Thursday, January 24, 2008

Brain Surgeons or Bakers?

Marketing a Thought Leader is a long-term strategy. Thought Leaders need to be careful of too much push marketing and be mindful of the position they create in the marketplace.

Anytime I see the marketing materials of a Thought Leader I ask myself "is this what a brain surgeon would use or more like what a baker would use to promote their services?"

Bakery items are commodities; you can pretty much find bread anywhere! Sure there are good and bad bakers but still bread is bread. I’d expect to see an advertisement for bread in a local paper or maybe the yellow pages. I doubt whether you would buy a brain surgeon from your community newspaper or your local telephone directory.

What kind of marketing are you using? Are you clear about whether you are more like a brain surgeon or are you marketing like a baker?

  • Brain surgeons are mostly referred by trusted advisors
  • Brain surgeons are known for what they do well
  • Brain surgeons are specialists at problem solving
  • Brain surgeons have a reputation that is gold

Every time you send marketing out be careful not to become a commodity by pushing too hard. Start with service in mind and keep the quality and the value high. I am not saying that you can’t learn from existing marketing angles and use the skills of great push marketing – not at all, they obviously work. You just need to be careful to keep an eye to the long-term view of reputation and pull people into your business.

Here are 5 things you can do to market like a brain surgeon....

  • Be insanely great. The better you are the more you will be paid and the more people will talk about you. Development is critical!
  • Create a communication platform like this email and regularly send out content based communications that are short and highly valuable.
  • Tell people what you are doing well. When you have a win announce it.
  • Identify 6 key people who can refer what you do and treat them like gold.
  • Always focus on the problems and challenges your clients face and communicate solutions in every interaction.

I know this... as commodities are replaced by cheaper offshore alternatives and people compete for the same business, the new ‘unfair advantage’ is to hold the space as a guru, a brain surgeon and a Thought Leader.

Be great, get known, do well!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How to get people talking about you

There is nothing better than word of mouth advertising. Happy clients raving about you is the single most effective way to grow a practice based business. Mortgage brokers, real estate agents and financial planners have known this for years. Thought Leaders should also tap into the business accelerating power of referrals.

Here are five things to think about in creating more referrals.

  • Ask for them
  • Focus on six people
  • Teach people how to refer you
  • Be great
  • Don’t be too smart

Ask for referrals

When people sign up have them complete a form that provides them the chance to refer. Next time someone gives you praise for what you do, thank them and ask them if they can think of anyone who may also benefit. Don’t just bask in the praise.

Focus on six people

We can manage only so many relationships. Find six people who are already working with your ideal clients and start to create value based relationships with them. If you help enough people get what they want then eventually you will get what you want. And remember to sell through them, not to them.

Teach people how to refer you

Coach these six people about your positioning but start by understanding theirs. Don't just expect them to refer you. Teach them by example and get them business first.

Be great

Honestly the sure fire way to success as a Thought Leader is to keep refining your message and your method. Do good stuff and get better at doing it and you will build a reputation that creates referrals.

Don’t be too smart

People don’t refer clever people or charismatic people, they refer reliable people. When your reputation is at stake you want the person to do what they say they will. The basics of say please, say thank you, do what you promise and manage expectations are essential in creating a referral based business.

In summary, get good, get known, sell through six and take care of the basics. If you want to build a referral business refer others.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Two ways to ensure you are unhappy

There are two sure fire ways to be unhappy; the first is to live with constant comparison and the second is to create unrealistic expectations of your life.

  1. Comparisons
  2. Expectations

So, take care when comparing your life to others. Equally, take care creating expectations around what life will provide you.

All good advice right?

Well, I have struggled with these concepts when seen through the filter of achievement. How can you progress yourself or a team without expectations or comparisons?

Examples of EXPECTATIONS at work:

A personal best, a development plan, a performance review, a 360 degree feedback survey, an ambitious goal, the list goes on…..

Examples of COMPARISONS at work:

Mentoring, role modelling, benchmarking, KPI'S, targets and budgets.

Does this all mean we are doomed to be unhappy at work? Work seems to be full of expectations and comparisons. What do you think?