Most new clients are skeptical at best when I explain to them how changing their marketing approach can actually make prospects come to them. They definitely don’t believe it when I tell them marketing can be easy and fun. But it all changes when their phone starts ringing off the hook and new money is rolling in
First, a bit of a backdrop story: why your marketing doesn’t work.
Chances are before you started your own business you had a fair share of experience working for a larger company which probably used many of the “traditional” marketing approaches like fancy brochures, big ads, sales force cold-calling on potential clients just to name a few.
So when you started your business you probably thought the way to go is to do what they were doing, only to discover that this approach costs a small fortune and doesn’t generate nearly the type of response you need to stay in business.
Fortunately, there are better ways to attract new clients
And they don’t require spending hours on networking events, cold-calling on strangers, and arm-wrestling so-so prospects into making a buying a decision. But how you ask?
Let’s suppose for a minute that instead of creating your next promotional piece your job was to help your best client solve one of their nagging problems.
For example – let’s say you are a business management consultant who wants to attract more clients.
A “traditional” approach would be to whip up some sort of one-sheet-type flier or brochure that would say something like “I’m a hot-shot consultant, I graduated from an impressive university, I have half a dozen of accreditations and designations and all the initials behind my last name to prove it, I can help your company solve 101 problems listed below, and here is the jaw-dropping list of satisfied clients I already worked with.”
Materials like this could help further establish your credibility at a later stage of developing relationships with your prospects but they are terrible for generating leads.
And while it’s exciting to see all that great stuff about you written in a neat brochure, there is one huge problem with it it’s only exciting to you. If you distribute it to your potential clients, it will be quickly and efficiently relegated to a circular file next to their desk.
Instead, imagine that you wrote a short article addressing one of the big problems you know your current and potential clients struggle with. To continue with the example of a management consultant it could be something like “The Hidden Costs of Excessive Turnover; Top 7 Ways to Hold on to Your Best Employees.” Or “5 Time Management Myths that Are Killing Your Productivity and How to Fix Them.”
You get the idea, right? OK, so it’s time for a quick quiz. Answer these simple questions:
1) What would your prospects rather read:
a) your bio (or other boring sales brochure), or
b) an educational article filled with helpful tips and ideas?
2) Which of the two items would your potential clients be more likely to request from you on their own and then forward to their peers and colleagues:
a) your sales brochure, or
b) a special report (a.k.a. white paper) addressing one of their key problems?
3) Finally, which of the two items would have a higher chance of being published in an industry publication and do a better job of positioning you as the authority on solving a specific problem:
a) your one-sheet, or
b) 500- to 1500-words article filled with specific how-to tips?
If you answered “b” in all three cases, you’re 100% correct.
What I just described to you is a simple shift from a “traditional”, sales-focused approach, to something often referred to as education-based or attraction marketing.
It really doesn’t matter what you call it. Bottom line – if you are willing to stop viewing your marketing as a way to GET people to buy from you, and instead explore how your promotions could actually HELP potential clients solve some of their biggest problems – you might experience two pleasant phenomena.
One, because promoting yourself will become a natural extension of what you already love doing which is helping your clients solve their problems – you will enjoy spending more time and effort working on marketing your business.
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