You’ve probably heard of the Top Five Regrets of the Dying. It’s a stunning list that was put together by Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware in her book of the same name. She undertook research of patients in hospitals to identify their regrets.
The five regrets are:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
We all have regrets in our lives, and our business lives are no different. It’s an unfortunate fact that more than 60% of small businesses fail in the first 3 to 5 years. And Influencers are not immune. It’s not uncommon for them to feel that it’s all too hard, that it would be easier to go back to full-time employment.
But the reality is that the job scene has changed. Organisations preparing for the future want flexible workers. Those who aren’t flexible can easily be replaced. So even if you do decide to call it quits as an Influencer, you still need to position and market yourself to get the job. That job will more than likely be temporary so you’ll have to market yourself again!
In the “dying days” of their business, Influencers typically have these five regrets:
- I wish I’d closed more sales.
Ever feel as though you’re having plenty of coffee meetings but not making any sales? One entrepreneur told me recently that she’d had 40 meetings, but hadn’t been able to close a single sale. If you can relate to this, then your sales conversation isn’t working. Your communication with potential clients must be crystal clear. Do they even know they’re going to a sales meeting? Or do they think they’re simply meeting you for a coffee and a chat? If the expectation is unclear and you start talking sales, they may feel duped and you’re much less likely to get them on board.
- I wish I’d made my offer clearer or more relevant.
Influencers want to change the world. We’re passionate about what we do. It’s a fantastic space to be in, but you also need to generate an income. If what you offer is not relevant to your market, they won’t understand it – and they won’t buy it. Your potential customers don’t want to change the world; all they want is their problems solved. The more relevant you can make your offer to your clients’ problems, and the more specific you can be, the more likely you’ll be able to sustain a profitable business.
- I wish I’d worked harder at the start of each trading time.
Three-month cycles are ideal for getting into a routine of setting sales targets for yourself. The problem is when you turn into “hustle mode” as the deadline looms. If you’re preoccupied with making up for lost time, you come across as pushy. You feel inauthentic and run the risk of losing your clients’ trust. By working harder at the start of your quarter, you relieve the pressure on yourself – and your clients – at the end.
- I wish I’d had the collaterals when people asked for them.
To move the sales conversation forward, you need collateral. What happens if your potential client says, “Fantastic! Have you got something I can take with me so I can talk to the board?” – and you have nothing? The client needs a vehicle to help them sell you to their team. Words alone won’t do. Your job is to provide collateral: a speaker kit, brochures for your programs, a show reel, your website, your blog. If you haven’t got any of these, create them. Make sure you have them before you organise meetings and have sales conversations.
- I wish I’d kept building my pipeline, even when I had big projects on the go.
It’s exciting to get a large program off the ground. But make sure you don’t get so caught up in a new project that you lose sight of the big picture. If you commit all your time and energy to delivering, you stop selling. You forget to fill your pipeline and the conversations dry up. If you’re delivering a program to a large organisation, what happens if circumstances change? Key decision makers could leave or their strategy might change – and your program might not go ahead. It’s important you don’t rest on your laurels, because anything could happen. Ask yourself: “If I didn’t have my ‘big program’, would I still have an income?”
Don’t let these common regrets become your regrets, too. We all make mistakes, and we all have areas in our businesses that we could improve. The good news is that it doesn’t have to go on life support. You can revive it and create a flourishing practice! By understanding and learning from these five regrets, you certainly can have a sustainable, profitable business as an Influencer.
Love to know your thoughts….
Jane Anderson works with Thought Leaders, Trusted Advisors, Experts and CEO’s to increase their lead generation and grow their businesses.
Her blog has been awarded in the top 25 branding blogs globally. She is one of 12 LinkedIn Influencer Small Business Advocates in Australia, is the host of the Jane Anderson Brand You Show.
She is the author of 4 books including “EXPERT to INFLUENCER: 12 Key Skills to Attract New Clients, Increase Sales and Leverage your Personal Brand to Become an Industry Leader.”
To have Jane speak at your next event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.