The $1mm Lesson I Learned From the French

Bob and I chose Paris to share the last week of 2011. Our initial intent was to disconnect from the everyday and savor the beauty of this “incroyable” city. What we came back with was so much more.

The lesson that we learned was that connection is a way of life, not something that you do in certain business situations. We all know that the French have a reputation for being aloof and condescending towards Americans- I could not disagree more after this week. We found that if you make an effort to speak their language and greet/ acknowledge them while visiting their shops, restaurants and sights then the most magical things happen.

You may be asking “What does this have to do with my business?”. It is an approach that is gaining momentum and addressed in "The New Relationship Marketing" by Mari Smith and other current business books. There is so much “noise” in today’s information age that focused and direct connection is not only unexpected but it is rewarded by those who value your beliefs (and in turn are your most valuable prospects). Connect and there is no competition for you, your new prospects become members of your club and  raving fans.

Now, back to the French. Here are my recommendations based on our experience this past week:

1) Meet people “where they are” : Bob and I spoke French when ordering, greeting and inquiring (as best as possible). Speaking others’ “language” goes beyond the literal. What I am suggesting is to be the best communicator as possible by understanding the person across from you and how best to deliver a message. If you are speaking to a Gardener about setting goals then use a planting analogy to get your point across. This heart centered approach versus “my way” ego approach makes a mark and is rewarded.

2) Acknowledge/validate: When Bob and I walked into a shop we lead with “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur”. We made eye contact each time and struck up a conversation with each proprietor who knew “un peu” English. Upon leaving we exchanged “Mercie” and “Au Revoir”. What I learned this year from my own sales experiences is that most pros do not take the time to understand what is going through the minds of their potential clients that critical period right before they make the decision to say “yes”. When I sensed this inability to acknowledge what was going through my mind by others, I was lead to say “no” to opportunities presented to me. Take the time to acknowledge and validate through phrases like “people in your situation often ___________ ” and you will be greeted with a “yes” more times than not.

3) Stop and smell the roses: All week we enjoyed every street we walked down, every bite of croissant, and the light that hits Paris at 5P. Having this approach to life drives an appreciation that paints every corner of your life with a newness that has you excited to greet each day with excitement. An “it’s all good” attitude is the strongest magnet you can wield to attract success into your life.

If you haven’t guessed already, “Je t’aime Paris”. I am laying out my plan for the coming year with what I have learned about human connection this week. Being as approachable, interested and appreciative as possible will be my daily mantra. C’est bon!

Love and Light, Dawn

PS: Check out my “I Love Paris” video (2 min) which was shot completely on my iPhone with wide angle/ fish eye lens kit and edited in 1 hour with iMovie.

2 Secrets to Success for 2012

If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.  ~Lawrence J. Peter


Goals are dreams with deadlines.  ~Diana Scharf Hunt


There is no better time to be introspective and set yourself up for success than the end of the calendar year.  December offers a light energy, a season of celebration and a promise of miracles. If embraced effectively, this month can be the beginning of a year planned and goals achieved with intention.


The concept of “suddenly”, times when we perceive situations or events coming out of nowhere is one that we should consider. Nature doesn’t happen “suddenly”. We don’t go to sleep to wake up to a tree “suddenly” growing in front of our building.  Lottery winners are few and far between and they often lose their sudden winnings quickly!


Here’s a secret- the “edge” that successful people have is the slow and steady. They understand production. Much like Malcolm Gladwell’s concept in “Outliers”, the people who reach outstanding performance levels are those who keep at doing one thing consistently (the 10,000 hours of practice analogy).


Knowing that success is derived from 1) defining and building your desire and 2) consistently doing one “good” thing daily that will result in your reaching your goals….”what are you prepared to do?”


Easier said than done….getting to the core of your “what” requires a bit of “why” work. This first module is about exploration and understanding the “beliefs” that we have been carrying around and how those beliefs have kept us back from achieving. We will also take a look at our recent performance and set a realistic goal for the coming year. Are you ready to analyze logistics while addressing the behavior that, once viewed, will free us to getting to our higher level? Let’s dig in! 

Formula for Appreciation

einstein turkey

My favorite holiday is upon us. Thanksgiving for me is about gathering those whom you love, creating a memorable meal, and reminding myself about everything that I am thankful for. I have been fortunate enough to integrate this concept of appreciation in my everyday life.

Being the engineer that I am, I tend to communicate through formulas. My favorite mathematician Einstein is quoted as saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By considering a slight change in your daily routine, you can drive massive success. With that said, my life formula for you all to ponder this Thanksgiving is:

Defined terms:

1) HC: Doing specific actions to take yourself from staying in your head and thinking of yourself to coming from your heart and connecting with others.

2) DB: Define your beliefs and communicate those beliefs consistently with all that you say and do.

3) GB: Give back regularly without agenda.


Many of us believe that the world is on the precipice of a major shift, life as we know it changing forever. Whether you believe this or not, I invite you to embrace the fact that leadership is needed today more than ever. My belief is that we need to devote ourselves to mastering how to support others so we can contribute to what lies ahead. I welcome you to join me on this journey!

Dawn’s “Ridiculous” Meatball recipe

My dear friend Paul Zweben (@hungrydomaine) asked for me to share this recipe. I get rave reviews so try the recipe out.
The secret is to make sure the meatballs stay intact when you brown them. Carefully drop them into your sauce pot (I use my electric Cuisanart Pressure cooker on the “simmer” setting).


  • 2 lbs Meatloaf blend (pork/beef/veal ground meat)
  • 2 pieces of sliced bread (whole wheat) edges cut off
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (for coating before browning)
  • Vegetable oil (for browning)

Makes around 28 small meatballs


  • (3) 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • Diced onion, carrot, celery (I buy the already chopped from Whole Foods or Trader Joes) about 1/2 cup each
  • dash of Balsmic
  • dash of red pepper
  • salt
  • pepper

Get sauce going: Saute vegetables in olive oil for 20 minutes (low-med). Add tomatoes and season with other ingredients to taste.


Heat milk in small sauce pan. Add bread and simmer for 5 minutes.Let bread mixture cool. Mash up with a fork.

Mix first 8 ingredients. Combine with your hands, don’t overwork. Form meatballs (not too big) and be careful not to pack them (think light and fluffy!). Roll meatballs in breadcrumbs and place on a baking rack.

Heat oil in large pan with high sides. Add oil (1.5 inches in depth minimum). Brown meatballs, turning gently.

Add browned meatballs to sauce in batches carefully. Simmer on low for at least 2 hours.

Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen

I am writing this post from my super comfortable lounge chair overlooking the palm trees and surf at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Key Biscayne. My husband is a big fan of this chain and I am now won over by their overwhelming sense of customer service and dedication.

Like Starbucks and coffee, The Ritz Carlton is not about selling hotel rooms- they are selling memorable customer experiences. I was and am blown away by every employee interaction I have had throughout the weekend-they truly care and go the extra mile to insure that every minute of your stay is as enjoyable as possible.

How timely that this coincides with my program development and quest to coach entrepreneurs on how to break through the “stream of sameness” (especially in the Real estate agency business) they face in their respective industries.

As you probably guessed, the magic starts with leadership. The key Ritz Carlton principles that Joseph A.Michelli emerged with in his book "The New Gold Standard" are centered on:
- Understanding the ever-evolving needs of customers
- Empowering employees by treating them with utmost respect
- Anticipating customers’ unexpressed needs and concerns
- Developing and conducting an unsurpassed training regimen

Anticipating unexpressed needs in particular calls for awareness, selflessness and a culture of service. Being in touch with how you show up energetically is the foundation of consciousness and the requirement for true connection. All in all, coaching around your individual ability to motivate and inspire others is the first step in becoming a “stand out” service provider.

I sit here savoring the last hours of this most delightful vacation experience. With this book in hand and dedication to my clients I intend to bring a bit of The Ritz Carlton back to my real world.

Stop Losing Sales- The 1 Technique You Need

I met with a veteran Real Estate agent this week (27 years in the business!) and she told me the story of how she lost a listing contract to an agent who worked for one of the larger New York City firms. We’ve all shared similar tales of woe, heard from friends about the “one that got away”. My response to her was that she lost the listing months before the appointment took place. How could that be, you may ask.

Well here is the straight answer I have for anyone looking to develop a successful, consistent and enjoyable business. You must stop leading with the “what” and begin to capture people who are ideal clients who may not be ready to buy, sell or rent (the real estate agent example) today. Those “Just listed” cards are thrown in the trash if I am not ready to buy today. I’ll visit your website but will probably not come back if I am not ready to buy today.

Imagine if that agent I mentioned in paragraph 1 had a compelling giveaway that was aligned to her brand (Ex: Brooklyn’s Top kid friendly restaurants) and people who came in contact with her “opted in” to receive the guide via email. She would have an opportunity to educate/build trust through email sequences and offline connects. When those new relationships are ready to buy,sell,rent or refer that agent would certainly be on their short list if she conducted herself in a “giving” way with her interactions.

Simon Sinek brings this new approach together in "Start with Why" and his amazing Ted Talk. I highly recommend that you watch his presentation!

Contact me if you are done with losing business- I have the formula that works in today’s Relationship Marketing environment.

Casual Glam- Queen Sienna by citydawn featuring a black tote bag
Nobody does casual glam better than Sienna Miller. Here is my take on her style. Order the bangle at my Chloe and Isabel online store.Mulberry flower dress, $2,300Alexander Wang leather lace up boots, $2363 1 Phillip Lim black tote bag, $1,274Modern Deco Stretch Bracelet, $42Charles Hubert watch, $115Linea Yellow gerbera, £ 12x18 / 12 x 18 Red Rustic Pine Picture Frame - NEW ….., $16

Social Before Brand:Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Working on a Social Media strategy before sharpening the edges around your unique business brand is like putting the cart before the horse. This realization rang true for me after the few weeks I spent with clients and during my weekend at Social Media expert Mari Smith’s VIP retreat.

It is a natural instinct for us to do exactly as others do or to develop collateral and messages for the sake of doing something. All of this leads to us “shutting down” because we are going in many different directions.

David Tyreman’s “World Famous: How to Give Your Business a Kick-Ass Brand Identity”  was introduced to me through this webinar and I highly recommend that you give it a listen (1 hr 20 min). Here are the compelling statements from David that led me to downloading the book:

  • We can’t afford to be like other people, it makes us invisible.
  • What specifically makes you unique & valuable out there in the world must be defined so people can identify and choose you more easily.
  • When you know what you are about & stand out then business comes to you.

So how does this relate to Social Media? Defining you and your unique identity drives engagement from the audience that you are most likely to have sales success with. Being likeable online, demonstrating that you are trustworthy and communicating greatness through your consistent message will drive the development of Advocates, people who will sing your praises and send qualified contacts to your sales funnel.

I have a corresponding work plan that I am developing for my clients and for my “8 Steps to Advocate” program. I invite you to reach out to me if you are interested in showing the world that there is no one quite like you, and that there is no brand in the world quite like your own!

If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter.
Mark Twain (attributed to Pascal)

1 Facebook Fan Page Tip That Drives Major “Likes”

Many people have asked me “How do I get a great initial base of “Likes” for my Facebook Fan Page”?

Before you start going after “Likes” I suggest that your Facebook Fan Page have the following components:

  • A great “Welcome” tab: You should change your default to this being the first thing that a new visitor sees when they visit your page. This tab should be welcoming, clearly define the information and/or offers that your page will be consistently posting, and insure that your brand shines through (like this page). I compare having a Landing Page for your Facebook Fan Page to wearing the proper suit for a business meeting- would you show up to a $5MM real estate listing appointment in cut-offs?
  • Now that you are dressed up in a suit, make sure that you are not taken for an “empty suit”. Have a great base (at least 10 over 1 week) of engaging status posts on your wall. The best way to learn how to be engaging is to model Fan Pages like Lujure that rock it!

Once you are set with the above, you can drive the following process for instant “Likes” (this tip comes directly from Mari Smith, my Social Media Mentor):

  • Contact your “Advocates” (people who are your raving fans) and ask them to help you drive “Likes” to your new Facebook Fan Page;
  • Make these “Advocates” admins to your Fan Page (for a week or so);
  • Instruct them to the link to the right of the Page “Invite Friends”, click “Search all Friends” and suggest that they invite as many friends as possible.

This is a natural way to drive community from the people who speak highly of you! I’d follow up with an act of appreciation so these Advocates keep helping you with filling your marketing pipeline.

If you are looking to take it to the next level, here are some tips more Fan Base building tips from Social Media Examiner.

Cheers! Dawn