It’s an Honour

Working as part of Dragon Sisters and now heading up the Wordsmith Wonders team as Editor in Chief is a huge honour and a big step forward for me.

What I love about the position here at Dragon Sisters is the diverse range of writing that we tackle to help connect clients with their audiences.

My personal favourite is the social media posts where we see the images and the words come together to create empowering and enlightening messages. I also love getting my teeth into the ghost-written blogs and books, and enjoy learning more about Smarketing as I edit the Sales and Marketing Strategy reports that Yvonne and Michelle prepare.

Want to know more about who you’re dealing with?

Back in 2014 I graduated from Bond University with a Bachelor of Journalism. Studying journalism opened up a whole new world and taught me some invaluable skills. I found myself especially adoring editing and wanting to be more involved in this field.

During my studies I was able to experience a vast array of journalistic fields, from copy writing to film. It was hands on and intricate, I was taught how to better refine my writing and how to edit my own film pieces. For one of my classes we even got to experience being part of a real life newsroom.

In 2013 for my university course work I was even granted the honour of being a part of the team that won the Sally A White Award for Investigative Journalism. However, I found during my studies that I didn’t feel confident with my chosen path and that journalism didn’t seem to fit me.

After graduating, my suspicions that journalism wasn’t quite right for me were quickly confirmed. Of course I didn’t completely wash my hands of journalism as I later found myself writing an article for Territory Q Magazine.

The piece I wrote was about the local NT fireman’s stairclimb competition, Rescue Me. I’d been given the responsibility for writing the piece as at that time I was volunteering for Lifeline, which was that year’s chosen charity that Rescue Me would be donating to. It was a fun experience getting interviews with the firies and taking lots of photographs.

I spent the last 2 years working casually in customer service retail, whilst simultaneously freelance writing while I figured out what my next step would be. After all, if you want to succeed in your career then it should be something you are passionate about. You should always strive to be able to love your job. In October this year, I quit my job, said goodbye to a wonderful team of co-workers, and took a two month European sabbatical.

My return to Australia

It’s become evident to me that my focus needs to be on what I love – writing and editing.

I’ve always been an avid reader and pride myself on being able to easily pick up on mistakes in both spelling and grammar. As a child, I used to enjoy finding that one mistake there always seems to be in a book. Even whilst in High School I was editing and assisted with some ghost editing of a book before it was taken to a professional.

Whilst I’m an avid reader and have been called on numerous times by friends for help with spelling and word choice, I’m also not afraid to admit I wasn’t always the smart cookie that I am today.

Overcoming Obstacles

During the years of my earlier education I actually had to have learning support and go to Kumon for help with improving my grades. I was also a somewhat slow writer. However, that was a long time ago and I’ve overcome those challenges.

I certainly didn’t envisage that I would become one of the youngest journalism graduates, or be able to complete my degree in just 2 years!

Overcoming obstacles is what helps to shape us as people, and I’ve overcome a few.

As head of the Writing Bureau for Dragon Sisters you can be sure that I’ll be doing all my editing with a fine toothed comb and utilising all my skills to provide you with the best possible service.

I look immensely forward to working with Dragon Sisters and managing our team of exceptional VAs.

Sasha Hanton

Sasha Hanton_Dragon Sisters My full bio is available on LinkedIn

How trust builds business and why the obvious isn’t so obvious!

It’s obvious that to build any relationship we need a bedrock of trust. Trust builds business.

Who doesn’t know that?!

We all know it and that it makes perfect sense.

No one is going to build a lasting and meaningful relationship with someone they trust about as far as they can throw them. That would be like cosying up to a mamba and expecting nothing more harmful than a hug – just a teeny bit unrealistic – said the mistress of understatement.

Yet that is exactly what some of us do and then we wonder why we got bitten.

That was pretty much the premise of last week’s blog about poor old Bob coming unstuck with a new LinkedIn connection.

The big question is – who can you trust and how do you know you can trust them?

More importantly, if you’re interested in networking to advance your business ethically, how do new contacts and connections know they can trust you?

With digital networking and global reach, it’s not uncommon to have people in your network that you have never actually met. Nor will you, except with the acquisition of a Lear Jet.

I don’t know about you, but at Dragon Sisters we run to the cost of a couple of company cars and that’s about it. Except for a bunch of air miles. Cattle class. Not that I’m whinging.

One of the fail-safe ways to start out on a platform of reasonable mutual trust, is to do a lot of business through referrals. Michelle and I do the majority of our Dragon Sisters’ business through word-of-mouth referrals.

Our approach

As a couple of old dragons we pre-date social media and had to rely on strong in-person networking and referrals back in the day. As a sales person, I hated cold calling and being a pest, so I learnt fast that there was a far easier and more pleasant way to meet new prospects and great like-minded people, who were immediately interested in talking to me, because they knew someone who trusted me enough to refer a friend or an associate to me.

We use exactly the same approach now that we have access to all the marvellous one-click-away contact of social media. And it is marvellous making instant connections provided you don’t lose sight of the fact that any new connection is just going to be one more digit on your vanity metric, until, or unless, you’ve forged an initial element of trust.

That’s what doesn’t seem so obvious now to many digital networkers and marketers.

Michelle wrote a while back explaining how networking and referrals can drive any business’ growth far faster and far smoother once you get the hang of it. Like driving a Ferrari! Yes, I have hankerings for speedy, expensive, transportation toys.

Right, I’m off to polish my Nissan now.

Warm Wishes,

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

Your Reputation Matters – Check Out Who You’re Trusting With It!

Your reputation is affected by those who you surround yourself with.

I had an interesting little experience on LinkedIn and I thought I’d share it with you.

Maybe you’ve come across the same thing?

I was asked to connect with an individual on LinkedIn by another connection. This was an overt network expansion request to help generate interest in, this unknown to me potential connection’s, business.

Let’s call this individual, Larry.

Now, I’m not precious about my LinkedIn connections and who I let into my network. Ordinarily.

After all, if I can give a leg up to another business, then I’m usually more than happy to do so. That’s how networking works and our Dragon Sisters philosophy has always been to help out for no gain – the pay it forward concept.

That doesn’t mean I was born yesterday.

With many more yesterday’s behind me than I like to count, naturally I checked out my soon to be LinkedIn pal, Larry.

I’m a nosey sort and I really am interested in other people’s business.

Not in the curtain-twitcher way! (I’m not that nosey).

More in the what we might have in common way.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why my connection – let’s call him Bob – was raving about Larry.

Larry’s LinkedIn profile and information looked like he’d landed in LinkedIn Land a nanosecond ago.

Kind of the man with no past.

He’d been at the company he worked at only a few brief months. He claimed over a decade in experience and achievement in his sector, but there was nothing to bear out the claim anywhere in his summary or experience.

And I mean nothing.

With over 400 connections Larry had 4 skills endorsements and no past experience history.

Not that I count on vanity metrics, but still, given the dearth of information about the guy, that made his claims more than a bit tenuous.

His company website linked to nothing more informative than an opt-in landing site.

Oh-oh! Had Bob already parted with hard-won cash?

I had a nasty feeling he had. And Bob is a talented, hardworking, solopreneur. I didn’t like to think he’d been gulled.

So, I dug down a bit.

Actually, I drilled down like a manic mole. ‘Til the early hours, when I should have been in LaLa Land with the Sandman and a flock of supine sheep.

But I was intrigued and in full rat-up-a-drain-pipe mode.

Plus, as I said, I’m nosey.

The whole ‘curiosity killed the cat’ thing doesn’t wash with me. Not when it comes to business or handing over cash.

Larry’s claim was that he had the expertise to monetise Bob’s LinkedIn presence for Bob’s explosive business growth.

Really fast and really impressively.

Kind of like a LinkedIn networking guru who could turn LinkedIn into lots of lovely lolly for Bob.

First up, Larry would transform Bob’s profile and presence on LinkedIn into amazing guru-hood for Bob’s specific business sector. Bob’s new profile looked more gnu-like than guru-like. I was about as impressed as a kid at Christmas getting a stocking full of coal.

Bob has paid for this?! My high school kid has a better profile than poor old Bob. And that includes her Saturday job as wait staff.

Talk about being under-whelmed. Larry had done nothing for Bob’s professional reputation. Worse. He’d made Bob look like a complete numpty. And Bob is no numpty. In his field of expertise he’s a star.

My mid-night digging led me to the parent company of Larry’s business. It had been registered just last year. I dug around for the CEO of Larry’s company and that Big Cheese’s other business interests and his partners.

I looked at everyone associated with those businesses on Google, other social media sites and of course, on LinkedIn.

I checked out the company registrations. I checked out the glowing recommendations. Some of which were the same people (on various Big Cheese individual profiles) vouching for (different) businesses which hadn’t existed at the time of writing those gushing this is the go-to guy testimonials.

I found links to defunct websites (with domains registered to the Big Cheeses). To past events promising get-rich-quick schemes.

Most weird of all, was that the people in business together didn’t transparently acknowledge any relationship with each other. They all came from the same background. They all made lavish monetising promises, in different guises and under different companies over the years.

None of them had achieved rich list status themselves. And the way they were scrambling for business, like a pack of hyenas over a bone, had me worried that Bob had become the bone. Humble, lovely Bob, who had trusted his reputation to them and I suspected was on his way to trusting more of his hard-won cash to some under the radar business interests. And not in his business interests.

Spooky, isn’t it?

Dragon Sisters are big advocates of how to Connect. Convert. Sell.

There are ways to go about connecting authentically. This wasn’t one of them. Least ways, not one that works for Bob. Next time he’ll be checking out the reputation of who he’s trusting with his reputation. And money!

Warm Wishes

Yvonne

PS Do you need support deciding who to trust your reputation to? Download our Top 10 Tips by clicking the box below:

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

When no one likes selling, but we all want sales

Happy New Year!

A brand new year is always so exciting, isn’t it? It definitely is, if you, like us at Dragon Sisters, are a small to medium business or an entrepreneur. We are the lucky ones because we get to do what we love, and love what we do!

For most of us, this means we haven’t dragged our sorry-for-ourselves self into an office full of similarly sorry souls, all wondering how the holidays went by so fast, that we could be forgiven for thinking we’re in the realm of a cruel Doctor Who Tardis prank.

Hey presto! Here we are back at our desk, with our 2016 stacked in-tray still in front of us, an email in-box that seems to have some sort of cell-splitting capability (how else can you explain emails that seem to multiply the moment you turn your back on that darned computer) and a boss behind us cracking the whip. Perhaps in the nicest possible way, but hey, a whip’s a whip, designed to whip up our enthusiasm and productivity, which, after a few weeks kicking back guzzling egg nog and other festive treats, can be a bit of a rude shock to the system. Unless, you’re lucky enough to be one of us!

So, here we are, we intrepid entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and SME owners, jumping into 2017 at the warp speed of the Starship Enterprise. Beyond excited to be launching our new dreams, schemes and all things fantastic.

2017 is going to be our best year ever, right? Not least because we are fully committed, in the immortal words of Captain Kirk, to make it so.

Whether you’re a widget designer, a creative consultant, a reiki practitioner, a pooch pampering professional, or a funeral director, you and I are in exactly the same business – we are in business to sell our super service or stupendous stuff.

No matter how brilliantly shiny our (new or existing) product or service is, it’s not going to sell itself.

We need to sell it! And a lot of it!! Which means, all the time!!!

This is the part where I lose a lot of you, dear fellow Intrepid, because once we start talking sales and selling, many often cringe, fidget and generally look about as comfortable as a duck during shooting season. Most of us will do anything to dodge the sales bullet.

Not many of us enjoy being sold to. Fewer still of us enjoy doing the selling.

That’s because we view selling as an unwelcome imposition. It’s intrusive. It interrupts us when we are busy and we are always busy, especially our solopreneurs.

Half the time people are trying to sell us stuff that we really don’t have any interest in. Thanks, but no thanks! We hang up, log off, switch off.

When it comes to selling our own service or product, we definitely don’t want to get the same treatment. We don’t want to be a pain in the posterior either. We’re nice people. We don’t want to impose upon or interrupt anyone, the way we hate it when that happens to us.

That being the case, how are we going to make it so in terms of making this year a storming sales success? Because like it or lump it – 2017 is not going to be great shakes if we don’t get our revenue rocking.

The good news is that, there are lots of routes to sales: on-line, off-line, in person and they all work.

Not only that, but they all work the same way. And it doesn’t have to be painful!

Even the most shy, least people-person amongst us, can get the results they need and want.

Just choose the medium which works best for you and for your business and get Smarketing.

What’s Smarketing? It’s how you …

CONNECT. CONVERT. SELL!

If this is something you have struggled with, then our Smarketing Chart explains how you can make Smarketing work for you.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you need any help, drop us an email.

We’ll be blogging regularly to help you out with more ways to connect, convert and sell your way into a sensational 2017.

Here’s to your success!

With Warm Wishes

Yvonne

P.S. If you haven’t checked out our new website yet, there’s some good free stuff on there for you to help yourself to.

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.