A former X-Factor contestant was prevented by her (male) PR adviser from answering the question “Are you a feminisist?”
So The Gazette newspaper ran a feature and asked me to write a piece answering the question “What does feminism mean to you and can women really “have it all” with a career and a family?”
As the printed version cut out some of what I wrote, I though I’d give you both versions!
Feminism – it’s a loaded word! Somehow it’s gone from meaning an advocate of the rights and equality of women, to being short-hand for a stroppy woman moaning that life isn’t fair and that men are evil suppressors!
If you’d asked me when I was at university if I was a feminist, it would have been an unqualified yes. But now, it’s not so straightforward. I need to qualify my answer. I believe in egalitarianism
There are still so many inequalities – the glass ceiling is still there (we’re breaking through more often but it’s a tough slog), pay disparity has yet to be banished and women in the public eye are all too often reduced to the status of a “body.” I could go on…
But then men don’t have it all easy either. Stay at home dads are viewed with suspicion and body image issues are now more prevalent in men with a huge increase in the levels of male eating disorders.
The issue that women face is that we’ve been give the rights but not the full equality. Let’s face it, with the best will in world the responsibility of having a baby is a woman’s. Men just don’t have the correct tools for the job! And if we exclude those women who get back on their Blackberries before the placenta has been delivered, we do need to take some time off work. And that’s when we start to lose out. Out of sight and out of mind!
Having it all? No-one can. You might say men do, but do they really? Look at the parents at sports day or afternoon nativity. It’s predominately mothers. If men were having it all, they’d be there too.
If you want to have it all, you have to choose when you have it. Many women in The Business Womans Network have chosen to be self-employed so they can have a job that fits around their families in a way that “conventional” jobs don’t. When they are working, they work hard and they achieve great things. And when they are doing the family side of things, well they are pretty great at that too.
Feminist, yummy mummy, mumtrepreneur (one of my pet hates, but there’s not enough space to go into that here) call me what you want. At the end of the day, the label isn’t important.
Women are just as great as men and men are just as great as women. It’s just that we all have different skills, different talents and different roles. And until we accept, celebrate and nurture these amazing differences then we all lose out.
This is the core of sales: people buy from people who they like, who they feel understand them and their needs.
Previously this used to be about making a good impression when you knocked on someone’s door, or served them in your shop. A little later having a great phone manner and nattering away on a sales call was the skill everyone wanted to have.
Getting people to buy your product has never been a hard sell: it’s always been a social sell.
And now, thanks to the Internet, our social sell has just got more demanding. Now we have to show our customers what our ethos is through our website, woo them with our newsletters and tell the world what we’re like as people through blogs like these!
Social networking doesn’t have to be a demand though: it can be a key to finding out what your customers are like, and what they want. It can help you to anticipate their demands and give them what they want.
As an active twitter user, facebooker, blogger and general social media geek I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with what makes people ‘like’ you, how to communicate with your clients and how to tap into the most powerful piece of market research you can get.
If you have a following through social media, or just through a regular stream of client phone calls/ email enquiries; you’ve already got all the tools you need to find out what your clients want and how to sell it to them. People tell us what they want through their ‘trance’ words: the words that they use when they’re really expressing themselves.
Trance words are the words that make people buy.
They are the words that your clients always mention in their email enquiries, they’re the words they mention during your sales calls; and now they’re the key words from your conversations via social media.
Let me give you two examples:
Fred calls up Human Resources Ltd and Bonnie answers. Fred doesn’t get to his point immediately: he tells Bonnie about his day, the trouble he’s had finding staff, what happened to the last person he employed… Bonnie sticks with it though and eventually gets Fred to open up. Fred explains that he really needs staff that are reliable and that have a sense of responsibility. Jotting these words down, Bonnie allows Fred to talk some more before calmly and concisely explaining that Human Resources Ltd pride themselves on having staff that are reliable and responsible. Fred quickly agrees to use Human Resources Ltd.
Rachel is skimming through her company, Cookie’s Inc, Facebook friends. She is pretty sure that there’s room in the market for a skinny double choc chip cookie for professional women in their twenties. She writes a status update about this and gets a great response. Clicking on her inbox she sees a message from Katy who is enquiring about when the cookie is going to launch. Checking out Katy’s profile page she notes down that Katy is in her mid twenties and works for a PR company in London, she likes new restaurants, yoga and music festivals. She collates this data as and when Cookie Inc’s facebook friends interact with their company’s page: and before long sees trends developing between what different customers interests are and what type of cookies they prefer. She decides that doing a product stand at Glastonbury would be a great chance to trial run the double choc chip cookie; and also contacts yoga companies about whether they’d be willing to endorse its health benefits. The skinny choc chip cookie is a huge success: and Rachel gets promoted.
Knowing what your customers want has always been key to effective sales and marketing. Now social media has opened a door for us to build on our ability to listen to what our customers really want (their trance words), make better products, sell more, and know what business ventures make sense for us to take.
To get to a place where you can use these trance words effectively; you can’t just be a great communicator, you need to be a purposeful communicator.
You need to know how to get Fred to open up, how to encourage a conversation on your social media, how to close down that opportunity to network, to create business, become more confident.
And this is where I come in. It’s been my pleasure to speak and work with the BWN on numerous occasions and now I want to teach you the true secrets to negotiating low prices, effective networking, doubling your sales (or just winning an argument with your partner!) so I’m going to host an exclusive coffee morning event for the Business Womans Network.
I usually only work on events in central London but to give you this fully interactive (that means some audience participation and real learning) seminar I’m going to come to the Five Lakes Crowne Plaza Hotel in Colchester Essex on Tuesday the 24th of April 10.30am-1.30pm.
Not only will I be hosting the event in your local area, I’ll also be offering tickets at a fraction of their normal cost: with none of the hassle of travelling into London.
So if you want to continue to improve your communication tactics, make more sales, learn negotiation tactics taught at the best Business Schools, by top NLP practitioners and have fun! Please send a paypal payment of £50 to firstname.lastname@example.org by
Friday 20th of April. Just click on the button below and a new window will open to take you to paypal
I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon
As Essex Coordinator I often get told “There are so many networks to chose from, how do I know yours is any good?”
And its a fair point. There is a ton of choice out there – which is great for the consumer…..and the network. You see we never placed ourselves as a rival, on the contrary we regularly promote other networks and business groups, why? Because if its good for business we want to be telling you about it.
A different approach you may say, well yes, but then it works. You see we are here to do the hard work for you. Try out the networks, the seminars and workshops and we share with you the good stuff. You can expect to hear about those ideas at every event in the business ops slot at 10.30.
But lets get down to the nitty gritty – you network because ultimately it leads to leads and sales and profit and success. On top of those things at the BWN you can expect support (it can be a lonely world for a business woman – and its great to know what you are experiencing or finding tough someone else has the answers to – probably because they have been through it too!)
You get motivated into action – so often women say to me, thanks to coming to The BWN last week, I picked up the phone/got in touch/changed my website/got up and spoke about my company/challenged their decision/went for it/took my business to the next level. And that results in even more success.
The BWN blogs and “What Business Women Say” pages of our website are packed with testimonials of how we have helped business women get what they want for their business and their success – all in an environment that is always welcoming (never clicky!) motivational and business focussed – we may mention what gorgeous heels you are wearing but then its straight back to business. Because we know that’s what matters to you.
Every month we will introduce you to business women you can expect to meet at the BWN. If you would like to be highlighted so that at the next networking event, people have a ton of questions, ideas, synergies and opportunities for you, get in touch.
“Hi My name is Sue Cook I work with spectrum disorders treating dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, dyscalculia, Aspergers and some autism and mutism.I am pretty much the only person in the uk using these brain rewiring techniques, though there are a handful of neurodevelopmentalists in the country.
Children who are struggling at school or have been diagnosed with one of mentioned conditions, often do very well on my programme which rebuilds nerve pathways in the brain and corrects the source of the problem rather than treating symptoms.
The brain learns through physical movement, and so the techniques I use involve movements that are specifically targeted to create or mend specific nerve pathways with astonishing accuracy.
It’s like scalpel free brain surgery.
This is possible because the brain is plastic, that means, it can be changed/affected by stimuli.
Nerve growth factors are released when new movements are happening in the body. For example, when we are learning to drive, at first it is difficult as we learn, this is when new nerve pathways are being created. When the movements have become automatic that is when the nerve pathways have become hard wired.
This same principle is used to help a child learn to read; there are sensory/nerve problems which are preventing correct interpretation of visual and sensory stimuli. So we correct it. Simple.
When my son was diagnosed with dyslexia, I was told there was nothing we could do and we had to learn to live with it. I refused to believe this. And i was determined to help my son.
I found a woman in Oregon who is probably the world’s authority on neurodevelopment and she agreed to train me to help my son because I already had a health science degree and an interest in the brain.
I helped my son and news travelled fast, other parents who saw my son’s progress began telling their friends. My phone started to ring and i built an accidental practice. Now four years later I treat patients all over the world, I am a regular guest on the radio and I speak at conferences. Also I have added to the world of neurodevelopment by coming up with my own theories in neuroscience and neurodevelopment which the head of my old university was so impressed by, he wants me lecture at the university as well as research my ideas which would revolutionise the treatment of spectrum disorders.
If you know of anyone who has a child with learning difficulties please remember me as I would love to help that child work towards leading a life free from learning hinderances.
I have recently moved to kelvedon and I have a new mobile: 07730 188536
I am also a degreed classical homoeopath with 15 years in practice; my friends call me the number one people fixer.
Feel free to contact me about your health issues and I’ll do my absolute best as always to maintain your health.
I am freezing my 2011 prices for the next six weeks for Business Women’s network referrals.
My new clinic in kelvedon is in the high street and I have plenty of parking in my drive. It is very convenient.
I look forward to helping you or your family with your health or brain issues,
Sue Cook BSc. Honours Lic LCCH”
Thanks for sharing Sue, we look forward seeing you at the BWN in January.
So the BWN website is getting an overhaul.
I personally got raked over the coals for being too good at marketing and driving too many business women to the site and it couldn’t cope. Now that is the kind of telling off I like!
But the outcome is my IT Fairy (no really we have an IT Fairy!) said that we were going over to an even more interactive site.
The Business Women on our site would be able to use it more and it would work even better for driving traffic to their websites.
It would be easier for business women to access the information they needed.
And we would be able to add a shop with great business offerings and books from our favourite speakers.
It all sounded great……BUT…..
I like many have a passion for just getting on with it. And when confronted with something new something goes in my head. It’s my Mrs Negativity. I don’t know if you have one (But I’m betting you do) mine looks a bit like Maureen Lipman off of the BT adverts. “An ology” remember. Wow I bet I’m showing my age there!
But the fact is when she pipes up the real me. The capable, effective business women me kind of shrinks a bit. As Mrs Negativity says things like “Mmmm do you remember that time at Dads house when you broke the TV, best you leave that well alone don’t you think for the clever folk.” Then she whines “Still you are not bad at cooking, stick to that dear and leave the grown up stuff to someone cleverer. There’s no shame in being a good housewife love. Everyone needs clean floors.” Okay so there is nothing wrong with being a full time homemaker. I loved that time in my life. But the way Mrs Negativity says it she makes me feel about 5 again.
So why do we let this happen?
I know the quickest way to shut her up is to prove her wrong. And here is the thing. The minute you take action things get easier. Okay so you might make a mistake but with most things in life, that can be fixed and you can learn in the process.
The problem is the longer you hold off, you allow your Mrs Negativity to attack your success and your momentum. The less powerful you are and the stronger you make your Mrs Negativity.
Learning new things is so often an area that we procrastinate on. We hold fire. We “Wait and See” But how beneficial is that for your success?
What impact is that going to have on your business and your life?
In business there will always be a latest gadget, tool, idea that you are going to need to get your head round and you have 2 choices. 1) rise to the challengae and learn something new to grow your business and your success or 2) allow it to be an obstacle to your success.
Now who wants to put obstacles in the way of their success?
Mmmm so here I sit with a brand new layout to blog with, a new style website to up date, to interact with business women and slightly nervous as to how posting this blog will go. But Mrs Negativity (Sorry Maureen Lipman but it will always be your face I see) is firmly shut up. Oh yes I’m sure as I press a wrong key she will be there to say “told you so” but I will be ready “With don’t worry love, I have plenty of experiences of getting it right so it’s only a matter of time!” And as I say that confidently like the successful business woman I am, in my mind I am sticking my tongue out at her (Well everyone that knows me knows I’m very young and fun at heart – yes just a big kid really!)
Every time this week something new comes along. Don’t say “mmmm That looks interesting – I will look into it” Give it go. Get stuck in. And I would love to know how you get on. At the BWN there are always new things to learn, if you don’t see something you like, let us know and we will get that subject added.
I suppose if someone had asked me a few months ago, what networking does for your business I would have listed the obvious;
I would have said it connects me with my ideal clients, it finds me solutions to my business, it basically ensures that I have what I need to succeed in business through a vast network of contacts and business associates.
I know that for some it still proves to be a struggle to make networking effective (ie, it helps you sustain and grow your business.) and the problem for many is they tackle networking in the wrong way.
It is about getting to know other people. For years sales and marketing gurus have been talking about getting to know, like and trust people and this is imperative in every format of your marketing strategy that truly ensure that this is being allowed to happen. So networking is not your opportunity to run around a room selling at people, it is about the basic essential knowledge that every sales person needs to know and that you are probably already aware of that people buy from people. I know it is often banded around, but stop for a moment and think about this statement.
The last time you were networking (and here you can now add social networking too) what was your approach? Was it how can I help you? Was it “here are some free connections/ideas/solutions for you and your business? Or was it top heavy with we are brilliant, and we do this and we do that?
From day one of a networking relationship it needs to be about the other person and their business needs. Think about this, if you are seriously doing this, then in every situation everyone would be doing their best for everyone else and thus everyone would get the results they were looking for. Great right?
But a word of caution.
It is an investment of your time and your money, as with any area of your marketing strategy so invest wisely. Test and measure the impact of your networking. Do you need to network in more than one place? With a different group of people? Or do you need to reconsider your networking style?
So you know what networking can do for your business success right, but here is a thought from someone who is considered a super connector. (Not my words I hasten to add)
I have always gone out of my way at every opportunity to answer the question for you “What can I do to help you?” in doing this I know that I am now considered a valuable person to network with and know, which means that when someone is ready to buy the first person they will think of is me. Remember you cannot dictate when someone is ready to buy however you can determine who they remember first when they are ready to buy. But just as importantly I recently learnt another power that networking has.
After experiencing a year of continual illness I’m glad I have a powerful marketing strategy because something that was not listed on my marketing production line (ask me about it sometime) was other people networking.
You see despite being unable to “get out there” my business didn’t suffer, new customers continued to contact me and business has steadily continued to grow. Because?
Because I have been a tireless campaigner for other people’s business success guess what happened when the chips were down and I needed help?
You guessed it.
I was inundated with offers of help and support.
So effective networking will not only provide you with contacts, potential customers and the answers to your business success. It also becomes a powerful ally to your marketing strategy.
So today ask yourself is your networking powering your success?
If not what do you need to do?
And if I can help feel free to give me a call – 07989935556 or see you at an Essex BWN event soon.
Best wishes and Happy Business
This week 1 business woman told me that I helped her get her biggest contract of 2011, another I got on ITN news and another told me where she was close to quitting she now has 3 employees – knowing me is dangerous!