Ashley is an ex-corporate marketing executive for a $4 billion company turned to online marketing consultant who has helped hundreds of six, seven, and eight-figure online entrepreneurs create customer-centric marketing and sales strategies. As a certified NLP practitioner, Ashley believes the power of marketing is to teach your ideal clients how to think, not tell them what to do using a combination of psychographics and human behavior in your brand messaging.
What is the number one mistake you see when it comes to messaging?
It's kind of hard to narrow it down to one. But what I really see a lot specifically with clients that I've worked with is a lot of the time people will create content that doesn't really reflect their ideal client. What I mean by that, and one of the biggest things that I've found, especially through my NLP training and working with all these clients, the one thing that I've found that was so transformational was that your messaging and marketing is a reflection of your mindset. So a lot of the times I see when it comes to messaging, people will try to create messaging that attracts a certain type of client, but their mindset does not match the client they're trying to attract and I'll give you a quick example. A lot of the times when I read content, I can see where that person's mindset is coming from and what they were thinking in the moment they created that content, or they created that message, and why they were bringing in a certain type of person that they were bringing in. One of the examples I really like to use is one of my clients. She is a physical therapist that specializes in concussion recovery and she is phenomenal and amazing at what she does and when the pandemic hit, she turned into an online business. She created this membership program for patients who have had concussions. She is very out of the box, very different from the industry norms, which are the people I love to work with. So she created this webinar to promote this new membership that she had and she had almost 3,600 people sign up for this webinar and she had a very great ROI conversion. But when she got the clients into the program, she started to realize that a lot of them were in a victim mentality mode and they felt very defeated. They felt like they were helpless and when we started digging into her messaging, one of the things that she was saying in the webinar was I'm going to help you navigate your concussion symptoms. When I asked her why did you specifically choose, "I'm going to help you navigate your concussion symptoms?" And she said, "Well because when I created this, I was, I felt very helpless because my brick and mortar with the pandemic had to shut down so I went from making all this money to having to shut down my practice." So she was in this mentality of like, I'm helpless, I have to do something, it was this I don't know how to navigate my life now. So she used that word and what she found was the people who came into that program came in looking for her to solve their problem, they didn't take responsibility for their own recovery, they didn't take responsibility for their own actions, they were basically creating a codependent relationship on her. And because she felt helpless, she was turning around and bending over to their every need, and jumping in and doing more and doing all these things, because again, she set that container. So when we went in, and we restructured her messaging, we legit only changed the title of the webinar and the title of the webinar, the second time she launched was Regain Control of Your Life After A Concussion, and it was night and day. The reason why was using even the word regain on a psychological level, it makes you think that something was taken from you and it's your responsibility to take it back. When you have that, it changed the mindset to where she's gonna guide me and they took responsibility. So the second round, she had about 200 new members come in and she was saying that the atmosphere, the environment, the energy, everything was night and day, because all of these people who came in the second round, came in with a determined mindset and they were ready to go. That was a really long explanation, but that is one of the biggest mistakes I see is that when people are creating that messaging, it is a reflection of their mindset and their mindset needs to be in the correct place to be able to attract the ideal client that they want.
What is something in your industry that you don't agree with?
There are a lot. I have kind of built my entire brand around being disruptive in the industry. One of the biggest things which is very controversial, but I do not agree that people have to know, like, and trust you before they buy from you. That's one, another is you don't need to create how-to content. I think a lot of times we get stuck in that how-to content and we are only going to attract someone with a DIY mindset when we do that. I also don't really agree that serving is selling and I'll explain that one too, but we'll go back to the first one. I don't feel like people have to know, like, and trust you, before they buy from you. There has to be some type of trust there, but they don't have to fully know you. I love to use the example of let's say, you really want a new washer and dryer, and you're aware that you need a new washer dryer, you're aware of the problem. If you go to, let's say, Home Depot, and the salesperson who is going to sell you the washer-dryer, if they come up to you, and ask you if you need any help, you're not going to say, "Well, let me get to know this person I need to know about his family, and I need to know about all the stuff he's done in his life." I don't even really need to like him, I just need my problem solved. I just need to trust, I think trust is probably the biggest one, I need to trust that he is going to be capable of helping me solve the problem that I need to be solved. So I think a lot of the times we get stuck in that know, like, and trust so we end up creating content, creating messaging online, trying to get people to know us and like us, and to seek approval versus actually showing up to serve. I know it's a little controversial, because even on the flip side, I have known someone and I've liked them a lot, and I trusted them, but then I worked with them and they still didn't solve the problem that I needed. solved. Right. I only worked with them because I really liked them, but they weren't the best equipped to help me solve the problem that I needed.
What do you think is one uncommon thing seven and eight-figure business owners have that others don't?
One of the most uncommon things that seven and eight-figure business owners have or what I've even seen is they don't emphasize personal care. So what I mean by that is a lot of the entrepreneurs who are under the six-figure mark really try to build their life around their business and not the other way around. I know this is preached all the time, but when I really started to work with the seven and eight-figure business owners, what I realized is a lot of them had really strong containers. I don't mean boundaries, I just mean containers, they set expectations, and they never stepped out of those expectations. They also created expectations for their teams and their work relationships and they also spent a ton of time putting their life first and building their business around their life. That's one of the biggest things that I've seen is that mindset of I have to hustle, that's not there in the seven or eight-figure entrepreneurs and I think it is uncommon, especially in the online industry to see that because we're told you just have to work harder and you're one funnel away and this is your next step. When do you know when enough is enough? When are you actually gonna get to that next thing? That was one of the biggest things that I really started to see is that they really set these strong containers and they spent a lot more time on them. One thing I will say too, that I've started to implement myself is they actually spent a lot of time and stillness. Not meditation, but when I say stillness, they legit sat in stillness, no phone, no paper, no nothing. They just sat with their thoughts for 45 minutes to an hour, every single day in stillness, and just let their mind just be still. That brings so much clarity and I was like, "Oh, my gosh, there is no way that I could do that, there's no way I could just sit still for 45 minutes and not do anything," And that is something that I actually started to challenge myself on and I do that every day now. I go and sit for 40 minutes with no phone, no paper, no nothing, no meditation. I just sit in a chair, look at the wall and just sit for 40 minutes. It's amazing what happens, your brain just starts to go wild at first, and then it just starts to get really still and really calm and the best ideas come to you so much clarity comes to you. That's something I see a ton of the seven eight-figure business owners do that not a lot of the six or multi six-level ones do.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I'm going to tell a story about just being 100% yourself and not being there to prove anything. I was invited to speak at an event and there were very high-level entrepreneurs in this audience. I got on stage and I want to say this because yeah, it is about networking. But I think what hangs all of us up when it comes to networking are those thoughts about what people are going to think about you or about how you feel awkward in certain situations. So anyway, I got on stage and the first thing I said was "Guys, I'm just gonna be dead honest with you, I'm sweating like a pig. I don't even know if pigs sweat, but I'm sweating like a pig and I'm incredibly nervous to be on this stage. I just wanted to let you guys know, because it's very nervous to be up here and it's very vulnerable to be up here and to speak and have everyone staring at you." As soon as I did that the entire room relaxed and you could just kind of feel the tension, you could feel the relief across the room. I tell you that because I use that now in every single networking event that I've been to the first thing I say to someone is like, "Hey, I am incredibly intimidated to be here, because I know that there are so many successful people here, but it is really nice to meet you," and just immediately telling yourself and letting them know, it almost puts the pressure off of them too, because they're most likely feeling the same way. It just creates this bond and then what ends up happening now when I do this, they'll say, "Oh, my gosh, have you met Ashley may yet?" Because I immediately set that connection and also use a lot of humor. This is actually something I've learned with my child that to connect with your child is to never make them wrong. Like never make someone wrong for thinking something or doing something and always throw in a little bit of playfulness or silliness. Throwing that that playfulness and that silliness in there immediately draws this connection. One way I do that, in networking events that ties back to my brand is my whole brand is built around farts and I'm not even joking. My podcast is no farting around I talk about industry disruptors making a big stink in their industry. So a lot of times when I go to these networking events, I'll immediately say, "I'm Ashley Fernandez and one thing you should know about me is, I think farts are funny. Everyone thinks farts are funny and that's why I created my entire brand around farts." Even now, when I speak, I always tell a fart story. I'll tell a fart story at the very end, I'll say there was absolutely no reason why I told that story except to prove that it doesn't matter how much money you make, how old you are, we all think farts are funny. The tension is completely released and everyone feels so much more connected to me, because I've added in some type of humor, and I have just been 100% vulnerable and real. I think that's one of the most successful tips I have for networking. You immediately stand out in a room because you are building that playful connection.
What advice would you offer that business professional who is looking to grow their network?
I actually had a coach one time tell me that she went to a networking event and the speaker asked everyone to raise their hand in the room if they were here to sell something. She said everyone raised their hand in the room, right, and then she said to raise your hand if they were here to buy something and only two people raised their hand. Then she says, "I want you to take this moment to learn that when you approach a situation in a place of an agenda to sell, you're making it about you you're not making it about the person you're networking with, and do you want to be in a friendship where it's always take take take? No!" That's always stood out to me and so now even when I go to networking events, I never talk about my offer. Even if someone was like, "Oh my gosh, I'd love to work with you." I say, "You know what? Let's connect on Facebook, let's connect on LinkedIn, let me send you a link to my calendar, and let's just jump on a call because I truly want to make sure that you have a chance to meet everyone that you need to meet here." That is so different than everyone else when they network because they're thinking about how they can sell people. Don't ever approach a networking event that way. Have the mindset of who can I connect with and how can I bring value to them at this event without expecting anything in return? And that goes back to the whole I don't believe in serving and selling. I do go into it with a servant's heart and it eventually leads to sales sometimes or even just amazing relationships that lead to referrals, but I don't ever go into it without it.
Do you have any final words of advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I just would say just go out there when you're networking and truly make it about relationships, without an agenda, or relationships without anything in return. I think that is just the biggest part when it comes to networking and not really approaching it to make money or to grow your audience or your clients. It is truly about relationships at the end of the day. Again, your marketing your messaging, the way you do one thing, and the way you do all things. When you approach it with that mindset of I really truly am here to serve someone I think that just everything shifts, and it really shows because you can truly tell the people in the online space who are there to serve and who are the ones who are there with an agenda.
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