Kenny: In this week’s show, we’ve got some really exciting topics to talk about. The main topic of today’s show is going to be how to specialise and stand out and Andrew and I are going to have a bit of a debate and kind of talk about our own personal views of what we think is important if you want to specialise and stand out. Then we’re going to move over to questions from clients and this week, it’s going to be a question from one of my clients.
Then we’re going to move over to Tip of the Week and this is a really good one that comes from Andrew and then we’re going to follow on with Inspiration of the Week, which is me, and then we will tell you what’s going to come up on next week’s show.
Andrew, tell me your thoughts on being special, that word we talked about and we probably talked about it in all four episodes so far. What do you think we need to do? Why is it important to be special?
Andrew: Yeah, the idea of specialising especially for consultants, that has really come up in every podcast we’ve done. I made a big deal about it in our very first podcast, so I’m glad we finally get to go into more detail because I really think this is the one thing that can make you or break you as a consultant.
The reason is because it’s so easy now these days for anyone to hang out their shingle as an independent consultant and that’s great. It means if it’s something you’ve been dreaming of doing, you have the capabilities, the tools, the support. But it also means there’s more competition than ever and if you want to stand out from that competition and catch the attention of your ideal prospects, well, you have to make it immediately clear to them how you’re different, how you’re special, and why you’re the best choice for them.
This comes across in so many different ways. Certainly if you want to do any type of search engine marketing which is my focus, my specialty, you’ve got to decide how you’re going to stand out from all the other folks online, doing the same thing. If you’re doing pay-per-click advertising with Google, there are so many competitors out there trying to get your same prospects. If your ad doesn’t jump out and grab them, at least the right subgroup, you’re just not going to get noticed.
I will say it’s so common to make this mistake of failing to specialise. It’s so easy to understand why businesses and professionals and consultants naturally end up with a very broad, general approach to our marketing. That’s because we tend to feel like it’s necessary to cast a wide net in order to catch the most fish, right? That only seems to make sense. A bigger net, more fish, or a bigger fish.
In certain industries, in certain cases, that approach works. For some businesses, if you reach more people, that means more sales and that means more profits. But – and I’m willing to put a stake in the ground here. For those of us selling high value services, this wide net approach fails.
It fails because we can’t make good money from just anybody with a heartbeat. Our best clients are always going to be people who have four traits in common.
Number one, they have a compelling and urgent need for our services.
Number two, they have the means to pay our high fees.
Number three, they believe that we provide exactly the service they need.
Number four, they believe our service is clearly better than the other options.
If you’re casting a wide net, you’re not going to reach these people. You’re not going to find prospects who have a compelling and urgent need for your service if you’re a generalist.
You’re not going to find people who are ready to pay your high fees if you’re a generalist. It’s the specialists who get the attention and get the high fees.
More than that, prospects aren’t going to believe that you provide exactly the service they need if you’re not a specialist. They’re not going to believe your service is better than other options available to them if you’re not a specialist.
So for all these reasons, you’ve got to specialise to go after the great clients that we’re all trying to get with our consulting businesses.
Kenny: You’re pretty passionate about this, aren’t you Andrew?
Andrew: Well, honestly, this is the first thing I work on with every new client I take on. I ask, “How are we going to focus you down? How are we going to focus your business, your offering, your services?” because that’s the only way that I can help them succeed online.
Kenny: Yeah. I’ve found when I decided to specialise and I don’t know about you. It’s kind of liberating in a way. I felt kind of liberated because I thought, you know what, I only need to focus on one area and just get really good at that area, which makes everything else a lot easier for me.
Andrew: Oh, it does. It makes everything so less overwhelming. If you feel like you have to be a general specialist, my god, how do you do that?
Kenny: Exactly. It’s easy at the beginning when you’re starting in business. So you’re starting off as a consultant to kind of think, you know, I want to go general, for some of the reasons you said before. You want to kind of catch everything. You don’t want to miss out on anything and also you see big generalists out there doing really, really well.
I remember when I was really focusing heavily on the internet marketing world. I saw a lot of the big internet marketers out there who were generalists. They seem to know a lot about everything. But what you will usually find is that these generalists who you see who are really big and who are commanding a lot of the market share out there, they started off very specialised and then just added strings to their bow.
Then once they dominated each area of expertise, they then moved into other areas. So they became a big fish in the small pond first and then at that point, once they were the biggest fish in that pond and they’re a big enough size and they had a lot more free time, then they would look at other ponds to grow in until they became the biggest fish in that pond. Then eventually they become the biggest fish in the biggest pond.
Andrew: Well, I can guarantee you that as they do that, they are not making their marketing more general as they get bigger. Instead they’re laying on additional layers of specialty.
Kenny: That’s it.
Andrew: They continue to focus and market to specialised niches, just more and more and more of them that eventually create this appearance of this big general company.
Kenny: Correct. You look at a company. I used to be involved – many years ago when I was in recruitment and my cousin is the managing partner there in the UK and Ireland [0:07:33] [Phonetic]. When we were there, it was just IT recruitment and they became the best IT recruitment.
Then and only then did they start adding extra arms to that. What they would do is they would get somebody to head up that specialism and then that whole team that they built around that specialism would only focus on that specialism whereas from an outside point of view, it would look like they – if you looked at them now as a business, you would look and they would look like they were quite general. But they’re not. They specialise in lots of different areas and they have – they specialise on their website. They have different categories that people can go into.
Andrew: Kenny, I was with you until you used the word “specialism”. Is that another British-ism?
Kenny: It is. Absolutely. Yes. Instead of a Z, as you would say, and we call it “zed” by the way, we call it specialised with an S, so specialism.
Andrew: Zed has a very special meaning for us from that movie Pulp Fiction. So we stay away from Zed.
Kenny: Zed is dead.
Andrew: Exactly, exactly.
Kenny: What a great movie that was. So if you’re going to be – if you’re starting out or even if you’re not starting out, the idea is to just get big in that small pond first because it’s easier to become a big fish that way. You can get lost in the big pond, which is exactly what you were talking about before.
Also when you specialise, you usually become like I said before a lot more passionate about your subject because you live and breathe it, and therefore attracts a much more passionate audience instead of a watered down audience.
You see this time and time again. It’s like my wife. She’s in the wine business and she’s very passionate about wine. She doesn’t really go into – her business does sell a few spirits and does sell a little bit of beer. But when she talks, all she talks about is wine and her audience are equally as passionate about wine.
She’s not your everyday – we call them off-licence. You would call them liquor stores. She’s not your everyday off-licence. She’s a wine merchant and that’s her big thing and that’s what she’s known for. That is her audience who are all very passionate and passionate people Andrew, they’re passionate about subjects and passionate about a specialism. They will spend money with that subject.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean just imagine if she were instead a beverage merchant instead of a wine merchant, right? So much less appeal because it’s so broad and not specialised and it would be – it just wouldn’t work.
Kenny: Exactly, exactly. It is easy when – let’s go back to going down the generalist route. It’s easy to follow the herd and become a me-too business. We mentioned this last week, becoming that me-too business.
But there’s a huge danger with this. Sometimes we see the other business is out there and we say, “Well, they look to be doing OK. I will just kind of do what they’re doing.” But it’s becoming easier to outsource or even automate generalist kind of tasks now. So becoming a specialist is a way to survive this trend moving forwards.
Andrew: Yeah. I don’t know if you remember the story in the US from a few years ago. There was a software developer who got fired because they found out that every night, he was sending his coding tasks off to India and getting the work sent back in the morning, and then he would turn in into his boss.
He was a fulltime employee at a big software company but that’s a good example of how easy it can be to do that sort of thing, and why – again, if you want to not just become an outsourced resource for – who get fairly low fees, you need to specialise.
Kenny: Exactly. Another point, I will kind of finish off on why it’s important to specialise, is free publicity is much easier when you specialise because bloggers and journalists and like I said passionate people in those industries, they will usually just want to speak with specialists. They don’t want to talk with generalists.
So you would also see this a lot on TV now. If you look back to the 80s, a lot of people who – the news programs or documentaries, they were generalists. They were just presenters. Their job was a presenter. That was their specialism whereas these days if you look at a lot of the presenters, the traditional generalist presenters are dying out.
Nowadays, the presenters are usually specialists with strong backgrounds in their specialist topics. So for example let’s go back to my wife who got a job with the BBC, presenting on a food and drink program over here in the UK called Food and Drink. It was on national television.
Kate didn’t have any TV presentation background at all, yet they wanted Kate to do it above a generalist out there, and Kate got the job because she was a specialist and it’s happening more and more.
Andrew: This is part and parcel of how the world is today. We not only have hundreds and hundreds of TV channels you can choose from, but millions of effective channels online. That allows everyone to pursue exactly their own interests. So why would they ever go to a generalist?
Andrew: They can find a specialist so readily.
Kenny: Exactly, exactly. So what high impact insights have you got to share around this, that you can add just some more meat to the bone for consultants.
Andrew: Yeah. So when it gets down to it, what do we have to do to specialise? The very first thing I will say is that sometimes we think that well, if I’m doing the business for a few months or a few years, then I will figure out where I want to specialise. Something will happen. Something will fall in my lap. Something will just make sense and that’s a very tempting way to think about it.
But the reality is focus rarely just falls in our laps. Instead we need to be decisive. We need to be bold and put a stake in the ground. We have to decide that starting from today, this is going to be our specialty.
Then make everything work around that, because otherwise, you could be waiting a very long time for it to fall on your lap. There are a number of ways to go about doing this, once you decide that you are going to specialise.
The mistake that nearly all of us make is being general in several areas, your target market, your offering and your services. So you end up promoting a laundry list of services that deliver on a vague offering for a wide range of target markets. They are always making this error of not specialising properly.
The problem with this as we’ve hinted at so far is that no single prospect is or needs all of these things. Nobody needs a whole laundry list of services. They need a specific service. Nobody exists in a wide range of target markets. They exist in a very specific market. So when a prospect who is in a specific market looking for a specific service searches online, for an ideal solution for them, they’re going to find dozens of offers that are highly tailored just for them.
In that case, what chance does a generic online marketing provider have or a generic online service provider in any consulting industry have of winning their business? The answer is zero because they’ve got all these specialty options available to them.
So when you get down to specialising, you have to focus on three main areas. You have to specialise in your target markets, your offering, and your services. To make sure this is clear for everyone, your services are the way in which you deliver your offering. Your offering is really the main idea that your business presents what it is that makes your business special.
Kenny: Which is similar to us too. We both have a very similar offering yet our services are different. You have a done-for-you service whereas I coach people so that they can implement it themselves.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a great example. Both of us offer the similar offering of helping consultants and other professionals gaining more clients online. But we go about it in a very different way and that’s something that we’ve had to work to become clear at on our own.
For me, it was a combination of, “What am I best at? What do I really want to focus on? Where am I finding the best clients?” and then making a decision that I’m going to focus on the done-for-you service.
Kenny: Which doesn’t mean that you can’t add on coaching at a later stage. But once you’ve nailed your service and really got it into a situation where you’ve got a lot of it as automated or as outsourced as possible, so that you’ve got more free time, then you can start looking at other ways of delivering your service.
Andrew: You have to think about it that way, because you just can’t do too many things at the same time. What’s the old Chinese proverb? A man who chases two rabbits catches none, right? You’ve got to focus on your one rabbit. Get that caught and then if you want to, if it makes sense, look for another rabbit, just the way you put it there.
Kenny: How would you tell people to specialise that, Andrew?
Andrew: Well, it comes down to a few steps and actually I’m about to publish a 20-page special report that really goes into this in great detail and it will be available free on my website. But just to give the overview, first, you’ve got to craft your unique selling proposition. What is it that makes you special?
This comes down to really clarifying five things and I usually focus on the website aspect, so making sure all this comes across immediately when someone comes across you online.
Those five things are, “What do you do? Who is it for? How do they benefit? How are you special? Why should anyone believe you?” Once you have that set of five questions answered, that makes all your marketing easier. It makes your website marketing easier. You know exactly what you need to say. It makes all of your advertising easier and the emails you’re sending out, because you’ve got that specialised focus. You know who you’re talking to. You know the services you’re offering and you know what makes you specialise. That’s what you keep coming back to over and over again for your consistency.
When I talk about applying this to your online messaging, again when somebody comes to your website for the first time, you’ve only got about five second at the most to capture their attention. If you don’t, they’re gone. They’re going to click the back button, go visit someone else’s site that looked more promising.
So in the very first glance, you’ve got to get there attention. Now I brought a couple of headline examples here just to give a sense of what I’m talking about to make this specialisation idea a little more clear.
So here are some bad examples first and I’ve seen these on websites – I see them all the time. So if your website headline is PC and mobile applications, you may think you’re specialising. I’m going after the PC market, the bubble market, but you’re not because you’re not saying what types of applications you do. You’re not saying where within those vast spaces you specialise. It’s not going to capture anyone’s imagination.
If you look at the legal profession, you will very often see a website where the headline is something like, “The law offices of JB Smith”. OK, great. We know you’re a lawyer. What kind of lawyer? How can you help me specifically?
A lot of landing pages you go to where the headline will be some variation of, “We will save you money.” OK, great. But how? How are you going to do that? Why are you different than everyone else who’s promising this?
So those are some examples of very poor headlines if you’re trying to stand out and get attention. Now in contrast, let me give you just a few examples of really good ones that I’ve come across recently.
I use FreshBooks for my accounting. I think they’re a fantastic business and their headline on one of their main pages is, “Accounting made for you, the non-accountant.” Right away, that says a lot. It says it’s for small business. It’s for individuals. It’s for someone who doesn’t specialise in accounting, but has the need and all the rest of their page marketing supports that.
Pinterest. They took approach of kind of appealing to your aspirations and their headline was – it was showing a picture of a happy family and their headline was, “They used Pinterest to plan a dream trip.” That’s great. How many sites can really say they can help you plan a dream trip?
It’s getting at their specialisation while really appealing to our emotional desires or Evernote which I know both you and I both love Kenny. Their headline is very, very simple, “Remember everything.” Remember everything and honestly it delivers. What other tool can make that claim? It’s very simple but that’s their specialty.
So again, let me say this is a very, very brief summary. I’m going into this in a lot more detail on my special report that you can look at on my website. But the key here is really thinking about ways to clarify first for yourself how you’re going to specialise and then make sure it’s coming across in all of your materials.
Kenny: Great. What we will do, we will put a link to your website, to this report, as soon as they report is up. We will put that on www.MagneticConsultant.com and it will be on this episode, episode five.
You’ve made some good points there. I’m just going to briefly cover the last point you made which is some of these big companies, they spend millions and millions on getting their headlines right, getting their value propositions right. I will come on to value proposition in a minute. It’s just worth you reading through the big businesses like FreshBooks. They weren’t always big businesses and check them out. Just look at what they are writing, because they spend a lot of money on getting this right and it’s really worth doing your research.
I just want to move on to a point you mentioned earlier Andrew, where you say you’ve got to focus. Straight away, you’ve got to specialise. I would beg to differ in some instances there because sometimes if you went in a market and you’re fairly new to that market, and it’s a broad market, but you don’t know much about the market and there’s not a huge amount of secondary research, market research out there, then sometimes you need to go slightly broad to find the hot spots, to find the sweet spots and to also find what you enjoy doing because it’s a mixture of you being happy in what you’re doing, especially as a consultant, and also there being a definite absolute need for what you have to offer and a sustainable need. So it’s not just a trend and not just a fad. So I would say sometimes in some instances, sometimes people need to go broad.
Andrew: Well, that’s a great point and I’ve responded to that with some of my clients who had the same criticism or concern and my response is, well, you don’t need to retarget your entire website or your entire business if you’re not sure yet where you want to put your stake in the ground. What you can do is create some subsections of your site, some landing pages, that focus on those specific markets that you think may end up being the best for you and use those very specialised pages to bring your paid advertising to, your Google AdWords clicks, your Facebook clicks.
In that way, you can actually test out and still address those very specific highly-focused markets without committing your entire business to that sort of a change.
Kenny: Yeah, that kind of brings us onto names as well. Well, especially in the last probably decade or so with Google, Google were giving preferential treatment to domain names that had certain keywords in the domain. So a lot of people who were buying domain names – and domain names have – I’m pretty sure you probably know what domain name is, but for those that don’t, it’s just a bit on the URL that goes after the www dot.
A lot of people were buying these keyword-rich domain names so that they could rank their websites. But those days are gone. So what I would say in the instance of naming your business is absolutely if you think the market is there, if you think you want to be doing this long term, then use your specialism in the name of your business.
Now, what I advise my clients to do is if they feel that they may want to pivot in another direction at a later stage or add bits on to what they’re doing, like I mentioned earlier, start off in the small pond and then grow to other ponds, then you may want to do something slightly more generic.
So for instance, my website is FindtheEdge.com which is pretty generic. I could pivot in quite a few different directions if I wanted to. Does that make sense Andrew?
Andrew: It makes perfect sense to me and my website is another good example there. My business is Prometheus Internet Marketing. So I put a stake in the ground and said that’s my focus and in fact I’m going even further now, specialising at search marketing and may make another adjustment down the road.
So you make a great point about domain names. I will say a couple of things. You can certainly change it later if you need to. But as you pointed out, it’s much less important than it used to be when it comes to trying to rank highly in Google.
They’ve recognised that that’s – letting the highest bidder or the early buyers win isn’t the right thing for their customers.
Andrew: So there are many other reasons why you’re going to rank better these days.
Kenny: Yeah. I just want to go back to your point when you mentioned having a laundry list of services and I just thought of a kind of comparison there. When you go to a restaurant and – have you ever been to a restaurant where you go in and they’ve got these thick menus where you have to scan and scan and scan and scan? There are so many choices that it creates overwhelm. If you’re looking at the restaurant, you’ve not gone into the restaurant yet, a lot of the time you will probably go, “You know what? Let’s go and see the other restaurant down the road there,” because you’re overwhelmed.
What happens when we get overwhelmed when there are too many decisions is we get – we have a freeze or we want to just get out of there.
Kenny: And it’s exactly the same with you. I was watching – I think you have it actually in America – Gordon Ramsay, Ramsay’s Nightmares, those – it’s a program where – we have it in the UK and you certainly have it in America, because he’s quite big over there now. He’s a British chef and he basically goes into restaurants. If you have not seen this, he goes into restaurants and fixes them. So he gets them right.
One of the first things he always does is reduces their menu. They’ve got these big laundry list menus. He will reduce it to a really nice short size that people can make decisions quickly.
Andrew: It’s not only great for the customers. It’s great for the people who have to cook the food, because they can get better and better at a smaller set of dishes.
Kenny: Correct. So also, I just wanted to kind of cover some other points as well. I wanted to cover value proposition. You’ve got to make it very easy for prospects to quickly know what you do and why they should use you. I think you’ve covered it really well there Andrew. But I just want to talk about value propositions just in case people have heard the term and kind of don’t really understand what it is.
A value proposition is a positioning. We’ve talked about positioning before. Positioning statement that immediately shows what benefits you provide for who and how you do it differently.
Again, there’s that “differently” word there again, differentiating, specialising, being special. So who is it for, what you have? What are they currently dissatisfied with? What can you offer and what key problem solving capability does this provide? How is it unlike the others out there?
Also, a biggie here is you. You are different. No one on this planet is the same as you. No one on this planet has the same background and experience as you. So why are you so different? What problems do you understand uniquely well and why?
A lot of people Andrew, when I talk to my clients about this, they kind of go, “I don’t feel different. I’m not different.” Then when you dig a little bit deeper, you find that they understand certain problems a lot better than anyone else and they’re positioned to understand those problems a lot better than anyone else.
Maybe because sometimes they’ve been in the same position themselves. So I will give you an example. I sell my services to recruiters, so recruiters are in my target audience as well as – because I used to be a recruitment consultant. So I understand recruiting consulting. I understand it very, very well.
That puts me in a unique position above anyone else, any other business coach out there who happens to coach recruiters because I’ve been in their shoes. I’ve walked their shoes. Does that make sense Andrew?
Andrew: Perfectly. That’s another great example of how you can decide to specialise. If you decide that you want to focus on a particular market like recruitment or anything else, you can then take the time necessary to learn about it, become versed in the lingo, in their needs, in their problems, and just by choosing to do that and spend the time to become an expert in that area, you make yourself stand out. Maybe there is nothing – maybe there is truly nothing unique about your abilities or services before but now that you’ve decided to focus in a specific area, you are going to stand out to anyone in that area.
Kenny: Correct. So what solution as well can you deliver uniquely well? These are all great for your unique selling points, for your value proposition. Also how can you disrupt the market and be different moving forwards? We’ve talked about companies that disrupt markets. Before there was – Domino’s Pizza came along. People were sick of ordering pizzas and it arriving an hour and a half later cold and Domino’s came along and said, “Thirty minutes, your pizza will arrive. Otherwise you have it for free.”
I remember them doing that campaign because I remember getting the odd pizza for free back in the early 90s and that completely disrupted that market. But what did it do to Domino’s? It took them through the roof and made them a massive global brand.
Also think about your language and how you can communicate with your audience. You see, most marketers understand that they should talk about features that lead to benefits. So hopefully, you’re starting to understand that. You have to talk about the benefits. You can’t just – what we learned when I first started in sales back in 2000 was never feature dump. Do not feature dump. It was the old kind of car salesman thing that people used to do on used car sales lots and they used to just feature dump and dump loads of features without actually understanding what benefits those features had for the particular audience they were speaking with.
So, most marketers understand that they should talk about features that lead to benefits. But one way to stand out is to talk like a very talented copywriter because the top copywriters like John Carlton for instance who I have right up there on a pedestal. I think he’s one of the best copywriters ever and I’ve shared a stage with him. I spoke at a conference with him once in Sydney and then we went to the organiser’s house later on and this guy is not just great at copywriting. He’s also brilliant at playing the piano. He played the piano as well and this is a guy who once was homeless as well. An amazing story, John Carlton.
But what he taught me at that conference Andrew was not just to talk about the features but to talk about benefits that lead to other benefits that lead to other benefits. So instead of feature then benefit, it’s benefit that leads to benefit that leads to benefit. This has a compounding effect on your audience.
So this is like a very, very powerful punch that will subconsciously make them resonate with you much better than your simple feature to benefit competitors that are all doing it out there.
So again, when you talk in this kind of language, you’re going to be differentiating yourself. You’re going to be seen and felt as totally special.
Andrew: This is exactly the way that you need to think about it if you want to be a consultant who commands high fees, because to command high fees, you’re not selling, features. You’re not selling widgets or tools or specific processes you’re doing. You’re selling the overall benefits you can bring to your client. You’re selling what they’re going to get out at the end of it, the results.
So that has got to be the focus. If you start listing features, then you’re inviting people to compare you to other consultants based on features and that’s not what you want. You’ve got to keep the discussion focused on benefits and how you uniquely link and provide those benefits.
Kenny: Yeah, absolutely. I will just give you a quick example just in case people are kind of confused with the features-benefits thing. So if I’m talking about features, say I’m selling a car, I’m a car salesman, then I might say that this car has air conditioning. That’s a feature. That’s telling them that the car has air conditioning.
Now if I go a bit deeper, I can say this has air conditioning that keeps you nice and cool. So it’s giving you a benefit as well. So it’s feature to benefit.
Now if I’m going even deeper and I know my audience and I know my audience are male, they’re in their 20s, generally single, then I will say, “Yeah, this air conditioning, I tell you it’s going to keep you very cool on a hot summer’s day, which will stop you from being sticky. If you’ve got a nice date in the car as well, it will keep her nice and cool as well, so you can really enjoy each other’s company,” or words to that effect.
I couldn’t think of anything on the spot there but you kind of know what I mean and I didn’t want to go down any degrading kind of conversation there either.
But you know what I mean. You could utilise the benefits to the benefits to the benefits there which really add a massive power punch.
Andrew: Yeah. I would say even – think of your fee as a feature, not a benefit and that’s why we talked about in a previous podcast don’t list your fees on your website, unless you want people to compare you based on your fees, which again if you’re going for high end clients, that’s not what you want, because the fee is the feature. It’s the detail. The benefit is you’re getting your clients 100 new clients this year or getting them to a $10 million business this year. Compared against that, your fee is inconsequential. You’ve got to keep the focus on the benefits.
Kenny: Then the benefit that leads to the benefit could be you’re going to get a 10 million pound business this year and you know the client. So you’re going to get a 10 million pound business this year which will allow you to get on that golf course more because you love the golf course and spend more time with your son and daughter, because I know that you love spending time with them. So that’s benefit leading to benefit leading to benefit.
Andrew: Think about when that’s the level of conversation you’re having, then you can get to the point where you’re saying, “And to give you all that, my very modest fee of $10,000 is no problem at all, right?”
Andrew: Whereas if you lead by saying, “I charge $1000 a month for X, Y, and Z feature,” you’re losing all of that. You’re losing the focus on the value and that’s where you end up competing on price. That’s not where we want to be.
Kenny: Correct. So let’s move on. That has been a very thorough discussion there which is great. Again if you have any questions on this, just go over to www.MagneticConsultant.com. Ask us questions. We’re totally available to you because we want to help you attract and win more great clients.
Now let’s move on to the Questions from Clients section and this week, it was a question from one of my clients. One of my clients came to me and said, “What’s the fastest way to get clients on a low budget?” I just wanted to give a few examples of what you can do on a low budget and you might have some as well Andrew, but the first ones that come to mind that are completely free of charge, so you won’t have any – you won’t need any budget here apart from travelling to meet people or travelling to the events.
If you are comfortable with speaking events, then look at some local events that you can go to that have your target audience there. Then put a nice presentation to give and offer to speak at those events. In fact, offer to speak at the events first. Get accepted. Then put your presentation together.
Also strategic alliances. So, one of my clients, a guy called Nigel, developed a really good business by targeting strategic alliances. Nigel is a digital marketing agency. He has got a digital marketing agency. So he’s a digital marketing consultant, a bit like yourself Andrew. You know Nigel and you know how good he is as well.
Now, Nigel wanted to attract more clients. One of the areas I tell them to start was to get some strategic alliances and so he teamed up with a PR agency. He had a couple of PR agencies actually because PR agencies, if they’re doing their job properly, they’re focusing on PR. They’re specialising and that’s their thing.
But they will get businesses coming to them and saying, “Can you do some of our digital stuff as well? Can you do some of our SEO, search engine optimisation? Can you do some of our Facebook marketing?” and they don’t want to turn these clients away and say, “Actually, no,” go over to that company over there, and that company over there might actually pass them on. If they go to another PR agency who actually does the whole shebang, it does the one-stop shop, then they could lose that client.
So they want to be able to offer that service. So right enough, he went to PR agencies and got in. Nigel is based in the UK and he got in with a big PR agency in America and they just loved what he did because he’s so good at what he does and they introduced him to some really big clients. He goes via the PR agency but it’s brilliant. He’s able to put his name to these big brands now which is fantastic for him.
Andrew: Would you have any suggestions Kenny, maybe based on how Nigel did this, about how people listening to this might actually go and approach some companies for a potential partnership like this?
Kenny: Yeah, absolutely. There are different ways. You could make sure that you go and network in the same circles as these guys, hang out in the same groups on LinkedIn for example or Facebook, wherever these groups hang out, or you can go and be pretty ballsy like I told Nigel to be and put together a really powerful direct mail campaign. I don’t have time to go into it here but we run a strategy. You’ve seen it Andrew, the strategy we run in my business, and that’s sending it a direct mail that creates so much curiosity in the recipient, that they have to go and check out a link and a URL link.
They go to that URL link and there’s a personalised video waiting for them there and the open rate of the way we do this is phenomenal. We do a handwritten envelope, a stamp without franking machine, a proper stamp. We make sure that we put on the envelope, that it’s private and confidential, that we know that it’s going to get into the hands of the recipient rather than the PA.
There are lots of little tricks as well and that’s a really good way of doing it. I was talking to a client recently. Not a client actually. A prospect recently, who ran a digital marketing business, and he was telling me how in the – one of his ways he got attention, grabbed attention of the people he wanted to strike up strategic alliances with was – back in those days, it was – we didn’t have DVD players. It was video players and you could get – you could get those really small TVs with a video player built in.
What he did is he bought some second-hand TVs with video players on. He made the video Andrew, put it in the TV, and then sent the TV to the actual strategic alliance he wanted to strike strategic alliance up with, and that’s just a wow factor.
So there are various different ways you can do it and also you can create your own workshops as well. If you want to get more clients that are not strategic alliances but you can do it with strategic alliances as well, and you can promote via LinkedIn.
So certain parts of LinkedIn people still don’t understand and one is, if you’re in the same group as someone, so if you join a group that is full of your audience, you can actually send messages to people in that group without actually being a first line connection with them.
So you can send them a direct message. So that’s another way of doing it, because it’s a nice message you say. Listen, I see that you’re in Manhattan, if you’re based in Manhattan. I’m holding a workshop around the corner from where you are. If you want to come down, it’s a free workshop, and I’m going to show you how to do X, Y and Z.
So that’s another way of doing it there. So events through strategic alliances, obviously LinkedIn connections as well, and workshops promoted via LinkedIn. So these are all three ways of getting new clients on a low budget.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s a lot of really meaty material. We may need to do a podcast just on that topic, so we can really give it the treatment it deserves.
Kenny: Yeah, absolutely. So that’s questions from clients. We now move on to Tip of the Week. What’s your Tip of the Week Andrew?
Andrew: Well, focusing on our topic today, succeeding by specialising, I just want to give you a quick test to see if your business has sufficient specialisation and it’s three easy questions here.
The first one is, “Can you explain in 25 words or less what your business offers, how it’s special, who it’s for and how they benefit?” That may seem like a lot but you can do it in 25 words or less. What your business offers, how it’s special, who it’s for and how they benefit.
So for example, my own answer to that is I help business owners, consultants and professionals get great new clients online even in highly competitive markets. Now I may not use that exact sentence anywhere in my marketing but it’s the idea. It’s the concept that drives everything I do to keep my focus and specialisation.
Kenny: And if you notice there as well, what you’ve done there is you’ve covered an objection in there as well, even in highly competitive markets. You’ve pre-empted an objection there and covered it which makes it very powerful.
Andrew: I’m hoping to reach those folks because my best clients are the ones who have tried their own online marketing in a competitive market and failed, have seen just how hard it is and now they become great clients for me when I can help them.
So the second question is, “Do you often turn down otherwise good prospects by saying something like this? I’m sorry. I could do that, but it’s not my specialty. Here is someone else you should try instead,” because if you’re getting any decent number of leads, you’re going to be getting some who are outside your specialisation and that’s when you need to say no, because if you take on people who are outside your specialty, unless you really need the money for this month, that’s understandable; otherwise, you’re diluting your focus. You’re diluting your ability to get more people who you really can serve for high fees.
Kenny: And also at that point, that just brings me on to strategic alliances. If you’re getting people and they want stuff outside of your specialty, that’s your time to strike up a deal with strategic alliances. Hey, I’ve got some leads for you. And that will always through the principle of reciprocity kind of force them to give you leads as well.
Andrew: There you go. So everyone wins when you’re clear about your specialty and just stick with it.
The third question I have for this test, to make sure you have sufficient specialisation, is, “Can your spouse accurately describe your ideal prospect?”
Kenny: That’s a good one. I like that.
Andrew: I think for a lot of us including me honestly, the answer is no. We talk about business but I don’t think she can actually accurately describe my ideal prospect. To me that says I still need to get clear and simpler in my own head about who that is.
So some questions here to think about and if you’re struggling with these questions, then I would suggest you definitely need to spend some more time improving your own business specialisation.
Kenny: Exactly. Brilliant. That’s a great tip of the week there, very thorough. Now, let’s move on to Inspiration of the Week and this week, it is me. Now, I interviewed someone for my Find the Edge podcast about a year ago and his name is Roger Philby and he runs a business called The Chemistry Group.
I was talking to my mentor recently and my mentor came up – I don’t know why he came up with the question. But he came up with the question, “So what business really inspires you out there at the moment?” I thought about it and the first one that popped into my head was this guy Andrew that I had interviewed a year ago called Roger Philby.
I just love his business. I love his business model and the way that he’s disrupting the recruitment industry and it inspired me. So I got re-inspired by this and I will tell you very briefly what he does and then I will tell you what inspired me this week.
Very briefly, he goes into businesses, very, very big businesses, big corporations and he turns around that recruitment model on its head. Now most businesses out there, most big corporations and most businesses, the first thing they look at when they’re recruiting new staff is their experience. That’s right at the top of the pile. So when they look at the CV, they look at the experience.
This guy has a five-box method and the experience is at the bottom of that five boxes. It’s still important but it’s at the bottom of that pile. Basically I will give you an overview of the power this guy has and his system has.
He goes into businesses and most businesses out there from the research he has done and from a recruitment society, they’ve all done this research and they found that in most big corporations, that only 25 percent of the staff in those businesses are right for that role at that time.
So 75 percent are not right and he finds that in businesses like that, you’ve got the 25 percent. He calls them the linchpins or you may call them the A players. So 25 percent are right up there.
Then you’ve got a huge amount, 50 percent of presentees. You don’t know whether they’re doing any good for your business but you don’t think they’re doing you any damage.
Andrew: They’re just present. They’re showing up.
Kenny: They’re just present and then the bottom 25 percent are mood hoovers he calls them, which are people who actually are bad for your business and bad for your environment, bad for the culture, that’s just bad for the business.
What he does is he goes into businesses and he turns that around and in actual fact, his most recent figures are around about 84 percent. So he turns it around so that he’s getting 84 percent linchpins in those businesses, which allows the businesses to actually reduce the amount of staff they actually need because they’re so productive.
The way he does it is he has got this five-box method and it starts off actually with intellect. So the only reason it starts with intellect is because it’s the least changeable. It’s the most difficult to change.
So if you’re in a business, if you’re looking for a job in a business in that role, and that business requires a certain level of intellect and you don’t have it, then it’s very difficult to change that. So he has that at the top.
Then it’s values underneath that because again very difficult to change. He gave a really good example of this in his business. His business has values whereby everyone is so open, that they all know each other’s business. They all know each other’s home life. They all blog. They all know each other inside out. They’re very transparent. They talk about what’s going on at home when they come in on a Monday morning and everyone knows each other’s personal lives.
He said, “You will thrive in that environment if you enjoy that.” If on the other hand you are not into that kind of stuff, you’re much more introvert, then each day is going to be a toil working in his business. That was a really good example.
The next one is motivation and how motivated you are by people above you and the business in general. The next is behaviour and then right at the bottom is experience.
I wish I had more time to go into this but it’s really powerful stuff and he’s going into big corporations and changing these corporations, which I – he’s inspiring himself, but just to finish this off and round this up, what inspired me Andrew is I got inspired by that, rethinking about him when I was talking to my mentor.
I dropped this guy an email, just letting him know, and he emailed me back within a day or so and it looks like I’m going to be meeting him and possibly doing some business with him.
Now what inspired me there is just putting stuff out there, doing stuff, sending an email. Sometimes you may think, I’m going to just send that email, because I’m feeling good at the moment about something. Well, send the email. Don’t leave it to later because often when you leave it to later, your mood changes and you don’t do it. So what inspired me is taking action. Just sending an email to someone like that can have a massive, massive effect and I said it to my wife because we have a cleaner in our house and she has just been away for three weeks. We got back and the house was spotless because she was back.
My wife said, “I will just text her and just let her know how much we appreciate.” I said, “Just make sure you do text her, because if you leave it until tomorrow, you probably won’t.”
So the inspiration there is take action when you get the feeling to take action. Don’t put it off.
Andrew: Yes. As the saying goes, and I forget who said this, maybe Michael Jordan. I will say it was from him. You miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take.
Andrew: So take the action and you can have a fantastic result like you just did.
Kenny: Right. So that rounds up the show. So what have we got for next week Andrew?
Andrew: Well, for next week, we are going to dive into personas. We talked a lot today about the need to focus your target markets specialised in specific markets, and personas are a really important tool for helping you do that.
So we’re going to talk about how to use that to help you specialise and win more clients.