The “Oprah Factor” and how you can create your own “ X Factor”

Meredith and I outside the Oprah Winfrey Show!
In last week’s blog post I shared with you how Meredith and I were so very fortunate enough to attend a taping of one of Oprah Winfrey’s last shows.

It was so exciting to be a part of that experience.

I also talked last week about why Oprah is so phenomenally successful and popular.  It is because she focuses on giving her audience what they want.  She goes out of her way to create an experience that will get her audience excited and make them feel good.

Oprah as an entrepreneur is worth billions and she continues to operate and launch very successful ventures with her latest being her OWN Network on cable which only 72 hours after launching was the #3 Cable Network for Women.

Oprah is a very good entrepreneur and business to model and emulate, not only because she’s worth billions but because she’s also an information marketer just like you and I.  She produces content that people are either willing to pay money to consume or advertisers are willing to pay huge money to sponsor because she has such a valuable audience.

There is even something called the “Oprah Factor” which refers to what happens when she mentions a product or business on her show.  That alone can make millions for the company or businessperson promoting their product.

The reason the “Oprah Factor” exists is because Oprah has created such trust with her audience they jump on any product or service she endorses.  Even if it is not an official endorsement but only an offhand comment.

But the real reason at the core of her success and how she was able to create trust is that she is hyper focused on the wants, the frustrations, the fears, and the passions of her audience.  She communicates to her audience as if she was speaking with you personally.  She is empathetic and understanding.  She get’s excited for you and she gives you information you can use to make your life better and help you feel good about yourself.

It is imperative if you want to be successful in the information business or even if you are using content to market whatever business you are in, that your content hits your target market at the core of their wants and fears.

In order to do this consistently and powerfully you have to get feedback from your customers.  And by customers I do not mean just those that have paid money for a product or service.  I mean anyone who is reading your blog, your articles, and your emails.

You have to find out if they find your content meaningful.  You have to know if you need to adjust your message.

From my experience the fastest and most cost effective way to find this out is by asking them.  A simple questionnaire or short survey to your list can provide astounding and many times, very surprising results that can prove to be very profitable.

And guess what.  You can create your own mini “Oprah Factor”.

As you ask your customers for feedback, acknowledge that you value their input, and then go the extra mile to demonstrate that you are listening to them by actually implementing and delivering on what your customers have shared you. In doing this, you will create new levels of trust and understanding with your customers that will allow you to not only help them more effectively than you ever have before, but you will also be able to grow your business and profit more than ever as well.

Are you giving your clients/customers an Oprah Experience?

I’ve always wanted to be in the audience for the Oprah show, but it just was never the right time.  In fact, I’ve been in the audience for a lot of shows since I live so close to New York City. I saw Phil Donahue way back in the day, and he even posed for a photo with me and my mom who of course asked a question and was on camera!  I’ve seen David Letterman (when he was at NBC), Rosie O’Donnell Show, Saturday Night Live (when Ellen Degeneres was the host), Ellen Degeneres Show (when I was out in LA celebrating my 40th birthday), Tyra Banks, Jane Pauley (I was in her audience a lot; that was the firs time I was laid off. She had a lot of cool guests on like Richard Branson, who I met; he signed my book and kissed my cheek. He’s so charming.) and now recently Nate Berkus, and just last week The Oprah Winfrey Show.  (Plus, since I started writing this, I attended a taping of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton and the cast of Modern Family.)

The Oprah opportunity came up very quickly.  We only had a week to get our flights, make our plans and figure out who would watch my 13-year-old son and the rescue dog, Lily. It’s amazing how everything ALWAYS works out how it’s supposed to.  The airfare was reasonable, and we have an amazing friend, Melissa McClain (an incredibly talented photographer), who was available to take care of the family, and we were set.

The show we were scheduled to be on was taped on a Friday, so I insisted to my partner of 10 years that we leave the night before because you just never know what will happen. So of course we had almost a 2-hour delay, and she was delayed at work, so it was a little stressful, to say the least, when we were leaving. We got into Chicago late, almost 11 p.m. We carried our bags on the plane, thank goodness, so we were off to get some sleep before the big day. I’m not at liberty to say where we stayed. I’ll just say an amazing guy loaned us his amazing Chicago apartment that’s on the market now for $2.3 million. It did not disappoint. The best thing about his apartment was the amazing views of Lake Michigan. His apartment is on the Gold Coast in Chicago.

Being in a strange place, I woke up more than a few times, so sleep did not come easily and with all my travel lately I had that feeling when I woke up—“Oh my gosh, where am I? Oh yeah, now I remember.”  So after a shower, a cup of coffee, and getting dressed to the nines, my partner and I were off in a taxi that the amazing doorman flagged down for us. We were off to Oprah’s studios.

If you’ve never been in the audience for a televised show, it’s totally something you ought to do once in your life. I have done it enough to be a little tired of the waiting-to–tape-the show part.  Every show is different, and Oprah was no exception.  They had us come early to check in because this was a huge makeover show for them, Oprah’s last.  So while my partner waited in line, I ran a very important errand to Starbucks for us to get coffee and breakfast!  When I got back she was next in line to check in so my timing was perfect!

They check you in and basically take anything that’s too big to go under your seat. Plus they take ALL of your electronics. We both felt a bit naked without a phone, iPad, or anything. Then we sat and waited our turn to be made over.

Yes, this was a makeover show and they had created a whole salon backstage so we got our hair done and got our make-up done, it was really fun, having a professional fuss all over how you look. Wow, I could really get used to that; now I know what these celebrities must feel like when they get hair and make-up!  And Old Navy even gave us some new clothes to wear.

The most fun part of this experience was seeing all of Oprah’s producers that are on her OWN show, 25 years behind the scenes show. I even stopped a few to chat with them!  Then they fed us a box lunch and we hung out until they loaded us into the studio, and then they taped the show.

Oprah was her usual wonderful, perky, funny and giving self.  It was fun watching her between the segments, interacting with the audience and the guests. It was a makeover show, so there were a lot of guests—who knew there were so many specialists in hair, makeup and wardrobe?! Then of course they had some giveaways which were totally awesome– we left with a Michael Kors bag, Tory Burch sunglasses, a scarf from Diane Von Furestenburg, and hair products from Oprah’s hair dresser, Andre Walker.

As you leave the studio, you line up and then they give each guest nefore they leave a bag filled with the gifts from the show. (I think they’ve done this a few times before!). The only challenge we faced came as we were leaving: We had our ticket to get our bags/phones back, but not our clothes.  I have to say the security staff and guest staff were on top of it and found our clothes. When you left the building, you were basically right by the Oprah Winfrey Store, which of course is closing and has some big sales, so we had to go there!  What’s cool is you don’t have to be in Chicago to get some things from her store– http://oprahstore.oprah.com/

After the show, my partner Meredith, knew several people who worked on the show, so we went and paid them a visit and hung out the rest of the afternoon there.  Then when we were just too exhausted, we got a cab, went back to our place, changed for dinner, and the weather was so beautiful we were able to walk to the restaurant. How lucky I made a reservation at Hugo’s, only 5 blocks from where we were staying. It was the end to a perfect day, a perfect quick trip to Chicago.

There are several things in my story that you can actually take and use in your own business so you, too, can give your clients an “Oprah” experience.

1) Create a business brand  that leads your clients and customers to look up to you as the expert and encourages them to want to experience what you have to offer. (of course, having a survey system is a fantastic way to achieve this).

2) Hire amazing people who will take care of your clients and customers. Pay them and train them well. Don’t leave anything to chance; having the right attitude and being professional is key.

3)Have systems and processes in place to be ready to handle anything.

4)Practice these systems and ensure they work properly.

5)Figure out how you can enhance your clients’ and customers’ experience. (Ask them.  Get feedback always).

6)Work on how you can upsell them. Or in Oprah’s case, get them all to go to her store to purchase things to take home to family and friends

There are a number of things you can do to ensure your clients and customers are well taken care of, just how Oprah takes care of all of her guests who fly and drive from home, make plans, get babysitters, etc., all to be there in her audience. It takes a village. Oprah knows that, and recognizes that.

She even takes the time at the end of the show to answer questions AND tell you how much she appreciates you being there. She knows how much you had to do to show up in her audience and totally makes it worth your while to be
there and a part of television history.

Oprah’s Not the Only One Who Can Have Fun While Working…

It’s true you know, Oprah’s not the only one who can have fun while working.  You can too!  Yes, I know, I know, it wouldn’t be called work if it was fun and all the other dreary sayings.  Listen, you have a choice when it comes to work.  The choice is in your attitude and how you view it.  Yes, for some work is simply the thing we dread that we must do in order to make money, pay the bills and live. Sounds dreary and boring yet as I said earlier, it can be fun, it’s your choice.  In my last blog, which I got a ton of great feedback thank you, I focused on how firing a client will free you and your business to be more successful.  You know the client I’m talking about, the one who’s being a real pain and causing you so much stress and it’s not ANY fun working with them. Well this blog goes hand in hand with that one because I believe you can have more fun when you’re working with the right like-minded people.  So in addition to letting your pain in the rear client go, here are some ways to help you make your work more enjoyable:

  1. Put on some music. Music can draw our minds away from the more challenging tasks we have to accomplish.
  2. Just do it already, finish that task, that project, you know that THING you’ve been putting off. Feelings of dread often disappear when we become immersed in a project.
  3. Think about where you can find joy in all the tasks on your plate.
  4. Don’t do it alone, work with a friend, colleague, relative or someone whose company you totally enjoy.
  5. Be sure to stop and take several breaks. Many folks I work with take 15 minute break after working for 45 minutes. Don’t go ninety to nothing every day.
  6. Break the job down into more manageable tasks. Big jobs can be overwhelming and diminish your stamina and drive to complete them.
  7. Do your best work you can. There are amazing psychological rewards that come when we know we did a terrific job.
  8. Do something you enjoy each and every day. It will give you something to look forward to and make all the working worthwhile.

Remember it’s all in your attitude and work is totally what you make it. So why not have more fun?!

Missed Product Launch Opportunities or Creating Money-Making Products….

Hmm, as I sit here in my comfortable laid back office, enjoying this amazing spring type weather in June in Jersey, the dog is sleeping at my feet, and I’m having twinges of second thoughts for having to cancel my trip this week to Jeff Walker’s Platinum Product Launch Mastermind Group.

I know, I know, I made my decision and it’s all said and done, but it doesn’t stop those thoughts, you know the ones that just pop in your head to mess you up. Those thoughts driven by the ego to stop you in your tracks… Thank goodness I can recognize them right away now and not pay them any attention.  Yet, can you?  It’s not an easy thing to do… (But meditation SO helps.)

I was supposed to be in Durango, Colorado this week at Jeff Walker’s Platinum Product Launch Mastermind meeting. The funny thing is I applied for his mastermind JUST so I could go to this meeting.  The reason is I know how I’ve been able to transform my business with a mastermind meeting. (I’m going on my second year in Yanik Silver’s Mastermind meeting and it’s been incredible.)

So what happened?

I had my ticket, my hotel and was about ready to hunker down, do laundry and pack, when my significant other of 9 years says we need to find someone to watch our 12 year old son and rescue dog because the new job (Supervising Producer of the new Nate Berkus Show, Oprah’s Interior Designer, filmed here in NYC) just sprung a last minute trip to Chicago this week.   Well as much as I could scramble, I couldn’t find someone to care for our son while we both were away on such short notice.  So I decided to give up my trip. It wasn’t an easy decision, but that’s what awesome Executive Coaches like Rob Berkley are for.  In fact, I’ve NEVER in my many years of travel EVER had to cancel a trip or an airfare, I was just lucky like that until now.

In many ways it WAS a missed opportunity, not being able to share ideas, information and the latest in Product Launches, and of course networking with colleagues.  AND, to hear about Jeff Walker’s new Product Launch Formula 3.0 that he’s launching today(June 10)…  (I have all of his Product Launch Formula products and they’re excellent and how I built my product launch business, based on his strategies and tactics.)  However, in many other ways it was incredibly productive and opportunistic to make the decision to stay home and to work on my own product. When life gives you lemons, lemonade is ALWAYS an option! (The photo is me and Jeff at his PLM training last summer where I helped put together the workshop.)

I haven’t had this much time to myself since December’s Christmas break, how scary is that!  As many of you know who get my printed monthly newsletter, I’ve been a road warrior since January.  So I calculated how many hours I’d freed up by not going, it was 24 hrs!  (That figure came from assuming I had 6 productive hours in the 4 days I was supposed to be away.)  Then I made an awesome plan and used my time incredibly well.

In fact, you’ll be hearing more about in the coming weeks. I’m ALMOST finished with my new Creating Amazing Surveys, The Done For You Survey product.  If you want to get on my list sign up here.  I’m aiming on launching it sometime in July. I don’t want to spill all the beans on it. The core is it breaks down step by step how to do surveys in your business, simply and easily, and of course lots of proven examples and how essential it is to actually DO survey’s in your business. I digress…. More later, promise…

The honest and incredibly revealing fact I want to share with you is —  I’ve been helping hundreds of entrepreneurs and internet/info marketers (the likes of Jeff Walker, Yanik Silver, Ted Thomas and Mike Koenigs) for four years to create and launch their products.  And creation of my own products has always been put on the back burner, until now.  So I’m incredibly proud of myself for being ok with this decision to stay home and focus on me and my product, AND to actually DO SOMETHING about it, you know following through with it, not just goofing off with ALL this time… 🙂

So what are you putting off?  What’s got your calendar all filled up that if you canceled could open up a whole new world of opportunity for you?  Don’t be like me from the past four years,  learn from my experiences… take the time now and put a plan together, make time for that next project, product or thing in your life that will truly make you smile and add some well deserved money into your business

Is resistance the “real” dream killer?

Much debate goes on about what kills dreams these days, and of course there are many things.  But, how many of these things can be directly attributed to the person themselves?  What I mean is, instead of blaming the world, money, people, competition and everything outside of us, why not look within us first.

I just finished this book, The War of Art, Break Through The Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven the-war-of-artPressfield. It was given to me at a Dan Kennedy workshop called the 7 Figure Academy.  The sole focus of this workshop was on the 7 ways to take your 6 figure business to 7 figures.  It was fascinating to me because a lot of this stuff I already knew and was using to help my clients.  Yet, it was assembled and explained to me in a way that I really got it on a whole other level too.

There was a lot of discussion and time spent on overcoming resistance.  Let’s face it, in order to be a successful entrepreneur and business owner, we have a lot of obstacles we need to face and overcome.  The biggest one I think is that huge internal one, you know what I’m talking about, those little voices inside of you that try to stop you from being successful. The ones that say you’re not good enough, or you don’t deserve this, or you’re going to fail, or instilling huge fear in you so much so that it freezes you right in your tracks and stops you from getting what you want and being successful.  These same voices that unfortunately have taken some great people from us like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi and others… they suffered from their inner demons and in the end couldn’t over come them. In fact, Oprah just had Whitney Houston on her opening show, wow, talk about demons and resistance.  Hers kept her from singing for almost 7 years.  Thank goodness she has a wonderful mom, who stepped in so she could find her incredible gift again, get past her demons of resistance and share her voice once more with the world.

I call them my little internal demons.  They rear their ugly heads when I least expect it.  In  Pressfield’s book, he talks a lot about how resistance shows up in your life and gives you some really great concrete ways to handle and push tcat_eyes_animationhrough them.  Here’s a great quote: Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.  Wow, that is so true. And another truth is we’re not alone in our resistance, we all struggle with it. Like when I was sitting down at the computer to write this, I could thing of a million other things I had to do and got up and did a few of them because I was “resistant” to writing this blog!

So my advice to you, is to be aware and pay more attention to yourself.  When you don’t want to do something, stop for a second, see if this is resistance calling and keeping you from doing something really great.  Make a daily plan where you’re focusing on core actions that will bring in more clients and more money each day.  Don’t fill your days with too many activities that will leave you feeling empty and like you have accomplished nothing. Face your internal demons and chip away at them so you can be the success entrepreneur that you came here to be.

One last thing that I have found really helps, join a group of like-minded entrepreneurs that meet on a regular basis. I”m in 2 different mastermind mind groups which were and still are awesome in helping me grow my business.  Nothing beats having like-minded entrepreneurs, who are incredibly successful, all working together to help you ensure your success as well.  This helps keep you stay on track with your business and make bigger leaps of  progress in shorter time frames. Remember isolation is a dream killer, that’s when the resistance demon strikes best.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, “a rising tide floats all boats.” So work on overcoming your resistance and even helping others with this a long the way. We are much stronger together than we are separately.  There’s much power within in us.  Don’t let your fear and resistance take you away from being the incredible successful entrepreneur that you truly are and came here to be.

Lessons from Oprah

eckhart-tolle.gifLast night was a pretty big internet event- Oprah held her first ever online, live streaming video class. It was the first class of ten where she interviews and talks to Eckhart Tolle, author of A New World, Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose.

It was a fascinating event. I signed on early and got my “seat,” wondering how they would pull this internet feet off without a hitch. I mean trying to stream video to over half a million people around the world is pretty gutsy and courageous, yet this IS Oprah.

The first 20 minutes were amazing. Hearing him talk about why he wrote the book, how important is was for him to make space to write and honor the time to do it daily. He said, “I find spaces of stillness to find my answers.” Wow, this was pretty fascinating and something I’ve been trying to do for years with my meditation. In fact, I meditate every day for an hour with a program called Holosync by Centerpointe It truly has helped me in all aspects of my work and my life. So picking up Eckhart’s book and listening into this class was really moving me to shift and change.

The only downside was after 20 minutes the internet connection basically collapsed and I lost the feed. Of course I tried everything to get it back, to no avail. I was hugely disappointed that I couldn’t participate and see the rest. Yet, it got me thinking that there was a reason I only saw part of it. This must be my lesson from Oprah. I only needed small chunks of information last night.

The other lesson from Oprah was she really knows how to think big. She’s not afraid to try something, like do video stream for half a million people, knowing there would certainly be problems. Which later I found out today, there were many. I was not alone when I was knocked off. The big question was who got to see the whole thing live? No worries though, Oprah’s put the video on her website and you can download it to watch on your ipod or your computer at your leisure.

So let’s take these lessons from Oprah, let’s think big in our businesses in our lives. What step can we take right now to do something different, to get out of our comfort zone. Let’s not just sit there anymore and be happy with complacency. Let’s all do one thing to shift, to grow and to make a difference in our businesses and our lives- do it today!