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A Refreshing Alternative To Advertising And Cold Call Selling

Aug 17, 2007
Years ago I shared a very small office with a man simply know as "The Jeffrey." He agreed to share the office with me because neither of us could afford the rent on our own. He was a telecommunication consultant and I was a customer service trainer. Even though we were very good at what we did, neither of us knew how to generate new business without spending money on advertising or making sales calls. Unfortunately, those things didn't really work for us either.

Jeffrey was an interesting guy. He was forever trying to figure out how the most successful people got to the top of their profession. Often after work, we would sit and talk about how we could earn a million dollars doing what we loved while avoiding the things we didn't enjoy - like advertising and cold call selling. Then one afternoon, out of the blue, Jeffrey looked up and said, "I've got it!"

"You've got what?" I asked, concerned at what he may have contracted.

"I know how the highest paid consultants got to the top of their professions and I know how we can get there too," he said throwing his feet up on my desk. Apparently my health was safe. "They've learned how to position themselves as expert problem solvers in the minds of their customers! Here's what they did."

For the next five hours we talked excitedly about what these highly paid professionals were doing to generate such astounding incomes. They were earning between 10 and 100 times what we were earning without spending a dime on advertising. They didn't make cold calls or prospect for new business and the demand for their service was so high that they were turning customers away. Their marketing was ingenious and yet so simple. We went home that night confident that we could to the same thing - only faster.

Three years later our customers recognized us as expert problem solvers. Our income went up by a factor of twenty and we had more customers than we could handle. We did it all without advertising or investing our time in low return cold call selling.

Here's How We Did It
The key to getting to the top of your profession and earning the income that accompanies that spot is to position yourself as the most well known problem solver in your industry. And how do you do that? You do it by making yourself visible as a problem solver to the people you are trying to serve. Here are five ways to get that visibility.

Write an Article
I love reading articles that help me solve a problem. Take a moment right now and sketch out an article idea that your customers will find interesting. Start by identifying the problem your readers have and show them how to solve it. Use examples, stories and terminology they understand. Encourage them along the way. Provide a tag line at the end of your article with your credentials and contact information and send it out to potential publishers. Submit it to article directories on the Internet for distribution and make it available on your website, but don't stop there. Send it as an email attachment, print it and send it to your customers through the mail or send it to the local newspapers or trade journals and watch what happens.

Be a Guest on a Radio Talk Show
There are 40 million Americans who listen to talk radio every day and the hosts of these shows are always looking for interesting guests to fill the airtime. Are you an expert on a subject that a radio audience would find interesting? If so, there are thousands of radio stations just dying to hear from you. Write out a description of what you can talk about along with ten of the most commonly asked questions people ask. Fax or email you're page to the radio stations and follow up with a telephone call. If you're subject is interesting, unique or timely there is a very good chance you'll be invited on as a guest. It's not only fun, but profitable as well.

Build a Resource Website
Most professionals have what's known as a brochure website. This is a site that talks about what they do, how much they charge for their service and where their office is located. Problem is, people don't visit brochure sites more than once. There's no reason to do so.

If you have a brochure site, think seriously about converting it to a resource site. Load it with tips and articles and links to other great websites. Add your own articles and comment on what's going on in your industry. Make your website a place where people will want to come back time and time again. Let them see you as the go-to-guy or gal in the process. As an added bonus, search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo will place you near the top of their search pages when they see the changes you've made.

Stand Up, Speak Out
Look for opportunities to speak at meetings where your customers and potential customers are likely to gather. This includes associations, corporations, churches, PTA meetings etc. Virtually every organization needs speakers who have something interesting to share with their members. You can find these organizations listed in the newspaper, on the Internet and through the people you know. Ask yourself who would be interested in what you have to say and give them the chance to invite you to speak at one of their meetings.

Write a Book
Writing a book is arguably the best way to position yourself as an expert problem solver. It separates you from the masses. Imagine sitting on an airplane talking to your seatmate about what you do for a living and they ask, "How do you know so much about thus subject?"

You can answer by saying, "I wrote a book on the subject!" I like the sound of that, don't you?

Writing a book is a big undertaking but not so big that it's impossible. Think of your book as an accumulation of many smaller ideas (chapters). Create a file for each of these ideas and begin to gather your information today. Spend the first few weeks accumulating and sorting your stories, facts and statistics and placing them in your file. You will be amazed at how quickly the information piles up. Soon you will have enough content to write a single chapter and then another and then another until you've written an entire book. Now imagine one of your prospects picking up your book and seeing your name on the cover. Bingo! They've just reframed you from salesperson to expert problem solver. That's quite a transformation.

These are only a few of the things you can do to position yourself as the expert in your field. There are some great books on the subject and many additional resources on the web. Strive to think differently about your business and how people see you. Remember, it's not who you know or who knows you - it's how people perceive you that matters most. Change the way your customers see you and it will change the way your customers treat you.
About the Author
Bob Sommers is the host of The Recognized Expert Marketing show on Maui. Find out how you can become the Recognized Expert in your field by taking Bob's popular free e-course available at:
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