Latest Blog Comments

The question, “What is Productivity?” has been present for me for over forty years. It's been a search. I somehow knew that productivity was the key to overall success. I define productivity as “Doing something worthwhile, striving to do it well and achieving a measurable goal that is intrinsically fulfilling.”

Sounds simple, but why is it so hard to achieve consistent productivity? I believe it's because it's very easy to fall into less productive ways of spending our time. 

One way to look at this is through a four quadrant model.

The vertical axis is “Bad” and “Good.” The horizontal is "Easy" and "Hard."

Let me define what I mean by these words in this context. I call something bad if it opposes your aim and something is good if it supports your aim. This isn’t a judgment, it’s an observation based on our alignment or lack of alignment with our goals. 

If our goal is to climb Mt. Everest, and we are moving in the direction of Everest, that’s good. If we are going in the opposite direction of Everest, that’s bad. 

I call something easy that comes will little effort or strain. Something that is hard takes more work than something that is easy. It’s easier to hike to Everest base camp and harder to actually climb the summit of Mt. Everest. 

Of course we can apply these terms to our businesses and to our marketing. 

When we put these into a four-quadrant model, we get four different positions in regard to our productivity. Hard + Good = Productive. Hard + Bad = Workaholic. Easy + Bad = Procrastination. Easy + Good = Play. 

So let’s look at each of these positions in more detail. And as we’re doing this, ask yourself how much of your workday is spent in each of the quadrants?

Productivity

This is when we’re engaged in actions that are leading us towards our goals and that take some focused work to get there. In marketing, this can be a large number of activities. When we are purposefully engaged in writing, speaking, networking, and most importantly, reaching out and following up with prospects, we are being productive in our marketing. 

This is rather simple. We all understand what real productivity is. When we are productive, we feel engaged, fulfilled. We are learning and fine-tuning our actions. We are persistent and strive for excellence. 

Also remember that there are degrees of productivity. In the productivity box we may be at the lower left or the upper right. Some degree of productivity is demanded of all of us to earn our living. 

Workaholic

This position is often mistaken for productivity. After all, a workaholic works hard. But a workaholic is not working on the things that really matter. Workaholics work hard for the sake of working hard. 

A workaholic is someone who has no definite purpose, direction or goals. Or his goals are someone else’s. A workaholic doesn’t know where she’s going but is making good time. 

Are you a marketing workaholic who tries to do a dozen different things, works long hours but feel like you’re spinning your wheels? Your thought is “Well, if I do a lot of stuff, I’ll be successful some day.” But since you really don’t know where you’re going, except to survive, there isn’t a lot of excitement, joy or inspiration in your work. 

Procrastinator

The procrastinator is somewhat like the workaholic. Procrastinators have no direction or aim as well. But they don’t even work hard. They fritter their time away in useless, pointless activity whose main purpose is to avoid work completely. Not only are they disconnected to their goals, they are engaged in activities that produce no useful work whatever. 

Marketing procrastinators, think of giving talks, writing articles and connecting with new prospects, but instead check their email endlessly. They organize their desks, make calls to friends, watch Youtube, complain how they don’t have time and blame external conditions on their plight. Procrastinators live in the equivalent of marketing hell. 

Play

Someone who is playing is a big step up from procrastinating. And play is a very useful precursor to productivity. You might think of play as procrastination with a purpose. Your play is not yet real work where real results are produced but it’s setting the stage for productivity. 

If you watch children really play, there is tremendous energy and creativity. This energy and creativity is not focused on long terms goals, but engages all their faculties of communication and interaction for short-term wins.  

Marketing players are dreaming up plans, having conversations with associates, brainstorming, reading, creating models and solving problems. At its lowest level, play is a pleasant diversion that can be renewing and relaxing. At its highest level, play creates new realities out of nothing. Real play always leads to true productivity. 

Real play also includes hobbies, time with family and friends, exercise and other interactive activities. Passive downtime activities such as watching TV are less like play and more like procrastination - they do not renew you. 

What quadrant are you in?

So where do you spend most of your marketing time? I can’t tell you what the ideal balance is, but someone who is successful in their marketing spends more time in productivity and some time in play. Someone who is not very successful with their marketing is stuck in the positions of workaholic and procrastinator. 

The More Clients Bottom Line: For success in marketing, you need to aim for productivity. That doesn't mean working harder, but working with more direction and purpose and with definite achievable goals. And it's really the most fun you can possibly have!

I invite you to comment on this article and share it through the social medial links below. 

6509 views
 

People are more skeptical than ever.

They are skeptical about the government, business, professional sports, medicine, entertainment, media, religion and technology (to name just a few institutions that impact our lives daily).

In the middle of all of that skepticism you attempt to market your services – you try to tell the world (or those in your market niche) how wonderful you are and what a difference you can make.

The truth is that most of your marketing falls on deaf ears - even when it's good. But when you make major marketing mistakes, the skepticism rises and the results can be abysmal. What are the marketing mistakes you're making that are increasing the skepticism of your potential clients?

Here's a handful:

It's unclear what you do or offer

When you tell someone what you do, you want one kind of response. I call it a "That's for me response." In other words, your listener gets it right away and wants to know more. The best way to a get a "That's for me response" is to speak the language of results. You can do this verbally or in writing, but in both cases you need to telegraph your ultimate outcome or value proposition. If you don't tell people what they'll get from working with you, they'll assume you don't have what they need.

Your web site is poorly designed

I read an interesting article recently that reported the reaction time to a web site. The reaction time is a whopping 1/10th of a second! If the design is bad, if the balance is off, if the colors are dull, that 1/10th of a second impression is negative. And it's hard to recover from that. The chances are good that your web site is hurting you more than helping you. The only remedy is a professional, attractive design (not a homemade job).

Your web site doesn't build credibility

Even if your design is good and the immediate impression is favorable, it can go downhill fast from there. People browse the web looking for immediate answers to their questions. They want free information; they want to know what you do and who you serve and how your services work. In the first 30 seconds of visiting a web site, most visitors give up because they are not getting what they want. So they go away and never come back.

You are poor at follow-up

If you've gotten past the hurdles of initial visual impression and have given reasons to learn more, your prospect might actually respond - with a phone call or an email. And all you have to do is follow-up in a timely manner. Sounds simple, but it's not. I've struggled with this as I'm sure you have; a huge amount of business falls between the cracks just because we were lax in our follow-up. Improving this area can give you a big competitive advantage. Most ignore it completely.

Your sales process is incompetent

Now you have a prospect on the phone. They've read your site, they liked what they saw and you were on top of the follow-up after they responded. The sale should be easy from here, right? Well, not necessarily. Most independent professionals have no sales process whatsoever. They take on the demeanor of an order taker, or worse, a heavy persuader. Neither approach works. You need to have questions prepared, benefit points outlined, and an understanding of exactly when to listen and when to ask for action. When a prospect says, "I'll think about it," they really mean, "You blew it."

Be honest. Would you buy from YOU with the marketing and sales approaches you're using now? Or would your skepticism get triggered? When the message is unclear, the design pedestrian, the information sketchy, the follow-up lackadaisical and the selling nonexistent, don't you think you, as a prospect, just might back off and look elsewhere?

Now, this might sound depressing to you but there's actually some very good news buried in here! If you understand that every impression you make on your prospective clients will either draw them towards you or push them away, you have the opportunity to make some changes that could transform your marketing completely.

Use this three-step action plan:

1. Do a brutally honest assessment of the impact your marketing is making on your prospective clients. Look at the five elements I've outlined above. But don't stop there. Examine every single impression you make on a prospect and score yourself from poor to excellent on each one.

2. Get some resources that will help you. Really learn what works and what doesn't and then start making changes. Of course I'm going to recommend the Marketing Club as it contains how-to strategies for every one of the issues outlined above. It will give you what you need to be a more successful marketer. I've recently updated the page about the Marketing Club, so take a look:

http://www.actionplan.com/fasttrack

3. Pick one area at a time and make a commitment to improve that impression. You might have a long list, but you have to start somewhere. Before too long you'll have dramatically improved the marketing impressions you're making and your skepticism quotient will go down. You'll be on the way to marketing success.

The More Clients Bottom Line: Too often we think of marketing as manipulative tricks to get prospects to notice us and respond to us. The truth is, marketing is a process of presenting real value in an attractive, competent and compelling manner. In other words: This is something you can do!

I invite you to comment on this article and share it through the social media links below. 

4874 views
 

These short videos are comments from people who participated in the Action Plan Marketing Mastery Program. The question asked was, "What have you gotten from your particpation in Action Plan Marketing?" Please note that these were shot in a hotel lobby and there's a little background noise. Just click on each video to play. 

Be sure to get our free report:

"The Five Key Strategies
of Attracting
High-End Clients
."

 

 

3716 views
 

When I discovered my client ran marathons and triathlons, it shocked me. He's even done an Iron Man Triathlon. This starts with a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a full 26-mile marathon run! 

It makes we tired just thinking about it. 

I wasn't just shocked by the fact of the physical endurance of doing these kind of races. I was surprised that his business currently had very little motivation right now. 

It doesn't make sense, does it? How can you do marathon and triathlon races and not be motivated in other areas of your life? 

In our discussion we discovered something interesting. 

He told me that if he was preparing for a race over a period of several months, he was motivated to go out and practice. He'd swim, bike and run frequently and regularly. But if he didn't have a race coming up, he lost his motivation and slowed down his pace. 

What we realized is that he had very little motivation to do various marketing activities because he didn't have a clear goal for his business. He was aimless and struggling. 

So I gave him the task of coming up with a goal that could excite and motivate him. 

All of this seems so obvious, but we had missed the fact that he was only motivated when he had a clear and measurable goal that required a certain amount of effort to achieve. 

Does this mean that clear goals are important for everyone? 

Well, in my experience, they almost always help, but more important is to discover what we are already good at - where our talents and passions lie and then borrow those for other areas of your life such as your business and marketing. 

In a new book by Peter Bregman, "18 Minutes - Find your Focus, Maser Distraction and Get the Right Things Done" he talks at length about our passions and obsessions and how they can lead us to where we want to go. 

I interviewed him for the Marketing Club last week and we discussed how obsessions are clues to what we are best at. 

I told him that listening to and collection jazz was my obsession. Over the past 25 years I've collected aver 3,000 albums, listened to all of them and also spent a lot of time organizing my music. I can find any CD in my collection in about 15 seconds and all of it is also on my laptop, where I have dozens of playlists on iTunes. 

What I realized is that there are a lot of skills I've developed through this obsession. 

1. I'm a good listener. I can discern subtle shades of meaning which really helps me as a marketing coach and consultant. 

2. I'm systematic and organized. I love to create models and systems that make things clearer and more effective. I organize ideas, projects and time very easily. 

3. I have an appreciation for excellence. I know what is high quality or poor quality. I have an eye and an ear for things that don't fit or connect well. And I know what works. 

4. I have an interest in people. After all, I don't just listen to and organize jazz, I know the biographies of most of the major jazz musicians. I've read five biographies of Miles Davis!

5. I'm good at improvising. In jazz there are no bad notes, it's just a matter how you combine those notes. I love live interactions that are spontaneous. 

Those five things have contributed to my success in big ways. When I'm involved in my business and having the most fun and the most success, I'm tapping in to all those skills automatically and effortlessly. 

So what does this mean to your marketing?

Discover your obsessions and see where those talents and passions can be used in marketing. You don't want to market like me, you want to market like you!

For instance:

If you love sports, make a game out of marketing that you can win. 

If you're a big reader, make your marketing writing engaging and dramatic.

If you like the visual arts, make your web site beautiful.

If you're a movie buff, find ways to plot your marketing strategies with great story lines and scripts. 

Any one of these approaches can be successful for you. Yes, you need to understand the basics of marketing. That's what I'm here to teach you. But for it to be interesting, engaging and fun for you, you need to channel it through your obsessions, talents and passions. 

I once had a client who had a Siberian Husky named Mutombo. She was obsessed with this dog. And when I met with her to discuss her marketing, she told me she would not do networking or calling or most other marketing activities. 

But she did have an idea of doing mailings with pictures of Mutombo on them. Dumb idea? Not really. I helped her put her ideas together and do monthly mailings with pictures of her dog. And they were wildly successful. She got major corporate clients by marketing this way. 

So in the case of my client, he needs to find a goal that fits in with his obsession about fitness. I'm not sure exactly what it will be yet, but I'm certain that it will be motivating. 

The More Clients Bottom Line: Take a close look at your current interests, talents, passions and obsessions. These have been the path to developing the valuable skills you now possess. Now figure out how you can utilize those skills in your marketing. It's going to be a lot more fun. 

I invite you to comment on this article and share it through the social media links below.

3807 views
 

Right now I'm in the process of submitting several articles to be posted online. Instead of writing new content, I'm using past articles from this eZine. Going back to 1997, I have about 700 of them, so I think I can find some good content.

As I located a number of articles to post, I was somewhat taken aback by the variety of topics I've written over the years. I think I've covered just about anything and everything about attracting clients. 

So why don't I just recycle some of those articles for the weekly More Clients? Heck, if I started at the beginning I wouldn't have to write a new article until I was 75! I just might be thinking of retiring by then. 

To answer that question, let me go back to the very beginning of this eZine in 1997. 

I had just created my first web site and was trying to figure out how to drive more traffic to it. I was working with a client by the name of Robert Fish who had recently launched a weekly eZine. 

I liked the idea, figured I could also write an article a week and took the plunge. 

Now remember, back then, there were very few eZines. Email was not dominating our lives the way it does now. So I promoted it to the subscribers of my printed newsletter (which I stopped soon after) and did a lot of promotion through speaking engagements. 

But what spread More Clients more than anything else was word-of-mouth. People forward it to others, they subscribed, and before long my list grew from a few hundred to a few thousand. 

I started to use email more frequently to promote my services, products and workshops. And it worked beyond my wildest dreams. By 2000 I was attracting clients from all over the country and was doing $10,000 a month in sales of my InfoGuru Manual and teleclass programs. 

These programs ultimately morphed into 3-month "Marketing Action Groups" and then into the one-year "Marketing Mastery Program" and the "Marketing Club" membership site.

By now, I've developed enough marketing momentum to attract enough program participants and club members to keep me in groceries for a very long time. 

So back to the original topic: Why still write the eZine? Hasn't it served its purpose? Couldn't I just take it easy and simply recycle old material?

Yes, I could, but I neglected to mention the most important by-product of writing this eZine weekly for 14 years. It wasn't that it just brought me more business, becoming the most effective marketing tool I'd ever used, it transformed my life and my business. 

Before writing the eZine, I was marketing myself pretty randomly, like everyone else. I did a little speaking, some networking and relied on word-of-mouth business. But I didn't have much of a repeatable system that worked consistently. 

When I started to write More Clients, everything changed. 

For once I was doing some marketing regularly. Every single Monday I sat down and wrote it. I rarely missed an issue. So that was the first benefit. 

The second benefit was the fact that I needed material to write about every week. What happened is hard to describe. But as I wrote about all the things I'd been teaching my clients over the years, everything came into focus. 

The more I wrote, the clearer I got. Concepts that were rough become refined. Ideas that were half-baked become fully-formed. And after writing More Clients for three years, my ideas had come together as a system that ultimately turned into the InfoGuru Marketing Manual. 

And this continues until this day. As I write every week, new ideas emerge, theories coalesce, and new strategies emerge. And as a result, my marketing becomes more and more effective. 

So stopping writing More Clients would be like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs!

The More Clients Bottom Line: Writing a regular eZine (or these days, a blog) exercises your marketing muscles more than anything else. When you commit to writing, your ideas will come together in a way that can lead to very good things. Do some writing today!

I invite you to comment on this article and share it through the social media links below. 

4771 views
 

I was a big fan of the TV series, Heroes.

In fact, it's the only TV series where I actually bought the DVDs! I loved the concept, the story, the characters and especially the super powers. 

Admit it, if you could have a super power and use if for good, wouldn't you want it? Of course you would. Can't you just imagine using your super power to do good deeds and perhaps even save the world?

Somewhere in the middle of watching Heroes, I got it. We all have super powers, we're just not aware of them.

I'm not talking about the ability to fly, travel through time and shoot fire out of your hands. Our super powers are more subtle, but still very powerful. They can be used for good and they can change the world.

A superpower might be defined as a gift or talent you have that can be utilized to produce extraordinary results. 

And as an Independent Professional, you almost have to exercise those powers regularly if you are to succeed and thrive. Those super powers include such things as:

Persistence - Creativity - Insight - Compassion - Courage - Focus - Confidence - Determination - Enthusiasm - Generosity Originality - Spontaneity - Love - Reliability - Helpfulness Enterprise - Cooperation - Tenacity - Responsibility - Joyfulness - Communication - Patience - Optimism - Intelligence - Eagerness

You actually possess all of these super powers to some degree. But everyone has one or two powers where they excel, even if they don't realize it. The key is to recognize and exercise those powers whenever possible. 

For instance, I think the greatest super powers that I utilize in my business are persistence and communication. And I've grown a very successful business by continually exercising those powers. 

Someone once told me that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and that everyone was trying to improve on their weaknesses. But when you do that, you just end up with a lot of strong weaknesses.  

No, you want to work more on your existing strengths until they start manifesting as super powers. 

The powers of persistence and communication have enabled me to write this eZine every week for over fourteen years. I can live with that! It didn't requite the development of every other super power (although some other powers are related to these).

The question is, what are your super powers and how can you use them in your business and marketing? For instance, I know people whose super powers are compassion and caring. And that's what they put into every single interaction they have with their clients. 

And those powers generate a tremendous amount of word-of- mouth business. Everyone wants to work with these people because of the extraordinary relationships they develop with their clients. This makes them brilliant marketers!

So often in our businesses we are trying to be someone else. We are trying to appropriate someone else's super powers while marginalizing the powers we already have. We forget that we can produce incredible results with our existing powers. 

This doesn't mean you should ignore many of the essential practices of business and marketing. Instead, it means bringing your super powers fully to each of those activities. For instance, you could apply the powers of enthusiasm and reliability to writing a weekly eZine and do just as well or better than I did. 

The More Clients Bottom Line: Our super powers belong to the essential or authentic part of ourselves. You don't have to learn them; they are innately part of you. Don't focus on the powers you don't have; supercharge the powers you already have by embracing them and channeling them in the right direction.

What are your super powers?

I invite you to comment on this article and share though social media. 

16227 views
 

Last week it was Marketing Deadbeats. Now it's Martyrs!

Honest, I'm not planning a series of eZine articles that focus on everything you are doing wrong about your marketing to make you feel bad about yourself. 

But this topic of being a marketing martyr or victim came up in a conversation last week with one of the members of the Marketing Mastery Group, Aly Pain. 

Aly had been struggling with some issues with her business partner. We worked on ways for her to take responsibility for well-being and balance in her life so that she would have both a less stressful time as a business coach and would also find more time to market her services. 

What she told me was that she realized she had been acting like a martyr which was only making things worse. This clear observation was the tipping point that turned her into a victor, not a victim.

The question is, how do you know you're being a martyr or victim? Here's are some indicators: 

1. You find yourself blaming someone or a group of people for something. It could be your prospects who are hard to pin down or an associate or partner who won't cooperate with you. 

2. You blame external conditions that you have no control over. Of course, there's the economy or overall business climate in your area. You complain a lot about these things. 

3. You blame yourself. It might be that you're not working hard enough or that you're procrastinating about marketing. You are your own victim if you keep beating up on yourself like this.

4. You resist suggestions for changes you could make. Looking from the eyes of a victim, you know your troubles, stress, etc. have nothing to do with you, so why should you change? 

5. In the advanced stages of victimhood, your feelings of hurt, being betrayed, or treated unfairly, amplify. Blame and frustration only accelerate until you are paralyzed. 

The funny things about martyrs or victims is that they feel they have a just or noble cause. And yet they feel powerless to do anything about the situation. This feeling of having a just cause and being unfairly treated becomes an obsession. 

Victims also know that, "Something out there needs to change before I can take any positive action." And until that happens, the only action you'll take is complaining, worrying, procrastinating, ad nauseum. 

Like my client, Aly, the way out of her martyrdom was first of all realizing that she was playing that role unconsciously. It really, honestly looked like it was someone else, not her that was responsible for her distress. 

As soon as she realized this (at a certain point, this may come as an insight.. "Wow, look what I've been doing!"), she was open to taking positive steps to change things. 

She's now talking to some clients and renegotiating their contracts; she switching to phone coaching with several clients so that she doesn't need to travel as much; and she's making new marketing agreements with her partner that work for both of them. 

She has stepped out of her martyr/victim role and is excited, motivated and back on track. 

When I told her I wanted to write an eZine article on this topic, she even said, "Go ahead and use my name. I have nothing to hide!" A martyr/victim would never say that!

The More Clients Bottom Line: If things aren't going well for you; if you're stuck, complaining and procrastinating, consider if you've unconsciously stepped into the martyr/victim role. If you have, how long are you going to identify with that role? When are you going to take your power back? 

Please share this article on the social media links below. Also, I welcome your comments. 

4278 views
 

In response to one of my emails about the upcoming teleconference on "Attracting High-End Clients," one of my Club members sent me an email that said, "I've subscribed to your service for 2 quarters now and, I'm sheepish to admit, am a complete deadbeat, having not visited the site once." 

That was brave of her to admit, but now she's taking advantage of the free program to light a fire under her marketing. She also remarked: "I've been just plain lucky so far, having kept my practice going via word of mouth referral....it's never been stellar, but it's been enough to get by."

Are you also a "marketing deadbeat," doing just enough to get by in your business?

Let's do the famous Marketing Deadbeat Scorecard. Score yourself from 0 - 5. 0 being good, 5 being bad.

1. Do think about marketing but never do anything? _____

2. Do you read marketing books but rarely take action? _____

3. Do you sign up for e-books and online courses and don't even look at the materials once you've purchased them? _____

4. Do you rely on accidental referrals as a marketing strategy? _____

5. Do you pray for clients nightly but never lift a finger? _____

Your Total Score _____

If you scored from 15 to 25 you are a marketing deadbeat! The question is, is there hope for you? 

The answer is YES and here are Five Marketing Deadbeat Remedies that actually work: 

1. Get together with some friends once a week for a marketing support group. You might all buy a good marketing book or subscribe to the Marketing Club and cover one chapter or section during each meeting. 

2. Create a mastermind group by phone. Do the same thing as above. If you're in the Marketing Club, we'll actually match you with a couple other people who are interested in growing their businesses. 

3. Hire a coach to be accountable to. They don't even need to be a marketing coach. You can buy a marketing course, book, or join the Marketing Club and get the coach to simply support you in getting clear on your goals and taking action. 

4. Make a promise to someone you respect that you'll take specific actions on your marketing each week and then *bet your car.* Seriously. Write up an agreement that if you don't fulfill your promise, that your friend will get your car. Make it real and legal and (if you value your car), you'll actually take action.

5. Spend some time writing down all the reasons you are not taking action in your marketing and then do the 4-question Byron Katie process on them. Be brutally honest with yourself. Get to the point where you realize that you are just lying to yourself. Then choose some more empowering thoughts.   

The whole point of this is to realize that there are at least five, and perhaps dozens of other ways, to get unstuck. It takes making the decision, the commitment to act, and you'll find a way to propel yourself into action. 

Final way: Join the Marketing Club ($29 per month) and then attend the teleconference series (valued at $197) for free. This should be such a no-brainer that you really should have no excuse not to take action. Details here:

http://actionplan.com/highend-biz

Note that we start on October 11, so you just have one week before we start and there's some preparation work to do before the program starts, so sign up today and end your excuses of not being an effective marketer forever - or at least for two months!

The More Clients Bottom Line: All the excuses in the world, no matter how reasonable, don't add up to taking action and producing a result. If you're a marketing deadbeat, I invite you to leave your sinful ways behind and get on the path of the marketing devotee. The rewards can be substantial.

Please comment on this blog post.  

3444 views
 

Over the past several weeks I've written four articles on how to attract more high-end clients. We've covered the following topics. 

1. What exactly are high-end clients and what do you need to do to consistently attract more of them to your business. 

2. The mindset necessary to attract high-end clients and why it has nothing to do with "abundance thinking."

3. Why you must take responsibility for the results your clients produce and why this is key to attracting high-end clients. 

4. How to increase the perception, delivery and outcomes of your service to more than justify the high-end price tag. 

The fifth and final article in the series will give you a step-by-step action plan for enrolling clients into your high-end programs.

Presentations are the key!

My favorite way of enrolling high-end clients is through some kind of presentation. This can be a talk at a conference, a webinar, or a teleclass. 

You actually don't sign-up clients for your high-end services through speaking, you pre-sell them on your concepts and programs and then follow up with them. 

For my Marketing Mastery Program, I do a series of teleclasses to introduce the ideas in the program. I don't sell, I educate. And in fact, I let people know that the program won't be open for enrollment until mid-January. 

If you are offering a high-end service or program for groups, this is a good approach, but you can also offer high-end services to both individuals or companies. 

Speaking is also the most effective way I know to qualify prospects for your program. After you give your talk, you get cards (by offering an article) and in some cases offer what I call a "Strategy Session."   

For instance, your talk might be about how to increase profitability in software firms. Your strategy session would be called a "Software Profitability Strategy Session." You offer it at the end of the talk or teleclass as follows:

"I hope you've gotten some useful ideas from my talk today that will help with the profitability of your software company. Can I see a show of hands of those who are committed to increasing the profitability of your company by 10% or more in the next year? 

"OK, great. For those people, I want to offer something that will help you achieve that goal more quickly. I call it a 'Software Profitability Strategy Session.' This session is valued at $750 and we can make it available for up to five people in the audience today. In this session, we look at your current situation, explore your specific profitability goals and also the challenges that may prevent you from increasing your profitability.

"If you'd like to take advantage of this session, all you need to do is write on the back of your card, "Strategy Session" and hand it to me at the end of the talk, and I'll be in touch with you about the session and send your more information. 

"OK, who would like to take advantage of that session? (Get a show of hands.) Great, just hand the cards into me and I'll be in touch with you right away."

If you are doing this on a teleclass or webinar you do it very much the same, except that you ask them to send you an email letting you know if they are interested in a strategy session. You don't have the added advantage of people raising their hands, but it still works quite well. 

Strike while the iron is hot! After you get the cards or emails, you follow up by the next day at the latest. You want to send them an email inviting them to take advantage of the Strategy Session. It might go something like this:

Dear Jean,

Thanks for attending my talk on profitability for software companies. I hope you got some useful ideas. And thanks for also requesting a strategy session. 

Because I have a very busy schedule, I can only offer a limited number of these sessions, valued at $750, on a complimentary basis. Let me tell you more about the session. 

In the session, which is by phone, and typically lasts 90 minutes, we will cover the following.

1. Your current situation, including discussion of your profitability and other relevant company issues. 

2. The goals and vision for your company. Where do you want to go with your business in the next few years? 

3. The challenges you are facing in growing your profitability and what you need to do to overcome those challenges. 

4. A discussion of next steps and an action plan to move your company towards profitability. 

In order to schedule this session, I ask that you fill out the questionnaire below and send it back to me. The more completely you fill this out, the more I can help you. Please send it back to me within one week or less to ensure that I can fit you in. 

Software Profitability Strategy Session Questionnaire. 

1. What is the current profitability of your company, both in total profits and as a gross and net percentage of total sales?

2. What are the measures you have taken up to now to increase your profitability? What has work and not worked?

3. What is the ultimate profitability goal for your company? 

4. Are you ready in the next few months to commit the time, energy and resources to increasing your profitability?

5. If you increased the profitability and reached your profitability goal, what would it mean to a) your company and b) you personally. Please be as specific as possible. 

6. What else would you like to say about your business and/or your profitability that would be useful for me know before the strategy session. 

- Of course, your questionnaire will be different, depending on your clientele. The point is to get the prospect involved before the strategy session so it isn't just another sales conversation. 

Conducting the Strategy Session

I can't go into all the details of the Strategy Session here, but I will outline the main parts briefly as a guide:

1. State the purpose of the session, which is always an outcome: "…to help you increase your software company's profitability."

2. Ask about the current situation of the company, using the answers to the questionnaire as a guide. Go deeper and try to really understand what is working and not working. Don't talk about solutions or tell any stories during this part of the meeting. 

3. Learn about the goals and vision of the company (or individual). Go really deep here. This is what they are buying from you - the transformed future. So you need to get them to articulate it as clearly as possible. You might use a story or two here of clients with similar aspirations. 

4. Discuss their challenges. What is preventing them from getting their goals? Is it lack of clarity, a lack of strategy or plan, lack of skills, a non-supportive environment or other issues? This is a good time to tell a few stories of clients who had similar challenges and overcame them. 

5. Present your services. If it's a bigger company, you'll want to present them more generally and then do a proposal. For smaller companies or individuals where you offer a fixed program, present  the outcomes, benefits and structure of the program in detail. You can tell stories here as well. 

6. Make your call-to-action. My favorite is when you ask the client to sell you on the value of your program: "Jean, can you let me know why you think this program is a fit for you?" Never talk about the price until you know it's something they want to do. With bigger companies, don't give the price until *after* you've presented a first draft of the proposal. 

If you follow the recommendations in this series of articles on attracting high-end clients, you'll attract a whole lot more of them.

You can download a copy of an expanded version of all five articles in my report: "The 5 Key Secrets of Attracting High-End Clients."

http://actionplan.com/pdf/high-end-secrets.pdf

If you'd like more information and support in learning and implementing this process, I invite you to attend my upcoming Teleconference Series on Attracting High-End clients starting on Tuesday, October 11. 

In fact, you can attend for free. Click on the link below for details. 

http://actionplan.com/highend-biz

The More Clients bottom line: Attracting high-end clients is the key to success in your business. When you attract more high-end clients you not only make more money (often a LOT more money) you have more fun, produce bigger results for your clients and feel you are making a real difference. What could be better than that? Make it a priority in your business to learn how to do this to the very best of your ability. 

Your comments are weclome.  

4031 views
 

High-End Clients Marketing - Part IV

One of the biggest issues in attracting higher-end clients is how to actually add value to your services. 

After all, getting high-end clients isn't just about charging more. You need to offer more that will increase the chance that your clients will get much better results. 

The first thing I ask is, "If budget was not a consideration, what service or program would you offer your clients that could virtually guarantee that they would produce the results they wanted?"

It's an important question, because you're now thinking from a high-end mindset, not a limited, low-budget mindset.

What people often come up with are various ways they would support their clients in producing results beyond what they are offering their clients now. 

So, if you're a coach, perhaps you're meeting with a client once a week for about an hour, and that's it. What else could you add to this? Some of these will take a little more time on your part, and some simply add value. 

Here's are some that I and my clients have offered:

1. Unlimited contact and answers by email, with response within 24 hours or sooner. 

2. Additional short phone sessions, as needed. Just let them know the hours you are available. 

3. Actual written feedback on various materials, from reports and articles to scripts, proposals, etc. 

4. Links to online content of yours including articles, podcasts and videos. 

5. An interactive Forum for all your clients to share ideas amongst themselves. 

6. Weekly email blasts on various topics that are more in-depth than your regular eZine. 

7. A requirement that your clients send you a report before each session. This saves you time on the call and enables you to get to the most important issues more quickly. 

You must always have the mindset that the coaching that you offer is much more than a one hour meeting a week. 

And, of course, in the promotion for your services on your website, you would outline all these extras they would get with your coaching, where you emphasize that you are committed to their success and will do just about anything in your power to help them succeed. 

The next question is "How do I prevent my clients from taking advantage of me if I give them so much more service, access and information?"

The way you do that is by charging much more for your services! 

There's a direct correlation here. If you are charging $500 per month, it may feel that you are giving more than you're getting. But if you charge $1000 or $1500 or more, then you won't have a problem giving your clients more value.

Also, in my experience, I enjoy working with clients at this level much more. It's more fun, fulfilling and exciting. My clients feel they have a real partner in me that will do whatever it takes to help them get results.  

It all starts with valuing yourself and your services. If you can really make a substantial difference with your clients, then you'll never worry that you're charing too much. You can just put your attention on your clients and do the work you need to do.

Another big issue that often stops people: "How can I really communicate to my prospect that I'm worth more than the average coach." 

Simple: Actual client results. You want to make every single client you work with into a documented success story. You need to write down the situation of the client before you started working with them and track their progress over time, showing the gains they have made. 

Then turn these into written case studies and show them to your potential clients. This is very powerful proof that you can produce the results you said you can. And ultimately, this can justify higher fees. 

Finally: "What if I don't have any success stories yet?" Well, you can only start where you are. Put all your efforts now into going the extra mile to make a measurable difference with each and every client you have - even if they're not perfect clients. 

Before too long you'll have a number of case studies. And you can add more and better ones as you continue to work with new clients. Again, this work will give you more evidence and validation that you can charge higher fees. 

Would you like to get a head-start in attracting more high-end clients and substantially increasing your income?

I'd like to invite you to attend my 2-month, 4-session Coaching Call Series on "Attracting High-End Clients." This program is priced at $197 but you can actually attend for free if you're willing to do the work and participate fully. 

See the details here: http://actionplan.com/highend-biz

The More Clients Bottom Line: You'll ultimately make a lot more money in your business if you offer more value - not just for the sake of doing more - but because this value helps your clients get better results. Commit to that and you'll experience a change that will rock your world.  

4143 views
 
More Blog Posts...
Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has for 30 years, been helping Self-Employed Professionals attract more of their ideal clients.  He offers the online membership site, The More Clients Club, and individual coaching and consulting through his Marketing Action Coaching. If this is your first visit to the More Clients blog, make sure to get a copy of the Marketing Plan Workbook and join the Marketing Club Forum for free.