Marketing and Selling During a Pandemic with Eleanor Beaton

Marketing and Selling During a Pandemic with Eleanor Beaton

Eleanor Beaton is a women’s leadership mentor and founder of Fierce Feminine Leadership, an organization that helps ambitious women develop the confidence, presence, political savvy and influence they need to smash the glass ceiling and take their seats at the tables where the big deals and big decisions are made. Eleanor is also an award-winning journalist and host of the Fierce Feminine Leadership podcast. She has served as Chair of the Visiting Women's Executive Exchange Program at the Yale School of Management. She currently sits on the boards of Innovacorp and Invest Nova Scotia. 

Eleanor Beaton was the winner of the 2018 Nova Scotia Export Achievement Award: Business of Diversity Champion of the Year. In 2017, she won the prestigious Profiles in Diversity "Women Worth Watching" Award for her work promoting diversity and inclusion. She was also named Canada’s Leadership Coach of the Year by the 2017 Corporate Excellence Awards.

Eleanor has been privileged to serve some of the country’s most recognized women leaders, including Arlene Dickinson, star of CBC’s hit show Dragon’s Den and former Canadian First Lady Margaret Trudeau.    

Contact Eleanor:
www.eleanorbeatonpodcast.com
www.adversitymarketing.com
LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/eleanorbeaton/

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Transcript
Unknown Speaker :

Okay, great. We're recording

Laura Khalil :

everyone. Welcome to this episode of brave by design. I am doing a dance in my pants right now to let I'm just so excited for today's guests. Eleanor Beaton is a women's leadership mentor and founder of fierce feminine leadership, an organization that helps ambitious women develop the confidence, presence and political savvy and influence. They need to smash the glass ceiling and take their seats at the tables where the big deals and big decisions are made. Hell yes. Eleanor is also an award winning journalist and the host of fierce feminine leadership podcast. She has served as chair of the visiting women's exchange executive exchange program at the Yale School of Management, and she currently sits on the board of Innova Corp and invest Nova Scotia. Eleanor Beaton was the winner of the 2018 Nova Scotia export Achievement Award business of diversity champion The year in 2017, she won the prestigious profiles and diversity. Women worth watching Award for her work promoting diversity and inclusion. Okay, I haven't even finished reading this but how much do we love her so far. She was also named Canada's leadership Coach of the Year and she's here with us. By the 2017 Corporate Excellence Awards. Eleanor has been privileged to serve some of the country's most recognized women leaders, including Arlene Dickinson who I know because I'm Canadian, started the CBC hit show Dragon's Den and former Canadian First Lady. Margaret Trudeau no big deal. Oh my god. Ellen Hart. Welcome to brave by design. What the

Eleanor Beaton :

heck? I'm so excited to be here, Laura. I did not know you were Canadian. How did I

Laura Khalil :

do what me? I'm doing? Oh, yes. So I currently live in Detroit, Michigan, but I spent all of my 20s in Montreal and my oh my can't my family's up there. Amazing. I mean, are you in Nova Scotia? Oh yeah.

Eleanor Beaton :

I love this coast of Canada guys. It's like this pendant hanging off the eastern edge of North America. It's just beautiful here.

Laura Khalil :

It is magnificent. And whenever we can travel again, it would be a beautiful place to go at some point

Unknown Speaker :

in the next decade.

Laura Khalil :

So Eleanor, I wanted to bring you on the show, one because I've been following your stuff on LinkedIn and you do these incredible live LinkedIn videos, sharing so much knowledge with women and leadership and women in business. And I feel that you are one of the beacons in this time around helping women organize their thoughts around what do we do in this pandemic, in terms of our careers, in terms of our business, in terms of sales, but before we get to that, let me ask you, can I ask you about your story like how did you get here?

Eleanor Beaton :

Oh my gosh, I love that question. And every time I get asked that question, I think about a different, a different way to answer it. Because there's so many stories and moments, you know, when I think about my experience that got me here to where I am today, but you know, I can remember, I was in grade six. So that's like graduating elementary school, right? 12 years old and grade six. And at that time, I had really fallen in love and discovered this passion for communication. So speaking and writing and all of that kind of thing. I remember I got this award, and the award was for most diplomatic. Really, it's because now I'm not super diplomatic. But I realized that it was, you know, even then I have this passion for helping people articulate their ideas, helping people communicate in a way that builds community that builds consensus, even as you know, it kind of allows you to, to stand in a category of one. So that, you know, has been this skill set that's been there my whole life and when I think about my career in advertising my career in general As I'm moving into communications, consulting, moving into leadership, development support and business coaching, that has been the thread through every single piece of it, just taking this core skill set that I have and thinking about, how do I use this skill to empower especially women, you know, so that's kind of that's really how I got started. And I think it's, it's where a lot of women get started, which is that we have this core skill set, that we continue to refine and develop and find different applications for over time.

Laura Khalil :

Well, you know, I what I really love about what you said is one you were able to recognize your skill, your natural skills, your talents and abilities, which I think a lot of women in some ways continue to struggle with, even into their 30s 40s 50s and beyond, which I was, in some ways surprises me, but then I think, Well, you know, we've always been told to sit down. We've always been told to be nice. We've always been told not to make waves or you know, don't be too much so of course people have trouble with that but I love that you have always seen that thread and identified it. And then the other thing that I really love about what you said is you talk about your business as being very Mission and Service driven. And I think that that is so important to why I find you so authentic because I believe you are here to help people and I think that if people can see their business in that light of not what am I what what does it do for me, but how am I serving others? It's a game changer.

Eleanor Beaton :

It's a complete game changer and you know it quite frankly, I think it's the the most important way to be able to connect with people I always assume that people are going around as I am, you know, on a daily basis with this frequency, you know that this frequency that's getting transmitted, which is wi I FM? What's in it for me like what I want in my life right now. What are the things that are I'm concerned about. And that's the that is the great meeting place. You know, I think for any leader or entrepreneur, if you want to connect with people, it is much less about what you have to say than about your ability to meet people where they are. But you said something really interesting earlier, which was this idea of, you know, where you are making the connection about sort of me recognizing the skill set that I have, and that sometimes, you know, we can go into our 30s 40s 50s not being clarinet. This is so fascinating to me. And this has been coming up a lot recently. I think it's because as we're having this conversation, we're still basically and shelter in place. Yeah, there's a lot of tunnels, there's a lot of exploration, examination, you know, going inward, digging deep looking through things. People are reevaluating. But here's a conversation that I'm literally having every day. And it's this idea of the tyranny of significance. So Rene brown talked about this, and she talks about how she felt that we're living in an age significance where people experience a massive burden to be significant to be important to do world changing work, wow, changer, all of this. And I could when I heard her say it, like basically everything Renee says, right, let's preach Renee preach, because it's true. And I think when you have that sometimes your thing can feel small and insignificant. And you know, it's interesting now I am much more likely and much more comfortable claiming the piece of leadership skill set that I have and that I help with which is helping people articulate their ideas, helping people articulate their vision, making sure their niche is clear, making sure they can present what they do and the most clear way earlier in my career, that felt too small.

Unknown Speaker :

Wow, I

Eleanor Beaton :

felt like it had to be much bigger. I felt like I had to be leadership generally. And it's been this period of is it have grown and developed and kind of shaken free of that, you know, the tyranny of significance that I've been able to own my skill set. So I share that because I think, you know, when I heard Bernie brown talking about that, I was like, wow, I can completely relate.

Laura Khalil :

You know, I can completely relate. And, you know, I think that we have been taught or told or encouraged that if you're going to do something with your life, it's going to have to be really big. There's this implicit message of, well, you know, and I use this message as well. The message I use is, do you want to be a victim of your history or a master of your destiny? But it's not about taking over the world. It's about whatever corner of your world matters to you. How do you make an impact there? Whether that's your great frickin Mom, I don't know. Maybe that's it. That's enough. You Don't have to take over everything. You don't have to be a celebrity. You just have to make impact in your area. And I love what you said about getting comfortable finding your niche and owning it. I've worked with so many clients who refuse to do that work, because oh yeah, they think they're bigger than a niche. It's like, no, you're not sit down. And

Eleanor Beaton :

there's a song by Kendrick Lamar. Sit down, be humble.

Laura Khalil :

Looking on repeat, and then let's talk okay, right. No, you're not stop it. And it's crazy. And you know, I mean, Eleanor, I don't know, I've talked about this a little on the show. I'll say it briefly before I because I want to get back to you. But when I started my career as a consultant doing technology marketing, I did developer marketing. It's a very specific niche. And it is there's probably at the time I was doing it a dozen people in the United States who had that niche. Guess what? It's not sad. See, but you know what I was able to do, I was able to impact that my clients and their customers in really meaningful ways. Nobody knew who I was. They didn't have to know I was raking in the dough didn't matter if you knew who I was,

Eleanor Beaton :

oh my gosh, this is a story that needs to be proclaimed from the rooftops. Because what you just said nobody knew who I was, but I was raking in the profits. And this is such a powerful conversation I think we need to have and it loops back to this idea of significance. You can have and I think this is something that all of us need to do. And it's a part of this is a conversation about the the the guts, the bravery to niche down to own your space. Part of it is the bravery to know that you truly are enough and what you have is enough, it doesn't have to be more than that, you know, and what is more than that, you know, right. And then the other part is just this acknowledgement that your value isn't in having everybody know you excel. Right and we have these businesses. To to do to make an impact and to rake in dough when it's in their impact in cash machines. Eleanor please talk more about because what I love about what you just said is you're not afraid to talk about making money. And so many women still see money as a four letter word. Can you please talk about why it's okay to talk about money, why it's okay to want to make money because I think that's a really important message. We don't hear from women that often. No, we don't, you know, and here's the thing. Women are much more likely to die in poverty than men. Women are disproportionately globally impacted by war by, you know, the pandemic that we're experiencing right now is having a disproportionate impact on women around the world. And so, so I think it's high time that we as women talk about money, unapologetically. You know, I remember when I was growing up my mother, she is from the Fiji Islands. She was she was The main breadwinner. When my parents met my father's from Wales. They moved to Canada it were in a new country. My mother is no longer a teacher, she decides to stay home and raise us. And it created this economic inequality in our home. My parents had a very good relationship. My dad really controls the income he made all the money. And I can remember my mother telling me, Eleanor money is power always make your own. So Wow, that determination, right, but I had a hard time negotiating. I had a hard time owning my value. It always felt like you know, and as I became an entrepreneur and started growing my business, I noticed that sometimes if I owned the ambition that I had around building a cash machine, I would sometimes be shunned by certain women in my network. They're not in my network anymore, you know, but

Unknown Speaker :

they they looked down upon it.

Eleanor Beaton :

Totally 100% there's a lot of there continues to be shaming, you know, I think among women for the desire to make money, so there becomes we talked about the tyranny of significance, there's also a tyranny of impact, that it's okay to want impact. And that is permissible, you it is permissible for you to start a business to make an impact. It's not permissible to make money. And I think those two things are connected. And quite frankly, if you want to start a widget company, like to make the most boring, uninspiring widget in the world to make money, do it. Because you can have a huge amount of impact by having a lot of money. You know, you don't have to make an impact. You can just have it. That's fine, too.

Laura Khalil :

I love that. Well, you know, that always reminds me I used to live in Silicon Valley and always reminds me years ago, there was an app that came out called Yo, I don't know if it's still around. And the only thing you did was send a message. It was a messenger app, it would send a message that said, yo, that's it. Okay, no, I think that's ridiculous. I mean, Yeah, I think that's the stupidest thing ever. However, they got millions of dollars in venture backed capital to run this business that just send one message that say, yo, you know, and I see that. And I'm like, Why are you sitting down, stand up and go come up with your idea because there's money out there for all kinds of stuff. And we're not going to get it or I don't want to put the Actually, let me reframe that. It is harder for women to get the money. I don't want to put all the onus on women and inability for us to do the work. That's not entirely true. But let's go get it. Let's go find the people who are enthusiastic, yeses for our ideas and our growth because they do exist. Love it,

Eleanor Beaton :

Eleanor. I mean, that's, and that's such a and I love this conversation. I mean, that's this whole other area of communication, but, you know, a conversation that we do need to have once the borders open up and we can actually see each other, but it's this idea of, you know, accessing that That becomes about who's in your network. Right. You know, how are you referral? How do people talk about and I think that also comes back to this idea of message a niche. So what you shared about when you started your business, and I would just want people to get this that you, you marketed development, you marketed What? I was a developer, marketing consultant, developer marketing consultant. How cool is that? How easy does it become to refer Laura? Right, like ridiculously? Yes. How you know, so you start thinking about, let's say, Laura starts a company. Well, now she's got the connections, she's got a network and that is what allows her to get access to capital. I mean, these biggest blocker, I think, for women are access to networks. And so you know, we do need to think through how we start getting stronger access to the SEC, I could just go on and on about that. It's one of my favorite topics. I love it. We're talking about a lot of my favorite topics today. Well, right. You're

Laura Khalil :

one of my favorite new friends, Elon art. So I'm surprised, man. I mean, there's something really powerful. And to your point, there is something really powerful about being in a room with empowered women. And I know we talked about this briefly before I hit record. We were both at an event together in November, run by Ellie Brown, who guys if I've mentioned her before on the show, please go check her stuff out. She also has a great podcast as well. But boy, talk about getting into a room where you're networking with people who are at your level or maybe who have done things that you aspire to do and can learn from. I found that I honestly find it like a game changer for me to be in that type of room and to create more opportunities for rooms like that.

Eleanor Beaton :

Totally, yeah, it's it's like oxygen. It's like an injection of oxygen.

Laura Khalil :

I love that. So Eleanor, let me ask you because you're talking to I'm sure a lot of individuals right now who are freaking out or maybe have freaked out, um, are a little bit lost a little confused, saying maybe I'm afraid to start my business now, or I'm afraid to sell in a pandemic, how the heck do you do that? What are some of the top questions? You're, you're hearing from your audience. And I'd love if we could address some of those.

Eleanor Beaton :

Yeah. So. So one of the big questions, you know, and one of the big things that I hear are Is it okay if I market right now? Am I going to be seen as taking advantage of on? Am I going to be perceived negatively in the marketplace? And you know, that conversation I think there's both the external reality and there's the internal reality of what's happening. So the actual Reality is that absolutely during a time of crisis, during recessions generally, you do want to be marketing differently. So what we and it has a lot to do with how buy your psychology changes during a downturn. And what happens is that as we are experiencing, you know, huge amounts of uncertainty, of chaos, of confusion of fear, we start looking for the leaders. And we start looking for leaders who communicate who are, you know, engaged in values driven communication, they're sharing their values, they are coming from a place of massive service to their audience. Those two things are absolutely critical. And that also, they are very simple and clear about what the action is that people need to take next. So for the people who are marketing, you know, right now and thinking through what does this actually mean for me, it means number one, be very clear. Meet your audience where they are right now. they're overwhelmed, they're confused, they're in fear, we all are to a certain degree. So make sure that the message that you're going to market with meets them where they are, it's really important that you acknowledge what's going on. So that's kind of the first thing. You want to make sure that you are communicating from a place of service, and that your calls to action are even more crystal clear than they ever have been before. So I think that's a very sort of practical thing. That's the external, you know, and this is 100% of time where we know that about 9% of companies are able to grow through a recession and their rate of growth at the end of that recession is typically you know, they outpace their rivals. And they are typically these companies are typically investing smartly, you know, in, in business development in marketing to really sort of build their brand and grow their market share over this time. So I think you know, that's super externally important. Internally, you are there is more conversation about what women entrepreneurs should be doing, how they should be marketing, are they doing it wrong Tusk? Shame on you all of that kind of thing? I think, you know, this is the time when it's really important for women leaders and women entrepreneurs to lean back on their own criteria for what does being respectful look like to me. What does being a good leader look like to me? What is my own criteria for when I'm going to market and when I'm not and how and how much that having that self reference criteria, I think is very, very important doesn't mean we're not listening to the marketplace. We are. But we're always putting it through that buffer of our own criteria of success.

Laura Khalil :

I Wow. That's incredible. What I love about that, and I want to go back to our earlier point is when you are showing yourself what I hear you saying is when you're showing up you're actually helping guide people you're actually being of service. Again, this is about the difference between that mentality of what's in it for me, versus how can I serve you? How can I be a light for you? I can tell you, you're doing this beautifully because you're a light for so many people who are stressed out right now who are confused who are looking for guidance and direction. To your other point about the offers being very incredibly explicit and clear. I wanted to share with you in the audience I spoke with a learning and education researcher last week, they deal primarily with, you know, children and adults who are in learning environments and how we learn. They said something really interesting to me, which is that because we are so overwhelmed right now, because we are so stressed out because we are in this situation we have not experienced before. Collectively. People do not understand anything. That is complicated. More than ever, we already know that a confused buyer doesn't buy. But in this time, even when you are teaching to individuals, or quote unquote selling or being of service however it is for you, please be extremely clear, extremely explicit, extremely easy to understand step by step by step because we as individuals are overwhelmed by what's going on and have trouble even understanding things that might be a little complex. It's too much for us, you know, that

Eleanor Beaton :

explains something so first of all, I'm over here standing Oh, it's so true. That's super valuable. And it explains so conversation that I was having with my executive assistant the other day, and we have we serve brilliant women, and she's like, you know, this is so weird. I'm getting a lot of questions and people having a lot of like questions about their meetings like when their meetings aren't, there's a lot there like there's they're confused around meetings and, and what we did is, you know, zoom started recording In passwords, right, this was just as a result of it was this one little thing that switched up the routine that created this minor level of confusion that us brilliant naturally, um, you know, of course, of course goes to the saying, you know, it was enough to kind of put us into a state of Whoa, what's going on? Yes. Exchange under peacetime it would be no problem but yeah, I that's brilliant. I people

Laura Khalil :

are not understanding. And that's please so if anyone's listening or watching this right now and you're thinking, I feel so confused, it's normal. It's okay that you feel confused. We're not shaming you. And take the time to slow down understand it and as business owners or as women in leadership, take the time to break it down for your employees for the people you're guiding because they need that extra help right now. So Eleanor one more thing. Can I sell in a pandemic?

Unknown Speaker :

What do we do? This gosh,

Eleanor Beaton :

yes. Listen, this is so honestly, honestly, this is what drives me crazy. You know, that one of the things that this whole situation is revealed to us and I think you know, this so we're currently, you know, we're poised to hit the most significant recession since the Great Depression, right. And what came out of the Great Depression are grandparents traditionalists, people who basically drove up the national savings rate because they under they started really practicing excellent financial practices, building nest eggs, you know, all of that kind of stuff, then, you know, we've got credit cards, and over a period of a generation, that total national savings rate was basically raised to the ground. And that's how we grew up. But anyway, my point is, my point is here, what this what this crisis is revealed. Number one is that most businesses can survive maybe one to two months without selling so they do not have the cash reserves that they need to continue. So we're definitely going to see No bankruptcies. So in light of that, how dare anybody says businesses shouldn't sell businesses who employ people, businesses who contribute to the supply chain, businesses who create value? Literally, my blood pressure starts rising as I hear, and then I have to like coach myself, you know about not, you know, just not getting too. I'm joking. But I think that this whole thing around should we sell should we not sell is an intellectual damaging conversation that you know, people have, and they kind of talk about, but the level of the woman entrepreneur who knows that she, she, maybe she has a decent reserve, but that is the reserve to keep her business going. So she knows that she needs to continue building that reserve, or she doesn't want to drain it or she doesn't want to, you know, let her people go or whatever it is, right. So I think you know, yes, if you are an entrepreneur, you must continue to sell during a pandemic, unless you have you desire to draw down your reserves, build up debt unnecessarily, because people are continuing to buy

Laura Khalil :

now, just the way you sell change, because I'm assuming there's going to be some shifts in the messaging.

Eleanor Beaton :

Yeah, for sure. I think the messaging changes, again, it's very simple. You want to really, really simplify the messages, because people are confused. You also want to think about what could I what is extraneous in my offers that I might be able to take out, you know, that's not necessary. Are there ways that I can make this a shorter term? You know, so that so that it's really, you know, so that I'm not asking for massive amounts of commitment. I think those things you know, are very important. And you might decide to have a look, and this isn't going to work for everybody, but you may decide to have a look at your price points. So you may find that, you know, what we found is that people were comfortable buying but they were comfortable buying it sort of smaller rates, they would buy bigger things later, but they were comfortable starting out smaller. And so then you do an apple store. And so you don't discount your prices, you create a modified offer. So I think all of those things are key. But still, you know, one of the things that I would remember is, other people's economies are our business, you know, and so, I'm going to sell in some ways in a similar way, no matter what's going on, it's about clearly articulating, here's what it is, here's why it's great. Here's why you might want to consider having this now. And here's how you get it. And that's it, you know, and it's not and you know, I know you might be going through tough economic times, so blah, blah, blah. That's not us as entrepreneurs, that's not our business. That's their business. Like let's have boundaries and stay in our lanes people.

Laura Khalil :

Absolutely l&r. I love that. And I think you have provided so many really important mindset reframes for people who may be listening to this who are feeling, experiencing shame and guilt around money, shame and guilt around being visible right now. Thank you so much for that this time has like flown by

Unknown Speaker :

going to my show, we need to do it again on my show. We're gonna do it again.

Laura Khalil :

Um, well, you me it's like, you know, talk about simplifying offers. I it's like drinking from a firehose when I get going. So I I'm really learning. I'm like, Laura, you can't you can't do that to people. You're overwhelming them.

Eleanor Beaton :

I love it. And it's hard because, you know, it's the burden of expertise. Like it makes so much sense to you.

Unknown Speaker :

Yeah. Why don't you get it and get it

Eleanor Beaton :

right. Yeah. What's wrong with you?

Laura Khalil :

Oh, you don't get it because your kids are running around in circles driving you crazy while you're trying to look at yourself on a zoom while your husband's over here while you're trying to move. Okay, great. Yeah, I think I understand. Okay. So Eleanor. Do you have a couple of key takeaways that you'd love to leave the audience? With

Eleanor Beaton :

Yeah, so my first number one is, who you are is enough. And that really coming back to truly, truly valuing yourself and, you know, what I've learned as my business has grown, is that you cannot scale inadequacy, right? really doing the work, the internal work, that's the foundation that you need in order to be able to grow that you need in order to be able to grow your revenues, grow your customer base, all of that. If you don't scale, if that isn't commensurate with the external growth, it starts to create a very uncomfortable imbalance, you know, and so you'll start to correct you'll start to correct your external circumstances to match the internal one. So that's number one. You know, I think that's really, really critical. The second thing is and I love you know, and it's about, you know, brave by design. I just love that concept. And for me, it's really about Really designing your business to be a cash machine. And really thinking that through, and cash loves clarity. So the clearer you can be in your niche, the clearer you can be in your message, the clearer you can be in terms of your invitation to have people come to work with you. Those things are so critical, you know, in order to grow, and don't stop selling, don't stop marketing, no matter what.

Laura Khalil :

Eleanor I love that. I feel like so energized by this conversation. Um, I want everyone to go and find you. So where do they go to learn more?

Eleanor Beaton :

Oh, my goodness. So come on over to fierce feminine leadership, my podcast if you're a podcast listener, and you love this show, and this the kind of conversation that we're having, you will love that show too. So check out fierce feminine leadership. And then if you are really keen to learn more about how to market through adversity, go to adversity. marketing.com.

Laura Khalil :

I love that. Thank you. So much for joining us on brave by design. Thank you