Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #businesstips #marketing #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss

Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them over and over but in the end, they say they can’t afford it?

Or you can sell the work you don’t really like, but the one you like to do you offer for the low price?

And there are more other problems because of the wrong communication right in the beginning.

In this episode, Jeffrey Shaw shares how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price.

Having been one of the most sought after portrait photographers in the U.S. for more than three decades, Jeffrey, a.k.a. the Lingo Guy, uses this honed intuition to teach entrepreneurs how to attract their ideal customers by speaking their Secret Language.

Jeffrey is host of the popular business podcast Creative Warriors, a nationally acclaimed keynote speaker, a business coach for entrepreneurs, and author of the forthcoming book, LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible.

In this episode, we will cover:

  • [00:22] About the episode and Jeffrey Shaw
  • [02:18] Jeffrey shares that his first business was selling eggs as 14 years old teenager, but after graduating from a photography school he became a professional photographer
  • [05:15] Being able to successfully work on the specific market, people started coming to Jeffrey asking about business and marketing advice
  • [07:00] How Jeffrey gave the best-selling pitch of his photography work for the premium price, but then realized that a woman simply couldn’t afford his service
  • [09:59] The classic mistake that many entrepreneurs do is they try to fit people into their business when they don’t want to be there or can’t afford it
  • [11:22] Jeffrey realized that he spoke the wrong language to the wrong people that’s why it was hard to sell
  • [13:14] The secret language of the clients that Jeffrey discovered
  • [15:57] Are you aligned in values with your ideal client?
  • [17:30] A lot of marketing is very manipulative, which may not align with you. Instead, be caring about people
  • [19:41] How can you know what people want, their value until you put an effort in understanding them?
  • [22:13] How to attract the right people with your price
  • [24:28] No business is meant for everyone
  • [25:40] When you price yourself too low you can make people think that there is not much value, so they can take an advantage of you or try to get a discount
  • [26:24] When someone compliments your work, listen to how they feel about it. This is your value for them
  • [27:47] When you start taking whatever work you can get it’s hard to get out of this circle
  • [28:22] Working with your ideal clients help you to build a successful business
  • [29:24] If people are not your ideal clients, you no need even to show up to them
  • [32:45] What to focus on the next month to learn how to better communicate with your clients
  • [33:30] Tips on how to better define your ideal client
  • [36:30] Where to find Jeffrey and the infographic that will help you to develop that customer’s secret language strategy
  • [37:57] For the show notes go to marinabarayeva.com and subscribe to the Marketing for Creatives show

3 Steps to Communicate with Your Customers Without Competing on the Price

  • Step 1: Define who your ideal client is. What may be helpful is to look at yourself: Who do you want to work with? What’s your personality? What’s your style? And project it to the clients you want to work with
  • Step 2: Try to understand your ideal client’s perspective. You can even go to the places they hang out offline or online to feel the experience they have
  • Step 3: Create a brand message to speak to that ideal audience and align it with their values
'The foundation is understanding the perspective of those that you want to serve' ~ Jeffrey ShawClick To Tweet
'Pricing creates perception and you have the power to attract your ideal customers' ~ Jeffrey ShawClick To Tweet
'Work only with your ideal customers. It is the fastest and most profitable way to get to a successful business' ~ Jeffrey ShawClick To Tweet

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Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes
Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes
Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here:

Resources from this interview:

Connect with Marina Barayeva:

How to Communicate with Your Customers Without Competing on the Price – Interview Transcription

Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #businesstips #marketing #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss

Marina Barayeva:

Hi Jeffrey. Welcome to the show. It’s so great to have you here. How are you?

Jeffrey Shaw:

I’m great, Marina, and thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to have this entrepreneurial conversation with you today.

Marina Barayeva:

I know! We’re talking about similar things. You’re a photographer. I’m a photographer. Talking about marketing.

Jeffrey Shaw:

I know. We’re walking a very similar path through life it seems,

Marina Barayeva:

Exactly. So share with us your entrepreneurial story.

Jeffrey Shaw:

Okay. You know, I just literally, Marina, had the awareness, I think last week sometime because I’m preparing for another interview, somebody had asked me “tell us something interesting about you.” It’s amazing how hard of a question that is.

Other people think I’m interesting, but I don’t think I’m interesting. When I asked the question, I had to really think, and what I realized is that I have always been an entrepreneur.

I have literally never received a paycheck. I’ve never had, quote-unquote, a real job. And in addition to that, not only is that true, but I also realized that here I am 54 years old and I have never been in a long-term relationship with anyone who also supported the finances.

I was married for 19 years, had a stay at home mom for my kids and I realized I literally have made and created every dollar I’ve ever made, which has supported my life fully. That to me says a lot about our stories as entrepreneurs.

For me, literally, I started out as an entrepreneur at age of 14. I lived in the country and what we had an abundance of the country. We had chickens and eggs. I convinced a local farm, I didn’t live on a farm, but there was a local farm, one of many, and I convinced them to let me package up the eggs and I went door to door on Saturdays selling eggs.

Cleverly thinking, which I do think is pretty smart at 14 years old that hey, people need eggs on Sunday morning.

I also carved out kind of a niche in the egg-selling business, if you will, almost as a wholesaler because we were about two hours north of New York City and there were a lot of folks moving out to the country who were from New York City. They would buy my eggs in quantity to bring them back to New York City.

Because back in the day you’re talking 40 years ago, that was quite a cache thing to have country farm eggs in New York City because they weren’t available in the supermarkets then.

That was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, which led me to just really liking the experience of being in control of my own destiny.

And I went off to photography school, graduated from a one year program for photography. I went right into… at the age of 20, becoming a professional photographer. I still do some photography but very little compared to what I’ve done for the past 30 years.

Along the way, because I was successful as a photographer, people started coming to me asking for my insights on how to mark it as a creative.

When I realized that as a photographer, particularly my style, I did family portraits and portraits of children for very affluent families.

I had a very specific market that I served. And I realized that I was selling something nobody needs to the hardest market in the world, nobody needs family photography and it’s really hard to kind of break into the affluent market.

In order to do that, I realized that I had some marketing skills and that’s people started coming to me. Initially, people were coming to me for a speaking, they wanted me to speak on stages and various photo industry related events and then that lead to people coming up and saying, well, “Hey, can you coach me?”

About nine years ago I transitioned into business coaching starting primarily with photographers. But now coach what I refer to as the uncommon entrepreneur, any of us crazy people that are doing something out of the ordinary out there, that’s what I love to market and help people build businesses on.

And here we are. So today I am a business coach. I just released my first book in January called Lingo. I’m a keynote speaker, a podcast Host and I think that’s about it. Entrepreneurial through and through

Marina Barayeva:

And just a cool guy. Just a cool guy for the interview. (Laughter)

Jeffrey Shaw:

Thank you. (Laughter)

Marina Barayeva:

That’s very interesting. So from chicken to photography, coaching, marketing.

Jeffrey Shaw:

Oh yeah. I’m sure I was selling anything I could come up with in between too. I’m sure.

Marina Barayeva:

I know one of the stories of your life is when you were a photographer and the woman came to you, you gave your best sales pitch about your photography service and she said that she could barely pay her rent.

In Russia, we would say it would be funny the situation that happened if it wouldn’t be sad. You lost a client. The best peach but no client. And it’s often happening with other entrepreneurs: offering a service to the wrong audience. How did that situation change your business after?

Jeffrey Shaw:

It changed it entirely. This story, by the way, sort of the hero’s journey story, if you will, of my book Lingo. I really wanted to other entrepreneurs, particularly creatives to really get what was going on here, because that would become the basis of them, their willingness to absorb the strategic marketing lessons that I wanted to teach.

What had happened was I had to return to my hometown, which as I said, is about two hours north in New York City. I was 20 years old after getting on a photography school.

So this is back when it was still a pretty remote area, but what I realized is as a portrait photographer, I always held due to this day, I hold a very, very high value of what it means to have photographs.

And believe me. There’s a lot of why in that. As a child, I grew up with two older brothers and there is one photograph to this day that I have ever found of my childhood.

Understandably. My parents… I was the third child. I kind of tip the scales financially because suddenly they had to buy a home where they were previously living in an apartment and now they have to go to the expense of buying a home.

My mom had to return to work. As the third child, I seem to kind of tip the scale. She had to go back to work and they had all these extra expenses.

Along the way, they stopped photographing, they stopped taking those candid family photos. They never went to a professional, but they stopped even taking candid photographs that appear because there weren’t any of me.

I think that just built in a sensitivity to me that I really think it’s important that we have these memories in our lives. I put a place of very high value on photographs and even more so having them to hand down.

With that, of course, if you hold something as valuable, you decide you’re going to charge a premium price.

I went back to my hometown and charge what I thought was a premium price for family photography and no one wanted to buy it. I was a struggling business.

Then I found that dangerous trap a lot of entrepreneurs fall into just taking whatever work I could get.

Then I lost my identity. I lost my direction and I certainly lost to the market what I wanted to be known for.

I became, you know, trying to do everything for anybody just to pay the bills. And it still was a huge struggle.

To your point, one day this woman comes in and I did my very best job I could possibly do to point out the value of having photographs to hand down and how important it is to her children. She looked at me and she said, “That sounds wonderful, but I don’t know how I’m gonna pay the rent this month.”

And I realized that the breeze by business was struggling wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t that I wasn’t worthy. It’s that I was barking up the wrong tree.

I was trying to offer something to an area that even if they wanted to value it and not sure they did, they couldn’t afford to value it.

This taught me the fundamental lesson that I think so many entrepreneurs fall into particular creatives, because the way creatives, I think the way most people go into business, but particularly creatives, the way we wanted to businesses, we have a great idea or we have a talent or skill that we’re really good at. In my case, photography.

People tell us we’re good at it and that evolves into the idea that, “Hey, maybe I can make money doing this.” So, they’ll actually know we’re in business. Then we’re running around trying to fit customers into that business.

What I realized at that moment with that woman was that I did that made the classic mistake that I built the business I wanted and spent three years trying to fit people into it who didn’t want to be into that business.

I realized the right way to build the business is to define who your ideal customer is, who values what you value, and then build a business for them.

Something she had said in that conversation was she specifically said, “I don’t have the luxury of worrying about my children’s memories.” Which was very precisely said. And that’s when I realized for the first time that what I was offering as a family photographer, as is the case the most arts, it’s a luxury item.

Buying what we have isn’t contingent on their survival, is not contingent on buying what we offer. Therefore, it’s a luxury product it is the first time I identified it that way.

The way it changed my life was I realized that I was speaking the wrong language to the wrong people. I was speaking the language of long-term thinking and values for handing things down to an area that without money you can’t do that.

Without money, without extra money anyway, you’re just worried about getting by for today. You can’t think for the future.

The way it changed my life was I realized that I needed to serve an affluent market. I restarted my entire brand about two hours away from my hometown in an affluent community. The only problem was I didn’t know anything about affluent people.

I didn’t know any. I didn’t know what made them tick. I didn’t know what they liked. I didn’t know what they valued. I say about studying the behavior and mindsets of the high-end market when they went to high-end brands.

I traveled to New York City frequently, hung out in the stores and restaurants not to understand the store, although I wanted to understand the structure of it, but even more, so I wanted to understand what the experience was if you are an affluent person?

What is your perspective on it? What you experienced when you… What inspired you? What emotionally triggers you to choose the products that you do?

Because I felt if I could understand that I could then speak the Lingo of the affluent client, which would encourage them to work with me just as the high-end brands that they went to.

Marina Barayeva:   

You talk about this special secret language of the client. What is exactly that you were looking for this how they engage with you, what triggers them? What results did you get? What did you find?

Jeffrey Shaw:   

I started referring to this what I call a secret language. Here’s why. It’s not that it’s mysterious or anything, but what I realized and I would say that a part of it I think gives me that… Prior to writing the book Lingo somebody said to me one day, “What gives you the authority to write this book?” That was a challenging question in a way. I felt a little oppositional because it’s like, “Well, what do you mean gives me the authority? “

But at first, I’m thinking, “Well, I don’t have a green branding or marketing” and those insecurities. But I also remedially realize, what gives me the authority to talk on this topic, is that when you’ve lived life from many different perspectives, you actually have the ability to understand other people’s point of view better.

The fact that I grew up without money, I grew up a lower middle class in this little farm country, it gave me the passion and empathy that I could understand how wealthy people too.

I find it easier, that I can get most people to walk in other people’s shoes. I started calling it a secret language because of my multiple perspectives in life. I realized that first of all, it’s not one’s right or one’s better, one’s worse. It’s not that at all.

In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a very non-judgmental in a way. But what I realized is that, hey my family went to low-end department stores because that store, that band was being their lines right there.

They were speaking the language just to their money or cost-effectiveness. Walmart is a classic example of a low-end store attracting a very cost conscious, speaking of cost-conscious secret language.

That’s why the pricing is down to the 100th of a cent. It’s where they talk about rollback prices. That’s why everything’s about saving money and making a deal. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just has to be done is to align your values with the values of the people that you’re serving.

Walmart, for example, is serving the values of cost-conscious people who value needing to save money.

Where on the other end, the high-end stores or brands that I was visiting, I realized very different psychology there.

The prices were very rounded off [inaudible] you couldn’t even find a cash register. They were kind of hidden or in other rooms.

It wasn’t about transacting the money. It was about the quality of the item. It was about the experience. It was about the mood. The lighting was a dam and attractive and warm like it would be in a home.

I realized that nothing’s right or wrong, but the goal is, “Are you aligned in values with your ideal customer?” Which of course has to begin with understanding who your ideal customer is.

But you start, like I said, that’s why I refer to it as a secret language because you’re sort of jumping on the wavelength of the people that you want to serve and you’re doing your best job to understand them and speak their specific language to their values, to their lifestyle, to the way that they look at the world.

Again, I often in the book Lingo reference it at almost like wavelengths of radio stations. We all know, there are many, many radio stations out there. Some of us choose to hop on pop music. Some of us choose to hop and country. Some of us choose to hop from classical. So there are all these different wavelengths that we choose and that’s kinda the way we walked through life.

We hop on these different ways of living. As a business and a brand, you want to know what lane were ideal customers are in and you want to meet them there.

Marina Barayeva:

When you talk about the language, how to communicate with the customers on their language? Do you focus on listening? Do you look at how they look like or what do you pay attention to when you first made with people and you try to understand what you can offer and if they’re ready for what you offer?

Jeffrey Shaw:

I honestly believe the basis of the entire concept of Lingo. I made it very clear in the book because I had some concerns when referring to this as a secret language and it was so honestly, what’s crazy is the book is so under strategies, there is so caring about other people there is so adept in your understanding of the ideal customers that I actually learned that people would interpret that as being manipulative.

Because a lot of marketing is very manipulative, which I believe is why creatives hate marketing. Because as consumers we often have experienced that feeling of a manipulation and aggressiveness.

For us creatives, it’s just the way we walk about in the world. We’re overly sensitive to that. And we see it. Creatives are far more intuitive, I think, than the average person, so we know when we’re being sold to.

We know we’re being marketed. We don’t like what’s creepy. If something feels creepy to this site, I believe fundamentally that’s what’s caused a lot of creatives to not enjoy the business side.

Which we creative say a lot or I hear other creative… I love the business side, but a lot of creatives will say, “You know, I’m not good at the business side” and I would say, “Well, it’s not that you’re not good at it. You’ve not been given permission to be as in a way that’s natural to who you are.” Because we’ve experienced the world of marketing and a pretty creepy way.

I actually believe the concepts that I teach in Lingo are exactly what creative have been looking for because the strategies are based on empathy and compassion and nonjudgment and no assumptions.

Actually, this is what we create our best at. We’re best at being intuitive. We’re best at empathy. The way to understand how to communicate this idea of a secret language, the foundation, if you will, is understanding the perspective of those that you want to serve. Really understand their perspective, which is why I did all the work I did to understand the perspective of wealthy people because I wasn’t one.

Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes

How do you understand what they value, what they feel, how they experienced the world, what they expect, what quality they want? How do you know that? Unless you do the work. The homework to understand in a very nonjudgmental way with a great deal of empathy, how they see the world.

It’s sorta like the proverbial walk a mile in their shoes. Well, this is walking many miles in those shoes where you just allow yourself to be them.

I think this is very, very important for creatives in business because we are almost always serving people that are not at the same place in life we’re at. Perhaps the people we’re serving are wealthier and they may need to be in order to afford what we offer.

Or maybe they’re older, maybe they’re younger, maybe they’re a different culture, but we’re almost always as creatives in business serving people that aren’t exactly like us, which is great.

When people aren’t exactly like us, we need to be more open to understanding their perspective. So that you can speak to their hearts, speak to their values, and speak to their essence and perspective of the way they look about and go about life. That’s how you communicate.

Now in the book Lingo actually lay out five specific steps. Which was the challenge of writing this book, Marina, as I kept saying to my editor, we needed to write a linear book for nonlinear thinkers.

I know my audience, all us creatives we are nonlinear thinkers, but I wanted to give us a specific step by step strategy, how people can build this secret language idea into their business. And I believe we’ve accomplished it.

It’s actually quite strategic and laid out in steps so that people can learn to communicate with their ideal customers.

Marina Barayeva:

Jeffrey, that’s true that often people serve the audience who are different. They may be at a different level of life, ages or whatever, and is in your example, a woman was scared of the price you offered. Even she would like to use your service, she liked your photography, she just couldn’t afford it.

But you also talk about that you can attract people with the price. So how would you attract those people if you’re on a different level without scaring them?

Jeffrey Shaw:

Yeah, I think this is an important topic because it’s something creatives in business struggle with. I struggle with identifying charge for those services and actually have a lot to say about this and have said over the years because it’s something I feel deeply, deeply my gut.

First of all, I think part of the challenge for creatives in charging what they’re worth is what they should charge the most for is probably what comes easiest to them. And that is contradictory to the human mind.

I’ll give an example. I’ve coached many wedding photographers who have no problem charging a lot of money for wedding photographs because weddings are hard. We created like to charge for what’s hard if it takes a lot of hours, a lot of labor or it’s exhausting for us we can see the value in that.

Josh had charged a lot for that because it’s hard, but actually, our most natural gifts which are so unique to us, which come easily to us is actually what we should charge the most for because that’s identifying our uniqueness that other people don’t have.

One of the exercises I do with my coaching clients and when I’m working with my clients on the branding for their creative business, one of the things I had them do is make a list of compliments they’ve heard throughout their lives and to pay especially close attention to the compliments that you’ve heard over and over again that you just want to brush off. It’s like “Ah, that’s no big deal.”

When somebody says that to me, that’s no big deal because actually what I want people to look for is that casual greatness that you’ve been brushing off is actually what the world complimenting you. The world is complimenting you on that because they’re telling you this is uniquely yours and what is uniquely yours commands the highest price.

People are often afraid of pricing. What I say and Lingo, the point I want to make is that pricing creates perception and you actually have the power to attract your ideal customers. We often worry about prices repelling people, but the fact what matter is that you’re not for everybody.

Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes

No business, particularly creative as a business, no business is meant for everyone. You want to align your prices, whether it’s high-end or low-end, to give the perception let you want your business and attract that customer.

For example, Marina, I bet everyone listening has had the experience where they’ve chosen to not buy something because it’s so cheap. They assume it must not be very good.

Because there’s a perception that’s created when something’s priced too low. When something’s priced really high, it creates the perception that, wow, that’s exclusive. It must be very custom. It’s even if I can’t afford it, I imagine, wow, this, this must be really special because there are people who can’t afford it.

That’s where pricing gives you the power to decide who is the ideal customer that you want to attract and price accordingly.

Because you don’t want to price yourself so low and attract the customers or you’ll either attract the customers that are going to continue to do, try to negotiate, like if you’re already, this is what’s crazy, if you’re already too low, you attract people who assume that you don’t value what you do because you’ve priced yourself too low, which means they’re going to try to even take more advantage of you and try to get a discount and talk you down.

Marina Barayeva:

That’s what happened.

Jeffrey Shaw:

Yeah, that happens all the time. If you’re too low to begin with, you’re attracting people who see you as someone who can give them a better deal and they talk, try to talk you down even further.

If you command a premium price for your services and your creativity, you’ll attract people that will respect that you see value in what you offer and they’re far less likely to ask for a discount.

Marina Barayeva:

That’s interesting when you talk about when people tell you the compliment, that they show you your value. So from my experience, when I listen to people who gave me compliments, but from their perspective. How the work I’ve done make them feel good.

That helps to price, to sell yourself more because you know what your value is because you know, what other people like about your work, how you can make them feel special.

Jeffrey Shaw:

Absolutely. It’s very important when it comes to building your business and particularly your brand message and your brand image. It’s, you really need to listen to other people because we hardly ever see ourselves accurately.

We need other people. We need the feedback from other people who can see the messaging in us, who can see what we’re capable of and who could even reflect back to us our innate qualities that they really appreciate that we kind of take for granted.

It’s very, very important to when it comes to building your business, and this is what I was saying early on, that many businesses, myself included, which is why I needed to change my business, but the worst thing you can do is get caught up in a negative and scarcity cycle.

The moment you start taking whatever work you can get, just because you didn’t pay the bills, it’s almost impossible to ever get out of that.

It becomes a cycle because you’re taking whatever work you can get, which mean you’ve started off devalued yourself. That’s why I wrote this book.

Lingo and the ideas that I teach in there the whole goal is for entrepreneurs to work only with their ideal customers because when you work only with your ideal customers, it is the fastest and most profitable way to get to a successful business. Because then it’s a positive cycle.

Have you been in the situation when you tell your client all good things about your service or product, put an effort in reaching them, but in the end, they say they can’t afford it? Learn how to communicate with your customers without competing on the price, via @MarinaBarayeva. #business #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #quotes #quotesoftheday #inspiration #Inspirationalquotes #businessquotes

You work with the right customers who are a pleasure to work with, who pay you the most amount of money, who are most profitable, who tell other people just like you and them which gets you more ideal customers and you’re on an awkward spiral.

I’ll bet everyone listening who’s in business has had the experience where you jumped through hoops, you work twice as hard for the customer who spends the least amount of money. And the customer spends the most amount of money was a breeze and a pleasure.

You want to put all your energy towards those customers and only getting those customers because otherwise you’re exhausting yourself and wasting valuable energy and creative energy on the bad clients.

That’s why I say it is a bad cycle the moment you start taking whatever work you can get. You want to start your business off or if you’ve been in business for years, this is the time when you want to say, “Hey, no more. I’m only gonna work with my ideal customers” and hopefully my strategies will help you learn how to do that.

Marina Barayeva:

This is exactly what often happened to people, Jeffrey. They work, maybe they nailed down their ideal client, but still there are people who come to them, they are interested in your service, but maybe they are not happy with the price or want different service like your photographer, they came to you and ask about videos or if you do portraits they ask about weddings. Because you feel like, “Oh, this is a potential customer,” you probably will get him.

How would you communicate with those people? Would you just say, “Ah, sorry, that’s not my business. Go to someone else,” or would you try to negotiate with them somehow?

Jeffrey Shaw:

No. The goal actually is to not show up at your doorstep in the first place. Here’s what I mean by that. This is the change I want to make in the world.

What you want is really good, clear brand messaging. Like that’s the whole idea of secret language. If your brand messaging, if your brand image, which that encompasses your website, your promotional materials, I don’t care if it’s a billboard alongside the highway, however, you’re putting yourself out in the world as a business, you want to speak the language of your ideal customer.

You want them because you understand their perspective. And this is what Lingo book is all about.

There are emotional triggers that I explained in the book. Things like familiarity and style and pricing culture. You want to use the right words. You want to speak the language of your ideal customer so that they emotionally feel like, wow, this business gets me.

The people that don’t feel that way hopefully won’t show up. Which is what I said, the strategies that I teach and the goal, if you will, of excellent brand messaging is that attracts your ideal customers and repels the wrong customers.

They honestly shouldn’t even show up. They shouldn’t know what you’re talking about in a way.

That’s excellent brand messaging. And again, this is not an easy thing to do. That’s why there are professionals that help with this or any help pull your random message out of this. You have to, again, you first want to define who your ideal customers.

  • Who are you meant for?
  • Who would love what you have to offer?
  • Who are you meant to serve?

Then walk a mile in their shoes, understand everything about them so that you can get into their heart, their soul, and their perspective.

Then in your marketing, your website, brand messaging, even the Look of your website, when they see it, it does look like it’s been built just for them. And then that’s how you attract your ideal customers and keep the others away.

Marina Barayeva:

Jeffrey, what would be your suggestions for our listeners let’s say for the next month, what will be the three steps that they should focus on to learn how to communicate with their customers or get better in communicating with them?

Jeffrey Shaw:

Step number one, which was I think a bit of a surprise for me when I started out doing these podcasts interviews. Because I’d written the book, then I started doing the podcast interviews and I realized actually there was a kind of a missing link in the book and that was as I was doing podcasts interviews every was asking me how do we know who our ideal customer is?

Honestly, I wrote the entire book assuming that people would know that and realizing that most people don’t.

By all means, step number one is you can have to define who your ideal customer is.

Now, I will tell you, Marina, my way of doing it is very different than most. Let me give your listeners some thoughts on that.

When you consider who your ideal customer is, it actually isn’t initially about them, it’s about you. I think this is a big mistake a lot of people make. Not as much who do you want to work with but who are you meant for?

The way to determine who you meant for is to first understand who you are.

  • What is your skill set?
  • What is your innate characteristic?
  • What makes you YOU?

That goes back to all of those compliments. The title of this chapter in the book about the customers, chapter two, and it’s called who will love that?

You actually look at who you are.

  • What are your skills?
  • What’s your personality?
  • What kind of style of a sense of humor do you have?
  • What’s your style?
  • Who are you?

Then ask the big question: Who would love that?

That is who your ideal customer and you build a business for them.

So step number one is, I don’t care if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in business for 20 years, the first and most important step you can do for yourself is to first get clear on who your ideal customer is.

Step number two would be to do the work you do to understand their perspective. Whether that’s visiting stores like I did or studying brands online, or let’s say you serve millennials and your mom far from a millennial. Although I have three kids who are millennials, so, which is why I asked a lot of questions.

But let’s say you’re serving a millennial audience and you’re not one. Well, what do millennials listened to? What do they read? You want to go where they are.

Go to the blogs they’re reading or go to the fact they’re not even. I guess they’re reading some blogs. Listens to the podcasts that the millennials are listened to.

You want to understand their world so you can understand their values. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the millennial generation from my kids, asking them questions and understanding the values.

So step number one is define who your ideal customers. Step number two is to understand the values and the perspective of that ideal customer.

Step number three, which is a big step, would be, now you have to create the brand message and the brand image to speak to that ideal audience and align your message with their values.

That’s a big step. This is what I do every day is as a brand coach, but it’s a big step. But, yeah, here are three steps. I only give you these three, but they’re not small steps.

Marina Barayeva:

Well, our listeners well need to work on them. Little by little.

Jeffrey Shaw:


Marina Barayeva:

Thank you so much, Jeffrey, for many great tips. It was so great to have you here. And now please share with us how can we know more about you, your book, and what’s going on with you.

Jeffrey Shaw:     

Excellent. Well, actually what I’ve done is I’ve put together a Lingo media kit, which I think will be really valuable because we’ve talked about a lot of concepts today. But people need to see what we’ve spoken about.

In the Lingo media kit is an Infographic, a visual representation of the five steps. So, they could begin with those three steps you asked about just by taking this infographic and looking at the five steps to create your secret language strategy.

There’s also a free chapter of the book and an audio version of that free chapter. So that they can get a taste of it.

And then, of course, you can find out more about the book, but to be true to my word, I believe in connecting and alignment.

I like to give first so people can decide for themselves whether I’m right for them. I would say go to the Lingo media kit that you can get at jeffreyshaw.com/creatives.

Marina Barayeva:

Thank you so much, Jeffrey. I’ll put the link into the blog post and wish you to have a great day.

Jeffrey Shaw:

Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. And, you know, we’re on a similar mission, so let’s keep firing and motivating those creatives of the world to get out there and market themselves, brilliant how others of the world can benefit from their gifts

Marina Barayeva:

Indeed. For sure.

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