I am on holiday this week and the fabulous Apartment-Suite (not just a plain old apartment for a Business Celebrity!) we are staying in looks EXACTLY like the photos on the website. In fact, the photos don't really convey how lovely it is and how HUGE the bedrooms are—I've stayed in apartments smaller than these rooms on it's own :)
I would love to say that this always happens—that we turn up at a place and think "Ohh, just like the photo", but I am sure, like me, you've been caught out a couple of times. Those wide-angle lenses and clever "I won't show them the view of the bins/busy road/cupboard masquerading as a bathroom" photos have a lot to answer for! :) Now, I am a BIG researcher of holidays—it's my almost thing (remember I have written a best-selling book about hotel marketing, so I am pretty obsessed with my background checks!). But there is nothing I can do about inaccurate or half-truth photos or descriptions.
The point of this blog is not to tell you where to go on holiday BUT to say that sometimes (and I've been there) the pictures on the website don't always look like the 'real thing'. Not to mention the parts of the hotel or town that you don't even get to see.
But you know where you look for those of course—yes, I'm talking about Trip Advisor and other independent review sites. Not to mention all the 'social proof' you can find on the hotel's own website, or by Googling.
Now, I know for a fact that some 'independent' review sites can be manipulated and not everything you read is true (just like some restaurant and hotel reviews are very glowing as the writer may not have paid for their stay or meal, or reviews on business sites are from 'friends'). So check your sources, and use your noodle to work out what's a real review and what's a biased one.
Because we all get bad reviews. I know I have some people who've not liked what I do, and that's always going to happen. But don't let it stop you. Instead be as super-clear as you can about your Thing—how you do it, who it's for, who is NOT for, where you do it, what's in it, what you get and what you don't get. Have 'real' photos and descriptions and reviews on your website. Make it easy for people to see if you are the business they want to work with. No point hiding that view of the busy road if it's there—just make it appealing to people who love the 'buzz of a busy city' or maybe they are 'car spotters' :)
There's nothing wrong with the odd bad review—it's just a reminder to be clearer in your marketing and message about EXACTLY what you do and for whom. The clearer you are about this then the less bad reviews you'll get. As there is nothing wrong with what you do (I am assuming this much!), it's just you might not be the right person for that particular client. Maybe you're too expensive for some people, maybe you're not at the right 'level' they are looking for, maybe you're too fast/slow/cheeky/boring/content-rich/content-poor/accessible/reclusive/outspoken/quiet/tall/short/loud/quiet, etc. You are you and you're not right for everyone.
I always tell Business Celebrities I work with that they just need to 'get permission' to be who they are and then anyone who is 'researching' them can make a decision about whether they are a fit or not for them. If you're too bland in explaining who you are, then expect lots of mismatched expectations.
I was taught to get permission as a speaker as this is an obvious 'I have to get this crowd to know me' situation pretty quickly. I always let people know I get really excited, I talk fast, I'll wave my arms around and probably want them to be involved too. If I have slides, this is usually represented by a picture of the Duracell bunny :) And if it's an audience who aren't there just to see me, I'll also add that I know you may find what I have to say really helpful OR think I am a bonkers lady who talks about 'Things'—then it means I just gave permission for the people who think I am bit bonkers to be OK about that!—in fact this sometimes even works as a double-bluff. I once had a chap come up to me after a talk who said "I don't usually go in for this kind of mumbo-jumbo (actual words!), but I have to say that was the most interesting bit of mumbo jumbo I ever heard". You have to smile in these situations! :)
And you know what?—sometimes you might be the opposite of what someone is looking for (because they made the wrong assumption or thought the way they always think), but if you're honest enough you might just get them interested. After all, I'm staying in a totally 'shabby chic'/boho apartment right now which is SO not my usual style (think clean lines and modern look given a choice) but it's fabulous to 'try out' for a holiday (and OK—I may have been swayed by the fact they have cake for breakfast!).
And if you really want to know what it looks like, check it out...
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