Have you have heard of the amazing story behind how Baroness Michelle Mone, the previous owner of Ultimo, took her business off the ground and past £50million through free press and PR?

Michelle, with a prototype in hand and a few buyers onboard was left with one major problem. How to publicise her new bra with a marketing budget of only £500. The result was to be resourceful and make a huge impact.

“I hired 12 actors and dressed them as plastic surgeons and gave them banners saying “Ban the Ultimo bra because it is putting us out of work” and got them to protest outside the store.”

This became known as the biggest bra launch in Europe and all for £500. Selfridges sold out six months’ worth of stock in as little as three hours.

This month I’ve talked about what to expect and what can happen when pushing to become a leading voice. Some cases highlighted have been extreme but more often than not for us, our activities will stay more localised. For a lot of us this is where we should be; working with the audience we have now to grow through influence to reach more people around us.

Here are just a few tips on how you can do this.

Have a purpose.

This is something that I’ve mentioned before and a common theme across all my blogs. Your purpose has to be part of your wider plan and included in your business strategy. If you don’t have a purpose clearly defined, then it’s hard to know where you’re going.

Often when I talk about becoming a leading voice, people get confused between becoming a voice and becoming an internet influencer. Your purpose doesn’t have to be as grand as earning 1 million followers on Instagram or being able to sell out a conference hall in the O2 arena. It can be about just being different from your competition and standing out amongst your tribe.

Finding associations that are changing the game.

You don’t have to do this alone. Sometimes having a ready-built platform that you can use to catapult your voice can be extremely beneficial. Look at some of the groups that have the same or similar ethics and professionalism as what it is you stand for, and join them. For me, as a sales professional, I’ve joined The Association of Professional Sales, APS. Working with the organisation I’ve been fortunate to stand in front of many of my peers and talk about my experiences in sales. From there I’ve become part of a movement that is actively changing things within sales that I can feedback into my brand and pass on to those that follow me, outside of the APS circle.

Be provocative.

Some people love to be provocative but occasionally not for the right reasons. I come back to Gerald Ratner that I mentioned in a previous blog and his provocative speech made in an Institute of Directors conference. To him, being provocative in a room he felt safe allowed him to feel empowered and some might say egotistic, but outside of that room, among his real audience, people felt used, betrayed and cheap.

The business benefits of becoming a leading voice for your industry.

To me, this is about being prepared to agitate someone and predicting what might happen. You can use this space to try something new, to challenge a topic or subject, and to try and stimulate your audience’s mindset. Just be selective and know your audience, something Gerald Ratner forgot!

Research and learn

If you’re talking at seminars, writing a book, being asked for industry-specific information from a potential client make sure you have researched the information you’re feeding back to that person or persons.

The main point is to check anything you state as fact. You’ll notice in this blog and others before, if we mentioned a fact or quote, we link to it.

So, if you are changing the game, if you are being provocative, make sure you do this from a position of strength. This can be your experience but if it is, have your data available.

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