Before the release of the Kindle, my favorite thing to do was to hang out at book stores. I’d grab a coffee and browse through all of the books. I’d grab a few and find a comfy chair, so that I could skim through them. Ultimately, I’d end up buying one or two. I love to read and have read hundreds of books. Now I’m able to do this from the comfort of my home – gotta love technology.
In 2004, I stumbled across a book that literally changed my business. ONE book, which you can buy for under $8.00. Books really can turn into money in your bank account.
The book I’m referring to is Dan Kennedy’s “No B.S. Sales Success – The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners & Make Tons of Money Guide.” If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you pony up the $8.00 and buy it. It could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to you, if not more.
I learned two very powerful lessons that I applied to my business with dramatic results. I’ll share one of these lessons with you today and another in a future blog post. The first lesson was that we should focus on:
Positioning NOT Prospecting
Dan writes, “… most of the salespeople I’ve encountered simply hate prospecting. Consequently , they avoid it, both consciously and unconsciously, and do it only when the dire necessity of imminent starvation pushes them to it. And then they do it poorly…. To me, prospecting is grubby, unpleasant work. To me, there’s no worse way to spend time than talking to people who are not interested, are not qualified to say yes even if they were interested, and who view me as someone they have to defend themselves against.”
Since this is true, the worst thing you can do is to be viewed as a salesperson by your prospects and clients. When you’re viewed as a salesperson, everyone avoids you. It’s kind of hard to sell someone a home or get a listing, when they are intentionally avoiding you.
Instead, you need to try and change your positioning so the prospect views you as an expert. And no, you can’t change this positioning by adding “consultant” to your business card. It’s a lot bigger than what you call yourself. It starts with the very first thing a prospect sees, which is your marketing. It flows through to your website, how your phone is answered and what is said during every phone call and how you handle every prospect and client. You have to change everything and you cannot copy other agents in your area. They have horrible positioning, too.
To do get a feel for what’s necessary, consider a brain surgeon. This person is definitely an expert, right?
– Can you pick up the phone and directly call the brain surgeon?
– Can you stop in his or her office anytime and sit down and talk with them?
– Does the brain surgeon accommodate your schedule or do you accommodate their schedule?
– Does the brain surgeon command your respect?
– If the brain surgeon calls you, do you jump to answer the phone?
Can you “see” the difference between how an expert operates and how we operate? Okay, let’s talk about how you change your positioning.
According to Dan, “Writing and being published is a powerful way of helping others discover you. I’ve written many articles, for free, for all sorts of publications, and I work hard at having books I’ve written available in bookstores. Why? Because people read these articles or books, reach the conclusion that I’m an expert who can help them, and then seek me out… How does that apply to you? Let’s say your a car salesperson. You can write an article or regular column for your community newspaper about the inside secrets of buying, trading in, selling, and financing automobiles. You can write about the tax benefits of buying versus leasing and vice versa, what to look for when buying a used car, how to sell your own car, and so on….You could also write a book. How about “Confessions of a Car Salesman: How to REALLY Get the Best Deal.”
After reading this, I wrote my own book and it had a dramatic impact on how I was viewed by prospects. I also have numerous articles published in various magazines, websites and newsletters. The reason why is because I want prospects finding me through something I’ve written. This is because I’m viewed as an expert – right from the start. If you’re reading this right now, you more than likely “see” me as an expert.
2. Public Speaking
When you go to a class or seminar, do you view the presenter as an expert? What do you think would happen if you taught a class or seminar? Case closed.
One of my Master Marketer club members was recently featured on the cover of his local newspaper. He used the tools provided in my Ultimate Foreclosure Boom program and is now viewed as an expert, simply from this one newspaper article. He can now leverage this article in many ways to get more clients going forward. Dan wrote, “Publicity can change your entire life experience as a sales professional. When somebody writes an article about you and it is published in a newspaper or magazine, or when you appear as a guest on a radio or TV show, you gain credibility and celebrity.”
You might be the best real estate agent in your area, but if you’re perceived as a salesperson, prospects won’t pay any attention to you. Once you have expert positioning, prospects seek you out. They look forward to your call. They try and rearrange their schedules to meet with you.
I’ll finish this post with the most powerful excerpt from Dan’s book:
“By now you may be wondering how to apply some of these ideas to your own business. These ideas are transferable, nearly universal strategies that anyone can use. Suppose, for example, you run a home security systems business.
Easy. Write a book: Burglars’ Seven Secrets for Picking the Houses and Families They Attack. Write a column for your community newspaper: “Crimestopper Tips.”
You’ll find that…the book and newspaper column will generate business. But you can also use your book to get into some radio or TV talk shows…. Next you could target an appropriate geographic area and start sending a quality newsletter to all the homeowners. Call it “Smart Strategies for Safe Living: How to Safegaurd Your Family and Your Home.” Provide useful information and tips. Offer your book for free.
When prospects start to call you from your book, articles or newsletters, with questions, simply say: “Mr Homeowner, I’m extremely busy and cannot do justice to your questions today. However, I have a complete information kit that I’ll send to you, and I ask that you review it carefully. Then if you think I’m the right expert to assist you with your home security, call me back. If you choose another source, the information will still help you.”
Then I would have a messenger deliver a nice, big box to Mr. Homeowner. Inside the box would be my information kit, which would include the following:
1. A copy of my new book on home security.
2. A CD of a recent interview where you answer questions.
3. A couple of copies of my newsletter.
4. A page of testimonials
5. A page titled: “All Sources of Security Assistance are NOT Equal,” which lists your “creditability items” and statistics.
6. Copies of any newspaper stories, articles about you.
7. Finally, and this is very important, I would include a certificate waiving my usual $250 fee for a home and family protection consultation.
Now when Mr. Homeowner calls me, what will the positioning be like? Will he perceive me as “just another salesperson?” Not likely.”
This chapter changed my life. I realized that I was viewed as a salesperson and how much this was costing me in lost sales. I went to work implementing everything Dan suggested and slowly, but surely changed my positioning to “expert.” I wrote my own book. I had a friend interview me asking powerful questions that would allow me to display my expertise. I recorded this interview and used it as a CD in my information package. I went and drafted testimonials for my past clients and got their permission to use them in my marketing. I wrote an article explaining why all real estate agents weren’t equal. I also included a certificate waiving my usual $250 retainer. I created my own information kit and began sending it to prospects contacting my office.
My business tripled. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it was worth it because I no longer had to prospect. I no longer had to be available 24/7. I no longer had to work with every pain-in-the-ass prospect, because I needed the sale. The same will happen to you, once you’re viewed as an expert, instead of a salesperson.
What book or books have changed your business? Please share them in the comments!