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One of the old bromides of marketing is, "You've got to have a marketing mix, or a balanced mix of marketing activities." And many Independent Professionals do that by networking, speaking, blogging, doing social media, ezines, etc. And yet they are still frustrated that all this marketing activity is not producing a constant stream of ideal clients. 

It's not the marketing mix that produces great marketing results, it's the concept, design and execution of the marketing activities you're already doing that produces great results. 

And if you look at most of your marketing activities, the adjective that describes most of them is "random." You are caught in an activity trap: lots of movement, but little direction towards a definite aim.

Let's take a marketing activity that's very popular right now: social media. The activity trap is to post a lot of stuff on Facebook and Twitter and then hope somebody calls you some day. People put up quotes from other people, links to other sites, random comments, or sometimes direct promotion for a teleclass or webinar. All of this feels very random. And it's based on hope, not a real plan.

I believe a good social media plan needs to revolve around your own content, your own ideas. Here's a social medial plan that has a chance of working:

1. Write a frequent blog post (3 to 5 times a week.) It doesn't have to be long, but should have pithy, actionable information addressed to your ideal clients.  

2. Post a blurb and links to this post on Facebook and Twitter. In my experience, this leads to immediate web traffic, to your site, not somebody elses. It depends on the number of Friends and Followers you have, but for me this results in 100 or more visitors for every blog post.

3. Have a link at the bottom of your blog post to the services you offer on your website. Then some of those visitors will visit that page and actually contact you (immediately or eventually) or order something you have online.

Now you have a step-by-step process for a specific marketing activity that can be done consistently and methodically to produce results. From there you can add other marketing activities, but always make sure they have a direction and process that leads to prospects learning about how you can help them and a way to contact you.

Click here to become a better marketer of your services


If you can zero in on the three biggest problems, challenges or issues your clients face and communicate those far and wide, you'll get more attention than almost any other marketing method.

Yes, results, outcomes and benefits are important as well. But those are easier to hear once you've gotten someone's attention with the stuff that's really bugging them. It's as if you're a psychic or a fly on the wall who's been listening in to their conversations.

You see, we're thinking about our problems, what's not working, more than we're thinking about what's working.

For several years we've had a spare bedroom in our house that was more or less our junk room. It drove me crazy. Every time I looked into the room, I shuddered with a kind of dismayed revulsion. I was always thinking about how terrible that room was.

Now if you were an interior decorator, your messages might be about how wonderful and beautiful and relaxing your newly designed spare bedroom could be.

But that wouldn't get my attention. Because that's not what I've been thinking about. But if, instead, your message focused on the problem, you'd have my immediate attention:

Do you have a spare bedroom that's turned into a junk room?
Do you shudder with dismay and revulsion every time you look inside?
Are you frustrated by how awful this room is and wish it could be different?

Well, that kind of language would have me picking up the phone immediately. Because this interior designer was speaking the words and creating the images that were already in my own mind.

Your job as a marketer of your professional services is to speak the language of your clients, and that language is about the problems, issues and challenges they are thinking about all the time.

Then you can talk about all the wonderful things they will get and how beautiful that room will look.

And yes, we remodeled the room and it's beautiful indeed!


Click here to become a better marketer of your professional services.


 Every once in awhile I work with a client who is really stuck. Usually they are sabotaging their success in one way or the other. And no matter how much you encourage them, it doesn't work. However, underneath that stuckness is typically a core belief that stands in the way of success. Here are a few I've seen: 

A woman who kept finding ways to fail despite her brilliance and talent. 

A couple who couldn't raise the prices in their business even though they were way under market. 

A man who always procrastinated about putting his great ideas into action. 

In each case I helped them explore their underlying beliefs, and in all cases they were doozies. 

The woman's belief was, "If I succeed I'll go blind." So any time she got near success she found a way to sabotage herself.

The couple's belief was, "If we charge more money we'll turn into con artists." Just the thought of raising their prices made them feel like low-lifes. 

And the man's belief was, "If I take action that isn't perfect, I'll be punished." So he avoided punishment by avoiding action. 

When they all saw their underlying beliefs and realized how they had been formed many years ago to protect themselves from some kind of harm (which was no longer valid), the grip that belief had on them simply disappeared. They could move forward without fear and produce results that were impossible for them before. 

Do you have an underlying core belief that is holding you back? Not everyone necessarily has beliefs of these kind, but many do and they are debilitating. This kind of belief tends to follow this formula: "If I do X (X being something desirable they want in their lives) then Y (Y being something very negative) will happen. 

Searching for, uncovering and realizing the consequence of these beliefs can change your life. 

Become a better marketer of your professional services


This blog post is courtesy of Lawrence J. Peter from his book, "The Peter Pyramid."

"We are a strange people. We spend our lives doing things we detest, to make money for things we don't need, to impress people we don't like. We never want to be doing what we're doing. When we eat, we read; when we watch TV, we eat; when we drive, we listen to music; when we listen to music, we work around the house. When we want to be with friends, we go to a noisy restaurant; when we want to party, we spend the evening trying to converse."

This was written back in 1986 and since then, things have only gotten worse. When we're on the phone, we're checking our email; when we watch TV we surf the web; when we're on the web, we watch Youtube. And when we do practically anything else we're on our cell phones.

It's no wonder people are so stressed and overwhelmed. Do we even know what it means to do one thing at a time with full attention? But if we don't have attention, we are missing life. Attention is life.  


People want to do business with nice people. To that you can add authentic people with a good sense of humor and who smile a lot (which translates to extra nice).

I only fully realized this when I stayed at a Marriott Hotel this past weekend. All the staff were incredibly nice and helpful. They smiled. They went out of their way. They emitted good vibes. They were fun to interact with.

So whenever I travel, if I can, I'm going to use Marriott. If I book a hotel for a workshop I'll use Marriott. If I recommend a hotel I'll recommend Marriott. I guess I already did!

Marriott GETS the nice factor. My guess is that they have a system for hiring nice people. They know what to look for in people and they know how to weed out the sourpusses. It's a winning formula.

How about your business? How nice are you? Are you friendly, helpful, authentic, and having fun in your business and with your clients? That's the stuff that your clients will talk about more than anything else. Being nice works and it can take your business to a whole new place.

So be nice.... or else!

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The law of karma, also know as the law of cause and effect, can be seen in your marketing results. If you are doing what is required to attract clients, you will be attracting clients. If you are not doing what is required you will not be attracting clients.

This is a very brutal, unforgiving law. It's like gravity.

The law doesn't care if you are sincere about attracting clients. It doesn't care if you intend to attract clients. I doesn't give a hoot if you are trying hard but doing the wrong thing. And it could care less if you were doing the right things in the past but are doing the wrong things today.

How do you know you are doing the right things to attract clients? You are attracting clients. How do you know you are doing the right things to attract your ideal high-paying clients? You are attracting ideal, high-paying clients.

The law of marking karma doesn't care if you are a nice person, a good person, or a spiritual person. Only right action counts.

If you want marketing results, you should have just one question: What are the right marketing actions that will consistently attract clients? The good news is that there are many right actions that can lead to more clients. And the more of these right actions that you take, the more clients you will attract.

Learn exactly what marketing actions you need to be taking and discover how well you are doing in taking these actions at this link: The Marketing Scorecard.

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word.


This weekend I gave a talk at Bill Baren's Big Shift Experience. The topic was "26 Years of Big Shifts." Wish you could have been there to hear it as it got the best response of any talk I'd given in my life.

I'm sure you've been to lots of of talks at conferences that were full of valuable material, competently presented, with information packed Power-Points that bored you to death.

What was missing?

The entertainment factor. Some people call this "edutainment."

A great presentation will provide great high-impact material but it will also be fun, stimulating, surprising, totally natural, delivered spontaneously (but still rehearsed) and have your audience laughing throughout.

At the end I finally had the sense of what it might feel like to be a rockstar. That's because everyone came up to me after the talk and told me I was a rockstar! That was nice, but it wasn't about me, the talk was all about practical things they could do to improve their marketing. I just packaged this message in a fun and entertaining way.

There is no way I can really explain how I did what I did. It can't be encapsulated in a to-do list. But the talk was recorded and I'm going to get a copy and let you hear it for yourself. Stay posted.  

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word. 


How often do we have the opportunity to have substantive conversations with business associates outside of our normal day-to-day work? For me, it's not much. I meet with clients by phone and am glued to my computer the rest of the time. I'm like a hermit.

So my only outlet to make deeper connections is at workshops and other focused networking-type events.

Yesterday, the first day of this workshop, I had amazing conversations with colleagues during breaks, lunch and after the workshop - all the way to 11:00 p.m. These are past clients, potential clients, and various people I've partnered with and will partner with.

When we think of networking, it's often at a Chamber of Commerce "business after hours" event or the monthly meeting of our professional association. In those two hours we have short conversations but never have the real opportunity to go deep and develop long-term relationships.

In April I'm going to a three-day Internet seminar in New York. I'm going not so much for the presentations, but for the connections and in-depth networking. So, for me, conferences, workshops, and "summit meetings" are the deepest business connections I have with the outside world. It's my opportunity not to be a hermit a few times every year.

Where are you going to develop long-term business relationships?

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word. 


 This was the river in my backyard earlier this week:

This is the river in my backyard today:


Don't worry, I won't float a way! (I hope) The river reached the 10 foot mark about 2:00 pm today after very heavy rains but has gone down a couple of feet since. The wet winters in the Santa Cruz Redwoods are pretty exciting sometimes.

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word. 


Today I noticed that I was a little more stressed than usual about my business. I can point to the fact that I have a whole lot of stuff on my plate these days (including writing my blog which I'm now behind on)!

And when I get stressed business isn't fun anymore.

But I thought this morning, "What would I have to believe to feel so stressed?" And those old but familiar belief-twins raised their hands: "I have too much to do and I have to do it all myself."

What a great formula for stress!

"I have too much to do and I have to do it all myself." Is that true? Well, no, not really. I just have a few more things to do this week than usual. No big deal. And I have people helping me with lots of stuff. And things don't need to be done instantly and perfectly.

Whew! Funny how we create these little overwhelm dramas with very little material to work with. How creative of me.

Back to work. I'm having fun now.

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word.

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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.