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Speaker 1: This is the Intuitive Leadership Mastery Podcast. What would it take for you to double your profits and halve your stress with your intuition? Learn how with your host, Michael Light.
Michael Smith: Welcome back to the show. I'm here with Erica Blair. She is a personal branding expert, world traveler, and the lion tamer of the marketing world. We're going to be looking at marketing and intuition, and we're going to look at something that's really painful for a lot of entrepreneurs, which is being on video, and why video is always uncomfortable — but you should do it anyway — why video is so important today to get your message across, intuition as the hidden factor in sales when you're using video, and how to overcome all those big scary thoughts in your head about doing video, like “I've never done it before,” “I won't know what to say,” “Every little thing I say on video needs to be perfect, otherwise people will be judging me.”
And we'll also look at how you can get started in video, and also how the energy of your position … Positioning and presenting yourself can radically change your sales results, and overcoming fears you may have about telling prospects that you're worth a high price, and why selling yourself short is such a fatal marketing strategy. So, welcome, Erica.
Erica Blair: Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Michael Smith: You're welcome. Why is video always uncomfortable, but you should do it anyway?
Erica Blair: I think, really, we need to take a step back and just look at why is video important in the first place, which is a lot of people who are starting brands, starting businesses, they're setting off online because that's the place that we can access our customers, that's the place that we can get the word out about whatever we're doing, whatever we're selling, and in this marketplace, in this social media world that we live in, right now … Being 2017 right now, and the next few years at least, video is becoming really the center of the social media world. It's something that, for instance, Facebook especially really likes, really privileges in their algorithm, and so when you're making video content, it's something that will actually get you in front of people.
Furthermore, video is also really, really powerful for communicating who you are, and what you do, and what you have to offer, in a way that just words on paper might not be able to. And so there's a lot that can be communicated, just in terms of showing up, putting your face out there, the tone of your voice, the content of what you're saying. Just your delivery approach, and kind of the way that you hold yourself, and the way that you talk about what you do, is really, really different when people hear it and see it on video than when they're perhaps reading it on a Facebook post, or even just seeing your face in, like, an Instagram photo or something.
And so I really love video, just as a really powerful tool to help people decide that they know, like, and trust you, and that they want to buy from you, want to work with you, and also as a way to really help people tap into their intuition and let them know that “This is the person that I want to work with, this a person who I can relate to, this is a person whose message I agree with.” And video, bar none, is the most powerful way to quickly and easily communicate all of those deeper levels about who you are and what you have to offer, in addition to whatever else you're doing in your marketing.
I think first, we need to just establish that there's a huge value in doing video in this day and age, and I think a lot of people are seeing that intuitively, and understanding that just from the way that they're consuming content on the Internet, knowing that they watch a lot of videos, and that they connect with people who they've seen on video. And yet, when it comes to their own business, and comes to talking about themselves, comes to showing their face online, it's a whole different story, right? Because what we see working for other people can sometimes be really scary to apply to ourselves.
Most of the people who I work with in my personal branding coaching, and just the people who I encounter online, they come to me saying, “I know I should be making videos, I've seen that it's really important, and yet I feel really scared, and I don't really know how to do it, I've never done it before. Like, I've always been a really private person, and I don't know how to talk about myself. I feel like people are going to judge me for everything I say.” And what I always say about that is that it's true — you know, there's going to be people out there who watch your video who don't like it, there's going to be some awkward moments when you first get on video, you can't be perfect all the time — but that it's really important to do it anyway.
Because through those experiences, through presenting yourself on video, through communicating over and over, and showing up and creating that content, creating that database of all that you have to offer, that's when you really start to reach critical mass in creating content that touches people and that really convinces them that you're the person that they want to work with. And so I think anybody who's at the beginning of that … Looking at video as a potential marketing channel, looking at making videos, or putting themselves on Facebook Live, or whatever it is, for the very first time, I just want to reassure anyone out there in that position that if you feel awkward, if you feel uncomfortable, that's expected. That's actually a good thing. That shows that you're reaching for the next rung on the ladder, and you're pushing yourself to do something that may be a little bit uncomfortable, but doing it knowing that, and doing it anyway, is a real testament to your power to kind of push through whatever boundaries you find coming up in your business.
Michael Smith: So the phrase here would be “Feel the fear, and make the video anyway.”
Erica Blair: Exactly, yeah. And also, you know, by making that video, you quickly gain momentum, so that it doesn't end up feeling so scary later on.
Michael Smith: Now, I think I remember there was a quote that, when surveyed, a lot of people said their number one fear in life was not dying, it was public speaking.
Erica Blair: Yeah.
Michael Smith: And I wonder if we re-ran that survey today, their number one fear would be being on video, then public speaking, then dying.
Erica Blair: Yeah. Well … And it has-
Michael Smith: Because at least with public speaking, when it's over, you can't watch it again, but when it's on video, it's there forever.
Erica Blair: Yeah, and it's really a sign of our times, too, that this is something that so many people are thinking about and worrying about, because a lot … Most of my … I'm in my 30s, but most of my clients are a little bit older than me, and they come from a different era of being taught about professionalism, a different era of the work world, where when they were learning about how to present themselves, how to share what they do, they were trained to be ultra-professional, to really keep strict boundaries between who they really were and the image that they showed to other people. Now, we're getting into this really different world and really different way of relating to each other through the Internet, through social media, where it's almost expected that you put a little bit more of your personality and your real self into anything that you do in marketing your own business, and yet that goes in the face of everything that we've been taught to kind of cling on to.
And so there's a real shift in terms of what you have learned versus what you're now expected to do. A lot of us may have internalized a lot of talk to ourselves about how we can't do these things, and now the world shifted, and look at us, now we have to go out and be public to even have a voice in the world anymore. And so it's natural to kind of have some growing pains, but I think when you look at the way that the world's changing, and all the opportunities that we have to speak directly to our customers now, through video, through social media, it actually is an amazing world of opportunity for us to jump on, if we have the courage to do it.
Michael Smith: I think that makes sense, and I certainly … When I first started making videos, I was scared about it for the reasons you mentioned, and probably some others of my own. So I think this is important, and I've noticed I engage much more with video content than written content, though actually, I prefer to read stuff, because it's a lot quicker to read things than watch a whole video, so I'm a little torn between the two. So what about … How does intuition fit in here as the hidden factor in sales, Erica?
Erica Blair: Well, to be clear, I work primarily with people who are emerging as coaches, consultants, teachers, trainers, speakers, and so when they're out there on the Internet looking for clients, and they're out there really putting themselves up, and saying, “This is who I am, this is what I do,” what they're looking to create is a real one-on-one connection with another human being who may be absorbing their content. That is the power of what we have now, and this tool that I think is actually incredible, that we, as just average human beings, can put ourselves out there online and actually connect with other human beings, without these big corporations or institutions being in between us and other people. And so, when it comes to choosing who you're going to work with, from the client side, right, they have so many choices now. It's almost difficult to choose out of the field of however many people there are offering similar services.
So how do people make the decision? How do people decide which coach, which consultant, which teacher they want to work with? It's done primarily through an intuition. It's done primarily through understanding that this person is just on the vibe, is on the level that I am looking for. This person just speaks to me because the way that they present themselves is very authentic, or the way that they talk about this topic really relates to how I feel about it too. We have to really understand that our ideal clients are making intuitive choices about whether or not they feel called to work with us, and so the more that we can stand up and be real, be authentic, be putting ourselves out there in a way that really shows the full picture of who we are, of how we communicate, of how we express ourselves, and what we feel about a range of topics, the easier that it's going to be for potential clients to really feel that intuitive connection with you, because you're really laying yourself out on the line, and not hiding behind a professional mask of who you think somebody would want you to be.
Michael Smith: I can see how that makes a much stronger connection, and I know I've learnt in marketing that if you can get people to know you, like you, and trust you, you're on the way to make the first small sale with them. And the more trust you can get, the easier it is to make a larger sale.
Erica Blair: Absolutely, and video's kind of a way to shortcut that, just because when you are perhaps reading someone's words, you may love what they're saying, but you won't necessarily think of them, think of their face, think of their voice, when that topic comes up. You'll just say, “Oh, I read something once,” versus when you're actually hearing a statement from a person's mouth, with the full intent that they're delivering whatever that message is, it's a lot stickier, and it's a lot more informative in terms of just how you can really connect with that person as a potential service provider going forward.
Michael Smith: Let's look a bit more in depth at some of those big, scary thoughts, those scary lions that are going to attack you about doing video. You know, “I've never done it before,” “I won't know what to say,” “Everything has to be perfect.” So let's look at that. If someone's thinking, “Well, I've never done video before, I don't know what to do,” what is it that they could do?
Erica Blair: Yeah, so I think, as I mentioned before, everybody is coming to this point where they are making their first videos, and so a lot of us feel like we need to make the perfect video if we're going to make one at all, and actually, there is a much easier way to start approaching the idea of making video, which is just to take it really small steps, just to … Just kind of dip your toes in the water and get a little bit more comfortable. One of the ways that I started was by using some of the disappearing stories functions, so … Now you can find this on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, like they have these features where you can make a short little video, and then it disappears after 24 hours.
So I think to really kind of take a step back and realize that you don't have to make the magnum opus or, like, the masterpiece of your life, just because you're deciding to make a video, that you can start with one type of disappearing small video, and it's going to be okay to just kind of dip your toes in the water, see what feels good, see what feels comfortable, what feels uncomfortable. And then just kind of let it build, because when you start making more and more content, you'll realize that ultimately, there's going to be an opportunity for people to kind of dip in and out of any of your content, and that building a whole library of you talking about the things that you care about is much more powerful than, like, putting everything that you've ever done into one video and expecting everybody to watch that one thing.
Yes, I do believe in the power of a short brand video that explains exactly who you are and what you do as an intro, but that doesn't have to be the very first thing that you ever make. And so kind of taking some baby steps toward just putting your face on camera, getting used to seeing yourself talking about things, is an easy way to kind of dip into that without putting such high stakes and high pressure on yourself. And the other direction that I would take that question is that, really, you know so much about what you do and what you have to offer already. This is not you being put on a pop quiz, asking you about, you know, 18th-century kings of Europe, or something, right? This is you talking about your zone of genius, ideally.
And so to really start off by picking a subject that you could literally talk about in your sleep, that you don't need a teleprompter for, that you don't need notes for, that you could just talk about, because this is what you live and breathe and talk about to everybody who you know, that makes it a lot easier to create video content that flows naturally, that really captures the essence of how you feel super-passionate about whatever the topic that it is that you're presenting on. A lot of people think that they need to really carefully script out whatever it is that they're talking about, that they need to have every single point there, every single argument carefully detailed and structured, and so then they make … It ends up, instead of making the perfect video, it ends up making a really awkward video, because you can see them kind of stiltedly reading lines off of a teleprompter, or something of that nature.
And so, in order to just kind of break that seal, and get used to making video content in the first place, I really suggest just making really short, small videos where you're talking about things that you know backwards and forwards, and through that process, you may end up kind of discovering a voice, and discovering a way of presenting yourself that you didn't even know you had until you tried it.
Michael Smith: Those are great suggestions, Erica, and another one I have is do an interview with someone else over Zoom or some other technology, because when you interact with someone else, it's easier to get out of your own fears and into the moment, so-
Erica Blair: Exactly.
Michael Smith: Or it … Do the video with someone else in the room interviewing you about your passionate topic, whatever it is you're excited about.
Erica Blair: Exactly.
Michael Smith: And I love how you talk about putting your foot in the … Toes in the water, instead of diving into the deep end and thinking you can swim really quick. And, you know, if we think about … You know, it's almost like with video, we watch all these TV shows and Hollywood things where they've been doing it for years, and they have hundreds of people working on making a movie to make it look amazing, and then we expect we're going to do that on our first time out. It would be like a baby looking at Olympic runners and saying, “Yeah, I'm gonna run like an Olympic runner in a hundred meters in 10 seconds.” And they need to take baby steps and fall over a lot, and get up again and laugh, and try it again, and it's the same thing with video. Make some baby steps.
Erica Blair: And we're in a great time for that, too, because the way that people are now consuming videos, and consuming content, and consuming media online, has really shifted. You know, if we look at the average Facebook Live, or we look at Snapchat just being sort of the … One of the main platforms of the next generation, right? It's low-quality, shot on the fly, shaky handheld video. You don't have to have high production values anymore to be listened to, to be taken seriously, to have your voice heard, and so the actual bar in terms of the technology and the production and all of that is so low that it allows you, as a person that has a lot to share, a lot to give, a lot to talk about, it allows you to really just lay your content out there without having to worry about all of the things that used to be a huge part of the process of making videos, and of creating this kind of content that really shows your personality.
I actually think this is an incredible moment in time for people who have a message to spread, have something that they really care passionately about and are able to talk about. I think this is that moment that all of humanity has been waiting for for millennia, where we really get to share our value, share our worth, share our opinions with each other directly, and almost face-to-face, now, in a lot of ways. And so to kind of sit back and let this moment in time slip by, and wait until everybody is required to make video, I think would be a missed opportunity, because if you look around, and you look at all the incredible people you know, and you look at all the people you know who have amazing impacts and amazing offerings in the world, how many of them are actually making videos on a regular basis? Still, most people are not really doing this, and so the field is only getting more crowded.
There's such an opportunity at this very moment for people to kind of jump on this train and really have a wider impact for what they have to share, and so I want to encourage anybody that's kind of on the fence or feeling some fear to understand that by stepping out, by getting on video, what you're doing is really serving more people with whatever message you have to share, because the distribution that we have now is insane, and it's so powerful, and I want everybody to realize that they have this power in the palm of their hand at any moment.
Michael Smith: Literally, with their smartphone, that you have a video camera in your smartphone, it does just great for doing videos, and you don't have to … You know, I think a lot of people, when they start doing video or think about it, think, “I have to get the right camera,” or “I have to get the right microphone,” you know, “I have to get a professional makeup artist to make me up before I get on video,” and, you know, “I have to make sure the background's perfect.”
Erica Blair: Quite the opposite.
Michael Smith: You don't have to do any of that stuff.
Erica Blair: Yeah.
Michael Smith: The important thing is you have the energy, the passion, you have a message that people want to hear, which I'm sure you all do, everyone who's listening. And the only technical thing I think matters is having good sound quality, because people do have to be able to hear the words you're saying, but the video quality itself is less important.
Erica Blair: I have made every single video that I've ever made on my smartphone, so I'm a hundred percent in that school of thought that you have the tools already that you need.
Michael Smith: The other thing here is, you know, what do you do about the fear that people are going to judge you? You mentioned that a little bit earlier, but, I mean, that's a big thing that stops people. “What if my friends or family see this video? What if my prospects see it and I don't look good?”
Erica Blair: Yeah, and-
Michael Smith: You know, “What if I say ‘um' and ‘er' too many times?”
Erica Blair: Well, first of all, there's the entire concept of the fact that, as I was talking about, most people aren't making videos, and so for you to stand up and be that person putting themselves out there, it actually commands a lot more respect than the average person might think, because you'd be surprised how many people are sitting at home watching that video, being like, “Wow, I could never do that.” And so I think a lot of it is in our head, in terms of imagining that people are going to be really negatively judging us, when in reality, most people are just amazed that we're willing to even take it to that level.
And then there's the flip side of that, which is that, yes, there are going to be people who watch your video who do not resonate with you, who do not find what you have to say interesting, and who don't want to watch any more of your videos. And that's okay, and that's something that we really have to understand as business owners, is that every person who self-selects as not being our ideal client, as not being an intuitive match with us, as not being the right kind of fit for working with us, that's actually a blessing in disguise, because that is somebody who we might have been pouring energy down that hole, and not actually getting results for them or for us. And so the more that you can turn away people who are not really right for your message, the narrower you can focus on those people who you are going to be able to impact. That's part of the reason why I say “do it anyway,” because you'd be surprised who does and who doesn't resonate with you.
Like, out of my … I do a lot of my videos on my personal Facebook profile, and out of all the people that I've known over my whole life, it's been really surprising to see who actually has reached out to me and commented on how much they're appreciating what I put out there. It's not everybody who I might suppose, and so if you are kind of broadcasting who you are and what you do, it's actually a really incredible mechanism for the people who really resonate with you to come out of the woodwork themselves, and to self-identify, and to kind of allow you to understand exactly which kind of person is vibing with what you're putting out there.
Michael Smith: I think that idea that you polarize the potential audience, some people are really turned on by what you do, some people are really turned off, and that's good, and it's okay that not every one of the seven billion people on the planet loves what you like, what you … How you present, and what your message is.
Erica Blair: Exactly.
Michael Smith: Because you probably only have to attract a few hundred out of those seven billion to make your business work, or whatever the exact numbers is, but it's a really small percentage.
Erica Blair: Absolutely, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael Smith: And there's so much noise out there that if you have a really bland message that tries to please everyone, it's going to please no one, and they won't hear you over the noise.
Erica Blair: Exactly, exactly.
Michael Smith: So it makes a lot of sense. Where do you think all these fears that people have on being on video, where do they originate from? You mentioned earlier it might be they grew up in an older era where they had to keep their personal life and business life separate, but that's not everyone. I mean, younger people have problems doing videos too.
Erica Blair: Absolutely, yeah. And, I mean, it really actually doesn't have anything to do with age, in a lot of ways, and this is … This really goes to the root of what I do in my personal branding work with my clients, which is that when it comes to standing up and saying, “This is who I am, this is what I do, this is how much I'm worth, this is how I'm going to help you, this is my value,” those are some of the hardest things for anybody to stand up and say about themselves, and they're very deeply tied to the ways that we perceive our own self-worth, the ways that we perceive the value of money, say. The way that we perceive the value of any given service, and those are really tied to things that we may not even consciously understand that we've picked up over decades on earth, or not decades, how it doesn't matter how old you are, it's something that we kind of all wrestle with in different ways, and there's no one easy package or fit to just say, “Okay, I am this, I do this, I help these people,” right?
That's a … Comes out of a very deep internal process of questioning and understanding, really, what is your purpose on this earth? Who can you really support and help on this earth? And so when we're talking about, okay, you're going to put yourself on video, you're going to talk about yourself, it's like, “Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.” That's just the top of, like, an iceberg, and there is literally an entire landmass beneath that that needs to kind of be worked out before you can just stand up and sparkle on video, right? And so, on the one hand, when I … Of course, I want to encourage people just to start putting themselves out there, because it becomes easier, and that process does reveal some things about who's attracted to your message, and also what you have to say, but at the same time, the more that that can be supported by a really strong foundation of understanding exactly who it is that you are, and what you're meant to do to help this world, and to impact other people, the stronger that positioning and that messaging will be when you do get on video and when you do start talking about it.
So I think a lot of the people who are really struggling with those fears, oftentimes it comes back to not really having a super-stable foundation of understanding their purpose and being able to communicate that. And so when you work on those aspects, when you get really super-charged about the fact that you're here to really positively impact other people, then getting the message out becomes imperative, by whatever means necessary. And things like concern about how you look or how you're presenting yourself start to fall away, because the passion speaks for itself.
And so if you're really struggling with a lot of those issues of putting yourself out there, I think it's worth taking a step back and examining that foundation, examining … What's under the water of that iceberg? What's the part that we're not seeing, that is really related to how you perceive yourself and your value? And what could you do, who could you call on to support you to work on that? Because it's kind of like the key that then unlocks the rest of the … All of the marketing, and unlocks, like I said, maybe most … A lot of people come to me and they're like, “I don't know what to write on my website or my social media,” and then we have to go all the way back to “Who are you, and what are you here for?” And then everything kind of spills out and becomes clearer in every communication that they have with other people.
Michael Smith: That really resonates with me, and, you know, there's that famous quote that Marianne Williamson made, that for a lot of people, “Our deepest fear is not that we're inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” And I think for a lot of people, in their childhood … I mean, I think I've seen this in a lot of clients, that in their childhood … You know, when you think about, like, a really young child, two or three years old, they're just full of energy, and they're very passionate, and then sometimes when they're older, their parents or other people tell them, you know, “Don't be too full of yourself.” You know, “You need to fit in,” and there's a lot of that messaging that happens in parenting, and in school, as well.
There's that phrase in … I think it's in Japanese school, where they say, “The tall nail will be hammered back down,” which … And that happens in American and other countries' schools as well, that if you stand out, and you're too full of your passion and light, typically that's the children who get into trouble and end up being punished. What a message that's sending to people about their passion and their message, that you've got to tamp down your passion, you've got to conform? It's really something a lot of us have to deal with, so it's great that you're working with people to release that, and release their light and energy, and that's some of what I do as well.
So, having said all this, we're going to tame all those lions that are making us afraid, because they're really not lions, are they? They're little kittens, really.
Erica Blair: Absolutely.
Michael Smith: We just made them pretended lions. How would you recommend someone get started, if they haven't really done video for their business?
Erica Blair: So, like I said, there's a few different ways to just dip your toes in the water without creating massive, massive expectations for yourself, and so if you're really at the beginning of that journey, I suggest just … You can even just start off by taking one minute of video of yourself on your smartphone, and you don't even have to post it anywhere. You can just simply get comfortable talking in front of a camera, and seeing your face on camera. I do suggest you release it, if you can get that courage, but, you know, for some people, it's such a big block that they need to kind of pass through an even smaller baby step.
Then, of course, there's shorter-form disappearing content, like I mentioned earlier, and then, once you're kind of really ready to step it up, one thing that really helped me — and actually, I think it's how we connected, Michael — is that I agreed to myself, I made a pledge, and I made a public pledge that I was going to post 30 days of video content.
Michael Smith: Ooh.
Erica Blair: And I'm not talking about long videos. In fact, short videos even work better for a lot of marketing purposes, so I made one-to-two-minute videos every single day, and I posted them on Facebook. And that was it, but that was, for me, a way to kind of push myself to the next level, because I was making videos, I was doing live streams, I was doing lots of podcast interviews, and then I kind of felt myself stalling, and I wasn't creating fresh content all the time. And so I did that challenge, and what it really did for me was super-powerful, actually, in terms of creating not just, like, a daily record of whatever had come up with working with my clients, or talking with my friends, or whatever it was, kind of capturing that content in the moment, but also really showing up and being consistent, and being someone that was talking about these issues every day on Facebook attracted a ton of clients to me as well.
It's interesting how powerful it really is, and I've shared this strategy with a lot of my entrepreneur friends, and I think at the moment, I have at least three friends who are currently in their 30-day challenges that they set themselves. And it's just incredible how much other people start to respond when they see you showing up and talking about this stuff every single day. And so that's a way to kind of take it to the next level that I think is surprisingly powerful, and only takes one minute a day. If you were to think about writing a blog post, or even writing a Facebook post, there's no way you're doing it in one minute a day, and so in a lot of ways, this is even more efficient and more powerful, so it's just an incredible tool.
Michael Smith: And you're doing that through Facebook Live, or you're doing it some other way to …
Erica Blair: Yup, I did it all recorded on my smartphone. I got it all subtitled, or captioned, and that's really important, is to make sure, if you're going to post videos on Facebook, 80% of videos on Facebook are watched on silent, and so if you can put captions, which I get automated through Rev.com, if you put captions on your Facebook videos, they'll perform much, much better. And that's part of why I did it pre-recorded rather than live, but if you're … It's totally possible to do it live as well.
Michael Smith: The important thing is that you're practicing and improving every day. You know, just like a baby learning to walk, the baby doesn't wait until it has perfect steps, it practices every day, “I'm gonna do a little bit more today.”
Erica Blair: Exactly. Yup, exactly.
Michael Smith: And you may fall over on your face a few times, and that's okay. Just laugh and get up.
Erica Blair: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And everyone's going to be standing there watching, being excited that you're walking.
Michael Smith: I have a … Yes, exactly. We don't go, when the baby's learning to walk, we're not around judging them, saying, “Well, you've never walked before. Are you sure you should be doing this?” I have a friend, Conni, who has a vlog. She did 30 days of video on vulnerability, where she just opened her heart out and was really vulnerable. And I could see how that 30-day thing, challenge you're suggesting, it could be themed around whatever you're passionate about.
Erica Blair: Yeah.
Michael Smith: Or it could just be 30 days of videos, you know, sharing what's going on in your life or your business.
Erica Blair: Yup, yup.
Michael Smith: Many ways to take it. We got started doing video, we're either doing it with our smartphone or with a webcam on our laptop. Everyone has those. What about the energy of how you position and present yourself when you're doing these videos?
Erica Blair: Yeah, so, you know, I think a lot of-
Michael Smith: How does that affect sales?
Erica Blair: I think a lot of people, they feel like they need to really, really portray themselves as an expert in anything that they talk about, and I think there's two different sides to that, which is that yes and no, it's important to portray yourself as an expert. So, you know, on the “no” side, people, when they're watching your videos, when they're seeing your face, when they are kind of sensing your energy, the number one thing that most people are looking for is, “Does this person seem real, legit, like they actually just are speaking from the heart, or is there something sort of off about the way that they're presenting themselves?” Because we are very sensitive to if anything kind of feels off, and if anybody's trying to be something that they're not. And so I really don't recommend that you put on a guru face and try to pretend to be this all-knowing, wise being.
Michael Smith: Can you show us your guru face, Erica, just so we know what you mean?
Erica Blair: I can't. I mean, I'm hard-wired not to.
Michael Smith: Do you … Have you lost your guru face, or did you sell it on eBay?
Erica Blair: Oh, it fetched a great price, actually.
Michael Smith: Yes.
Erica Blair: Yeah, so … You know, but I think a lot of people, when they are talking about what their passion is, and talking about what their work is, they do want to be perceived as knowing what they're talking about, and so I think there's a fine line, too, where it's not about pretending to be someone that you're not, but it's also important to have some confidence, and have some power in your delivery, where it really does show that you do live and breathe this kind of thing. And that's why I really suggest that you start off by talking about whatever it is that's in your zone of genius, because those are the areas where it flows naturally, and anybody can get kind of wrapped up into a state where they're feeling confident.
Another aspect of that is that what you do with your body, how you hold yourself, what you've done prior to appearing on video, can be very effective for changing the energy and the vibration that you're giving off when you're on video. For anybody who's seen that TED Talk by Amy Cuddy, I highly recommend it, I think it's the number two TED Talk ever in terms of views, but she's … Amy Cuddy is a researcher who has done research on power posing, and essentially, what they've proven is that if you stand with your hands above your head, arms wide, and make yourself as big as possible, that … And you do that for two minutes before anything, it actually improves your performance on interviews, on tests, on anything where confidence is important. And so if that's something that you're really struggling with, there's some physical things that you can do to shake up your body, and to really put yourself in a zone that's going to make that flow a lot easier.
And then, of course, practice makes perfect too, so the more that you go down that road, it's just going to kind of snowball, and you're going to automatically know, like, “I got this,” and so then, the nerves don't necessarily show as much. But yeah, I think power posing, breathing, doing some grounding meditation work before you get on camera, if you're really feeling nervous, that can be a game-changer in terms of actually just physically changing your state so that you're able to show up and portray the confidence that someone does need when they're talking about something that is really what they teach and what they work on.
Michael Smith: I think those are great ways to get comfortable, and I'm going to link in that TED Talk in the show notes when we publish this so people can find it. The other things that I find work for me are connecting to the lights. You mentioned grounding, which means connecting to the light from below. I also connect to the light from above, and expand my heart out as big as the universe. The other things that I find helpful is setting the intention for whatever the video is, or the presentation. You know, what would it take for this to be successful, fun, connectful, easy, successful, whatever words you want to put in there? But asking that, see if you have any inspired actions. Also find visualizing connecting my heart to the audience's heart, kind of seeing that connection, even if it's on video and I can't see the audience, it helps me to imagine the audience is there and energetically connect to them, and they … I really can feel the difference in videos I record where I've made that energetic connection with the audience over ones where I haven't, so …
When I was learning to do webinars many years ago, one of the teachers for that suggested you actually have photos of your audience tacked up above your laptop, above your webcam, so you actually stay engaged, because it's so easy when you make videos to forget people are watching this, and, you know, you're having a conversation here, and you want to engage with the audience.
Erica Blair: Absolutely, and when you can really picture a person's eye or face or heart on the other side of the camera, then you are going to hold yourself and hold your entire face and your body in a different way too, and it can … That's really helpful for people who are really shy, too, to just kind of picture one person, rather than imagining, like, the millions of masses that you might be kind of jumping to in your mind when you're just getting started.
Michael Smith: Yeah, I think that would be wise. It's easy to freak ourselves out, so see the friendly faces in the audience, and imagine connecting with them. So, okay, let's imagine our listeners have got the courage up to make their first videos — maybe they're going to do a 30-day challenge — but they're still selling themselves short when it comes to pricing their services and telling prospects that they're worth a high price. How do you deal with that, Erica?
Erica Blair: That's a … It's a huge topic, and one that I've done a lot of presentations on, because I find that it's actually … Like, what you price your services at is the most emotional possible question in business, in a lot of ways, and it goes so deep into our roots of how much are we worth, how much is money worth, and all of us have really different understandings and expectations, and a lifetime of history around these issues, and so it's not something that I've ever seen anybody change immediately overnight, but it's something that I think with the right tools, you can start really affecting the way that you present yourself, and the way that you confidently ask for a number that might, right now, feel uncomfortable to you.
And so, just to take a step back, I think something that we have to realize is that human beings are hard-wired to equate price and value, right? We have been trained that if something's more expensive, it's better. You don't need to go any further than looking at a wine store, or brand-name clothing, or something. Like, a lot of people really do think that the more they pay for something, the better it is. And then, even people who are not necessarily consciously thinking that, if you're working in the realm that most of my clients are, which is coaching, consulting, teaching, speaking, the price that you charge ends up having a very direct relationship with the amount of commitment that the people you work with actually give to changing whatever it is that they've hired you to help them change.
It's very much related to the value of what they think they get out of your services, and so a lot of people, when they're thinking about pricing their packages, they're creating their ideal package for their client … You know, this is one of the main things that I work on with my clients, because the numbers that they come up with are low to a lot of people, and yet still feel extremely scary to them, right? And so to kind of move to a level where they're not only able to boldly say, “This is how much I'm worth,” but then they're able to convince other people of that, takes some work, because … I always say, if you are pitching your price to a client, you have to make them believe that you're worth that price. But before you can do that, you have to make yourself believe that you're worth that price, and that's where it usually gets hung up, actually.
And so, for a lot of people who I imagine is the bulk of your audience are people who feel like the work that they're doing is really world-serving, life-serving. You know, they're committed to making a positive impact. These are the people, oftentimes, who have the most fear around charging high prices, because they … A lot of people have been trained to think that money is sort of evil, or that you only charge a high price if you're really full of yourself, or a scammer, or something, not realizing that pricing high is actually what allows other people to get more value out of what you do, is one of the factors that allows people to get more value out of what you do. And the side benefit is that if you price high enough, you can live your life comfortably, and you deserve to live your life comfortable.
And so it actually is so much more of a win-win situation than a lot of people realize, to ask for high prices, and for a lot of clients, they actually want to pay more. And this isn't something that they may tell you directly, but a lot of times, like … We've all been there, where we were going to buy something, but then we see the price, and we're like, “Ooh, that's so cheap, it might not be very good,” right? And so to stand up and say that I am valuable, I am worth prices that at one time seemed scary, it's a transition. Some tools and techniques that I use is setting a price … Okay, if you're going to think about your prices, I would like anybody out there who's listening right now to think about the last price they pitched to somebody that they actually got, and then double it. If that's really scary, that's your new price. If that's only kind of scary, then double it again, because any price that is really, really scary is probably actually what you're worth.
And it's going to take some time to kind of get used to that number, but by saying that number not only in your head, but saying it aloud multiple times, and maybe every day, saying it aloud multiple times, you start to get accustomed to it, and it starts to not be so scary, until the point that you can actually say it to a client. And you'd be surprised, once you really get to the point where, like, “Boom, this is my price, this is how much I charge,” you'd be surprised how many people are actually going to emphatically say, “Sure, where do I sign?” And I know for me, every time I've raised my prices, and then somebody said yes, I'm like, “Oh, really?” And then it reminds you that for everyone that you weren't saying those prices to, you were literally throwing your own money, your own life force, your own ability to thrive and survive away because you weren't yet confident enough to really price up the value that you provide people.
It's a deep issue. Obviously, I'm giving it like a five-minute explanation, and I could talk about it for five hours or more, because, as I say, it really is the most emotionally fraught issue, and probably one of the most controversial things I talk about, because of the fact that so many people have so much tied up around concepts of money. But I would like to encourage anybody listening to this to think about how you could scare yourself with your rates, and when you get to that point, then you can kind of raise it up another level, but if you're not scared, then you're probably pricing too low.
Michael Smith: Well, and if you're not in an uncomfortable position, you're probably not growing.
Erica Blair: Yes, exactly.
Michael Smith: And part of this is around personal growth and increasing your self-worth, and increasing the value you provide to people, so … The other thing that I know a lot of people have issues with raising their prices, they're afraid some of the people they want to serve won't be able to afford it, which is definitely going to be true, and what I found works for that is, you know, have premium-priced products that show your worth, but also give away free videos, or … You know, you can give stuff away on webinars or whatever that feeds the people who can't afford your amazing services. You don't have to be affordable by all seven billion people on the planet. That would mean you'd be charging three cents … 3.9 cents a session or something, you know?
Erica Blair: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And typically, the people who are only going to watch your free stuff, that's what their plan is anyway. Like, even if they had the money, who knows if they would want to spend it on that? We're giving out of the desire to change the world with our message, and when you are really coming from a place where you trust that abundance is going to flow back to you from that, then it becomes a lot easier to give up a client here or there, because they're not exactly the right fit for you, and that could be financially as well as just more emotionally, or for other parts of what it's like to work with them. But yeah, I think the more that you really kind of test and see that there's going to be enough clients, there's going to be people that are willing to pay your rates, the easier it is to be okay with not meeting every single person who ever approaches you about working with you.
Michael Smith: That makes sense. So if people wanted to work with you, Erica, how would they find more of your amazing videos and other stuff?
Erica Blair: My website is Erica, with a C, E-R-I-C-A, dot live, L-I-V-E, so you can go there, and that's a place to get more … Get in contact with me, find my mentorship application, find out about any events that I'm doing. Right now, I'm planning a retreat for Colorado in July, and in addition to that, the main place that I hang out is on Facebook, and I primarily, at the moment, am using my personal Facebook profile, so you can Google … Or you can search on Facebook, “Erica Blair,” and I'll have a link to that on my website as well, so you can just send me a friend request on Facebook, and you'll see on my page that it's all about personal branding, so you'll know you found the right one. If you're connected at all with Michael, we're connected over there as well. So that's really the easiest place to get in touch with me, is through Facebook or my website.
Michael Smith: Fabulous. Well, thanks so much for sharing with us about energy and video and intuition. It's been wonderful talking with you, Erica.
Erica Blair: Yeah, you too. Thanks so much for having me, Michael. I appreciate it.
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