The Big CLOSE.

Ever wonder how you got to where you are?

Today I was thinking about that…

When I was a kid, every year we’d visit my cousins’ house in Chicago. My family would drive out from Longmont, Colorado and stay there for a couple of weeks, during which time my (indulgent) teenage cousins and I would plan and execute our annual Talent Show in their basement.

The Talent Show featured your standard musical, dance and gymnastic lineup… mostly on roller skates. My mom still has a picture of me at 8 years old in pom-pom pigtails and overalls roller skating in circles around the “audience” (our parents), singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. At right is a picture of me posing before a gymnastic performance.

My talent show duties included: talent recruitment, ordering the numbers, hand-crafting invitations, designing costumes, spreading the word, and getting the parents to attend.

Ah, the glory days…

So no surprise, I guess, that nowadays my favorite time of the year (twice a year, actually) is Summit SeasonThe Women’s Success Summit (May 17th & 18th) is my grown-up version of the talent show. The Summit brings together South Florida’s most ambitious, talented and successful women (and men!) to inspire, educate and ELEVATE the business community.

The theme? The Big CLOSE – all focused around the principles of selling – selling yourself, your ideas, your products, your services. (And by the way, we are ALL selling SOMETHING.)

Clear your calendar, friends, this is one event you must attend. Personally, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And yes, men ARE welcome to attend, and in fact, several often do!

Aside from the phenomenal content and national powerhouse speakers (check out the lineup here:, we have new and exciting sponsorship initiatives for businesses that want to engage 800 upscale, professional and highly influential women over 2 whole days. Check out the sponsorship deck here. Or contact Jessica Lurie for details (888) 531-3830,

By the way, I’m SO excited to announce our new venue, The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, (YAY!!!) and our partner, Chispa Marketing, that is producing this Summit.

This Summit will deliver game-changing strategies, foster powerful relationships and inspire those oh-so-important “a-ha” moments to help women like me elevate themselves beyond where they are today. Take a look at some of the amazing speakers and sessions we have lined up, and prepare to be blown away…


It Was A Hot Summer Day In Boston…

I recently had an epiphany that I want to share with you. Bear with me as I begin my story almost 15 years ago…

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I spent years switching jobs, moving from city to city (NYC, Boston, Concord, NH, just to name a few) and generally being aimless.

At one point I decided “wouldn’t it be fun to work in an art gallery?” So I walked into the nicest one, on Newbury Street (Boston) and asked if they were hiring.

When the gallery curator interviewed me, the conversation went (something) like this:

“Do you have any sales experience?” — “Uh, no.”
“Do you have any art background?” —“Hmmm. Nope.”
“Have you ever done anything like this at all?” —“Well, last summer I visited 45 cities in 60 days to hand out Dentyne Ice chewing gum samples on street corners. Does that help?” [See pic at right]

Maybe they were hurting, because despite my un-qualifications I got the job. So I packed up, left bustling Concord, NH, and moved to Boston to sell art.

By the 3rd month, I hit #1 in the Boston gallery. In month 9, I ranked #2 among ALL of the art consultants across the entire national franchise. What happened?

I didn’t get this back then, but in retrospect, it’s clear. I’d studied psychology in college, and in the absence of ANY art knowledge OR sales skills, I relied on a basic “Psych 101” technique: personality profiling.

When people walked into the gallery and it was my “up,” instead of accosting and trying to “sell” them, I focused on reading their body language, adapting to the cues, and developing rapport, mostly by educating them and focusing on the stuff that they wanted to talk about. The sales followed. Lots and lots (and lots!) of sales.

The lesson that I see now, in retrospect, is that I was successful selling because I wasn’t focused on the sale. Instead, I was focused on building relationships, and ultimately TRUST. People want to do business with regular people – not with salespeople, not with logos, not with marketers. Moreover, they want to do business with people they LIKE.

To that end, one of the most powerful ways to connect with other human beings is to adapt to their unique personality type. Do you know the 4 basic types? If not, here’s my “secret weapon” so you can use it too.


First and foremost, it is important to understand that we ALL have elements of all types, but like a preference for right-handedness or left-handedness, most of the population exhibits a natural preference for certain ways of being over others. When we understand our natural preferences, and those of others, communication and interaction is just easier.

In addition, there are MANY different ways of categorizing personality type – The Myers Briggs Type Instrument (a 16-type distinction that, incidentally, my company is certified to administer and interpret), DISC, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and many, many more.

Below is a SIMPLIFIED 4-type distinction* that can quickly get you to a place where you are recognizing and adapting to different styles. In this type paradigm, there are 4 basic personality types: Lions, Monkeys, Owls and Koalas.

The below designations are adapted from several sources, but the essence is based on my favorite: The Referral Institute’s Behavioral Styles model.

The Lions and Monkeys (top of the chart below) tend to do things FAST. They walk fast, talk fast, drive fast and decide fast.

The Owls and Koalas (bottom of the chart below), tend to take their time. They like to consider things more carefully and tend to be more circumspect in making decisions.

The Lions and Owls (left side of the chart), tend to be more TASK-oriented, whereas the Monkeys and Koalas (right side of the chart) tend to be more PEOPLE-oriented.

The below chart helps you by giving clues about how to adapt to each type.

So, can you tell which type you are? Let me know here. And if you have any questions, post those too!

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)
(888) 531-3830

What Sales Skills Can Women Best Cultivate?

Women have some great sales skills that come naturally. The trick is, how do you best leverage them?


1. No Matter What Your Age May Be, Let It Be An Asset Instead Of A Handicap.

In my case, I was in my very early 20s when I started my business and instead of letting my youth be a handicap, I treated it like an asset. Typically, potential clients would approach a meeting with me not knowing my age. Upon meeting me, it was very clear to them that I was young. Throwing them of like this was very much an advantage for me because I could then take control of the situation and confidently deliver an excellent pitch.

Thanks to Cole Imperi of Doth Brands

2. Natural Sales Skills That Female Sales Professionals Can Work

The female salesperson has an ability to empathize with potential customers. This makes her exceptionally well suited to the needs analysis portion of professional selling. Men tend to want to jump right into fixing things and offering solutions. By doing more needs analysis to find what pain the potential customer is feeling, female salespeople can more readily examine the customer’s concerns and bring them to an emotional point where they are willing to buy an end to those concerns.

Thanks to Todd Miller of Classic Metal Roofing Systems

3. Kid, You’re A Natural

Women have some things going for them that make them natural salespeople. For one thing, women are natural listeners – THE key skill for a successful sales person. Women listen well because we are truly interested in what the other person has to say. This allows us the opportunity to really hear their needs and situation. In addition, because we are natural listeners, people like to talk with us. We are genuinely interested so the other party feels free to communicate with us.

Thanks to Diane Helbig of Seize This Day Coaching

4. Develop Your Intuitive Abilities

We are all born with 10 senses, the 5 physical and 5 spiritual senses of intuition, clairvoyance, clair-sentience, clair-audience and clair-cognizance. By learning to “read” potential clients and by learning to listen to your external and internal Guidance system, you can increase your sales by huge margins. We are all born with intuitive abilities but we turn them off in childhood so it is just a matter of re-learning to tune into this amazing Guidance system for increased sales.

Thanks to Terri Jay of Terri Jay, Intuitive Messenger

5. Be A Dead Head!

No, don’t take up the wacky tobaccy and buy a VW van. But, take your cues from one of the most successful bands and give away your expertise as much as possible. The Grateful Dead were known for giving away their music and videos. Do the same, but applied to your field. Make connections for your target customers, give away your expertise, show them to where they can find answers to their problems, even if its not with you. People will remember you and word will travel.

Thanks to Lea Richards of Pig Of The Month BBQ

6. Ask And You Shall Receive!

When you are sitting down with a prospect; the first tool to use is asking questions. Ask what their current experience is like with their existing vendor and vendors product, ask what they would change about it, then ask; what else. The prospect will tell you what they are looking for and what they are currently dissatisfied with. Start your questions with “tell me”;”what do you”;”how do you”,etc. Make sure you’re listening, because they will tell you everything you need to know to close them.

Thanks to Amy Sangster of Muzak Focus Four, West Palm Beach

7. Stop Spinning Your Wheels. Just Go With What You Already Know How To Do.

When I was ready to leave full-time mom status and re-enter the workforce, I decided to start my own business so that I could still be mom first & schedule my days accordingly. I took a look at what I’m good at. Rather than trying something completely new, I realized I’m really good at..well… yapping. I like to tell my friends about the newest widget I found and build fans. So, naturally, my career in product representation & social media marketing made sense. I tweet & FB & build more fans!

Thanks to Shane Shaps of 520 East Brands

8. Yes, Virginia, It Is Still A Man’s World!

I have been in sales for 40 years!! (Always on a commission basis). I have always been successful because no matter how much we want to believe otherwise it is a “man’s world” in business and I have to acknowledge that. Women do hold important positions but the mindset has not changed as rapidly as we would like.
As a tip to women sales professionals: If your clients are men, learn about sports, financial matters (bonds,how money moves,Bernacke etc) and politics. They want to qualify you as a person. I have seen it time and time again. If your clients are women, you have to be able to walk in their shoes and understand their side of the equation. Empathize not sympathize.

Thanks to

9. What Sales Skills Can Women Cultivate/Capitalize On?

Be nurturing like your favorite grandmother. Ask good questions. Listen intently to your prospects, so they feel heard. Give them praise for how hard they work, how much they’ve accomplished and all that they’ve overcome.

Thanks to Carrie Hensel of Inner Circle Media

How To Say No To Clients Or Colleagues (Without Feeling Guilty)

Sometimes saying yes, just isn’t an option. Saying no is unavoidable. So, how do you do it right? Check out some of these tips.

1. Value Your Time, Put A $$$ On It, And Stick To It

What’s your time worth? Too many people don’t put a monetary number on it. You are the expert. Your time as that expert is valuable. Once you have a $$$ hourly rate for your time, you can very easily convey something like this.

“I’m flattered that you asked for my help. I charge $XX per hour for my time. As the expert in “insert topic/field here”, I get lots of requests for my time. Unfortunately, because of that I’m very busy. Let me know when you’d like to schedule time at my rate.”

Thanks to Jim Kukral of The Attention Formula

2. Say “No” Because You Said “Yes”

People who have a hard time saying no can hurt their teams and themselves in various ways. For those folks, one of my rules is, “One ‘yes’ at a time.” If you have already taken on one extra task or promised significant help to one teammate, here’s the answer to the next request you get: “I would love to help, but I have already promised to (name the action here). If you can wait until (the due date for said action), I’ll be happy to help you then.” You’ll still come across as a good team player.

Thanks to Jim Morgan of TeamTrainers Consulting

3. Let Me Introduce You To My Little Friend…

I simply tell a client my plate is very full and that I won’t have any availability for the next several months. Then, I give them the names of other, equally-qualified writers and offer to introduce them via email. It keeps me from doing work I don’t want to do, yet not look like the bad person with clients.

Thanks to Nichole Bazemore of Simply Stated Solutions

4. How To Say NO. And Have It Stick

1.Politely explain that you can not do it and why. E.g. Sorry I can’t give you an extra discount on that item.

2.Elaborate as is necessary to make the point. Do not over explain. E.g.Our margin is already so low on that we carry it primarily as a service to our customers, not as a money-maker.

3. Explain what you can do. E.g. If you purchase the complete package however, with the carrying case and accessory package, I can give you an additional 20 percent discount on that.

Thanks to Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates

5. Be Kind

I’m in sales. I’ve heard “no” a lot of different ways; from surly to sweet.

Kind ways to say, “No”:

“I’m sorry . . .

* we’re going to have to pass on this opportunity for now.”
* it’s not the right time for our company.”
* corporate won’t go for it.” (deferring to a higher power)
* it doesn’t fit in with our (budget, policy, etc.) at this time.

Sometimes people forget they’re talking to a real person if it’s a phone call. Be cordial–as if they’re sitting right there.

Thanks to Hali Chambers of John Morgan Seminars

6. Just Say No + Give An Alternative

My best tip for saying “No” without the associated guilt is to say no, and then offer the person a resource or next step they might find helpful. (Example: another organization/company they can partner with, another organization providing the same type of service, or another person who might be looking for a partnership opportunity).

Thanks to Mary Horowitz of NC LEAP / North Carolina Bar Association

7. Say ‘No’ With A Smile

Clear boundaries of what you will do focusing on making the language neutral.
I’d love to help you with that and I am available from 2-3 today to discuss’. Instead of ‘I can help you!’

‘This position/idea/decision/ is interesting but my concern is…’ instead of ‘I disagree, this idea is …’
‘I feel uncomfortable being asked to stay until 8 pm on this project…’

Thanks to Zele Avradopoulos of ZOrganize

8. It Doesn’t Fit The Path

Keep your vision and goals in the forefront of your mind at all times. When confronted with a request that doesn’t map with your vision and goals you can easily say ‘I’m sorry I can not do that for you. It does not fit with my current path for my business.’ And then help them find someone who can help them if that’s possible.

Thanks to Diane Helbig of Seize This Day Coaching

9. Tell Them Yes To What You Can Do

One of the most effective methods of telling someone “no” without feeling guilty you’re souring the relationship is to inform the customer how you can say “yes”. Rather than saying, “No, I cannot be there for four hours tomorrow morning,” you can say, “To carve out four hours I need at least two days notice. Do you want to schedule that now?” Exceptional customer service – and this is what we are talking about – is not only about the “yes” and “no”, it is about appropriate expectations.

Thanks to Brian Vinson of TRC Engineering Services, Inc.

10. Saying ‘No’ With Grace.

Begin with a simple ‘Thank you for…’ – perhaps taking interest in the product, visiting the store, offering the job etc as this will lower the other person’s defenses and they will be more likely to remain open to future relationship.
Next step is to begin with an ‘I statement’ regarding how you feel about the situation. For example ‘I feel very honoured you considered me for ……but….’ and follow with any negative input.

Thanks to Anne Laidlaw of Shiloh Trust

11. How To Tell Someone You’re Too Busy For Them Right Now

No one wants to feel like they’re at the bottom of your list. Try something like this:

“Right now, all my attention is focused on serving (my/our) current (customers/partners). If we have the opportunity to work together in the future, I know you’ll appreciate that same level of commitment.”

That doesn’t work for current customers and partners, of course, but it’s a graceful way to turn down business or partnership opportunities without offending them or closing the door for the future.

Thanks to Scott Allen of OneCoach

12. Say No With A Smile….

When working with clients…I do my best to develop clear defined policies…mostly for myself. They give me something black and white to use in …especially…difficult situations…Policies help me to keep my emotions in tact…and to be able to say NO without guilt.

Thanks to Sally Gilchrest-Unrau of

13. Saying NO- Brother Can You Spare A Reason?

When I have to say the big N-0, I make sure to give a clear explanation as to why it can’t be done, offer reasonable alternatives, and if applicable explain the current list of projects I’m working with the client and offer to put one on the back burner and replace it with the current request.

Thanks to Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting


The act of saying no is important to separate from feeling guilty. Feeling guilty is appropriate when you do something with the intention of deceiving or hurting someone else. Saying no is a refusal not a rejection and must be communication that way to avoid hard feelings. A business refusal is not the same thing as a personal rejection and it is important to know the difference. It is understandable to feel badly that you must say no, although not to go down the road of guilt. How we presently handle a situation today determines what will happen the next time. If you feel pressured to make choices that compromise your integrity, you may want to question the request rather then the answer.

Thanks to Lisa Brateman of Lisa Brateman, NYC Psychotherapist, The Relationship Specialist

Plugging Your Business Without Being Shameless

How do you promote your business without self-promotion?  Check out some of these tips that may help people become more “aware” of your business without the obvious sales- “woman”-ship.

1. Let Your Customers Talk For You!

It’s true. In sales there’s nothing that works better than having your customers talk about you. Think about it. Instead of you trying to convince a potential customer how awesome you are, why not find a way to have your customers do it for you? A great way to make this happen is on video. Send your top 5 clients a Flip camera. Ask them to record a short message about why they do business with you. Tell them to keep the camera, just send the footage. Take those videos and promote them!

Thanks to Jim Kukral of The Attention Formula

2. Self Promotion By Promoting Others

One of the best ways to promote yourself is to promote others instead. It’s business karma…give without expecting to receive. Sometimes people reciprocate, sometimes they don’t. Either way, it’s a good thing because you are letting those who listen to you know about businesses and resources that you believe in and can benefit them, and that is providing value. If you provide value, you increase your customer loyalty. Loyal customers talk about you, and your business grows. Simple.

Thanks to Norma Maxwell of Norma Maxwell Internet Marketing | Web Design

3. Get Real: Developing A Real & Relatable Social Media Presence For Your Business

When promoting yourself or your business it’s important to engage with the ever-growing social media community. With this format, there is a fine line between being shameless and not.

When using social media as a tool for branding and marketing yourself or your business, it’s of the utmost importance that a thorough plan is created — before logging on. Start with the end-goal in mind; and let that be your guide to social media success.

To avoid the cheese factor, your output needs to be consistent and focused on perpetuating your brand. Skip the minor updates, but when big things are happening, let your fans and followers join the conversation.

Another key to getting your brand noticed on the social media superhighway without getting eye rolls ; acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of your friends,fans and “followers.Respond thoughtfully to their questions and feedback, too, as this establishes a dimensional relationship with the very people that give your business meaning.

Thanks to Lauri Flaquer of Saltar Solutions

4. Add A Quote

Ask a college professor or high school teacher, a professional in your field or a community leader to test drive what you are trying to sell, whether a product or a service. If there is no product yet, those people who know your abilities may still be sources for quotes regarding your gifts and talents. If you can secure a brief endorsement or a positive quote, add it to your resume. Avoid wordy quotes, and use only something that reflects your potential.

Thanks to Randall Murphree of American Family Association

5. Let Yourself Be Heard!

Radio blogs are forever in need of new guests. Check out blogs in your field – check out blog talk radio to see sorts of guests being aired. You’ll not only be on air, you’ll also be available on line and the podcast stays a long time. Use some of it on your website or blog, promote it on facebook. Discuss a product you wish to promote, tieing in with the host’s subject. If you have written a book, you can direct listeners to it. Be upbeat and helpful, and its a win/win situation.

Thanks to Francine L. Trevens of TnT Classic Books

6. Want Attention? Become A Go-to Source.

Very few people are really interested when you start talking about yourself. (Spoiler: this includes friends.) However, there are tons of opportunities every day to contribute to legitimate publications that allow you to get your story out.

By contributing to, for example, I’ve scored some really nice interview opportunities. It isn’t shameless self-promotion since I’m responding to specific requests – providing an aid and a resource as opposed to just a “pitch.”

Thanks to Erin Deighan of Actress, Voice Artist, Singer

7. You Want Attraction Power And To Be Known As An Expert

I promote myself by first promoting others. I read articles, blogs and send them out to my social media contacts and clients.

Thanks to Cindy ODonnell of Living Insurance Solutions

8. It Is And Is Not About You.

Speak portraying historical characters who achieved important successes in leadership, team building, motivation, ethics, etc. You can then laud them and their contributions without it being only about you. Human nature is unchanging, though technology is ever-changing, thus classic successes of the past are recycleable for contemporary audiences. In fact, why would it need to be about you anyway? Humans have flaws and virtues, strengths and weaknesses. It’s really all about ideas anyway.

Thanks to Richard Cheatham of Living History Associates, Ltd.

9. Balance The Shame With The Content And Get It Out Of The Way.

If you are going for the shameless plug do it in the introduction, I got this tip from British TV presenter Michael Parkinson. It also removes the pressure of how you are going to get the plug in. Once you have plugged your business reward the listener with great content. Fail to reward makes you an oppertunistic waste of time. People will remember you as good or bad. Which one is up to you. If you are going to plug yourself again, make a joke of it. Don’t waste people’s time.

Thanks to Craig Griffiths of Ask Find Buy

10. Self-Branding Can Lead To Effective Self-Promotion

Your personal brand reflects the characteristics you want the public to see, regardless of who that public is. Every adult has the opportunity to create their own brand, and can have their name legally changed with a simple hearing by a judge and some basic paperwork – as long as the reason has nothing to do with your need to evade the law or debt of any kind, have at it. Entertainers do it all the time – would you tune in to watch Larry Zeiger interview celebrities? But before retirement, Larry King pulled in the occasional viewer on a regular basis. Go figure.

Some internal reflection is in order when choosing your personal brand. Give it some thought, understand that it has to be viewed by the world at large and have some meaning, then back up the moniker with the attributes you hold in highest regard, consistently. Now you’re talking branding . . .

Thanks to David Poulos of Granite Partners

11. Brand Yourself As The Industry Leader Without Making It About You

You can gain vast exposure and recognition by branding yourself as an industry leader, without overtly self-promoting yourself. Serve as a speaker for industry conferences, join an industry board of directors, write industry articles, case studies and white papers for publication on blogs, websites, newspapers and magazines, Twitter information about topics that don’t promote your company, but are relevant to your followers, and support your community through volunteer efforts.

Thanks to Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions

12. Shamelessly Promoting My Blog

As an author of a food blog specializing in cooking contests, promotional food related videos, and social marketing strategy for restaurants and culinary companies, part of my work is to promote my website to everyone I see. Sometimes I feel guilty that I do events just to get a plug in for my site or contests, but it turns out that when I have speaking engagements, that’s actually what people want to hear about. I get to talk about great food and drink, then refer people to!

Thanks to Jay Ducote of Bite And Booze

13. Anything But Shameless!

Volunteer your services or donate your products! You get to work with highly influential community leaders, show off your talents, make tons of fans/followers, and reap personal growth! It’s a WIN-WIN!

Thanks to Madelyn Fradkin of Mobile Assistant Direct

14. Victory Through Voicemail

Almost everyone knows what the abbreviation “vm” means. Yes, voicemail. I use voicemail to pique prospects’ interest and promote my company two ways. 1) When I leave someone a voicemail, my message ends includes “oh! and next time we talk remind me…”. This leaves them curious. 2) I do the reverse and on my phone greeting it ends with, “remember to ask me about” This generates interest, opens conversation, and increases hits to my website.

Thanks to Lara Loucks of

15. Be Friendly Not Aggresive

When I promote my bussiness I’m always friendly on the phone or via emails. I don’t like to sound aggresive because when I have a sales person contacting me I hate when the person is trying so hard that sounds aggresive.

Being friendly and soft in my words- even via email- has help me to get more business or referrals.

Thanks to Mirianer Soto of MSP Productions

16. Answering Questions On LinkedIn (without Promoting) Actually Promotes You

If you use LinkedIn, under the More tab, select Questions/Answers. Then find questions that you can answer in your area of expertise. Give really useful info in your answer. DO NOT promote yourself, just show that you know your stuff & are helpful. People will read your answer, if it’s good – they’ll read your profile. I’ve gotten hired as a consultant this way. Also answers on LinkedIn are a part of their searches, so use keywords in your answer when applicable.

Thanks to Cathy Larkin of Web Savvy PR

17. Show Your Compassionate Side

We show our customers that we are compassionate, care about their feelings and understand their needs by sharing information that is relevant and important to them. We sell a product to special needs families.

Thanks to Shelley Patterson of Buddy Bike, LLC

18. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Generous!

My best tip for promoting your business WITHOUT being shameless is to offer tips! Be the person to rely on for helpful advice. If you have a Facebook page, share tips and strategies related to your business. Belong to networking groups? Answer questions! Offer to do a 15-20 minute presentation for free. Whatever you can do to present yourself as an expert will raise your profile with your target audience and promote yourself without selling anything!

Thanks to Gloria Rand of

19. Third Party Validation!!

We build solid relationships with colleagues and clients by offering up helpful information when in need. Be a resource to anyone and everyone who will listen! The buzz will catch on and pretty soon, everyone will be calling you as the expert.

Thanks to Hillary Smith, CMP, CSEP of Koncept Events, LLC.

20. Give Them Your Script

Tip: People love to categorize and talk about the people they know. It is up to you to ensure that what they are saying mirrors the message you are saying about yourself. Give them a clear “script” and they will spread the word.

Use buzz words/phrases like, “I love doing X on Saturday mornings” or “A huge client I retained mentioned that I got the deal because of my ability to Y”. Highlight your experiences often enough and they soon become a part of your brand and thus are easy to repeat.

Thanks to Jasmin French of J FRENCH

21. Links To Your Website

After you create a great website, then write articles for If you are a good writer, this will indeed drive traffic to your website and Google will take notice.

Thanks to Maria Luisa Castellanos of United Architects, Inc.

22. I’m In Your Face But You Like It!

Don’t let people forget who you are and what you do.
Stay in touch: send emails, follow-up with personal hand-written notes (with a couple business cards inside of course) and then follow-up with a phone call “did you get my note?” Recent subject matter for my hand written note cards was as follows:
– 3 birthdays
– congratulations on reaching level 4 of your sales team
– I heard your son graduated from college
– thank-you for the referral

Thanks to Mooshi Chapel of Mooshi Miami


I help businesses make strategic decisions, motivate people, and energize projects. Most of the time, people are stuck because they are concerned about the risks of failure. Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen? The answer is NOTHING. You could get stuck doing NOTHING! I am hired on a retainer basis by most companies because I can MOTIVATE by DECISIVENESS. What is my secret? I make a decision and move forward with it. If it was wrong; then I admit it and take the other path.

Thanks to DAWNNA ST LOUIS of Dragons Eye Online

24. If You Want To Be Important

If you want to be recognized
If you want to be great
Find joy and happiness in serving others

Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.
(“The Drum Major Instinct Speech”, Dr Martin Luther King).

Thanks to Jane Zucker of PKS Investments

25. Once Upon A Story

Once upon a story, business-ella was given the success-pumpkin key by her Fairy Business Coach.

The success-pumpkin key taught business-ella to grow her success-pumpkin by harvesting her very own unique story-seeds. Then business-ella would spread her story-seeds far and wide, to every corner of the business field the eye could see! For through spreading and sharing business-ella story-seeds, business-ella would plant the seeds that would grow into success-pumpkin patches!

Thanks to Lisa Switzer of SwitzerSolutions


I give to get, by volunteering with local not-for-profit organizations. Professional mediators need to remain unbiased, so it is difficult to ask my attorney friends for business. I enjoy giving,volunteering, and donating my mediation services to a variety of legal-aid societies. Whether for business or personal reasons,volunteering is a great way to meet people with similar interests. Someone inevitably asks, what do I do for a living, then for a card and wham! I get a referral.


27. Friendly Sales

The best way to promote the business is by being yourself. No one wants to do business with people that they don’t like, and no one will trust you if they don’t like you. So if you’re genuine and honest up-front, people will realize that like you, and later down the line, they might just need the service that you provide!

Thanks to Betsy Earle of Exhibit Worldwide

28. Tips For Promoting Yourself

Never underestimate the value of in-person networking opportunities. Attending quality events where you have the opportunity to meet others in your field or outside your field is a great way to get your name out there and let people know what you do. It is just as important to follow-up quickly with the contacts you make at these events who you truly believe may need your services. Networking works best when you are authentic with your approach and also show interest in what others are doing.

Thanks to Lisa Turner of LMT Media Partners

29. Converse, Don’t Scream

Use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to start conversations, not to advertise yourself. If used properly, social media is a way to let people get to know who you are as a person, not just as a business entity. Think of it as a cocktail party. You are there to mingle and talk…everyone gets to know each other on a more personal level. You don’t start shouting about your business and quoting prices. Share valuable content and get people to comment…this gets you noticed without shame!

Thanks to Susan Cromer Garcia of StallionPM

30. Your Own Website

The creation of a website that you control is key to shameless plugging and a positive reputation. I include a link to my website,, at the bottom of every single email I send out. This allows individuals to find out more about me on their own time and on their own accord. It is incredible what percentage of individuals will end up at your website from your emails. This results in a great first impression and a more positive start to your professional relationships.

Thanks to Michael Silverman of

31. The Number One Way To Promote Your Business

I believe the best way to promote your business is by providing excellent service and quality products. With just a few happy customers you can build an empire through word-of-mouth and referrals. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen!

Thanks to Angela Beasley of Sticky Starfish, Inc.

32. You’re So Vain, I Bet Think This Blog Is About You…

Make your blog posts about your clients! Discover their interests and weave the “benefits” of your product or service–not “the” product or service–inside. Humanize your content; keep is short, interesting, engaging and make that personal connection we all miss.

Thanks to Cynthia Roby of Bluestocking Ink

33. An Easy But Informative Read…

My main goal was to keep my company in the minds of clients and potentially get new clients with quarterly newsletters. I recieve a lot of newsletters and am guilty of deleting many before reading. I keep them a bit more personal than most (example: I annouced I was expecting my second child in one of them), I give some tips/tricks of the trade, but also include pictures of completed projects. My clients seem to enjoy them and each time I send one I get a few calls (usually within minutes).

Thanks to Lisette Naranjo-Perez of Noon Design Group

34. Giving Back Is Great!

Giving back through an in-kind donation of services is the beat way to go! Making a tax-deductable donation to a local school auction, hospital fundraiser or charity of your choice is a great way to help an organization in need, get your brand out there to prospective clients, and help someone who has a need for your services. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you have helped an organization with their fundraising and helped someone else in the process. It’s a win-win-win for all!

Thanks to Andrena Felger of Alma De Casa Design


The BEST tip I can share for promoting my business and myself WITHOUT being shameless would be . . . BE AUTHENTIC!

Be honest and BE yourself. People can tell when you are trying too hard to SELL them something. Just be the real you and share from the bottom of your heart abut yourself and your business. People LOVE honesty!

Thanks to Tracey Hagen of Tracey Hagen Photography Studios

36. Thank You Customers

Our product is business videos. On Social Media sites, I thank a client for doing a specific video about their business with me and then promote their video or website on my fan page and share on my personal page.

Thanks to Sue Haberkorn of SWFL-OnlineVideo

37. To Market – To Market

Marketing comes from the concept of market, which is where all merchants displayed their wares. Today it refers to getting your product in front of the customer and/or distributor and creating and maintaining customer satisfaction.

The number one thing that I do to promote my company is to blog about all things related to anti-aging, and to all things related to world hunger. I post the links on Facebook as well. I give away valuable information that keeps the reader coming back.

Thanks to Patrice Golinvaux of The Business Of Adventure

38. Laugh And Laugh Often Until Its Habit Forming!

Its all in the Laughter! If you have a positive attitude and a great sense of humor, you will be able to laugh at something or someone every day. It may be a joke someone shares. A simple e-mail or phone call. Maybe even talking to someone and reflecting on past experiences. Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself or at others. If you pay close attention there will be something to laugh about. Make sure you take the time to laugh and laugh often. It’s great taking to family and friends, but realize if you complain too much, it gets old fast. Stop for a minute, look at yourself and laugh. Chances are there is someone laughing at you or with you this very moment. Find the fun in life and just enjoy it! Laugh and laugh often until its habit forming!

Thanks to Orlando Espinosa of Emineo Media

39. How To Promote Your Business Without Being Shameless

Referral Business can be serious business. I sent an e-mail blast to my Clientele. “If you are truly pleased with my Service and products, then all I ask is that you tell two friends or Family Members.” To show my appreciation, I have attached two vouchers which you can print out. There is a customer code on them which will grant the users a 5% discount on their order. That code is linked to your account and if redeemed, you will receive 5% discount on “your” next order. The first month my referrals went up 6% & the next , 12%. I send out a bi-weekly newsletter and I added a reminder to use the vouchers in it. The voucher itself was a replica of my business card with a code on it. Since then, my sales force “Asks” for referrals. They realized the commissions they were letting slip through their fingers. It has proved to be the gift that keeps on giving. My sales force works smarter, my clients received a discount, and I increased my client base.

Thanks to Rosemary Salveggi of Retail Metal Dealers LLC

40. Networking Mary Kay Style

The greatest tip I have for promoting my Mary Kay Business is to have Events that are geared to helping others succeed. Once a month I hold a FREE Networking event for any Women who either owns her business or wants to promote a business. This way in addition to my promoting Mary Kay through FREE Make-Overs, they also get to promote themselves. It is a Win, Win for everyone. I get to introduce Woman to Mary Kay and they get to promote their Business!If you put others first the rest happens!

Thanks to Lori Isaacson of Mary Kay Cosmetics

41. Business Plug

When traveling for work across America we now have a resource where the LGBTQ community can find Gay & Gay Friendly businesses…So if your looking for a restaurant or a dry cleaner GAYBORHOOD App will get you there….

Thanks to Marci Alt of Carma Productions Inc

42. “How Do You Promote A Business Without Shameless Plugs?

The best way to promote your business without shameless plugs is Word of Mouth Marketing – let others do the promoting for you. With Social Media so prevalent, people love to take and get their opinions out there. The more people experience your products and service positively and share those experiences with their network of contacts – the better it is for your business. Why? People trust their friends, colleagues, family, contacts more than they will trust you. Unpaid endorsements – great!

Thanks to Marlene Gordon


Branding, branding, branding. I have large mobile shredding trucks that spend quite a bit of time on the highways. My vehicles are completely wrapped with very bold graphics that really stand out. I utilize this method for my business cards as well. Bright and bold. Everything needs to stand out.

Thanks to Andrew Bloom of Shred Trust

44. What’s In It For You?

Since people do business with people they like and trust, the larger you expand your relationship base the less need there is for shameless self-promotion because your focus is always on what is in it for your client or prospect — and you are then simply fulfilling their needs. For example, if someone complains about how they look, I would offer: If I could show you new anti-aging technology that can make you look 10 years younger in 10 minutes, would you be interested in knowing about it?

Thanks to Paula Ehrlich of A Privileged Lifestyle, Inc.

45. Community / Volunteer/ Charity Focus

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did comumunity service/charity or volunteer work? That’s probably the best way to promote your business. A helpul tip I’ve learned: people do business with people — not with companies. If customers like you/ admire you, you are likely to get more business. THe tip: promote what you and your community are doing with your free time/ products/ profits to help the community and the world? This will indirectly lead to more business.

Thanks to Carolyn Berg of Avansa Consulting

46. Expose Your Business By Promoting Your Clients

I teach online courses on how to use the power of a video camera and social media to promote your business by promoting your clients. Taking the focus off of you and placing it on your clients will give you the opportunity to gain visiblity and credibility with your clients…while at the same time gaining you tons of exposure. The program, Act & ReAct, walks you step-by-step through the process of using a video camera every day to build maximum exposure for you and your clients.

Thanks to Jerry Williamson of Teamworx Productions

47. Unlimited Potential With Right Beliefs

Inspire by educating your vision, belief, ideas and passion. When you establish a strong belief in your product, you will share from your heart, and naturally draw people to you. Share with conviction, be confident and encourage your team to do the same. People are attracted to positive people who listen. Manage your expectations – don’t get discouraged, having fear and doing it anyway will equal success. If you implement positive principles, how different could your business be in 90 days

Thanks to Crystal Canet of Juice Plus

48. Authentic With Integrity

Be passionate when speaking about your business, NOT over powering, be yourself, speak with confidence, be sincere and genuine and ALWAYS smile. WIFM? (What’s in it for me?) Share benefits of using your expertise.

Thanks to Heidi Moss of Moss Consulting

49. Promoting Yourself Without Shameless Plugs!

I strongly believe that branding yourself as the corporate image of your business is essential for your success. Rather than using shameless plugs, use your efforts in networking yourself and “growing legs” to your business. By that I mean networking, donating your time and efforts to non-profits, creating blogs that may aid you in providing valuable information, joining organizations and associations while meeting others in your industry, etc. Simply market yourself while educating others!

Thanks to Rosie Q Martinez, MBA of InFokus Marketing, Inc.

50. Use A Best Friend Approach To Get The Right Kind Of Applause & PR

Imagine you really want your best friend to benefit from what you are telling him or her. Bragging or trying to impress has no place, right? So when you are invited to speak as an expert, always share practical techniques the audience will find valuable. Show how you have helped others by including some of your clients’ successes and challenges (keeping their identity confidential!). By keeping the focus on useful practices and how others have succeeded, you’ll get the positive PR you deserve.

Thanks to Anne B. Freedman of Speakout, Inc.

51. We Fix It Right The First Time!

There isn’t a problem we won’t solve, and if we don’t know how to solve it, we know who to call to tell us how to solve it !

Thanks to Michael Thomas of Mike’s Custom Electric

52. Give Them A Taste Of Joy

Social Media Marketing is essential for our company and part of our overall all marketing strategy. What really works for us (as an upscale Caterer) to supplement Social Media is combining a unique and delicious treat that is personally delivered. We give the potential client value with the free delicacy, while tantalizing them with a unique and creative presentation. Nothing opens doors faster than good food, and that few minutes of face time with the potential client is invaluable.

Thanks to John McPhee of A Joy Wallace Catering Production & Design Team

53. Let The Actions Of Others Speak For You …

Repeat what others have to say about you as it is more credible. But even we find it hard to believe that readers (men and women, from high school seniors to senior citizens) are telling us our book has made an immediate difference in their lives. Think we may be exaggerating? Well, we are being approached by schools, organizations (Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement), churches and synagogues who want to use the book for educational, philosophical, charitable and/or spiritual purposes, as well as just plain reading pleasure. Curious why. Check out our website which includes a wealth of information on us, our book, and our philosophies such as why we made the expensive decision to printed in the U.S.A. and why we are not available at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon. And then decide for yourself.

Thanks to Mandy Williams of Red & Black Books

54. News You Can Use

What do you do or produce that will make someone’s life easier or better? When looking to promote yourself or your business it is all about content and audience. News outlets are not interested in commercials. Don’t lead your pitch with your business name; lead it with the problem you are going to help fix. Example: Wildfire evacuations, perfect time to pitch a new, unique grab and go organizer. Watch the news and look for those opportunities where your expertise can make all the difference.

Thanks to Diane Mulligan of Mulligan&Co. LLC


I am constantly prepared to give FREE LESSON samples of how to create a picture-in-one-minute.
Have pads and pens ready with my ID – people usually won’t throw away the picture THEY created, even at first try. Have them fold paper
like a greeting card and then sketch a flower on the front….I suggest they autograph it to their spouse, loved one, family, friend, etc….
They treasure what THEY create & it opens the door of art to all ages


Businesswomen Beware: How I Fell Prey To Unsavory Sales Techniques Targeting Professional Women. MY story.

Me & My Ego

A few months back, a respected colleague of mine put me in touch with The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) in hopes that I could do some public speaking for them at an upcoming conference.

The woman who called me from NAPW was very warm and complimentary, and did an extremely in-depth interview (about 30 minutes), after which she congratulated me and let me know that due to my “impressive resume and accomplishments,” not only would they consider me as a speaker, but they would also be offering me a complimentary membership in the organization!! I accepted it, gave her all my information and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

A few months later, I got a call from another very nice woman with whom I had another nice long conversation about what I was up to and my recent accomplishments. Towards the end of the call, she tried to sell me a membership to the NAPW.

I reminded her that I’d been extended a complimentary membership because they were considering me as a potential speaker for their organization. She was very confused and apologized. I was busy, so I quickly got off the phone telling her it was no problem and we ended the call very politely. I didn’t think of it again until today.

Today I received another NAPW call (incidentally, from a blocked number). This time the lovely woman on the other line warmly informed that I was selected to be featured in their spotlight of their newsletter, and they asked me to share what my recent accomplishments have been so they could include them! I was honored and delighted and told her all about what I was up to. We spent about 10 minutes on this, me doing most of the talking.

Then she said that she had even more good news for me, that they were pleased to offer me free workshops and seminars in my area after having partnered with the National Seminar Company. It looked good and I was looking forward to checking out some of the programs.

Then she told me she had even MORE good news! I had been nominated for and selected to win the “Woman of the Year” award for my category (business education) in Florida! At this point I remember sensing that she was reading from a script (whenever I’d interrupt or ask a question she would answer then go back a few words in her script and start over.) I didn’t think much of it, though, she was lovely and kept stroking my ego, so I’m embarassed to say, I ate it up.

“Wow!” I said, “that’s amazing, thank you so much!!” At this point we had spent about 15 minutes on the phone. By the way, she added, in honor of my achievement, they were going to send me a NAPW certification that I could attach to my bio and load up on my website, as well as a mahogany-framed certificate to hang up and attest to this momentous honor!

At this point, I was beyond touched and thanked her even MORE profusely. It was at this point that the lovely woman, reading from her lovely script, informed me that there was a price to “reserve your spot” as woman of the year….

For only $995.

Come again? At this point, I was thrown off guard. I had developed rapport with this woman (read: she had stroked my ego for 15 minutes and encouraged me tell her all about my accomplishments), so I was not sure I understood correctly. So I asked her: “Are you saying that I have to PAY for this award?”

“Oh no, absolutely not Ms. Vilabos [sic]! This fee is simply to reserve your spot as an NAPW woman of the year.”

“If you’re saying I need to pay $995 in order to receive the award, then I’m not interested and quite frankly, I’m not happy about being called and kept on the phone for this long for you to sell me an award.”

“Well, I can understand how you might get that impression, but that’s not it at all! In fact, here’s what I can do, I can make an exception for you and just this one time…”
Now I was getting angry. “You just spent 15 minutes on the phone with me, telling me about this award that I won, and telling me about all the things you were going to ‘give’ me, and now you’re telling me that it’s going to cost me $1000. This is the 2nd call I’ve received trying to ‘upsell’ me other things after having been ‘awarded’ a complimentary membership. Can you see how this might be construed?”

“No no. You’re not understanding how this works. Are you familiar with the Hollywood Boulevard stars on the sidewalk?” [Still reading from a script by the way, she must’ve had to jump ahead to “overcoming objections” page…]

“Yes, of course.”

“Well this is like that. There is a board that nominates the candidates, then votes for the winner, but then the celebrity that wins must pay $25,000 to get their star. Well, this isn’t Hollywood, but the process is very similar.”

I went on to express my dismay and displeasure at having 1) been manipulated and 2) my time wasted. The lovely lady quickly turned not-so-lovely and informed me that “just so you know, I WAS going to offer this to you for a special rate of $495.” She went on to add that “it’s just as well,” because they had “plenty of other ‘honorees'” [read: suckers] on their list, and that they would simply go to the next name.

I was so insulted, and so upset that an organization allowed to call itself the “National Association of Professional Women” would STOOP to this behavior, that I looked it up online.

Guess what? I’m not the first or the only to have experienced this. In fact, there are several complaints against NAPW, as well as OTHER organizations that do the same thing! In fact, I discovered that this was not the first time my ego had been seduced. It brought to mind another situation that happened even before the NAPW.

I received a call (referred to me by the same person, by the way) from NAPEW (National Organization of Professional and Executive Women). Same scenario, although I’m embarrassed to say that when they called me (long before the NAPW did), they were able to sucker me out of $199. I’m fuming now that I understand how this REALLY works. Another organization with a similar model, owned by the same people by the way, is “Cambridge Who’s Who.”

And if you’re curious if I actually received any benefit from this? No. No exposure (not even a google search result for my name linked with NAPEW or National Association of Professional and Executive Women). Although when I complained to the person who referred me, I received a package in the mail with a certificate and bio that basically regurgitated my own online bio, though with typos and misspellings throughout.

FYI – these people are BRILLIANT. They use all the tools that work with women. First off, they LISTEN and let you talk as much as you want to. They are masters at getting you to open up and share. Furthermore, they know exactly which buttons to press (I’m an expert at reading personality types, they’re clearly better).

Not only are they brilliant on the phone, it seems they’re also successful at online reputation management. While TONS of search results exist for complaints, a large percentage of the links are broken or have been emptied/cleaned out. Check for yourself. I’m guessing that these “empowering organizations” spend a decent amount of (ill-gotten) funds hiring online reputation cleaners and lawyers. Update: I have been contacted by bloggers around the country who have been threatened with lawsuits and/or offered monetary compensation in order to take down their posts. I have also been contacted by lawyers and received several letters for this post, from which I have had to remove information that I wish you could read. 

Here is just SOME of what else I found:

Disclaimer alert!
1. I found NO evidence that ANY of what these organizations do is illegal in ANY way.
2. In fact, these are COMMON sales tactics that all sorts of “who’s who” and professional organizations engage in.
3. Neither #1 or #2 make it right in my personal opinion.

What do you think? Or do you have a similar story to share? Have YOU been the “recipient” of a bogus “award” or “honor”? Or unsavory sales techniques by a women’s organization or professional organization? I want to hear all about it.

Ciao for now,

Michelle Villalobos (veeyaLOWbos)