving at once, you can’t do them all at once all of the time. We don’t have enough arms nor hours in the day. In each case, we are…

#2 Blessed with opportunity The sheer fact that you have exciting projects to pursue at all is, in itself, something to be hugely thankful for. Your grandparents would have loved such opportunities, especially since…

#3 Opportunity just keeps coming There’s opportunity all around us. Every day. Whether we can see it or not. Never has there been such a ripe garden of opportunity to graze from. Even if one passes you by, just look around!

If you didn’t get around to some of the things you wanted to do today, consider this:

  • How lucky we are to have opportunity all around us
  • How lucky we are to be interrupted by things that matter
  • How lucky we are to do get to try again tomorrow

With one mindset, everything outside of your original to-do list is a setback. With another, everything in your day is something to be thankful for.

I know which I’d rather operate from.

How about you?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 27 2021
Being told you can’t

Being told you can’t

Both my wife and I remember being told our ideas wouldn’t work, when we were small.

She would write stories on the family computer – three novel-length manuscripts by the age of 14! But she recalls being told there’s not much money in writing.

I would make comics and games on a near daily basis, selling them to friends at school. Friends would even help sell on the playground for commission! I recall being told there’s not much money in such things, too.

Fast-forward to today…

We get to help businesses get their messages right, with an international team of coaches, writers, artists and developers.

We teach through writing and, yes, comics.

We get to help companies grow in significant, sustainable ways, honestly and ethically, while having loads of fun doing it.

No looking for shortcuts. No shortchanging clients. No keeping up with the Joneses. No buying crap to show off our money. No taking No for an answer.

Yes to living a lifestyle we want. Yes to enjoying our work. Yes to making a huge impact for our clients. Yes to financial abundance and peace.

Things like the NarrativeWorkshop.com or MarketingIsntAboutYou.com would never have existed if we didn’t dare to do things our way.

You don’t have to sacrifice what makes you happy for the things you want (it’s a trade you can make, but it’s a lousy trade).

You don’t have to sacrifice your personality to be accepted by the market (you can try it, but it makes you boring and forgettable).

You don’t have to settle for living someone else’s idea of the good life (go ahead, but it won’t make you happy).

What things have you been told you can’t do? How are you proving them wrong?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 26 2021
What’s the best gift you can give to a client?

What’s the best gift you can give to a client?

I often feel really awkward when I receive a gift.

Some people are really easy to buy for. I’m one of them. Except for one big quirk.

I don’t drink. As in, completely. Wine, beer, cake with a bit of alcohol in it, nothing. Never have.

People who know me, know this.

So when someone gets me something like this, I have to figure out how long I’m going to maintain the ruse that I’ll actually open it someday.

Drinker or not, these sorts of gifts aren’t the best gifts we can give to others.

What’s the BEST gift you can give to a client?

It’s not “bringing the gift of yourself by showing up fully”. It’s not “bring a gift basket with chocolate turtles”. Sorry, Mike.

The first causes people to fall in love with their own work. The second tastes good but is unrelated to their journey.

So what’s the BEST gift you can give to a client? I’d say it’s this: The gift of their own future, dragged into the now.

People buy the advancement of their own journey (e.g. buying a gouache kit for someone who wants to learn how to paint). People love gifts like that!

Of course, there’s a hidden gift here too.

The gift of showing people you know who they are. You know what they like. You know what they struggle with. You know their dreams. You support their vision and goals.

Who doesn’t want to connect and do business with someone like that!

What gifts have you given your clients lately?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 25 2021
Sell bridges, not secrets

Sell bridges, not secrets

Online advertising is full of people with a secret.

A secret formula to transform your sales. A secret hack to reduce belly fat. A secret step-by-step process to double your revenue.

The upside is that it’s results-oriented, which moves creators away from a focus on features.

The downside is that the product is so obscured, you’re unable to determine who is selling what anymore.

It’s gone from feature-focused, to benefit-focused, to baited fishhooks.

So what’s the right way to present your product?

I’d like to make a case for movement-focused:

  • Features focus on the product.
  • Benefits focus on the destination.
  • Fishhooks focus on sales.
  • Movement focuses on the journey of those we want to help.

You see, everyone is stuck between two worlds: the one they live in (problem-land), and the one their mind is reaching for (solution-land). When we show people that we understand these worlds, we can build a bridge between them, no bait required.

If the bridge goes from one place to the other, who cares if it’s the only route (the ‘secret’) or one of many routes?

The winner isn’t he/she who creates the most obscure secret.

The winner is he/she who clearly expresses someone’s world back to them and builds the clearest bridge.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 24 2021
Invisible selling

Invisible selling

When you think “good at sales”, what comes to mind?

It might be a smooth-talking, over-confident type, who’s good at holding your attention.

Some things were designed to be noticed. Like art, and music.

Not sales.

Selling gets simpler when it’s invisible, and brand does the work for us. (One great brand message is worth a thousand isolated sales campaigns.)

If we don’t make a little time for good brand messaging, we’ll need to make a lot of time for marginalised sales activity.

When we see the selling, it stopped being good sales (and became ‘convincing’).

Similarly, when we see the design, it stopped being design (and became ‘decoration’).

When we see the copywriting, it stopped leading (and became ‘fancy words’).

The most effective salespeople in your world may not be those that spring to mind. You just buy from them, effortlessly.

The most effective designs in your world may not be the most avant grade. You just use them, effortlessly.

The most effective copywriting in your world may not be your favourite sales letters. You just see it and act, effortlessly.

How can you make your sales activity a little more… invisible?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 23 2021
How to kill procrastination immediately

How to kill procrastination immediately

You’ll look crazy, but it’ll kill procrastination for good. Here’s how!

When you listen to your inner-voice, it may convince you of something other than what you had planned.

“I’m tired, I want a break…” is something you’re far more likely to say in your head than out loud.

Same goes for, “But I don’t want to do that, it’s boring ugh…”

To quiet the inner-voice, use your outer-voice.

Speak out what comes next. Like a crazy person.

Perhaps imagine you’re explaining it to your pet. Maybe imagine you’re on a documentary. Doesn’t matter.

Say it out loud.

Things like follow-up, documentation, or setting up calls with prospects and clients to workshop your narrative, can all be detailed by your inner-voice.

Let your outer-voice do the work.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 22 2021
Juxtaposition reveals flaws in our thinking

Juxtaposition reveals flaws in our thinking

I get a bit frustrated with myself when I’m unable to exercise.

This past week, I pulled something in my arm, and each attempt to exercise sets it off. It needs rest to heal.

You might think, “It’s no big deal, you can just pick it back up later”…

But I watch a lot of folks struggle to bring that forgiveness to themselves in business.

With exercise, we hear, “You can get fit any time, it’s never too late to start.” With business, we hear, “What if I’ve missed my chance, what if it’s too late?”

With exercise, we hear, “It takes a while to see results, keep at it, don’t quit.” With business, we hear, “I work hard but I don’t see results, am I cut out for this?”

With exercise, we hear, “This workout isn’t serving me, I’ll try another, that’s cool.” With business, we hear, “This business isn’t working, I must be a complete failure…”

Juxtaposition reveals flaws in our thinking.

Flaws that are “set off” with each attempt to think, just like my arm injury.

Let your mind rest and heal. Remember this juxtaposition next time you’re hard on yourself.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 21 2021
Showing up the right way

Showing up the right way

Yes, showing up is one of the most important things…

…but we need to show up right:

1) With respect: Not everyone “deserves it.” But it always says more about us than the other person when we don’t show up with it.

2) As we want things to be: Not everyone makes our day better for being in it. We can be the one that does.

3) Be glad you did: I’ve never been glad of being angry, or disgruntled, or losing my cool. We should make our future-selves proud.

We don’t always want to show up.

But when we do, let’s show up the right way.

We owe it to those we want to help.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 20 2021
Blow their minds, tell their friends

Blow their minds, tell their friends

“How many new sales did your company make last month?”

I’ve watched coaches and consultants go back-n-forth on this question for the last few weeks.

All eyes are on acquisition.

Not as many eyes are on the service rendered, and how it contributes to acquisition.

Not as many eyes are on customer retention, and how many times folks were happy enough to return.

A struggling, stressed out consultancy brings people in, does a workable job, then hunts for another victim.

A harmonious, profitable consultancy invites people in, blows their minds, and helps them tell their friends.

If they’re lucky, if every customer creates 1.1 more customers, they’ll never have to think about acquisition again.

Invite them in.

Blow them minds.

Help them tell their friends.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 19 2021
Actually solving problems

Actually solving problems

What do you sell?

Some sell a rung of a ‘value ladder’. This is code for “a daisy-chain of things that aren’t quite what you needed.”

Some help folks move along their journey. This is code for “actually solving the problem at hand.”

The former is more popular, and is rewarded with completed (albeit frustrated) transactions.

The latter is rare, and is rewarded with loyal customers who tell their friends.

What do you sell?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 18 2021
On NOT falling in love with your work

On NOT falling in love with your work

It’s pretty natural to fall in love with your own work.

And when you do, you tend to want to guide it down a certain path.

…The trouble is, if you do, you might “fall out of love” (as much as I loathe the saying) with that work when customers want take it somewhere other than your original vision.

This is a kiss of death: if your customers ask for your help to get somewhere — but you’re not interested — they’ll find someone who cares enough.

The only real solution to this, is to not fall in love with it in the first place.

But to instead fall in love with the audience you serve.

Warts ‘n’ all.

That keeps us focused on doing what’s best for them. Not because it’s interesting, but because it’s what’s best for them.

And it’ll be our joy to do so.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 17 2021
Brand messaging vs therapy

Brand messaging vs therapy

There are two kinds of “know your audience”.

The first way involves fake names, redundant exercises and colourful printouts.

Maybe something to colour in.

Or a dot-to-dot.

This doesn’t help businesses sell more. It simply helps people get out of their own way and start creating.

The second kind of “know your audience” is the one to look for.

This way involves understanding how they tick. Reverse-engineering their objectives.

And actually talking to them.

I’ve said before that there’s so such thing as a bad investment in brand messaging.

The asterisk there is, if you want to improve your brand messaging, investing in brand messaging.

Not therapy.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 16 2021
Production value is non-linear

Production value is non-linear

Production value can enhance or detract from your authenticity.

If you make a video organically with your phone camera, it looks more authentic because less has taken place to mask reality.

But those same videos in a premium/bought context may make things seem unrefined and lacking in authority.

Posting polished videos on social media makes us wonder what all the polish is there to hide. So we trust it less.

But those same videos in an official context assure us that real work went into the piece, and so we trust we’re being looked after.

Production value is non-linear. The examples above aren’t “more produced” or “less produced” than each other.

They’re simply produced “differently”.

The key is to know — from a place of respect and reverence of those you serve — what type of production your audience needs from you, and when.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 15 2021
The key to not skipping sales follow-up

The key to not skipping sales follow-up

Did you follow-up today?

Most people involved in the sales process seem to have a particular stage that they hate…

Some hate prospecting. Others hate sales calls. But everyone seems to have a strange avoidance to follow-up.

Probably why most follow-up is so lousy.

“Hey just checking you got my last email!”

You know you can do better than this.

Advertising is boring until approached with creativity.

Outreach is boring until approached with creativity.

What if you dared to explore creative ways of follow-up?

Sending personalised videos that solve a problem… Shipping their favourite box of whatever in the mail… Sending a postcard… Making an introduction they’d benefit from…

The list goes on and on.

Might you enjoy sending the sort of follow-up you’d enjoy receiving?

Why not try that instead?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 14 2021
The stupid strategy

The stupid strategy

They say “hope isn’t a strategy.”

Ohh, it’s a strategy alright. A hugely popular strategy in fact.

I’d say it could be the most popular strategy of all!

It’s just not a very good one.

“It’s a stupid strategy”, you might say. But.

When we’re presented with a path to progress but we don’t take it, we choose that strategy.

When we find people and products that could advance us toward our goals, but we don’t leverage them, we choose that strategy.

When we know making a change (even just imperfect action) in a certain part of our business or life would make things better, but we choose not to, we choose that strategy.

We’re all guilty of choosing the stupid strategy.

Otherwise we’d all be he wisest, happiest, fittest, most accomplished versions of ourselves, all of the time.

Don’t sweat the decision.

But consider whether you might want to decide differently tomorrow.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
August 13 2021
Hard isn’t impossible

Hard isn’t impossible

I’m not very good at math.

I consider doing math to be ‘hard’.

But I’m fully aware that doing math is not ‘impossible’.

It’s simply a case of knowing the formulas and equations, knowing how to tackle each math problem, and bam, solved.

The same can be said for resonating with those you wish to serve in the market.

Knowing who you’re talking to and what they need to hear from you is ‘hard’ too.

‘Hard’, again, meaning: knowing the formulas and equations, knowing how to tackle each problem, then bam, solved.

Even while being bad at math, I didn’t get a 0 in my school exams. I got some right. I just didn’t get an A.

If your potential customers are giving you Ds and Fs from a brand messaging perspective, know that it’s ‘hard’.

And remember all ‘hard’ really means.

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